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Lou's Tips


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7/19/2015

During extreme heat, it is vital that poultry have fresh clean water at all times. Not only must they use it to stay hydrated, bacteria grows quickly in fouled water during such times.

7/05/2015

Do not take young chickens off of medicated feed too early as a change of weather can trigger coccidiosis. Likewise, do not put growing chickens outside away from a sources of heat if there is chance of a cold snap.

6/28/2015

Be sure to regularly trim the beaks of your chickens as they continue to grow (as do their toenails) their entire lives. Failure to keep them trimmed may well limit their ability to eat.  The upper beak grows faster than the lower one.

6/21/2015

Feeding growing young waterfowl a feed that contains too much protein when their wings are growing in may contribute to a problem called "angel wing" in which the wings do not fold properly and may even protrude from the bird's sides when folded.

After about four weeks of age, switch from a starter feed to a grower which contains no more than 16% protein.

6/14/2015

Dehydration is a serious threat to the health of young poultry. The younger the bird, the more dire the consequences of being without water for an extended period of time.

6/07/2015

You can discourage the growth of algae and mold in waterers by adding a dash of cider vinegar to each fill up. It lowers the water's PH.

5/31/2015

In my experience, the most common weak spot in the facilities of many breeders is rearing pens to grow out the current crop of young birds. All too often, we try to get by without enough pen space telling ourselves that the overcrowding is only temporary. As a result, we risk an increased spread of disease and less than optimal growing conditions for some of our best young birds.

5/24/2015

Not every situation in an incubator room demands a full reservoir of water at all times to provide the appropriate amount of humidity. I sometimes run my incubators dry for a day or more at a time when the air cells are not properly enlarged for the stage of development. An air cell for either waterfowl or chicken eggs should comprise about 1/3 of the egg just before hatching.

5/17/2015

You will do a better job of caring for your birds long term if you make doing so as convenient and labor saving as possible. A good example would be installing a frostless hydrant near your facilities to save the need to carry buckets of water long distances. That is especially important during the winter when hoses may not be practical in many parts of the country.

5/10/2015

Probably the most common mistake that novice poultry keepers make is underestimating the local predators. I am convinced that predator losses are more substantial than all other causes of loss combined. Do not lose your investment in your breeding stock because you under-invest in your pens and housing.

5/03/2015

A very contagious strain of Avian Flu has broken out in commercial flocks of turkeys and laying hens in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Iowa. It is believed to be spread by wild birds. Keeping wild birds from coming in contact with your poultry and practicing good, common sense bio-security may prevent further spread of the disease.

4/26/2015

If you plan to purchase breeding stock, this is the best time to contact the seller to reserve birds.  Most sellers of the high quality stock have more requests than they can fill, at least for the better birds. Offer to send a deposit even if the seller doe not require one because it shows that you are serious and will follow through. Most birds are delivered/shipped in the fall.

4/19/2015

Rodent control in areas where poultry is kept is vital for several reasons. Rodents spread disease, eat large quantities of feed, and in urban areas is often an excuse cited for banning the keeping of poultry. Warfarin based products are not effective in my experience.

I have found that rodent baits containing Diphasinone are quite effective. Be careful with it around other animals, however.

4/12/2015

Providing green feed in some form is extremely beneficial to all poultry, especially if they do not have access to pasture. Fresh grass clippings (not treated with herbicides or pesticides) and weeds from the garden can really boost their health even if one can only provide it once or twice a week. Of little value is "Iceberg" lettuce which is pretty much devoid of nutrition.

4/05/2015

I regularly supply animal protein to all of my poultry in the form of meal worms. I used to purchase live meal worms at a local pet shop but now I purchase freeze dried meal worms in bulk. It is much less expensive and they will keep indefinetly if stored in dry conditions. They can also be rehydrated by soaking in water but I feed them as is.

3/29/2015

While the egg turning equipment on many incubators works fine for chicken eggs, I do not recommend that it be used for waterfowl eggs. I turn my waterfowl eggs 90 degrees twice per day and the eggs rest on their sides in the incubator.

3/22/2015

Of the three ways to obtain stock in either waterfowl or other poultry, the purchase of hatching eggs is the least expensive but most risky. Shipped hatching eggs in particular are frequently disappointing since eggs which are dropped or treated roughly in transit will  often candle as infertiles even if they were fertile. An egg does not have to crack to be fatally damaged.

3/15/2015

One of the worst case scenarios during hatching season is to have an incubator fail without having a backup machine or replacement parts available. Such a situation can ruin a hatching season because it can take a week or more to secure parts or another machine.

3/08/2015

Be sure that your breeding birds go into the breeding season in good flesh but not over fat. Begin feeding breeder rations a few weeks before the first eggs are expected.

 

3/01/2015

The principal causes for feather picking in growing chickens are overcrowding and boredom. Chickens on range are seldom bothered with the problem.

2/22/2015

There can be too much of a good thing. Assuming that that more is better often leads poultry raisers to supplement vitamin/mineral packages  in the feed with water soluable products. That is fine as long as package directions are followed. Over supply of some vitamins can result in a toxic reaction in poultry which could involve kidney failure and other organ damage.

2/15/2015

Some of your birds lay "weird shaped" eggs? It is probably best to avoid breeding from them since mis-shapen eggs tend to be a hereditary trait. That is true for both chickens and waterfowl.

2/08/2015

Those championships at shows that we all want to win are not won in the fall; they are won this time of year when one takes excellent care of the breeding stock and attends to the details with that incubator and those brooders.

2/01/2015

In very cold weather, collect hatching eggs as often as you can. After an egg is layed, it pulls in surrounding air as it cools. In zero weather, an egg can chill to the point of killing the embryo within 1/2 hour or even less.  An egg does not have to crack before fatal damage is done. Deep bedding in nests will help insulate an egg. 

1/25/2015

Never put soiled eggs into the incubator. Likewise, do not incubate eggs with thin shells. Soiled eggs introduce bacteria into the incubator and thin shelled eggs may introduce that trait into offspring that hatch from such eggs.