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Lou's Tips


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5/12/2013

When setting hatching eggs, it is best not to set eggs which are mis-shaped or which have thin shells. Such traits tend to be hereditary.

5/05/2013

It is extremely beneficial for all types of young poultry to get out in the sunshine on pasture as soon as they are fully feathered when temperatures permit, They must have access to shelter, however, in the event of an unexpected thunderstorm. If they are in the company of their parents, they will be more protected.

4/28/2013

It is tempting when chicks, ducklings, or goslings are hatching well to continue to hatch as many as possible. That plan can backfire if one hatches more than one can accommodate in rearing facilities. Overcrowding leads to greater losses, more easily spread disease, etc.

4/21/2013

Eggs do not need to be turned as frequently as most people believe. Two turnings per day of 90 degrees works well with both chicken and waterfowl eggs. Turning the eggs more often will not hurt them but it will not improve hatches.

Eggs should not be turned at all for the last 3-4 days before they are due to hatch. Doing so may interupt the chick's ability to position itself for the hatch.

4/14/2013

When opening an incubator to turn eggs, etc., do not open it with the fan on as doing so will maximize the loss of heat and humidity. Turn the machine off, then open it. Also, remember that when a hatch is in progress, do not open the incubator any more than necessary to avoid robbing the hatchlings of the humidity they need to complete the hatch. 

4/07/2013

Do you find it necessary to "help" your chicks, ducklings, or goslings to hatch? Instead of doing so, you should be searching for the reason they need help. The more you assist the hatching process, the more you are insuring that you will need to keep doing so. Humidity or some other factor is likely the problem. Another possibility is genetic weakness in the breeding stock. By doing for the youngsters what they should be able to do for themselves, you promote the likelihood that more and more hatchlings will be unable to hatch by themselves.

3/31/2013

When hatching eggs are gathered in cold weather, let them warm to room temperature before putting them into the incubator. The big difference between egg temperature and the heat of the incubator can cause damage to the embryo. Of course, it is always prudent to gather hatching eggs as often as practical in very cold weather.

3/24/2013

Metal brooders cost more than wooden ones which are usually homemade. Unfortunately wood can harbor harmful bacteria for up to a year if they are not disinfected with a bleach solution or something else which will sink into the wood and kill the bacteria. Even metal brooders should be periodically wiped down with disinfectant.

3/17/2013

An incubator is a perfect place to grow bacteria so do not neglect the need to sanitize before eggs are placed in it and periodically throughout the season. A 10% bleach solution in water will do the trick.

3/10/2013

This is the time of year that many people purchase hatching eggs. It would seem sensible to put such eggs into the incubator as soon as they arrive. It is better to let them settle for 12-24 hours first on a level surface before putting them in the incubator. Doing so usually results in better hatches, all other factors being equal.

3/05/2013

While adding suplemental artificial light is a tried and true method of stimulating chickens to extend their laying period, I do not recommend doing so with waterfowl. They are extremely sensitive to such stimulation and often fertility will be poor in such circumstances. I recommend letting the longer days of spring stimulate the start of egg production for more consistent good results.

1/20/2013

Eggs laid during extremely cold weather do not need to be cracked to be affected. Chilled embryos are often less likely to hatch. Picking up eggs often is a real necessity.

9/16/2012

Now that the weather is beginning to cool in many parts of the country and most adult waterfowl have completed their moult, it is a good time to worm them. Worming adds stress so avoid worming your birds when other sources of stress are present.

9/09/2012

Avoid using the plastic spiral bandettes on either waterfowl or chickens since they can cut off circulation and eventually cause infection and lameness.

A good alternative would be small zip ties which are made in many colors.

9/02/2012

Are you losing ducks that are becoming suddenly sick and are dead in 2-3 days? West Nile virus usually takes most of it's victims this time of year (up until a killing frost). Young birds are the most frequently affected. Mosquitoes that have bitten infected wild birds are the culprits.

 

8/19/2012

Take every opportunity to do "double duty" when you handle your birds. For example, I usually take the time to spray my chickens for mites/lice even if I am just moving them from one pen to another. I also check for broken feathers every time I handle either the ducks or chickens.

8/12/2012

Product Warning: GE  and Sylvania make a Teflon coated light bulb designed for "rough service". Teflon contains a chemical called PTFE which is toxic to many species of birds including poultry in confined spaces. Even one bulb burning in a poultry building can be fatal. GE's packaging has no warning about it's toxic effects on the label.

8/05/2012

Do not forget to refresh your supplies of vaccines and other medications kept on hand for emergencies. All have shelf lives which should not be ignored. They are cheap insurance policies.

7/29/2012

Do not let ducks in particular create or play in mud. Several diseases can be contracted by them when they are allowed to do so including Ecoli infections and Enteritis. Sand is an excellent way to prevent that situation.

7/22/2012

Mealworms make a wonderful treat for both chickens and ducks when they are moulting in particular since they are very high in protein. They are easily obtainable both live and freeze dried.

7/01/2012

To help both chickens and waterfowl through the moult, a supply of greens is really beneficial when there is no pasture. Also, a little treat of freeze dried meal worms once in a while helps replace the protein used up in feather production.

6/24/2012

When moulting after the laying season, both ducks and geese are run down and need special attention. Access to pasture and clean bathing water changed often will do wonders in conjunction with a good ration of duck grower. Do not worm while birds are in moult.

6/17/2012

While on average the males with earliest fertility tend to be last year's young ones, every situation is unique and time should not be wasted switching males in case the one you are using is shooting blanks. Not a good plan to enter the season depending on a single male in any mating.

6/10/2012

Do not overlook the synergies between raising poultry and gardening. Chickens can do a wonderful job speeding up the decompostion of compost because their scratching keeps the compost turning. Also, their manure and bedding makes excellent raw material for compost.

6/03/2012

Allowing very young ducklings or goslings to run out of water for an extended period can cause losses from the"staggers". If it does happen, supply only room temp. water and do not allow them to drink too much at a time for a while.