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Lou's Tips


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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.

5/27/2012

Do not get into the habit of helping hatchlings out of the egg. Doing so only masks the symptom of incorrect incubator management, usually having to do with improper humidity settings.  Correct the problem and the little birds should hatch well on their own.

5/20/2012

Waterfowl are actually much more vulnerable to extreme heat than to extreme cold. Plenty of fresh, clean water and shade are a must when temps soar. Avoid activities which requires the birds to be moved extensively when it is very hot. Last but not least, do not worm waterfowl during extreme heat.

5/13/2012

More on taming Mandarins:  Once the birds accept your presence in their pens, the next step is to entice them to eventually eat out of your hand using treats such as live or freeze dried mealworms. Again, patience and short training sessions are key.

5/06/2012

Taming Mandarins or any other bird is one part strategy and two parts patience. Offering treats to them when they are hungry is fine after you have gotten them accustomed to your presence in their pen.
Move slowly and be prepared to enter the pen and just sit for 10-20 minutes at a time. When you speak, speak softly and move slowly. Gradually, they will lose their fear of you.  After several sessions of doing this, it would be

4/29/2012

On the topic of using "foster mothers" for important hatching eggs, consider the size of the duck you are using compared to eggs/ducklings to be hatched. While larger birds certainly cover more eggs, they can also break them and crush newly hatched ducklings. Bantam ducks can make excellent setters for exotic species.

4/22/2012

If one can incubate waterfowl eggs naturally (either using the mother or even a broody chicken) for the first two weeks and then finish in an incubator, one can often achieve almost the same results as if the entire incubation period were accomplished naturally rather than in an incubator.

4/15/2012

The use of multiple males in breeding flocks of ducks frequently causes problems. Interference in mating is common as the males struggle to establish dominance. I much prefer smaller matings with one male each. One can also quickly determine which males are fertile with that system.

4/08/2012

Breeders of exotic species of waterfowl in particular should be wary of feeding processed feeds containing "distillery grains". Some species are likely to be adversely affected by it. No tests have been attempted on any species other than commercial chickens to the best of my knowlege.

4/01/2012

Do you have enough brooder space to avoid overcrowding your chicks, ducklings, or goslings as they get past the hatching stage? One of the primary causes of losses is the overcowding of young birds as they advance in size.

3/25/2012

Normally, young males in either waterfowl or chickens are fertile earliest in the season. If one has a choice, saving older males until the season is well under way may mimimize infertility.

3/18/2012

Allowing waterfowl (especially heavy breeds) to enter the breeding season in an overfat condition may increase the likelihood of prolapsed oviducts in females and infertility in males.

3/11/2012

The use of Niteguard devices which simulate the "eye shine" of predators at night seems to significantly reduce the number of predators such as raccoons which used to visit my birds facilities on a nightly basis. I tested the devices for the last four months. They are solar powered so no external power sources is needed. The devices should be at the predator's level and should directly face the animal as it approaches.

3/04/2012

 Chicks, ducklings, and goslings all share the same vulnerability to bacterial infection the first few days of their lives while they absorb the yolk sack into their bodies through their navels.Those that hatch even a day prematurely are especially vulnerable. Brooders used for very young birds need to be carefully sterilized between uses. Incubator temps need to be carefully monitored to be sure that hatchlings hatch at the proper time.

2/26/2012

It is prudent to begin putting together matings of waterfowl at least one month before the first eggs are expected. In geese, another concern is having ganders that have been running together in a flock separated before they get aggressive with one another as the breeding season approaches.

2/19/2012

Two important things to consider when placing an incubator are that the incubator  must be level and that it be free of external vibrations. If either problem exists, the incubator will not function properly and hatches will be affected.

2/12/2012

To safeguard the health of newly hatched chicks, ducklings, and goslings, preventative measures are a good idea. That means going over brooder equipment and feeders/ waterers carefully with a disinfectant prior to use. Keep on hand an antibiotic in powder form such as Neomycin to head off problems should they occur.

2/05/2012

I have found that in my experience both chicken and waterfowl eggs hatch very well when turned just twice a day when the eggs are set on their sides and turned 90 degrees. Neither type needs to be turned the last four days prior to hatch and indeed should not be turned then.

1/29/2012

With more limited access to pasture as well as the protein found in bugs while foraging, it is important to supplement winter diet for both waterfowl and chickens with either a product such as Red Cell (added to feed) or perhaps dried or live meal worms which supply animal protein. Better yet, do both.

1/22/2012

As a followup on my warning to waterfowlers about the potential damage to waterfowl in feeds incorporating distillary grains, here is info I have gathered so far:  Nutrena All Flock- 7.5% distillary grains, Purina claims no DG in either their Duck Grower or Gamebird Breeder feeds.  Buckeye claims no DG in any of their poultry feeds. Especially breeders of wild /exotic waterfowl are best advised to check this out.