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Lou's Tips


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7/17/2011

Remember that poultry of all types have almost no cooling mechanism when the heat is severe. Ventilation is vital as is fresh water. Extreme heat is harder on poultry than is extreme cold. Do not worm or vaccinate during heat waves.

7/10/2011

Get both young waterfowl and chickens out of housing and into outside pens as soon as it is safe to do so. The difference in growth rate and condition is significant when young birds have acesss to pasture. The ideal is to have plenty of green shade available.

7/03/2011

Feed must be stored carefully anytime but especially during periods of high moisture. Feed can become moldy within a short period of time and mold can be fatal to all types of poultry.

6/26/2011

While it is always very important to be sure that very young waterfowl do not run out of water for any extended period, if it does happen, supply water which is room temperature, not cold. It is also important not to let them drink too much when the water is supplied. Let them have some and then take it away for 10 minutes or so before giving it back for a few moments.

6/19/2011

There is a tendency when administering medications such as antibiotics, wormers, etc. to think "more is better". The fact is that doing so may actually do more harm than good. READ AND FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS!  One can actually kill young birds in particular by over dosing.

6/12/2011

If one uses only distilled water in incubators, the water trays will not be damaged by hard water residue and will last many times longer.

6/05/2011

It is always tempting to open the incubator at hatch time to check on the status but doing so may well lead to poorer results. Every time the incubator is opened the built up humidity necessary for proper hatches escapes. As a result, the membranes that the youngsters have to break through dries out. It is even more crucial for waterfowl which have a harder time hatching.

5/29/2011

When using an incubator to hatch either waterfowl or chickens, do not turn the eggs for at least the last three days of the incubation cycle. That will allow the embryo to position itself for proper pipping of the shell and will lead to better hatches.

5/22/2011

Ducklings and goslings must be protected from thunder showers well after they are feathered. Ideally, a rain shelter should be provided close by their pasture/pen. The first thunder shower that they experience may well send young birds into a panic.

5/15/2011

Ducklings and goslings grow at a fantastic rate. The amount of space each young bird needs basically doubles every 10 days so plenty of brooder/pen space is needed as the crop grows. Crowding them will bring trouble in several forms.

5/08/2011

It is easy to get into the habit of helping ducklings in particular out of the shell when they can't seem to hatch by themselves. Big mistake. First, you should be determining why they do not hatch normally as that is the main problem. Second, you do not want a bunch of weaklings down the road as breeders.

5/01/2011

To be sure where your best young birds came from you need to record matings and web mark ducklings, goslings, or chicks.

4/24/2011

Resist the tempation to open the incubator during a hatch until it is completed. Opening the machine allows moisture to escape and adversely affects the chicks/ducklings ability to hatch. That is even more critical for waterfowl than for chicks because the hatching process is longer and more difficult.

4/17/2011

With any type of hatching eggs, allow the eggs to rest (don't turn them) for three days prior to hatching to allow the youngsters to adjust their postion so that they can pip the eggs.

4/10/2011

Overcrowding probably causes more losses than any other factor when raising chicks, ducklings, or goslings. The reason is because it stresses the weakest among the young birds, encourages feather picking and other types of bullying behavior.

4/03/2011

Even young chicks need grit to digest their food. I use grit designed for cage birds in the chick's first few weeks of life.

3/27/2011

All mite control sprays are not effective and if you use the wrong one, the lack of control could pose a serious threat to chickens in particular. I know from experience that Adams Flea Off spray, Absorbine Ultra Shield, and Sevin spray and powder all are effective. Of those products, Ultra Shield is perhaps the longest lasting but it will stain the feathers of white birds.

3/20/2011

Resist the temptation to set any hatching eggs which are mishappen or which have porous shells, no matter how good the birds they came from.  Not doing so is likely to encourage more such poor quality eggs. Egg quality can be transmittable from one generation of birds to the next.

3/13/2011

When collecting waterfowl hatching eggs, do not use soap/water to clean them unless absolutely necessary as the washing washes off the protective coating. Use a slightly abrasive pad to remove the dirt.

3/06/2011

Breeding birds (waterfowl and chickens) should not start the breeding season in a fattened condition. If they do, fertility can be severely reduced, particularly in heavy breeds such as Rouen ducks and Toulouse geese as well as chicken breeds such as Cochins.

2/27/2011

Some breeders find that trimming the heavy feathers above and below the vents of males and females aid in improving fertility.

2/20/2011

One key to consistent good fertility is choosing the right number of females each male can handle. That number would vary greatly depending upon breed. Heavier breeds (chickens and waterfowl) usually have a lower male/female ratio. I do not recommend more than one male per mating.

2/13/2011

It is important from the standpoint of fertility to put matings together several weeks before eggs are wanted if at all possible. Relationships particularly among the females must be sorted out and that takes some time.

2/06/2011

When poultry (including waterfowl) are kept inside during the winter, it is important to provide grit for the birds to allow their digestive systems to function properly.

1/30/2011

Be extremely careful in using artificial light around flocks of waterfowl during the winter. Even the use of one lightbulb in their shelters can cause them to lay out of season. Even infrared heat lamps can cause waterfowl to go into production.