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Lou's Tips

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Consider using thermostatically controlled heated water dishes for both ducks and chickens during the winter. Dishes designed for dogs work well for both chickens and bantam ducks in my experience.


After the fall shows and well before the breeding season is a great time to worm waterfowl.


 Colored zip ties used as bands are becoming popular because they are inexpensive. Be sure, however, to cut the excess off at the lock. Otherwise, the zip can continue to tighten and will cut off circulation.


A great way to fortify poultry which are weak from sickness is to feed Meal Worms which are the larva of a beetle and easily obtainable at most pet stores. They are high quality protein and will sustaina weak bird while it heals.


Some spray treatments for mites/lice will stain white birds. One I know that does not is Adams Flea Off brand.


When returning from a show, treat both chickens and waterfowl for mites and lice they may have picked up at the show.


One of the possible causes of lameness in waterfowl is an infestation of worms.


Whole or cracked corn should not constitute a large part of the diet for waterfowl unless they are being prepared for market. It is relatively high in fat and low in essential nutrients.


Do not make a practice of encouraging your ducks to eat earthworms. They can be intermediate hosts for Gapeworms.


Be sure to clean and disinfect carrying coops prior to the start of the show season. Do not jeopardize months of hard work by carrying good birds in dirty coops. Be sure not to crowd them, either.


Do not be "coop blind when it comes to seeing the quality in others birds. Being realistic about the flaws in one's own birds is important if one is to make progress from year to year.


If you intend to worm your birds, do not do it during their moult or during the show season if they are being shown. Both activities are stress producers.


Don't expect young birds to show well if they have had no coop training. They should be used to being in a show coop and used to having a judge hadle them. A little time put in prior to the first show can pay big dividends.


Some liquid sprays for mites and lice will stain white plumage. Spray the show birds about a week before the show, a day or two prior to washing them.


Never wash a bird within 48 hours of an upcoming show- always wash them 3-4 days prior to the show.


In the heat of summer, gut problems can occur suddenly with waterfowl. Do not let soil in pens sour and become a breeding ground for bacteria. Turn the top layer of the soil occasionally and spray with a 10% bleach solution to kill bacteria.


When fitting either waterfowl or chickens for a show, do not forget to attend to toenails and beaks (on chickens). Trim them before washing the birds. if toenails are very long, take small amounts off a couple of times rather than taking a chance on cutting the vein.


Now is the time to remove broken or frayed feathers  on birds you plan to show at early fall shows. It can take 6-8 weeks to fully grow in a wing feather.


Remember to keep Buff waterfowl and chickens out of direct sun if you plan to show them. The sun will quickly fade plumage. In old birds finishing their moult, the sun will cause a checkered look to the plumage.


The importance of providing fresh drinking and bathing water to growing young waterfowl cannot be overstated. It promotes bathing and preening and greatly improves appearance and overall health.


Be careful about the protein content for waterfowl once they begin to grow in their flight feathers since I believe that protein much over 16% increases the tendency for them to develop slipped or angel wings.


As far as I am concerned, the single best whole grain for either waterfowl or chickens is oats. Birds often must be taught to eat it, however, since(like kids and candy) they would much prefer to eat corn which puts weight on them and should be restricted in their diets.


When moulting after the laying season, both ducks and geese are run down and need speciall attention. Access to pasture and clean bathing water will do wonders in conjunction witha good ration of duck grower.


If ducklings or goslings get soaked in a storm, they may appear dead but often are not. Warm them under strong brooder lights or even on a door of an oven set to it's lowest setting. Often, they can be revived.


Until their down has been completely replaced by feathers (including their wings) thunderstorms are a threat to goslings and ducklings. Even access to a shelter may not help if they become terrified during a sudden storm.