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Lou's Tips

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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.


Both ducklings and goslings of all ages benefit from access to pasutre, even if the pasture is mostly weeds. Even young ones should be put out on sunny days to graze and chase bugs.


Keep your ducks and geese away from muddy pools of water in their pens. Such puddles can often be a way certain bacteria spread. Use sand or pea gravel to eliminate puddles.


Remember to stop feeding oyster shell to your waterfowl when they stop laying. Too much calcium at such times can do organ damage.


If you weed your garden and do not use weed killer on it, give the weeds to your ducks and geese but only when the weeds are freshly pulled.


Once they get beyond 6-8 weeks of age, ducklings and goslings should be switched off of the higher protein start/ grower and on to a feed such as duck grower which is 16% protein.


I am not a big fan of routine vaccinations for chickens but if you live in the Midwest or Eastern U.S. and if you exhibit and or bring birds into your flock, consider vaccinating for Larynotacheitis. It is highly infectious and can kill quickly once it gets into a flock.


Take great care to insure that starter/grower rations are fresh and dry. Old feed loses it's vitamin potency and mould will kill ducklings, goslings or chicks quickly.


The number one cause of loss in ducklings and goslings is overcrowding in the brooders. for bantam ducklings, overcrowding can lead to the loss of the smallest, most prized ducklings.