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Lou's Tips


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1/10/2016

Never set hatching eggs laid in cold weather until they reach room temperature. Some hatcheries never set freshly laid eggs for 12 hours regardless of temps.

1/03/2016

Contrary to what  one might think, not all chicks and baby waterfowl begin to drink on their own when in a brooder situation. A very wise practice is to dip each chick, dukling or gosling's bill or beak into the waterer within a few hours of being placed in the brooder. Normally, that jump starts their instinct to drink and they can take it from there.

12/27/2015

Overcrowding can be a serious problem at any stage of a chick or duckling's life but it is especially critcal during the first 1-2 months. Smaller youngsters tend to be bullied away from food and water and may even be attacked by larger birds. Disease also spreads much mor quickly when brooders are overcrowded.

12/20/2015

The three most common causes of losses among chicks or ducklings in their first month of life are overcrowding, dehydration, and damp conditions in the brooder. We will go into detail about each in the next few weeks.

12/13/2015

Be aware that if oyster shell is not provided when birds are laying, that the females will draw vital nutrients from their own bodies. do not depend on calcium provided in layer or breeder feed.

12/06/2015

Chain link "kennel panels" make excellent poultry pens. They come in 6' thru 10' lengths and are commonly available in this area at least in 6' height. I even use the panels to cover the tops. Line at least the bottom 24 inches with sturdy 1/2 inch hardware cloth to prevent raccoons from reaching through and grabbing birds.

11/29/2015

It is important that after returning from a show that you treat every bird which attended the show for mites. Once mites infest a bird, they can reach a level which is life threatening to the bird in 3-4 weeks if not treated.

11/22/2015

Some people think that only white chickens need to be washed prior to being shown. In fact, only the hard feathered games will not benefit from a washing. Sometimes, such attention to detail makes the difference between winning and losing at the show.

11/15/2015

Try never to go into  a breeding program in a new breed or variety with less than two males and two females. Having at least two of each sex available may spare you the loss of an entire breeding season in case the unforseen happens.

11/08/2015

Believe it or not, mites prefer male chickens as their hosts. If you want to see if your mite treatment is still effective, check your male breeding stock.

11/01/2015

It is important to understand that different breeds of chickens will have different optimim diets, growth rates, space needs, and hardiness levels. It is vital that prior to taking on a new breed, that one knows as much about their needs and requirements as possible.

10/25/2015

Chickens in particular need to be sprayed or otherwise treated for lice and mites regularly. Some types which penetrate the bird's skin need be applied every six to eight weeks. Contact insecticides need to be applied at least every four weeks.

10/18/2015

Because female chickens in particular are in prime condition for a relatively short amount of time, it is wise to hatch at least a couplel of groups about a month apart if one is showing for the entire fall/winter show season.

10/11/2015

Not all respiratory infections are caused by bacteria. A significant percentage is caused by fungi. Treating a respiratory infection with antibiotics will not only not work if the infection is not caused by bacteria but the antibiotic can kill beneficial bacteria in the gut.

10/04/2015

While I realize that feed costs are high, I feel strongly that the cost of carrying over quality birds as backups (males in particular) is well worth the cost. A year can be lost in a breeding program when a male is either infertile or is lost for any reason.

9/27/2015

Now is the time to begin thinking about making preparations for the winter care of your birds. Think about how water will be provided, about putting heavy mill plastic on the sides of pens which will be used all winter, etc.

9/20/2015

I have mentioned before that when one handles birds, there is an opportunity to accomplish multiple tasks. Each time I handle my birds, I try to check for parasites, see if the beak or toenails need to be trimmed and verify that the bird's weight seems right. If the bird is one I plan to show, I also check for damaged feathers, pulling broken ones.

9/13/2015

Due to the Avian Flu situation in the Midwest, shows in IA, WI, and MN. have been cancelled. That means that breeders have fewer outlets for surplus stock. As a result, it may be easier for buyers to locate and purchase quality stock at shows in IL. and IN which are being held as usual. Make your arrangements well in advance if you want to secure the best available stock.

9/06/2015

While poultry of all kinds love treats and we love to give them to them, we need to keep the" junk food" to a minimum. Bread, for example, is high in calories but low in actual nutrition. The same is true of corn in large amounts. Such processes as moulting, reproduction and winter survival all require a balanced diet for best results.

8/30/2015

Wild birds such as Sparrows and Starlings can be a problem if allowed to come in contact with your poultry. They are the prime suspects in the spread of the current Avian Influenza, for example.

Pens and buildings which are  screened to minimize or eliminate that contact are well worth the effort. 

8/23/2015

It is possible to replicate a pasture situation for penned birds if greens and animal protein are provided in addition to their normal diet. I use freeze dried meal worms to supply the animal protein. Of course, nothing can replace sunshine.

8/16/2015

Having trouble dertermining the sex of young 1/2 grown Mandarins? Young Normal males will begin to show a pink/red color in their bills at 10-12 weeks of age. female bills will remain gray in color. In Whites, both sexes have pink/red bills. One must look for signs of breast color in  White males.

8/09/2015

Control of rodents in poultry facilities is vital not only because they spread disease but also because they can introduce and spread parasites. I have found "Tomcat" brand baits to be effective against all types of rodents.

8/02/2015

Whenever poultry is pastured, one must guard against the presence of poisonous plants. In our area of Northern IL, there are at least two common plants which are poisonous: Pokeweed and Night Shade. Check with your local Extension Office to find out which poisonous plants are in your area.

7/26/2015

Whenever birds are moved for the the purposes of showing at fairs, etc it is important that when they return that they are isolated and sprayed for mites. The isolation should last no less than a week. They should be carefully watched for any signs of disease before they are re-introduced to the flock.