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Lou's Tips


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6/19/2016

If air cells  in eggs are becoming too large , increase humidity to stop further moisture loss. One can only correct that situation if the problem is caught early so it is very important to keep an eye on the size of air cells during the process of incubation.

6/12/2016

If the air cells in eggs are too small the week before the hatch is due, run the machine dry for 1-2 days or until the air cells approach one-third of the egg in size. Once the eggs begin to pip,as much humidity as possible is good.

6/05/2016

Pay close attention to the size of egg  air cells during incubation. In all types of poultry, the air cell should be about one-third of the egg just before a hatch begins. Next time: how to make adjustments.

5/29/2016

A common cause of poor hatches in incubators is incorrect humidity. If the humidity is too high, the chicks that do hatch will be swollen and sticky. If it is too low, they tend to be smaller than they should be. It is easy to fix either if one catches the problem in time.

5/22/2016

Do not waste valuable organic material if you have a garden. poultry manure is a valuable source of nutrition for plants but do not apply it fresh. Let it age in a pile for several weeks at least before adding it to the garden. The aging process is sped up if the pile is stirred regularly.

5/15/2016

Remember that personality traits can be inherited. Mean birds should not be used as breeders unless one feels that one has no other choice.

5/08/2016

Consider hatching some chicks, ducklings, or goslings in late spring using broodies.Aside from saving electricity by not having to use an incubator, most broodies do a good job of rearing the hatchlings if provided with a secure pen away from the flock.

5/01/2016

In my experience,chickens eggs hatch well with the  automatic turning mechanisms in modern incubators. Waterfowl eggs hatch best when laid on their sides and are turned 90 degrees by hand. I have found no significant difference in hatchability, however, when waterfowl eggs are turned more than three times per day.

4/24/2016

When making repairs to buildings, pens, and fences, consider upgrading the materials used. Treated wood no longer contains arsenic so there is no longer a reason to avoid using it. Stay away from "chicken wire" as it rusts when used on exterior pens at an unbeleivable rate. One half inch hardware cloth is a far better material to use to protect the lowest 24 inches of pens.

4/17/2016

Have you surveyed your pens and fences for evidence of detioration or predator intrusion recently? If not, it is a good idea to do so regularly. Metal rusts, wood rots. Trust me that if you do not check for weaknesses, the local predators will.

4/10/2016

Using cheaply made heat lamps in chicken pens can cost a great deal in terms of increased danger of fire. Well made lamps which are designed to minimize the risk of fire can be a bargain in the long run. They are much sturdier and have deeper covers and heavy duty guards.

4/03/2016

Both chickens and most ducks are omnivorous in that they include both animal and plant based protein in their diets. Birds not on range should have access to animal protein either in their feed or as a supplement.

3/27/2016

In commercially made metal box brooders, three plastic troughs are generally provided to be hung on the outside. Two of the troughs are to be used for water and one for feed. That is even more important as the young birds grow because the consumption of water compared to feed is 2 to 1 as a ratio. 

3/20/2016

In areas which have experienced a cold winter, it is common to feed birds some corn to keep them from losing too much weight in extreme cold. Once birds begin to breed, however, discontinue the grain and feed a quality breeding ration exclusively. Otherwise, males may be too heavy to mate effectively.

3/13/2016

If you have not already done so, begin to provide your breeding birds with oyster shell now. By doing so before they begin laying, you will ensure that even the first few eggs will be properly shelled.

3/06/2016

If you have not treated your birds for mites and lice over the winter, be sure to do so now as an infestation can affect fertility and overall health. Male chickens are especially vulnerable to mites.

2/28/2016

The best way to stop feather picking is to find the picker and remove it. I usually move the culprit and place it with a group of somewhat older chicks. They will straighten him out quickly if he tries to pick feathers. I also treat feather picking victims with a wound dressing containing iodine which helps heal any wound and which evidently tastes really bad. Allowed to continue, feather picking can cause death in some chicks.

2/21/2016

Feather picking in growing chicks can become a real problem if it is not addressed in the early stages. Feather picking can be caused by overcrowding, too much brooder heat, or even just boredom. It is often just one/two chicks doing the picking. More on this topic next week.

2/14/2016

Never breed from weaklings no matter how good their other qualities are. That principle is true in all types of poultry but is even more essential in bantam fowl.

2/07/2016

Always use distilled water in your incubators. Otherwise, you will deal with hard water and mineral deposits

1/31/2016

It is important to keep in mind that during incubation,  the larger an egg is, the less humidity is ideal for it. I find that bantam chickens and Standard chickens even of the same breed and variety have different needs in terms of humidity.  What is perfect for the bantams is too much humidity for the Standards. The results of too much incubator humidity are bloated chicks which often cannot move enough in the shell to hatch properly.

1/24/2016

Any time that new birds are introduced to a flock, there is some risk of introducing disease and or parasites. If one obtains the new birds at a "swap" that risk is substantially increased in my opinion.

If at all possible, "quarantine" new birds away from the flock for two weeks while treating the newcomers for parasites.

1/17/2016

Remember that a freshly laid egg will freeze in as little as 20 minutes in extremely cold weather. An egg does not have to show a crack from the cold to be ruined.

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.