Friday, July 13, 2018

Poultry Egg Issues

Sometimes, laying hens lay eggs that are damaged and unusable. Often, these issues can be addressed with a simple fix in their diet. Quail, chickens, ducks, and other egg layers need high amounts of calcium to produce a quality egg.

Add Eggshells

Collect eggshells while keeping poultry. These may be dried and baked for a short time on a cookie sheet in the oven. Bake at 140° for 30 minutes to kill the element that make the birds eat their own eggs.

Grind Eggshells and Layer Pellets
A small hand grinder is a handy tool for pulverising shells and even layer pellets for snall flock birds like quail. It reduces the items into powdered form for easy feeding and meal supplements.

Tip: eggshells are an excellent nutrient to add to tomato plantings!

posted from Bloggeroid

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Emergency Food for Farm Birds

Emergencies happen. Feed supplies run short and the flock is goung to revolt if they aren't fed. What does one do in this situation? Create a healthy, temporary substitute that contains proteins and grains with an bit of color and make a peace offering to those feathered friends.

Emergency poultry rations

This is enough food nutrients to carry flock birds over until feed is replenished.

12 dozen boiled eggs
1 cucumber
3 tomatoes
3 C oatmeal
4 C water

Chop eggs shell and all. Chop or dice tomatoes and cucumber into fine pieces. Stir together and set aside.

In a large stock pot add and boil water. Stir in oatmeal and let simmer 6 to 10 mins on medium. Stir occasionally. When oatmeal thickens add egg and veggie mixture. Pour into small bowls and place in fridge to cool.

For added bulk, stir in leftovers from family meals, meal worms, canned beans, or canned veggies. Tuna may also be added.

Serve at room temperature.

Makes 20 + bird servings.

posted from Bloggeroid

Sunday, July 8, 2018

On Homesteading

I cannot tell you how hard it is to give up having a social life, spending weekends buried in farm chores, resting in between when I can't go any further. How tough it is on the body to stoop over and clean out a water jug or brooder or grab a newly laid egg. How heartbreaking it is when the local varmint eats your newly planted flowers or one of your favorite hens dies. How aggrivating it is to water that garden you broke your back to plant daily, sometimes twice, so it stays living. How frustrating it is to need things that time will bring to your door to create a nicer environment for you and your homestead. Or how rewarding it is to call this farm and home yours at the end of the day when the stars shine bright and the rooster stops crowing. I wouldn't trade it for the world. It is my world and I'll keep at it until I cannot possibly do anymore....

posted from Bloggeroid

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Raising Ducklings

Ducks are a great way to keep pests under control. They love creepy crawlies that make most of us cringe. They are sweet birds, but before you run off to buy your little, fuzzy baby there are a few things to think about before you bring home a cute nightmare.

Duck Facts
Ducks are messy. Plain and truthful. Ducklings stink. These adorable birds tend to spatter every liquid all over them and anything close to them. They will desecrate all things within four feet of them if contained with a supply of water and feed so be prepared for cleaning up a lot of messes.

Early Duckling Care
Fresh hatched ducklings will need a heat lamp like baby chicks do for their first few weeks of life. Adjust the height of the lamp so the ducks have a warm area on one end of their nursery and a cooler section on the other. If they avoid the heat area it is too hot. If they huddle under it - it is too cool.

Feeding Schedule
Offer feed and water every two hours or so to cut down on feed waste and watery messes. A separate feeding area would be ideal when ducks are in the early stages. They are like bad little kids and they will take every opportunity to create a mud puddle and stomp in it.

Housing Ducklings
I tried four options before I found an efficient way to keep my ducks tidy. I tried pine shavings. I tried dirt. I tried puppy training pads in a tote and in a kiddie pool. I finally set them in my bathtub. This final solution kept my sanity in tact.

Cleaning up after a duck is smelly and wet work. The shower and tub proved to be a great option. When some of their feathers began showing, they were ready for light showers and dips in deeper water.

*Please, supervise small ducklings when introducing them to water their first few weeks. They can drown if they are in deeper water than they can stand up in.*

The tub works wonderfully. This can be mimicked in an outdoor area that is secure from adult ducks and predators. They'll need a containment system that can be hosed out and a place they can dry off. Youngster ducks do not produce the oils necessary to protect their feathers so wait until their fuzz turns feathered before allowing extended swim time. 10 minute dips are fine when they are babies. Towel dry them off in the early development stages.

Ducklings with Pine Shred Bedding

Ducklings with Training Pads

Ducklings in the Tub

Water a Deep Necessity
Adequate water depth in a dish will insure your duckling gets the amounts of water it needs. Ducks will dunk their whole face in the water container. It does this to wash food down and to clear sinus and eye ducts. Keep plenty available for them and keep it clean best you can.

Nutrients for Feeding
Vitamins and minerals are very important to any living thing. Adding a poultry supplement like Nutridrench is a great way to get your little water birds off to a great start. I dribble about 6 drops into my duck's water dish in the mornings. One of my birds actually dives for the brown drops!

Niacin for Duck Health
Niacin is an essential nutrient that helps keep young ducks on the right track. I sprikle niacin powder in the water once a day and they drink it down. Niacin contibutes to strong feather growth and health growth. It can be found in flakes and in health powders like brewers yeast. I use capsules as they were all that was available to me.

Proper Feed
Chick starter crumbles is the best way to start your duck in the right nutritional direction. Be sure to avoid feeding the medicated formula. Past mixes were deadly to young ducks. Non-medicated is good feed for the first month or so.

After a few weeks, mix a little flock raiser in with the starter feed. This helps the transition to adult blends. Adding a bit of meat bird formula might help their protein intake, but don't give them much. Too many protein points isn't good for that young bird.

First Aid Kit for Ducks
Your cutie pie is going to need first aid care for one reason or another - eventually. Keep a bottle of Vetricin handy. This is a great product for wound care. It is easy to use and helps heal cuts and wounds quickly. Bandages aren't necessary. A duck won't keep them on long. You can try to use a self sticking wrap, but that usually gets taken off after an hour or so. Simple care of cuts or abrasions is the same as human first aid. Clean the area. Administer antibiotic ointment and tend often. They are resilient creatures. Consult a professional if something beyond a simple first aid kit arises.

Duck Housing
After a month or so, your ducklings are going to be medium sized and need more than a small tub for their living environment. An enclosed run and a shallow pool is great for daytime activity. At night, consider a small duck house for them to slumber in. Protecting them from possible preditor and extreme conditions makes for a healthy duck.

posted from Bloggeroid

Monday, April 9, 2018

Spring Into Raising Chickens

Baby chicks with tray feeder
Baby Chicks with Tray Feeder

The weather is warming up and the appearance of baby chick in the feed stores signals Spring is here. Chicks are fuzzy, little packages of cuteness, but they are fragile and need a measure of care in their first few weeks of life to grow them to healthy adult stage. Before you bring that adorable birdie home, make sure to have all the elements the baby's home will need before it arrives.

Brooder Box Equipment
A brooder is the first home a chick knows once it is hatched via an incubator. Caging properly is essential to keeping baby chickens safe and comfortable. A naturally hatched bird would be tended by its mother hen and an ideal brooder simulates this condition. A stable temperature and clean bedding means a healthy bird and environment.

Many people use a large cardboard box for a brooder and this can be good if you are around to supervise continually. They can be easy to clean - just throw the soiled area away.

A large plastic tub works well, but would needs air holes drilled every so many inches around the chick's head height. Drill several holes in a succession about five inches from the floor level. Two to three rows should provide adequate ventilation. The lid may be fixed with a window of hardware mesh or left open. Do NOT affix a solid top to the bin. Chicks will suffocate quickly. Clean and replace bedding often.

Pine shreds are ideal small animal bedding.

Provide Adequate Warmth
Until recently, a standard heat lamp bulb was personally used in the brooders. The heat lamp provides steady warmth and light, however, the issue of light 24 hours is not an ideal situation for budding chickens. Comfortable heat without illumination would be preferable. The chicks need a given period of darkness for them to properly rest. A good sleep helps living beings regenerate and heal their tissues and nervous system. It also allows for the body organs to fully flush toxins.

Ceramic bulbs allow for steady heat without light and are safer for a coop or cage. They do not have a heat element or a glass fixture subject to malfunction or fure hazard. Affixing one of these clever bulbs is as easy as screwing a regular bulb in.
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Adjust the exposure by using a thermometer in the rest or heat area. Ideally, cage temps should be slightly higher on one end (95° F) and cooler on the other (89° F) so the tender creatures may adjust as needed. This author places water and feed containers in the cool side so that the warm section has plenty of resting space.

If the chicks are steering away from the warm area, adjust the lamp distance. The area may be too hot. In contrast, if the chicks are huddled together, the area is too cool.

Feeding Young Chicks
Young chicks have a varocious appetite. They consume chick starter it seems almost as fast as you can put it in the feeding trough or dispenser. A good recommendation for feed is one quart sized feeder per 6 birds. This dozen are wiping out their fresh supply in about an hours time. They will let you know when it runs out. Their peeping sounds will get your attention! Medicated feed is not used with this flock. The start and grow is sufficient to sustain them and help keep them fed.

If you have enough room, the strip type container is ideal, but the bottle dispenser is easier to tend to. Keeping several feed bottles ready to go is another advantage of this type of feeder. The tops of the strip type tend to get messy from perching chicks.

Meat type bird will tend to devour feed quickly. They are specially designed by Nature to increase in weight quickly which means a very active appetite. Feed may have to be rationed and birds separated into like groups.

Brooder, Cage, and Coop Sanitation
Keeping a brooder clean is a daily task. Remove droppings often and change bedding every few days as needed. The plastic tub may be sanitized with a mixture of equal parts vinegar and water. Bleach may be used for disinfecting, but vinegar is easier on the senses and does just as good a job. Leave a light mist on the sides and base of the container after wiping away debris for full disinfection. Allow it to dry naturally. Place birds in a temporarily holding area until this task is completed.

posted from Bloggeroid