Chicken Care After First 60 Days Now that they are old enough, your chicks are ready to move to the coop! Chicken Coop: When planning your chicken coop, remember that you are not only protecting them from the climate, but also from your local predators. To keep them warm during the weather roller coaster of spring and fall, make sure the coop is well insulated and draft-free. Give your hens a safe place to roost; don’t make it easy for predators to sneak in by leaving gaps! Flooring: Pine shavings are the most popular, but you have plenty of other options (like processed paper, wood chips and straw) if cost and availability prohibit. However, these other materials do provide some potential health risks in certain climates so make sure to do some research first! Chick Checklist Chicks! Pullets, Bantam, Cornish Cross Chicks and More. Pine Soft Pellet Bedding 40lbs. 107309266 5 lb. or 40 lb. Chick Starter 101009169, 109508992 5 lb. or 40 lb. Gamebird/Showbird Feed 101013091, 109501966 Oyster Shell 5 or 50 lbs 109506013, 101009172 Fancy Scratch Grains 50lbs. 109509118 16% Layer Crumbles 40lbs. 109508324 16% All Purpose Poultry Crumbles 40lbs 109505994 Hanging Poly Feeders (3lb. 10lb. 22lb.) 101274071, 4078, 4099 Hanging Galvanized Feeder 30lb 101274120 20” Plastic Flip Top Feeder 101062783 18” Reel Feeder Deep Litter is popular in commercial operations and it may work well for you as well. It is more convenient since you only need to clean out the litter once or twice a year. Just watch out for patches of moisture and caking – remove these spots right away and churn the litter frequently. Food & Water: Chicken pellets and layer feed are a good option. Treats like vegetables, bread and bugs will help them keep a balanced diet. All Poultry must also have access to grit for digestion. Oyster shell has the advantage of adding calcium to the bird’s diet. Chick Guide 101274127 24” Top-Slide Galvanized Feeder 103760233 1 Gallon Poly Poultry Waterer with Base 101274085 2 or 5 Gallon Double Wall Galvanized Fount 103760186,103760209 Hanging or Clamp-On Brooder Reflector 105820146, 103953630 Heat Bulbs or Splatter-Proof Heat Bulbs 103800017, 0025, 0033 30 Egg Still Air Incubator 109510565 Automatic Egg Turner 109510581 Duramycin 6.4 oz. Tetracycline Soluble Powder 102110057 ®® Answers & Low Prices Down Every Aisle SM Frequently Asked Questions How long does it take for an egg to develop into a chick and hatch? About three weeks, twenty-one days to be exact. How often do chickens lay eggs? That depends on three main factors: Breed of chicken: Some chickens are bred for meat production and lay few eggs; some are bred for egg production and can lay as often as once a day; others are bred as “dual purpose” and are good for both egglaying and meat, although not optimal for either. Hen’s age: Hens start to lay at 4-5 months of age, and lay best during their first year. Each year after that, their production decreases. Season: In the winter (with fewer daylight hours) egg production drastically decreases. High laying season is summer. Why are my eggs so small? The first eggs your chickens lay will be small, but as they lay more the eggs will slowly grow to a size you are more accustomed to. Also, check on the breed of your chickens, the size and color of egg will vary by breed. Why do I have wavy eggs? Wavy egg shapes occur when your chickens do not have enough calcium in their diet. Consider switching their feed to layer crumbles and/or adding oyster shell to their diet to increase calcium levels. Should I wash my eggs? Just like with any food we gather, it seems logical to think that washing and refrigerating our eggs is the correct procedure. However, eggs are incredibly resilient and stay fresh for weeks with or without washing and refrigeration! Eggs are covered with a protective coating called bloom that keeps them sealed from outside contaminants. Washing will remove this coating, so make sure you refrigerate your eggs in a sealed container if you decide to do so. Unwashed eggs can be stored on the counter (though not near a heat source.) or refrigerator and can actually stay fresh longer than washed eggs. How long will my eggs keep? Eggs can be kept in the refrigerator or on the counter for storage, though they keep longer when kept at a constant 35-40 degrees. Eggs can last for several weeks and up to several months if stored properly. How do I know if an egg is bad? There are two methods for checking to see if an egg has gone bad. 1. Crack the egg into a separate bowl - If you smell sulfur or see foreign objects in the yolk, it is bad. 2. Use the float test -Place the egg into a bowl of water, if the egg floats, it is bad. What breed would you suggest I should raise for meat? If you want meat as soon as possible then you should buy a meat hybrid, such as the Cornish Cross. If you don’t mind waiting a while, then a dual purpose breed such as the Barred Plymouth Rock should fit you just fine. Some people claim that home-grown chickens taste better than commercial meatbirds, but that’s for you to decide. Other people are raising meat birds for themselves to avoid hormones and chemicals injected into commercial meat birds to boost body weight. As necessary: fill feed and water containers and replace heat bulbs. Daily: egg collection, and closing the coop if you’ve let them out. Monthly: change bedding and remove waste. Twice a year: a thorough cleaning and disinfecting of the coop. Read about the CDC’s recommendations for handling live poultry on their website: www.cdc.gov/Features/SalmonellaPoultry/ Chick Care & Equipment Basics of Chick Care Proper poultry care is based on six key points, illustrated by the acronym “FLAWSS” (feed, light, air, water, space and sanitation). Feed 1. Feed must be clean, fresh and dry. Improperly stored feeds can develop molds and mycotoxins, which result in poor health and growth. 2. Feed should always be measured by weight per package specifications, not by volume. Weigh the feed in the container that will be used. 3. As soon as the chicks arrive, scatter some feed so they can find it easily. 4. Keep height of feeder even with the back of the birds to reduce feed waste and contamination. 5. Allow 1” of feeder space per bird for the first 2 weeks, increase to 2” for weeks 3-6, and 3” after 6 weeks. Light 1. Light should be continuous for the first 48 hours of the chicks life. 2. Layers require reduced light 8-12 hours per day (simulates Spring conditions). 3. Standard rule is 15-watt of light for each 200 square feet for 14 hours per day for layers. Air 1. Good, fresh air is mandatory. Stale, dusty or ammonia-laden air will cause health problems or death for the chicks. 2. Excessive temperatures will stunt growth and feathering. 3. Temperature under brooders should be 90-95 degrees for the first week, decrease by 5 degrees per week until reaching 70 degrees. 4. Typically, brooders require one 250-watt bulb for each 50-75 chicks. 5. If the chicks are peeping a lot and loudly or cuddling, they are cold! Water 1. Cool, fresh water needs to be available at all times. 2. Allow 1 gallon waterer fount for each 25 chicks. 3. Keep waterers clean to prevent spread of bacterial infections. 4. Use a water-soluble antibiotic, 6.4 oz Duramycin (102110057) from day one of chick production. 5. Utilize a water-soluble vitamin product if health or growth problems are apparent. Examples would be Vital (102113461) or Vitamin & Electrolyte (102110366). 6. Vitamins and electrolytes are also valuable as a preventative measure during periods of stress (molting, weather changes, start of egg production). Space 1. Avoid over-crowding. Crowding increases bad litter conditions, which generate ammonia, which can burn eyes and footpads and lead to crippling. 2. Allow ½ square foot per chick for 0-4 weeks. 3. Allow 1 square foot per chick during 4-8 weeks. 4. Allow 2-3 ½ square foot per chicken for mature birds. Common Terms Broilers- affective meat producers Biddy- laying hen over one year of age Cock- rooster over one year of age Cockerel – rooster under one year of age Comb- flesh on top of chicken’s head Feather Out- loss of fuzz and growth of actual feathers Usually occurs between 6-12 weeks depending on breed Layers- affective egg producers Pullet – hen under one year of age Straight run – mix of pullets and cockerels (lower price) Sanitation 1. Uncleanliness destroys any chance of a healthy flock. 2. Clean and disinfect coop before arrival of chicks. 3. Keep 3-4 inches of clean, dry litter on the floor – Orscheln Stall Dry (101246456) is excellent for this purpose. NOTE: Stall Dry is a natural product, a lightly scented blend of natural clays and diatomaceous earth, safe for animals, people, and the environment. Well-known for use in horse stalls, it is also excellent for poultry houses and pet cages. Never use newspaper as a bedding for waterfowl – the slick surface can lead to a condition called “straddle-leg”. Also, do NOT put birds directly on pine shavings as they could eat the shavings, which can clog the digestive track and kill the birds. We also carry poultry protection for IPS Carefree (enzyme) in 16oz (101016045) and 1 liter (101016046) sizes. All natural, non-toxic enzymes used to clean away mites, fleas, and lice at all stages from eggs to adult insects. Benefits include increased egg production and body weight. Orscheln Poultry Equipment Ground Feeders •20in Plastic Flip Top Feeder (101062783) •36in Galvanized Range Feeder (103765194) •24in Galvanized Slide Top Feeder (103760233) •18in Reel Type Feeder (101274127) Round or Hanging Feeders •30lb Galvanized Hanging Tube Feeder (101274120) •Hanging Plastic Feeder (101274078) •1 Qt Jar Base Feeder (103765178) •22 lb Hanging Plastic Feeder (101274099) •3lb Hanging Plastic Feeder (101274071) Orscheln Poultry Feed Selections Country Lane 18% Chick Starter/Grower Crumbles (109508992) Medicated to provide coccidiosis control. Balanced nutrients to promote rapid early growth. Highly palatable to encourage early consumption. For layer replacement pullets, feed Chick Starter from 1 day to 6 weeks old. For broiler chicks, feed Chick Starter from 1 day to 4 weeks old. Country Lane 16% All Purpose Poultry Crumbles (109505994) May be fed to layers, turkeys, ducks, geese and game birds (pheasants, quail, chukar and mallard ducks). Flexible feed for use as a grower and developer from 6 weeks of age through laying. Feed as the sole ration, do not add corn. High energy feed for maximum egg production. Trip-L Duty All Purpose Poultry Feed (101330932) All-purpose ration for poultry – starter and finisher. Complete and balanced to supply the proper amounts of vitamins and minerals. Crumbled form to aid in consumption and reduce wastage. Can also be fed to ducks, geese, turkeys and game birds. NOTE: Chick Starter (or any medicated poultry feed) can NOT be fed to ducks, turkeys, or game birds (pheasants, peacocks, chukars, and quail) – it will be FATAL. Ducks, turkeys, and game birds tend to eat more than chicks and will overdose on the medications. Country Lane Fancy Scratch Grains (109509118) Inexpensive energy source for all types of poultry when complete feed is not desired. High-test weight grains provide an economical source of energy. Introduce Fancy Scratch Grain gradually until the birds can be fed free-choice or in self-feeders. Country Lane 16% Layer Crumbles (109508324) High energy ration for high egg production. Balanced ration, do not feed grain in addition. Begin feeding at the onset of lay (approximately 22 weeks) through laying period. Feed Solutions Flock Block (107299753) Whole grain enrichment supplement for free ranging poultry and game birds. Encourages natural pecking instincts to help reduce cannibalism. Contains oyster shell and grit. Available in a 25 lb. block. Manna Pro Poultry Conditioner (107298433) Comprehensive pelleted supplement helps condition birds for performance and exhibition. Supports brilliant, high quality plumage. Provides complete fortification for vigorous, healthy birds. Contains Calf-Manna for protein and energy. All Poultry must have access to grit for digestion – either Oyster Shell (109506013) or Poultry Grit (101252651). Oyster shell has the advantage of adding calcium to the bird’s diet as well. Waterer or Fountain Complete Units •Poultry Waterer with base 666/750 (101274085) •5 Gal Galvanized Poultry Fountain (103760209) •5 Gal Plastic Poultry Fountain (101274113) •Heated Plastic Poultry Fountain (101018412) •2 Gal Galvanized Poultry Fountain (103760186) •7 Gal Plastic Poultry Fountain (103760144) •3 Gal Plastic Poultry Fountain (101274106) Waterer or Fountain Base and Jar Separates •1 Qt Galvanized Mason Jar Waterer Base (103765217) •1 Qt Jar Chick Waterer Only Fits 740 (101167664) •Chick Waterer Base Only for 1 Qt Jar (109030511) Incubation Equipment •Still Air Incubator (109510565) •Automatic Egg Turner (109510581) Forced Air Fan Kit Model 7200 available by special order from Miller Mfg. Convert still air incubator into circulated incubator, to improve hatching in situations of fluctuating temperatures.
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