Why do we need another chicken blog or forum?

Many chicken forums are moderated to sell commercial feed, chemicals and ideology.
I prefer to find my own balance between nature, welfare and cost in raising happy chickens.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

a minor glitch with cold brooding...

Well, I said I'd share the downs as well as ups...
In the recent hatch, I ended up with 10 or 11 leghorns and 1 malay game.

The little malay game was helped out of the shell and has never been as strong as the others. Because she's undersize and feathering very slowly, she's more vulnerable to chilling. By contrast, at three weeks of age the other chicks are spending all their time out at the feeder instead of helping build heat up in the igloo (which would help the malay stay warm).

To help the malay along I've reinstalled the 40W infra red globe, and she's sitting under it at the moment. I'm not sure she'll be useful as a breeder, but it's a timely reminder that cold brooding doesn't suit batches of chicks where the feathering rates differ.

Meanwhile, here are shots of a couple of cockerel chicks enjoying their new digs. I always move chicks from the chick-brooder to a larger ratproof area at 3 weeks of age, because 3 weeks is when they start shedding high numbers of coccidiosis oocysts. This way the brooder stays relatively clean for new chicks.

The floor of the new pen is crusher dust (basically very fine gravel) overlaid with oaten chaff. I also seeded the area with a sprinkling of water containing healthy adult droppings to make sure the floor isn't too clean — after all, they need some exposure to bugs so they can continue to develop resistance.