Friday, May 29, 2015

Feeding More Wheat ond Wheat Products Part 1

This time of year when hens are laying their last round and chicks are weaning, I like to greatly increase the wheat products in the diet.

Farmers or health food store sell whole wheat. I soak the wheat 8 hours and then put it in a strainer and sprout it till I can barely see new sprouts coming to increase its sweetness and then cook in a rice cooker about 20 minutes till done. It is either feed after processing in a food processor with added polenta or corn meal or just as it is after cooking. So which do the weaning Columbus like best?

24 hours later barely a trace of the processed wheat remained in their dish.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Columbus Fancy Baby Adopts Big Bird As Its Mother! Weaning Issues

When Momma Bird starting to lay her second clutch, I decided to wean her chicks. But this one refused to eat like the other four Columbus Fancy chicks in the weaning cage and instead it just watches them eat and after awhile, it started crying! What a pitiful sound!

So Big Bird decided to start hand feeding and even though it had never been hand fed before, it enthusiastically accepted its new Momma, Big Bird!

 It likes to perch on my arm as I offer CeDe Handfeeding Food!

When it eats, it like to flutter its wings!

When weaning it is a good idea to but all food on the floor and not to put any perches in until the chicks are eating well. I offer a smorgasbord of nestling food, dry CeDe Handfeeding food, soft white bread crumbs, quartered hard boiled egg, sprouted seed, dry porridge oatmeal, sunflower pieces, hulled hemp, and bee pollen.

The decision to hand feed at this stage should be limited to only the crying chick any chick that will even take a bit of anything will be fine.

If you start hand feeding a chick at this stage it will delay its weaning likely a couple of weeks!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Sandy Says This is All Too Complicated! Part 1 Breeding Season Feed Routine

Poor Sandy, she is usually good at picking up of problems like two hens in a nest or hens that are not perching etc but she was complaining today that its just too complicated! So lets take a look at it.

Breeding Season Feed:

Regular Seed:

I feed L'Avian Plus Seed to which I add about a 1/3 more of Straight canary. To about 10 lbs the mixture of the two, I add one cup fortified wheat germ oil (horse product). After a day or two I add an additional 40 lbs or the two seed blend. This is feed to all cages till the end of breeding season when I will stop coating it with oil.

Feed Mineral Supplement:

All hens in the aviary have a dish of mineral grit feed free choice. This season I am trying the Higgins one and in the past have used the ABBA Mineral. Egg shell quality is good but the hens did eat more of the ABBA Mineral so will place an order today for the ABBA Mineral.

Periodically Natural vitamineral is added to the egg food. (she hates that word periodically or as needed!)

Extra Seeds:

Hemp seed (hulled) is feed free choice in a separate dish to all sitting hens and those feeding chicks.

Bee Pollen:

Feed to lagging cocks several times a week other cocks once a week.

Fat Cocks:

Unlimited untreated grass seed or Blatners Finch Mix.

Thin Cocks or Hens:

Dishes of uncooked porridge oatmeal and sunflower chips (hulled pieces).

What she says is really driving her crazy is not this part of it but the water routine which I will cover in Part 2.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Hen Won't Accept Hanging Nest

Sandy was upset today! No matter where she hangs the nest, this Columbus Fancy Hen removes the nesting material and places it in the bottom corner directly on the wire! "This is never going to work" she scolds the hen.

Some hens get an idea on their nest placement and they will fight you day after day. So what do you do?

Exactly what she wants!

 Sandy placed the clay nest, inside another bowl which she also lined with a nest liner to make it steady should the couple try to mate on the nest. Good Job Sandy!

 Immediately, Momma is Happy! If Momma is not Happy, no one is Happy!

Happy couple looking forward to raising a family!

I planted this fragrant pansy basket about a month ago with Lucky Dog potting soil! Never have I had so many blooms! Lucky Dog contains beneficial microbes and earthworm casting and is expensive but worth every penny or should I say dollar? Actually, I am making a large bag go a long ways!

I told my farmer brother Larry about it and he said it uses the same principle as no-till farming where beneficial microbes in the mix attach to the roots and allow the plant to take in more nutrients!

Monday, April 13, 2015

When Are We Going to Set the Left Side Hen, She has already laid her last bluer egg? Trio Breeding

 Clearly, the bluish egg signals that the left side hen has finished laying her clutch. But the right side hen is still laying. Usually, we set when the bluish egg is laid so Sandy wants to know if we set her or wait?

I like to give laying hens Avi-Tech calicum in the water while the hens are laying. I also like both hens to hatch the same day, so both have chicks to feed on the same day. So that means we will hold the left side hens a day or two to wait for the other hen. I will rotate the eggs making sure the small end is up to ensure the egg membrane where the chick pips stays moist.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Why Are These Hens Nests So Close? Trio Breeding

Two Columbus Fancy Hens Nesting Side by Side

Crested Papa, on the Right

He pays attention to both hens.
My oldest daughter Sandy, has been helping me each morning in the bird room. She has had chickens for at least twenty years so teaching her all about canaries is relatively easy. As we were feeding, gathering eggs, watering, and setting up pairs and trios she ask me "Why are these two hens setting so close together?"

To make trio breeding easier, I try to get two hens at the same developmental stage and put all three birds in the breeding cage at the same time. I put at least two nests in the cage but at opposite ends of the cage. Most of the time, one hen chooses one nest and the other is happy with the other one.

On occasion both hens will decide they want the same nest. So the easiest solution is place both nests at the same height and close together.  In this case, immediately the problem was solved, each one is happy! I left a little room so I could move the nest closer if needed.

At times, the nests have needed to be actually touching for the hens to accept separate nests. It is very cute when the chicks are 14 days old they will venture out to the other nests and at times they all try to crowd into one nests. Often the hens will feed chicks in either nests.

Even when only one hen is in the breeding cage when chicks are 14 days old, I like to add a second nest immediately adjacent to the original nest to give them more room and make the original nest less crowded.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

News Flash - CeDe Handrearing Food In Short Supply

Bird Supply of New Hampshire has only 15 boxes CeDe Handrearing Formula left till the next shipment in about 3 months.  This is an excellent way to wean chicks and I consider having a box on hand essential. Search inside blog for more uses.