Friday, January 23, 2009
A Few Small Feathers Seen on the Aviary Floor
Exciting News: Way to Go Girls!
This morning, I was so excited to see a few small feathers on the aviary floor. The feathers were consistently in and around all the hen cages! I quickly caught a few hens but although they are nice and pleasantly plump, as expected, there is no brood patch yet. This is just the first sign that the hens are thinking, and making small gestures toward the upcoming breeding season in about six weeks.
I checked out the weather forecast and we are expecting some moisture in the next few days but temperature will be cold and then warming to 40 to 50 F again after the rain/sleet/snow mix. It has been really dry here this winter and I know the birds will find some moisture as a confirming message to proceed toward breeding condition, but the cold temperature will help stop the hens from laying heat eggs.
So, today I added petamine breeding formula to all cocks diets. Those that are thin are getting it mixed half and half with Harrison's high potency mash. The ones that are fat still get petamine instead of seed but starting today the normal weight cocks are also receiving petamine instead of seed just like the fat cocks.
Starting today, thin cocks and all hens are having some (probably about 10%) sunflower chips/pieces added to the their seed mix. I purchased 50lbs of sunflower chips yesterday for $46 from a local feed distributor. Once I start adding the higher protein seed, I will continue through the breeding and molting season. As they come into breeding, I will increase the percentage of sunflower and other oily seeds in their diet.
Next Wednesday, I will start the cocks on the once a week 24 hour treatment with the ABBA water soluble vitamin E.
Note: The photo is of one of the Border Hens that Don gave me at the Tulsa Bird Show. She went through a soft molt in November but after a high carbohydrate diet, she is coming along on schedule now.