Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Cleaning On My Mind


Poop-Off With It Enzymatic Action Digests Wastes And Requires Very Little Scrubbing.

Seems like breeding season is coming upon us rather quickly. With so many things to do to get ready, I sometimes wake-up feeling overwhelmed by all the cleaning that needs to be done, just to get ready.

Cleaning cages and the aviary now is very important before breeding season because once the hen is setting, I must not disturb her with cage cleaning or aviary cleaning. Once breeding begins, I try to stay out of the aviary as much as possible and just do a little spot clean-up and then only when it is absolutely necessary.

The sound of the shop vac or an disturbance can cause a hen to desert her eggs or not feed her chicks. Any frightening activity causes her to revert to her most basic instinct, protecting her chicks from harm so she will sit on them to tightly she may squash them and out of fear she will never get off the nest to feed them. Disturbing the hen and meddling are the most common reasons why a hen does not feed.

Have you ever notice that the more special a hens chicks are to us, the more likely that there is going to be trouble? Do you suppose she does not want our eye contact and finds it threatening? Could our meddling cause her to fear for her chicks safety and result in her just sitting on them and not leaving the nest to feed them?

By using an absorbent material on the cage bottom such as Kay-cob, it allows me to easily go six or more weeks between through cage cleanings. When I move weaned chicks to their new cage, I make sure I have just changed their cage bottom but even then I am careful to just quietly pull out the tray and without much noise, dumping and refilling.

But alas, there something wrong with me sitting here blogging and expounding on the value of cleaning cages before breeding season! Could this be just another lame excuse for not doing it now? LOL

Don't miss checking out these comments!!

8 comments:

Richard's Roost said...

I have had better luck cleaning with Oxyfres gel than Poop Off. See: http://www.netpets.org/birds/healthspa/biosafety.html

Spider said...

Linda,

I have never heard of such a thing. I clean my cages 3 times a week when my birds are setting or feeding babies..I would not have hens that timid that I could not clean and move around my bird room..and I have never had a problem with them doing there duties.I raised 200 birds last year
with no problems..just my feedback..

Linda Hogan said...

Thanks Richard for sending the information on disinfectants and our birds. I found the article to be interesting and informative.

Personally, I do not use disinfectants in the aviary unless an infectious problem should appear. Fortunately, that has not happen to me in all my many years of raising birds.

However, I find nothing wrong with limited use of the right disinfectants.

On occasion, someone will contact me with a bird problem and sometimes it is due to excessive use of disinfectants to treat their own germ phobia coupled along with treating their birds several ways for mites, worms and who knows what else and yet are surprised that all this treatment within a couple of days has made their birds sick.

On the most recent one, I got e-mails over a month period concerning how her birds were dying and each one revealed more and more of the treatments she had done to her birds and their environment in rapid succession. I kept tactfully advising her to not do that and not do that! I finally in frustration with her excessive treatments and failure to follow any of my advise could not stand to even hear anymore and shouted in my e-mail, STOP STOP killing your birds!

Linda Hogan said...

Thanks for sharing your view Spider.

I too raise over 200 each year and kinds vary from easy varieties to very difficult ones. I agree that hens need to be tame and not timid but I also believe that respecting their sensitivity and basic instinct to protect their chicks is important for successful breeding.

As breeders read this blog, their are many ideas to consider. Keep the ones that help and let any others slip through your fingers like fine grains of sand.

Anonymous said...

Howzit everyone!

I could not agree more on giving the hens privacy.
I used to be prone to "checking" the nests at least every second day a few years ago, and I always, always lost babies with hens refusing to get off the chicks, they literally sat there till the babies were dead! Thanks to Linda's advice, I hardly ever look into a nest anymore. I found that the hens become more comfortable with me over the time and that they actually get off the nest while I am in the room feeding to eat and then go back and feed the chicks - even at only a day old!

Another thought, I learned during your last breeding season of colony breeding and gave it a shot. I have a large flight in my room about 2.5mt high, 1mt deep and 3mt in width. Well I left some (4) colour hens in there with one cock bird and simply hung some nests at the same height in the flight. Every clutch had at least 4 to 5 chicks in it who all reached the moult and whom are growing well. From the one cock and 4 hens I bred in excess of 40 chicks. And I think it was the freedom that they had aswell as the privacy that they enjoyed in there. I simply closed off the top quarter of the flight front so that I could not see the nests and the hens could not see me when I was in the room! I think the fertility was further aided in that the cock could chase the hens in courtship, and they could allow mating at their own pace. I saw many times when the hens would actually fly to the cock and assume the mating position right next to him!

I was so impressed that I am giving up one whole wall in the room now just so that I can build two more large flights to breed my borders in. Best cock to about 5 hens!

Shawn

Linda Hogan said...

Howzit Buddy?

Thanks for the update on colony breeding Borders. I think it is very easy with Borders as they have a good temperament for colony breeding. Imagine excess of 40 chicks from one cock and four hens!! Very impressive Shawn! Hope you will write this up for Cage and Aviary Magazine or Border Convention Journal.

There is a maximum number of hens to a cock. I tried last year to beat Doyle at colony breeding so I put seven hens to one cock in a large flight. Well I failed miserably producing only a couple of chicks. I think the cock was just too shy or maybe overwhelmed by the work he was expected to do. The hens were all several years old so maybe they were domed to failure because of being over the hill. But in any case I am glad I did not waste single cages on them..

Anonymous said...

Linda, I clean cages in my bird room during the breeding season as some cages are birds that are not included in the breeding, I am like you though I leave my sitting hens alone, especially when her chicks are new, as the chicks get older I will clean if I absolutly have to, and certainly between clutches, my hens would use the same dirty nests if I let them, so I make them rebuild, I think the birds need to be treated as individauls, respond to their needs so I will put off cleaning if someone is due to hatch or having first few days of new chicks
or new first time hens, never had a hen not feed, you gotta pay attentoin/know your birds and do what they need

Love this blog, do you still have the website ?

Gwen

Linda Hogan said...

Gwen well said!

My web site is down temporarily and when it comes to depending on a grandson to get it going, who knows when he will get it up. Will call him and remind him to give it some priority.