Friday, February 4, 2011

Tom Hixson - Shares His Method and Tips

A Columbus Fancy Star is BORN !! Tom's First Chick 2011 left the nest yesterday!

First Stafford Chicks, lovely dark cap is sure to be a show stopper!
Tom says "On, the Stafford photo - the red one - - - looks nothing like its mother or father. "

Pea Sprouts
Container of Pea Sprouts

Baby Bok Choy

Tom writes: Although I feel my birds are well fed throughout the year, I pay closer attention to what they get during the breeding season. I feel it is important to keep all the birds healthy especially during the colder time of the year and also to give the chicks a healthy start.

I currently have Staffords, Borders and this year, I started with Columbus Fancy in the aviary.

For the most part, I'm feeding egg food like everyone else. I don't think mine is much different than what anyone else is putting in theirs, but I try to give the birds a variety - - sometimes I'll use cornbread, other times I swap quinoa for couscous. To save a step, I throw the frozen peas in the mixing bowl when I start by couscous. When the couscous is done, I throw it on top of the peas and mix it up. The heat of the couscous/ quinoa is enough to bring the peas up to temperature. I also add bee pollen, which I found the best price at Bee pollen, like everything is going up - I just checked the current price and compared to an invoice 18 months ago - a 25% increase in price. I add some Spirulina Powder too.

I try not to go overboard with all the products out there. The birds and I could soon be living in the street if I bought every product I hear about, so I try to pick and choose what works for me.

When the hens and cocks are separated, the cocks get wheat germ meal and the hens get Abba's Ova-Aid, which is a calcium supplement. Abba's Fertility E goes in the drinking water for both. I use Petamine Breeding formula in a separate dish.

About a day before the chicks are supposed to hatch, I put Petamine Nestling Food in the cage and offer the hen a bath. I've been told that although the hen's residual moisture will help raise the humidity in the nest enough to help chicks break through the egg shell.

I am feeding a variety of greens, especially to the hens with chicks. It is funny what some birds like for greens - - the borders devour broccoli like there is no tomorrow, but will leave mustard greens hoping something better will come along. The Staffords and Columbus go after anything.

A new Asian market opened close to my house not long ago. I found baby bok choy on sale and Pea Sprouts, which now the birds almost open the door themselves when they see me coming. There is never anything left in the cage with these two items. Bean sprouts are at a good price and good for the price too. I have some Staffords (more likely cocks) which don't seem to care for the stems but will eat the sprouted bean.

When the chicks are old enough to think about getting out of the nest, I give the hen Poultry Starter to give to the chicks. This is 20% protein and I think give the chicks a good start.

One thing I ALWAYS do, I don't care if the bag does say triple washed - - - I didn't see it get washed or how well it was washed, so I always wash whatever greens the birds are getting.

Thank you so much Tom for sharing with us! Congratulations on your Columbus Fancy success! Informative Columbus Fancy web site

Tom is President of the Stafford Canary Club of America. Visit their informative website at

Footnote: Tom feeds Pea Sprouts and Baby Bok Choy straight but often puts some greens such as broccoli in his egg food.

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