Feeding program for this eight week period
The birds are given increased amounts of soft food throughout this period but being very careful not to overdo it. I adjust what I give them as to how they are behaving.
The birds do not require a great deal, just enough to enough to start bringing their condition forward. To the soft food I add wheat germ oil. The whole idea of this program is to stimulate the birds both in body and mind. The light takes care of the mind and the vitamin E looks after the body.
Beginning of February I will start sprinkling some insectivorous food on the softfood – no rocket science to this, just a little to increase mindset that quality food is about and they come further into condition. I used calcivit last year but not sure it made any difference so not decided yet for next year.
I will Baycox all the birds 5 weeks out from pairing up:
Baycox (2.5) on one day and overnight so they get good drink 1st thing in the morning, then take off and exchange for clean water.
Repeat above 7 days later.
Then treat for fungal infection for a treatment of 7 days sulpha based product, plenty on the market – I get all my medication from Dr Peter Coutteel
By end of Feb the cocks should be in full song and, as they say, tearing off the cage fronts to get at the hens.
Provided things have gone as planned, I want to pair up 1st week of March and I will try to get as many down together as possible. This way it just increases the chances of moving young ones around if necessary. I will have the incubator all fired up a few days before 1st eggs are due.
I have a thermostatically controlled heater (12 to 14 C ) plugged into the light timer. This is so that when the lights switch on the heater can come on and heat the shed before the hens lay their eggs. The heat helps to minimize the chance of egg binding on chilly mornings and later when the chicks hatch the hens are more inclined to get off and start feeding soon after the lights come on if the chill is off the air.
I will use Flaggella mix by giving it to the hens the night before the chicks are due to hatch and for 7 days after hatching.
I will use GROG the whole time I am feeding the chicks.
I have this year been introduced to Perle Morbide and the birds really like it so I will use this year on trial basis with a few pairs.
That is very rough outline and I will make many changes as the weeks go by and react to how the birds are looking. That I think is the golden rule “be adaptable” and the birds will tell you when they are ready.
Thank You So Much Stuart For Sharing Your Methods With Us!!