Thursday, April 26, 2012

Turning A Bad Breeding Season Arount Part 2 Nest Abandonment

How frustrating, good breeding behavior, fertile eggs, hen setting normally and then all of a sudden she abandons her eggs. When this happens, it is likely an overdose of vitamin E and the hen rather than completely her cycle has been overstimulated to start the process all over again. In some cases she makes it to hatching the chicks but then won't feed them and instead wants to re-nest again.

Vitamin E in the right amount produces fantastic results but since it is fat soluble it is stored in body fat, overdoses produce disastrous results.

To avoid this problem, stop extra vitamin E when the hen lays her first egg. Use vitamin E to bring them into condition but once in condition back it off let her re-cycle.

Also be sure to provide a dish of hemp seed while she sets. This helps keep her happy sitting and provides necessary manganese. The calcium/manganese ratio regulates the rate of hatching, imbalances of these minerals may cause early or late hatching.

When everything is clinking exactly right my hens hatch on the 13th day, otherwise the 14th day.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Turning A Bad Breeding Season Around Part 1 Poor Breeding Condition

There is still time to turn a bad breeding season around!! Yesterday, a blogger wrote: "What's wrong, my hen laid only one egg and s she won't even set on it!" Single eggs and not setting are examples of heat eggs where the hen has been pushed to lay but she likely did not mate with the male and she does not have incubation temperature to set. First make sure your lighting is consistent and a total of 14 -14 1/2 hours daily. If you have them on less hours increase the lighting in one day to 14 or 14 1/2hours. If you are longer than that, do not drop the total day hours as this will precipitates a molt. Start the birds on a poultry vitamin & electrolyte product such as this one I recently picked up at a feed store. I use 1/4 teaspoon to a gallon of water, Back up feeding the high protein foods. Instead, feed an egg-less nesting food such as Doyle's egg-less nesting food recently posted.Avoid high protein foods such as hard boiled egg, spiruiina,  and insects. This method also works well for hens that just won't come into breeding condition provided they are not thin.

Updated photo of the nest of Five. The three larger ones are banded and although much smaller, the little chicks are coming along fine. The three larger ones resemble the father while the two small white ones appear to be mosaics like the mom.

Garden time, planting tomatoes, peppers, broccoli, and lots of herbs!

Monday, April 23, 2012

How many Stafford Mosaic Chicks in this nest?

Guess how many chicks are in this recently hatched nest?

The handsome Stafford male was given to me by Dian and John Clark in November 2010. What a beauty!!!

He was paired with this lovely Stafford Mosaic hen (not color fed last year) in the hopes of producing offspring with a full neck and rounded hen like the hen but retaining the color of the male.

She laid five eggs but after replacing them all on one day, I noted that even with the male in the cage, she was not sitting very well. So a dish of hulled hemp was provided with just regular seed mix, no greens or high protein foods and the nutrena 22@ crumbles were also  removed from their cage.

Even though all the eggs were returned together on the same day, they hatched over a three day period and consequently the size difference in the chicks are enormous!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Chirpy Chum Doyle Johnson Share His Egg-less Nestling Food Recipe

As I visited with Doyle on the phone a couple days ago, he shared how pleased he is with his egg-less nestling food he used this year. He used it to condition his birds along with ABBA fertility vitamins prior to breeding and had very high fertility rates.

Another big advantage of egg-less nestling food is very good egg shell quality and good hatching rate. Shell quality is sometimes poor not because calcium, D3, Magnesium were not feed but rather because a high protein diet can interfere with calcium absorption.

He also uses it as the only nestling food for feeding the chicks. I just couldn't wait to make some and the birds do like it!

Doyle's Easy Egg-less Nestling Food

2 cups dry CeDe Nestling food

2 Heaping Tablespoons egg shells (microwave shells and crush fine in the food processor)

1 teaspoon Miracle Amino Acid Vitamins (available from ABBA Products - AA Miracle vitamins)

Mix Well

Add 1 cup prepared cous cous (Doyle pours hot tap water over dry cous cous making sure that is not only well covered by has a lay of water above and fluffs it periodically,  If left without stirring occasionally it sticks together but it easy breaks up again if you mix with your hands.)

Add 1 cup chopped broccoli (use the food processor)

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Don't Mess With Big Bird - Stubborn Border Hen

Normally when I have a simple floor fight, the hen accepts the nest if it is placed on the floor in the very spot she has chosen. This Border hen just would not go for it and would move around the cage avoiding any real nest even placed on the floor! I have never had a hen this stubborn!    So I decided if I was to win this Nesting Game, I would need to completely load the bottom of her cage with items to obstruct her nestling in the corn cob bedding.
I quickly filled the edges of her cage with upside down lids,  dishes, nests, bottoms of outside baths, empty brewer's yeast can and even one of my prized scrappers. Once an hour, I checked to see if she was sitting on her eggs and replaced her as needed. When I found her on the floor again, I added more stuff! Pat, my husband checked her every hour while I was gone working second shift at the hospital and he is sure he fixed her as after his watch, she has remained contently on the nest now for two days, even tolerating my photo shots this morning. For a reward, she gets a full dish of hulled hemp!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Supplemental Nestling Food

I like to supplement egg food with dry nestling food (KJ and Linda Brown Recipe posted on this blog earlier) and hard boiled egg till the chicks are banded. Once banded, I stop giving the pure hard boiled egg and add greens and this mix which contains cooked quinoa, cous cous with poppy seeds prepared by adding boiling water or very hot water to cover with some olive oil and fluffed with a fork, and then some processed broccoli.  Hens are also feeding some of the Nutrena Crumbles.

Once the first chick leaves the nest, I add quartered hard boiled egg again to start the weaning process. Once they are eating well, I stop the pure hard boiled egg. Too high protein keeps the chicks too lean!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Stafford Chicks

New nest of Stafford Mosaic chicks that are almost ready to leave the nest.
One of the first two Stafford mosaic chicks that are now weaned. They are eating Nutrena Crumbles, bread crumbs, wheat germ, oatmeal, hard boiled egg, egg food and quinoa with cocus cous and broccoli.
Second weaned Stafford mosaic chick has a beautiful face!  Crest is pretty good too!

Update on Chick With Sealed Vent

The Chick with the sealed vent was from the nest of three whose parents are Docile Hen and Handsome Dude. They are doing great, no more vent or other problems.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Nutrena Crumbles

Chirpy Chum Anna Sinclair, Trinity Bird Gallery in Colorado Springs recommended Nutrena Meatbird. Her birds love it! My birds also like it. The cost was $13 for 40 lbs!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Ultimate Hard Boiled Eggs

In a large pan, cover eggs with 1 inch of cold water.

Critical step, keep a watchful eye on pan till it reaches a full boil.

Then cover and set pan on a cool back burner for exactly 10 minutes.

After exactly 10 minutes, remove eggs and place in an ice water bath and let set at least another 10 minutes.

Chilling stops the cooking and prevents the dark sulfur ring around the yolk which develops when eggs are overcooked.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Floor Fight

Although I provided a nice clay nest, this hen built and laid her first egg on the floor.

It is a pretty good nest but the bottom is not strong enough for all the shuffling eggs the hen does during incubation.

I just slipped the clay nest into her corner and remade her nests on the floor. She is quite happy and due to hatch this week.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Watch Out For Sealed Vents

After noting that Docile Hen/Handsome Dude three chicks looked a little red rather than rosy pink, I added greens, oatmeal and dry plain ABBA Green 92 to her choices.

This morning, when I checked their vents, this chick was clearly backed-up.Its vent was sealed with a thin coating which is almost invisible. I washed the vent with warm water and gently peeled the thin lacquer-like coating off and massaged the vent to make sure it was open.

After letting the chick walk in my palm, it relieved itself much to my relief too! Had that not worked, I would have hand fed it as once the chick is full, it naturally expels its wastes.

Mario Update

Mario with his first hen of the season.

After the dark abdomen scare, Mario has completely healed, while hens 1 and 2 are setting, he is with hens number 3 and 4.

Only two fertile eggs with his first hen and the first to hatch chick is stuck. It is important to gently help it out of the shell. This was fresh so I did not need to loosen with warm water. It is also important to get the half shell out of the nest as they can easily cap on to another egg and may prevent it from hatching.

Isn't he cute, looks just like papa Mario, hope he sings like him too!!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Update Docile Hen and Handsome Dude

Remember "Handsome Dude". a German Roller male. He has been busy. After the Sweetheart Dance on Valentines Day and making the Docile hen his first love, he has been a busy boy and left a string of broken hearts, currently with number 5 and 6 and more planned.

The Docile hen just was not interested in any male but with time and conditioning, finally she chose Handsome Dude.

Three of her eggs were fertile and she has been an excellent feeder. Normally, I wait till chicks are banded to give greens but she feeds so much that one of her chicks looked a little red instead of rosy pink. To back off the protein, I feed her some quinoa with broccoli.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Update On Egg Shell Trick

Remember these Stafford eggs, February 24th? After the first bad egg, I started them on Avi-tech Calcium. Three of the four good eggs hatched. One chick was solid dark but unfortunately was lost.

Their chicks are my first 2012 chick to leave the nest!

The other is nearly ready to leave the nest.

Since these are Stafford mosaic chicks, I will not start color feeding till they are older and have their flight feathers.