Thursday, June 7, 2012

Attention Border Breeders Southern Hemisphere

Would you like to volunteer to test conditioning some of your Borders primarily with ABBA vitamin E given in the water once a week for four weeks followed by polishing them off with Omni-vet daily till the hen lays first egg followed with Avi-tech in the water till last egg is laid and reporting your observations back to this blog?

During the conditioning, day length would need to be 14.5 hours.

Respond to if you are interested.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Very Last Chance: "Is It Too Late For Infertile Pairs?"

Hello Linda,

I have  paired a single Roller cock with 2 hens, one of which produced 1 chick last year, and the other is that same chick. The cock is the son of the older hen and the father of last years chick. The older hen had 1 clutch with 4 eggs, which were all infertile. The young hen had 2 clutches which were all infertile. After removing the first clutch from the older hen she has not laid again, which has been 3 weeks now.
I have just removed the second clutch of infertile eggs from the younger chick and am now wondering if I am wasting my time this year.
Your advice would be greatly appreciated.


Big Bird says,  "How disappointed you must feel Steve, after having chicks last year and to come up empty handed this year. Each year the birds must be in full breeding condition to produce chicks. Both the male and female must fully participate and actually although both are important, the hen begging to be fed and to mate seems to be the most important in the equation.

I ran some experiment this year with pairs who resisted coming into breeding condition, Of course, they need to be healthy and of normal weight and not too thin or any strong push could threaten the bird's life. These birds are producing now, hatching uniformly on the 13th day of incubation and feeding great.

I wrote a blog post about what to do and now here is my update on what really worked. I experimented with two Orlux (Versele-Laga) products this year, first the Orlux fert-vit which is given in the water daily till laying. This product is so weak that even given daily for weeks, did not bring cocks into breeding condition especially the Borders. In fact, it is so weak that the only thing it is good for is tightening up feathers and general conditioning on show birds and preparing birds for song competition. This product does not hold a candle to ABBA Fertility E which is an excellent conditioner for breeding but two strong other than once a month for the other uses.

 I also experimented with Orlux omi-vit. It is designed to use once a week year round and twice a week during breeding season. This is a much better product but still some birds resisted coming into condition and I think it would work much better had I started it a year before rather than testing it on the problem cases at the time of the problem and after the  Orlux fertility E had already failed to bring them in. The twice a week worked well for most birds.

Like you I had a few who even with my conditioning either produced infertile eggs, even on two consecutive clutches or laid no eggs at all. These are signs that suggest that more vitamin E might do the trick. So I gave them Orlux omi-vit daily and after about a week or 10 days, they got with the program and started producing. All hatching on the 13th day but overall smaller nests of two or three than the majority of birds who came in easier. Overdose can happen and is evident when hens fail to sit or feed.

I definitely will keep working with these products and won't wait to use the daily Orlux omi-vit on cases where the first round is infertile.

Be sure the diet supports egg laying (calcium/D3) and your birds are healthy and then I say Go For It!"

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Handrearing Older Chicks


When I start hand feeding an older chick, I hold the food above eye level to tempt the bird to nibble some.

Then I add finger food!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Causes For Failure To Perch

Several things come to mind when I think about a bird who can not perch. Many years ago, I had a nest of five who lay on the floor and could not perch at all. When I looked at my records not only were these birds inbred closely but I had accidentally paired a full brother to his sister. Genetics is always one thing to consider. In this case, the hen was totally unrelated to the cock.

Nutritional deficiencies of calcium and vitamin E and selenium are also a possible cause. I have  used adequate vitamins and mineral and unless the bird has a genetic inability to not absorb or utilize these, I do not think that is the problem.

Injury is another possibility so with that in mind, I carefully examined the leg. The right was normal and the foot could grip but the left leg was stretched out straight and resistant to moving. So the poor is trying to navigate with one leg.

Examination of the upper leg showed a break.

Carefully I bent the leg in position and applied a splint which I made by cutting the plastic brushpick to the length of his broken upper leg and secured it with paper tape.

I also started hand feeding it with CeDe hand feeding formula. He will eat hard boiled egg himself.

After all that, time for a sugar-free treat for Big Bird!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Fresh Greens From The Market - Kohlrabi

Now that fresh greens are plentiful, my birds are enjoying a wide variety of delicious greens leafy veggies!

Fresh carrot tops are eating when crisp but not when limp. I like to put them in a glass of ice water with ice and place in the refrigerator to restore there crispness.

I  keep beet tops crisp for days in the refrigerator in water and feed as needed.

Weaning chicks and feeding hens love these easy to eat "seedy" broccoli heads.

Saturday, the Health To You farmer ask "Do your birds like, Kohlrabi? The leaves taste like Collard greens." Time to try it and find out.. So she took the leaves off all of the Kohlrabi and as soon as I arrive home, it was Kohlrabi all around. You guessed it they love it!!

What's Wrong Puzzler?

This Border Chick was slow to leave the nest and feathering looks especially rough but what else do you see?

Friday, June 1, 2012

Big Bird And Chicks Survive Mite Infestation

It has been five days now and it is time to report on the successful treatment of my first mite infestation that occurred last Sunday.

These chicks hatched on mite day! The two clears are German Rollers and two variegated are Staffords. I put the rollers in with the Stafford pair because they had been wonderful feeders in their first round and I wanted the chicks to have every advantage. As you can see they look great!  Neither the parents or chicks were treated with anything extra. Just the pest strips and Sevin dusted under every nest pad.

Likewise these German Roller parents and chicks received no additional treatment. They were also fine.

My greatest fear were for these Border chicks who were banding age at the time. They are looking great and will be leaving the nest soon.

So how did the pest strips do?  I watched intently during the episode and I believe it took about four hours to kill the mites!! I also monitored some flies and they were dead about then too. No adults and no chicks, regardless of their age, died after putting the pest strips in the aviary!My only regret is not treating when I first saw the pale newborn chicks which although I considered mites didn't really believe that was what it was because in all the years I had never had mites and even on careful examination of birds and nest, I could not find them. I kept thinking something was dramatically wrong with the feeding and even blamed the Exact. As I noticed chicks not thriving I would supplement with hand feeding and they would get worse. Overall after seeing the first two pale chicks, I failed to identify the problem till two weaning age and seven newborns died..If you look at the big picture, my loss was small considering that I have about 100 chicks.

Next step: I am going to treat the birds directly, comparing ivermectin with other products and change and treat trays. I already had diatomaceous earth under the trays and I will sprinkle some in with the corn cob tray cover.

I happened to have the Vetafarm product in my arsenal supply but have never used it. I am impressed that it lists mites and numerous insects that may be found in an aviary and has a six weeks protective window. It can be sprayed around and in even sprayed on the bird.

Iverlux is an ivermectin product that is very effective against parasites and I have ivermectin on hand. I will order some S76 and Scatt as their mechanism of action would be treat the mite without effecting the bird.

Big bird treated her bites with numerous showers, benadryl and corticosteriod cream.