Click on this photo of the youngest Columbus Fancy chicks and admire the tight feathering. Considering they are yet to go through their baby molt the quality of the feathering is fantastic. I like to see the feathering so tight that it looks like a slick suit rather than obvious individual feathers.
So what did I learn from the 2013 breeding season?
You may recall that in 2012, I was very hot on the CeDe Handrearing Formula but unfortunately, it was quickly out of stock at Higgins and so my experiments with it were cut short and were limited to using the product for hand feeding.
So this year at the National Cage Bird Show, I pre-ordered a case from Higgins. Also this year an equivalent product Biodecken Novafood Neonate first became available when Ricardo Sanchez brought this brand to the US and I had it also to work with.
They are both excellent products for hand feeding chicks. But you must know your breed. My rollers are 99% receptive to anything I do including hand feeding at will.
My borders are the opposite, Almost 100% of my borders will stop feeding or never fed if I even look in the nest to see if they are hatching well. One peak and that it. They have very strong protection instincts. Meddling or hand feeding is not tolerated! So the best thing for my borders is to feed fresh foods twice or three times a day and stay out of the aviary and avoid eye contact!
Recently, I found a border chick on the floor. I warmed it up a bit and hand fed it and gently placed it back under the hen. That was it for the Border hen as she refused to feed it another bite even though it was already a few days old. Wish I would have had a roller available for fostering...
With hand feeding Borders unwise, I decided to provide the handrearing formula, dry just as it comes from the package, in a separate dish starting on the morning of the 13th day to all my breeding pairs.
Did It Work?
Did it ever work! The product works even better dry when the hen feeds it than when you
supplement hand feed with it! And my best border hens who required their handrearing formula dish refilled each morning, their chicks grew at a fantastic rate!It was most notable on the borders as it seems like since they prefer less egg options their chick have a short growth lag compared to my rollers.
I also learned that handrearing formulas are fantastic weaning food as the chicks readily eat it. I attribute the excellent feathering on my young birds this year to having handrearing formula in the cage for the hens and also continuing to feed it to the chicks. I will continue feeding it dry to all my young birds or potential show birds through the molt...
It is such a healthy formula! I had a couple of older birds that were out of sorts and sure enough within a day or two of having a supplemental dish of handrearing food, they were back to normal!