Saturday, January 27, 2007

Chicken Feed

For the most part, chicks from 28 days of age and up are fed a "starter ration". This ration contains lots of protein (about 22 percent) to give them the energy needed to grow and develop properly. From 56 days (8 weeks) and up to when they start laying (usually around 6 months of age), the pullets (females under one year of age) are fed a grower ration containing about 17 percent protein. Once laying commences, layer ration is fed to them. Layer ration has a bit less crude protein content....about 15 percent in most feeds, and also adds extra vitamins and minerals like calcium.

Some of the minerals needed in general chicken feed are zinc, copper, iodine, magnesium, calcium, sodium (0.15%, also equal to 0.37% sodium chloride), phosphorus, potassium, manganese, and iron. Some of the vitamins needed by chickens that must be in their feed are Vitamin E (requirements vary as bird grows and diet changes), Vitamin D, Vitamin A (may be Vitamin A or pro-vitamin A), Vitamin K, Thiamine, Niacin, Pyridoxine, Riboflavin, Pantothenic acid, biotin, Vitamin B12, choline and folacin.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Confined Free Ranged Chickens and Poultry

A fenced in bird yard provides sunshine, grass, fresh air, space, and most of all....SAFETY. But I'm not talking about your ordinary chicken run that's permanent and located in one spot. The confined-free-range method uses a large, floorless wire coop that is moved around in a pasture on a periodic basis. This allows the birds to be "free" yet still kept safe under your control.

Where can you get such a cage? The easiest thing to do is purchase a big, wire dog kennel. Most of these cages are large enough to hold nearly 10-15 chickens (less for ducks or geese, who need more space), more than adequate for most small-scale poultry farmers.

However, to make this plan work you need to use something called "range rotation". Basically, its the same thing as rotating your garden. Even if the cage is cleaned often, parasites and bacteria become concentrated in the ground, increasing the chance that your flock could become sick. Of course, sick chickens aren't any fun to raise. To prevent such a problem, you rotate the cage in your pasture, ensuring that the soil your birds are living on is given time to rest and recover from the heavy pecking/scratching it endured under your poultry.

Another thing you need to remember about confined-free-range is that you must build, or buy, range shelters. They can be as simple as a lean-to constructed from scrap lumber on posts or as fancy as a giant "permanent" coop attached to a tractor and dragged around by chains. However, the purpose is nearly the same: to provide protection from the elements. Because you are not free ranging but are instead placing the range shelters in a confined area, you do not need to build an enclosed area since the birds are already protected from predators.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Feeding and Watering young chicks

Commercial waterers are fine, or you can build your own! Water should be placed in a shallow waterer. Simply get a small tomato sauce can, poke two small holes on opposite sides of the can about one inch from the rim, fill with water, and invert in a shallow saucepan. The reason the dish must be shallow is because a curious chick will often venture into areas he doesn't belong, and there's nothing more awful than finding a drowned baby chicken! Think of it as child-proofing for a midget.

Food should be provided as commercial chick starter. You could potentially formulate your own chick feed, but why reinvent the wheel? Chick starter is extremely high in protein, which helps all those little chicks to grow up into big, healthy kings and queens of the coop.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Feeding kitchen scraps

Many hobbyists also feed their chickens kitchen scraps. This is a great way to supplement their diet. Keep in mind that you should only feed your chickens HEALTHY kitchen scraps such as vegetable and fruit scraps. Certain things that shouldn't be fed to your chickens include meat, fat, spoiled food, onions (it will taint the eggs), raw potatoes, and sugary human food.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Don't forget to give your chickens water!

Did you know that a chicken's body is more than 50 percent water? Water is a very important thing to provide your chickens with. Too little water results in dehydration, excessive stress, and a decline in egg production. Depriving them of water for 24 hours will take 24 more hours to recover completely (not something we recommend doing!). If you are starting your flock from chicks, a gallon of clean water per day should be enough for one hundred birds. Mature birds need about 1 to 2 cups of water a day, with layers needing more water than non-layers. The weather/heat also affects how much water a chicken will drink. Water should be clean, fresh, and available at all times.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

THANK YOU to all our poultry readers!

poultryOne received OVER 230,000 visitors in 2006. Thank you for all over your support!

We can't wait to see what this new year will bring for us and our loyal readers.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year from poultryOne and this blog! We're thankful to have great readers like you. We look forward to 365 more days of poultry fun!

Watch for new features on our website, coming soon.