Silkies For Sale

Silkies For Sale – 6/15/19

Here is what is available for the week of June 15, 2019.  My next scheduled hatches are for June 16, June 21, June 26 and July 1st.  We are NPIP and a state inspected hatchery.  No shipping/Pick up only.  Chicks are unsexed.  Ask us about our rooster return policy.

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Pen 21 – Newborns hatched 6/11 – 9 white, 6 black, 6 partridge – $11 each.

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Pen 20 – Newborns hatched 6/11 – 2 gray, 5 splash, 6 buff – $11 each.

20190614_141453Pen 6 – One week olds hatched 6/5 – 2 buff, 5 black – $12 each.

20190614_135026Pen 7 – Two week olds hatched 5/31 – 5 black – $13 each.

20190524_143125-1Two year old buff silkie laying hens – $65 each.

20190610_120259Three year old splash rooster – $30

 

Text me at 612-756-1414 or pm me on Facebook for more information or to set up an appointment to come out and pick up chicks.

 

 

 

 

How to Protect Your Chickens From Deadly Buffalo Gnats

20170725_105530When we speak of chicken predators most people assume that we mean mammals such as fox or raccoon or we may think of flying predators such as hawks or owls.  However, some of the deadliest predators for chickens are of the insect variety.  Buffalo gnats, flies, mosquitoes, mites and lice can all be major contributors to the detrimental health of poultry.

Buffalo gnats are from the black fly family.  They are small dark flies that have a hump on their backs that make them look a little bit like buffaloes.  They typically appear in late spring and early summer.

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Black flies are aquatic insects that lay their eggs in water areas.  They prefer clean, fast moving water such as a river.  If you live within ten miles of a river or stream you may be bothered by them.  Cool, wet springs with lots of flowing water will increase their numbers.  Once temperatures outdoors reach 80 degrees F, their activity decreases.  There is usually around a three week period in the spring where where the gnats do their most damage.

Gnats arrive in swarms and will dive bomb their victims from above.  Bites on chickens occur on any exposed skin surface.  That would include the comb, wattles and face on the chickens.  Feathers protect most of their body from bites but exposed vents could also pose a problem.

When a buffalo gnat bites, it creates a small cut in the skin.  The cut begins to bleed and the gnat feeds on that blood.  Then gnat’s saliva mixes with the blood.  The saliva contains toxins that chickens can experience allergic reactions from.  It is possible for the bird to go into anaphylactic shock and die.  They can also develop Leucorytozoonosis from the Buffalo gnat’s saliva.  This malaria-like disease includes symptoms of diarrhea, dehydration, emaciation and convulsions.

When the gnat bites, it releases a strong anticoagulant which prevents the blood from clotting.  After the bite, the blood continues to flow so the gnat can continue to feed. If large numbers of gnats are biting hemorrhaging can be a threat to the chicken as well.

Buffalo gnats are attracted to carbon dioxide.  They can swarm around the face and block a chicken’s nostrils leading to asphyxiation.  Chickens in a coop can also become agitated with swarms of gnats and end up smothering each in an effort to get away.

The best thing that you can do to control gnats is to spray your coop and surrounding area with permethrin at  13.3%.   For structures use 1 oz per gallon of water. Make sure that you check the percentage of permethrin.  They sell it at different percentages. Use a yard sprayer to distribute it.  Turn out the birds to free range and then spray the walls and floor of the coop.  Close the door until dry.  There will be a residue left on the surface of where you spray for about 4-6 weeks.  At night you can spray the run and surrounding area.  Permethrin comes from the chrysanthemum flower and is also good for controlling mites. If you want to use it directly on birds, use a lower percentage of permethrin.

Another good idea is to add fans to your coop.  Gnats do not like moving air.  Keep your coop dark. Gnats prefer the sunlight.  When your birds are free ranging provide them with shade.  If you do not have shade, create shade using tarps.

Add fine mesh screening to your hardware cloth to keep gnats out of the coop or use mosquito netting to surround a small area.

Birds that are exposed to gnat bites show evidence of minor swelling on wattles and comb.  If they are showing discomfort such as constant scratching at the head or face you may want to use insect wipes or lotion on those exposed areas.  Permethrin clothing such as a bandana can be hung to keep gnats away.

If you want a more natural deterrent many people swear by vanilla fragrance to keep insects away.  Hang the vanilla pine tree air fresheners in the coop.  You can take vanilla extract and dilute it with water to spray directly on the bird.

Make sure that you birds have access to a dust bath area.  Add some poultry dust to the box so that the birds can work it next to their skin.  You can use a little hand held duster to lightly dust the body of the bird.

This has been a bad spring in Minnesota for Buffalo gnats. Many people report losing half of their flock from biting gnats.  Keep your chickens safe from all insect predators.

For tips and tricks for raising outstanding silkies check out our Chicken Learning Center at VJPPoultry.com .  VJP Poultry is an NPIP and state inspected hatchery located 30 miles north of St. Paul.  We hatch out silkies all year long so we always have stock available.  Like us on Facebook to get weekly updates on what we currently have for sale.

Victoria J. Peterson

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Silkies For Sale – 6/9/19

20190609_115920Here is what is available for the week of June 9, 2019.  My next scheduled hatches are for June 11, June 16, June 21 and June 26th.  We are NPIP and a state inspected hatchery.  No shipping/Pick up only.  Chicks are unsexed but ask us about our rooster return policy.

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Pen 21- Newborns hatched 6/5 – 2 white, 2 splash, 3 buff, 6 black, 2 blue, 1 partridge – $11 each.   Pen 20 – Newborns hatched 6/5 – 3 white, 2 buff, 6 black, 4 partridge, 1 gray – $11 each.

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Pen 8 – One week olds hatched 5/31 – 6 black – $12 each.

Pen 5 – One week olds hatched 5/31 – 3 grey partridge, 3 black – $12 each.

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Pen 6 – Two week olds hatched 5/26 – 1 grey/partridge, 2 partridge – $13 each.

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Pen 7 – Three week olds hatched 5/21 – 3 buff – $14 each.

Contact me by texting 612-756-1414 or PM me at the VJPPoultry Facebook site!

How Correct Humidity can Improve Your Incubation and Hatch Rate

20190528_163125Humidity in the incubator has always been a tricky thing.  Too much of it or too little of it can ruin your hatch rate.  Humidity starts out at one percentage but then needs to be raised at just the right point in order for a successful hatch.  This can leave some people scratching their heads at just how to accomplish this feat.

Air can absorb water. This water vapor is a gas.  Water vapor in the air can range from none to the full maximum which air can hold.  We call this saturation. This full maximum can increase as the temperature rises.

When talking about humidity in the incubator we are usually discussing the Relative Humidity.  This is expressed as a percentage. It is a measure of the amount of water vapor in the air compared with the maximum that could be absorbed at that temperature.  If the Relative Humidity level is 50% that means that the air contains half of its maximum possible water vapor capacity.

Most people (unless they practice dry incubation) shoot for 40-50% for the first 18 days of incubation and then raise it to 65-75% for the final three days of hatching.  In general, slightly lower humidity is better than too high of humidity during incubation.

Start by following the manufacturers recommendations for humidity and temperature for your individual incubator.  Then for future hatches you can tweak the numbers and make minor adjustments for what works best for you.

Many factors affect humidity such as : Egg size (the smaller the egg, the greater the moisture loss.), Porous shell (which increases with a hen’s age), elevation, egg storage length and conditions, weather, incubation temperature, air speed and shell thickness (which decreases with hen’s age. Thinner shells require higher humidity.)

Egg shells are porous and they allow water to pass through.  The amount of water that an egg loses during incubation is important and is determined by the humidity levels in the incubator.

If you set your eggs with the pointy side down, you will notice an airspace at the top rounded part of the egg when you candle it.  Water is lost through the shell gradually and is replaced by air which is also drawn through the shell.  This airspace gradually increases in size.  The greater the water loss, the larger the airspace.

This airspace is critical to the chick. It is the first air that the chick breathes and is needed in order for the chick to move into the correct position for hatching.

If the humidity has been too high during incubation, the egg will have lost too little water and the air cell will be small.  This will cause the chick to have trouble breathing and will have trouble breaking out of the shell.  Often you will see the chick’s beak protruding out of the shell. The bird is stuck and unable to zip around the shell and will not be able to hatch.

If the incubation humidity has been too low there will be very large air spaces.  The chicks are often small and weak and will have trouble cracking the shell and hatching.

Monitoring air cells when you candle will also let you know if your incubator is maintaining the correct humidity.  This chart shows you what your air cells should look like as the egg loses water. Use a pencil to draw the outline of the eggs air cell every time you candle.

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During incubation, you can control humidity through the use of vents to monitor the amount of fresh air entering the incubator.  The more fresh air entering, the lower the humidity.  There are also pans of water that can be added to increase the humidity or troughs at the bottom of the incubator that can be filled with water.  Covering the pans with foil will decrease the water surface area.  It is not how deep the water is but the amount of surface area on top of the water that determines how much water will evaporate into the air.

During the last three days of hatching, you will need to up the humidity in the incubator/hatcher.  Add more water surface through the use of pans, troughs and sponges, humidity pads or wick pads. This is where a good hygrometer will serve you well.  Use it to keep track of where your humidity is at.

You can also monitor humidity during incubation by weighing the eggs.  Most eggs need to loose 13% to 15% of their weight from the time of setting eggs until hatching.  Weigh them every 5 days and chart their weight. Use this chart as an example.  Adjust your humidity if your eggs are not losing enough weight or are losing it too quickly.

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I use Hovabator incubators for the first 18 days of egg incubation.  I only fill the first trough with water and remove the red vent plugs so that the eggs get plenty of fresh air.  I end up putting additional water in that first trough about every three days.  It will dry out if you don’t add more water.  Depending on the time of year I am at around 50% for the first 18 days.  Candling on day 18 should show an air cell that takes up about 1/3 o

I use a Brinsea Octagon for the last three days of hatching.  I increase the humidity by placing two absorbent shop paper towels so that they hang into the troughs and up under where the eggs will sit. When the water is poured into the trough, it will wick up making a large wet surface area. This will increase humidity in the hatcher.

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I begin by only filling one of the troughs with water and I place the basket that will hold the eggs on top.  I then cut out little holders for the eggs made from paper egg cartons.

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I place the eggs in their holders and leave the hygrometer inside where I can see it through the window. Humidity is around 66% at this time.  The hatcher stays this way for day 18 and day 19. On the morning of day 20, I fill the 2nd trough with water and begin lock down.  I like to wait until I see the first egg pip before I add water to the second trough.  This will cause the humidity to go up into the 70s %. I keep the vents open slightly to let some fresh air in, but keep most of humidity trapped .  Once the eggs start hatching I try to delay lifting the lid for as long as possible. Once the lid is lifted it is hard to keep the humidity up for hatching. It can cause the membrane to dry out and make it harder for the chicks to break through. If I need to open the lid I make sure to spray the inside walls with warm water to bump the humidity up faster. I have found that this method works very well for experiencing wonderful hatch rates.

For tips and tricks for raising outstanding silkies check out our Chicken Learning Center at VJPPoultry.com .  VJP Poultry is an NPIP and state inspected hatchery located 30 miles north of St. Paul.  We hatch out silkies all year long so we always have stock available.  Like us on Facebook to get weekly updates on what we currently have for sale.

Victoria J. Peterson

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Silkies For Sale – 6/1/19

20190530_160716Here is what is available for the week of June 1, 2019. My next scheduled hatches are for June 5, June 11, and June 16th.  We hatch out all year long so we always have chicks available.  VJP Poultry is NPIP and a state inspected hatchery.   No Shipping/Pick up only.  Chicks are unsexed but ask me about the rooster return policy. Pen 5 – One week olds hatched 5/21 – 3 buff – $12 each.   Pen 21 – Newborns hatched 5/26 – 2 buff, 2 black, 1 gray, 4 partridge – $11 each. Pen 22 – Newborns hatched 5/31 – Many white, black, buff, partridge, some gray and splash – $11 each.  To set up an appointment, you can text me at 612-756-1414 or PM me at the VJP Poultry Facebook page.

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