Silkies For Sale – 9/6/19

Here is what is available for the week of September 6, 2019.  My next scheduled hatches are for Sept. 12, Sept. 19 and Sept. 26th.  We are NPIP and a state inspected hatchery.  No shipping/pick up only.  Chicks are not sexed.

20190904_154251

Newborns hatched 9/5 – 30 chicks in white, black, buff, partridge, blue and grey. – $11 each.

 

20190904_154041

Pen 21-20 – One week olds hatched 8/29 – 10 buff, 2 partridge, 1 blue, 2 white, 3 white out of black, 6 black, 10 grey/partridge – $12 each.

 

20190904_134352

Pen 5 – Two week olds hatched 8/22 – 7 Grey/partridge – $13 each.

 

20190904_132809

Pen 6 – Two week olds hatched 8/22 – 6 black – $13 each.

 

20190904_131446

Pen 7 – Two week olds hatched 8/22 – 4 blue, 1 white out of black – $13 each.

 

20190904_130023Pen 8 – Two week olds hatched 8/22 – 4 buff, 2 white out of black – $13 each.

If you have any questions or would like to set up a time to come out and pick up some silkie chicks, you can contact me by texting 612-756-1414 or PM me at the VJP Poultry Facebook page.

 

Correct Brooder Temperature and Introduction to Outdoors for Chicks

20190227_151759-1It is both fun and exciting to have baby chicks in the house.  Many first time chick owners fret about what the ideal brooder temperature should be. As the chicks grow and their space needs expand many people wonder when would be the best time for integrating the chicks outdoors with the rest of the flock in the coop.  We will be exploring both of these questions in this article.

When deciding on a source for brooder heat you need to think about the air temperature surrounding your brooder. A brooder should be inside to regulate temperature and moisture and to prevent predators from getting at the chicks. Inside means that it can be in a garage, laundry room, shed or barn.  It can even be inside of your coop.  You will want to have some kind of cover on it to keep out predators.  A cookie rack or screen works well.

A newborn chick’s body is covered with down. The newborn will have a hard time controlling it’s own temperature since it does not have real feathers yet.  They will warm themselves by huddling close together.  Chicks need an additional heat source until their down gives way to hard feathers.  Chicks raised by a mother hen will be seen darting in and out from under her wing as they use her body as a heat source.  A hen’s internal temperature ranges from 105-107 degrees F.

The rule of thumb is to start your brooder temperature at 95 degrees F (35 C) and reduce it 5 degrees F (3 C) each week until the brooder temperature is the same as the room’s temperature.

53057859_2264394853617117_7948976925697900544_n

This chart from Roberts Farm is a good resource to judge what temperature the brooder should be for how old the chicks are. It also can give you an idea of what age they can transition to the outside according to the outside temperature.  For example, if your chick is 6 weeks old, it needs to be at least 65 degrees F for it to be outdoors.

Make sure that your brooder heat source is up and running for at least 24 hours before you introduce chicks to it.  Chick brooder temperature is measured with a thermometer placed 2 inches (5 cm) above the brooder floor. You may want to measure it with several different thermometers as sometimes they will each read differently.

Many people use a brooder heat lamp with a 250 watt bulb.  The red heat bulb helps to prevent picking among chicks and can help with night time light. Start by hanging the lamp with an adjustable chain at about 18 inches above the chicks. Don’t rely on the clamp to hold the heat lamp safely. You need to add a chain and hang it from a hook above the brooder.  You must take safety precautions when using this type of brooder heater as if they fall they will cause fires.  As the chicks grow, you can shorten the chain to decrease the temperature in the brooder.

A heated panel uses radiant heat.  It only heats directly below the panel.  This makes it easier for chicks to move away from the heat. Ecoglow can have its heat adjusted by lengthening its legs.  Sweeter Heaters are hung from above and can  be raised and lowered to change temperature.  Heated panels are not a fire hazard and will not burn out like a heat lamp bulb could do, which would chill your chicks.

A chick’s body language will tell you whether or not they are too hot or too cold.  Chicks that aren’t warm enough will crowd towards the heat source.  They will peep shrilly and constantly. Their poo will begin to paste up on their bottoms.  Pasty Butt can clog their vents which could lead to death.  In an attempt to get warm while they sleep, the chicks could pile up and smother each other. Piling often happens at night when the room temperature drops.

Chicks that are too warm move away from the heat source. They spend less time eating and grow more slowly. They pant and crowd to the edges of the brooder. They keep their heads down and are very quiet.  If the brooder is hot enough to raise their internal temperature above 117 degrees F, they will die.

Chicks at the correct temperature are happy chicks.  They wander around their brooder making musical sounding noises of contentment.  They breathe through their nostrils and do not pant.

Chicks need one half square foot of space each for the first two weeks.  They grow fast. You will need to increase the amount of space as they head into three and four weeks of age. You will need a bigger brooder or split the group and get a second brooder.  They can be off of the heat lamp when the temperature of the room they are in matches their age on the chart above. Chicks hatched in winter or early spring will need a heat source longer than chicks hatched in late spring or early summer.  Larger breeds will be sooner than bantams.

When they are ready to transition outside (They must be feathered out) start by letting them outside during the day.  Chicks can be vulnerable to predators such as hawks and the neighbor’s cat so be sure to keep an eye on them.  A dog kennel or fencing keeps them protected and doesn’t let them escape.  Bring them back inside at night.

If they are too cold outside they will let you know by puffing up their feathers and peeping in a frightened way.  Don’t leave them alone as they could become chilled quickly.

Don’t be in a hurry to put them with other adult chickens. Ideally, they should be the same size as the rest of your flock. Pecking order is a real thing and they will be pecked at by the larger birds.  Start by having them close together but separated by a barrier.  They will be able to see each other but not touch each other.  Gradually give them more opportunities to be together.  The integration process can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks.

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

20180309_092902

 

 

 

 

 

 

Feed and Treats For Baby Chicks

20180123_140427-1The sooner you start your baby chicks with good nutritional habits the better off they will be their entire lives. Typically we are told that baby chicks don’t need anything to eat or drink for about 48 hours after they are hatched. They will be getting sustained by the yolk of the egg which they absorb into their bodies just before they break through the shell.  This is why they can be sent by post office from hatcheries with nothing to eat or drink in their boxes. Research is now showing that chicks that are given food and water immediately after hatching have a better chance of survival and better growth. Yes, they can survive without food or water for the first few days but it is much better if they are given the opportunity to eat and drink right away.

Chick Starter is the ideal food for baby chick’s first week and should be the sole ration. Feed companies spend lots of time and money researching and preparing mixtures that provide optimum nutrition for growing chicks. Chick starter has sufficient protein, carbohydrates and vitamins to support growth. Chick starter should be given for at least the first six to eight weeks and can actually be given to adult birds as well.  Do not try and mix your own feed at this point as it is crucial that baby newborn chicks  have the nutrients they need to grow.  If you get caught without chick starter when your chicks hatch, you can mash up hard boiled egg yolk with ground up oatmeal as a temporary substitute.  Don’t give treats until they are very familiar with what the chick starter looks like. smells like and tastes like.

There are two types of chick starter, medicated and nonmedicated.  Medicated chick starter comes with medication to prevent coccidiosis, an intestinal disease that interferes with nutrient absorption. If you keep your chicks in a clean brooder and do not let them have contact with adult birds or the ground, they do not need to have the medicated chick starter. If you brood a lot of chicks (over 50) and it is hot and humid outside, then you might consider getting the medicated chick starter.  Do not give them the same food that your adult chickens eat. They need a high protein food which has a protein level of 20%.

Start by sprinkling chick starter on top of a paper towel in order to encourage pecking at it.  You can then move to a chick feeder. I like to use red colored feeders as the color red stimulates the chick and encourages pecking.  If your chick does not seem to be eating and drinking, dip their beak into the water and then again into the food. If a chick is not eating or drinking it will feel lighter than the other birds.  I also like to grind up the chick starter into smaller particles using a coffee grinder. They seem to like it better when the pieces are smaller.

I also add vitamins, probiotics and electrolytes to the newborn chick’s water. Rooster Booster  is a great product for these additives.  I also had a little apple cider vinegar (with the mother) to their water for overall good health.

When you are ready to add treats to your chicks diet, make sure that they are healthy treats. Good examples would be foods like fruits and vegetables, high protein, whole grains, low sugar, and low salt products.  If chicks are given anything besides chick starter, they will need grit (sand) to aid in digestion.  Chick starter is digested by saliva but other foods require grit for grinding in the gizzard since the chicks do not have teeth.

At this age they should have chick grit, not adult grit which would be too large for them. Sprinkle the sand on top of their food as if you were sprinkling salt on something. Do not place it in a separate dish but put it right on the food to make sure that they are getting some.  Grit is not the same thing as Oyster Shell. They should not be given oyster shell at all as too much calcium will cause organ failure.

The first treats that I give are mashed hard boiled egg yolk and ground oatmeal. I grind the oatmeal in a coffee grinder.  It will almost look like powder.  After that I might move on to sweet corn. I grind that up in a food processor.  Whatever you give to them must be in small pieces. I also like to take  carrots and grind them up in the food processor. Leafy greens must be very processed and in tiny pieces. You do not want the chick to develop crop issues.

Some people like to give unflavored yogurt to chicks. I have found it to be very messy and being a dairy product, I would not give them too much of it. It can cause stomach upset. Probiotics are a good choice for gut health instead.

Older chicks can be given Chick Sticks or mealworms for a treat.  You can also begin giving scraps from your dinner table as long as the pieces are small and grit is sprinkled on top.

When chicks eat treats they are not eating commercial feed which should be their main source of nourishment. Treats should only be 5-10% of a chick’s diet. Anything that you add to their diets can dilute the nutrient balance of the commercial feed. Even healthy snacks should be given in moderation. A chick’s growth and immune system can be affected by too many treats which can create an imbalance in nutrients.

When chicks are around eight weeks old they can move on to Grower feed. Start by mixing the two together 50% chick starter and 50% grower feed. Don’t save your chick starter for the next time you have chicks. It will grow moldy and be harmful for the chicks. Use it all up. It is ok for them to be eating it at any stage of development.

 

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

20180828_175257-1

What You Need to Have in Your Poultry Showbox

20171025_131540   It’s the day before you leave for the poultry show and your birds have all had their baths, toenails clipped and general primping taken care of. Now it is time to organize your Showbox and pack everything that you will need in order to keep your bird in tip top condition at the poultry show.

You will need some kind of carriers to transport your birds to the show. A cat carrier works very well. Remember to line it with some kind  of bedding. Try to have only one bird per carrier if possible.  You do not want extra poo rubbing on to your birds nice clean feathers.

At most shows you will be bringing your own feeders and waterers.  Since I have silkies, I use a pop bottle waterer.  You will need to pack enough waterers and empty pop bottles for each bird as well as mini bungee cords to secure them.  I also like to place an empty cat food can under the waterer to prop it up.

Bring a jug of your own water.  Add electrolytes to it as birds can often become stressed at a show.  The electrolytes will help to boost their immune system.  Get them used to this water a week ahead of time.  Birds can be finicky about change in water and food so you want to make sure that they are used to both.

If you have been cage training your chicken they should be used to using the feeders and waterers in the small cages.  Bring a bag of feed for your birds.  Bird seed with sunflower seeds and nuts is nice because it keeps the poo more solid than regular feed.  It makes it easier to remove it from the cage and from the bird.

Remember to withhold food on the morning of the judging. A bird with a full crop will create a lump in their chest and will not have a nice shape for the judges.  You may also want to withhold water so as not to have a silkie with a wet beard.

You will need to bring your own bedding shavings.  Constantly be on the look out for poo on the shavings and remove it before the bird can step or sit in it.  Some people will have booties on their birds until the judging starts.

On the day of the show you will see a lot of people frantically working on their birds before the judging starts.  You can put Vet Rx or another type of oil on their combs, earlobes, beaks, wattles and legs.  This makes the surface more shiny and brings out their colors.  Apply a thin coat.  Vet Rx is especially good because it helps the bird fight off diseases that they might come in contact with at the show.

20171006_120408

You can also shine up a bird using a piece of silk cloth and running it over the feathers. A micro fiber cloth works well for this too.  Feathers are oily and dust will stick to them.  This helps to remove the dust and make your bird shine.

To finish a bird off, I will use Show Sheen.   Spray it lightly on or spray a cloth and run it onto the feathers.  Then blow dry and puff out those silkie feathers.   You can use a slicker brush or a fine tooth comb to really fluff it up and back tease it.

If you see that dirt or manure has gotten on any feathers, you can use Gempler’s Citra Clean hand cleaner or Cowboy Magic Greenspot Remover for those last minute touch ups.  Baby wipes and Mr. Clean Magic Eraser as also good tools for spot removing dirt.

I also bring paper towels, baby wipes, small spray bottle with water to loosen up dirt, tooth brush, hand sanitizer, portable chair, extra carriers in case you buy a bird or two, health forms for pullorum testing, cage ID numbers if the show sent you that information.

Remember to not leave all of this stuff out.  The judge should not see anything of yours.  Pack it up and take it out of the judging area.  It is considered bad form to enhance the cages your birds are in or to distinguish your birds from other people’s birds.  Don’t write your name anywhere such as on your cage cups.  Do not put up barriers between your birds and the birds next to you.  The judges need to be able to look down the aisle at all of the birds to compare them.

Dress for the show.  Be sure to wear clothing that is washable and comfortable.  Dress in layers as temperatures can change.  Do not wear shoes that you wear when tending your flock.  You do not want to bring home disease to the rest of your birds.

A few other things for your showbox would be, scotch tape, nail file, scissors, pen and don’t forget the Flea and Tick spray.  You will want to spray your birds as they leave the show and go back into their carriers in case they picked up a bug

Some people will bring zip ties or small locks to lock up their birds when they aren’t around.  No one should be touching or handling any one else’s birds.  Just remember to have the zip ties off before judging starts.  If the judge can’t get into your cage, they can’t judge your bird.

One last thing I like to bring is a book on poultry breeds.  I enjoy finding actual examples of breeds I am reading about. It is fun to learn about breeds different than your own.  It is also a lot of fun to meet other breeders and get tips from them about your favorite breed.  It is a great place to just talk chicken!

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

20171006_142422-1