How We Quarantine Silkies at Rooster Camp and Rooster Hilton

20170814_142330     At VJP Poutry we are never idle.  We are always trying to improve how we do things for the good of our flock.   Some of you have seen our Rooster Camp if you have ever returned a rooster.  Now we have a second rooster containment area we call the Rooster Hilton.

It is important to have a separate quarantine area for new birds.  Failure to quarantine new flock members can result in death to an entire flock.

To Quarantine means to completely isolate newly acquired birds from an existing flock for a significant period of time. During this time they are watched for signs of diseases and parasites.

A chicken may look healthy while hiding illness. Quarantine lets you watch without exposing the rest of the flock to health dangers.  Moving chickens from one home to another is a major stressor , which can cause latent diseases to become active.  This leads to a health threat for the rest of your flock.  The bare minimum quarantine time is two weeks but 30 – 60 days is preferred by professionals

Once the quarantine period is over and they still appear healthy, they can be integrated gradually into an existing flock. Use Quarantine whenever you need to have a separate space for someone.

Our Rooster Camp almost looks like a campground for chickens.  There is green grass to walk in and tarps to keep the rain off the birds.  There is a large, homemade, wooden dog house into which the roosters go at night.  The dog house is very secure and can keep predators at bay.  Its a nice, clean place for roosters to stay and relax.

20170814_142408     The new project is the Rooster Hilton.  We needed a second place that was better at muffling the sounds of crowing.  It is located back behind the rooster fence, next to the coops.  The fencing was purchased from Amazon.   We placed pea rock on the ground and built a wooden base on which to place the  dog house.  We had to create and install our own secure door as the dog house only came with plastic flaps.

Rooster Camp and Rooster Hilton will be used to house returned rooster and possibly an extra area if we need to separate chickens from the rest of the flock.  I always feel like I never have enough room to do all the projects I’d like to do.  This won’t be the last addition we make a VJP Poultry.

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 – 8/13/17

Silkies for Sale – 6/10/2017

Newborn Silkie Chick Management

20170323_121817Sometimes people call VJP Poultry and tell me that their newborn chicks aren’t doing well. Together, we try to trouble shoot and figure out exactly what is causing these chicks to fail.  Careful chick management is important to the health of your newborns.  I will try to highlight some of these things that could be effecting your chicks and give you some tips on how to improve your system.

Newborns need to be kept very warm. Sometimes people go too far. If you keep your brooder at too high of temperature dehydration and vent pasting can occur. Chicks that are panting and are trying to escape to the edge of their brooders are telling you that it is too warm for them.  On the other hand, keeping the brooder at too low a temperature can cause chilling and smothering as the chicks crowd together to stay warm. My tip would be to set up your brooder and heat lamp ahead of time before the chicks arrive. Take the temperature of different areas in the brooder.  Make sure that there is enough room so that the chicks do not have to constantly be under the hottest part of the brooder.  Keep the brooder away from drafts and chilly spots like basement floors.

Ventilation is also important. Fresh air must be available and be able to move throughout the brooder. Holes placed in the sides of a tub brooder can help keep air moving.

Poisoning of chicks can occur from using contaminated feed.  Feed that is old can have mold or fungus growing in it. Always use fresh feed.  Be  careful if you are using fermented feed. Don’t give treats right away, let them get used to their chick starter first. If you do add any treats, make sure that you area also giving them grit to help them grind it up in their crops.

Injuries can  occur, especially if newborns are handled too much.  Their legs muscles can easily be stretched too far if the try to walk on slippery surfaces.  Traction is needed. A tip would be to keep a sticky shelf liner mat under the pine shavings. This will help legs to become stronger.  Bumps or pecks to the head can result in death especially if you have chicks with head vaults.  Baby chicks can be jumpers so be aware if young children are holding the chicks.

Make sure that there is plenty of floor space in the your brooder.   Overcrowding causes dampness in the litter which leads to Coccidiosis – the number one parasite killer in chicks.  Less feeder and waterer space causes starvation and dehydration in young chicks.  Make sure that your chick is eating and drinking.  You may have to dip its head in the water to show it how.  Electrolytes or sugar in the water can help a chick that appears to be fading and losing weight.  Vitamin supplements in the water are good too.

Clean your brooder and keep it dry.  Sometimes waterers can spill.  Damp shavings can harbor micro organisms that can cause infections.  I clean and sanitize my brooders once a week. Wash feeders and waterers.

Keep your chicks clean as well.  Inspect their bottoms for pasting up and carefully remove and built up poo. I inspect their feet also and remove and poo build up on the bottoms of their feet.

Watch out for predators.  Dogs, cats and other pets can harm your chicks.  Make sure your brooder is constructed safe and that it has a screen or lid on top of it.  Keeps pets out of the chick brooder area.

These were just a few suggestions on how to improve the odds that your chick will survive its infancy. The younger the chick, the more fragile it is and the more care that is needed to be taken.  Have fun and enjoy your newborn silkie chicks.

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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