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 To Improve Fertility in Silkie Chickens at VJP Poultry

20161116_135510It is very easy to tell if your eggs are fertile. Crack one open in a dish and look for the round, white dot known as the blastodisc. It should have the appearance of a bulls-eye if it is fertile. If it is not fertile, it will look clear in the center and indistinct in its outline.

Roosters must be sexually mature in order to fertilize an egg. This is usually achieved at five to six months of age. Roosters will begin to crow before they are fertile. Roosters fertilize by mounting the hen and depositing semen. The hen stores the semen until an egg begins to form. The egg is fertilized before the shell develops. In normal circumstances, the failure rate is around 15% for eggs being successfully fertilized.

The length of the day will have an effect on fertility. Roosters become more active in their mating as they are exposed to more daylight. Hens will also begin to lay more eggs as the days get longer. Warmer temperatures also will have an effect on how interested your rooster becomes in mating.

If you are having fertility problems you may want to limit the number of roosters in your flock to encourage mating without too much competition . Some roosters will take a secondary roll in the flock when dominated by the other roosters. Old, infertile roosters will dominate fertile roosters and not allow them to mate. A single rooster can manage ten hens. Make sure that your hens and roosters are around the same size. Drastic size differences do not help with mating.

Old roosters will lose fertility. They will continue breeding but their attempts will be unsuccessful. One problem that a lot of older roosters have is that they become overweight. This will lower fertility and also make the act itself harder to do. Roosters tend to drop in fertility after their third year.

A young cockerel can try to mate with a pullet but not succeed in getting the job done. They will need to do a lot of practicing before they start to get it right. Many older hens will also reject the advances of these young cockerels.

Diet is an important variable in fertility. Roosters on a natural diet of feed, table scrapes and foraging for bugs will remain fertile longer than those eating a calcium rich diet of layer food. The addition of vitamins such as A and E can help boost fertility. There are products such as “Rooster Booster” that may help. I would advise eliminating low nutrition food such as corn or bread which can cause roosters to become overweight. I supplement with ground up winter wheat, calf manna and green fodder in the late winter to get ready for spring laying.

Create a comfortable environment to encourage breeding. Flocks that feel threatened by predators are less likely to breed. Keep your coop clean and sanitized. Give them plenty of room to move about. Keep your roosters and hens together at all times so that they can have a set pecking order. Old roosters will need to be rehomed and new roosters can be added.

Silkies have very fluffy bottoms with lots of feathers that get in the way of semen delivery. Trim the area around the vents above and below on both your hens and your roosters. Just use a pair of scissors and cut away enough of the feathers so that contact can more easily be made.

Hopefully these tips can solve your fertility problems and soon you will have all the fluffy, baby chicks your heart desires.

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 – 2/3/17

Improve your Silkie Hatch Before the Incubator – 3/2/17

20161019_115944Many people enjoy incubating and hatching eggs in the springtime. Whether you use an incubator or a broody hen to do your work, the hatchability  of the egg itself is of the up most importance.

The first step is to start with healthy, happy hens. Healthy hens are hens that eat a varied diet that is high in protein such as Gamebird Conditioner. Varied can mean table scraps or what they find free ranging. Healthy means being free from disease and parasites.

Hens must also be getting a source of calcium in their diets. This can be obtained through their feed (layer feed) or added in the form of oyster shell. This will help to strengthen the shell of the egg.

Happy hens are hens that are not too crowded. They have clean bedding and clean containers for food and containers for water. They have companion hens so they are not ostracized or alone. They have access to the outside and plenty of room to scratch and take dust baths.

The ability of the rooster to perform his duty will make a huge difference in whether or not your egg will be fertile. If the hen was not mated successfully , the egg will not become fertilized.  You may need to trim around the vents on both the rooster and then hen so that contact can be made easier. The feathers can get in the way. Use a curved scissor with a blunt end to safely cut the feathers.

Age of both the hens and roosters can also play a part in the hatching ability of the egg. Young hens who are just beginning to lay often lay very small eggs. These are nick named “pullet eggs” and they have a low chance of hatching out chicks.  Young roosters also are very inexperienced  when mating and the eggs are often not fertile.  Older hens and roos also experience the problems of infertility. Older hens often lay sporadically and eventually stop laying altogether.  Older roosters can become heavy and have a harder time mounting the hens.

The area where the hens lay their eggs should be clean and soft. I add fresh bedding to those spots every day.  Broody hens come in handy as they will sit on other hens eggs and protect them from getting dirty or getting stepped on and broken.  Some birds will try to peck and eat eggs left alone in the nest.

Eggs need to stay dry and clean and collected several times a day.  Do not wash dirty eggs but gently pick off the dirt or use fine sand paper to rub it off.  Washing will destroy the “bloom” on the eggs and allow bacteria to enter it.

Store your collected eggs in a dry, cool spot. I have a place in the cellar that stays around 50 degrees all year round.  Do not keep eggs longer than 10 days before incubating as their fertility will drop. Eggs that are odd shapes do not hatch well. Eggs that have very porous shells do not hatch well either.

Eggs that are shipped can often become “scrambled” and do not have a good development and hatching rate.  It is best to buy eggs close by and not have them go through the postal service.

Following these simple suggestions will increase the chances of your eggs hatching even before you place them in the incubator. Each egg is precious at VJP Poultry and we do our best to make sure that each egg can improve its chance at hatchability!

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 – 2/20/17