Silkies For Sale – 10/18/19

Here is what is available for the week of Oct. 18, 2019.  My next scheduled hatches are for Oct. 24, Oct. 31 and Nov. 7.  We are NPIP and a state inspected hatchery.  No shipping/Pick up only.  Chicks are not sexed.

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Pen 21- One Week olds hatched 10/10 – 1 white, 5 partridge, 7 blue – $13 each.

 

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Pen 20 – One week olds hatched 10/10 – 5 buff, 3 blue, 1 grey Partridge – $13 each.

 

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Pen 8 – Two week olds hatched 10/3 – 2 white, 4 buff, 2 partridge – $15 each.

 

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Pen 7 – Two week olds hatched 10/3 – 4 blue, 1 white, 1 grey Partridge – $15 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 you can PM me at the VJP Poultry Facebook page.

How To Check For Mites On A Silkie Chicken

20170725_105651  We know that silkies are extra fluffy,  but that extra fluffiness can be the perfect spot to harbor mites.  Poultry mites are very tiny insects that will from time to time try and set up camp on your silkie.  It is a very common and natural occurrence that can happen no matter how clean you keep your coop.  If your bird is outside at all, it is being exposed to mites.  Many people believe that mites are carried by wild birds.  Bird feeders should not be placed near your coop.

When a chicken appears bedraggled and hunched over or when it looks like they have a chronic poopy behind, you should first check to see if it has mites before anything else.  It is best to check your silkie on a regular basis in order to head off an infestation before it occurs.   Prevention can go a long way in making sure that those mites leave your bird alone.

20170725_110548     The first thing we do at VJP Poultry in a check up is to set up our work area. We use an ironing board. Mite checking is easier if two people do it together. One is holding the bird and the other is spreading the feathers.  Tools you might need are: scissors that cut feathers, magnifying glass, Adams flea and tick spray, poultry dust and Frontline for dogs or cats.

20170725_105644     Capt’N Billy was our model for our pictures.  He is a young partridge rooster.  The first area we check over is the crest.  Use your fingers to spread open the feathers so that you can see the base of the feathers against the chicken’s skin.  With silkies it is easiest to look at the feathers.  Since the skin is black the dark mites do not show up easily.  You are looking for clumps of mites that are moving.  Movement is key.  The bugs are so tiny that it is easy to confuse it with dirt.  If it is moving, its mites.  Check in several different places in the crest as they could be anywhere in there.

Next work your way down its neck, checking the beard as well. Look at the base of the feathers.  If you find something suspicious, pull the feather out and look at it under the magnifying glass.

20170725_105558     We also look at the base of the tail and under the wings.  Turn the bird around and check out the vent.  You may see little bite marks around the vent.  Those bite marks are letting you know that mites have been there.  Dust or spray carefully around the vent area.  You don’t want any chemicals to enter through the vent.

The powder is a good preventative.  Dust the bird lightly with it and work the powder down to the skin.   I will also dust the bedding in the coop especially the area where they typically sleep at night.

The spray is used more often if you see some mites.  Just spray directly on the area that you find them in.  If it is a bad infestation, you may want to give them a bath first  using a flea and tick shampoo for dogs or cats..  Always blow dry your silkie afterwards so that they don’t become chilled.

We use Frontline Plus on our silkies.  We use one drop on the neck directly onto the skin.  It is very effective and will kill both the mites and their eggs that will hatch later.  Frontline protection can last for over a year.  Frontline is not made for poultry and the company does not encourage its use on other animals besides dogs.   You are taking a risk of overdosing your bird if you use too much. Less is better.

Keeping vigilant and do periodic checks.  Most birds will experience it at one time or another.  Silkies seem more prone to it with their large crests.  Having a plan is your best defense against these little critters.

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

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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