Silkies For Sale – 12/22/17

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 carrierworks 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.


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 .  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


Silkies and Incubators – 1/31/17

20170122_143349“What could you do today that would vastly improve your life three months from now?” That was the inspirational message on my computer screen. “Buy more incubators ” , was my instant thought. I knew that I would be so much happier in three months if I ordered some incubators today. Now I had some hard decisions to make as there are many incubator choices out there. I asked for help from others on the web and I had responses from around the world.

I currently own seven Brinsea Octagon 20 Econs, one Hovabator, two Little Giants and three Farm Innovators. Some are simply wonderful and others are a piece of junk.

The Brinseas are my pride and joy. They run like a charm and keep perfect temperature. They are small but you can get between 28-35 eggs in them if you place them and balance them just right. Cleaning is a breeze. The base is solid plastic so you just need to wash and disinfect. I take an air hose and blow out the top part when dirt and dust get in them.

I use three of my Octagons as incubators and four of them are hatchers. I can easily hand turn the Octagons if need to by lifting and turning the whole machine. It’s nice to have the automatic turners but I have had a hard time repairing them when they stopped working. Hand turning is easy and I just set an alarm on my phone to remind me when to turn.

I have had the fans stop working on the Brinseas. I sent away for new fans and it was an easy fix. I have had to send the whole top part back to be repaired by the Brinsea company. They fixed it and returned it to me free of charge. I always fill out the warranty information. Brinsea has a three year warranty on their products.

I also have a Hovabator. It is a foam incubator but it works wonderfully. It has an automatic egg turner in it and you can just fill it and forget it. It will hold temperatures quite well. I have never had to repair it or adjust anything on it.

Now we come to the two Little Giant foam incubators. They were both originally still air models. We added a computer fan to circulate the air. One of them works great but the other one is a little iffy. You do need to take temperature checks periodically. A little  bit of babysitting is needed with them.

The three Farm Innovators have not worked at all for me. There seems to be big differences in temperature between the corners, middle and edges of the incubator. Temperature spikes have occurred. I find that they also leak water.

In a pinch, I will use a silkie hen as an incubator. I almost always have a broody who will be more than willing to sit on eggs for me. I have had good luck hatching with them but not such good luck raising the babies out in the  coop. Too many things can happen to them out there. Silkies are known for being able to hatch any chicken egg, duck egg and pea fowl eggs. They are great little mothers.

I plan on ordering one more Brinsea Octagon this month. I am expecting more eggs this year and as the days get longer the hens will begin to lay more. I don’t want to be surprised by my hen’s egg production and not have enough incubators to take care of them all. VJP Poultry is happy to provide enough silkie chicks for all come springtime.

For tips and tricks for raising outstanding silkies check out our Chicken Learning Center at .  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


January Improvement Project – Chick Windows at VJP Poultry – 1/21/17

20170107_171441    We are always trying to think of ways to improve how we do things at VJP Poultry. We want to be able to complete chores  more efficiently . Time is a factor and it is important that we look for ways to do things faster and better.

If you have been here to visit, you know that I keep my silkie chicks in dog kennels or crates that are split in half. A wooden door was created in the front so that the baby chicks would not escape or fall to the ground. This door idea worked great but I knew that it could be improved.

The major difficulty was that you couldn’t look inside to see the chicks. We love having children come and visit VJP Poultry but they, being small, always had difficulty seeing into the pens. Their parents would often need to lift them up so that they could see into the crate.  When we moved the pens up higher, I couldn’t see in there as well.

I asked my husband, Dennis, to create windows in the front of the door. In the space of one afternoon he was able to create “chick windows” for me.

After measuring, he first used a circular saw to create openings in the door frame. Since each of the dog kennels were different sized, the door frames were all different as well.

Next he cut hardware cloth to fit the openings with some overlap. He used tin snips which easily cut through the wire cloth.

He then stapled the hardware cloth onto the wooden frame using a staple gun. Lastly, he used a body hammer to smooth any raised staples or wire edges.

I couldn’t be happier with how they turned out. Not only can children and adults see clearly into the pens, but there are other added benefits as well.

Ventilation and air circulation is now improved. During the summer it can become very hot in the chick room, but these new windows can help the chicks stay cooler by not trapping hot air in their pens.

It’s a thrill to have improvements made in your chicken care routine. Everyone benefits – even the baby chicks. They get to look out their windows and watch the world go by until they move on to their new home.

For tips and tricks for raising outstanding silkies check out our Chicken Learning Center at .  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



A Trip To The Feed Store With VJP Poultry – 12/30/16

20161031_094232     I visit my local feed store at least once a week without fail. I don’t have a lot of room or space to stock pile supplies, so it is a necessity  that I make request trips. I don’t want to run out of anything important. It would be a crisis if I ran out of feed or didn’t have bedding available, so as soon as I start to run low, I head out to my favorite feed store.

Chicken feed is probably my biggest expenditure. I buy Game bird Conditioner for my adult silkies and Chick Starter for the babies.  Game Bird means that it is made for turkeys or pheasants  and has a higher protein content than most regular chicken feed. The ADM brand has 20% protein and it includes animal protein. I think that animal protein is important for chickens. They are, after all, carnivores.  In the wild , they would be eating worms and insects. I also like this brand because it is in pellet form. With pellets there is less waste and mess.

The Chick Starter is also high in protein. It is in crumble form. Pellets are hard for a chick to break apart and digest. I sometimes grind it up even smaller for newborns in my coffee grinder. I use regular chick starter made by Houle Inc. for most of the year and then switch to Medicated Chick Starter in the summer months when it is more humid out.  Medicated feed is used for controlling the disease Cocci which is more frequent in the summer.

I also purchase bedding for the silkies at the feed store. I buy two different kinds – pine shavings and flax bedding.  I use the “small, fine” pine shavings because I compost all of my chicken bedding and put it in my garden. It makes wonderful fertilizer. The flax bedding is a little more slippery so I use it on top a a dressing over the pine shavings. Flax bedding is really nice for absorbing chicken poo or spills. It also leaves their feathers more shiny when they rub against it.

I also regularly purchase oyster shell for the hens. It is a good source of calcium which they need for creating egg shells.

The feed store will also carry things you may need in an emergency such as Corrid, Selmet,  wormers, antibiotics (Tylan) or vitamins. They also carry plenty of treats such as meal worms, cracked corn and Boss sunflower seeds.

My feed store sells poultry supplies like feeders, waterers, and incubators.. They also carry chicken diapers. Last week I even saw chicken harnesses and chicken leashes.

What I like most about my local feed store is the friendly atmosphere. You get to really know the people who work there. These folks are very knowledgeable and are happy to spend the time answering your questions. I find prices to be very competitive with the name brand larger stores.

It is truly a pleasurable experience to enter a feed store and have a feeling of going back in time when life was a little slower. My favorite feed store is Houle’s in Forest Lake. Look for the grain elevators in any small town and you will find your local feed store.

For tips and tricks for raising outstanding silkies check out our Chicken Learning Center at .  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