- Cuckoo Stud
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- Acquiring and caring for your Orpingtons
- Feeding - what we feed our birds
- Heat waves, hot days, Summer and Liquefaction
- Artificial UV lighting
- Chook Saddles
- Fertility and my secret recipe
- Posted chickens - how to make them
- Embryonic developmental stages of a chick
- Mareks Disease
- Hatching larger std size birds
- Size = breeding down
- Brooder - recycled and effective
- Growth patterns and assessing birds
- Microchipping your birds
- Secure housing
- Lime - Hydrated and Garden (AG) Lime and their uses in the chook pen
- MOUSE/RAT TRAP chook friendly
- Appraisal pictures of your birds
- Showing - training your birds
- Coccidia Oocyst cycle and treating Coccidiosis with Baycox
- Lymphoid Leukosis – Avian (The Wasting Disease)
- Coryza Avibacterium Paragallinarum
- Crop problems in poultry
- Mosquito control
- Maremma - training a pup
- Fox Traps
- Snake Bite
What we feed our birds –
Remember the equation - ¼ breeding ¾ feeding - this makes people wonder, but it is true, if you do not feed the hatchlings/chicks/juvenile birds well they do not grow well, regardless of the breeding behind them.
Note though that good bloodlines/breeding is vital for good quality/good type birds.
This feed regime is what we feed our birds - we do not expect others to follow it as it is for imformation purposes only.
Each breeder has their own preferance regards feed. By asking around you can then formulate your own opinion as to what you would prefer to feed your birds.
Note that we use a combination of Ren Hen and Barastoc
All our chicks get vitamins in the water until they are at least 5months old at a reduced amount due to the vitamins in the feed. If you have vitamins in the water the birds get all they need regards them and calcium, as there are some vitamins in the feed I use I reduce the amount in the water by 1/3. I use Solaminovit Powder, and Calcivet as a calcium supplement. Of course each persons choice of Vitamin brand can be used. With all vitamin supplements, ensure that the dosage is worked out as a full dose then reduce it down accordingly.
The first 5-6months is the most important as that is when the bulk of the growing is done.
Imagine a freshly hatched std size Orpington chick standing next to a 6month old ckl = huge amount of growing!
I use Chick Starter for the first week to 10 days as it is finer and easier for the hatchlings to start on, with Seaweed powder sprinkled on it = 1tspn (flat) per 2 cups of starter.
Then from 10 days to 14 days Turkey and Meat Bird Starter is introduced and chicks are fed this to 8 weeks with the seaweed powder and a very small pinch of crushed garlic per cup.
From 8-9 weeks Turkey and Meat Bird Grower is introduced. Also introducing small amounts of crushed grains at 9-10 weeks and whole grains at about 12-14 weeks, fed seperately and only once a day with the amount slowly built up to as much as will ½ half fill their crop at each daily feeding. The grains are usually fed late afternoon.
Also, at 9-10 weeks, cleaned small, smooth, rounded pebbles are introduced. These are purchased from the local Pet/Aquarium Store, rinsed thoroughly, and supplied in a separate clean container. The chicks will eat these and the pebbles help to grind up the grains and other foodstuffs. The pebbles at an early age was learnt from my grandmother (when I was very young), she used to put a very small amount of the cleaned pebbles in the chicks dry feed at the 10-11 weeks age, a lot of the pebbles were left but some would be eaten. After that the young would go to the separate container when they wanted more pebbles.
At 14-16 weeks the cockerels and pullets are seperated into sex appropriate pens where they can still see each other but the cockerels (and roosters) can not gain access to the pullets. Pullets and cockerels are fed a slightly different diet from about this age.
At this time daily amounts of meat meal is introduced to the cockerels but NOT the pullets. The cockerels are now fed a 10% to 15% higher protein diet than the pullets to encourage muscle development. The pullets are fed a lower protein diet to allow them to grow out adequately before they start laying. The pullet diet now consists of more lower protein grains than processed pellets to help keep the protein at a lower level.
At 26 weeks green food is introduced in small amounts to both sexes and the amount slowly built up daily until age 11-12months to what the bird will eat on its own above and beyond the grains and/or pellets.
The pullets are encouraged to eat more greens than the cockerels to help with muscle bulk in the males.
Adult birds = pellets are available 24/7 in Winter only. From mid Spring to the end of Summer pellets and grain are rationed
In Summer the birds are fed a small amount of whole grains once a day which was decreased over Spring, and an increased amount of green feed to help reduce the fat deposits from Winter. *Moistened Lucerne chaff is a good summer green food.
The fat deposits need to be reduced or gone before the intense heat hits = if a birds core temperature stays high in a heat wave over 3 days and nights by day 4 it has started to cook internally as the fat has liquefied and it will die slowly from organ failure. This liquefaction and internal cooking is well documented in Australian flocks after heat waves.
Then leading back to Winter = a full serve of grains from mid Autumn through Winter and less green feed to put the fat reserves back on for warmth through the cold. Also so they have the fat reserves to help grow in new feathers after the moult and a good feeling of weight for the show season.
The adult birds at The Stud are rarely ever fed bread, the chicks and juveniles are never fed bread. It is too subjective regards freshness and in the past some birds have reacted badly to stale bread. One here died after eating a piece that was later found only partially eaten and with a small amount of mould on it.
Table scraps are never fed to the birds, also due to a potential lack of freshness, only fresh vegetables and other greens are given to the birds.
The 'in-house' regime has worked well for some time. Excluding the 2009 fire storms and accompanying 5 day heat wave with temperatures reaching 45 degrees, and the 2014 heat waves with an average daily temperature of 54 degrees and night time temperatures averaging 48 degrees. No amount of preparation would have stopped birds dying after the intensity of the heat and those situations.
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