Posted onFebruary 4, 2014|Comments Off on Safely Raising New Baby Chicks In Large Volume
Spring time comes real early for chicken farms… So deep in winter…. When people are warm and snug in their homes not even THINKING about chickens, most farmers are planning ahead on next years spring sellers. I’m no “eggsception” to that rule.
When raising chicks in volume (600 to 800 or more per batch) some companies raise in the THOUSANDS. Depending on season and what is projected we have a large number of chicks in brooder at any time. It can take 8 weeks to get a baby egg laying breed into the juvenile sized of pullets ready for outdoors. (depending on weather) So to be ready for spring, this process must be started at the end of fall or in the cold of winter.
What have I learned about raising many baby chicks at once? 1st.. its not easy, its frustrating to get everything “just right” and irritating to have the “acceptable” losses of 2% to 3% losses per batch of young chicks up until the first week. Many chicks cannot process feed or water upon hatching and will die about 3/5 days from hatching. its just the law of large numbers and good old Mother Nature. Not all animals are born perfect. Sad but true.
Heat, heat and more heat and lots of it… this is what makes winter and fall chicks so difficult to raise. Adding hay, lights and HEATERS plus ventilation to keep the brooder room at 85 to 95 degrees is difficult to say the least with temperature drops. Texas weather can change from 85 degrees in the day to 28 at night…. so no amount of preparation is always perfect in these instances.
Lets talk about “poop mat” the poop that builds up in the brooder room over several days must be cleaned and removed properly. What is poop mat? its not only chick poop.. but its also includes “biofilm” of trillions of bacteria where germs live and thrive in the warm moist droppings. This is why its so important to have the proper bacterial growth on the area where baby chicks walk and eat.
Since I have used Chrisal probiotics in my chicken production. in ALL areas of production, I have noticed much lower losses, no odor and the chickens are bursting in health and vigor. All ages. The best way to raise chickens is in the healthy and safe way. natural organic probiotics have ensured Blue Star Ranch batch after batch of the healthiest chickens anywhere in Texas. But its important to continue safe health practices and KEEP your chickens in the best environment possible.
Baby chick mortality… again this happens in large batches from chicks pecking at each other, squishing and pressing together. Even with ample room, sometimes chickens get into a “swarm” and baby chicks can smother each other. ( a real aggravating loss! ggrrrr…) So again back to the proper temperature too. So if I find a section of room (usually if lights are close together) chicks “swarm” in these areas. I shut down a heat lamp and or add plastic buckets to that area to disperse the crowd of chicks.
If you think of raising chicks in large batches, please make out yourself a diagram of where your light and heat sources are coming from. Then start with a “test batch” of 25 chicks.. make sure your room and all light and heat sources are in order. DON’T make your first batch a huge batch…. start slow and add a few more each season. its not as easy as it looks.
Posted onJanuary 1, 2014|Comments Off on What If You Find Your Chicken Died…How Do You Know How It Happened?
It can happen.. one day you walk to your coop and you will find that it can happen to ANYBODY… Your chicken (pet or farm animal) is lying there DEAD.
What went wrong? Aside from the obvious, someone left the coop door open, or your find your dog with feathers all over his dog house… what are the “tell-tale” signs on how your chicken died?
The first thing is to remove the dead bird and calm down. Now, how to find out the real reason. Look for signs around the coop first. The first thing to consider is the POSITION of the dead bird. Is she under a roost upside down? or is the bird chewed and mangled? Are there holes dug near the corners of the coop? These can be indicators of WHAT killed the bird.
In addition, in some cases you may find a “missing” bird. this is also indications of a predator in your coop. If you find a trail of feathers all over the coop or outside of your coop this was a predator attack.
If you see that the chicken was lying under the roost its likely that she was pushed off the perch by other chickens and maybe broke her neck.
Posted onDecember 29, 2013|Comments Off on ‘We’ve reached the end of antibiotics’ CDC offical
‘We’ve reached the end of antibiotics’: Top CDC expert declares that ‘miracle drugs’ that have saved millions are no match against ‘superbugs’ because people have overmedicated themselves
This is a quote from a top CDC official… and it got me to thinking… what if this is not just hype but that maybe, just maybe humanity has overmedicated ourselves, our farm animals and over genetically modified all of our foods. perhaps we ourselves have allowed this to happen.
This and other stories like it are published all over. Moreover, there are strains of flue that are killing people in Texas and Missouri.
I, being an poultry farmer in agriculture understand the uses and lately the limitations of antibiotics. Further the “antibiotics” that I used to purchase at the feed stores no longer work for chickens. What will people do when antibiotics stop working in hospitals for humans. Something to think about.
Posted onDecember 29, 2013|Comments Off on Don’t BLAME yourself for mistakes- Enjoy your chickens heres why…
Over the years as I have raised chickens I’ve decided to stop beating myself up for the mistakes that I have made along the way. My small farm (medium? large? depending on who’s looking at Blue Star Ranch) has raised in the many thousands, maybe more of young chickens to adult laying age and supplied pet owners, farmers and businesses throughout Texas and other states.
When I was real new at raising chickens I went to forums and websites hoping to find the “magic answer” to all of my coop or chickens daily questions that ran though my mind. Is this answer right? could this just be an old wives tale? maybe this person has the answer.. I tried everything to make my small (and growing farm) “perfect” Well, I found that forums of thousands of “chicken club” friends weren’t really my friends. They mostly repeated stories, folklore and tidbits of handy information now and then. There was NO ONE person or place that really had what I was looking for.
There was no magic answer to all of the plagues of poultry and occasional losses of stock due to accidents or weather related catastrophes.
I came to know that in raising livestock sometimes things are just out of your control. The best thing you can do is be prepared for weather related issues, keep your coop as clean and balanced with bacteria (the right kind) and have supplies on hand BEFORE you need them. Then just do your best and sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labor.
Once I started doing all of these things and complete my “checklist” of chores, I sleep better at night knowing that my chickens are cared for in the best way possible. They have a happy secure farm life, and that’s the best anyone can do.
Posted onDecember 27, 2013|Comments Off on Lets share our best chicken stories. If you have chickens, bet you have stories!
Complete this poll and check back for the results.
Lets share our chicken stories the good and the bad. Lets remember a simpler time. Lets also remember and share why we got chickens in the first place and stories along the way to getting our dream coop. (if you made it there yet!) We all have different reasons for owning a chicken coop in our back yard.
Most of us have learned that raising chickens is NOT as easy as it looks on TV or the movies right? So there are LOTS of chicken chat rooms and forums out there. But this time its different. We are all here to share our REAL experiences in raising chickens and what we have learned. What would you do different? Would you have gotten more or less chickens or not at all? Does having chickens really bring your family close together?
We all know raising chickens is tough at times, but it really is worth it too.
When I looked at other forums and needed an answer boy was it confusing!
I am an experience farmer of poultry and have learned much about chickens over the years. Most of which I pass along to my friends and readers at the Blue Star Ranch website. I go wwwaaayyy out of my way to teach people how to care for chickens. I don’t know why I became a chicken farmer. I just LOVE teaching and learning about poultry (and fresh eggs for breakfast too!) This is the time to ask your questions and share your stories.
So sit back and relax and begin to read and share your experiences with other chicken owners. Click to follow me!