Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Get Involved And Stop Mandatory Animal ID (NAIS)

Sign The petition located here.

Write Your Senators, and Congressmen. Click Here

Please Get Involved To Stop This Legislation From Passing

The Latest Tyranny: Tagging Terrorist Chickens
By Justin & Franklin Sanders

Hard Questions About The National Animal Id System (NAIS)
National Animal Identification System (NAIS) - Fact Sheet

Have you heard about the National Animal Identification System (NAIS)? The radio ads feature a “farmer” telling us how hard it is to make a living farming today - harder than it was for Momma and Daddy. Worse yet, now we’ve got the risks of all these new diseases. But - golly, golly, gee -- the government is going to help. They’ve come up with a voluntary program to register our farms and animals to protect us and our animals from diseases. All good Americans will sign up....

To read the rest of the info on NAIS click here

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Books On Cockfighting And Chicken Fights

Click here for a list of books on cockfighting annd gamefowl


Will D. Jenkins, "The Chicken Fighters," Last Frontier in the North Cascades. Mount Vernon: Skagit County Historical Society, 1984.p. 89-91.

One of my good friends at Darrington was Fred Griffith, whom I had known when my folks lived at Lake Whatcom. His father and brothers had built our original log house in Geneva, near Bellingham, in 1905. That's where I got to know Fred. He played the fiddle and raised game chickens.

In 1917 when I was stationed at the Blue Bird with Ranger Eilert Skaar, Fred was running a little six-stool lunch counter in Dar- rington, called the White Horse Cafe, for the mountain of the same name. The patronage was mainly loggers from Sauk Valley and camps along the Stillaguamish.

Fred had an active sideline, however a surreptitious one, of fighting gamecocks. He owned some mighty fine birds, including Cu- ban Reds, Hatch Clarets, Blues, Grays, and English Games. He swore by his Cubans, especially, and claimed there was never a dunghill among them. Fred had collected quite a few good bets as evidence of his judgment of fighting quality.

So that no one, particularly the law, would get the idea he was leading a double life, Fred kept his birds walked out on Old Uncle Aaron's ranch near Lyman. Uncle Aaron was an acknowledged dean of the Tarheel cock fighting fraternity. He and Fred did considerable dealing in hot-blooded birds. The two men had a profitable working arrangement involving their game chickens, and in the winter months, when the cocks were in full feather, they often attended secretly held mains together.

Of course there were people in the valley who considered cock fighting wicked, and there had been raids by the sheriff at various times, most probably based on information supplied by local informants. I doubt that any of the squealers who stool pigeoned on the mains were Tarheels because the North Carolinians and their kin who made up the bulk of the population, were known to regard cock fighting as they did moonshining - a traditional inherited birthright which could readily be supported by any unbiased interpretations of the Bill of Rights.

In a raid on a pit barn on the North Prairie one snowy night, the game cockers were jumped before they had a chance to start the main. The birds, including Fred's Cubans and Uncle Aaron's Clarets, were all in their tight little pens as the boys fled the barn. The men escaped by running down a shallow creek-bed, leaving no tracks for the sheriff to follow. There were no arrests but some brave and willing chickens were confiscated in their pens.

From what I heard of it, the sheriff held the birds for about two weeks in the futile hope their owners would show up but none did. He was getting awful tired of feeding and watering his scrappy, crowing prisoners when Fred decided the time was right to approach the law with a proposition.

Possibly because no actual crime had been committed when he made the raid, and the legality of the seizure of penned birds might reasonably be challenged, the sheriff appears to have been open to suggestions for a way out.

"I could use them chickens for stews in my place in Darrington," says Fred, referring to the White Horse lunch counter. "But, of course, Sheriff, I couldn't afford to pay much for them. I only get two bits for a chicken stew."

The sheriff sold the gamecocks to Fred for twenty-five cents apiece and the way Fred related it to me, seemed glad to get rid of them.

I met Fred walking home one moonlight night. He had a beautiful Cuban Red snuggled under his coat. Its natural spurs had been filed short to receive the sharp pointed gaffs it would ultimately wear in battle, and the nubbins were carefully wrapped in chamois. We talked about the raid in North Prairie.

I can still see Fred's white teeth grinning in the moonlight as he related how he and Uncle Aaron and several of their friends got all their birds back - at very nominal cost.
Cock Fights

Roy Franklin Jones, Boundary Town: Early Days in a Northwest Boundary Town. Vancouver, Wa.: Fleet Printing Co. 1958, p.150-3.

It must have been the railroad section hands who first brought the cock fights to Sumas. I suppose it was a good place because it was up there against the boundary line where a man could take his birds and scoot across in case of raids by the sheriff. There were always plenty of saloons where the visiting owners could whoop it up in celebration afterwards and losers could salve their bitterness.

But cock fighting was something else my father would have nothing of. It was only at the blacksmith shop or around the saloons, when we boys went in to sell some gathered up empty bottles, that we would hear the enthusiastic tales about the feathered fighters. Some of the older boys like Al Warnick, Clarence McBurney and Jim Smith talked about the "birds" while we small fry were trading marbles. It got to be quite a deal for several years, and here is what the Daily Reveille, at New Whatcom, had to say in their issue of Jan. 28, 1898:

"Cockfight at Sumas" - "The greatest cocking main on record took place near Sumas last Saturday night, and as a result, Billie Belong, 'The Original Mug', went back to Seattle with $2100.00 in his pocket. The other fellows were broke. One of them owes Billie a pig, another a shirt."

"The main, proper was to consist of eleven battles. Only nine were fought, as Billie's birds won six out of the nine, thus making a majority, no matter how the others would have ended."

"After the main was over, six 'shake' fights took place. Belong won five out of the six."

"The main was the outcome of a persistent effort on the part of some of the sports to show Belong that he is not the owner of the greatest fighting cocks in Seattle. It was Belong against a combination consisting of Frank Burns, Frank Dollarby, Ed Clark, Smith, McGee, Phinney, Perry and another whose name could not be learned."

"They scoured the country to get the best birds possible. That they were confident in winning is shown by the fact that they readily agreed to have the main for $350.00 with $20.00 aside on each battle. Those who were in on the fight left Friday night and went to the battleground near Sumas. The main took place Saturday night and was witnessed by many of Seattle, Whatcom and Vancouver's best known sports."

The cockfights furnished a lot of entertainment. When advertised, the billing gave the impression that the fights were held across the line, but that was a misleading statement. Perhaps this was to save face for the sheriff because the fights were illegal. Most bouts were put on in a pit in a shed adjoining Ottestead's saloon. It was there, one night, the sheriff raided and Jim Smith and Will Eaton made a quick exit through a window, jumping eight feet to the weeds below.

But Billie the Mug was not always tops as the Reveille article seemed to claim. George Handley had a Wyandotte rooster which killed one of Billie's best birds. Billie then put up another and George's bird put that one away, too. Then Billie offered George $25.00 for his bird. A rooster like that at market prices was worth about fifty cents but George wouldn't sell for twenty-five dollars.

After the raids the pits were moved to other spots. One fancy place was in the back of the I.O.O.F. Hall, which made it a brotherhood activity. A check of attendance there would have revealed the names of most of the leading men in town.

These were all on an organized basis but occasionally there was a private match to bolster up an owner's ego, just the same as the dog fights, which sometimes preceded a fight of the owners of the dogs. One of the funniest things we kids learned about was the cockfight by Jessie Lindsey's pet.

Jessie Lindsey was a little girl, but quite a few people had bantams or fighters for pets so her father gave her a small rooster. A fighting cock or a gander made a pretty good watch dog to have around in the yard.

Jessie had a dog, too, Rover, full of fun and mischief. Rover was very much intrigued with the little rooster and would lower himself on front elbows and bark at the feathered member of the family. Jessie had named him "Warhorse" at her father's suggestion and he soon began to show that he was well named. When Rover barked, the bird was annoyed and began to flutter to the attack. With spurs and beak he made quite a commotion against Rover's black shaggy shoulder. In time, Rover too, went to the attack. He would catch his playmate in his mouth and shake him, but at Jessie's watchful supervision, he was careful not to hurt the bird. When Warhorse was grown he got lots of exercise in the yard chasing the dog and being chased.

One day neighbor Williams dropped over to talk to Mr. Lindsey. He had a fine fighting cock at home, kept carefully closed up in a fancy wire enclosed run. As he left he saw little tomboy Jessie chasing her rooster.

"Nice looking bird you have there, Jessie. I don't suppose you'd let him fight a real game cock, would you?"

"Me, my bird! that bird of yours in the cage! Why, no, I wouldn't want him to fight because your bird isn't tough like Warhorse. My bird would lick him in a minute!"

"Ha, ha, ha! What do you say we let them have a little exercise."

"All right, Mr. Williams, you bring him over and we'll see."

Williams was soon back with his prize bird. They went around behind the house.

"I'll put Dixie Traveler down first and then you can throw Warhorse down," said Williams.

"Oh, no, Mr. Williams. my bird is going to lick yours. You better let me put Warhorse down first, then you can throw the Traveler."

"All right, Jessie, I'm afraid it won't make any difference, but I'll watch the Traveler and pull him off."

When Dixie Traveler was thrown down he flew to the attack as only a fighting cock can. But Warhorse went up in the air, too, and as they came down together, he closed the attack with beak and spurs, just like a battle with Rover. They had the air full of flying feathers. Fluttering back for fresh starts the fury of the battle was renewed again and again.

Blood showed on Warhorse and Dixie Traveler alike. Soon the Traveler began to lose ground. When he saw Warhorse coming in again, he suddenly turned tail, made a fast run and flew through the hedge in the back, ran across the pasture and disappeared in the woods. It was about a week before Mr. Williams found his Traveler and got him back in that nice enclosed pen. Everything Poultry Fowl and Game Birds

Toe Marking or Toe Punching Chickens and Gamefowl

These are all the different toe marking or toe punches you can do to mark your flock.

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Sunday, January 15, 2006

How to Treat an Impacted Crop
You need to flush and empty an impacted crop. You can use an eyedropper, a syringe without a needle, or a child's ear syringe. Be sure to put the dropper or syringe all the way back in the bird's mouth. There is a hole at the base of the tongue that leads to the bird's lungs. You must be way past that or you will damage your bird.

First Treatment :
You can start by putting an eyedropper full of vegetable oil into the crop and then massaging the crop. This will soften the impaction. Put the dropper all the way back in the bird's mouth and slowly push out the oil. Any vegetable oil is good: olive oil, corn oil, or canola oil.


  • 1/2-cup baking soda
  • 1 pint of warm water

Fill the syringe and insert it as far as you can into the mouth of the chicken. Have someone hold the bird upright in front of you.

Slowly and very gently fill the crop, do not over fill and get liquid into that hole at the base of the tongue.

Gently press up under the chicken's breast and slide your hand up to the crop. This makes the bird open its mouth and the impacted mess will come out the bird's mouth. Push the contents up and out of the crop and out of the mouth. You can face the bird toward the ground to help empty the crop.

Repeat this gentle stroking pressure until nothing comes up. If there the crop is not empty, flush it again until it is empty.

Once the crop is empty, give another dropper of oil.

House the bird away from other birds so it can rest. Provide about a cup of water with 1 teaspoon terramycin dissolved in it. Give no feed.

Second Day
If the bird is droopy on the next day, put molasses in the bird's water for about four hours (1/4 cup per gallon of water). Remove the molasses water after four hours and give the bird fresh terramycin water. The molasses water will flush soured food from the bird's digestive system.

Follow Up Treatment

If the crop impacts again, repeat the flush.

Continue the terramycin for 7 days to avoid secondary infection.

After 24 hours, give only soft food for a week or so. This lets the inflamed and irritated crop recover and prevents another impaction.

The soft diet can include crumbles and chopped hard-boiled or microwaved eggs. You can feed bread if it is soaked in milk or buttermilk. Buttermilk is especially good because active culture buttermilk has good bacteria in it that help the bird's digestion.

You may also use 1 slice brown bread, 1/2 cup buttermilk and 1/8 cup yogurt no artificial sweetener and then for 5 days that is all you feed her after 2nd day feed this twice the next 4 days.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Chickens and Gamefowl Crop Bound

Crop bound and constipation are two very different things

This is some information on a bird that is said to be crop bound that may help

Impacted Crop Information and Treatment

If it IS an impacted crop and not what is called "sour crop" in which the bird
has gotten a hold of moldy or bad food or has a Canker in her crop, here are
some suggestions--I got this info off of another chicken forum I am a member
of, hope it helps:

Impacted Crop

By Alan Stanford, Ph.D.

Brown Egg Blue Egg

I Relied Upon Glenda L Heywood National Poultry News and the The Chicken
Health Handbook by Gail Damerow

Copied with Alan's permission From:

Impacted crops are not caused by your birds needing more grit.

Grit is indeed necessary for birds that eat other than commercial feed; they
need grit when they eat scratch grains, greens, and when they free range.
Birds use grit in their gizzards to grind food; but the gizzard is far
"downstream" from the crop. The crop is a kind of foyer into which all the
food packs before moving into the digestive system.

Things that cause impacted crops are anything a bird eats that is too big to
move into the digestive system. Some of these too big things are whole grain
(especially for small birds), grapes, and greens. When free ranging birds eat
greens they rip off small pieces and these pieces pass freely out of the crop.

One way I caused impacted crops in our flock was letting the flock out on once
long, freshly mown grass. They have no problem with long unmown grass because
they can rip off little pieces. Long strands of fresh cut grass pile up in the
gizzard and can't get out.

You need to flush and empty an impacted crop. You can use an eyedropper, a
syringe without a needle, or a child’s ear syringe or a crop tube (I prefer to
use the crop tube). Be sure to put the dropper or syringe all the way back in
the bird’s mouth. There is a hole at the base of the tongue that leads to the
bird’s lungs. You must be way past that or you will damage your bird.

I have put a diagram at the bottom of this document to show you how it is done
and what a crop tube looks like

First Treatment – Day one

You can start by putting an eyedropper full of vegetable oil into the crop and
then massaging the crop, make sure it does not go into the airway or it will
drown the bird. This will soften the impaction. Put the dropper all the way
back in the bird's mouth and slowly push out the oil. Any vegetable oil is
good: olive oil, corn oil, or canola oil.


1/2-cup baking soda

1 pint of warm water

Fill the syringe and insert it as far as you can into the mouth of the
chicken. Have someone hold the bird upright in front of you. Slowly and very
gently fill the crop, do not over fill and get liquid into that hole at the
base of the tongue (it goes to the air-sacs of the bird). Gently press up
under the chicken’s breast and slide your hand up to the crop. This makes the
bird open its mouth and the impacted mess will come out the bird's mouth.

Push the contents up and out of the crop and out of the mouth. You can face
the bird toward the ground to help empty the crop. Repeat this gentle stroking
pressure until nothing comes up.

Make sure none of the impacted mess goes back down it may go into the air
ways… so keeping the birds tipped forward while doing this process will be of
benefit to the bird

If there the crop is not empty, flush it again until it is empty.

Once the crop is empty, give another dropper of oil.

Coop the bird away from other birds so it can rest. Provide about a cup of
water with 1 teaspoon Terramycin dissolved in it. Give no feed.

Second Day

If the bird is droopy on the next day, put molasses in the bird’s water for
about four hours (1/4 cup per gallon of water). Remove the molasses water
after four hours and give the bird fresh Terramycin water.

The molasses water will flush soured food from the bird’s digestive system.

Follow Up Treatment

If the crop impacts again, repeat the flush.

Continue the Terramycin for 7 days to avoid secondary infection.

After 24 hours, give only soft food for a week or so. This lets the inflamed
and irritated crop recover and prevents another impaction.

The soft diet can include crumbles and chopped hard-boiled or micro waved
eggs. You can feed bread if it is soaked in milk or buttermilk. Buttermilk is
especially good because active culture buttermilk has good bacteria in it that
help the bird’s digestion.

Be sure to also give the bird some beneficial bacteria. They keep digestion
going correctly and fight disease by crowding out disease bacteria. You can
just mix 1-2 teaspoons per bird of ACTIVE culture yoghurt with a small amount
of food and give this as the only food until they eat it.

You can also buy lactobacillus at health food stores

Give no grains, no large pellets, no not soaked bread, and no grass or greens
because these can cause another impaction.

Feed only things that almost fall apart when wet.

Glenda Heywood likes to feed this for the week

1 slice wheat bread

1/2-cup buttermilk

3 tablespoons active culture yoghurt with no artificial sweetener

Baby food (or unsweetened) apple sauce (as Barb recommends below).

Adding oil to the food will help avoid another impaction.

Cod liver or wheat germ oil are good because they provide vitamins A, D, and

Only add about 2% of the feed’s weight. (4 or 5 drops to the beak.. no more
than this or you can poison the bird with an overdose of Vitamin A)

Barb Silcott's Preventative and Follow-up Treatment

"If you have a bird that continually comes up with an impacted crop, once
you've emptied the crop and start making your soft feed for it, add some baby
food type applesauce. (Unsweetened regular applesauce should be as good.)

The applesauce helps get the crop emptied a little quicker and is also acidic
which helps with the bacteria problem."

"This works for sour crop, too. In fact, when we're hand-feeding parrots, we
always add some baby food applesauce to the formula to prevent sour crop.
Works great! With all the parrots I've hand-fed over the years, I've never had
a case of sour crop. I specify baby food applesauce because it doesn't have
any added sugar which just aggravates the problems."

Pendulous Crop

If the bird has a problem with what is called "pendulous crop", in which the
crop appears engorged and is hanging out from the birds' body like a baseball
this might help also.

The info below I also copied from the other chicken site so it includes one
person's personal anecdote:

Pendulous crop sometimes results from impacted crop but sometimes it's
spontaneous or from a fungal infection or a canker carried by doves and

When the food can't pass through the crop, it gets more and more full.

Eventually the crop loses a lot of muscle tone and it won't push the food
through the gizzard. If not caught, the bird will just starve to death. It's
really hard to keep a bird alive after developing this.

If you catch it early on, it can possibly be treated with anti-fungal agents
or freeing the impaction. There is a surgical treatment for more advanced
cases but

1) it's extremely difficult to find someone who knows how to do this

2) 2) it's VERY expensive to have it done; and

3) 3) it only is effective in about 50% of cases.

I lost our first one, Amazon, after an incredible fight but I didn't know what
was wrong for so long. It was my inexperience that killed him really.

Puff has it too. I massage his crop every day for half an hour to make sure
some food is going through. You have to make sure the crop empties.

He has fast days so I can monitor that the crop is actually functioning. An
alternative to fast days is to milk the crop... squeeze it and make it all
come up out his mouth, it being a little dangerous that they will aspirate the
stuff... or empty it with a tube and syringe.

You'd not believe how nasty the stuff is in there! I was syringing... but I
find fast days are easier on both of us!!!

He's a little underweight but he's happy and has normal stools. I give him
only softened foods and monitor how much he's eating so the crop never gets
over extended more than it is. He's a major sweetie pie and tolerates
everything I have to do to him so well.

It is also possibly genetic and you shouldn't let birds who have it breed.
Studies are being done on it. It's a lot more common in waterfowl than in
poultry but you do see it in poultry and in other avian birds as well.

you can use a larger syringe for a chicken… just make sure you don’t put too
much into the crop and burst it

requirements: 1 syringe and 1 piece of soft plastic tubing to attach to the
end of the syringe about 15 cm long

If the picture of the crop tubes or the “how to insert the crop tube” does not
show up on your computer go to this site and see the pictures relating to
pigeons but they also relate to chicken

Monday, December 19, 2005

Nutrients for Chickens and Gamefowl

Debbie Porter
The feed which chickens eat is made up of water, carbohydrates, fats, proteins, minerals and vitamins. Each nutrient serves a special need. What we feed supplies the building material for the development of bone, flesh, feathers and eggs. When nutrients are properly formulated and balanced will produce fowl that produce in the manner they were designed, provide eggs for market, table or incubation, and develop a healthy meaty fowl. Each nutrient provides a solitary source, but is not complete, yet when gathered and combined provides the proper balance and energy that a fowl needs.
One of the most important, yet often overlooked nutrients, is water. A young chick needs a constant supply of fresh water to stay healthy. It doesn't drink a lot of water at one time; therefore, it has to drink often. A fowl’s intake of daily water will depend upon availability and weather conditions. Desiring less in winter and more in hot summer months. Placement of water containers is essential, making easy access to old and young alike. Water also can be a source of bacteria, if not cleaned on a regular basis and therefore should be changed frequently depending upon weather, consumption and exposure. Stagnant or long term standing water can be a host and breeding ground for insects that carry disease to poultry.
Water carries waste products out of the body, helps cool the bird by evaporation, softens feed and carries it through the digestive tract. Water should always be available and fresh. During hot summer month’s water containers should be kept in cool shady areas and not allowed to become stagnant or develop algae build up. Which would allow for the ingestion of microbes or bacteria. Lack of free access to abundant water supply may also slow productivity down. Denial of water can lead to dehydration, molt, dry feathers without sheen, undue stress and the inability to properly digest food. Fowl consume their greatest amount of water following eating or right before roosting.
Carbohydrates include starches, sugars and cellulose. Carbohydrates in the form of starches, or simple sugars are needed for body maintenance and energy. Carbohydrates cost less than fats and are easily digested, absorbed and transformed into fat.
Important sources of carbohydrates in poultry feeds are corn, wheat, oats, milo and various other cereal grains. Since energy is provided by the intake of carbohydrates, whether it is for warmth in winter by adding extra grains like corn to the diet to naturally produce body heat, or energy to maintain a balanced and vibrant flock. An over abundance of carbohydrates in the diet can produce added amounts of fat cells reducing health benefits and productivity. Reducing the ration of corn, yet providing other beneficial grains, and increasing the sources of protein to provide the energy that a fowl needs for egg production, general health and energy, and the viability of the egg can be beneficial.
Whole Grains such as wheat, oats, barley, and corn are vitamin sources of the B complexes, E, folic Acid and Biotin. With wheat having the highest source of biotin and vitamin E, along with B/1 known as Thiamin. You may see it listed on feed sources as Hydrochloride. Another good source for the complex B vitamins is ground meals and dried yeast. B vitamins are depleted during stress and are essential in the release of energy from absorbed or stored carbohydrates and fats. B vitamins aids in disease resistance, fertility and viability of the embryo.
Animal and vegetable fats, such as cottonseed meal or fishmeal, are the highest energy sources in feedstuffs. They also improve the physical consistency in feed mixtures. Supplemental fats may increase energy utilization in adult birds in association with a decreased rate of food intake. The substitution of fat for a portion of the dietary carbohydrates may enhance energy utilization by reducing the heat created by carbohydrates. Fats should be stabilized by an antioxidant; otherwise they are likely to become rancid, especially in hot weather or long storage periods. Small amounts of fat are desirable since they supply essential fatty acids, fatty acids are essential for rebuilding and producing new cells, and improve palatability. Essential fatty acids require Vitamin E for absorption. Some good sources of essential fatty acids for poultry are found in vegetable oils and fishmeal. The oil content in fishmeal will range from 2% to greater than 14%. So thus it should not be the sole source of fat content.
Proteins are complex compounds made up of amino acids. Feed proteins are broken down into amino acids by digestion. They are then absorbed and transported by the blood to the cells, which assemble these amino acids into body proteins. Body proteins are used in the construction of body tissue. Tissues, which mainly consist of protein, are muscles, nerves, cartilage, skin, feathers and beak. The albumen (white) of the egg is also high in protein. The main sources of protein in poultry rations are animal proteins such as fishmeal, meat and bone meal, and plant proteins, such as soybean meal, cottonseed meal, and ground alfalfa and corn gluten meal. There is no one source of protein that will provide all the amino acids in one feed ration. But when the proteins from different feedstuffs are used, the ration can be formulated to contain all the necessary amino acids. Excellent sources of proteins for poultry are ground alfalfa meal, meat and bone meal and fishmeal. A balanced diet of proteins should be formulated for each stage of a fowl’s life and needs according to growth desired and productivity. Too low of protein count and you can see poor development in young and the health and overall vitality of the old effected with excessive weight loss. To high of a protein count from gathered resources and optimum growth can result in a short period of time with excessive weight gain for the skeletal structure to support, to cases of gout. A vitamin A deficiency can affect the ability of a fowl to utilize protein. Meat proteins also provide the enzymes that aid in digestion and metabolism of proteins. Fishmeal is an excellent source of protein for poultry since it contains adequate quantities of all the essential amino acids required by chickens, and is an especially good source of lysine and methionine. Good quality fishmeal is a brown powder, which will average between 60% and 70% protein. It cannot be used as a sole source of protein. Thus when added to feed rations should be done so as to not exceed the protein requirement of the fowl but only to insure a proper and balanced level, or provide what may not be readily available in the ration due to a poor protein source. The protein content of wheat is higher than corn. Protein content varies from 11 to 19%, depending on type of wheat. Wheat can be added at higher rates in summer months with a decrease in corn, for the reduction of heat and still supply the energy a fowl needs. Wheat does not contain caratenoids and will create a slightly lighter yolk color. Many Game Bird feeds gather several sources of protein, with animal proteins in a higher percentage compared to other feeds, for a well-balanced supply of all the essential amino acids. All feed should be formulated in such a way to provide balanced nutrition for appropriate age levels. With a higher count for the young and a decreased protein count as a fowl matures and has developed. Added supplements of animal protein sources to a balanced ration should be done at 2 to 4% levels due to the source and structure of the proteins. Grain proteins can be added at higher level. Yet should not exceed that of other sources of animal protein diluting the count to such an extent proper nutrition is affected. It is a combination of these proteins that fulfills the required diet.
In reading the tag on a bag of poultry feed you will see listed the percent of crude protein. This tells you only the percentage guaranteed for optimum performance for a particular need or stage of development according to age. It is beneficial to check the sources of protein that the feed is comprised of. Your main sources of proteins for each particular brand will be listed as the first of several ingredients.
The mineral portion of the feed is inorganic matter. Minerals are absorbed through the small intestine. Minerals, especially calcium, magnesium and phosphorus, help build bones and make them strong and rigid. Laying hens also require minerals for eggshell formation. Other minerals are needed in trace amounts. Trace minerals are those minerals required at very low amounts for good growth and production. Potassium is essential in egg production and when depleted a drop may arise. Most feeds, in crumble, pellet or mash forms are formulate with a certain amount of trace minerals. Grains are low in minerals, so it is necessary to provide supplements. Calcium, phosphorus and salt are needed in the greatest amounts. Ground limestone and oyster shell are good calcium sources. Trace levels of iodine, iron, manganese and zinc are also included in mineral supplements. Bone meal, and ground limestone supply additional calcium and phosphorus. Phosphorus in meat and bone meal is almost completely absorbed by the bird. During stress related times and heavy production minerals such as calcium will be absorbed at a faster rate leaving the system depleted drawing its source form other areas such as bones resulting in brittleness, poor egg quality and lack of production. Calcium given freely in oyster shell form can be scattered or made available freely for a hen to consume, as her body desires to replace the loss during heavy production. Fishmeal is an excellent source of calcium and phosphorus for poultry. Fishmeal contains three major nutrients; protein, fat and minerals (ash). The ash (mineral) content of fishmeal is relatively high and is usually an indication of a higher calcium and phosphorus level. Another valuable source for minerals, protein and vitamins is Alfalfa. Many times it is offered in a feed ration as a ground meal form. Alfalfa meal contains Chlorine, Iron, Magnesium, Potassium, and Sodium. Many Game Bird Feed rations will offer alfalfa meal as a protein source, but it also provides trace mineral elements. Those fowl; that do not have access to free ranging or forging and are limited to soil for dusting and consuming minerals may need periodic mineral supplements or mineral grit.
All feed rations will provide small amounts, and are absolutely necessary for growth, reproduction and the maintenance of health. They occur in feedstuffs in varying quantities and in different combinations. Regardless of brand or form vitamin supplements may be required periodically for health and vitality. Many things can interfere with the efficiency of vitamins; stress and antibiotics can deplete the body of many vitamins. Microorganisms of the intestinal tract produce some vitamins. A side effect of medications is the depletion of naturally produced vitamins in the intestines especially after cocci treatments. Vitamin D can be produced by sunlight on the bird's skin. Caged fowl are more likely to need the aid of a D supplement. Other vitamins must be supplied in the ration. Vitamins are required for normal growth, feathering and leg development in the young and stamina, health, fertility and production in the old. A wide range of problems can arise and will depend on which vitamin or vitamins a fowl is inadequate in and how deficient the diet is. Many poultry diseases and illnesses can be often attributed to a vitamin deficient ration.
There are 2 groups that vitamins fall into, fat-soluble and water-soluble. Fat-soluble vitamins are stored in the body’s fat and used when needed Water-soluble vitamins are not stored by the body and are lost through fecal droppings or stress. Water-soluble vitamins will need to be kept balanced in a diet.
Fat-soluble vitamins: A, D, E, K
Water-soluble vitamins: C, Thiamin (B/1), Riboflavin (B/2), Pantothenic acid, Niacin, Pyridoxine, Choline, Biotin, Folic Acid, B/12 and B complexes.
Vitamin A is necessary for the health and proper functioning of the skin and lining of the digestive, reproductive and respiratory tracts. Vitamin D plays an important role in bone formation and the metabolism of calcium and phosphorus. The B vitamins are involved in energy metabolism and in many other metabolic functions. On going studies are finding a relation between vitamin B and disease resistance. A vitamin premix is included in the commercial ration to provide additional supplements such as vitamin A, B/12, D/3, E, K, riboflavin, niacin, Pantothenic acid, and Choline. It was discovered that B/12 could be obtained by foraging through manure. Thus pecking at litter will maintain B/12 in a fowls system. Alfalfa meal added to feed provides K, A, C, B/3, D, and E. Housed flocks, or caged birds tend to have deficiencies at a higher rate than those that are allowed to run, scratch and forage. Access to soil minerals and fresh greens aid in replenishing vitamins and minerals lost to natural stress and stressful conditions. Some vitamins are not stable and their benefits can be lost in stored feed if not properly kept. If stored properly, to maintain the stability of vitamins, most feeds will remain stable for approximately 3 months.
On the other hand an excessive amounts of vitamins given in an improper balance can have serious health effects. There are specially formulated vitamin packs readily available in proper proportions, in the aid of a vitamin deficiency. Such additives that are aimed at providing vitamins are Cod liver oil, Wheat Germ oil, Brewers yeast or Dried Yeast, AD& E powders. These can be added to the diet during breeding, stress, or after medications, especially coccidiosis treatments or any illness that may have depleted the body of vitamins through stress of the illness or excrement. Many medications interfere with the absorption of vitamins.
Commercial poultry feeds contain numerous similar feed ingredients. There are, however, several different types of rations available. As an example: starter, grower, finisher and layer rations. These are designed to meet the specific needs of different type birds at different ages and developmental stages. All will provide ample nutrition if used in a proper fashion. Only the quality of each formulated ration will vary by the sources of Proteins, Carbohydrates and Fats.
Feeding and Formulating the Right Ration
Commercial poultry feeds contain numerous similar feed ingredients. There are, however, several different types of rations available. As an example: starter, grower, developer, finisher and layer and breeder rations. These are designed to meet the specific needs of different type birds. All are basic in their design with all formulations gathering their sources from either animal or vegetable proteins. With the greater concentration and best source of protein for the young and their developmental rate. Grower and developers are designed to bring a young fowl into the mature stage of egg production. Growers and developers are designed for the “adolescent” stage of fowl. They will be slightly reduced in protein count yet should contain good sources for continuing muscle and structure development. Layers or breeders need a proper nutrient balance to be able to produce eggs whether for the table or those to be incubated. A breeder ration will have a slightly higher protein count than a layer ration with added vitamins and minerals for viability of the embryo. Whether layer or breeder they may require less protein but added energy foods for production. Both are formulated with trace amounts of calcium but during heavy production may require a supplement of oyster shell.
Chicks should never be feed solid grain feeds due to the developmental stages of the gizzard in digesting solid grains. Mashes are formulated for easier digestion and consumption. Their proteins sources should be gathered from high quality animal proteins and not total reliance on vegetable proteins.
When introducing grains to a proper formulated ration it should be done at as a gradual process. Whether it is to supplement due to stress, weather, production or viability of the egg. When feeds sources such as grains are added to concentrated rations they dilute the protein count. Choice of grains is essential in maintaining protein yet providing the energy a flock may need for health and production. A good rule of thumb in formulating a ration for your flock is to gather all your protein sources and add the count, then divide the number of sources to get an approximation of the average. Foremost one should know the quality of the source and what it provides in establishing a healthy and productive flock. In formulating feeds all things should be considered form growth and development to egg production and breeding. Establishing a proper diet and feeding program will aid in the knowledge of areas that may require attention or supplements. Though fowl on a well-balanced and proper diet are less likely to have health related issues and require less supplementation. Remembering that each source of a nutrient you provide is energy for a fowl to perform and maintain its health.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Poultry and Gamefowl General Care

Well fellers I got this post off of Poultry World . Net's Downloads section.----------General Care
K.J. Theodore
Many of you ‘older’ fanciers will remember one of my favorite TV programs from the past called ‘Quincy’, but for the younger audience, Dr. Quincy was a coroner…
This column will be dedicated to keeping you from needing one. (In the poultry world, Dr. Quincy would have been known as an Avian Pathologist or Poultry Research Veterinarian.)
In order to avoid the need for an avian pathologist, a fancier must practice good, common sense GENERAL CARE including good nutrition.
Do you realize that a chicken is designed to live thirty years? Did you know that a healthy hen can lay for up to 18 years? Most chickens do not live that long because they succumb to a multitude of stresses, disease, and predation. But with a little common sense care and good nutrition, your birds can live a long, happy life.
Let’s begin with water. Providing good, clean water is probably one of the most important things you can do for your birds. This is especially true with waterfowl. All hens need an abundance of water when laying, while roosters require less. Waterfowl drink about four times the water that chickens and turkeys do, and they require clean water for bathing as well.
I recommend changing drinking water for poultry twice a day in hot weather, and once in cold – unless the water becomes soiled during the day with feces, then I would change it as soon as you notice it. If this becomes a burdensome problem, then I would strategize to prevent the droppings from ending up in the water in the first place. I try to elevate my water containers off of the floor to prevent contamination by soiled shavings.
I add a water-soluble vitamin, mineral, and probiotic supplement to all drinking water. It’s relatively inexpensive and a good preventative maintenance measure. When I want the waterfowl to benefit from this practice, I take their bath away from them at night and then provide fortified drinking water to them in small containers (that they can’t fit into to swim in), first thing in the morning when they’re thirsty. They’ll drink away. Then I provide their bath for the remainder of the day.
To keep the duck’s bath from becoming heavily laden with bacteria from their droppings, I always add a few drops of Oxine every time I change the water. Because the Oxine will also kill off good bacteria in the stomach, wait about an hour between providing the drinking water and their first bath of the day. That will give the probiotics (good bacteria), a chance to migrate down the intestinal tract before the Oxine enters the stomach.
Nutrition, in the way of feed, is vital to the good health of your birds. Purchase a brand name manufactured duck pellet or appropriate poultry feed for your particular species. For the ducks, I recommend a good duck pellet fed twice a day – no more than they can clean up in about 10-15 minutes, along with a free-feed system of whole or crimped oats. They’ll prefer the pellet but will eat the oats when the pellet is gone. The oats are very nutritious for them. The crimped oats are easier to digest, but whole oats are also acceptable. In cold weather, provide a little corn for the late feeding to keep them warm overnight. This applies to your other poultry as well.
I custom blend my own chicken feed, but there are many good brand name manufactured feeds available for chickens in all phases of growth and production. Free-feed works well for youngsters, while a little more controlled consumption program should be exercised for adults. Avoid the typical pitfall of feeding chickens table scraps and other ‘treats’. If they’re on a good feed, they don’t require additional supplements. Also, many table scraps can be toxic to your birds and unless you’re very familiar with what those items are, you run the risk of giving them the wrong thing every time you do it. Excessive spices and salts in prepared table food can be particularly problematic. And don’t ever give them chocolate. I had someone call me once to say that half of the flock died after they were given a ‘treat’ of chocolate cereal. If you need a simple ‘treat’ for training purposes, stick to white bread tidbits.
I’m a big believer in medicated feed for both ducks and chickens. I know this is a controversial subject, but I also know from my own 3-year study in counsel with an agricultural college’s Poultry Research Veterinarian, that it has made a big difference in my flock in terms of mortality from chick to adult growth. I don’t always use it with the adults, but the youngsters get it until adulthood. Amprolium is the only medication I want in my medicated feed. Some come with Bacitracin as well – I avoid those. Amprolium is a relatively safe and effective Coccidiostat and helps your birds become immune to Cocci over a long period of time. If I have chickens or ducks that are not normally out on grass or dirt that I am able to put out only occasionally, then I always put them on the medicated feed a couple of days before, during and after their exposure to dirt. I haven’t had a case of Cocci in 3 years and have had no ill effects as a result of using the Amprolium.
Another consideration in good common sense care includes vaccination of your day old chicks. There are many available, but if you’re going to use the one that will do you the most good, then vaccinate against Mareks disease in chickens. Since I began vaccinating for Mareks, I haven’t had a single case. Read my article on Mareks if you are unfamiliar with the disease. Many people have it in their flocks and don’t even realize it. It kills more chickens than any other poultry disease and is so common, poultry health experts claim that it exists in virtually every flock. And since it is airborne, if the farm down the road has it, your birds will be exposed. I vaccinate my chicks after they’re all out and then I revaccinate all of my adults. Revaccinating the adults acts like a booster. I know this takes awhile, but with a spouse’s help, you can do 100 birds inside of a morning. It’s a small investment of time considering the alternative suffering and disappointment a case of Mareks in the flock can bring.
A very important aspect of good, common sense care includes protecting your flock against predation. All of the fresh water, good food, vitamins, etc. mean nothing if a predator gets into your flock and destroys everything you’ve worked for in one night. Provide safe and secure housing for your flocks at night, whether they free-range during the day or not, or it’s only a matter of time before your birds become prey.
If even with the best of care you still lose a bird, do yourself and your flock a favor, and find out what caused the death. I do my own post mortems (necropsy), but I understand that most people are not comfortable with that. If you are not, then I recommend sending your bird into a diagnostic lab that can analyze your bird’s cause of death. This is extremely helpful if it’s something contagious. It would help you save the rest of your flock if you knew how to treat the others.
I’m working on a list of poultry labs across the US that will accept dead birds for necropsy. Once I’ve completed the list, it will appear as a link on my website under Poultry Health Articles. If you know of any, please let me know and I will include them on the list.
To prepare a bird for submission to a lab, be sure and keep the bird under refrigeration and preferably secured in a tight container or a zip-lock bag to avoid contamination by other things prior to necropsy. Do not freeze. Once you’ve determined that a particular lab will accept your bird, then send the bird via Express Mail next day, or the equivalent, packed in a small Styrofoam cooler with ice packs to keep the bird cool.

Gut Friendly Bacteria and Chickens

Now when you worm your fowl or use a biotic like pennicillian for an infection, these remedies kill all the friendly and unfriendly bacteria in our fowl. Now when the friendly bacteria is gone E coli and variouse other diseases can infect our birds. Not to mention during breeding season or the moult, when our fowl our under stress, getting sick is easy. During these stressful times. Now after worming or useing a biotic some use cottage cheese, to introduce friendly bacteria, but what else is there. Now First State Vet Supply has a product called Hy Roller that is real good for this purpose also GQF+ from Randall Burkey, it is a vitamin powder with probiotic added. Introduceing a probiotic after times like these is real benificial to our fowl. I hope this helps some of our chicken men and women out there. Now here is a link to a download with a lot of details on Gut Friendly bacteria. Now here is a link to Poultry World's Downloads section there is a download called Support Therapy there with a lot of info on Gut Friendly Bacteria. There is also one on Steel Game
Proverbs 24:5 A wise man is strong; yea, a man of knowledge increaseth strength.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Selecting Brood Hen

Ok now my fellow chicken men. I got this post from Steel game.Com and one of the moderators PaulC. it is about selecting a brood hen. I hope this helps.

OK, Pops. So now me and you Rrrr looking in a pen (at a strangers farm), and he tos'ed some feed out and I gotta pick from site Alone??? lol.. I'd say Mr. X,, do you mind if I get a good feel of the bunch in making my decision?? If he said yes I do mind it Freind. I'd say,, Welllllllllllllllllllll I appreciate the visit but I'll not be making a choice on a hen today. Annnnnnnnd, if he said, Whyyyy not at all.. I'd pick up each one and Look at the Wing Spand, Wing cup and Feel alllllllllllll True the Keel Bone and Breast looking for any noticable defects, Smell the Nose area, Look at the color of the Vent and Oiler. Close off each nostril and Mouth real tight and look for CRD signs. then I'd fly each one down to da ground seeinzzz how they handled thier weight in Flight. And only then would I make me a deeeecision on one if any. And then, I'd say, Well pops,, What'cha thinK???? That's just me though.. PC
In addition to this I would like to add for me the first thing I look for is who is the dominant hen. The Boss. She is who i breed from Irishmuffs
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