Chicken Poultry Husbandry

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Farside
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Re: Chicken Poultry Husbandry

#31 Post by Farside » Sat Jun 29, 2019 12:50 am

I just did their 2 week weigh in and something strange is going on. It's a mixed batch, but I have about a third weighing in at 12g (0.4oz), a third at around 20g (0.7oz) and the remaining third at around 30g (1oz). Any thoughts?

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Re: Chicken Poultry Husbandry

#32 Post by Farside » Sat Jun 29, 2019 1:14 am

Something is wrong. Those weights are way too low for 2 week old chicks. I track the amount of feed I ration out and it's correct. So either my scales are wrong, or my chicks have a growth disorder. I'll weigh them again tomorrow with a different setup and see if it's the scales. :?

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Re: Chicken Poultry Husbandry

#33 Post by dirtmurphy » Sat Jun 29, 2019 3:27 pm

I have a couple of thoughts. Well, maybe three. First of all, those low brooder temps really set them back. Remember how I was saying that it's hard for them to recover from something like that? Their food was being burned to keep them alive instead of fueling growth. Second, they needed full access to grit. That's what grinds their food. When you said that they hoovered up that bowl when you gave it to them, that told me that they likely hadn't been getting enough. Grit should never be rationed and it should never be mixed with feed. The third thought is actually a question. Exactly what are you feeding them and why is it being rationed? The fact that you have three different weight classes going on leads me to believe that there's competition for food and the weaker ones are getting left further behind. Throw rationing out the window for now and let them eat free choice. That's what I do with my birds and I may have a high feed bill but I don't have obese chickens. And once I know what you're feeding them, I may be able to recommend some changes to get them a little further along.
I'm sorry that you're having these difficulties. It's obvious that you're giving it a good shot. Hopefully we can figure it out and next year's experience won't be anywhere near as frustrating as this year has been.
Oh, speaking of frustrating, my condolences over your crow situation. I won't fuss about my peaches again after hearing your story.

Farside
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Re: Chicken Poultry Husbandry

#34 Post by Farside » Sun Jun 30, 2019 12:56 am

I weighed them again and I was out by a decimal place lol. They are still underweight but not as bad as I thought.

I mixed the grit with their feed for the first week because that's what the manual I am following told me to. I think I didn't mix enough grit. Anyway, I'm feeding them chick starter mix, and I'm feeding them the amount they are supposed to be eating according to the industry numbers. Additional to that I'm putting in garden weeds that I know chickens like, as well as things like spinach stalks, and pasture so they get used to the spell and the texture.

I think you're right in that the cold set especially the females back.

I'm now feeding them sprouted grains to supplement their feed. I'm scattering it around the brooder to even the competition. I also added 2 more feed trays.

It's crazy here at the moment. 30C during the day and 10C at night. That's outside temps not inside the brooder.

I'm also having challenges with the drinking cup setup. Last week they managed to pull an arm out of the tee and dump about 3 gallons of water into the brooder. This morning I found they had managed to unscrew the actual drinking cup from the pvc arm. So today I welded them permanently into the arm. I also put peanut butter on the yellow things because I'm not entirely convinced they've figured out how to use them. My hope is they'll peck at the peanut butter and realize that it filles the cup with water.

I have 2 other dish type drinking containers. Maybe I need to spend a few hours with them and remove those.

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Re: Chicken Poultry Husbandry

#35 Post by Farside » Tue Jul 02, 2019 1:39 pm

The chicks are due to graduate from the brooder to the mobile enclosure at the end of the week. The bigger chicks are ready, and in a few days I think most of the others will be too.

There are about a dozen that are significantly smaller than the others, and I'm thinking about keeping them in the brooder a bit longer. My concern with doing this is reintroducing them to the flock and if it will cause problems. Any thoughts?

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Re: Chicken Poultry Husbandry

#36 Post by dirtmurphy » Tue Jul 02, 2019 4:31 pm

That's difficult to say. It really depends on how long they're separated. Princess was separated from the rest of the flock for 3 weeks. When I reintroduced her it took a week for my rooster to calm down and she was the one he cuddled with every night until she went broody. It could be that you have to partition the chicken tractor for a few days until they get used to one another again. At any rate, you don't want to move them out until they're fully feathered, however long that takes. How many do you have? Could you keep the bigger ones in there a little longer until the smaller ones have caught up or is space becoming an issue?
Have you noticed any less competition for feed since you split up feeders? I've gone over my notes and books and can't find any info on rationing chick starter. I don't like saying it but I think you may have gotten some bad advice there.

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Re: Chicken Poultry Husbandry

#37 Post by Farside » Mon Jul 15, 2019 11:41 pm

I decided to move all 75 out into the tractor at the same time. It was the right decision. The bigger ones (one died fighting the morning of the move because we were too slow in moving them) spread out and immediately relaxed. The smaller ones also relaxed and it was very clear that the move was overdue.

We have the odd ones that just haven't grown in the week since we moved them and we lost 2 of those this week. There are 2 more that I expect to lose in the coming weeks as they are either injured (the one out of the box with the gimpy leg) or just don't show any interest in living.

The remaining chickens love the tractor. They run around in there and do chicken things. It gets down to about 17C at night now and up to 30C in the day. They have mostly lost all their down and are typical half bald CX teenagers.

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Re: Chicken Poultry Husbandry

#38 Post by Farside » Mon Jul 15, 2019 11:44 pm

Chickens are indeed a gateway animal. The land owner is now talking about building a coop for layers that also houses rabbits. Since he is weed wacking the long grass ahead of the tractor, he's also talking about purchasing a breeding pair of kunekune pigs that are a breed of miniature pig (200lb) and thrive on little more than pasture.

The idea is to mob graze them ahead of the chickens and also clean up after them because these broilers are pretty terrible foragers and leave a lot of food behind.

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