Originally Posted by Fire Ant Farm
Quick question: As I think ahead about hatching from my Cream Legbars this spring, I was wondering - they are on layer feed right now (which they actually love and are doing well on). I'll want to switch them to their breeder ration soon. What do you guys use - game bird feed? Ideally it would be something I can get hold of easily, at Tractor Supply or similar...
Forgive me if this has been answered before, I couldn't recall.
- Ant Farm
Edit to add: the NNs are on Flock Raiser, so I always have that around, but wasn't sure if that's sufficient.
Flock Raiser is ok. Their is not much difference between it and the Dumor chick starter, other than some misc. ingredients. The chick starter costs less.
If you are really concerned with chick size, hatchability, fertility of the parents etc . . . . but only want to shop from Tractor Supply . . . . . Give them evenly mixed chick starter/ layer, calf manna according to the directions, and hulled sunflower seeds as a treat. Just throw them a few handfuls everyday. They should already have fresh greens, regardless of the season. Do not neglect the grit. Make sure they are getting a surplus of sunshine and fresh air. The water should be clean, and their housing in good shape. They should have already have been de-loused and wormed.
This is not a bad diet to feed them while they are molting. It is not a bad idea for the entire year. Breeding birds are not commercial layers. The Layer ration is formulated for the commercial layers. Commercial breeders know enough to know to formulate a breeder ration for their breeders.
Flock Raiser is not a bad feed to feed all year round. Just add some Calf Manna and hulled sunflower seeds during the breeding season. You could get away with less, but the little extra makes a difference.
Males should not be fed layer rations.
Their combs should be bright red. Their feathers should be in good condition. They should be glowing with good health and vigor.
Breeders should be in excellent condition. Not average or acceptable. We treat breeders differently than layers etc. We want them in top condition the entire year.
With experience, if they do not seam 100% to you, get them there. Excellent condition is easier to maintain than to recover.
What I am trying to communicate is a standard. OK is not good enough. Most flocks are not in top condition, but their owners would not know it. That does not mean they are being neglected. Most receive adequate care, and the birds know no difference. However, breeding birds is another level of responsibility. You want excellent stock that is in excellent condition. You want the offspring in top condition. If you are going to breed Naked Necks, you should be breeding the best Naked Necks in the country.