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Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by hellbender, Dec 27, 2013.
Thank you sir!
I heard about this one the news yesterday. I guess the first report of potential Avian Influenza came from Tyson Chicken. Scary stuff!
Honestly, I don't think I work that much. I guess I think that because everyone else says how busy they are and I forget that they only work 40 hour weeks and fill the rest in with other stuff. Since we milk at 8AM and 7PM we don't have an evening life so we rarely go anywhere. With the cold this winter we would get the milking and chores done and call it a day. My dad helps and we only have 10 hours combined work that must be done. My wife feeds the calves and chickens and milks twice a week although that all will end when the baby comes.
I also pay others to do stuff for me. All the big stuff is custom done, planting corn, harvesting, etc. I buy in all my grain because it's cheaper than growing it myself.
If I had time and a place I'd add pigs to my operation. Of course I'd have to breed my own
I have two questions regarding egg quality that came to my attention this week.
1. Runny whites when cooking eggs. Can this be bred against? What about feed? My birds are on Purina Layena
2. Bloody eggs. We've had occasional spots in the eggs but in the past few weeks have seen blood and even what appears as tissue. This morning my wife open a few up and it was bad. Is it normal for it to get worse? I know that we can breed against it, but is can it be a management issue too?
We butchered my male Delawares on Thursday saving one for breeding. We did 8 cockerels and 1 small pullet. That evening we made two in the oven, one male was 4lbs and the pullet was 2.5 pounds. At 18 weeks they were slightly tough for my preferences... In other words I don't want to have to floss my teeth after eating chicken. Breast size could be improved upon although being raised over winter, and a winter like we had, didn't help. I also didn't separate cockerels and pullets due to time and space. I need to be more organized when it comes to chickens!
One question, one of the cockerels we butchered had much larger testicles than the rest. We're talking almost Brazil nut size to peanut/almond size. Can I assume that he matured quicker than the others?
I have never heard of early maturity being correlated to larger testicles, but I suppose it could be a possibility. Would probably have to continue monitoring earlier vs later maturity and then correlating it with testicle size when you butcher. I can say that the males we have butchered that were more aggressive towards each other, and much more aggressive when mating, had larger testicles than the rest we've butchered.
I've never had runny whites unless the eggs were older. Are they happening with fresh eggs right out of the chicken?
Stress is supposed to be a factor in getting blood spots in eggs - but chickens can be stressed by things that wouldn't phase another animal. And stress can be a vitamin/mineral imbalance as much as it can be someone chasing the hen around and picking on her. It would probably mean you'd have to look at what is going on in your flock, and the individual bird if you know who it is, and see if you can find a source of stress for the hen.
I agree with that. I've never experienced truly bloody eggs and I've kept many breeds from many sources, so I'm thinking that's a management problem. I agree about the whites as well, though I have had a very occasional...meaning very seldom...runny white from an egg that was not old, but I put that down to the bird and the season of transition between laying and nonlaying times when one experiences some oddity in the nature of the eggs.
If all of that is happening over a period of time and is consistently occurring, I'm thinking that is a management problem.
Sexual maturity is not the same thing as early size and fleshing, though there can be a correlation. You will probably get similar results feeding what you did in warmer months two weeks sooner. It makes a difference, and the reason we should compare numbers within a batch alone. The environment makes a difference.
Separating the sexes is crucial. Cockerels chasing around pullets will not fill out as fast, and will be tougher.
If the males are intended to be selected to make broilers, a feed for the purpose is necessary. Regular chick starter is not good enough. A game bird starter would be better if a broiler feed cannot be had.. You can finish them by feeding them a high energy supplement like whole grains or steamed potatoes etc. over the last two weeks and limiting exercise. This example is for the culls. The exceptional individuals are grown out to finish selection. This does not mean keeping a single bird, but the top percentage.
We have to re learn how to cook the birds, and when and how to use what. It is different, so we have to cook it differently. The texture will be different no matter what we do, but the flavor is by far superior.
I prefer young tender birds. Once they approach and are in the stag stage, they are better for soups etc. I process the majority of my cockerels before they even think about crowing. Once they start, they are soup birds. Not that we will not occasionally do a roaster, but raising and finishing roasters is different than just letting them run and eat. Capons make better roasting fowl.
We have to raise and manage them for the purpose they are raised for. I do not want everyday yard birds. There is a difference. If I am going to raise some specifically for eating, I will raise them differently than the rest of the flock. Raising breeders and broilers is different.
Blood spots is not from stress. Blood spots are from blood vessels crossing the stigma before the egg is released into the oviduct. Some hens are more likely to have blood vessels cross the stigma. It can happen in any hen, or any line, but some individuals are prone to it. When this is a concern, the candling of hatching eggs is a good idea. If the problem is not established in a line like it is for some Marans etc., the incidence level can be reduced quickly. It will never be eliminated all together. It happens, and the reason why the commercial industry preferred white eggs. They are easier to candle for interior quality before distribution.
Runny eggs is management. We associate runny eggs with the store bought eggs because of the age of the eggs. Age of the eggs, very hot weather, not collecting frequently enough, high ammonia levels in the house, extended periods in subfreezing weather, the age of the hen (common with old hens), and some illnesses can all be a cause.
Lack of ventilation is the most common cause.