Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by blackfeet, Feb 18, 2012.

  1. blackfeet

    blackfeet New Egg

    Jun 19, 2010
    Are d'Uccles harder to maintain than Silkies, Cochins, Japanese, etc... I have been trying to start a up a few just for pets in the blackyard and they aren't doing very well, I live in Northeast Arkansas and the temperature here isn't that severe. We have only gotten into the 25 degrees this winter, and I have lost 4 birds, I have silkies next to them and they are doing well. I have read that featherfooted birds don't fair as well as non featherfooted, but Silkies are fine. They are in a large 15 x 50 foot cage that sits on the ground so they have access to scratch and their roost is enclosed with an IN and an OUT entrance. Just wondering if anyone has any information about their enviromental requirements. I love their personality and really would like to raise them but they aren't cooperating with me. Help please. Thank you
  2. AlienChick

    AlienChick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 9, 2010
    Glasgow, KY
    I have both d'Uccles and Silkies and have never had a problem with either.

    You say they have access to "scratch."

    Do you mean "grit?"

    They really don't "need" scratch; but if you have no small pieces of rock in your soil, they should be supplied with some extra grit.

    My Silkies and d'Uccles are kept in coops outside in our barn, and we've recently had temps drop into the teens. They just all huddle together, if need be, to keep warm at night. I do not have roosts in their pen since I prefer they huddle together in the deep litter to keep warm. I put a lg post office priority box in there for them to sleep in, and they all pile up in the boxes at night. Make sure your birds are kept away from any drafts!

    I also feed my Silkies and d'Uccles a higher protein feed since they have different feathering needs.
    Dumor seems to have the highest protein level for layer feed at a reasonable price, so that's what I buy.

  3. blackfeet

    blackfeet New Egg

    Jun 19, 2010
    Thank you for your input, I meant they are able to get down onto the ground and scratch in the dirt. I do mix scratch grain with there crumble feed I give them. So you recommend that I give them only the high protein crumble, no scratch grain? They just seem to enjoy it more. BUt I will take it away. They do get kitchen scrapes, such as lettuce, bananas, peelings, etc. I have a tarp I roll down over there entry way, I have not let it down, but I will. Thank you again.
  4. AlienChick

    AlienChick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 9, 2010
    Glasgow, KY
    Okay, that makes sense. I just read it wrong.

    And I would NOT mix the scratch with their food since all they'll do is peck at it to get the scratch and leave the healthy food.

    The only time I give scratch grains is when I want them to COME to me or if I have an area in my garden that I need them to dig up for me.

    Also, if I want the chickens to mix up the hay in the barn, I'll throw some scratch down and let them do their thing.

    Scratch should be provided sparingly as a "treat" and not food.

    And if your chickens are laying and you're not hatching the eggs and have extras, you can just scramble them up or boil them and feed them back to the chickens for extra protein.

    Since it's cold here in the mornings, I like to scramble or boil the eggs and mix it in with some cooked oatmeal for them.

  5. The Red Rooster

    The Red Rooster Poultry Observer

    Welcome to BYC.
  6. b.hromada

    b.hromada Flock Mistress

    [​IMG] and [​IMG] from S. Florida! So glad you joined us!
  7. 4-H chicken mom

    4-H chicken mom Overrun With Chickens

    Aug 3, 2007
    Oberlin, OH
    Hi and :welcome from Ohio. So nice to have you join. Good advice given. :thumbsup
  8. weimarmama

    weimarmama Overrun With Chickens

    Jun 4, 2010
    My Coop
    [​IMG] & [​IMG] from Alabama. Glad you joined us.
  9. Birkshire-Spur

    Birkshire-Spur New Egg

    Feb 19, 2012
    Feathered legs have nothing to do with cold hardiness. Good breeding and a larger bird will get you hardier chickens. It is possible that your booted chickens had a disease that took them out. Some diseases do not surface until the bird is stressed.

    For cold durable chickens:
    1 – find a breeder that has proven hardiness in their lines for cold weather
    2 – larger chickens can maintain heat better
    3 – healthy chickens can take the cold even with drafts
    4 – keep then DRY. And then keep then DRY!
    5 – chickens with pea combs and no wattles take cold better, but even healthy birds with frost bit combs can do well.
    6 – Be sure the birds have unfrozen water earlier in the day. Giving them water just before bedtime is not the preferred method. This is especially important if the birds cannot get to snow to eat.
    7 – Be sure they can get under cover for when it snows.
    8 – Be sure your birds have the proper weight to survive winter. Scrawny birds will not be able to maintain heat.
    9 – keep them off of the floor. Solid surfaces will heat-sink their warmth away from their bodies. They must stay on roosts.
    10 – Do not over-seal their housing. The worst thing you can do is to trap moisture in their coop in the winter. Let the drafts in; it will take out the moisture. If your chickens die just because of the cold, then they are not hardy and you will need to provide heat. But again, a non-small chicken that dies in the winter is probably not healthy to begin with.
    11 - Mother nature will cull the weak ones out for you. Breed from the ones that can make it without supplemental heat. If you do not care about winter hardiness, then heat the building and allow for proper ventilation.

    I created an extremely cold hardy breed of chicken. They will continue to lay eggs when it is 15 degrees below zero (and the chicks will hatch from these eggs if they are collected before they freeze solid). My coops are left wide open and the chickens are at their healthiest in the solid cold winter. Single combed birds will get dubbed by frost bite the first year, but it does not affect them at all. And yes, they are still fertile with a frost bit comb. I just hatched 28 out of 30 eggs that prove it.

    Good luck.
  10. 1muttsfan

    1muttsfan Overrun With Chickens

    Mar 26, 2011
    Upper Peninsula Michigan
    Hi and welcome to BYC from northern Michigan [​IMG]

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