Most Important Aspect

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Bush84, Feb 19, 2015.

  1. Bush84

    Bush84 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hello all. As a beekeeper I understand that keeping an animal is a complex process. Bees especially are very fragile and require a fair amount of management to maintain a healthy and robust apiary. This got me thinking, what is the most important aspect of keeping poultry in your opinion? I know this will vary, but that's the point. I'd like to hear a number of opinions. Is it managing disease? Is it incubating? Is it proper breeding for whatever trait? Winter management? Proper feed? Thanks for everybodies input.
     
  2. HighStreetCoop

    HighStreetCoop Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I think it's living conditions (predator proof and clean enough to keep them healthy).
     
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    I agree living conditions come first...plenty of secure space (height as well as floor space) and ventilation.
    More space, properly designed, will make it easier for the keeper to keep things in good order.

    Good balanced feed is a very close second.
     
  4. RonP

    RonP Chillin' With My Peeps

    Keeping chickens is relatively easy.

    Given proper food and shelter, they mostly take care of themselves.

    Most failures evolve because of improper manure management.

    They poop a lot!

    Endless issues could be avoided if a pre planned management system is implemented.
     
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    Moisture management, which includes poop management because poop causes problems when it is wet. A wet environment is an unhealthy environment.

    Second most important, don’t overcrowd them. If you pack them as tight as you possibly can you are much more likely to have behavioral problems, you have less flexibility to deal with anything that comes up, and you have to work harder, including working harder at poop management.

    RonP I'll modify yours just a bit, keeping chickens is relatively easy if you will let it be easy and don't complicate it. .
     
  6. Beekissed

    Beekissed True BYC Addict

    I'll expand that and encompass it...good habitat. These are creatures, after all, that have a natural habitat when living feral. It involves space, fresh air, soils that have not been overstocked, compacted or stripped barren of covering, correct stocking rates, a more natural diet, and removal of birds that are the most likely to carry disease and/or parasites~as would happen in the wild, on a regular basis.
     
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  7. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    I think a lot of it is also confidence, and there's only one way to get that - ya just do what has to be done and learn from your mistakes. You have to have confidence in your coop/run/free range set up. You have to believe that it is as good as it can get for your situation, and then be bold and prepared to change the things that aren't working as well as planned. If you hesitate, constantly second guessing what needs to be done, you'll usually find that you didn't change things as much as was truly required....that's happened to me a couple of times. If I'd have just said, "I need more ventilation" and added what I knew I needed to have in one fell swoop, then and there, I'd have had a few really good vents provided from the start rather than repeatedly going out with the old saw and cutting new, smaller ones until we had the mix right. Live and learn.

    It also takes confidence in the feed they are getting, knowing that you are providing the best you can afford. We can't all pay big bucks for all organic, top of the line food for them, so we have to believe that what they are getting is good quality, then supplement well with grains, sprouts, and treats. Likewise we don't all have acres of ground for them to free range on, so we have to believe that what we provide in place of that is almost as good. Confidence also comes into play when you deal with the chickens, as well. If you go out there all squeamish and hesitant they are not going to learn that you are the boss, and that there are just some things you will not tolerate in a flock - people aggression being a big one. I know the consensus is that by going out with a handful of treats you can pretty much be assured that they are going to come up to you eagerly, do everything you need them to do, and love you to pieces. The test comes in when you go out there to do what has to be done without that little bucket. Your confident attitude does as much to teach them to accept your presence as that bucket.

    If you prefer to use broodies to hatch and raise additional chicks, then make sure that the broody you use is one you are confident will do a good job. A good broody should do the entire job for you, and far better than most of us can with artificial methods. But you have to be confident in her natural instincts and not interfere more than is absolutely necessary. Ideally she should be so good at her job that once she's got the eggs you want her to incubate (or those she sneaks off and sets up house with herself) that she is allowed to handle it all, start to finish. This confidence is hard won. It takes keeping a sharp eye on a first time broody, making sure she knows what to do, and having a ready back-up plan that you know will be successful if she isn't such a good mama. If you do choose to brood chicks artificially, then don't do what I did - doubt myself so much that I bugged the living daylights out of them. Sheesh - I was always in there putzing with this or cleaning that, moving feeders and waterers around so much that half the time I wasn't sure what I'd done the time before. I overfussed with them so much that they'd start pecking and attacking my hands the second I stuck them inside the brooder. Not good. This time I'm setting up the broody and then keeping disturbance to a bare minimum, because I have confidence in the set-up I've decided to use and I know that they'll grow just fine without my over-assistance.
     

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