My thoughts on having, raiseing, and showing chickens

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Black Cochin Bantams, Feb 10, 2012.

  1. Black Cochin Bantams

    Black Cochin Bantams Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 24, 2010
    Iowa
    The only limiting factors of how large your flock will become will be your spouse, local ordinances, coop(facilities) and finances.

    I have come to the conclusion that an inexpensive incubator handled incorrectly will kill many chicks in the shell and frustrates everyone. My advice on inexpensive incubators is to make small adjustments and check again in 2 hrs and to place them in an area with as little temp variation as possible. I have 2 inexpensive incubators that hatched out well for me but required regular monitoring and adjustments. I now have 2 digitally preset Hovabator Genesis units that make them load and forget for 18 days. Then I turn off the egg turner. Chicks make lots of dust that coats everything in the same room. I really try to keep them out of the house.

    If you ever want to show and do well buy from a breeder who has had success hatching and showing his own birds. I see too many 4H kids do an excellent job caring for their birds but never have a chance because the birds are genetically inferior for show purposes. Hatching eggs that are shipped are generally not a good way to get a good hatch rate. There is heat, cold, rough handling , all combining to decrease your chance of a high percentage of eggs shipped ever hatching. Please do not blame the sender because in most cases the damage to the eggs are outside their control.

    Showing exhibition birds is a fun hobby but not for everyone. Only a small percentage of birds hatched are good enough to do well in a show. Certain varieties/breeds win more often than some other breeds. Decide if you want to win or just enjoy the experience. It can become expensive but it was a great way for my daughter and me to do something together that we both enjoyed. Her skill at picking which birds I should take is still much better than mine.

    Some birds seem to die for no apparent reason. Birds taken to a show and newly purchased birds should be quarantined before introducing them to the flock. When hatching extra birds know what you will do with your culls. Swap meets, butcher, give away, craigslist? No matter what take good care of them.

    Do not overcrowd birds.This causes all sorts of problems. Also pick the right breed for your circumstances. Some breeds will hatch their own eggs and others won't. Some breeds lay a large quantity of eggs per year while others will not. Clean pens regularly and keep plenty of water available year round. Mites are a pest that requires regular checking of your flock.

    Bantam eggs are smaller but just as good to eat and cook with as Large Fowl eggs. Chickens do not need a feed with a protein level higher than 18% and many do very well on 16%. Chickens love scratch feed but I limit the amount they get to insure proper overall nutrition. I do not expect chicken wire to stop a determined predator. I find 1/2 " hardware cloth gives peace of mind. A top on the run keeps hawks and owls out.

    I know from past postings some will disagree with my thoughts and observations. This works for me in the part of the country I live in. Your needs and results may be different in your circumstances.
     
  2. Black Cochin Bantams

    Black Cochin Bantams Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,865
    103
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    Feb 24, 2010
    Iowa
    Tidbits I forgot to add.

    That the least practical birds may also bring the most enjoyment.

    Also that no matter how old I get the feelings I have from watching eggs hatch and then develop is quite fulfilling.

    You meet the nicest people at poultry shows with an occasional @55 that you just ignore like everyone else. Most importantly do not let that @55 spoil your day.

    It is SO much more fun to beat a bad loser than one of your friends.

    Predators caught in my coop do not get released to harm other peoples livestock.

    Sick birds MUST be separated and quarantined from the flock until healthy or culled to protect the flock.

    Listen to people who have done it. What is in a book may or may not work for you. There is a difference between what they have done and what they think. Always consider the source.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2012

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