Supplementing vitamins?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by shelleyd2008, Oct 3, 2008.

  1. shelleyd2008

    shelleyd2008 the bird is the word

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    Sep 14, 2008
    Adair Co., KY
    I have been incubating my own chickens eggs for a few months. My first two hatches did very well, total of 17 chicks from 19 eggs. The hatch I have now, and the last I had, were both failures. The last had a fully formed chick (only one egg), moving on day 18, with no pip. This one has 2 eggs, both of which look like quitters, around day 12-14. I read up on this, and a lot of things point to poor nutrition? I feed all my chickens chick starter, and they free range all day. There are no illnesses, and they seem very healthy. I was wondering, since it seems like many things causing mid to late embryo death are linked to vitamin defficiency, should I supplement my birds with vitamins?
     
  2. chickenlady

    chickenlady Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 28, 2007
    Stillwater, NJ
    Why are you feeding all your layers chick starter? Layers should be fed layer food because of the calcium needs. If you are incubating the eggs from these chickens, I would use a breeder food which has all the calcium plus vitamins to ensure chick vigor.
     
  3. shelleyd2008

    shelleyd2008 the bird is the word

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    Sep 14, 2008
    Adair Co., KY
    I feed them all chick starter/grower, because they are all free rangers, and most of my chickens are under 5 months old. I have 1 rooster that is an adult, and hens that are of laying age, and 7 of those have chicks. I was told the chick start was not good, because of the high protein, and to use flock raiser instead. The flock raiser I have available here has even more protein in it. They do get oyster shell, but they don't hardly eat it.
    What is breeder food? I have never heard of this. Any examples?
     
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2008
  4. chickenlady

    chickenlady Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 28, 2007
    Stillwater, NJ
    I am not totally familiar with the flock raiser. But for your egg layers you should be using a food that is roughly 16% protein and has roughly 3% calcium in it. Check the label on the end of the bag for this information. I believe the flock raiser is adequate except for the calcium level but you mentioned oyster shell so I would think you would be fine. As far as the breeder food goes, I use a game bird/sporting bird breeder. It is fortified with all vitamins necessary for chick vigor. Most brands of feed will carry this, sometimes it just needs to be ordered by the feed store. I have used Purina and southern states.

    Here are two more thoughts about losing your chicks half way.......

    Disinfect your incubator very well. Even if you think you already did, do it again. It may be that you have some bacteria still lurking in there. I clean mine with soap and water and then ammonia. I rinse well and then let sit. Then I clean with bleach, rinse will, and and let sit. I use a styrofoam incubator so I let it dry very well in between washings. There are some bacterias that bleach alone may not kill.

    Second thought, if you are using new pullet eggs for incubating, that may be the reason for low hatch rate. It is said that pullet eggs should not be hatched for just this reason.

    Your problem may lie somewhere in here. These are simple problems to fix. To answer your original question about using vitamins: I have always used vitamins no matter what. I use Aviacharge 2000 from McMurray Hatchery. I have been very happy with the product. This may not solve your problem, but it definitely will not hurt you. Best of luck shelleyd.
     

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