Archive for February, 2018

4-5 Week Old Chicks

Friday, February 23rd, 2018

Keeping 4-5 Week Old Chicksbaby chicks 2

Your babies are growing up! By weeks four and five, you begin noticing that your chicks’ fluffy appearance slowly disappears and their fuzzy down is replaced with feathers of a mature bird. Chicks will usually be fully feathered by 5 to 6 weeks of age. You also observe their wattles and combs growing larger and taking on a deeper red color.

As they mature, chicks naturally establish a “pecking order” which determines each chick’s social position in the flock. Their place in the order will determine who eats and drinks first and ultimately who “rules the roost”. Although establishment of a pecking order is normal behavior, you should be watchful for excessive pecking in chicks as it may indicate a more serious problem, cannibalism. This is when birds peck the feathers and other body parts of other birds and if allowed to get out of hand, can lead to bleeding, open sores and even death.

Cannibalism can occur at any age and needs to be controlled as soon as it rears its ugly head. It is costly and can spread through a flock rapidly if left unchecked. Cannibalism is usually the result of stress, which can be caused by poor management. Some of these stressors may include crowding, excessive heat, bright lighting, noise, hunger, thirst, the presence of sick or injured chicks, parasites, or other stress factors. Providing the correct living environment in terms of these factors will help reduce the potential for cannibalism from occurring in your flock.

Things to do for your chicks this week
Your chicks require less heat as time goes by and they grow larger and more able to regulate their body temperature. Continue reducing the temperature each week to keep them comfortable to a minimum of 65°F. Continue providing clean fresh water each day and providing unlimited Sunfresh® Recipe Start & Grow® feed in their feeders.As your chicks grow, adjust the height of the feeders and waterers. A good rule of thumb is to keep them adjusted to the birds’ back height while standing. This will help to keep litter out of feeders and waterers, as well as curious chicks. Around 4 weeks of age, ducklings and goslings will thoroughly enjoy the addition of a swimming area. Be sure if you provide this to keep any resulting wet litter cleaned up. Because of their water-loving, messy nature, it is best to separate ducklings and goslings from chicks.Tips to grow on
Maintain good sanitation practices to reduce the chance of disease. Bigger chicks make bigger messes, so be sure to keep up. As the chicks grow, make sure they have sufficient space to prevent crowding. Additional feeders and waterers may need to be added now to allow adequate space for all chicks to eat and drink at the same time. Keep a close eye on your chicks for signs of possible health issues. Chicks that are sick may appear droopy or listless, have diarrhea or be unwilling to eat.
Looking ahead
Your chicks will soon be mature enough to leave the brooder and move into more permanent living quarters, the chicken coop. If you don’t have one ready, now is a good time to start looking into getting one and preparing it for new occupants. You’ll be surprised at how fast your chicks will grow and how quickly moving day will arrive. Many types of poultry housing are available for purchase or you can venture to build your own. Whatever you decide, make sure that the house you choose is ventilated, predator proof and provides protection from extreme temperatures, wind and rain.

 

Source: Purina Poultry

10 Daily Tips for Your Show Cattle

Thursday, February 22nd, 2018

10 Daily Tips for Your Show CattleWhen you want to be successful at sports, you don’t just show up for games and expect to win.
You attend team practices, you practice at home and you follow the game plan outlined by the coach. The same concept applies to showing cattle. You prepare for the ‘game’ through daily animal care, grooming and seeking guidance from the pros or a ‘coach.’ You follow that game plan right up until show day.

Bob May, Purina® Honor® Show Chow® Ambassador from Mineral Point, Wis., uses an intense and individualized game plan for each of his cattle.

“Success in the showring starts with the cattle’s conformation, but is achieved with consistent hard work and daily care to get the cattle where they need to be at the show,” says May.

The calf may be the star athlete, but even the best athletes don’t perform well without proper daily training, management and a supportive team behind them.

May suggests the following daily care tips to help take your show project to the next level:

1. Involve a veterinarian. Before an animal arrives at your farm, have a plan in place through your veterinarian for health and vaccination protocols. Ask the prior owner for a full health history on the animal, so you can have all of the animal’s health information at hand.

2. Earn the animal’s trust. A show calf needs to trust you, and trust comes in the form of working with the animal on a daily basis. It may be a long, slow process, but it’s one that’s essential to form a partnership with your project animal.

3. Have a consistent feeding routine. May suggests feeding individually at the same time each day. Cattle crave consistency, and when they are fed inconsistently they might also eat inconsistently. May also emphasizes that calves may eat better when they eat in a group setting. To make this possible, he will place individual calves in different runs nose-to-nose and feed them at the same time to mimic feeding in a group.

4. Monitor feed intake. Monitor what your animal is consuming at each feeding, and clean out old feed immediately. May has seen cases where new feed is simply dumped on top of old feed.

“You can quickly lose track of how much feed your calf is actually consuming,” explains May. “You think they are getting 15 pounds at night, and they are actually getting 18 because someone didn’t clean out the old feed from the morning.”

5. Ensure water availability and quality. Animals should have access to clean, cool water at all times. This basic animal care tip is sometimes overlooked, according to May.

“We clean our water tanks frequently,” May says. “Clean, cool water will keep cattle drinking and eating in those hot summer months when consumption usually drops off.”

6. Keep pens and cooler rooms clean. May mentions a good rule of thumb is if it smells or looks wet or dirty – clean it. A clean pen or cooler room will make grooming and daily care of the animal easier for both the animal and the exhibitor.

“If you don’t want to be in those pens or cooler rooms because of the smell, then the animal doesn’t want to be either,” he explains. “Cooler rooms do not equate to hair growth. Cleanliness is most important for hair growth.”

7. Learn the hair cycles. Hair grows in 90-day cycles, and this knowledge can help you determine what stage an animal’s hair will be in (or you want to be in) as you arrive at your show date. For example, for a show in August, May’s goal is to have all the old hair removed by the middle of May.

May doesn’t shear off any of his calves, but recognizes this is a standard practice for some breeds. Instead, he relies on a shedding comb to bust through and remove old hair. The shedding comb works best when hair is dirty and dusty, not wet or caked with manure.

8. Practice, practice, practice. May has his own children show their animals in competition at least twice before heading to their target show. This allows the animals and exhibitors to shake their ‘first-time jitters.’

“Specifically at the county fair level, it may be the first and only time both the kids and the cattle have seen the showring,” he explains. “And usually, that is not a good experience for the exhibitor or the animal.”

9. Find a hoof trimmer you can trust. May encourages all exhibitors to seek an expert in hoof care and recommends networking with other show enthusiasts to find a good trimmer in your area. Unlike clipping and fitting, there is little room for practice on hooves.

“Find a good hoof trimmer that will do a little trimming on the top, but does most of the work underneath the hoof,” he says. “A bad hoof trimming can result in disaster.”

10. Stick to the game plan. Have a management plan. Identify important dates before the show, and execute your plan daily.

“If you don’t focus on the management, other exhibitors will,” explains May. “And quite simply, if you don’t focus – those that do will beat you. They will be better prepared.”

For more management tips join the online community of show enthusiasts at www.facebook.com/HonorShowChow or at www.twitter.com/HonorShowChow.

Article Attributed to Purina Animal Nutrition

Raising 2-3 Week Old Chicks

Thursday, February 8th, 2018
2-3 Week Old ChicksRaising 2-3 Week Old Chicks

With a clean brooder, fresh feed and clean water, your chicks are settled in and off to a good start by weeks two and three. It’s time to enjoy them. Chicks are very social and will provide hours of entertainment. You will see their unique personalities emerge as each day goes by and they will grow into mature chickens before you know it.

Now, listen to them.  Chicks will emit a soft cheeping sound when everything is right in their world. This sound can be used as a means of determining their comfort status. A chick that is stressed due to conditions being too hot or cold, wet litter, or one that is hungry or thirsty will have a shrill or higher pitched cheep or may cheep very rapidly. Translate this as a call for help and look for the problem.

Things to do for your chicks this week
  • The brooder temperature should be reduced to 85°F (lower 5° each week to a minimum of 65°F).
  • Chicks should be exposed to at least 10 hours of light per day after the first week.
  • Brooder guard can be removed now if it hasn’t been already. Chicks should be able to find the heat source by this time.
  • After the brooder guard is taken out, the feeders and waterers can be moved further away from the source of heat. As the chicks become more active and continue to grow, this will give them more space for exercise and will help keep the feeders and waterers cleaner and keep them from being heated by the heat lamp.
  • Any paper or pans used to feed should be taken out if you are sure chicks are eating from the feeders. The level of feed in the feeders can be decreased a little each week until they are half full at all times. This will help reduce the amount of feed waste.
Tips to grow on
  • Keep checking on chicks to make sure they are comfortable. Again, chick behavior is the best measure of the ideal brooder temperature.
  • Continue to provide unlimited feed and water at all times.
  • Clean and refill waterers daily.
  • Remember, good sanitation is critical to avoid health problems when caring for young chicks. Keep litter dry by removing wet and soiled litter and replacing it with clean, dry litter.
  • Always store feed in a well-ventilated, dry area that is insect and rodent free.
Looking ahead

A complete and balanced feed will provide all the nutrition your chicks need to grow into healthy, productive birds. Feeding extra grains or scraps to your chicks can reduce the amount of complete feed they eat and may prevent them from getting all the nutrients they need to grow and develop properly.

One of the most common and deadly diseases in chicks is coccidiosis. Caused by a parasite, it is spread through the droppings of infected birds. Coccidia love damp, warm environments so wet litter and unsanitary brooder conditions are a prime breeding ground for this parasite. Most birds will come into contact with coccidia at some time but appear to be most susceptible to the disease between 3 to 5 weeks of age. If chicks are healthy and live in a dry, clean, well-managed environment, they are often able to fight it off or may only get a mild case, which can even go undetected. Symptoms of coccidiosis can include diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, weight loss, no desire to eat, ruffled feathers and an overall sickly appearance. If you suspect coccidiosis, seek treatment immediately. Commercial vaccines and medicated feeds are available to prevent coccidiosis. However, the ideal prevention for this disease is maintaining a dry, sanitary, stress free environment through good management.

If you suspect disease or some other serious health problem in your flock, contact your veterinarian for diagnosis and treatment options.

Source: Purina Poultry

 

Weed Free Zone Herbicide

Thursday, February 1st, 2018

Weed free zoneGot weeds? Apply Weed Free Zone by Fertilome to your lawn now, and get a handle on your weed problem this spring.  Weed Free Zone provides excellent cool weather weed control for over 80 of the toughest broadleaf weeds including Clover, Ground Ivy, Spurge, Chickweed, Dandelion, Genbit, Oxalis, Poison Ivy, Purslane, Shepherds Purse, Thistle, Virginia Buttonweed, Wild Onion and many others listed on the label.

Application Rate: May be applied to Kentucky Bluegrass, Perennial Ryegrass, Tall Fescue, Red Fescue, Colonial Bentgrass, Common Bermuda Grass, Hybrid Bermuda Grass, Bahia Grass, Zoysia Grass, Buffalo Grass, St. Augustine and Centipede Grass.  Consult label for specific application rate for each turfgrass listed.

Weed control is an on-going process. Since Weed Free Zone is formulated for cooler weather, it’s a great first application of the season pre-emergent. Stop by J&N Feed and Seed and let our experts help you map out a weed control and fertilization plan for your yard.

Cattle Mineral Meeting

Monday, January 29th, 2018
Feb
28
12:00 pm

cattle mineral meetingJoin J&N Feed and Seed and Purina Cattle Specialist, Chad Brown for a Cattle Mineral Meeting on Wednesday, February 28, 2018, at noon. Learn more about cattle minerals and have lunch with us right here at the store, located at 450 Pecan St, Graham, TX 76450.

You probably know it’s important to feed your cattle a well-balanced mineral supplement, but you might not know why it is. Cattle with mineral shortages or imbalances do poorly in reproduction, lactation, weight gains, body condition, etc. – all the factors that affect your profitability. But most mineral deficiencies don’t show obvious symptoms until it’s too late, and without good records, it’s hard to identify a gradual decline in cattle performance.

Please RSVP for this Cattle Mineral Workshop by calling J&N Feed and Seed at (940) 549-4631.

 

Great Backyard Bird Count 2018-Sign Up Today

Thursday, January 25th, 2018
FebFeb
1619
Great Backyard Bird Count 2018

Artwork by Jane Beasley, Birds & Beasleys

The Great Backyard Bird Count 2018 kicks off February 16-19, 2018, and is one birding activity that can be done from literally anywhere on the planet. Join hundreds of thousands of people of all ages and walks of life to create a snapshot of birds across the world. All you have to do is spend 15 minutes tallying the numbers and types of birds you see on one or more of the days of the count. You can count birds at your local park, nearby wildlife reserve, or your own backyard. To find out more information on The Great Backyard Bird Count 2018 and sign up, click here.

WHY COUNT BIRDS?

Scientists and bird enthusiasts can learn a lot by knowing where the birds are. Bird populations are dynamic; they are constantly in flux. No single scientist or team of scientists could hope to document and understand the complex distribution and movements of so many species in such a short time.

Scientists use the GBBC information, along with observations from other citizen-science projects, such as the Christmas Bird Count, Project FeederWatch, and eBird, to get the “big picture” about what is happening to bird populations. The longer these data are collected, the more meaningful they become in helping scientists investigate far-reaching questions, like these:

  • How will the weather influence bird populations?
  • Where are winter finches and other “irruptive” species that appear in large numbers during some years but not others?
  • How will the timing of birds’ migrations compare with past years?
  • How are bird diseases, such as West Nile virus, affecting birds in different regions?
  • What kinds of differences in bird diversity are apparent in cities versus suburban, rural, and natural areas?

The Great Backyard Bird Count is led by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society, with Canadian partner Bird Studies Canada and sponsorship from Wild Birds Unlimited.

 

 

 

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