Chew on this…did you know that 8 out of every 10 pets over the age of three suffers from gum (periodontal) disease? Proper prevention and dental treatment is necessary, without it your pets can suffer from tooth decay, bleeding gums, tooth loss, and even internal organ damage.
February is National Pet Care Dental Month. Take the time to know the signs of oral disease in pets:
Bad breath. Your pets breath will not smell great, but persistent bad breath is a sign that your pet needs a dental visit.
Red, bleeding, swollen, or receding gums
Yellow-brown plaque or tartar on your pets teeth
Loose, infected for missing teeth
What can you do to prevent oral disease?
Schedule annual wellness visits to your veterinarian, including dental visits and cleaning.
If you groom your pet monthly, see if your groomer offers teeth cleanings! Many of them offer this service.
Brush your pets teeth regularly! Pick up pet tooth brushes and tooth paste at your local pet store.
Feed pet food that is specifically designed and formatted to for tartar control and plaque buildup.
Choose kibble over wet pet food. Kibble is better for their teeth
Avoid table scraps and human food. Often these foods get stuck in your pets teeth and gums
Keeping your pet healthy includes their teeth! Start you pet dental plan this month!
Before you pick up your first birds, you need to prepare their new home. The needs and requirements will vary depending on the type of birds, number of birds and age you are starting them. Chicks need one to two square feet of floor space per chick during their first 6 weeks of age. Ducklings, goslings and turkey poults will require more space due to their larger size.
The normal brooding period for chicks begins when they hatch until they reach about 6 weeks of age. At this stage, warm, dry and draft-free environments are critical as the young birds develop adequate body size and condition to self-sustain themselves in various environmental conditions. The brooder, a house specifically made for starting chicks, will need to be warm and dry. For a very small number of chicks, a large sturdy cardboard box equipped with infrared heat lamps for warmth will suffice as a temporary home. A commercially made brooder may be available from your Purina dealer or you can find websites that sell brooders of various sizes and designs to start small to large numbers of chicks.
Brooders should be placed in an area that offers protection from the elements, is well-ventilated (but free from drafts), and is safe from predators. This could be a garage, a basement, shed or some other safe place. You will want to check on your chicks often so keep this in mind when deciding where to keep them. Commercial brooders should be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected several days prior to the arrival of your chicks to provide ample drying time.
Place 3 to 5 inches of dry pine shavings (not cedar), straw or other absorbent litter (bedding) should be placed on the brooder floor. Paper towels can be used to cover the litter for the first several days to prevent chicks from mistaking the litter as food. Newspaper and flat cardboard can be slick and should not be used as it can cause leg problems (spraddle leg) in chicks.
The heat source in the brooder or heat lamps should be adjusted to provide a 90°F temperature (at chick level) one day prior to arrival of the chicks. Turkeys require a higher brooder temperature of 100°F to start. A brooder guard ring (cardboard, plastic or wire barrier) should be placed around the brooding area for the first several days to keep the chicks close to the source of heat. If not used, the chicks may stray too far from the warmth and get chilled before they can find their way back to the heat source. The guard also prevents the chicks from crowding into corners and smothering, and provide enough space for chicks to move away from the heat if they get too warm. After a few days, the chicks will have learned where to find warmth and the guard can be removed.
When using a cardboard box to start chicks, an infrared heat lamp placed about 20 inches above the surface of the litter will provide a good source of heat. It’s a good idea to use two lamps so that the chicks don’t get chilled if one lamp fails. Be very careful to position the lamp so it does not touch the box or any other object and create a fire hazard. The lamp height can be adjusted up or down to achieve the desired 90°F. Be sure to check this with a thermometer placed at the level of the chicks.
Equip brooder with waterers and feeders. These are available in several different sizes and shapes to fit your particular needs.
Young bird checklist
Having all the necessary equipment and supplies on hand before picking up your chicks will make the process much easier.
Heat lamps and/or brooder stove
Litter and/or shavings
Pitchfork or shovel (for large areas)
Egg flats or shallow pans
40-watt light bulbs
Purina Start & Grow® Recipe Feed
Your chick’s homecoming day
After making all the necessary preparations, it’s time to place your chicks in their new home. The first few days of a chick’s life in your new environment are critical; supplying a little extra TLC will go a long way in giving them the best possible chance for a healthy future.
Gently lift each chick out of their carrier and place them one at a time under the warm brooder. Dip the beaks of a few chicks into the water. This helps them find it sooner and the others will quickly catch on by watching. When starting turkeys, be extra watchful as they are not as quick to pick up on the mechanics of eating and drinking.
During the first few days, use shallow pans, egg flats or squares of paper as temporary feeders. Small piles of feed placed on them will allow the chicks to find the feed easier and start eating earlier. On the second day, regular feeders can be introduced. Keep feeders full the first week. Feeding area should be big enough to allow all chicks to eat at the same time. As chicks become familiar with the feeders, the temporary feeders can be removed.
Occasionally check your chick for signs of “pasting up”. Sometimes their droppings will stick to their rear ends and accumulate to where it blocks their vent and the poor chick can’t relieve itself. If you find your chick’s rear end is caked up, gently clean the vent area with a soft cloth and warm water. This problem usually dissipates after the first week.
Provide chicks with 18 hours of light per day for the first week and at least 10 hours per day thereafter (natural light counts). Never let feed or feeders get wet. Wet feed is a breeding ground for disease and a recipe for disaster. Clean and refill waterers daily or more often if contaminated with feed or litter. Feeders should get a good cleaning weekly and more often if necessary. Keep feeders and waterers set to the height of the chicks’ backs as they grow to prevent them from defecating and kicking bedding into their food and water. Remove wet or caked litter as necessary and replace with clean, dry litter. Wet litter can result in chilled, sick chicks.
Keeping chicken tips to grow on
Prevent your chicks from chilling or getting too hot. The best measure to determine if the temperature in the brooder is correct is how your chicks behave. If it’s right on target, the chicks will be evenly dispersed. Chicks that huddle together under the heat source are cold. Overheated chicks will station themselves around the edges of the box or brooder guard and may pant. The temperature should be increased or decreased accordingly by raising or lowering the lamps or adjusting the heat source. Use a thermometer.
Disease can strike and spread rapidly between among chicks if they consume contaminated feed or water. Keep it clean and dry. Make sure feed and water stays free of litter and droppings. Spilled water should be cleaned up to prevent wet litter. Dampness in the brooder house will cause chilling and can lead to disease. Remember, feed and fresh, clean water need to be available 24/7.
Transitioning to layer feed
After about 18 weeks, it’s time to gradually introduce your laying pullets to Purina® Layena® Recipe feed or Purina® Layena® Plus Omega-3 Recipe feed to ensure that they receive the best nutrition to support egg production.
Gradually transition your laying pullets over to Purina® Layena® Recipe feed over a 7 to 10 day period. Continue to provide birds with a maximum of 17 to 18 hours of light per day to ensure optimum egg production. Optimum egg production is achieved when layers are maintained in temperatures between 65°F and 85°F. As temperatures increase above this, egg production decreases and egg shell quality may suffer. Keep your birds cool and comfortable so you will get the best return on your investment.
Poultry breeds come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors. Families interested in eggs or meat typically choose chickens. But show birds, game birds, waterfowl and turkeys are becoming increasingly popular for people who simply enjoy watching colorful, unique birds in their backyards.
If you’re looking to get fresh eggs, consider these chicken breeds: White Leghorn hybrids, Rhode Island Reds, Andalusians or Ameraucanas.
For meat production, consider Cornish Cross chickens, which grow rapidly. For dual-purpose production, consider Plymouth Rock, Sussex, Buff Orpingtons or sex-linked hybrid chickens.
For show or pets, consider Silkie, White Crested Polish, Japanese or bantam chickens.
Be sure to thoroughly research the needs of individual poultry breeds before purchasing them. Some have very specific environmental needs and may not mix well with the average backyard flock. Be sure you have all necessary supplies before the chickens arrive at your home.
Any chicks you purchase should be from a U.S. Pullorum-Typhoid Clean hatchery to enhance livability and decrease potential disease problems. Chicks should be vaccinated against Marek’s disease soon after hatching. Good sources for purchasing chicks include your local Purina dealer or a reputable hatchery that ships straight to your home. Consult your veterinarian before purchasing chicks.
Source: Purina Poultry
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As everyone in North Texas knows, our February weather can be a gamble— temps can be spring-like one day and fall below freezing the next. But, the weather extremes should not deter gardeners from planting in February. Potatoes are top of the list for planting this time of year.
Other good go-to cold weather vegetables are root produce such as turnips, beets and carrots as well as hardy leafy greens like spinach, cabbage, kale and chard. Bulb veggies (onions and garlic) as well as asparagus crowns can also be planted at this time.
Preparing and Planting Potatoes
When purchasing seed potatoes, look for certified seed potatoes. These are seeding potatoes which have not been treated with growth retardants to prevent sprouting. Conventional potatoes in grocery markets are typically treated with retardants.
After you have planned and prepared a garden spot with well-drained, loose soil, the seed potatoes can be prepped for planting:
Cut each seed potato into quarters (sulfur dust can be applied to the fresh cut ends) and let the potato quarters set out overnight or longer until cut sides callus over. Seed potato quarters are then ready to plant— for a good rule of thumb, potato quarters should be planted 3” to 4” deep and spaced 12” to 15” apart. To provide plants plenty of growing room, make sure rows are spaced 24” to 36” apart.
Caring for Potato Plants
Potatoes need consistent moisture, so water regularly when tubers start to form. Before the potato plants bloom, hilling should be done when the plant is about 6 inches tall. Hoe the dirt up around the base of the plant in order to cover the root as well as to support the plant. Bury the plant base in loose soil. Hilling will keep the potato plants from getting sunburned, in which case they turn green and will taste bitter. You will need to hill potatoes every couple of weeks to protect your crop.
Lettuce, spinach and cabbage can be planted at this time either by seeds or plant starts. Russell Feed has fresh cold crop vegetables arriving weekly from our local growers. Call the stores for current availability on plants.
For reference, these vegetables can be planted in February with seed or starter plants:
The Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo is a 23-day extravaganza at the Will Rogers Memorial Center, offering a unique atmosphere rich in tradition and history. Tarrant County’s largest annual event attracts more than one million visitors each year. The nation’s oldest livestock show features over 22,000 head of world-class livestock on exhibit. January 16 – February 7, 2015.
In addition to the various livestock shows and professional rodeo thrills, Stock Show patrons can also enjoy:
All Western Parade in downtown Fort Worth
Cowboys of Color Rodeo
Interactive kid-friendly exhibits
Nearly four acres of unique shopping
“Moo-seum Experience” presented by Central Market
Live music, an exciting carnival, great food and much more!