Archive for October, 2018

Three Steps to a Peaceful Backyard Flock

Wednesday, October 10th, 2018

Pekin Cochin Bantam Hen - organic poultry - free range chicken egg layer

 

 

Have you ever wondered what goes through a chicken’s mind?
Wouldn’t it be helpful if they could say, “My feathers are itchy!” or “I’m bored!”? Though humans and hens don’t speak the same language, simple changes can help backyard flock conversations go smoothly.

As backyard flock owners, we are tasked with becoming chicken whisperers. Keeping a peaceful flock requires us to interpret behaviors to decipher what our chickens are telling us.

During fall and winter when chickens are spending more time in the coop, chicken boredom can bring out changes in behavior, such as pecking.

Chickens are naturally inquisitive, but they don’t have arms and hands to inspect things. They use their beaks to explore instead. Pecking is a natural chicken behavior that allows them to check out their surroundings, including their flock mates.

Though pecking is a natural occurrence, the nature of this chicken pecking behavior can change when birds spend more time inside.

Understanding the difference between curious and aggressive chicken pecking is key to knowing when there is a problem. Not all pecking is bad. When it is gentle, this behavior is fun to watch. If pecking becomes aggressive, it can be problematic to other birds in the flock.

Three tips to keep a peaceful backyard flock:

1. Investigate the reason for pecking.
If the pecking chickens become aggressive, the first tip is to determine if something is causing birds to act out.

Start with a list of questions about the environment: Are the hens too crowded? Do they ever run out of feed or water? Are they too hot or cold? Is there a predator in the area? Is there something outside of the coop that is causing them to be stressed?

After the stressor has been identified, the next step is easy: remove the problem and the aggressive chicken pecking behavior may go away or diminish.

To maintain this newfound peace, make sure your birds have a minimum of 4 square feet indoors and 10 square feet outdoors per bird. Adequate feeder and waterer space is also critical.

If a new hen is added to the flock, there may be a period of uneasiness.

Remember, there will always be some dominance in the flock as part of the pecking order. There are typically one or two boss hens who rule the roost. Once the pecking order is determined, the birds usually live together peacefully.

2. Chickens take baths, too.
The next step to prevent feather picking is to keep birds clean. Chickens take a different type of bath than you might expect. They often dig a shallow hole, loosen up all the dirt and then cover themselves in it.

This process is called a dust bath. Dust bathing is an instinct that helps keep birds clean. On our farm, we make dust baths for our hens by following these three steps: 1. Find a container at least 12 inches deep, 15 inches wide and 24 inches long; 2. Combine an equal blend of sand, wood ash and natural soil; 3. Watch your birds roll around in the bath and clean themselves.

Dust baths can also prevent external parasites such as mites and lice. If external parasites are an issue, supplement your chicken dust baths with a cup or two of food-grade diatomaceous earth.

If you add diatomaceous earth, be sure to mix it in well. Diatomaceous earth can be harmful if inhaled in large amounts. By mixing the diatomaceous earth into the dust bath, it has less probability to become airborne while still helping prevent external parasites.

3. Offer an alternative place for birds to peck.
Next, provide birds something to keep their minds busy. Perhaps the most fun of these three tips is to find chicken toys that bring out their natural instincts.

Interactive objects can make the coop more complex and exciting. Logs, sturdy branches or chicken swings are a few flock favorites. These toys provide unique retreats for hens who may be lower in the pecking order.

Another flock boredom-buster is a block for hens to peck, like the Purina® Flock Block. You can simply place this block in the coop for hens to peck. The block can be a fun experience for hens and prevent chicken boredom when they are spending more time in the coop.

The Purina® Flock Block encourages natural pecking instincts. It also contains whole grains, amino acids, vitamins, minerals, and oyster shell to provide nutrients that contribute to the hen’s well-being.

Want to find a Purina® Flock Block of your own? Find a retail location near you.

Article Attributed to Purina Mills and Dr. Patrick Biggs

Armyworm Infestation Management Tips

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2018

armywormsThe Fall Armyworm definitely lives up to its name— Given their immense appetite, great numbers, and marching ability, armyworms can damage entire fields or pastures in a few days. Armyworms are on the march due to recent rains and lower temps— come see us at J&N Feed and Seed for the right insecticide solutions for your pasture crops.

Two species of armyworms can be significant pests of Texas forage and pasture production. The “true” armyworm is more of a spring pest of cool-season grasses and tall fescue. The fall armyworm is a summer/fall pest primarily of Bermuda grass, but it can also damage fall-seeded, newly established winter annuals, fescue and orchard grass.

Damage from true armyworms and fall armyworms can seem to appear overnight. Although the damage might appear overnight, larvae have likely been feeding for a week or more before they or their damage appears. Large armyworms may move into an uninfested field (or area of field) adjacent to a field that was just defoliated. Because armyworms are so destructive and compete with livestock for forage, producers should diligently scout susceptible fields for the true armyworm beginning in April and for fall armyworms beginning in July.

At J&N Feed and Seed, we’ve got solutions for armyworm control. There are several different pesticides that can be used to control armyworms in pastures and hayfields. Stop by J&N Feed and Seed and together, we’ll come up with a plan to win the war on armyworms. Read more about managing armyworms here.

Cattle Feed Booking at J&N Feed

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2018

Cattle Feed BookingWinter cattle feed booking is now available at J&N Feed and Seed. Yes, it’s that time of year again. Stop by the store now and lock in your feed price for the winter month contract season. Make sure you get the BEST available nutrition for your animals at the BEST price booking with J&N Feed and Seed.  Please call the store at 940-549-4631 or stop by for current pricing.

J&N Feed and Seed
450 Pecan St
Graham, TX 76450-2524
(940) 549-4631

At J&N Feed and Seed we’ve got the quality feeds and the booking proposition you need to stay on top of the cattle business.

 

Free Coop Sign During Flocktober at J&N Feed and Seed

Monday, October 1st, 2018
OctOct
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Flocktober is here at J&N Feed and Seed!

Are your chicks growing? Once your chicks hit 18 weeks old or lay their first egg, its time to transition to Purina Layena poultry feed to sustain growth and promote egg production!

During the month of October, stop by J&N Feed and Seed and get a FREE limited-edition coop sign, when you purchase a bag of Purina Layena or Layena Plus Omega-3 feed,  40lb bags or larger!

Stop by J&N Feed and Seed this Flocktober for Purina Layena poultry feed!

Free coop signs are available through October 31, 2018, or while supplies last.

Fish Stock Delivery From Abney’s Fish Truck

Monday, October 1st, 2018
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2:00 pm

fish stock deliveryFish Stock Delivery October 3rd at J&N Feed and Seed

Looking for pond stocking in Graham, Texas? Abney’s Fish Truck will deliver to J&N Feed and Seed in Graham, Texas,  on Wednesday, October 3rd  from 2:00 p.m. until 3:00 p.m.

Abney’s Fish Truck – Wednesday, October 3, 2018, from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.

The truck will have Channel Catfish, Largemouth Bass, Black Crappie, Hybrid Blue Gill, Coppernose Blue Gill, Red Ear Blue Gill, Hybrid Grass Carp, Fathead Minnows, Koi & Goldfish. The truck provides containers for all fish but the 11″ channel cats, so please bring your own containers for them. Click here for pricing.

It is not necessary to pre-order the fish, but if you are looking for a large quantity we suggest you call Abney’s at 870-697-3550. Questions for us?  Give us a call at 940-549-4631. With the weather warming, it’s a great time to stock your pond!

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