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Melbourne12

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About Melbourne12

  • Birthday 11/20/1948

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Chicken Eggspert (2/19)

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  1. I quite agree that you should stick to growers untilk they're mature. Garvo has always been a problem in terms of supply. We use Allen & Page Smallholder feeds, which are very good quality. Their chick crumbs, growers, layers, and breeders pellets are on our shopping list depending on the time of year and state of maturity of the birds. There seem to be plenty of stockists near to Fleet http://www.smallholderfeed.co.uk/Find-a-Stockist.aspx if you do a county or postcode search.
  2. We can't reliably get Garvo; the nearest suppliers are a long way away, and I'm not keen to pay mail order prices where the delivery charges nearly double the price. Allen & Page Smallholder pellets are nearly as good. We're currently using their breeders pellets, chick crumbs, and growers pellets, all of which are ordered in for us at a few days' notice. But it's a shame that Garvo won't set up a proper distribution system. We'd cheerfully pay the premium prices if there was a reliable local stockist.
  3. That is very sad. Forgive the question, but did you make sure that the air vents and the fan were cleaned out before setting this batch? Because chicks do create an inordinate amount of fluff, which quickly blocks the fan and may cause temperature fluctuations, and eventually the fan will fail.
  4. If you look at one of the commercial websites (try http://www.cobb-vantress.com/Publications/ManagementGuides.aspx) and download their brochures, you'll see that some are slaughtered at as little as 33 days, although 42 to 49 days is more usual. Free range? 56 days. Organic? Still only 70 days. What upsets me most is that these breeds are created to do nothing but eat and gain weight, so they're a sort of monster. I've heard from people who have raised them that even if you provide a nice environment, they just cluster round the feeder, and show little interest in scratching. We're growing some (pure breed) meat chickens for the first time this year, and I'm expecting to leave them until at least 20 weeks.
  5. Best bet is the sort of run sold for rabbits to use.
  6. Fingers crossed that the treatment is effective and that she recovers.
  7. Not long to wait, then. Hope they all hatch successfully!
  8. Based on our experience with Ixworths, which are quite fast-growing and large fowl, a 20kg bag of chick crumb will feed 8 chicks until the 6 week point of swapping to growers pellets. That allows for a certain amount of wastage, especially when they're in the brooder and tend to poo in the small feeders. On medication, I'm a fan of using unmedicated feed and adding medication and supplements as necessary to the water.
  9. Although we're not local to Norwich any more, we order our woodchip from Carl Dawson in Potter Heigham. Excellent quality hardwood chips.
  10. We use an R-com 20 Pro. Indeed, we've just set 20 eggs in it as of yesterday! Unless it's an old model, you shouldn't need to reset it after a power outage. It will resume automatically from where it left off. However, in your current circumstances, I would reset it at the start of day 19 (I guess it will say D Day - 5 when it should say D Day -3) so that temp=37.0C, humidity=60% and turning=off. You'll have to use the menu and the up/down keys to set it. It's a bit of a faff, or maybe it's just me that finds it not very intuitive! As incubation stops and hatching commences, we remove the tray of eggs very gently, and put a non-slip mat on the grey floor of the R-com, then arrange the eggs around the non-slip mat. As the chicks hatch out, they'll be safe while they dry out and won't get splayed legs. We normally move the chicks to the brooder after 12 to 18 hours, but they'll be OK for 24 hours. ETA: Since the timing is two whole day out, I think it really is necessary to stop the turning at the very least. The hatch rate of the chicks will be diminished, and it seems such a shame for the embryo to have progressed so far, and then be denied the chance of life. Plus the low humidity (incubation level of 45% instead of hatching level of 60%) during hatching will weaken the chicks by dehydrating them unnecessarily. But worst of all, if any hatch 24 hours early, which is quite common, there's a real danger that as they're drying out their little legs will be dragged under the egg tray or the edge of the incubator by the R-com's moving floor, breaking their toes or even their legs.
  11. We have a larger walk-in run, and a smaller run which is in theory movable. In both cases we've mounted the run on timbers, and topped it with hardwood chips. We thought about laying slabs but decided against it. But there are pros and cons with each. Earth: Pro: Chickens can scratch and dig. Drainage into soil means that chippings last a long time. Con: Not proof against foxes digging underneath the timbers (we've actually buried weldmesh below the runs, but that's a major job). When you do need to replace the chippings, it's a bit more of a task. Slabs: Pro: Dead easy to sweep and sterilise. Top foxproofing - you don't even need a wire skirt. Cleaner in wet conditions (provided you lay the slabs properly so that they drain). Con: Not such a natural environment for the chickens - no digging for worms. Woodchip layer will go sour more quickly and need replacement more often.
  12. You need at least a weldmesh skirt. It can be buried so that it doesn't get in the way of lawn mowing and suchlike. We've used sleepers, but buried weldmesh underneath the entire run. But we live in a suburban area where sentimentalists actually feed and encourage the foxes. So far, the fox poo has stayed strictly outside the run. When the hens free range, they're always supervised, and of course protected by an electric fence.
  13. I think it depends how much free range time they'll be getting. Just over 1 sq m per bird is perhaps a bit tight if they're going to be confined to the run most of the time. Remember that the feeder and drinker will take up space, and may be difficult to access for the birds that are lower in the pecking order in such a narrow run.
  14. I agree about siting the WIR carefully. Some places are just prone to puddles. Our WIR is raised on railway sleepers, and the area covered with hardwood chips. The WIR has a polycarbonate roof, but the sides are simply open weldmesh. We've also provided some straw bales as a windbreak. This seems a good compromise - the run stays pretty dry, but is well ventilated. ETA: We find ordinary 1 metre netting quite adequate to contain the free ranging of the birds, but ours are Ixworths, which are quite heavy large fowl. I think we've only once had a hen get over the fence, when she was startled and did a heroic jump.
  15. I think it's OK, but it's surprising how much of your run space the feeder and drinker will take up, and maybe a bale of straw as a windbreak. We've got 4 large fowl in 12 sq m, with free range time of a couple of hours a day. I'd consider upping the number to 6, but not more. Bantams obviously need less space, but I'd be surprised if 1 sq m per bird of overall run space wasn't a sensible minimum if their FR time is restricted (as ours is).

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