Archive for December, 2017

Welcoming Home Your New Chicks

Friday, December 29th, 2017

After bringing your chicks home, focus on three core elements: warmth, water and feed.

Watch Dr. Mikelle Roeder, Purina poultry nutrition expert, walk new chicken owners through what to do with their chicks once they arrive home.

You can get your chicks from your local Purina retailer, directly order from a hatchery, or if you’re feeling extra ambitious you can try incubating fertile eggs at home. Before your chicks arrive, you should have a few things prepared. You’ll need a brooder, either homemade or store-bought. You can make a brooder out of anything, from a large cardboard box, large plastic tote or even an old empty stock tank works well.

Once you have your day-old chicks, introduce them to the brooder. As you place them into their new digs, dip their beaks in the water to teach them how to drink. Watch your chicks closely for the first couple of days to make sure they adjust to their new home.

If you don’t have a thermometer or a way to monitor brooder temperature, you can judge the temperature by the behavior of the chicks themselves. If they all converge beneath the light in a tight group, they’re too cold. If they form a ring around the light, it’s too hot. Raise or lower the lamp until the chicks are evenly dispersed.

Your chicks will undoubtedly make a mess and keeping the brooder clean is a top priority when it comes to the health of your growing flock. You’ll need to clean and refill waterers daily, as many parasites and diseases can spread quickly through contaminated water. Wash waterers and feeders with a mild dish detergent and sterilize with a mixture of one part bleach to nine parts water. To keep your chicks clean and dry, line the bottom of your brooder with dry pine shavings. Chicks are messy drinkers so they depend on the shavings to absorb excess moisture in the brooder. At least once per week you should temporarily remove your chicks from the brooder and give it a thorough cleaning, again using the bleach solution.

Since chicks can’t regulate their own body temperature until they’re fully feathered, it’s important that the brooder have a source of warmth. A heat lamp is the most common source of heat for the homesteader raising chicks, but there are many devices on the market such as infrared heaters that do a fine job of keeping the chicks warm. Whatever you choose, the starting temperature for new chicks should be between 90 and 95 degrees. As the chicks grow, you can raise the lamp to reduce the temperature by about 5 degrees each week until they are fully feathered.

Your new chicks will need a steady supply of feed and water. A chick-sized feeder and waterer help keep the chicks out of their feed and water and help prevent contamination. It also keeps them from wasting feed by scratching at it.

A complete feed is needed to support the fast growth of new chicks. Pick up a bag of chick starter, containing at least 18% protein such as Purina Start & Grow Poultry Feed or 20% diet like Purina Flock Raiser Poultry Feed for meat birds.
Its never too early to start preparing your coop, run, or outdoor space for your birds. By the time they’re four to six weeks old your chickens will be ready to start exploring, and will need a larger space.

Space requirements for chickens depend on the size of the breed. For the most flexibility going forward, you can implement what I call the four-ten rule, at least four square feet of floor area per bird inside the coop, and ten square feet of outdoor space per bird. Offering even more space, either indoors, outdoors, or both, will significantly decrease future problems with bullying, egg-eating, and health issues.

If you’re preparing to raise egg-layers, you’ll also need to make sure that your coop has nesting boxes for your hens. One nest for every four to five hens should be adequate. Boxes shouldn’t be too roomy. A good size is one cubic foot. You can construct your boxes from wood, metal, or plastic, and you’ll want to consider adding a landing board in front of the box to help the hens get in and out of it.

Finally, your chickens will need a place to roost. Roosts can be made from any natural material. 2×4’s or sturdy branches can be screwed into place to give each bird a place to perch. If you use lumber for roosts, round the corners with a router or plane. It’ll be much easier on your birds’ feet, and you’ll avoid health issues over the longterm. Each bird should get about nine inches of roost space, and each roost should be separated by about a foot.

I’m sure you’ll have more questions as your birds grow and prepare for their first eggs. Be sure to reach out to your local Purina retailer. Their poultry specialists can help address your questions along the way. Visit grit.com for even more great tips, and don’t forget to sign up for coupons and e-tips from Purina as your birds grow. Visit purinachickdays.com today.

Article and Video Attributed to Purina Animal Nutrition

New Kamado Joe Products Available

Thursday, December 28th, 2017
Kamado Joe Products

Kamado Joe – Classic II 18″

Kissimmee Valley Feed has a variety of new products available! Many new products are now available from Kamado Joe premium ceramic grills and accessories. Kamado Joe is trusted by consumers for their long-lasting, high-quality ceramic grills that complete any backyard cookout.

Kamado Joe premium ceramic grills available at Kissimmee Valley Feed:

Kamado Joe accessories available at Kissimmee Valley Feed:

You can check out all of the Kamado Joe products available at Kissimmee Valley Feed by clicking here. If you have any questions regarding the new Kamado Joe products, stop by the store or give us a call at 407-957-4100.

Preparing for Backyard Chicks

Friday, December 22nd, 2017

Preparing for Backyard ChicksRaising chickens is a great experience for the whole family. 

One of the primary requirements is providing housing that is comfortable for your backyard flock. Young chicks can be raised in a variety of structures, but the area should be warm, dry and ventilated, but not drafty. Also make sure it is easy to clean.

Warming
Small numbers of chicks can be warmed adequately with heat lamps placed about 20 inches above the litter surface.

Bigger groups of birds in a large room, such as a shed or a garage, should have a supplemental heat source such as a brooder stove.

Before you bring them home
Several days in advance, thoroughly clean and disinfect the brooder house and any equipment the chicks will use. Doing this in advance will allow everything to dry completely. Dampness is a mortal enemy to chicks, resulting in chilling and encouraging disease such as coccidiosis (parasite infection).

When the premises are dry, place 4 to 6 inches of dry litter material (wood shavings or a commercial litter) on the floor.

Feeders and Waterers
It’s important to ensure your chicks have access to fresh feed and water. Positioning the feeders and waterers along the edges of the comfort zone will:

  • Keep the water and feed from being overheated
  • Help keep water and feed cleaner (chicks milling and sleeping under the warmth source often scatter bedding and feces)
  • Encourage the chicks to move around and get exercise

Be sure to have plenty of fresh feed and water when the chicks arrive:

  • At least two 1-quart or one 1-gallon waterer for every 25 to 50 chicks
  • Dip the beaks of several chicks into the water to help them locate it. These chicks will teach the rest.

Feeders

  • Day 1: Use clean egg flats, shallow pans or simple squares of paper with small piles of feed on them.
  • Day 2: Add proper feeders to the pens.
  • A few days later: Remove the messy papers, pans or egg flats once chicks have learned to eat from the feeders.

Waterers

  • Should be emptied, scrubbed, rinsed and refilled daily
  • Wet litter around waterers should be removed as often as possible. Dampness encourages disease and parasite transmission. The drier the premises, the healthier and happier the chicks.
  • At about 4 weeks of age, ducks and geese will appreciate a swimming area, but you will need to keep the wet litter cleaned up.
  • In winter months, you may need to purchase a water heater to prevent water from freezing.

As chicks grow

  • Feeders and waterers can be moved outward from the heat source, expanding their area of activity and helping keep the feeders and waterers clean.
  • As the birds grow, the feeders and waterers should be adjusted to the height of the back of a standing bird. This will help decrease contamination and minimize wastage

Feeding your chicks
It is important to select a complete feed that gives your chicks all the nutrition they need to grow into healthy hens. Once they’ve reached maturity,a high-quality complete layer feed will help to maximize egg production and quality. If they are broiler chicks, choose a feed designed to support their more rapid growth. Layer chicks will reach egg-laying age at about 18 to 20 weeks; broiler chicks will reach market weight at 8 to 10 weeks.

You may also consider occasional supplements to their diet, such as table scraps, scratch grains, oyster shell and grit. However, supplemental feeds should make up no more than 10 percent of a hen’s diet.

Purina offers a complete line of poultry feeds appropriate for each bird in your flock.

Lighting and heating for your chicks
A thermometer should be placed at the chicks’ level to accurately gauge temperature.

  • Adjust the brooder stove and/or heat lamps 24 hours in advance so that upon the chicks’ arrival, you’ve created a comfort zone that is 90º F at “chick level.”
  • For turkey chicks, the comfort zone should be 100º F.
  • Use a brooder guard (a plastic, cardboard or wire barrier) for a few days to encircle the brooding area so that the chicks don’t wander too far from the warmth.
  • Once chicks have learned where the heat is, remove or expand the guard. This will allow the chicks to escape the heat if necessary. Getting overheated can be as dangerous as getting chilled.
  • Chicks that huddle under the lamp are too cold. Chicks that sprawl along the brooder guard are too hot. Chicks happily milling around all portions of the brooder area are comfortable.
  • The temperature can be gradually reduced by 5º F per week to a minimum of 55º F.

Even after your chicks have grown into hens, keep a standard old-fashioned 40-watt incandescent light bulb handy; or, if you’re using the new energy-efficient bulbs, a 28-watt halogen, 10-watt compact fluorescent, or 8-watt LED bulb, to maintain the artificial light necessary for egg laying to continue through the winter months.

Article Attributed to Purina Animal Nutrition

Animal Feed Price Increases

Monday, December 18th, 2017

There have been significant changes in the global vitamin market which will impact the availability and price of vitamins and premixes used to manufacture feed starting this month. Rest assured that we are committed to working with you to navigate this challenge while providing optimal nutrition from our suppliers. We’d like to share some details with you as to what is going on in the market.

Global supplies of vitamin A and vitamin E will be in short supply over the next few months, due to a manufacturing issue with one of the leading suppliers, BASF. Earlier this month, BASF declared force majeure for all its vitamin A and vitamin E and for several carotenoid products. This declaration is a legal clause that exempts them from fulfilling their contractual supply obligations for all their vitamin A and vitamin E products and several carotenoid products. It was made following a fire that reportedly damaged BASF’s citral facility in Germany. Citral is key to the manufacturing process of those vitamins.

This global supply issue and very limited availability of the impacted vitamins have resulted in significant price increases in the animal nutrition market. You will begin to see those prices reflected in pricing of animal feeds starting in December 2017. These price increases from manufacturers will impact the prices of feed in businesses across the country. We are doing what we can to mitigate the impact and will stay in close contact with you as we manage through this until supplies are restored.

Our number one priority is to continue to provide you with the quality products you and your customers expect from us. Thank you for working through this global industry challenge with us.

Please do not hesitate to reach out to us with any questions.

Kissimmee Valley Feed

Ultimate Purina Experience: Enter to Win!

Thursday, December 7th, 2017
Ultimate Purina ExperienceHere’s a chance to win the Ultimate Purina Experience!
Enter to for a chance to win a special behind-the-scenes VIP trip for two to St. Louis, MO. You and a guest will tour the Purina Animal Nutrition Center and the home of the Budweiser Clydesdales!
Plus, in addition to the tip, you get to choose from one of the 3 options below!
  1. Free Purina Horse & Training! Yes, you read that correctly! You can choose a horse from a select group of horses at the Purina Farm. Kerry Kuhn, A Purina Ambassador will train your new horse for 6 months!
  2. Already have a horse? Well, this option lets you train one-on-one or attend a clinic (for up to 4 days) with your choice of any Purina Ambassador listed on the flyer.
  3. Or you can choose to receive free Purina Feed for one year. Select the Purina horse feed that suits your needs and Purina will supply feed for up to 6 horses for the entire year! Maximum of 6 tons.
How do you enter? TEXT to number: 95323, and enter the work PURINA. Then hit send. Fill out the questions and you are entered!

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