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Feeding Chicks: Making the Transition to the Chicken Coop

Thursday, April 8th, 2021

Congratulations! Your chicks have made it to the transition stage, and it’s time to prepare them for a move to the chicken coop.

A few weeks have passed since you brought those little balls of fluff home, and it’s time to formulate a plan on housing, because your flourishing chicks will soon outgrow that brooder.

Here are a few tips on transitioning to the chicken coop some tips on feeding chicks and chick feeding recommendations as your babies grow into healthy adult birds.  chicken coop

Housing Upgrade

The change in environment can be a big one for your chicks, so consider these tips as you move them from brooder to adult chicken coop:

  • Chicks should be mostly feathered – At 5 to 6 weeks your fluffy chicks will start to resemble adult birds by growing out pinfeathers.
  • These adult feathers will help them regulate their body temperature better than fluffy chick down.
  • Chicks should be acclimated – Although they start off at 90 – 95 degrees in the brooder the first week of life, you need to decrease this temperature each week until the temperature inside the brooder is close to what daytime temps will be. For the first few weeks (and especially if outdoor temperatures are fluctuating), you may want to bring the birds back into the brooder at night or in bad weather.
  • Chicks should be integrated – Nobody wants hen-house drama, and taking a few simple steps to introduce new birds to old will save a great deal of time and potential injuries.
    • These steps include having a “get acquainted” phase when the new and old birds are in separate, but attached areas so they can interact without aggressiveness.
    • You also want to do the coop consolidation at night so that the old and new flock wake up together, which can help minimize bullying.

On the Menu

At this point it is also important to remember, if you have youngsters joining your existing flock, to only feed chick starter to all birds until the youngest bird is 16 weeks.

The extra calcium in regular layer feed can harm young chicks. Once you’ve reached the 16 week mark, it is safe to switch to layer feed.

Your girls will most likely not be laying until they are around 24-26 weeks old, but it is important to build up the calcium level in their system. Using a layer crumble makes the transition a little easier.

Chicks should also be eating treats and grit by now. It’s a great idea to get your birds used to eating treats (if you plan to offer them) a few days prior to putting them outside. That way, you can use the treats to lure the birds into a secure space at night, if needed.

Until they are used to thinking of the coop as “home base” they may need just a bit of encouragement to go back in at night.

Just remember, if you start feeding treats, you should offer no more than 10-15% of the total diet as treats, so that you don’t create nutritional imbalances in their overall intake.  Also, you should offer a grit free choice to aid in digestion.

This article was originally published on the Nutrena blog. 

Chick Life Stages – What to Expect

Tuesday, March 9th, 2021

chick life stagesYou’ve just arrived home with a brimming box of peeping chicks, how exciting! The journey you are about to embark on is an exciting one, so get ready to learn about chick life stages and love those new fluffy creatures.

What to Expect – Week 1:

Before you go to pick up your new chicks, make sure the brooder is ready to go at home. This will prevent any unnecessary stress, for both you and the chicks.

Expect some peeping as the chicks get acquainted in their new environment, learning to drink and eat. They will likely do this for 4 or 5 days.

If the peeping seems to be excessive, make sure you evaluate the brooder for anything that may be causing distress.

A good indicator on temperature is to evaluate where the chicks are located. If they are spread out, they are likely comfortable.

If they are huddled under the heat source, they may be too cold and temperature adjustments should be made.

If they are on the edges of the brooder (not under the heat source) then they are likely too hot.

Don’t forget, the journey to their new home was a long one, so consider providing some bottled water with vitamins and electrolytes for the first 3 days.

Chick Life Stages: What to Expect – Weeks 2-3:

After the first week, their down will start to turn into feathers, and by week 4 you can expect to see more feathers than down.

With adequate food, water and proper temperature, your chicks should be acclimating quite well to their new home.

Don’t forget the importance of brooder maintenance during this time.

To keep odors at bay and cleanliness paramount, make sure you are cleaning out the brooder once a week and adding fresh shavings.

Place the waterer in the corner to prevent dampness throughout the entire brooder.

What to Expect – Weeks 4 – 6:

At this time, you may notice your chicks starting to test their wings.

At week 6, the brooder is likely getting a little crowded, and you should consider the transition outside to the coop.

It’s wise to choose a nice day to do this, as it will be less of a shock to the birds.

It’s important to note that during this transition, you should make sure your chicks are fully feathered so they are prepared for the elements.

A gradual integration of new chicks with mature hens may be necessary to prevent older birds from picking on the young birds.

A good option is to separate the two groups with a gate or some fencing, so they can be exposed to one another before being fully integrated.

This post was originally published on the Nutrena website. Get everything you need for your new chicks at Kissimmee Valley Feed

The Nutritional Needs of Large and Giant Dog Breeds

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2021

It’s no surprise that any dog extraordinary in size and stature has unique dietary needs. But those precise needs might look different than you’d imagine.

In order to ensure your dog can perform at its peak, it’s important to choose a recipe that matches their breed size.

Large breeds, classified as dogs who weigh between 51 and 90 pounds as full-grown adults, include German Shepherds, Bernese Mountain Dogs, and Great Danes, among many others. Dogs that weigh over 90 pounds at maturity are often considered giant breeds. Included in this designation are the St. Bernard, Newfoundland, and the Giant Mastiff.

Throughout all life stages, large and giant breed dogs have different nutritional requirements compared to small and medium breeds.

As puppies, bigger breeds grow quicker and over a longer period of time. As such, large breed puppy diets should contain lower levels of energy and protein. With the wrong type of food, large and giant breeds will grow faster than their bones can support them, causing orthopedic issues. Furthermore, bones that grow too fast are less dense and can lead to long-term issues.

For example, if large and giant breed puppies have a diet with a protein/fat ratio of 30/20, they could have excess levels of calcium and phosphorous. They are essential in certain quantities, but too much of these will negatively affect bone and joint development. This could potentially lead to bone disease and other orthopedic problems later on in life.

Instead, choose a recipe like Nutrena’s Puppy Large Breed Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe. It has a protein/fat ratio of 26/14 and optimal levels of calcium and phosphorous to support a slower growth rate so that their skeleton has time to develop enough strength to support their greater weight. Our Puppy Large Breed Recipe also contains natural sources of glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate which support healthy joints.

While some small breed puppies are fully grown at nine months, it can take up to 18 to 24 months for large and giant breeds to mature. You’ll need to keep your larger breed dogs on puppy food longer than your small and medium breeds.

Weight management, joint health help large breed adults achieve longevity.

As dogs mature, nutritional concerns shift to weight management and joint health. As the dietary differences remain between small and large breeds into adulthood, the path to get there is also different.

Compared to smaller breeds, large breeds require fewer calories per pound, so they need a less nutrient and energy dense diet. Thus, these larger breeds need recipes with lower amounts of energy.

It’s especially important for joint health and longevity that they consume a recipe that meets their needs. The wrong balance can create weight management issues which could affect your dog’s health and longevity. Overweight adult dogs can develop a number of health issues including joint problems, osteoarthritis, diabetes, among many others. In addition, look for a recipe that has L-carnitine to help burn fat and support a healthy weight, and includes Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate which helps support joint health.

Whether your large breed is young or old, protecting livestock, herding, or doing a little bit of everything, they need a diet that helps them perform at their best.

This post was originally published at nutrinaworld.com.

Dog Training Tips

Tuesday, January 26th, 2021

When you bring a puppy or even an adult dog home for the first time, the idea of training probably means potty training. But after they chew up that pair of shoes and run-away off leash for the first time, you realize there is a bit more training you need to do. Here are a few things to consider when training your puppy or adult dog:

  1. Establish house rules for the dog.  Just like your children have house rules so should your dog. Will you allow your dog on the couch when you are binging Netflix? Will they be allowed to sleep with you on the bed or in the crate in another room? It’s important to establish rules for the puppy or adult dog before they arrive so that everyone and your furry friend know what to expect.
  2. Find a Training Class.  Most dog owners find puppy training classes a good idea. Depending on where you live, classes are typically held at a local dog training facility or pet supply store. There is a fee associated with these class so make sure to research the trainer before you register to ensure they have experience and excellent references. In the class, your puppy will typically learn basic commands such as sit, lie down, come, and stay and how to walk on leash.
  3. Start socializing early.  When you bring home your puppy or adopted dog, getting them use to their surroundings and interacting with people is an important part of the training process. In some areas, you can even sign up for a puppy socialization class to help your puppy learn how to interact with other dogs and people. It’s important to do this as soon as possible to avoid any set-in fears and anxieties. If you have an adopted dog, you can socialize with frequent walks around the neighborhood, having people over, and taking them to a dog park.
  4. Reward good behavior. When your puppy or adult dog does the right thing, treats and praise help reinforce the behavior you expect. Dogs are people pleasers and want to please their owners. Positive praise helps build trust between you and your furry friend and ensures they develop into a confident, well-adjusted dog.
  5. Be patient. It can take three to four weeks of consistent training before it becomes a habit. With puppies, you need to exercise patience during the training process by implementing short training sessions every day. If you are bringing home an adult dog, they can be easier to train than young puppies as they can focus for a longer period to time.
  6. Give daily exerciseA bored dog tends to get itself into trouble. Daily exercise not only keeps your furry friend healthy but also helps provide needed mental stimulation while reducing common behavioral problems such as chewing, digging, and barking.  

This article originally appeared on nutrinaworld.com.

Arrival of Show Pigs

Saturday, August 22nd, 2020

Arrival of Show PigsWorking on a show pig project? Show pigs arrive at Kissimmee Valley Feed on October 5th at 4:00 pm.  This is your opportunity to hand-pick your piglet. The show pigs arrive on the trailer at 4:00 pm. Make sure you set your alarms to be on time.

Lyons Show Pigs have generously agreed to supply us with a top-quality selection. They are one of the best producers in the industry, we are confident that your blue ribbon winner is on its way! In order to get your name on the list, please fill out the attached form below. Forms are also available at the store. Registration opens August 26 and closes September 26. You must reserve your spot before the deadline closes.

This year the total for your show pig is $260. This includes your pig and a first free bag of show pig feed of your choice. You may either pay in full or submit your deposit of $130. The final payment is due on the date when you pick up your piglet. No exceptions. If you have any questions, give us a call at (407) 957-4100.

We look forward to supplying you with the highest quality feed and supplies and supporting each of our customers from start to finish. New to the show ring? Welcome! We can’t wait to see the final outcome in February. Check out our list of products here.

Click here to download the Show Pig Order Form.

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