Archive for the ‘Articles’ Category

What Do Baby Chicks Eat? Chick Starter Feed Is Key for Lifetime Success

Thursday, January 19th, 2023

What Do Baby Chicks Eat?What Do Baby Chicks Eat? Baby chicks grow quickly, doubling their hatch weight in the first week and growing up to seven times their hatch weight in the first month. To support this early growth, baby chicks should eat a complete starter-grower feed which contains the 38 unique nutrients they need to start strong and stay strong. A starter-grower feed with the Chick Strong® System helps raise strong chicks that grow into happy, healthy hens.

An apple a day keeps the doctor away. No dessert before dinner. Eat your vegetables! Do you remember hearing these phrases at the dining room table while growing up? Although you may have hated brussels sprouts, these wise words had the best intentions: Eat healthy, so you can grow strong.

We give advice with the same intent to backyard chicken raisers.

Lifetime success begins on day one. It all starts with chick nutrition and care. Baby chicks need 38 unique nutrients to grow into happy, healthy hens. Each of these nutrients – and the proper balance of them – plays a role in growth, performance and flock happiness.

Raising baby chicks into happy, healthy hens starts on day one:

Your mother’s advice to eat more vegetables wasn’t just something to roll your eyes at. A balanced diet supports life-long health and well-being.

Industry research shows the long-term impact of early nutrition on lifetime health and performance.1 The same holds true for backyard chickens. Feeding chicks for a strong start can better equip them for a lifetime of success.2

Just like people and other animals, chicks need a strong start to grow into happy, healthy adults. Many people begin raising backyard chickens for farm fresh eggs, but before the first egg arrives, early chick nutrition is the foundation.

Early nutrition develops the digestive tract and builds a healthy immune system, ultimately improving chick growth.Providing chicks a complete starter-grower feed is key.

Chicks grow quickly, doubling their hatch weight in the first week and growing up to seven times their hatch weight in the first month. This early growth requires the correct balance of nutrients.

What to feed baby chicks:

Start your chicks strong by feeding a complete starter-grower feed from day 1 until the first egg arrives around week 18.

Each of these starter-grower feeds includes all 38 nutrients baby birds need to start strong and grow at the proper pace. Some nutrients directly impact bone, skeletal and chick growth while others work in tandem to support overall bird health and appearance.

Nutrients in Purina® complete starter-grower feeds include:

  • 18% protein and 1.25% calcium for bone and body growth
  • Prebiotics and probiotics for immune and digestive health
  • Amino acids for muscle and feather development
  • Marigold extract for brightly colored beaks, feet and legs and overall appearance
  • Phosphorous and trace minerals for bone strength
  • Vitamins A, D, E, K and B for overall health and growth
  • Continue feeding the same starter-grower feed from day 1 to week 18. We recommend waiting to introduce treats or scratch to the diet until week 18. If you are feeding a complete starter-grower feed, your chicks do not need grit. If you start chicks on a medicated starter-grower feed, keep feeding that same medicated feed until their first egg.

Most layer chick breeds will lay their first egg around week 18. At that time, transition to a complete Purina® layer feed to help hens lay strong.

In conclusion, visit Kissimmee Valley Feed for all your backyard flock’s needs! Check out our supplies here.

Article Source: Patrick Biggs for Purina Mills

12 Calving Season Essentials

Wednesday, January 4th, 2023

12 Calving Season Essentials12 Calving Season Essentials:

Start planning early for a seamless calving season.

Now’s the time to plan for spring calving and/or fall calving. Make sure you have a reliable team, including a trusted veterinarian on speed-dial.

Prepare a dedicated calving area with ample space that’s clean, dry and protected from the elements. And, stock up on these spring calving and fall calving season essentials.

1. NON-IRRITANT ANTISEPTIC AND EXTRA BEDDING

Protect newborn calves during calving season from disease-causing pathogens with a clean, dry environment.

2. CLEAN TOWELS

Calving season can be a messy business, be ready to clean it up.

3. IODINE, VACCINATIONS AND ANTIBIOTICS

Work with your vet to create or refine a spring calving or fall calving protocol for your operation.

4. OBSTETRICAL CHAINS, TWO HANDLES AND MECHANICAL CALF PULLERS

Keep these supplies on hand in case you need to pull a calf.

5. A CLEAN SURFACE FOR USED EQUIPMENT

Avoid having to pick up tools or equipment from soiled bedding.

6. DISPOSABLE OBSTETRICAL SLEEVES

Use a new pair every time.

7. LUBRICANT

Nothing fancy required. Get the job done with non-detergent soap and warm water.

8. A CALVING BOOK FOR RECORD-KEEPING

There’s no such thing as too many records, be ready on day one.

9. EAR TAGS AND A TAGGER

Add a spare tagger for good measure.

10. A SLED WITH ROPES AND A HEATER

Protect calves from the elements during extra cold winter weather.

11. COLOSTRUM REPLACER, ELECTROLYTES AND AN ESOPHAGEAL FEEDER

Ensure calves get the nutrition they need if the weather’s especially harsh, or if they can’t nurse their dam.

12. EXTRA COVERALLS AND BOOTS

Keep extra hats and gloves handy in case there’s unexpected cold weather.

Just like a well-planned calving season can support calf performance down the road, a balanced cow nutrition program can support breeding performance for years to come.

Don’t put cow nutrition on the back burner during calving season. Providing cows with the proper mineral now can pay dividends next year.

Feed a high-quality mineral year-round to build up mineral stores and prepare cows to breed back quickly. Consider a source with Availa 4® organic trace minerals, like Purina® Wind and Rain® Mineral to support cow nutrition. Visit a Kissimmee Valley Feed for all your calving needs.

New Year Resolutions for Pets

Friday, December 30th, 2022

New Year Resolutions for PetsNew Year Resolutions for Pets: Tips for enhancing animals’ lives and our own. That’s right, pets can have New Year’s Resolutions too!

With the New Year here, it’s time to take stock and make improvements in our lives and our pets’ lives. Here are some New Year Resolutions for Pets ideas and tips to hopefully enhance the health and add some fun to your pets’ lives.

Pets can suffer from overeating and lack of exercise just like humans. But there are more things to consider than diet and exercise when it comes to being a good example for our pets. Here are a few tips to help your pets be happier and healthier in 2022.

8 Tips:

    1. Exercise

      Firstly, regular exercise has the obvious health benefits, but it also is a great time to bond with our pets. A simple daily walk helps a dog learn proper manners. In addition, it provides some good quality time, and does wonders for the human counterpart, too! Keeping pets at the proper body weight reduces the risk of heart and joint problems, diabetes, and a host of other poor health conditions.

    2. Health Check Up

      Secondly, regular visit to your veterinarian is the best way to stay ahead of potential problems. Annual examinations of teeth, heart/lungs, and body condition overall will be less costly than waiting for a problem to develop and your pet suffering needlessly from complications of preventable problems. Having a good “baseline” of information about your pet also gives the veterinarian something to compare against and determine exactly what is wrong when something isn’t quite right with your pet.

    3. Good Nutrition

      Like humans, pets who eat poor quality food just do not have the health reserves that those that a good balanced diet. Poor skin, hair coat, muscle tone, and obesity problems can be a result of a poor diet. Also, pets are not humans — a diet rich in table scraps is not a healthy one, and can lead to problems such as obesity and pancreatitis.

    4. Good Grooming

      No one wants to be around a stinky pet. Regular grooming for example, bathing, toe nail clips, brushing teeth and hair coat, parasite control. As a result, it not only makes the pet more pleasing to be around, it is much healthier for the pet! For skin and coat problems that don’t resolve with regular grooming, please see your veterinarian. Above all, there may be an underlying medical condition affecting the skin, coat, or toenails.

    5. Safety

      Keeping pets safe is something most pet owners take for granted. However, take a moment to assess the toxic chemicals used in your house and yard. Are they necessary? Are all safety precautions followed? Where are household chemicals stored? Can your pet access these items? If toxins such as rodent poisons are used, can your pet access the rodents? Think too about enclosures for pets — is the fencing secure? Can your pet get caught or hooked up on the fence, a tree, etc. and choke or be stuck out in the weather when you are away?

    6. Information

      Being informed is the best way to keep track of our pet’s health and well-being. If possible, keep a medical log of your pet’s vet visits, medications, special needs, etc. to help keep track of your pet’s medical history. Knowing what is normal and not normal for your particular pet will assist your vet figure out what is wrong in the case of illness. For example, the Internet is a wealth of information. However, caution is advised. Especially when seeking out a diagnosis or medical assistance via the web. Just as in real life, there is good information and bad information out there. The only way to get an answer/diagnosis is through a thorough physical examination. In addition, a review of medical history, and possible lab work performed by your veterinarian.

    7. Love and Attention

      This is probably obvious, but too many pets are left outside in all kinds of weather, with very little human contact. Same goes for inside pets. For example, those who are largely ignored for lack of time and busy human schedules. Most importantly, take the time to focus on your pets and create/nourish that human-animal bond!

    8. Maintenance

      This refers to the more “unpleasant” aspects of pet care. For example, the litter box scooping, yard clean up, cage cleaning, and fish tank maintenance. A clean environment for our pets is a healthy one! Poor sanitation can lead to behavior problems (i.e. litter box avoidance) and health problems such as skin infections and the spread of communicable diseases.

In conclusion, visit Kissimmee Valley Feed for the best pet health supplies (and tell us your New Year Resolutions for Pets!)

Article Source: Janet Tobiassen Crosby, DVM, on About.com

Holiday Safety Tips for Pets

Monday, November 28th, 2022

Holiday Safety Tips for Pets: Cat next to a christmas tree The holiday season is just around the corner and many pet parents want to include the family pet in their holiday celebrations. As you get ready for all the festivities, it’s important to keep your pet’s exercise and eating schedule routine. Also, it’s important to steer pets clear of the following unhealthy treats, toxic plants, and dangerous decorations. Our holiday safety tips for pets will get you and your pet ready for the holidays.

Holiday Plants and Decorations:

Christmas Trees – Be sure to secure and anchor your tree so it can’t tip over and fall. It’s also important to keep the tree water away from your pets because the fertilizers and bacteria in the water can cause major stomach upset and possibly diarrhea.

Mistletoe & Holly – Holly, when ingested, can cause pets to suffer nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Mistletoe can cause gastrointestinal upset and cardiovascular problems. And many varieties of lilies can cause kidney failure in cats if ingested. Opt for just-as-jolly artificial plants made from silk or plastic, or choose a pet-safe bouquet.

Tinsel – Kittens love to play with tinsel because it’s sparkly and floaty. However, this so-called toy can be easily swallowed which can lead to an obstructed digestive tract, severe vomiting, dehydration and possible surgery.

Candles – Don’t leave lighted candles unattended because pets can easily burn themselves or cause a fire if they knock candles over. Be sure to put out candles when you leave the room.

Wires, Batteries, and Glass Ornaments – Please keep wires, batteries, and glass or plastic ornaments out of paws’ reach. There are many dangers that can befall your pet while these holiday decorations are out for them to get into. A wire can deliver a potentially lethal electrical shock and a punctured battery can cause burns to the mouth and esophagus, while shards of breakable ornaments can damage your pet’s mouth and digestive tract.

Holiday Foods to Avoid

Sweet Treats – As you know chocolate is a big no-no for dogs. Please make sure all holiday treats that have chocolate or xylitol are kept away from your furry friend. Secure leftovers and garbage cans.

Leftovers – Do not feed your pets leftovers from your holiday meals. Obviously, they have pet food to satisfy their appetites. Olsen’s has lots of pet treats for your family pets.

Alcoholic Beverages – Christmas and especially New Years most likely will have beverages with alcohol that can be lethal to pets. Make sure to place your unattended alcoholic drinks where pets cannot get to them. If ingested, your pet could become weak, ill and may even go into a coma, possibly resulting in death from respiratory failure.

Fireworks – Just like fireworks during the Fourth of July celebrations, New Year’s is a time when noisy poppers, blowers, and loud noises are common while counting down to the new year. However, these noisy festivities can terrify your pets and possibly cause damage to their ears. Be sure to secure them in a safe, escape-proof area as midnight approaches.

These holiday safety tips for pets will help you enjoy the holidays. Visit Kissimmee Valley Feed to treat your pets this holiday season.

Your Keys to Fall Calving

Tuesday, November 15th, 2022

Your Keys to Fall CalvingYour Keys to Fall Calving: Cattle condition and comfort are your keys to fall calving.

Spring calving season may be more common, but if you’re a fall calving operation, you know the warmer, dryer weather conditions and the seasonal high calf prices that tend to hit at weaning can yield greater results.

Yet, fall calving doesn’t come without its challenges. Preparation now means mitigating those challenges – including high temperatures and unpredictable forages – and getting calves started quicker to realize optimal cost-efficient growth.

Follow these steps this summer to gain more value from your herd in the fall:

 Set cows up for success

 It can be difficult to keep cattle in ideal body condition for the fall calving season. Pastures are transitioning from quality grasses with active growth to more mature grasses going dormant, causing energy and protein quality to decline.

With a target body condition score of six at calving, taking scores 60-90 days before calving begins allows time to change the nutrition plan if needed. Purina® RangeLand® protein supplement tubs and Purina® Accuration® Hi-Fat blocks are good options that provide extra protein and energy; they also support digestion and utilization of low-quality forage.

Remember, heifers and first-calf cows haven’t yet reached maturity during gestation. They are still growing while raising a calf, making their energy requirements higher than mature cows. Separate your herd to provide heifers and first-calf cows with a higher energy diet to be at peak performance during calving.

Fight menacing flies

Fly season may start in spring, but a strong fly control program is just as critical during fall calving season.

Flies can be a significant detriment to cattle health and performance. Horn flies carry Staphylococcus aureus, a major cause of mastitis. They can also cause damage to the udder and teats, lowering milk production.

To limit horn flies, start feeding Purina® Wind and Rain® Fly Control mineral in the spring, 30 days before flies emerge, when the daily temps average 65°F and keep feeding until 30 days after the first frost in the fall.

When it isn’t fly season, provide your herd a balanced mineral year-round using Purina® Wind and Rain® mineral. A quality mineral optimizes cows’ milk production and supports fertility and fetal development – all vital in the winter months when your cows are raising calves and getting rebred for the next season.

Combat soaring temperatures

 Higher temperatures during fall calving make water supply a top concern. During the hottest days of the year, cattle typically drink two gallons of water per 100 pounds of body weight. Adequate, clean, accessible water is a must. Allowing for two or more inches of linear space per head has been shown to decrease heat stress in cattle.

As calves start drinking water, it’s essential for water sources to be at an appropriate height. In addition, to have enough water flow. Cows typically drink first, with calves following. If the sides of the waterer are too high or the water doesn’t refill quickly, calves may not have access to water that is needed to prevent dehydration and keep their bodies cool.

Shade or shelter is another vital consideration for hot days. Trees, buildings or portable structures are all adequate sources of protection from the sun’s intense heat. Placing water tanks in shaded areas also ensures cool water for the herd.

Ready for reproduction

 You can’t be prepared for all surprises that can occur during the fall calving season. Still, making sure your herd is in peak condition, providing access to necessities, and having essential supplies on hand can help ensure calves hit the ground running.

Visit Kissimmee Valley Feed to learn Your Keys to Fall Calving. Check out our cattle feeds here.

Source: Wes Hornback, Cattle Technical Specialist, Purina Mills

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