Archive for the ‘Chickens’ Category

Trick or Treat, Give Your Chickens Something Good to Eat!

Thursday, October 14th, 2021

A chicken in the foreground with pieces of pumpkin in the background.Trick or Treat, Give Your Chickens Something Good to Eat! There is a cool breeze in the air and the leaves are starting to turn rich hues in many parts of the country. Yes, fall is upon us. It’s that wonderful time of year that brings us many bountiful tidings, including pumpkin spice-everything, hay rides and trick or treater’s. But what does the fall season mean for your chickens? The answer, is likely already a part of your seasonal tradition!

If you are getting ready to carve those annual jack-o-lanterns, you can cringe a little less when scooping the slimy goo of seeds out, because it can serve a purpose this year! The guts of your pumpkins are in-fact a delicious treat to your chickens. Aside from your guys and gals loving the flavor of pumpkin contents, they are loaded with some great nutrients. Pumpkins contain vitamins A, B and C, as well as zinc. Vitamin E can also be found in the seeds. In addition, you can feed all parts of the pumpkin to chickens, just make sure the rinds are cut up some so they can easily eat.

After all the little ghosts and goblins have stopped by, you can even feed the jack-o-lanterns to your chickens! Just make sure there is no molding on the inside or outside. So get to carving, your ladies and gentlemen are awaiting a treat!

Stop by Kissimmee Valley Feed to check out our fantastic backyard flock selection!

Article Source: “Trick or Treat, Give Your Chickens Something Good to Eat!” by GINA THESING for Nutrena’s Scoop from the Coop

The Molting Process

Tuesday, September 21st, 2021

The Molting ProcessAhh, the molting process. Shorter days and cooler temperatures…For people, it’s a sign that it is back to school time and fall. To chickens, it’s a sign that it is time to renew their feathers. Losing feathers and re-growing them is called molting and occurs every year when the days get shorter.

During molt, chickens typically stop laying eggs and use this time to build up their nutrient reserves. Even though they are not laying, it is critical that your chickens have a high quality diet during this time.

Feeding a high quality ration such as NatureWise Feather Fixer™ during molt will help your birds get through the molting process and back to laying eggs as quickly as possible. Feather Fixer™ is a unique and innovative life-stage product that can also be fed year round if desired. It has elevated levels of protein as well as a mix of vitamins, minerals and amino acids that help maintain healthy skin and develop strong and beautiful new feathers.

Top tips for feeding through the molt:

  • Feed a high protein feed like NatureWise Feather Fixer that is a complete feed, so you don’t have to worry about feeding other protein supplements to feed along with layer feed during molt.
  • Make feed available free choice
  • Limit scratch to 10% of diet during molt so you don’t dilute the protein content of the ration
  • Molting and growing new feathers requires a lot of energy. Feathers are 85% protein… so be sure your birds’ diet includes a highly nutritious feed like NatureWise or Country Feeds that consists of at least 16% protein, or ideally, the higher protein NatureWise Feather Fixer. You don’t need to add medications or other vitamins if you’re feeding one of these feeds.
  • Just as your chickens have individual personalities, they will go through molt differently as well. Some lose a few feathers and grow them back in as quickly as 3-4 weeks. Other chickens lose a lot of feathers and take 12-16 weeks to grow them back.

Other tips for helping chickens get through molting:

  • Reduce stress as much as possible, avoid bringing new birds into the flock if possible
  • Chickens should act normal during their molt – if they seem sick, something else is wrong
  • Both roosters and hens go through molt
  • Avoid handling your chickens during molt, it is painful for them and increases stress

Chickens will lose feathers in a sequence starting with the head and neck and then down the back, across the breast and thighs and finally their tail feathers. The new feathers that emerge are called pinfeathers and will grow in following the same sequence they were lost.

So don’t panic when your chickens start losing their feathers and stop laying eggs. Molting is a normal and natural process of shedding feathers and re-growing them that all chickens go through. The best thing you can do to help your chickens through molt is to feed a high quality, high protein layer feed.

In conclusion, visit Kissimmee Valley Feed for all things chicken!

Article source: Nutrena World

Flock-Tober 2021

Tuesday, September 21st, 2021

Flock-Tober 2021Flock-Tober 2021: Shop at Kissimmee Valley Feed’s Main Store during October and get a FREE limited-edition coop sign when you purchase a large bag of Purina Layer feed*! These signs are popular and we will run out!

Don’t forget to fluff those feathers and polish your hen’s beaks for the 5th annual Purina® Miss Flock-Tober® pageant! Purina® will crown weekly winners of 4 categories this month – chosen by YOU! Find your best #PurinaFed poultry photos and strut over to the Purina Poultry Facebook page to enter.

Are your chicks growing? Once your chicks hit 18-20 weeks old or lay their first egg, it’s time to transition to Purina Layena poultry feed to sustain growth and promote egg production! Check out our poultry supplies here! Most importantly, enjoy Flock-Tober 2021!

Transitioning Chickens to Layer Feed

Friday, July 23rd, 2021

Wondering when it’s time to begin transitioning chickens to layer feed? For backyard chickens, most egg-laying breeds reach adulthood at 18 weeks and lay their first egg— perfect timing when you can start your chickens on layer feed.

This feed switch is an essential step in the road to farm fresh eggs because hens require different nutrients to produce eggs as compared to when they are growing.

To produce an egg each day, hens need high levels of calcium, vitamins and minerals. Hens transfer many of these nutrients directly into their eggs, so the chicken feed ingredients in the layer feed play an essential role in the eggs that hens produce.

Consider the following steps when transitioning to a complete chicken layer feed:

1. Choose a chicken feed formula that matches your goals.

Select a complete layer feed before the transition begins. Ideally, by week 16 the layer feed decision should be made. That way, the transition can be planned.

First, look for a complete layer feed. This means the feed should be formulated to provide everything hens require without a need to supplement.

There are many complete layer feed options available, Kissimmee Valley Feed offers Purina® Organic layer feed, Purina® Layena®Plus Omega-3 and Purina® Layena® pellets and crumbles.

Each of these chicken feed formulas is designed to meet specific flock goals. No matter the goals you have. be sure the layer feed is made with simple, wholesome ingredients. The feed should include 16 percent protein and at least 3.25 percent calcium as well as key vitamins and minerals.

These are just the essentials, though. Look for additional ingredients in the layer feed to bring hen health and egg quality to the next level.

A few next level ingredients to look for include:

Rich, yellow yolks: Marigold extract
Strong shells: Oyster Strong™ System
Immune and digestive health: Prebiotics and probiotics
Vibrant feathering: Essential amino acids such as lysine and methionine
Omega-rich eggs: Added omega-3 fatty acids

2. Transition over one week.

When birds reach 18 weeks old or when the first egg arrives, slowly switch your chickens to a layer feed. It is important to make the transition over time to prevent digestive upset.

For our backyard birds on our farm in Missouri, we have found it’s best to make the transition over time rather than all at once. We mix the starter and layer feed evenly for four or five days. Birds used to crumbles? Start with a crumble layer feed. The same goes with pellets. The more similar the two feeds are, the more smoothly the transition will go.

Many hens will eat the mixed feed without noticing a difference. When hens are eating both feeds, flock owners can stop feeding the starter feed and make the complete switch to all layer feed. It is important to give your birds enough time to adjust to the new diet. Most birds will adjust within a couple of weeks but some can take a month or longer to fully transition to their new diet.

3. Keep it consistent.

Once the transition to layer feed is complete, it’s best to maintain a routine.

We recommend providing free choice layer feed to hens and switching out the feed each morning and evening. If birds are free-ranging, offer the complete feed to hens before they go out in the morning. This will help them consume the nutrients they require before filling up on less nutritious insects and plants.

It’s important for the complete feed to make up at least 90 percent of the hen’s diet. We feed complete layer feeds on our farm. They are formulated to provide all the nutrients hens require at the correct levels. It’s reassuring to know that each bite of feed is balanced to keep our hens healthy and producing quality eggs.

Source: Purina Mills

Summer Feed Storage – What You Need to Know for Your Flock

Tuesday, July 6th, 2021

We think about summer feed storage and keeping feed the right way and serving it to your flock in the most efficient way. This can save you time and money. We all know summer brings heat! As well as important considerations when storing poultry and any other pet or livestock feed.

I have likely made all the mistakes that can be made in my poultry keeping days. Hopefully my experience can help some of you be the best livestock keepers you can be.

When I buy a bag of feed and bring it home, I pour it slowly into a metal storage container in my feed room. I use this same storage method all year long, to ensure consistency and quality in what I am feeding. Kissimmee Valley Feed has a hanging metal storage container in stock.

My feed room maintains a nice, cool temperature. A large magnolia tree shades it. It protects my barn from the sun and elements. I only buy one bag at a time, maybe two if it’s on sale, because my bin perfectly fits two 50 lb. bags. Once my feed is in the bin, I use a basic 4 quart feed scoop to fill my feeders.

I keep two 5 lb. feeders for 15 birds. I keep them full most of the time since my schedule doesn’t allow me to monitor them at all times. If you choose to fill up your feeders to free feed, I would recommend putting them up in the evenings (in a metal storage container) and putting them back out in the morning.

This will keep pests away. I also always check the age of the feed I buy to make sure it’s not out of date and free of pests. I let my birds empty their feeders before I refill them, no room for pickiness here!

Keep in mind my birds also get treats and free range during the day so they get plenty to eat. Shop local with us and check out Kissimmee Valley Feed’s poultry selection here!

There are three main points to address when considering feed storage and containers.

1. Environment

Feed kept in the hot sun and dry conditions will get overly dry and lose palatability. Feed stored in hot, humid conditions can mold and be prone to insects. Keep feed in a container that stays out of the elements and is in a dry, cool location.

If the feed that’s already in the feeder gets wet or starts to age, dump it out and start fresh (maybe with a little less this time). Allow the birds to completely empty the feeder before you refill it so it’s always free of build-up and mold.

Mold can make your birds sick in large amounts. Once in a while its best to check and wash out your feeders. Yes, even if they haven’t been exposed to extreme elements.

2. Pests

Pests can be attracted any time feed is old, has gotten hot, moist or been left exposed. These can include various types of bugs that will get into and feed on the product.

It also includes rodents and other small animals that would enjoy a free snack. Storing feed in a rodent safe container is my personal recommendation. Preferably a metal bin that has a tight fitting lid. The metal will keep small rodents like mice and rats from chewing through and getting into your feed bin.

A tight fitting lid will also keep larger pests like raccoons and opossum from pulling the lid open and helping themselves to an easy meal. If you keep feed in a feeder all the time it’s always best practice to put your feed containers up in a bin at night and pull them back out in the morning.

If moving the feeder is not an option, then you may look into getting a feeder that opens when the chickens step on a pedal and closes back when they step away. Typically mice are going to be too light to open up these types of feeders.

3. Age of feed/rotation

When buying from a feed store or even when you keep multiple bags of feed on hand, it’s always best to check and make sure you are buying/using the oldest feed first.

Somewhere on the feed tag there should be dates (typically a manufacture date) letting you know when it was made.

Using the oldest feed first ensures that you always have the freshest feed on hand.

With these considerations, you are sure to keep you and your feathered friends happy and healthy!

Source: https://www.scoopfromthecoop.com/

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