Archive for the ‘Chickens’ Category

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

Spring Chick Deliveries

Tuesday, January 28th, 2020
Feb ’20
12

Spring CSpring Chick Deliveries hick deliveries arrive at Kissimmee Valley Feed’s second location (215 13th Street, Saint Cloud 34769) around February 12th. Here are some of the chick types we are expecting:

Rhode Island Reds
Easter Egger
Black Silver Laced Wyandotte
Black Australorp

We strongly advise that you call the store prior to making a visit to confirm delivery, type of chicks and the number available.

Watch our Facebook page! We’ll keep you updated.

Are you set up for a successful chicken coop? We carry all the chicken supplies you need to raise a healthy flock like chick feeders, chick waterers, heat lamps and more!

Kissimmee Valley Feed carries a variety of chicken coops for your baby chicks. Stop by to visit us and find the perfect chicken supplies!

For questions about spring chick deliveries, chick types or anything else, please feel free to visit us, give us a call at 407-892-4040.

Transitioning Chickens to Layer Feed

Thursday, October 3rd, 2019

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, the layer feed decision should be made by week 16, so 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, from Purina including Purina® Organic layer feedPurina® 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:

  • For rich, yellow yolks: Marigold extract
  • For strong shells: Oyster Strong™ System
  • For immune and digestive health: Prebiotics and probiotics
  • For vibrant feathering: Essential amino acids such as lysine and methionine
  • For 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. If birds are 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 because 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.

What role does calcium play in egg production? Click here to find out.

Source: Purina Mills

Chicken Workshop

Monday, September 16th, 2019

Chicken WorkshopMake plans to join us for our Chicken Workshop on October 12, 2019! This event is held at 215 13th Street from 11:00 am to noon. Get ready for the upcoming fair season by learning more about your project. Each year we have found that learning how to improve on past mistakes makes you both a better chicken owner and 4-H member. Take advantage of this opportunity to hear great advice from others and set goals for this year! Make sure you bring a pen and a pad to take notes on. You won’t want to miss out on the information.

Some of the topics we’re covering are basic care, showing tips, and feeding suggestions. Understanding the fundamentals is going to set you up for success. Whether this is your first time entering a chicken into the fair or you’re a seasoned shower, you’ll benefit from our Chicken Workshop. Do you have any friends that are interested in showing a chicken? Invite them to attend! We are excited to have you stop by.

Also, set aside some time after the event to browse our various chicken feeds, hutches, and supplies. We have you covered! Our associates are happy to answer any questions you may have. We have baby chicks available for purchase if you do not have a feathered friend yet. We are happy to assist you in this process and looking forward to seeing just how great everyone places come February. To let us know you’re coming, please sign up below. Can’t wait to see you!

To view some of our products, click here.

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