Posts Tagged ‘poultry

01
Nov
09

October Contest Results

3rd place goes to GomerParry for his Malay bantam.

2nd place goes to Decoyman for his blue light brown Dutch bantam rooster.

1st place goes to SOLTADOR for his orange red Oxford Game.

Congratulations to all the winners, and thanks for all the great pics that were submitted this month. If you want to enter your birds in our free monthly photo contest, just go to the Ultimate Fowl Forum, and sign up!

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15
Apr
09

Advertise your poultry related business on Ultimate Fowl

As our forum at Ultimate Fowl is expanding, we are constantly adding things to our site. We are in the in the process of adding a high quality chat to our site as you read this. If you have considered to promote your business before, or just your personal website that relates to chickens and their care, right now is the time to do it! You can add your banner in a rotation on our forum for the low price of 20.00 per year, and we can even provide a banner for you if you need one. We also have other opportunities for fixed banners for an additional fee, but space is limited, so please contact me for more details at cuda@ultimatefowl.com. We operate our site on a non profit basis, that is why our prices are so low, we do it because we want to help, and bring chicken enthusiasts together. We are just trying to raise enough money to help support our site, and to add a top quality chat, which is something we need to do with all the traffic we get now days. If this sounds like a good fit to your business, just contact me for more information!

22
Jan
09

Dubbing

By Randy Stevens
As published in Backyard Poultry Magazine

Dubbing is the practice of removing the comb, and the wattles of your fowl, to help prevent frostbite, and the complications that come with it. If you live in a area of the country that experiences below freezing temperatures, you might want to consider dubbing an option to prevent this, because it can lead to serious infections, fertility problems, permanent tissue damage, and even death. It does not hurt the bird to do this, and will make your whole flock healthier in the long run. Like many things that concern chickens, everyone has their own methods of dubbing, and along with that, different reasons for doing it. Birds, like the Old English Bantams, require dubbing to meet the standard for showing them, and some people like to dub their birds at a specific age, to help control the size of the adult bird. I dub all my fowl, including the hens, to promote better health, and prevent them from getting frostbite, which can be a real problem where I live.

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To get the best results, dubbing is primarily done when chickens reach breeding age, and their combs and wattles are pretty much full grown. The first thing I make sure of when I am going to dub birds, is to do it at the right time of the month, so the bleeding is kept to a minimum. It is best to dub a bird the last two, or three days of the moon cycle, just before the new moon. This puts the blood of the bird more in the feet, and less in the head of the bird. I also prefer to do it in the evening, when the birds are calm, and will not be doing a bunch of running around after they are dubbed. It is best to avoid doing it during the hot summer months too, because the heat thins the blood. It is also a good idea to take the water away from the bird you plan on dubbing the day before, so their blood will be thicker, and will clot better. Some people also supplement Vitamin K to their birds prior to dubbing, by feeding alfalfa meal in with their normal feed, or using red cell in the drinking water. Others swear by dunking the birds’ head in a cold bucket of water before, and after dubbing too. All of the things I mentioned are meant to help keep bleeding to a minimum, and any of them will help, but they aren’t required. I have seen many a bird get dubbed without following the above steps, and do just fine, but I am trying to provide you with tips to make the process easier on you, and your fowl.

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After deciding on a day, the next thing to do is to prepare to do it. You will need a very sharp, high quality pair of scissors that are capable of cutting through the flesh. I use a pair of leather trimming shears, but some people buy scissors specifically made for this. You can purchase them from most high quality poultry supply companies. I can say, don’t skimp on this, as it makes it much easier to dub a bird if you have a good pair of scissors. You will also need some rubbing alcohol, a towel, and some blood stop powder (You can use flour for this too, if you don’t want to spend the big bucks for the blood stop powder.) Next, you will need to decide what you are going to dub. I dub my combs tight to the head most of the time, which is as close as I can, because I like the look it gives my birds, and I remove the wattles and earlobes too, if they are excessively long. Most people dub the comb approximately a quarter inch off the head, and the wattles, and earlobes tight. The birds that have the worst problems with frostbite, are the tall, straight combed birds. Pea combed fowl need to be dubbed too, but most rose, and walnut combed birds are tight enough to the head, that you shouldn’t have a problem with them.

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Once you decide how you are going to dub your bird, you need to take your bird to an area for doing this, preferably outside, as you will get some blood. Take your towel, and spread it out on your work area, grab your bird by the feet with one hand, and cradle the breast with your other hand. Lay the bird at one end of the towel, with his head and feet hanging over the edges. Make sure the bird’s wings are tucked in tight, and still holding the feet, roll the bird up in the towel. If done properly, you will have a bird with only it’s head, and feet hanging out of the rolled up towel, and it is unable to move. If you have a helper, it makes this easier, because you can now have them put their hands around the bird, to keep it calm and unable to wiggle loose. If not, I sit down, and put the bird between my legs, and hold it with my knees. You now need to disinfect the area of dubbing, and your scissors, with the rubbing alcohol. You don’t need much, just a damp cloth to clean the comb, and wattles if you desire. Take care not to get alcohol in the birds’ eyes. Ok, at this point, you are ready to start cutting. Remember, you can not replace flesh that you cut off, so if you are not sure what you are doing, it is better to take less off, and trim down to where you want to go, than to take too much off by accident. I like to start at the back of the head. I take the comb between my fingers in one hand, pull it up away from the bird’s head, then place the scissors behind the comb, tight to the top of the birds’ head, and angling up towards the middle of the comb, for the first cut. Once you make the first cut, you will see blood, don’t worry about it, just finish your cutting. Some birds will bleed a lot, some won’t bleed at all, either way, I will talk about what to do about that, after the dubbing process is finished. Next, you want to hold on to the tallest part of the comb left, and pull it tight. Place your scissors parallel to the head, at the distance you have decided on, and make your next cut. You should be done with the comb at this point, unless you need to do some trimming, for cosmetic reasons. If you decide to cut the wattles and earlobes off, now is the time to do it. If your birds have wattles that are over a quarter inch long, I recommend cutting them. These are much easier to cut, as they are thin, but it is very important to not pull on these when you cut them. If you pull them tight, and cut them off where it looks flush, you will end up having a large hole in the side of their necks from cutting too much off. If you do this, don’t worry, it will heal fine, it just looks scary at first, and leaves a larger wound, and will take longer to heal. With cutting the wattles, it is best to cut off less, and trim your way flush to the neck. If properly done, there will just be a slit in the skin where the wattle was. Some people like to trim the earlobes too, but it isn’t necessary to dub them, as it is not an area that will get frostbite typically, unless they are unusually large. If you decide to dub the earlobes, do them the same way you did the wattles.

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After you have finished the cutting, you will want to stop any severe bleeding. Most of the time, the bleeding is very minor, and you can just put the bird back in its pen, and it will be fine. If you get a bird that is bleeding excessively, just apply pressure to the area with a clean cloth until it slows down. If you get bleeding that doesn’t want to stop after a couple minutes of pressure, just sprinkle some blood stop, or flour in the wound, and it will help stop the bleeding. The next day, you will want to check the bird and make sure that its nose isn’t plugged with dried blood. If it is, take a moist cloth, and clean it out so the bird can breath properly. It is also a good idea to treat the bird with a broad spectrum antibiotic for a couple of days to help prevent infections. Most dubbings will heal completely within 2 to 3 weeks.  If you have a bird that has frostbite, I dub the bird immediately. Doing this, will keep your bird from getting infections from dead tissue, and they will heal from the dubbing much faster than waiting for the dead tissue to fall off. If the wattles, or earlobes, are swelled to the point that you can’t dub them, I like to cut a slit for the excess blood, and liquids to drain. Usually, after 24 hours of draining, the swelling will have went down enough that you can dub them.

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Along with worrying about the head of your fowl, you need to think of your bird’s feet too. Make sure that your roosts are wide enough, that when they are on them, their breast feathers cover their toes. I use 2×4 lumber for my roosts, thin side up for bantam sized birds, and the wider side up for larger breeds. Doing this, will virtually eliminate loosing toes. Chickens can handle the cold surprisingly well, even better than they can handle extreme heat. If you have a spot for them to get out of the elements, keep them dubbed, and have nice wide roosts for them, they should be able to handle just about anything!

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23
Nov
08

Natural, Organic Cures, and Remedies for Poultry

Alternatives to Chemical Treatment

By David Mathews II

Aflatoxicosis – aka – Aspergillus Toxicosis

This condition affects the entire body and can cause a wide range of adverse conditions, depending on the age of your fowl and the progression of the disorder.

In adult hens you may find a reduction in egg production, decreased fertility, and an increase in the likelihood of secondary infection, such as coccidiosis.

In adult cocks you may find reduced fertility, reduced appetite, and reduced weight.

In younger birds you may find an almost complete loss of appetite, slowed growth, increased susceptibility to heat stress, sudden death. You may also find that the young fowl may bruise more easily.

This condition also affect your hatching eggs. You may find otherwise unexplained embryo death within the first week.

To treat this condition:

Remove and bury or burn any litter or grains which are found to be damaged by insects or molds.
Remove the affected fowl to an area the can be easily observed. Move the affected fowl to a cool, dry place that is slightly darkened and relatively quite. Do everything that you can to reduce any stressors. Increase the amount of protein and carbohydrates in the affected fowl’s feed. You may wish to try a flush which can be found below. Give the fowl a good dose of vitamins and electrolytes in their water. Continue treatment until the fowl fully recovers.

Algae Poisoning

This condition affects the nervous system as well as internal organs.

You may find your fowl exhibiting signs of weakness. They may stagger or convulse. You may find your fowl prostrated with their legs extended outward towards their rear. The fowl’s neck may be extended and/or curved backwards until the head all but touches the back. You may find that your fowl are paralyzed or die very rapidly.

To treat this condition:

Try to restrict the bird’s activity as much as possible. Move the affected fowl to a cool, dry place that is slightly darkened and relatively quite. Offer them a vitamin and electrolyte solution in their water until a full recovery is made. Try to keep algae to a minimum by washing and disinfecting watering containers. Borax is an excellent all natural disinfectant. You may also try a flush which can be found below. Copper Sulfate can be used to reduce the amount of algae in ponds and slow moving creeks. Apply 12 oz. To approximately every acre of still or slow moving water. Copper sulfate is a naturally occurring mineral. (aka – Blue Stone) Check your state and local regulations before applying to a body of water.

Blue Comb – aka – “The Greens”

This condition affects the digestive tract and spreads very slowly.

You may find your fowl have a loss of appetite, loss of weight, shriveled shanks, sunken eyes, a bluish comb, an enlarged, sour smelling crop, and/or greenish watery or pasty foul smelling diarrhea.

To treat this condition:

Unfortunately treatment does not often succeed with this condition. Move the affected fowl to a cool, dry place that is slightly darkened and relatively quite. You may try a flush which can be found below. Some birds may respond to a flush. You might also try, in place of one of the flushes, a solution of ½ tsp. Copper Sulfate per gallon of water. Give them the solution for up to, but not exceeding, 2 days. Be sure not to use a metal drinking dish when using Copper Sulfate. As with most situations I recommend administering a vitamin and electrolyte solution until a full recovery is made.

Botulism – aka – food poisoning

This toxin affects the nervous system and progresses rather quickly.

You may find in your flock; sudden death, trouble swallowing, loose or ruffled feathers, ( with cocks, often the hackle feathers will be raised as though he were mad at a potential threat), weakness or paralysis of the legs, wings, and/or neck. Your fowl may be laying on it’s side with it’s neck stretched outward with his/her eyes slightly opened. Your fowl will likely have diarrhea and may succumb to coma and/or death.

To treat this condition:

Find the source of the botulism. (It may likely be; rotten or rotting vegetation, spoiled foods, compost piles, and/or rotting meat sources) You may find botulism running rampant in swampy or marshy areas, or in small ponds and slow moving streams where vegetation is rotting in water. Eliminate or restrict access to the source of contamination.

Move the affected fowl to a cool, dry place that is slightly darkened and relatively quite. Use a curved syringe or similar apparatus to squirt cool water into the fowl’s crop three times daily. You can use a flush in an attempt to remove the toxins from you fowl’s body. You can find a flush below. Remove the bedding from housing and disinfect the area with an iodine based disinfectant. Replace with fresh litter. Although humans and chickens are generally infected by different strains of botulism, I do not recommend eating infected chickens.

Breast Blister – aka – keel cyst

This condition is isolated to the keel.

This one is fairly straight forward. You will notice a blister on the fowl’s keel.

To treat this condition:

If treatment is desired, first move the affected fowl to a cool, dry place that is slightly darkened and relatively quite. Clip feathers away from the blister so that foreign material does not contaminate the site. Use Iodine to disinfect the blister. Open and drain the blister. If the blister is already infected the fluid will have turned into a “cheesy” substance. Use cool water to flush the blister. Pat dry with clean cloth. Liberally apply a natural antibiotic ointment such as pure Aloe or NeoBiotic to prevent secondary infection. Place a Band-Aid over the blister. Remove Band-Aid after the first day. As with most conditions I recommend administering a vitamin and electrolyte solution in the fowl’s water until a full recover has been made. Try a rounded roost or cover roost with something soft.

Canker – aka – roup

This condition affects the crop, mouth, and throat.

You will notice a loss of appetite, weight loss, weakness, empty crop, watery eyes, frequent swallowing, foul smelling discharge, white and/or yellowish sores in the mouth and throat.

To treat this condition:

Move the affected fowl to a cool, dry place that is slightly darkened and relatively quite. Mix a solution consisting of ¾ – 1 lbs. Copper Sulfate, 1 cup Vinegar, and 1 gallon of Pure Water. Mix ½ ounce of solution (above) along with 2 ½ – 3 grams Durvet vitamin and electrolyte powder per gallon of water. Administer for 5 days to 1 week. Do not use a metal watering dish when using Copper Sulfate. Recovered birds are still carriers of this Protozoa.

Coccidiosis

This parasitic disease affects the intestinal tract.

You will notice your young fowl huddling with ruffled feathers, lack of vigor, loss of appetite, weight loss, slowed growth, loss of interest in water, pasty, beige or tan colored, blood tinged droppings, dehydration.

To treat this condition:

Move the affected fowl to a cool, dry place that is slightly darkened and relatively quite. Mix into your feed, at a rate not to exceed 2% by weight, Diatomaceous Earth. Administer a vitamin and electrolyte solution until a full recovery is made. Follow up with small amounts of yogurt from time to time.

I recommend feeding this mix at least 6 months out of the year. (the warmer months of spring, summer and fall)

Crop Impaction – aka – crop binding

This condition affects the crop, the inlet for feed, and thereby affects the entire bird.

You will notice an enlarged, sour smelling crop which is filled with feed and roughage. The bird can become emaciated.

To treat this condition:

Move the affected fowl to a cool, dry place that is slightly darkened and relatively quite. Choose an area of the crop to work on. (usually on the very front of the fowl, right in the middle of the crop) Clip away any feathers that are in the way or that will touch the area that you have chosen. Disinfect the skin of the area with Iodine. Make a small incision in the skin with a very sharp blade. Pull skin aside and make another incision, this time in the crop. Clean out the crop as best you can, removing as much material as possible. Rinse the crop with Pure Water that has been boiled and then cooled. Do not try to stitch or staple the incision in the crop. Pinch the incision in the crop together and then pinch the skin together. Apply a liberal amount of a natural antibiotic such as pure Aloe. Keep the fowl in isolation in a cool, dry place that is slightly darkened and relatively quite. Administer a vitamin and electrolyte solution until a full recovery has been made.

For an alternative to surgery click here.

Ergotism – aka – sod disease

This condition affects the nervous system and blood vessels. It is caused by a fungus found in stored wheat and rye, as well as other cereal grains.

You will notice a loss of appetite, diarrhea, weight loss, slow growth, drop in egg production, increased thirst, convulsions, bluish, wilted or shriveled comb, and/or sores on shanks and toes.

To treat this condition:

Compost or bury contaminated feed. Move the affected fowl to a cool, dry place that is slightly darkened and relatively quite. Administer one of the flushes. Administer a vitamin and electrolyte solution until a full recovery has been made.

Rickets – aka – osteomalacia

This condition affects the bones of fowl, usually in younger birds.

In your younger fowl you will likely notice frequent squatting, inability to stand, slowed growth, a beak that is easily bent, bowed and/or twisted legs and/or wings, ruffled feathers.

To treat this condition:

Move the affected fowl to a cool, dry place that is relatively quite and has a good source of direct sunlight. Administer a vitamin D3 supplement at 3 times the recommended dosage for 2 ½ – 3 weeks. After that time has elapsed, administer the supplement at the normal dosage. Allow the bird to pick at crushed oyster shell. Give the fowl yogurt and milk or cottage cheese for a quick burst of added calcium. For chicks you can administer a 1 time dosage of 15,000 IU. With this condition it is imperative that the fowl have access to direct sunlight throughout the day. As usual, I would administer electrolytes until a full recovery has been made.

Roup – aka – vitamin A deficiency

This condition affects the eyes, nose and throat and is more prevalent when homemade rations are mixed.

You may notice Swollen eyelids, difficulty breathing due to sticky discharge from the eyes and/or nostrils, and/or swollen sinus. In older birds you may find a lack of vigor, decreased egg production, runny, cheesy discharge from the nostrils and eyes, eyelids stuck together, emaciation increased blood spots in eggs, and/or yellowish or off white sores in the mouth.

To treat this condition:

A vitamin A supplement would do the most good in all but the most severe cases. If it is a severe case of roup you could certainly administer a vitamin A injection as per the manufacturers instructions. As always I would recommend the use of an electrolyte solution until a full recovery has been made.

Flushes

Epsom Salt Flush:

3 Tsp. Epsom Salts.

1 ½ Cups water

¼ – ½ gram Durvet vitamin and electrolyte powder * Optional

Squirt down the fowl’s throat 2 – 3 times a day for 3 days or until a full recovery is made.

Molasses Flush:

1 cup Molasses

2 ½ gallons water

5 – 6 grams Durvet vitamin and electrolyte powder * Optional

Use as a “flock flush” when you cannot administer flush directly to each individual bird.

! Do not exceed 8 hours ! ! After 8 hours replace Molasses flush with vitamin and electrolyte water !

Activated Charcoal Slurry

1 tsp. Activated Charcoal Powder

½ tsp. Psyllium Seed Husks or Flax Seed Meal

8 oz. – Pure Water

Or try:

1 tsp. Activated Charcoal Powder

8 oz. – Pure Water

Dose 6 – 8 times daily

If you are administering ANY Drug or drugs to you poultry, or if they are drinking Oxygenating Water, please wait at least 1 hr., before you give them the Charcoal Slurry. This will ensure that the Activated Charcoal will not inadvertently absorb or otherwise adversely affect your other treatments.

These flushes will cause slight to moderate dehydration as they work to expel toxins and foreign matter from you fowl’s system. It is important to use care when administering flushes. Be sure to monitor your fowl before, during, and after the administration of a flush. After flushing, offer a steady supply of vitamin and electrolyte fortified water until a full recovery is made.

Sick Bedding

“Sick Bedding” is the bedding in your isolation pens. This bedding must be clean and dry and free from pests and parasites. You can use certain herbs with your sick bedding. Certain herbs tend to have a calming effect on many animals. Placing Mugwort, Mint, and/or Chamomile in and/or under the sick bedding can help to bring stress levels down. Other herbs such as Basil, Mint, and Garlic Chives, chopped, or powdered Garlic can help to reduce the likelihood of an infestation of pests and parasites while your fowl is recovering. Good sanitation is always key to a healthy flock.

29
Oct
08

Organics at it’s best

Feeding poultry on an organic diet can be tricky. This diet cannot include meat meals and bone meals or crops that have been genetically modified. Organic rations won’t be able to contain medications as well as animal byproducts so care must be taken to have a balanced diet of the right proteins and phosphorus. Before you start to feed any type of premixed organic diet to your poultry, always check with the certified organization to make sure it is just that..Organic. These rations are sometimes short in energy values as opposed to commercial feeds and will not be formulated to control internal parasites such as coccidiosis. Vitamin and Mineral premixes as well as Enzyme sources should be included in the rations, especially if you are attempting to mix your own. Some of the building blocks of protein include Lysine HCI and DL Methionine. Since animal products can’t be used, adding phosphorus is very important here. Phosphorus is essential for good skeletal growth and can be added simply by using Dicalcium Phosphate. Some examples of organic rations are wheat, barley or oats, soybean meal, peas, kelp, and salt.

Organic practices for livestock management focus on the well being of animals, environment, and human beings. Animal health care in organic systems focuses on prevention, not treatment: reduced stress, good nutrition, sanitation, and smart breeding selection. When treatment is necessary, allowed practices and substances are clearly defined. Did you know that animals that are grazed are more likely to be reinfected by parasites than those who are confined? Therefore, internal parasites may pose a greater challenge for organic livestock producers because of their tendency to be more reliant on pastures. To read more about organics  for poultry and livestock, check out the Ultimate Fowl Forum!

01
Oct
08

September Photo Contest Results Announced!

The first of many photo contests at the Ultimate Fowl Forum is over, and the winners have been announced!   Congratulations to the winners!  Thanks to everyone for submitting some excellent pictures!  If you like to take pictures of your chickens, check out our next contest for the month of October HERE and enter some of your birds!

3rd Place goes to Ogichida

Ogichida

2nd Place goes to Japman

Japman

1st Place goes to game to the end

game to the end

26
Sep
08

Basic Preparations for the Winter Months

If you are new to chickens, and live in a Northern climate, you may be asking yourself what you need to do to prepare for the upcoming winter months.  What most people don’t realize is that most breeds of poultry are actually quite tolerant to the cold.  Chickens have much more trouble dealing with severe heat, than they do with severe cold.  As long as you take a few easy precautions, your fowl will make it through the winter months very easily.  All chickens need is a quality diet, fresh water daily, shelter to get out of the elements, and wide roosts.  What they do not need is a heated environment, and to be cooped inside all winter.

Water needs to be provided daily, and is just as important as the summer months.  If you have a coop, you can provide a heated water dish to help keep it from freezing, or if you don’t, you can purchase some of the hard rubber horse dishes, as you can easily break the ice out of them with a hammer, or by flipping them over and stomping on them, without worrying about breaking the dish.

Shelter can be anything from a coop, to a plastic barrel for them to get in.  The main thing that shelter needs to provide is a way for the birds to get out of the wind and rain if they desire.  You will find that the weather has to be quite bad for the birds to not prefer to be outside.  One thing you will have to do, no matter what you use, is to keep the sheltered area clean, as it will get dirty fast in the winter months, which can make ammonia fumes get out of hand, which can be detrimental to their respiratory health.

Roosts are a critical part of keeping all your chickens toes from freezing.  The roosts provided need to be made out of wood, or similar type of material that doesn’t conduct cold like plastic, or metal roosts.  They also need to be wide so when the birds roost on them, their feathers cover their toes completely.  This will keep you from getting frostbite on the toes, which can make them die, and fall off.  I recommend using nothing less than 1 1/2 inches wide, like a 2 x 4 turned on end.

One other thing that can be a problem is large combs and wattles.  These can be subject to frostbite as well.  You can spread some Vaseline on them regularly to help combat this, but if you want to avoid this problem completely, dubbing will take care of it.  You can see detailed instructions, with pictures HERE.

Finally, if you get a lot of snow, go out and shovel out your pens so your birds can come out and be able to walk around if they want.  You can also provide litter in your pens for them to walk on so they don’t have to walk on the frozen ground all the time.  You might be surprised how a layer of bark, wood chips, or straw will make your birds more comfortable.  If you follow these simple guidelines, your fowl will get through the cold winter months just fine.  If you need more information, you can reach me at the Ultimate Fowl Forum.  Good luck!




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