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DANZIG

Poultry Advice

69 posts in this topic

I've read that Black Rocks are very good layers easy to get and very sturdy animals

I picked the below information on a green forum

The purebreeds are consistently good layers but will have a rest in the winter, i.e. light sussex, marans, rhode island reds, wellsummers. Most of the purebreeds come in two sizes - large fowl and bantam size, although the bantam size will obviously lay smaller eggs, but on the other hand will be easy to handle, for a beginner. I would avoid the meditteranean breeds, as a beginner, as they are a bit flighty but good layers, i.e. leghorns and minorcas.

A true bantam that is a real cute bundle of feathery fluff has to be the pekin. Good layers of medium /small eggs. They get exceedingly tame. Small birds with fluffy feet - like to sit on your knee for a cuddle.

Then, when you are feeling adventurous later on you could get a silkie hen to hatch out any fertile eggs you buy - and lo and behold - you'll be building yourself yet another henhouse and even larger run!

Chicken keeping is very addictive - and absolutely fascinating.

Are ducks any harder to look after than chickens?

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Not sure, but I think ducks are pretty much free range Danzig - would imagine you'd need a pond of some description too. There are some sites out there that are dedicated to giving battery hens a better quality of life though, might be worth checking out. http://www.downthelane.net/battery.html It's something I've only recently considered myself, with a personal view to independance and self sufficiency, as well as hopefully providing a good home to some feathered friends. ;)

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My brother kept ducks at my mums place a few years ago Danzig,gave us great pleasure and when we got little uns it was so much fun to watch them doing their thang and yes they've a pecking order too!

Made an enclosure(duckingham palace :rofl: )with an IR heat lamp(stole it from a viet skunk grow narf narf!)and piped radio 4 I shit you not,and pond with fountain. :D

I've posted a few pics of em,even FD pinched one for a while(and was welcome)but ducks I think will give a lot more amusement and pleasure than

a few chooks methinks and do need lots of water for preening and cleaning but oh they are such funny lil fuckers! :wink:

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Obesity and nutritional problems aren’t just for humans. Poultry can also be affected, usually by their owners not realising that over-feeding or giving them the wrong foods can be harmful. It’s easy to feed incorrectly. Correct feeding takes a little extra thought and care.

In recent months, I’ve had a spate of letters and emails from poultry keepers who have experienced digestive problems in their poultry. Nine times out of 10, they tell me that they give their birds lots of attention and affection, making sure that “they have all the things that they love to eat, such as pasta, bread and kitchen treats”. These letters make me sigh, and I wonder why common sense sometimes seems to be a rare commodity. When I point out that pasta, bread and kitchen treats do not constitute a suitable diet for poultry, I’m usually told that some so-called celebrity has recommended them or that it says so on someone’s website. Enough said!

It seems appropriate to look at the subject of feeding in depth and try to correct some of the misconceptions that abound. Let’s begin by looking at the chicken’s digestive system.

The digestive system

The digestive system starts at the mouth and ends at the vent. When food is taken in via the beak, it goes initially to the crop, a temporary storage area that can be felt in the breast area when the hen has just eaten. This was originally an evolutionary device so that food could be taken in and quickly stored when there were predators around. The crop is quite small and a side effect of this is that little and often is the pattern of feeding. It’s easy, therefore, to give too much of one type of food at the expense of other more essential nutrients. A hen can be full yet still suffer from malnutrition.

From the crop, the food passes into the proventriculus (glandular stomach) where gastric juices and enzymes begin the process of breaking it down. From here it goes into the gizzard whose strong muscular walls grind up grain particles. In order to do this, there must be pieces of insoluble grit present to act as ‘millstones’. A chicken will pick up small stones for this, but it’s a good idea to make insoluble poultry grit available under cover so that birds can help themselves at any time.

From the gizzard, the food passes into the duodenum (first part of the small intestine) where enzymes and secretions from the liver, gall bladder and pancreas continue the process of digestion. In the rest of the small intestine, the broken-down food particles pass into the blood capillaries to be circulated around the body. Any unabsorbed particles move on into the large intestine, from where they’re eventually expelled at the vent. Other waste materials are filtered by the kidneys, producing urine that has some of the water removed by ‘dead-end’ projections called caeca. The rest is expelled via the vent along with the other waste material. There’s no separate outlet for the urine – it’s the white part of the droppings.

Nutritional requirements

Like all living creatures, poultry need access to a balanced selection of nutrients to cater for all their bodily needs and functions. These include proteins, carbohydrates, fats or oils, minerals and vitamins.

Proteins

These are needed primarily for growth and efficient metabolism and are made up of a range of complex substances called amino acids. They’re formed from carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen. There are about a dozen amino acids but the most important are lysine, methionine and tryptophan. The chicken can synthesise most of the others from other food constituents but these three must be taken in directly every day. They’re all found in soya. The average layer requires a daily intake of 900mg lysine, 430mg methionine and 200mg tryptophan.

Traditionally, the main protein sources were meat, blood and bonemeal, but with the advent of BSE, these were banned. Most free-range feeds these days are based on vegetable proteins, but chickens will also eat naturally sourced proteins such as insects in their ranging activities. The main vegetable protein sources are maize and other cereals, soya, field beans, peas, lucerne and sunflower seeds. Dried milk and milk products may also be included.

Carbohydrates

These are the main sources of energy and are made up of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. They include sugar and starches and are found in cereals, grasses and other plants. Surplus carbohydrates are converted to fat so over-feeding is to be avoided. Over-fat birds are less productive and also prone to heart conditions.

Fats/oils

These are also composed of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen and can release a large amount of energy to supply warmth within the system. Animal fats have been replaced by vegetable oils from sources such as linseed, soya, sunflowers and others. Again, too much can lead to problems and an adequate exercise or ranging area is essential for all poultry.

Minerals

These are required to maintain health. They include substances such as calcium, phosphorus and copper, and minute traces of potassium, sodium, manganese, iron, cobalt, magnesium, selenium, iodine and zinc. They’re found in dried yeast, milk products, molasses, green vegetables, cereals, lucerne, grasses, nettles, chickweed and other wild plants.

Compound feeds have minerals included in them. On the feed label, the mineral content is often referred to as ‘ash’.

Vitamins

These are organic compounds required for health and disease prevention. They’re available in a variety of cereals, grasses, vegetables, dried yeast, wild plants and herbs. Sunshine also provides vitamin D. Again, a compound feed will include a vitamin content.

Compound feeds

Compound feeds are formulated to include all the nutrients necessary in a balanced ration. They normally show the maximum amounts of the following ingredients as percentages, as shown in this example of a layer’s ration:

protein – 17%

oil – 4.0%

fibre (cellulose or roughage) – 4.4%,

ash (minerals) – 13.0%

Typical ingredients in an organic feed might be the following:

organic wheat, barley, wheatfeed, peas, alfalfa, non-GMO soya, non-solvent extracted soya oil, molasses, linseed, sea salt, calcined magnesite, calcium carbonate, dicalcium phosphate, yeast, wheat germ, natural vitamins.

Proprietary compound feeds are available as pellets, crumbs or as powder (mash). Commercial producers often use mash because it’s cheaper but care needs to be taken to ensure that the calcium content doesn’t settle at the bottom, making it unavailable to the birds. It sometimes needs to be stirred before being made available.

Mash is best avoided where waterfowl are concerned – they scoop up food in their bills and the powder can clog the nostrils.

Most poultry keepers prefer to use pellets. They’re more convenient to handle and there’s less wastage, but they are slightly more expensive.

Whatever form of compound feed is purchased, it will need to be stored in a rat-proof bin, kept dry and used within a certain period of time. (Check to see if there’s a use-by date). Old, rancid and damp feeds can cause serious illness.

The composition of compound feeds, particularly the amount of protein, will also vary depending on the type of poultry.

Compound feeds are available for all types of poultry, including chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys, Guinea fowl and quail. Using these ensures that the birds are receiving a ration tailored specifically for them at the various stages of development. Turkeys, Guinea fowl and quail, for example, need a ration higher in protein than those formulated for chickens, ducks and geese.

The following compound rations are available, depending on the age and function of the poultry:

Starter ration

As the name implies, this is a compound feed for chicks and normally available as crumbs. It’s usually fed from hatch to six weeks. Some chick crumbs contain an added coccodiostat to provide protection against the disease coccidiosis, but you can buy coccidiostat-free chick crumbs.

It’s important to remember that waterfowl should never be given a feed containing a coccidiostat because it’s toxic to them. It’s also worth mentioning that where starter feeds are provided, there should be plenty of exercise area for the young birds to avoid the risk of developing leg problems from overly fast growth and lack of exercise. Young birds should be allowed outside in protected conditions as soon as possible, as long as the weather is suitable.

If growth is too rapid, and you feel that the protein level in the starter ration is too high, it can be balanced by reducing the amount of chick crumbs and making up the overall food deficit with a ration of kibbled or chopped wheat. Make sure that insoluble grit is always available.

Grower ration

This is given to young birds from around six weeks old until they’re nearly at the production stage, either point-of-lay (layers) or approaching slaughter (table birds).

Finisher ration

Normally given to table birds, often for the last couple of weeks before slaughter to achieve a good ‘finish’ to the carcase. Some producers omit this and give grower rations until slaughter.

Layer ration

This is specially formulated for egg producing birds, with the appropriate levels of calcium and phosphorus for strong shells, as well as the necessary balance of nutrients to meet the demands of production.

Breeder ration

This ration has the optimum level of minerals and vitamins to guard against breeding birds producing chicks with deficiency diseases.

Organic feeds

Organic feeds must measure up to the legally required standards. All the ingredients must come from acceptable sources. (A typical list of constituents was referred to earlier.) In addition, no genetically modified ingredients, synthetic amino acids, animal by-products (apart from milk products) or artificial in-feed additives are permitted. Organic certification organisations have a list of permitted ingredients for organic feeds.

Full-fat soya is the full bean where oil has not been extracted. Soya expeller has had the oil removed, but to meet organic standards, it needs to have been pressed rather than subjected to solvent extraction.

Organic wheat and organic mixed grain are also available from specialist suppliers. The latter is wheat with a proportion of added maize.

Some poultry feeds are described as ‘natural’ or ‘traditional’ but you should be aware that there are no such legal definitions. Most of these feeds are perfectly good, as long as they’re not given to registered organic poultry. They may or may not contain genetically modified ingredients, for example, so it’s worth asking the supplier. Other things to check are whether chemical or chemically treated pigments are included as yolk colour enhancers. Good quality but non-organic feeds will rely on natural vegetable sources for this.

Grain

Whole grain is very popular with poultry and they will often take it in preference to layer’s pellets. However, it needs to be kept in proportion to the pellets so that the overall diet is a balanced one. The average, medium sized laying hen will take in about 130g of layer’s pellets and around 15g of grain a day. Larger fowl will obviously consume more.

Feed consumption also increases in winter to compensate for the combined need to keep warm as well as to lay eggs. The average laying hen needs an extra 4.2 calories for every 1º fall in temperature from the optimum of 21ºC1. Increasing the grain ration at this time to around 20g per bird, per day (more for larger birds) is cheaper than feeding extra pellets. Feeding too much compound feed is also wasteful because any excess protein is merely expelled in the droppings.

Oats have traditionally been given to winter poultry because it’s a ‘heating’ grain. The downside is that it’s very high in fibre and the diet can easily be thrown out of balance. So it’s interesting to learn that recent breeding developments have produced hull-less or naked oats that are lower in fibre and higher in oil and other nutrients. These are now being grown as a constituent of poultry feeds2.

Good quality wheat can be used for the grain ration or mixed grain can be given. This is more expensive because it has some chopped maize in it. Watch out for greedy birds – if they just pick out the yellow grains and leave the others, they may end up becoming fat.

Where birds are difficult to get in at night, using some grain as a bribe is a great incentive. It’s also much better given as a last feed because the bird’s crop is then full for the long overnight period.

Water

Clean fresh water should be available at all times when the birds aren’t at rest. Five laying hens will take in around a litre of water a day under normal conditions, but in hot weather this can double. The temperature of the water is also important – 5ºC is the optimum3. In hot weather, egg laying and shell quality can be affected, while icy weather brings its own problems in the need to keep water supplies frost-free.

Feeding routine

So, having established what’s what, it’s time to look at a typical feeding routine. This will obviously vary, depending on the individual situation. Feeders and drinkers should be in a protected area where wild birds can’t gain access and where there is shade and weather protection. A wide variety of feeders are available and the best ones allow access without the birds being able to scratch the pellets out or to scratch the litter in.

There are also on-demand feeders and nipple drinkers that can be kept topped up and only release the food and drink when the poultry displace the appropriate release mechanism. These effectively provide ad-lib conditions for the birds.

Chicks

Chick crumbs, fresh water and insoluble poultry grit should be available on an ad-lib basis so they can help themselves as required.

Chick corn or a little chopped wheat can be introduced as necessary. Bear in mind that any change in the diet should be gradual, to avoid digestive upsets and possible stress.

Growers

A grower ration can be made available on an ad-lib basis or two or three times a day, depending on the situation. Alternatively, give a grower ration in the morning and a grain ration in the evening if a daytime foraging area is available. Water and insoluble grit should be available at all times during the day.

Layers

With a small flock, layer’s pellets can be given when the hens are let out of the house. Refill the drinkers and check the level of insoluble grit available. After a day’s foraging, the birds can then be given a grain ration before they go to perch.

Commercial producers with automatically filled feeders and drinkers will tend to make several feeds available during the day.

Breeders

Poultry kept as breeder birds should have a breeder ration with its extra supply of minerals and vitamins. If they’ve been fed on other rations, ensure that they’re switched to the breeder one a few weeks before they’re to join the breeding pen or the breeding flock.

And finally, what about all those extras referred to at the beginning? Well, poultry really don’t need them and are better off without them. Too much salt, for example, can be toxic. Many people remember their parents or grandparents saving the kitchen scraps and cooking them up in a mash to feed the poultry. They then think this is the correct way of feeding, but remember – those were desperate measures when there was often barely enough food for people, let alone poultry.

Bread can quickly become stale or mouldy, and a potential health risk. The occasional little bit of fresh bread won’t do any harm, but if it’s too stale for people, then it’s not suitable for birds either. Moulds can be present in bread before it becomes apparent to the eye.

A few fresh cabbage leaves suspended in a run essentially provide interest for confined poultry rather than food. Suspended seed blocks are excellent for helping to prevent feather pecking in the house, but again, they’re not part of the basic diet. If the birds are given a good balanced diet and a good ranging area, they will help themselves to any tasty extras in the form of plant tips and insects. A few tasty spiders beat pasta any time, thank you very much!

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Ducks are messier to keep then Chucks

why not have gesse as well, good guarding of property are geese and their eggs are supreme.

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I've read that Black Rocks are very good layers easy to get and very sturdy animals
Black Rock (sex-link)

For top quality large brown eggs. The ideal free range layer. The only commercial brown egg hybrid proven for over 25 years to be genetically suitable for free range.

The Black Rock (sex-link) is a sex-linked hybrid from two specific strains of natural breeds of birds, the Rhode Island (male line) and Barred Plymouth Rock.

Hardiness - Their rich plumage protects them from all weather conditions. This, together with their highly developed natural immune system means they have the potential to have a long productive life. Being very docile, they are not easily stressed and do not need de-beaking. Outside shelters are unnecessary as specified in welfare regulations.

Production - 280+ in the first year and persistently good throughout life. Egg, shell, and shell colour quality is persistently good throughout lay and life; this means most eggs are Grade A throughout life.

Vaccinations - All chicks are vaccinated at 1 day old and for I.B. with H120 but due to an influx of some very nasty continental strains of I.B. local conditions will determine the level of additional vaccinations necessary.

Salmonella Vaccines in Black Rocks are out. Their use is nothing more than a commercial due diligence exercise and causes nothing but suffering and cruelty.

Feed Conversion - is excellent and is less affected by weather conditions than other hybrid because of the thick plumage.

End of lay - There is a bonus of good white fleshed carcass.

http://www.cyril-bason.co.uk/egglayers.htm

the chucks i keep are Warren hybrids, i was going to get Black Rocks but the Warrens were available locally and they are bred specifically for battery use so as well as great tasting eggs every day i also get a warm feeling knowing the free range life i give them is so much better then the fate they were originaly destined for

top tip i can give to anyone wanting to keep chickens is dont waste your money buying purpose built chicken coops that cost upwards of 300 quid, get a shed and convert it yourself, i use a 6 x4 shiplap shed which is big enough to house up to 30 birds

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“they have all the things that they love to eat, such as pasta, bread and kitchen treats”.

A lot of Wheat products bread in particular contain "flour improvers" these additives can cause genetic damage

to birds causing defects in offspring and damage to adults, such damage may include failure of waterproofing in aquatic

species, damage to feathers, nerve damage, and brain damage.

never feed wild birds(or domesticated) processed foods.

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the chucks i keep are Warren hybrids, i was going to get Black Rocks but the Warrens were available locally and they are bred specifically for battery use so as well as great tasting eggs every day i also get a warm feeling knowing the free range life i give them is so much better then the fate they were originaly destined for

top tip i can give to anyone wanting to keep chickens is dont waste your money buying purpose built chicken coops that cost upwards of 300 quid, get a shed and convert it yourself, i use a 6 x4 shiplap shed which is big enough to house up to 30 birds

I definately want some chucks next time I have a garden, my parents used to have bantams and they have the most fantastic personalities - they're ace :D My favourites were the light sussex - it's halfway between a chicken and a bantam in size, but lays full-sized eggs - very handsome black and white girls they were too :wink:

“they have all the things that they love to eat, such as pasta, bread and kitchen treats”.

A lot of Wheat products bread in particular contain "flour improvers" these additives can cause genetic damage

to birds causing defects in offspring and damage to adults, such damage may include failure of waterproofing in aquatic

species, damage to feathers, nerve damage, and brain damage.

never feed wild birds(or domesticated) processed foods.

You try telling a chicken that pasta or bread are bad for them, they'll have your arm off for either lol

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price of corn is going through the bloody roof :wassnnme:

last time i bought a bag which was about a month ago it was 11 quid, now its 14.99 for a sack of organic corn :blub:

I've just acquired another 6 chickens so i hope they gonna earn their keep :doh:

if they keep laying me these then i'll be happy :D

post-2-1215638622_thumb.jpg

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Thats done it :wassnnme: munchied now! Egg sarnies hmmmm!.

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Thats done it :doh: munchied now! Egg sarnies hmmmm!.

mmmmmmmmm two slices of un buttered bread, fried egg ( pref a double runny yolker :blub:), dash of black pepper and salt, squirt of tomato ketchup :wassnnme:

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ducks shit smells so bad keep chickens much more fun!

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ducks shit smells so bad keep chickens much more fun!

yeah i was considering a few ducks, possibly khaki campbel's but the smell issue has put me off and i know people say you don't need a pond but ducks definitely prefer one, a washing up bowl or a kiddies paddling pool ain't the same :yinyang:

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hi

when do chickens start laying again ? ive been told to put a light in there coup , but im unsure , do any of you do this ?

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I keep ducks and chickens, ducks have more class imo and you can communicate with them, but a famous quote from some chicken women was that "A garden without chickens, is like a stage without actors" which rings true...

Main difference is that ducks are more fearful of you even though you feed em every fucking morning and night, clean there pond and house, whereas chickens realise your helping them and mine will actually let you stroke them...

Come the summer though foxy will be about and no doubt deplete your numbers, name them at your emotional peril!

Snoogans

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