Chicken Care Summary
("\(*v*)/")   CARING FOR CHICKENS  ("\(*v*)/")
"I think true happiness can only be found in the wanton indulgence of
animals" - Hobbes

A clean coop with white builder's sand and pine shavings & an outdoor
run of dirt & grass if possible.  
A portable coop can be put around the yard if you have hawks.
We've made them from PVC (90 side out for corners) and 1/2" X 1/2"
hardware cloth (wire) and a framed door.
5 square feet each for bantams
10 square feet each for large birds
A nest box, they will share.
A complete feed, Game Bird Layena 20% or Manna Pro egg maker 18%
If you are planning to raise stronger chicks you need the extra protein.
Even if you aren’t it’s ok to raise the protein.
Chicks need 24% and adult Silkies need about 20% protein.  They also
have a 30% MannaPro Game bird show bird feed that you can feed to
the chicks if 25% is not available.  Purina has a natural chick starter.
Southern States has 21% Super Breeder and other good feed.

Organic grain recipe for organic eggs for healthier chickens and
people!  (optional)  You can’t do this with many chickens!! $$ unless you
get it by the truckload or are near an organic mill.
www.countrysidenatural.com or health food store in bulk
Corn, 2 parts whole or cracked
Wheat, 3 or 4 parts
Oats, 1 part
Sunflower seeds, 1 part hulled, 2 parts shelled
Green Lentils, 1 part
Split Peas, 1 part
Barley, 1 part
Millet, 1 part
Flax, 1 part
Seaweed or Kelp Meal, ½ part,
Supplements:  (optional)
Powdered Organic Garlic, health and parasites
Diatomaceous Earth, food grade, for parasites/minerals
Chick starter supplement (McMurray)
Red cell for horses, cap full per gallon or other vitamins
Oyster shell, tough shell or calcium chips - Offer layers free choice
Granite gravel and grit - Offer chicks for digestion
WATER… FRESH everyday
with (opt):  Apple Cider Vinegar (to keep bacteria down)
One sliced clove of garlic per gallon if no powdered available
Greens or grass or alfalfa hay or kelp meal
Some sunlight for Vitamin A (good for coop to get sunlight part of day)
Yogurt (live organic) or probiotics, once a week if possible (opt)
can mix with oats or lentils & peas to soften them.  
Or
www.firststatevetsupply.com has probiotics for sale and a most
complete vitamin mineral supplement Vita-Pro-B.
also Sulfadimethoxine and Amprol if needed for coccidiosis.

CHICKS
Incubate eggs at 99 ½  to 100 degrees, judge temp by length of hatch.
(21 days to hatch) Hatch in a clean incubator
Humidity 50% or more and then 65% or more at hatch time.
Chicks should be in a clean box or plastic tub with
paper towels (when just hatched) or pine shavings
change every day
grind up feed if tiny bantams (coffee grinder…)
oatmeal can be used if you run out of feed
fresh water with a rock for so they can push out of the water if they fall in
at 90-95 degrees the first week of life (close red 100 watt flood)
85 the second week
80 the 3rd
75 the 4th
Make sure they can get away from the heat if it’s too hot.
Use an oblong plastic tub or cage, careful that their feet won't go
through the bottom wire and get stuck 1/2" X 1/2" or cover solid.

When chicks first hatch, I put them in a long plastic tub on paper towels
with a red colored flood light over one end of the tub.  They need to
have fresh water daily.  The first couple days I put it in a peanut butter
jar cap with a rock in it to keep them from walking in it.
I dip their beaks in the water gently as soon as they hatch.  They will
usually peep and taste the water and drink it.  Always make sure your
newly hatched babies know where the water is!  Dehydration is a killer.  
Be careful not to drown them.  It’s easy at this age.
The first couple days of life I grind up the chick starter if I’m feeding
bantams.  Some will not eat right away, but usually start eating by the
end of the first 24 hours of life.  They say chicks can go without food for
a couple days, but if you aren’t shipping them there is no need to put
them under that stress.  I don't ship day old Silkies.

On the 5th week they can go outside with heat lamps if it’s cold and
clean shavings if the weather is ok.
Feed Chick Starter around 20% – 24% until they are 8 weeks.
Also have granite gravel and grit for them at all times.  They need it to
digest their food.  Fresh water daily.
At 8 weeks they are usually fully feathered and can go outside without a
lamp if the weather is OK.
Feed them Grower at 20 to 24% until they are about 6 to 7 months.  
When they start laying eggs you should switch them to Layena at about
18 %.  If you plan to hatch chicks, mix with Game Bird starter or layena to
raise the protein for stronger chicks.  Or you can feed them other protein
to boost the percentage, such as cooked egg.  Always offer oyster shell
free choice to laying hens.  
Lots of good information can be found in the articles on Alan Stanford’s
site
www.browneggblueegg.com such as Wheat or Oat treats...

In hot hot weather, a fan & vitamins would be nice… Cold weather is
when mites might become a problem.  Dust lightly with 5% garden grade
Sevin dust (carboryl) and again in 10 days to break the cycle making
sure not to get it in their eyes.  Dust the coops with 10%.  A once a
month preventative dust might be a good idea.  
Also Countryside Natural has a DE w/pyrethrins dust.  You don’t want to
put so much on that the chickens are inhaling it.  
Follow worming and vaccination recommendations for your area.

Peter Brown, Chicken Doctor, 1-410-546-6137 anytime
www.firststatevetsupply.com or www.featherfanciers.com
This chicken doctor has gotten so popular that he's planning on getting
a web cam and doing little chicken seminars online.  I can't wait!
He has a degree in Poultry Science and 40 years of doctoring and
studying chickens!  Quite a bit of dedication!

Florida Dept of Agriculture, National Poultry Improvement Plan (NPIP)  
They test your birds yearly for free in my area.
Call me if you have any questions.  Bobbi Porto 813-949-3002

Tips for keeping new chicken arrivals healthy and happy:
Start them out on fresh clean bedding, free from bacterias of the new
area.  Gradually introduce dirty bedding from other areas so they may
build up a resistance to the new bacterias.  Supplement feed with
vitamins and probiotics for a little help to get through this stressful time.  
This tip is from Doris, the APA Youth Coordinator... thanks Doris!
When I get a new one, I wash them to make sure they don't have bugs,
treat them for coccidiosis and quarantine them for at least 2 weeks in a
cage so I can check their pooh for anything unusual.
Everyone that owns chickens should read an article on
coccidiosis.

One more thing to consider:  When building a coop for your new
chickens… don’t forget that just about every varmint loves chicken….
Hawks, Owl, snakes, opossum, fox, mink, weasels, raccoon,
marmot, dogs, cats, coyotes, bobcat… maybe even armadillo.
You need to make a coop that is completely enclosed for them to sleep
in… and if they are bantams, their run also needs to be.  I bury the wire
on the outside down into the ground about a foot or so and then back
out towards you another couple feet.  This way if something tries to dig
into the coop it will hit wire and give up.  I use ½” X ½” hardware cloth.  
Raccoon and Fox will scare the chickens to the side of the coop and
snatch them right through chicken wire… or at least part of them….  If
chickens are raised off of the ground over wire, their toes can be
snatched.  Sad, but true.  I hear it all too often.  Be careful.  Protect them.

The following comments are copied from someone's web chats:
A while back I took my Frizzle Rooster to my Avian vet for a pedicure,
because his spurs were sooooo HUGE, I was afraid to cut them...Filing
would have been futile.
She said he had mites. I said IMPOSSIBLE!
She scraped his scaly feet and under the microscope, showed me the
creepy crawly gross, crab like yucky's. At the time, I didn't think scaly feet
had anything to do with mites. And because they can’t be seen with the
naked eye....who'd have thunk it? Momma Frizzle had scaly feet, too.
Anyway, her prescription:
4 CC/ML Ivermectin (INJECTABLE) in ONE gallon of water, 3 days,
repeat in 14 days. No other source of water should be provided.
Their feet, looked like new born baby feet after about a week.  The scale
just disappeared.
Vet also said that if they have any mites of their body's they would bite
and die from the Ivermectin.
Same treatment for Coccidia, by the way.
I've NEVER had a mite, lice or any creepy crawly problem.
Hope this helps.
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I use it everyday!!!! It's a temp./ Humidity prob made by Cooper-Atkins
Corp. located in Middlefield, CT. The unit is called a Temp/Humidity
Digital Instrument model #SRH77A. It's the most accurate one you can
buy. You can use it on any incubator because it's portable. all you need
is a small hole to stick the probe into. You press a button and it will jump
between the temp and humidity readings. You can plug it in. You won't
be sorry if you get one! I've used every kind of temp/humidity device you
can find, and it's by far one of the best investments I've made, along with
the "Buddy" portable heart monitor for eggs.
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I've read on Dr. Mercola's website about a study that said using regular
3% H2O2 followed by spraying with vinegar did a better job of
disinfecting kitchen counter tops than bleach did. This is what I now use
for coops and water fonts.
I have been using the following steps to disinfect since 2001:
1. houses / coops are rested at least 21 days after disinfecting
2. I start the process by using a burner and burn off all the dander, etc.
3. Then the house is washed down using soft soap and water
4. Then I spray with vinegar followed by H2O2 and leave to biodegrade
without rinsing.
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One of the best first books can be obtained from the library or used
online called, "Chickens In Your Backyard". It is a short and fun read and
so worth the time.  You will avoid lots of problems the more you know.

More great informative sites
www.thepoultrysite.com
www.feathersite.com
www.backyardchickens.com
Check them out! and have a blessed day!
Do YOU know the basics?
I am so glad Kristen May found me and my chicks.  I have
gotten the most beautiful pictures from her and adore them!!!  
Check out more of her chicks on my "More Silkies" page.  
Here are pictures of her Silkies and the new coop she
designed and built for them!!!!!  Way to go, Kristen!!!