Practical Chicken Feeding Tips

There’s so much hype around nutrition these days that it’s easy to lose track of the basics. I’ve heard of poultry farmers who wanted to feed their poultry “naturally” and did so by feeding them nothing but whole organic grain — and were surprised when their poultry (turkeys, in this case) started keeling over and dying. What went wrong?

Well, everything!

So let’s review some practical chicken feeding tips, which will apply pretty well to ducks and turkeys as well:

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How I Slept Through Sleep Apnea

My father, Dan Plamondon, was a champion snorer.

My father, Dan Plamondon, was a champion snorer.

My dad was a champion snorer, could fall asleep anywhere in a minute or two, and had enormous difficulty getting up in the morning. He almost certainly had a severe case of sleep apnea, but he passed away before sleep apnea was widely understood.

You can see where this is going. I snore. I have trouble getting up in the morning, and, worse, my level of energy during the day has been plummeting. This has been going on for some time now. Sorta hard, when I have a full-time job and three businesses!

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This Big Piggie, Cougar Attacks, and Fall Eggs

Robert Plamondon’s Poultry Newsletter, October, 2014

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News From the Farm

This BIG Piggie Goes to Market

Karen with pastured pigs from Norton Creek Farm.

Mmm, bacon! Got room in your freezer? If not, it’s time to buy another freezer, because we’re about a week away from converting our pigs into pork. These happy outdoor pigs have been moved to fresh patches of pasture as they wreck the one they’re on, and have been fed on high-quality feed, whole grain, and the many cracked and stained eggs that are a yummy byproduct of our free-range egg operation.

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Day-Old Baby Chicks Checklist: How to Prepare For Them and Care For Them

The Most Comprehensive Baby Chick Checklist Anywhere!

Day-old Black Sex-Link chicks and an Ohio heat-lamp brooder.

Day-old Black Sex-Link chicks and an Ohio heat-lamp brooder.

Raising day-old chicks isn’t hard, and is delightful when everything turns out right. but doing it right involves a number of steps. You’ll have more success and fewer surprises if you use this handy checklist to stay on track.

This checklist is adapted from my book, Success With Baby Chicks. Some items in the checklist point you to different chapters in the book if you need more information.

Before Ordering Your Day-Old Chicks

Prepare the Brooder Area

  1. If you don’t already have a brooder house, build one or adapt an existing structure. See Chapter 14.
  2. Clear away any brush or trash that may have accumulated around the brooder house.
  3. Examine the brooder house for leaks in the roof, gaps in the floor, and rat holes—and fix them.
  4. If there are signs of rodents, set out traps or bait now, so the rodents are gone before the baby chicks arrive.
  5. If there is an infestation of roost mites or other noxious bugs, treat the brooder house now. This is most likely if other poultry have been kept in the house until recently. See Chapter 15.
  6. If there is old litter in the house, decide whether you are going to re-use it. If so, prepare it as described in Chapter 13. Otherwise, remove the old litter and put in new.
  7. Acquire or build a brooder, draft guard, baby chick feeders, and baby chick waterers. See Chapter 5.
  8. Remove any feed left over from last time. Day-old chicks need fresh feed.
  9. Unless the weather is hot, close up the brooder house by closing all the windows and covering any sizable openings with tarps, sheets of plastic, or plastic feed sacks.

DANGER! If you are using vent-free propane brooders, it is possible for carbon monoxide to build up to lethal levels in a tightly closed brooder house. Install a carbon monoxide alarm if you’re going to use propane brooders in a tight house.

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Baby Chicks in September? Seriously? And Lights for Hens

Robert Plamondon’s Poultry Newsletter, Sept 2014

News From the Farm

Baby chicks drinking near brooderWe’re in the busiest time of the year, but things are moving along pretty well. Our pastured pigs haven’t escaped for a while. Egg production is holding steady. The local predators seem to be finding their food elsewhere. The weather is hot and dry, and the grass is browning off, but this brief excursion from Western Oregon’s trademark “cool, damp, and green” is normal.

Baby Chicks in September? Seriously?

Everyone thinks of springtime when they think of brooding baby chicks, but fall is my personal favorite. It’s warmer and drier, and while things get colder and wetter as fall turns into winter, the baby chicks get older and hardier before the weather has time to get bad. September and October are both good times for brooding in most climates.

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