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Written by Carole

dark brahma rooster
We are loading and heading to the poultry show today. With the temperatures being below freezing everyday I hesitate to do any of the primping stuff, like giving baths, to my birds. I read where a few of my online friends were keeping their show birds in their house after the bath. I just don’t have the room.

I’m looking at this trip as a learning experience. Since never having shown everything I do for the next three days will be an education.

Wish me luck! I’ll report in with my findings when I return.

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Written by Carole

A project for the new year~~inexpensive greenhouse? Is there such a thing? This morning I received my e-newsletter from Grit and they had an article in it from another blog about building a greenhouse from pvc items that might be laying around your house. We are always making chicken feeders and waterers from left over PVC so why not a greenhouse.

greenhouse

greenhouse by Drew

My husband and I have talked about building a greenhouse for that very short period of time here when you can’t have plants outdoors. I quickly followed the link to the blog anotherkindofdrew to see how he made this efficient-looking greenhouse.

All of you know that I’m not the carpenter so I will be sharing this info with my husband today. Perhaps it will be another project for 2010.

It is raining here in NE Florida on the first day of this year so I am going to take the time to start our list of projects we want to accomplish this year. First on the list is a wrap-around porch (already in the works), perhaps second will be an inexpensive greenhouse.

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Written by Carole

Poultry Show

We are now one week away from the Florida Sunshine Classic Poultry Show in Lake City, FL. With this being the first time I have ever exhibited I’m trying to be prepared. I know I will probably stand out as a newbie anyway but a little research in the beginning helps to educate and not make me look so thoroughly lost :).

I contacted one of my fellow BYC members and asked her a few questions that came to my mind. Just in case you are thinking about showing and not sure where to begin here are the questions I asked along with the response:

  • a. Do you separate the show bird?
    I separate mind about 2 weeks before the show to let them get used to a smaller cage. Some people do it for a week.
  • b. Do you feed it differently than others?
    I usually add rooster booster or Manna Pro to their feed. (I had to ask where to find this product and she told me Central States Feed carries it).
  • c. Someone mentioned clipping their beak, how do you do that?
    I trim the beaks on mine for showing. If the top beak overlaps the bottom one, then take some nail clippers and clip it off even across.
  • d. Any other suggestions you might have to prepare?
    Bathe them and make sure their nails and beaks are trimmed. Handle them more than you usually do to get them used to it because a judge will take them out of the cage to look at them.

The lady who sent the answer to these questions is a breeder and shower of Silkies. She informed me she was taking 16 to the show this time. (16! I am showing 5 and I thought that was alot.) And from the pictures on her website, Sunshinesilkies.com, she has won a few trophies also.

After receiving the responses from her I started digging a little further to see if I could find further instruction on preparation for showing of poultry and I found another website that had instructions and also what to take with you to the show. I thought this was very beneficial information also so if you are thinking about showing here is some more info to help you–Prepping for Shows.

I’m a little behind schedule, as far as preparation goes, but better late than never. So today I’m starting my preparation for the poultry show and see if I can win a few ribbons.

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Where has this year gone?!? It has been over a year now that we have moved onto our farm/homestead and during that time I increased my flock of chickens 10 times over. When we made the move I had eight and now I have over 80 chickens with more on the way. And the consequence of an ever-increasing flock is learning the best practices to raise healthy chickens.

brooder with rat snake

brooder with rat snake

This year I’ve had to deal with snakes in the baby chick pen (I got attacked three times!). And illnesses that I had heard of but had never experienced, Fowl pox. We quickly followed instructions we found on the net and got the fowl pox vaccine and gave all our birds a shot. It ran its course and we lost two chickens so that was not too bad.

But the worst experience thus far has been from an epidemic of Crypotosporidium or cryptosporidiosis. Over the past three months I have lost at least one chicken per week to this bacteria outbreak. It is a form of coccidia but cannot be controlled with antibiotics. There is no known cure. What the vet has told me is that the weak get weaker and eventually die, and the strong build up a resistance to it and will live.

Unfortunately in the beginning I had no idea what was wrong with my chickens. I tried the anti-biotic routine, then the pro-biotic with electrolytes in their water, and nothing seemed to help. I could tell the chickens that were infected were losing weight but they continued eating so until they got to the point of death I didn’t realize what was happening. And during this time was when I had the outbreak of Fowl Pox which was probably easily spread due to the weakened immune systems of some of the chickens.

Now since our diagnosis I have read more on this type of disease and the recommended course of action is to separate at first signs of illness. This is usually in the form of diarrhea in my case. Their poop will be a much brighter green than normal and also runny. The disease is spread within the coop by the other poultry walking in their feces so as soon as you see any sign of it it is recommended to isolate the bird that is showing symptoms. After removing the infected bird make sure to thoroughly clean the coop of any poop residue and also use a bleach solution to clean the water to help disinfect.

Once in isolation I give the chicken or chickens electrolytes and pro-biotics. I presently feed a 17% and a 20% protein feed so I switch the chicken to the higher protein feed. Thus far I have had only one bird make it through the isolation period so my success rate has not been very good. But I just learned what I was dealing with about a week ago so I’m keeping a close watch on each pen and watching for any signs.

The vet told us this will eventually run its course but strict bio-security measures are to be followed to get it under control. And with his instruction and the use of the internet I am learning that as you grow your flock to numbers such as I have and raise healthy chickens, it requires a daily routine of cleaning and disinfecting to insure all maintain health.

Bio security 2010 calendar

And with all this writing about raising healthy chickens and bio-security, I want to share with you a link for a calendar for 2010 to help you keep your flock healthy. The calendar is called Backyard Biosecurity: Keeping your Birds Healthy and was sent to me for free from the USDA. Inside are beautiful bird photos and easy-to-read tips and information that will help backyard bird owners learn the hygiene steps to help them take care of their birds. To order yourself a free calendar, visit here.

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Anyone who follows or reads this blog knows I have been considering and preparing for showing chickens. So with that stated, in January the Florida Sunshine Classic Poultry Show is happening in Lake City, FL. From what I understand, it is a sanctioned show by the American Poultry Association and many others so there will be a large attendance.

My plans are to take this big boy…

Dark Brahma cockerel

Dark Brahma cockerel

and this large fowl hen…

Dark Brahma hen

Dark Brahma hen

I know nothing about showing chickens but what a better way to learn than to dive right in.

From what I read there were over 3,000 chickens shown last year so the competition is tough. Are you interested in showing? Here’s a link to get your entry form: Florida Sunshine Classic Entry Form 2010

Green South Swap Meet in Middleburg

Another event that is happening this weekend and I plan on attending is the GreenSouth Swap meet in Middleburg, FL. Most of my readers are not local but some of you are so perhaps this will be of interest to you. You never know what you can find at these small animal swaps.

I attended last time and sold three of the four chickens I brought. This time I plan on bringing a pair of white orpingtons and possibly a few Light Brahma chicks to sell. There are usually alot of chickens available, as well as, goats, plants, tack and supplies, chicken coops, etc. You name it and you can probably find it. Here is a little more info on it:

Date: December 12th
Time: 8am-noon
Location: Same as before- the lot beside Green South Equipment Inc.
Bring: *We will have a hose for water- bring your buckets!
*All nessacary health papers for your animals.
*Any animal and supplies- cages, feeders, waters, leashes, collars,                          halters, tack, ect…

Remember: goats must have a scrappies tag in order to leave your property, so they must have one to participate.

If you have any questions please call-
Katy (904)874-8570 or email kt-bug@hotmail.com

For mapquesting, the address is:  2520 CR 220, Middleburg, FL 32068

So if you want to show your chickens, come to the Florida Sunshine Classics in January. Or if you want to sell and live locally come to the chicken swap this weekend at GreenSouth. I hope to see you at one or both of these events!

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