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 Post subject: Welcome home new babies...
PostPosted: Wed Mar 05, 2008 8:32 am 
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Location: SW Indiana-zone 6A
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Not sure if these are family members or not. Of course the intent is to be a little more self-sufficient with meat and eggs. Eggs will be OK, not sure if we'll ever be able to get to the meat part or not! Maybe I'll get lucky and some of them will grow up really ugly and mean!!!
(I've never had a chicken before, what have I gotten myself into now!!!) :roll:

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 05, 2008 11:34 pm 
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Awww they are cute. As for what you have gotten yourself into...I'm not sure as we are into cows and plant crops here. I do know Cena has chickens and seems to enjoy them. One thing I learned from the farm across the road is it is best to not leave your car open unattended for even a few seconds around them when they are older. That lead to a rather unplesant scene the next day.

Have fun with your new babies!

Foxy.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 09, 2008 12:15 pm 
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Location: PNW
Aww, they're so cute. I know I'd have a hard time raising them for meat. I hope you can!


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 09, 2008 4:14 pm 
I've raised chickens (for eggs only - lol!!) for many years.

Where did you get them from & do you know what breed(s) they are? If those 6 in the picture are all you have, I have a sneaking suspicion that you purchased them locally from a feed store or some-such. True?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Mar 09, 2008 9:39 pm 
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Location: PA
How are they doing? Are they a lot of work because they are so little?

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Mar 09, 2008 10:01 pm 
Young chicks are a decent amount of work, but not outrageous with a proper setup.

One thing I noticed right off is your chicks, frankly, look cold. Chicks huddled together like that on top of their feeder are definitely not getting enough heat. Chicks of that age should have access to a heat lamp producing around 90 degrees heat that should be decreased by about 5 degrees per week as they start feathering up. Your six are obviously not getting that, otherwise they'd be walking around, eating & drinking, instead of looking sad & wishing they were somewhere else. They look COLD.

I hate to sound snarky, but did you do any research at all as to how to properly raise chicks before you bought yours? Because both your chicks & your setup don't look like you did. Plus, buying just 6 chicks for eggs &/or meat? Really, I'd LOVE to hear where you did your research - particularly what you plan to do with these birds if they live & need outdoor accommodations. Do you have a coop & run built?

Can you tell that I'm starting to get pissed off? Lol!!! Sorry, but after many years of chicken raising, I've run across some of the most amazingly ignorant folks regarding raising poultry, & it's the birds that end up suffering.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 10, 2008 4:04 am 
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Take it easy, Breezy. :) Sharona might have jumped into this unprepaired, but that doesn't mean she isn't willing to learn quick. Nicely point out what you might see as problems and your advice is more likely to be taken to heart...she might even come back and ask more questions. In the end things will be better for the critters :wink:

Foxy (who doesn't know anything about chickens)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 10, 2008 6:12 am 
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Location: Eastern Canada
Oh Sharon, congrats on the chicks!! They are so cute!!

Are the black ones for eggs, and the yellow ones for meat?

Trust me, once you have your first fresh egg, there's no turning back - you'll be hooked! The taste is incredible. The same goes for the meat hens... there is no comparison to those you buy in the grocery store.

The nice thing about raising your own, is that you have a choice when it comes to medicated vs. unmedicated feed, or at least we do here. Then you have meat without all the added antibiotics.

Quote:
One thing I noticed right off is your chicks, frankly, look cold. Chicks huddled together like that on top of their feeder are definitely not getting enough heat. Chicks of that age should have access to a heat lamp producing around 90 degrees heat that should be decreased by about 5 degrees per week as they start feathering up. Your six are obviously not getting that, otherwise they'd be walking around, eating & drinking, instead of looking sad & wishing they were somewhere else. They look COLD.


umm, ok, I'm scratching the back of my neck here. Breezy, when at look at this picture, I'm seeing at least 7 little chicks - the 4 to the left do appear to be eating. I've never ever seen a cold chick eat! If they're cold or hungry, or thirsty, they peep - most loudly. They don't look cold or sad to me - they look sleepy.

They will even huddle together in the incubator, where temp's are optimum, not because they are cold, but because that's what baby chicks do when they're small and sleepy.

Chickadee

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 10, 2008 6:41 am 
Yes, that was snarky & I apologize.

I guess it's because with Easter on it's way I'm already seeing local places with chicks set up for sale obviously meant as "impulse" purchases. Every single year it gets my dander up when I walk in & see mom &/or dad buying the minimum 6 chicks (which 9 times out of 10 all grow up to be light-breed roosters) for their demanding tiny little tots, & you just know that those poor things probably won't make it thru the weekend. Same with ducklings & bunnies.

The very worst is a midwestern hatchery that STILL, in this supposedly more enlightened day & age, sells chicks & ducklings that have been dyed in bright colors - again meant to draw folks into an Easter impulse purchase. Sort of like the candy rack in a supermarket checkout line.

Just kills me.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 10, 2008 8:18 am 
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Location: Eastern Canada
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The very worst is a midwestern hatchery that STILL, in this supposedly more enlightened day & age, sells chicks & ducklings that have been dyed in bright colors - again meant to draw folks into an Easter impulse purchase.

WHAT??!!! I thought that was illegal!! I've only read about it - never seen it. I don't have dander, Breezy, but every drop o' blood in my veins is Irish, if ya know what I mean. :wink:

Boys, my blood boiled one day about 5 years ago. We were at the fall fair, admiring all the neat looking chickens they had on display, when I noticed that the one hen had no water in her dish.

I found the fella in charge and told him about it, but he said she had something wrong with her, that she needed to have her water "rationed", and she had already had her daily amount. My eyebrow went way up, and I heard my poor dh mutter something like, "hear we go...."

I asked him "what on earth is wrong with the hen that she can't have water on such a hot day? If she's sick, why in heavens' name is she on display with all these people around? She should be home recouping!!" I have a small flock at home - am I going to carry home some disease to them?"

I was escorted to the door most quickly. :lol: But I didn't leave... I stood there glaring in with my arms folded. After a few minutes, I seen him take the hen away, cage and all, and I assume he took her home... where she should have been in the first place!! I've not gone back since.

But, I know what you mean... It does ruffle the old feathers dosen't it?

Chickadee

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 10, 2008 8:29 am 
I thought it was illegal as well - that it been outlawed many years ago. But apparently it depends on the state, & unfortunately Texas is one of the few remaining states that allows it (I actually went so far as to contact the Texas ag dept & they confirmed this). This particular Texas hatchery ("Ideal" is the hatchery name) is currently (& has for many years) offering an "Easter" special of dyed chicks (choice of lightweight (aka worthless) roosters or Cornish Cross meat birds) & dyed ducklings. Now you just KNOW that this is specifically done solely as a marketing gimmick. Anyone with any real interest in or feeling for the birds wouldn't buy them this way. While I'm sure it's just a vegetable dye, the poor things - at a day old - still have to go thru the process.

It never ceases to amaze me some of the things people will do for money.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 10, 2008 9:03 am 
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Joined: Mon Apr 30, 2007 2:49 pm
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Location: Eastern Canada
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Now you just KNOW that this is specifically done solely as a marketing gimmick. Anyone with any real interest in or feeling for the birds wouldn't buy them this way.

Boys, I guess. That's a crying shame. I think if I walked into my feedstore and seen that, I'd be shown to the door right quick!

It's astonishing what people will do to alter an animals appearance. Whether it be docking a horse's tail so it can't swish flies, or dying day old chicks in pastel colors. I quite like their natural colors, myself, especially the wee black chicks - when they get to be about 2 - 3 weeks old, they have this beautiful blue color to their feathers.... So pretty. =)

Quote:
"Easter" special of dyed chicks (choice of lightweight (aka worthless) roosters or Cornish Cross meat birds) & dyed ducklings.


That don't seem right. Some roosters will be docile, but a great many more turn a bit tasty. You wouldn't think folks would be buying these for little kids. What happens when the roosters get older and start fighting with each other?

We turned on the news here the other night, and here's this fella out west somewhere with about 50 roosters in his yard! And they weren't in a barn or a coop either. They were tied by the leg to a little house affair - kind of looked like a miniature doghouse or something. I didn't catch the whole thing, but it was some sort of cock fighting operation.

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It never ceases to amaze me some of the things people will do for money.


You got that right!

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 10, 2008 9:22 am 
Yes, while the Cornish Cross is a meat bird, & male or female, will develop into something suitable for the table, they're rarely kept to maturity for any other purpose because the way they're bred makes it difficult, if not nearly impossible, for them to walk properly as adults. Nice, huh?

The "lightweight" roosters are most probably White Leghorns, & while I guess you could eat them, it wouldn't be worth the effort as they're bred specifically for their egg-laying qualities. Many hatcheries throw a few of these unwanted males into chick orders as "extras"; some hatcheries, unfortunately, kill the males at birth because they're simply isn't a market for them except for poultry meal/pet food, etc. Except for breeding purposes, only the females are considered of value.

The dyed ducklings (White Pekins I would imagine) are the only ones in Ideal's "special" that have half a chance at a decent life if they manage to survive past Easter & get decent & knowledgeable care.

And you're right about the roosters - while their temperaments differ, some can become friendly & fairly intelligent pets (I had several over the years). But two or more - unless they have a lot of acreage &/or their own individual "harems" - will almost always fight constantly. And the loser will not have a happy existence.

Re: chickens tethered individually to little "huts", those are definitely Fighting Game birds & yes, unfortunately, they're used for cockfighting. There are a number of folks here in Virginia that keep them, although of course they'd never admit that that's what they do with them. Ahem.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 10, 2008 10:00 am 
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Joined: Mon Apr 30, 2007 2:49 pm
Posts: 481
Location: Eastern Canada
Quote:
The "lightweight" roosters are most probably White Leghorns, & while I guess you could eat them, it wouldn't be worth the effort as they're bred specifically for their egg-laying qualities.

Been there, tried that. I think that's where the phrase "rubber chicken" comes from. :?

Quote:
...some hatcheries, unfortunately, kill the males at birth because they're simply isn't a market for them except for poultry meal/pet food, etc.

Yes, one of dh's relatives once worked at a hatchery, and that's exactly what they did with them at that time. They sexed them, and the males were killed the day they were born - ground into the first ingredient on the dogfood label - chicken meal/chicken by-products. =(

More recently, my step-son worked worked at the hatchery in town, just a few years ago, and he said the males were killed and then composted with the manure!! Can you imagine that? Yuk! Commercial hatcheries leave a lot to be desired!

Chickadee

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 10, 2008 12:32 pm 
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I can see why everyone is getting worked up about baby chicks for sale around Easter. I too have seen the set up's for impulse purchases...although I have been lucky enough not to have seen the dyed chicks or should I say DH has been lucky I haven't seen the dyed chicks. That kind of disgusting display would result in me making a scene with the store's manager.

On the bright side the shops I have seen around here have given up the practice of baby chicks and ducks for easter. Maybe there is hope.

Okay Sharona come back, ask questions and update us on your new family members! You don't have to admit if they were an easter inspired impulse purchase :)

Foxy.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Mar 11, 2008 7:21 am 
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Location: SW Indiana-zone 6A
WHEW! I didn't have access to a computer for a couple days and look at the feathers flying!

To those who PM me and appologized for someone else's comments, thank you but it was not necessary. I actually got quite a kick out of the comments!

After reading this I thought about my "impulse purchase" and decided it was cruel of me to keep the baby chicks under a heat lamp with fresh water and bedding and food IN my HEATED laundry room/sun room (which doubles as my greenhouse until it warms up outside). How inconsiderate could I be of nature and wild animals?!?!?! I have released the chicks to the wild, in the woods behind the house where they can be raised by the TURKEYS!!!

OK, I'm done with my sarcasm now. Boy I'm sure glad I didn't post a picture of my human children outside next to their snowman with no hats on!!

Sorry, I really got a kick thinking of all the smarty things I could have replied back. Got those imaginative juices flowing!

The chicks are doing great and I have since purchased a couple more. 3 of the 4 Buff Orpingtons that I purchased turned out to me male so I went back and got a few more now that they are barely beginning to feather you can tell which are which. The black are swimming links so I got them a New Hampshire Red male also.

I actually have thought about chickens for a couple years but didn't have anywhere to put them. I have googled some things and have a book that I can't remember the name of but something like Raising chicks for hobby farms or pleasure farms or something-er-other. I bought the feeders and waterers last year thinking I would get the chicks for easter, I didn't realize tho that by the time easter gets here the chicks are gone. From my new picture you can see that the chicks are in a new, bigger home now too. Which I made last year but wanted them in the smaller one at first to keep them warmer.

There were originally 8 chicks, now there are 11. 4 are males. They were very young and do like to huddle whether cold or not. The heat lamp is on ALL the time even tho they are in the heated laundry/sun room which also houses my heater and water heater, with the door closed to keep the cat out. It is quite warm in there. I also have a thermometer in the bin with the chicks. I have not been saving shoe boxes for them to live in for the rest of their lives, I have an old 3-holer outhouse in the yard near the barn which we are converting to a coop with a fenced playground for them.

I can completely understand Breezy's concern BUT it would seem that one would gather facts BEFORE dragging out the tar and feathers.

Oh yeah, I'm too cheep to pay high prices for dyed chicks, figured I'd do that myself with some lead based spray paint! Or maybe I'll let the kids tye-dye them with paint ball guns!! :lol:

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Mar 11, 2008 9:40 am 
They look adorable & very healthy/happy. I'm sorry I jumped the gun & did apologize - & do again - for the snarkiness.

Like I said before, this time of year just seems to bring it out in me when I see mom & dad buckling under their kids pleas to buy them some chicks &/or ducklings. You just know this isn't going to turn out well & that zero forethought about care has been made. Just a couple of Easter's ago there was a woman in one of our local farm stores who came in to buy another batch of 6 chicks because her kids had managed to kill the ones she'd bought just the week before. She let them play with them like they were little toys, & except for the ones that were accidentally "squished", the others probably couldn't take the stress & heat loss.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Mar 11, 2008 10:39 am 
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Location: SW Indiana-zone 6A
Breezy,
I'm not at all upset. Thank you for the apology but I do understand the concern.
So far the chicks are great! They are a bit of work but not much at all. Thanks for all the concern and encouragement from everyone.
~sharon

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2008 6:37 am 
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Location: SW Indiana-zone 6A
Sadly we lost a chick yesterday. It was the smallest one of the bunch but had been just as happy and healthy as the others. When we got home it was still barely alive but laying on its back with its head turned around tucked under it. Looked like it's neck or back was broke or something! Could it have just gotten trampled or smashed at the feeder? Does this sound to anyone like some horrible chicken disease that I have not heard of yet?
Thanks for any response!
~sharon :cry:

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2008 7:42 am 
Chicks are delicate during their first few "downy" days, & sometimes if one is a little weak to begin with (not always apparent), the stresses of moving to a new home are enough to knock them down. I doubt it was broken bones. (You should see the way the hatchery handlers toss them around on hatching day.) I'd just keep an eye on the other birds for signs that they, too, might have a bug.

Did the place you bought them from say whether or not they'd been vaccinated against any of the common chick diseases? Most large hatcheries vaccinate if requested (although charge you extra for it), but local places probably don't bother having it done when they place their hatchery orders. If the chicks aren't vaccinated, are you feeding medicated chick starter? Normally one would feed non-medicated starter to vaccinated chicks, & medicated to non-vaccinated chicks.

Also check for what's commonly called "pasty butt" - which is exactly what it sounds like - lol! It's very common & not a disease, but rather just a situation that can happen simply due to the change in environment, new food - just plain adjusting to life. The bird's droppings paste/crust up on their vents &, if left that way, can prevent them from being able to eliminate & can actually kill them. Gross as it is, one has to take some warm water & a soft cloth or paper towels & gently soften & remove the stuck droppings. After a couple of days, they're no longer susceptible to it.

If during the next few days the remaining birds look fine, eating & drinking well, etc., etc. this might hopefully just be one of those "sh*t happens" things. But I still know how very sad it is. :(


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2008 8:24 am 
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Location: Eastern Canada
Oh Sharon, I'm sorry to hear about the wee baby. :(

Sometimes the chicks get handled less than gently while being transported to the feedstore, and they can become injured.

Breezy's right - do keep an eye on the rest, just in case. From my own experience, there are a two things that will help keep the chicks healthy: (these are aside from the obvious) a very dry brooder, and most importantly, clean water. (Baby chicks can dirty the water dish in just an hour or so)

If the chicks get wet (ex: water dish upsets, or something) dry it up immediately, and get them fresh bedding.

If you find they are pooping a lot in their water dish, or scratching the bedding into it, put something hard under the dish to elevate it a bit. (I use an upside down dinner plate that is the same size as the waterer) Just make sure they can reach it easily, and it won't tip over. Oh, and try to use something that's easy to clean, because as you already know, baby chicks poop a lot. =)

Also, (esp. when they are about 2 - 4 weeks old), they'll begin dirtying ( a lot ) on their feeder too. Just make sure to give it a good scrub or two each day. I keep a few extas on hand - then when I feed them, I have a clean one all ready to go.

Again - sorry about the baby....

Chickadee

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2008 10:33 am 
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Location: SW Indiana-zone 6A
Thanks for the info guys! I have had one chick with pasty butt already. I took her to the sink for a couple days and had to wash her little behind. It was a bit nasty the first time but I got over it.

The wee one who didn't make it was one of the birds I bought this past weekend. The store had them over a week by then and I'm thinking they had been handled and roughed up too much perhaps. I bought 8 the first time and they are all fine. I bought 4 the second trip and 2 of them are gone already. The other 2 seem fine (so far) but are a bit smaller than the rest.

I have learned about chicken poop quite quickly! My goodness, who would have thought! They never stop!!! I'm using medicated chick starter cause the dummies at the farm store I went to had no idea anything about the chicks. I mean ANYTHING!! Bunch of teenagers that were just told to ring up the sales I'm sure.

Thanks again!
~sharon

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Mar 13, 2008 3:08 am 
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I'm so sorry for your loss, Sharon.

Foxy.


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 Post subject: chicken question?
PostPosted: Fri Mar 28, 2008 6:12 am 
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Location: SW Indiana-zone 6A
Well the babies are doing well and getting big quick! Was wondering what do you use to water your chickens once you move them outside? I've got the little waterers but there has to be a better way. Think they could/would drink out of those rabbit bottle things?

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Mar 28, 2008 8:03 am 
The little waterers used for chicks (I'm assuming you mean the plastic or glass "jar" screwed onto a plastic drinking "saucer") come in larger versions (both plastic & galvanized metal) for older chickens. Any place that sells feed &/or farm supplies should carry them or can get them for you.

I prefer the metal to the plastic because they last for years, don't tip over easily, are easy to clean, & won't crack in freezing weather. They come in 2, 5, & 8-gallon sizes, & I found the 5-gallon just perfect. I think they run around $20-$25, & it pays to buy two so that during the winter months you can switch them so one is thawing indoors while the other is outside with fresh water for the gang. :)


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 28, 2008 9:38 am 
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Location: Eastern Canada
We just switch to the bigger size when we put them outside - the 1 gallon size does roughly 20 chicks until they get to be about a month old or so, then we need to add an additional one. I have an old cookie tin that I place underneath, so all the bedding dosen't get scratched into the water.

Quote:
I prefer the metal to the plastic because they last for years, don't tip over easily, are easy to clean, & won't crack in freezing weather.

Breezy, my dear, your freezing weather out there must be much milder than our's. :lol: It's not uncommon for temps to dip way down to -30 C for weeks on end, and the *only* winter I tried the metal dishes, my poor hens "stuck" to them. When I first noticed blood around the edge of the dish, I thought at first that maybe I had a weasel in the coop or something, and then it dawned on what was happening. But I do prefer the metal dishes during warm weather though.

Our feed store carries these black rubber dishes in various sizes, and I've been using them for cold weather. I take a pail of hot water to the barn in the morning, turn the dishes upside down, pour hot water over it, and the frozen "cube" pops out. I find the rubber keeps their water warmer quite a bit longer than plastic. And all the critters appreciate a nice wam drink on these chilly mornings.

Chickadee

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Mar 28, 2008 9:47 am 
Well, of course, both Long Island, NY, where I had my flock, & here in VA winter temps will never be as cold as Canada. In fact, even Indiana where the OP is located will never be as cold as Canada. Is any place as cold as Canada? :lol:

I know the rubber pans you're talking about as I've used them to grain horses outdoors. They'd definitely work as waterers, but I'd imagine they'd have to be raised up on bricks or something to keep litter, poop, & dirt out of them. Plus, I'd think they'd be quite tippable. My hens were constantly perching on & tipping over the pan I kept their oyster-shell grit in. I finally mounted a piece of wood 2 x 4 & bought one of those heavy plastic calf feeders that fit over a rail to hold the grit.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Mar 28, 2008 4:29 pm 
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Location: Eastern Canada
Quote:
Is any place as cold as Canada?

hehe...... We're definately gold or silver for that category, alright. :wink:

Quote:
Plus, I'd think they'd be quite tippable.

Honestly, they're surprisingly heavy, and while they work great for the layers, we use a wooden box "cover" for the meat birds, because as you mentioned, they like to get their feet on the side of the water dish, and the meat chickens grow to about 10 -12 Lbs..... they can tip things over very easily. It's the only way I've found to keep their big ol' feet out, and the water clean.

Chickadee

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Apr 02, 2008 2:13 pm 
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Location: SW Indiana-zone 6A
Thanks for all the suggestions guys! I really appreciate it!!

Next question...
Do I have to keep the breeds of chickens apart from each other. I have 4 female black swimming link and a new hampshire red rooster. I also have 4 female buff orpingtons and a buff orpington rooster. Will the roosters fight for females still or will the only breed with certain breeds?

(this question is sounding sillier the more i think about it but i'm going to go ahead and ask anyway)

Thanks again, and again and again!
Sharon

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Apr 02, 2008 3:17 pm 
First off, I assume that when you say you have 4 female "black swimming link" hens, you really mean "black sexlinks"? Have never heard of a "swimming link" chicken, but Black Sexlinks are a quite well-known hybrid, & are named for the fact that the birds can be sexed with 100% accuracy at hatching because the male & female chicks are separate colors. I used to have several myself.

Roosters will breed with ANY type of hen, any time, any place. In fact, a larger rooster-to-hen ratio can result in the poor girls getting pretty beaten up from all the - ahem - romantic attention.

While it depends on the individual birds, chances are excellent that your two guys, once they reach maturity, will still fight until one of them establishes himself as dominant. Then, unfortunately, the subservient male will most likely not spend the rest of his days as a very happy camper. He'll get chased away from the food & water - even by the hens - &, if you keep them all together - might need to be found a new home.

While you can't produce Black Sexlinks with the birds you have, because they're a hybrid cross (Rhode Island Red rooster x Barred Rock hen), if you're planning on maybe hatching out some purebred Buff Orpingtons anytime in the future, then you MUST keep your Orpington hens with your Orpington rooster ONLY. No letting them co-mingle with the Rhode Island Red. Ever.


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