Archive for August, 2019

Purina Omolene with Outlast Supplement

Monday, August 26th, 2019

Purina Omolene with OutlastYou’ll see a familiar product with a new look at Argyle Feed, Purina Omolene with Outlast! Purina Omolene horse feed has been updated to include Purina® Outlast® Gastric Support Supplement. The current calcium source in all Omolene® feeds is being replaced with a natural calcium source (also contained in the Outlast® Gastric Support Supplement) that meets calcium requirements but has the additional benefit of very effectively helping support optimal gastric pH. All formulas will still provide the same quality balanced nutrition customers have come to rely upon.

As a loyal Purina® customer, we want you to be the first to know about exciting updates coming to this long-standing line of textured feed. First, we want to assure you that all of the Purina® Omolene® formulas will continue to provide the excellent nutritional support you’ve come to depend on and the updates will not negatively affect your horses in any way.

You may be aware of Purina® Outlast® Gastric Support Supplement which contains a unique blend of ingredients designed to support gastric health and proper gastric pH. Purina® Outlast® Gastric Support Supplement is the foundation of the Purina® Equine Gastric Health Program. You can learn more about this program by visiting www.purinamills.com. We have received overwhelmingly positive feedback from horse owners who have followed this program and seen very favorable responses in a wide variety of horses.

Since gastric discomfort affects so many horses, reportedly up to 90% of active horses as well as occurring in broodmares and foals, it made sense for us to update the Purina® Omolene® Horse Feed line to include the Outlast® Gastric Support ingredients. With this update, every Omolene® horse will benefit from Outlast® Gastric Support with every meal.

To help showcase this exciting update to Purina® Omolene® horse feed, we’re giving the packaging a fresh new look. We hope you like it as much as we do. We know your horses will benefit from the inclusion of Outlast® Gastric Support Supplement and we hope you’ll appreciate the convenience and value of effective gastric support being included in the feed. The new packaging and Outlast® Gastric Support benefit will be available in Omolene® #100, #200, #300, #400 and #500 in September 2019 and Omolene® #200RT and #400RT in October 2019.

Come see the new look of Purina Omolene with Outlast at Argyle Feed Store. We can answer any questions you may about these changes.

Open Labor Day

Friday, August 23rd, 2019
Sep ’16
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Open Labor DayFor your convenience, Argyle Feed & Hardware is open normal business hours on Labor Day, Monday, September 2nd.  Have a safe and relaxing Labor Day Weekend— come see us for anything you need: propane refills, bagged ice, cookout, and hunting supplies, hardware, feed, hay and more. We’re open Labor Day and ready to help you out!

Defend Against ArmyWorms This Fall

Wednesday, August 21st, 2019

Armyworms | Argyle FeedHave you noticed a brown patch in your lawn that gets bigger every day? Armyworms are out in force right now. These invaders are not picky when it comes to what they consume. From oats, rye, corn, and grain, these worms will feed on a variety of crops.  But they’ll also infest your lawn. Damage from armyworm can seem to appear overnight. Although the damage might appear overnight, larvae have likely been feeding for a week or more before they or their damage appears.

You can usually identify these worms by their distinctive upside down “Y” design on the head capsule. Fall armyworms can be green, brown or black, and as long as 1.5 inches. It’s best to detect these pests in your fields early mornings or late evenings. During these times you can access how bad the infestation is. 

Once you determine that you need a control plan, it’s time to find the best product to eliminate these critters from your fields. The most common insecticide against armyworms is called Sevin SL. This product works really well on hay fields, lawns, pastures, and food plots. 

Stop by Argyle Feed Store this fall and defend against armyworms with Sevin SL. 

 

When Will My Chickens Lay Eggs?

Wednesday, August 21st, 2019

IChicken in Nesting Boxf raising a backyard flock was a treasure hunt, the ultimate prize would be your hens first eggs. To extend this feeling of exhilaration and help hens produce wholesome, nutritious eggs long-term, care for the flock differently as they begin laying.

The transition from pullet to egg-laying hen often occurs at 4-5 months of age, subject to breed, environment and nutrition. Laying breed pullets will begin laying at about 18 to 20 weeks of age. A rooster is not necessary for egg production.

The first eggs a hen lays may be irregular – possibly small in size, with soft shells, no yolks or double yolks – but, after a week or so, egg production should become more consistent, with peak performance at about 30 weeks of age.

High-producing hens can lay up to 300 eggs per year; however, first year hens may lay fewer: about 200-250 eggs apiece. Because it takes approximately 25 hours for a hen to produce one egg, six eggs per week is an ideal goal.

To help hens reach this target – and stay happy and healthy, consider the following housing and nutrition tips.

Chicken Housing
After moving chicks from the brooder, introduce them directly to the coop that will become their forever home. This helps birds adjust to the coop well in advance of their first lay. Make sure the coop has comfortable nesting boxes that provide privacy to individual hens.

Once a hen begins laying, it’s her tendency to lay in the same spot moving forward. Create several comfortable, clean and cozy nesting areas to prevent hens from becoming competitive in the coop.

A general rule is to provide one 1-foot square nest box for every four or five hens because the flock will take turns using the boxes. Line each nest box with a thick layer of straw or other bedding to cushion the eggs and keep them clean and unbroken. Keep the nests up off the floor in the darkest corner of the coop.

Be sure all the nest areas have a uniform environment. If the hens decide one nest is preferable to the others, they may all try to use that nest, causing themselves stress, which can lead to egg breakage or egg eating. On our farm, we built the nests into the coops. Outdoor access to the nests allows us to collect eggs without disrupting the flock.

When pullets are nearing their first lay, their behavior changes. They may begin spending more time with the rooster, crouching for breeding or investigating the nesting area. At this time, keep hens in the coop for short periods of time. Place golf balls or decoy eggs in the nesting boxes to help the hens understand the use of the nesting boxes.

Chicken Nutrition
Once the first egg appears, the hen’s diet should also be adjusted.

Different nutrients are required to produce eggs as compared to what the pullet needs for growth. Young chicks and pullets need high protein levels as their body and feathers grow. At laying, switching to a complete feed with calcium and omega-3 fatty acids can help hens produce strong shells and nutritious eggs.

  • Calcium: Calcium is essential to form strong egg shells. If the bird does not secure enough calcium from her feed, she may pull the nutrient from her bones, which could eventually lead to a weak skeletal structure. Since egg shells are developed at night, when birds are not eating, a consistent source of slow-release calcium in the diet is important. Oyster shells are the most common and reliable source of slow-release calcium. For strong shells and healthy hens, feed a complete layer feed with 16 percent protein and 3.25-4.5 percent calcium, like Purina® Layena® Premium Poultry Feed or Purina® Organic Layer Pellets or Crumbles. If your layer feed does not include Oyster Strong™ System, supplement the diet with free-choice oyster shells to add slow-release calcium.
  • Omega-3: For even more nutritious eggs, offer laying hens a complete feed that includes flaxseed as a source of Omega-3. For example, when a diet of Purina® Layena® Plus Omega-3 was fed for at least three weeks, those hens produced large eggs (56 g) that contained 250 mg of Omega-3 per egg. 1  For comparison, a typical store-bought egg contains 50 mg of Omega-3 fatty acids per large egg (USDA: National Nutrient Base).  Results may vary with factors such as total diet and hen health.
1When fed a diet of Purina® Layena® Plus Omega-3 exclusively for at least 3 weeks. Based on large egg (56 g). Results may vary with factors such as total diet and hen health. A typical store-bought egg contains 50 mg of Omega-3 fatty acids per large egg (USDA: National Nutrient Base).
Contents courtesy of Purina Animal Nutrition

Summer Forage for Cattle

Wednesday, August 21st, 2019

Summer Forage for CattlePasture looks excellent right now, so why pay attention to forage for cattle?

There are simple things you can do to make the most of summer forage for cattle today and further on down the road:

1. Implement a grazing plan

Rotational grazing gives pastures a rest compared to grazing them continuously. You can rotate cattle between pastures as often as once a day to as little as once a month. Either way, rotational grazing can help ensure the quality and quantity of forage for cattle throughout summer. Simply splitting a cattle pasture in half can help.

2. Consider soil fertility

Just like you need to look at cattle requirements each winter and determine if you need to supplement, the same holds true for soil. Work with an agronomist to test your soil. Test results will tell you if you need to fertilize to combat gaps in soil fertility.

Remember, soil fertility will impact not only forage quantity but will also influence quality – especially protein. What your cattle eat is a direct result of soil fertility.  

3. Hone in harvest

There’s no “right” time to harvest crops. Harvest typically occurs when there’s a happy medium of quantity and quality. Time harvest to match the quality of forage desired. Keep in mind that as forage for cattle matures digestibility and protein tend to drop. Also look at ways to minimize leaf loss and consider the use of a preservative to help with forage storage.

4. Manage cattle pasture quality decline

As you get into July and August, forage for cattle matures and pasture quality declines. You may need to supplement to meet cattle requirements. Supplementation is especially vital in spring-calving herds with cows still lactating. Don’t overlook calves; as cattle pasture quality declines, consider offering calves supplemental creep feed.

Fast fact: Providing creep feed to calves as pasture quality declines in late summer can help offset a nutritional gap. A creep feed program using Intake Modifying Technology® can efficiently assure calves reach their genetic potential for gain. 

Does your nutrition program stack up? Find out with a Proof Pays feeding trial.

 

Source: Chad Zehnder, Ph.D., Field Cattle Consultant

Tips for Collecting Chicken Eggs

Wednesday, August 21st, 2019

tips for collecting eggs from purinaWhether you’re new to maintaining a backyard flock or simply have a few questions about regularly collecting chicken eggs, these tips from Purina will help you get the most out of your flock’s egg production.

The decision to refrigerate eggs or leave them on the counter should be made based on if you’ve washed your farm fresh eggs or not. Unwashed eggs have a protective layer called a cuticle and can be stored on the counter. Washing eggs removes the cuticle; therefore, washed eggs should be refrigerated to prevent contamination. Read on for more egg storage tips and FAQs about farm fresh eggs!
 
There’s palpable excitement when it comes to your laying hens producing their first eggs. How many eggs will be in the coop? What will they look like?
 
But, as eggs are produced, new questions come to mind. How often do chickens lay eggs? Why are my chickens eating eggs? Is washing chicken eggs necessary? And, do eggs need to be refrigerated?
 
Get answers to these frequently asked questions (and more):

How often do chickens lay eggs? 

If you’re wondering, “how often do chickens lay eggs?”, you’re not alone! It’s a common question when you’re new to egg production.
 
You can collect about one egg per hen per day when egg production is in full swing. And, from hen to hen, egg-laying schedules vary. Some hens lay in the morning while others lay later in the day.
 
Whether you are eating or hatching eggs, it is important to collect eggs regularly and store them properly. Gather eggs two to three times per day, at a minimum once in the morning and evening. Collect even more often during extremely warm or cold weather. The frequent collection helps keep eggs clean and reduces the chance for egg cracking due to hen traffic in the nests.
 
Always discard eggs with noticeable cracks because cracks can allow bacteria to enter the egg. Cracks can also result from an inadequate diet.
 
Safe eggs start with strong shells. To form strong egg shells and maintain bone strength, laying hens need 4 grams of calcium each day, all of which must come from their chicken feed. Maintain egg strength and hen health by feeding a complete layer feed like Purina® Layena®, Purina® Layena® Plus Omega-3 or Purina® Organic layer pellets or crumbles. These feeds include the Oyster Strong® System, which provides all of the calcium laying hens need – no need to supplement.

Why are my chickens eating eggs?

Wondering how to stop chickens from eating eggs? Start by collecting chicken eggs on a regular schedule. 
 
Egg eating generally occurs when a hen finds a broken egg, tastes it, likes it and begins searching for other broken eggs. Hens can even learn to break them intentionally. Collecting chicken eggs frequently can help prevent hens from eating their eggs.
 
If you notice your chickens eating eggs, first find the culprit. Look for remnants of the egg yolk on the skin and feathers around a hen’s head and beak. Consider separating the culprit hen from the flock to avoid other hens picking up the learned habit.
 
Here are more tips for how to help stop chickens from eating eggs:

  • Place ceramic eggs, wooden eggs or golf balls in the nest.
  • Blow out an egg and refill it with mustard. When the hen cracks into the egg, the mustard serves as a deterrent from eating other eggs.
  • Provide an alternative place to peck, such as a Purina® Flock Block® supplement.

Is washing chicken eggs necessary? Do eggs need to be refrigerated?

There are valid points for both washing and not washing chicken eggs, so it comes down to personal preference. But, you’ll have to store the eggs differently depending on which one you pick.
 
Unwashed eggs have a protective layer called a cuticle and can be stored on the counter. This protective coating helps keep bacteria out. Washing eggs removes the cuticle. As a result, washed eggs must be refrigerated to prevent contamination.
 
If you choose to go with washing chicken eggs, follow these guidelines:

  • Be gentle and quick, using water only. Water should be warmer than the egg.
  • Brush any foreign material off the shell with your finger or a soft brush.
  • Remove any signs of manure from the shell, since feces can harbor bacteria which can get into the egg.
  • Dry and cool eggs as quickly as possible and then refrigerate between 32- and 40-degrees Fahrenheit.

Refrigerated farm fresh eggs can last up to 45 to 60 days when kept at the proper temperature.

If I’m hatching eggs, how should I store them before incubating?

If you’re collecting chicken eggs and storing for incubation later, wash any foreign material off the shell and refrigerate at 55 degrees Fahrenheit with 70-75% humidity. Store eggs with the narrow end pointing down for a maximum of one week prior to incubation. The older a fertilized egg is, the less likely it is to hatch. Store eggs at an angle and change the angle once a day. This will keep the yolk from sticking to the side of the egg and help the developing embryo stay safe before hatching.
 
Let the eggs warm to room temperature when you’re ready to incubate. Then, give the eggs to a broody hen or place in an incubator. After eggs have been stored and incubated, 70% hatchability is considered very good.
 
Want strong shells? Sign up for the Feed Greatness® Challenge and get a $5 off coupon for Purina® layer feeds*.
 
*The Feed Greatness® Challenge is a 90-day feeding trial where you will feed Purina® feed, monitor your flock’s performance and health, take pictures and receive emails with helpful information.

Source: Purina

2019 – 2020 Livestock Shows

Wednesday, August 21st, 2019

2019-2020 Livestock Shows for the upcoming season are right around the corner!

The calendar is set for the 2019-2020 Livestock Shows in Texas.  Here are the dates 2019-2020 Livestock Shows and locations happening throughout Texas. Go to the links for each Stock Show to learn more about event schedules, entry forms, ticket information and more:

Southwestern Exposition & Livestock Show (Fort Worth): January 17 – February 8, 2020

San Angelo Stock Show & Rodeo (San Angelo): January 31 – February 16, 2020

San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo (San Antonio): February 6 – 23, 2020

Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo (Houston): March 3 –  22, 2020

Star of Texas Fair & Rodeo (Austin): March 14 – 28, 2020

Livestock shows are the perfect way to spend some time with the family! Save the date and make plans to come to one of these rodeos near you!

Raising Free-Range Chickens

Wednesday, August 21st, 2019

tips for keeping free-range chickensConsistency is important for free-range chickens. Before opening the backyard chicken coop for the day, offer a complete chicken feed like Purina® Layena®Purina® Layena® Plus Omega-3, or Purina® Organic crumbles or pellets. A complete chicken feed should comprise at least 90 percent of their overall diet. Make sure they eat their breakfast before foraging in the yard for dessert.

If you have free-range chickens and feed a complete feed, you do not need to offer grit. Chickens swallow food whole and break it down in the gizzard. If you feed a Purina® complete feed, you do not need to offer grit since the ingredients in a complete feed are already ground into small enough pieces.

Chickens are a great way to help control insects and weeds while providing natural fertilizer. Be aware their foraging isn’t limited to the plants you don’t like. You may need to fence off a small area to protect your garden and flower beds. When harvest is over, you can then open the gates and let the chickens enjoy.

Birds will gain more confidence each day and start to explore new places. Start with small periods of supervised time in the garden and work up to longer periods. Train your backyard chickens to come back to the coop by offering treats and using vocal cues. Maintain a routine with how and when you let the chickens free range.

Training birds to know specific cues will help them return to the backyard chicken coop at night or during storms and maintain a balanced diet.

Turn chicken manure into organic fertilizer

Chicken manure is an excellent source of organic fertilizer for both the lawn and garden. Manure from free-range chickens can break down naturally in the yard, providing valuable nutrients for the lawn. The correct balance for free-range chickens is about 250 square feet of space per chicken.

To use chicken manure as organic fertilizer, consider creating a compost area. This process can reduce the nitrogen levels found in raw manure.

Composting chicken manure is an earth-friendly way to turn organic residues like chicken waste, leaves or bedding into a material that can be used to fertilize the garden. After placing materials into a compost bin, microorganisms break them into natural fertilizer with the help of heat and oxygen. When maintaining compost, remember to keep it enclosed.

How backyard chickens serve as a lawn aerator

Another benefit of raising chickens in your garden is soil aeration. This is because chickens naturally scratch and dig the soil to forage for seeds and bugs. During this process, mulch and compost are spread, soil layers are mixed and the ground loosens. Most importantly, it adds oxygen to the soil and reduces the particle size.

Raising chickens in the garden comes with a sense of pride and the joy of sustainability. By having chickens in your garden, you can have an all-in-one solution for a natural weed killer, organic fertilizer, natural insecticide and lawn aerator. And with the right nutrition, chickens can make the best companions for your garden.

Imagine if you had an all-in-one solution for a natural weed killer, organic fertilizer, natural insecticide and lawn aerator. Many of today’s gardeners have found this solution through backyard chickens.

The combination of chickens and a garden can create a strong backyard ecosystem. Along with fresh eggs and family fun, raising chickens provides a natural and simple way to add to a backyard’s health and beauty.

Read on to learn how backyard chickens can help your garden flourish.

How to care for free-range chickens

Because chickens naturally enjoy digging, we encourage protecting delicate and new or young plants as well as those with ripening produce. In addition, if there are certain areas you’d like to keep free of chicken manure or if certain plants should be off-limits, add a fence or chicken wire. A chicken tunnel through the yard is one option. Fencing can also help ward off predators.

Additional tips to protect young plants include rotating chickens through different areas of the yard, placing stones around plant bases or creating teepee-like structures over young plants. 

Use free-range chickens to control pests and kill weeds

In addition to organic fertilizer and lawn aeration, backyard chickens offer organic pest control and act as natural weed killers in your garden and lawn.

The garden and chicken combination works well because chickens love a lot of the things gardeners do not, like weeds and insects. Chickens forage for seeds and bugs making them the perfect weed and bug control pet. They also eat small plants and clean up fallen fruit and green leaves.

Since chickens love many different types of plants, you should create a diverse plant ecosystem that includes several layers of plants. Layering should include cover, lush and shade plants. Plant layers may include trees, shrubs, perennials, ornamental grasses, annuals, vines, edible plants and ground cover. Well-planned plantings can provide soil stability and help filter rainwater runoff.

Considerations for cover plants are butterfly bushes, which grow fast, provide shade and are not eaten by chickens. Hawthorne has edible berries and leaves that chickens tend to avoid. 

Some plants are not healthy for chickens. When it comes to toxicity, chickens will typically avoid poisonous plants. However, consider removing plants like poison ivy, boxwood, honeysuckle, nightshade, monkshood, oleander, tobacco and yew.

Want to learn more about raising backyard chickens? Download the “My First Year with Chickens” guide

 

Source: Patrick Biggs, Ph.D. Nutritionist, Companion Animal Technical Solutions

 

Stop into Argyle Feed Store for the highest quality supplies for your free-range backyard flock. We’re proud to carry Purina poultry feed products to keep your chickens healthy.

When should you switch chickens to layer feed?

Wednesday, August 21st, 2019

layer feed

For backyard chickens, most egg-laying breeds reach adulthood at 18 weeks and lay their first egg— perfect timing when you can start your chickens on layer feed.

This feed switch is an essential step in the road to farm fresh eggs because hens require different nutrients to produce eggs as compared to when they are growing.

To produce an egg each day, hens need high levels of calcium, vitamins, and minerals. Hens transfer many of these nutrients directly into their eggs, so the chicken feed ingredients in the layer feed play an essential role in the eggs that hens produce.

Consider the following steps when transitioning to a complete chicken layer feed:

1. Choose a chicken feed formula that matches your goals.  

Select a complete layer feed before the transition begins. Ideally, make the layer feed decision by week 16, so the transition can be planned.

First, look for a complete layer feed. This means the feed provides everything hens require without a need to supplement it.

There are many options available, from Purina including Purina® Organic layer feed, Purina® Layena®Plus Omega-3 and Purina® Layena® pellets and crumbles.

Each of these chicken feed formulas is designed to meet specific flock goals. No matter the goals you have, be sure the layer feed is made with simple, wholesome ingredients. The feed should include 16 percent protein and at least 3.25 percent calcium as well as key vitamins and minerals.

These are just the essentials, though. Look for additional ingredients in the layer feed to bring hen health and egg quality to the next level.

A few next level ingredients to look for include:

  • Rich, yellow yolks: Marigold extract
  • Strong shells: Oyster Strong™ System
  • Immune and digestive health: Prebiotics and probiotics
  • Vibrant feathering: Essential amino acids such as lysine and methionine
  • Omega-rich eggs: Added omega-3 fatty acids

2. Transition over one week.

When birds reach 18 weeks old or when the first egg arrives, slowly switch your chickens to a layer feed. It is important to make the transition over time to prevent digestive upset.

For our backyard birds on our farm in Missouri, we have found it’s best to make the transition over time rather than all at once. We mix the starter and layer feed evenly for four or five days. Start with a crumble layer feed if the birds enjoy the crumbles. The same goes with pellets. The more similar the two feeds are, the more smoothly the transition will go.
Many hens will eat the mixed feed without noticing a difference. When hens are eating both feeds, flock owners can stop feeding the starter feed and make the complete switch to all layer feed. It is important to give your birds enough time to adjust to the new diet. Most birds will adjust within a couple of weeks but some can take a month or longer to fully transition to their new diet.

3. Keep it consistent.

Once the transition to layer feed is complete, it’s best to maintain a routine.

We recommend providing free choice layer feed to hens and switching out the feed each morning and evening. If birds are free-ranging, offer the complete feed to hens before they go out in the morning. This will help them consume the nutrients they require before filling up on less nutritious insects and plants.

It’s important for the complete feed to make up at least 90 percent of the hen’s diet. We feed complete layer feeds on our farm because they are formulated to provide all the nutrients hens require at the correct levels. It’s reassuring to know that each bite of feed is balanced to keep our hens healthy and producing quality eggs.

What role does calcium play in egg production? Click here to find out.

Source: Purina Mills

 

 

September Gardening Tips

Tuesday, August 20th, 2019

September Gardening Tips | Argyle Feed StoreSeptember is a pivotal month for your landscape foliage.  The official arrival of Autumn in a few weeks can bring a return to cooler and wetter weather and a peak planting opportunity between summer and fall gardening.  This is the best time to get outside and improve your garden projects.

September Gardening Tips

September is the time to apply lawn fertilizer to keep the grass healthy and growing up to the first frost. Always follow the directions on the package and avoid over-fertilizing, which will only damage your lawn. Fall-fertilized lawns are better equipped to make it through the winter and resume growth next spring than lawns that receive no fertilizer.

Double check your sprinklers carefully to make sure they are applying all that you expect in an even, uniform pattern.

Think back to last spring. Did you have lawn weeds in February and March before the grass started growing? Those were cool-season weeds, most of which germinated last fall. A pre-emergent herbicide applied in September will help reduce the recurrence of the same weeds next spring.

Sow Spring Wildflowers (like Bluebonnets) seeds now. For more reliable, uniform seed germination of our State flower, purchase acid-treated Bluebonnets seed. This treatment pits the seed coat, allowing nearly 100% germination in one to two weeks.

Need to add new shrubbery or trees to your landscape; this is a great month to do that. Fall landscaping done now will be well-rooted by next Spring and Summer.

Plant your fall vegetable garden. Plant cool-season vegetable garden with transplants of Broccoli, Cauliflower, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Chard, Collards, Lettuce, and Kale. Water your new vegetables and lightly top-dress with mulch to discourage weeds.