Archive for the ‘News & Updates’ Category

October Garden Tips

Monday, September 21st, 2020

October Garden Tips

October Garden Tips

Usher in the autumn season with creative displays for indoors and out! Transformation quickly occurs with pots of mums, pansies, cabbages, and ornamental peppers when combined with pumpkins, gourds, and bales of hay.

Create a spectacular vignette in your landscape with bales of hay, a scarecrow or two, multiple sizes of pumpkins and gourds, pots of garden mums, corn stalks and for more texture consider adding old tools, a set of antlers or birdhouses. The autumn color palette offers a myriad of wonderful colors from which to choose; purples, rusts, gold’s, yellows, oranges, deep greens, and browns can be used. Whether you are mixing colors or working with only one, use color abundantly to create massive appeal. Create a pyramid of pumpkins and gourds by selecting different colors and stacking them one on top of the other. Simply displaying a “pile” of pumpkins in the same color palette and different sizes will draw one’s eye and interest to an area of your landscape.

Color Creations filled with blooming or colorful foliage plants can be used on patios and porches. Freshen up existing containers by nestling an interesting pumpkin or gourd in amongst the plants. Fill a favorite basket or pot with a mixture of produce for a simple, impressive look. Add a bit of nature into your containers with branches, corn husks, berries, and other materials to enhance the overall look.

If you did not apply a pre-emergent herbicide to your lawn in September; apply it by the first two weeks of October. You should also fertilize your St. Augustine or Bermuda lawns no later than the first week of October.

October is bulb buying month. They are in fresh supply and will provide welcome late winter and early spring color for the landscape. Refrigerate Tulips and Hyacinth bulb for at least 45 to 60 days to provide enough chilling to bloom properly. Plant them in late November or early December.

 

Laying Hen FAQs: The Broody Hen, Soft-Shell Eggs and More

Saturday, August 29th, 2020

You’ve celebrated the arrival of your first farm fresh eggs and your hens are laying breakfast daily – or so you thought. Have eggs suddenly gone missing from the nesting box? Do you have a broody hen taking a vacation from laying eggs? Don’t fret. There are ways to get laying hens back on track.
 
Hens are creatures of habit and may need encouragement to lay consistently. A comfortable nesting box environment and the right nutrition will help keep hens laying strong, so your family can enjoy farm fresh eggs each day.
 
Here are three commonly asked questions about laying hens:

1. How to get chickens to lay in nesting boxesList of common challenges with laying hens, including: How to get chickens to lay eggs in nesting boxes, how to break a broody hen and what to do when hens lay soft-shell eggs.

Once a hen begins producing eggs, she tends to lay in the same spot.
 
If you’ve ever found an egg in your flowerbeds, you know some training may be required to encourage hens to use nesting boxes.
 
Use these tips to help teach hens where to lay eggs:

  1. Place golf balls or decoy eggs in nesting boxes to help hens understand where to lay.
  2. Line each box with a thick layer of straw, or other bedding, to keep eggs clean and unbroken.
  3. Provide a 1-cubic foot nesting box for every four or five hens to help prevent competition and minimize egg breakage or eating.  
  4. Ensure all boxes are uniform and off of the floor in the darkest corner of the coop.

2. How to break a broody hen

What is a broody hen? You know you have a broody hen when she decides to sit on a clutch of eggs day and night. Hens go broody because hormones drive their instinct to hatch chicks, even when the eggs are not fertilized.
 
Some flock raisers allow hens to go broody to raise baby chicks. It can be problematic if you aren’t planning on hatching chicks because broody hens stop laying eggs after they’ve made their clutch. If she is overly protective of her eggs, wear gloves when breaking a broody hen since she may peck your hands as you collect eggs under her.
 
Collect eggs as often as possible to get a broody hen laying again. If the hen has a favorite nesting box, close it off to limit access. At night, move the broody hen from the nesting box to the roost with the rest of the hens. She’s less likely to return to the nesting box while it’s dark.
 
When all else fails, give the hen a change of scenery. Isolate the hen away from the nesting boxes in a wire cage or separate area of the coop. Provide her feed and water, and give her a vacation for 2-4 days. You can return her to the coop if she lays an egg. You may need to repeat this process a few times if she continues to be broody. Persistence is key to success.

3. Why laying hens produce soft-shell eggs

It usually takes 24 hours for an egg to develop. Occasionally, high-producing breeds can lay an egg in less time, resulting in a soft-shell egg.
 
Unhealthy hens typically produce lower quality eggs and can even stop laying altogether. If you notice a trend with hens laying soft-shell eggs, there could be another issue at hand. Common culprits include:

  • Hen age: As chickens near the end of their laying years (4-5 years old), they tend to lay larger eggs with thinner shells. If you have an older flock, think about introducing younger birds to collect plenty of quality eggs.
  • Pecking order: A bird low in the pecking order may not get enough to eat, particularly during cold weather when birds ramp up feed intake to help stay warm. Keep the peace in your flock by providing alternative places to peck, like a Purina® Flock Block®.
  • Predators: Occasionally, a predator may investigate your flock at night. The stress of the encounter can trigger hens to lay before the eggshell has a chance to fully form.
  • Treats: Extra grains or scraps can disrupt the balanced nutrition in layer feed, which may leave birds lacking nutrients. Limit treats to less than 10% of their overall diet or provide a healthy treat, such as Purina® Farm to Flock Hen Treats. If you see a change in production or eggshell quality, cut back on treats for a week to see if production improves. You may need to adjust how much you are spoiling your ladies.
  • Nutrition: At least 90% of your laying hen’s total diet should be a complete layer feed. You can help hens lay strong eggshells by offering a Purina® layer feed with the Oyster Strong® System. The calcium hens need to stay strong and lay strong is contained right in the feed – no need to supplement.

A soft-shell egg every now and then isn’t something to ruffle your feathers. When hens lay 200 to 300 eggs a year, a dud is bound to happen. If it becomes a regular occurrence or you see multiple soft-shell eggs in your flock, take a closer look at what is going on with the hens. There could be a larger problem lurking in the background that needs attention.
 
Want strong eggshells for your flock? Sign up for the Feed Greatness® Challenge.
 
*The Feed Greatness® Challenge is a 60-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 Animal Nutrition

Stop by 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.

Free Range Backyard Chickens, the Responsible Way

Thursday, July 9th, 2020

Raising chickens for eggs is a great way to produce sustainable food for you and your family. It’s a great feeling to have one less item on your grocery list. Plus, backyard chickens can work wonders for lawns and gardens.

They provide high-quality fertilizer, aerate the soil and love snacking on pesky insects. Let them roam and they’ll reward you for it.

Backyard flocks come in all shapes and sizes. No matter how much backyard space you have or the climate you live in, nothing should hold you back from giving your chickens a free-range diet they love.

Purina® Layena®+ Free Range Layer Feed is a high-quality chicken feed made from grains and nutrient-rich insect protein. What kind of insect, you ask? Black soldier fly larvae. 

A breakthrough in sustainable protein

Brown chickens searching for insects on a grassy lawn with text overlay stating that Purina<s />®</sup> Layena<sup>®</sup>+ Free Range layer feed is made with black soldier fly larvae, a sustainable and nutritious source of insect protein.”>Black soldier fly larva has intrigued scientists for decades, thanks to the insect’s ability to efficiently reclaim nutrients from once forgotten waste and transform them into high-quality protein. As these larvae grow into pupae—their final, adult stage—they feed on recycled grains and other waste, increasing their weight by a factor of 10,000. They grow quickly!</p>
<p>That kind of rapid growth reduces the amount of space and time needed to generate large amounts of protein. Once acre of land (43,560 square feet) can yield about 1,500 pounds of soy in one year. It takes only 65 square feet to produce the same amount of black soldier fly larvae in one year.<br />
 <br />
The innovative use of insect protein allows Purina to deliver resource-minded backyard chicken owners a nutritious layer feed.</p>
<h2>Well-rounded chicken feed your flock will love</h2>
<p>The chicken feed you provide your birds should contain all the nutrients they need to stay healthy and <a href=lay high-quality eggs.

Purina® Layena®+ Free Range Layer Feed is made with grains and insect protein that mimic a free-range diet for every laying hen – whether they roam in the yard or not. The feed’s well-rounded formula supports digestive health, bird immunity, feather coloring and yolk vibrancy.

Here’s more information about Purina® Layena®+ Free Range Layer Feed:

  • A complete chicken feed for both hens that free range and those that don’t
  • Includes all the nutrients hens need to lay their best eggs – no need to supplement
  • Combines ground grains and black soldier fly larvae to meet the nutrient demands of your flock
  • No added antibiotics or hormones
  • Requires less land per pound of protein than other common protein sources
  • Includes targeted amino acids, antioxidants, essential minerals, prebiotics and probiotics
  • Contains Purina’s exclusive Oyster Strong® System for strong shells

Cracking the code for stronger shells

For years, many chicken raisers have fed oyster shells in addition to their layer feed. Oyster shells or larger particle calcium allows the hen to use that source of calcium for longer periods of time so she doesn’t have to rely solely on her body stores of calcium to make strong eggshells. This helps to keep the hen’s bones stronger. With Purina® layer feeds, it’s all in one bag.

Along with all the benefits of a sustainable insect protein source, Purina® Layena®+ Free Range Layer Feed also includes the Oyster Strong® System, bringing a blend of oyster shells and key vitamins and minerals to every bite of this complete feed.

The best chicken feed for your backyard chickens

Purina® Layena®+ Free Range Layer Feed gives your chickens the free-range diet they deserve, no matter where you’re located or how much room they have to roam. And it’s produced with a sustainable protein source, just like the eggs that come from your backyard flock. After all, that’s what raising your own chickens is all about, right?

Source: Purina Animal Nutrition

Stop by 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.

Chicken Treats to Feed and Avoid

Monday, June 29th, 2020

Healthy chicken treats can be fed in moderation along with a complete chicken feed. Be sure to follow the 90/10 rule – offer 90% complete feed to a maximum of 10% treats each day.

Rhubarbs or roses? Which is a tasty chicken treat and which should you avoid? Whether you’re new to backyard chickens or you’ve had a flock for years, it’s important to know the do’s and don’ts of feeding your birds.
 
As backyard chicken raisers, we love to treat our girls – especially as temperatures warm up and the flock spends more time outside. But it’s not really the treats that make the flock come running, it’s the attention. Chickens will come running for complete feed, just as they would for treats.
 
Backyard chickens have fewer than 350 taste buds compared to humans’ 10,000. Still, treats and foraging can be fun pastimes for the flock. If you’d like to offer treats and free-range time, here are a few tips to keep in mind.

90/10: The chicken feed rule to follow

Chickens require 38 unique nutrients at the correct levels. Purina® complete feeds are formulated to meet these demands. Choose one complete starter-grower feed for day 1 through week 18 and one complete layer feed for laying hens.
 
To prevent nutrient dilution, provide complete feed for at least 90 percent of the bird’s diet. The remaining 10 percent can be filled with chicken treats, table scraps or scratch grains.
 
But what does the 90/10 rule mean? Laying hens eat approximately 0.25 pounds of complete feed each day, which is about the same as one-half cup. When putting the 90/10 rule into practice, this means treats should not exceed 2 tablespoons. A few small chicken treats are all they should have each day.
 
For spring-born chicks moving to the coop, continue feeding a complete starter-grower feed until week 18. Wait until the first egg to introduce treats as growing birds require all 38 nutrients in their starter-grower feed to support strong growth.

What are the best treats for chickens?

Treats like scraps, scratch grains and mealworms are like candy for birds, which can quickly spoil their diet. The best treats for chickens are natural, healthy and wholesome.
 
Purina® Farm to Flock Treats allow you to spoil your hens but not their diet. Hens receive a mix of grains with vitamins, minerals and amino acids in every bite. These healthy chicken treats are a perfect complement to complete feed.
 
List of fruits, vegetables and treats for chickens that are healthy, and what not to feed chickens.Purina® Farm to Flock Treats are available in both 13% protein and 20% protein options. The high protein treat option provides an extra nutritional boost to keep birds strong during times like molt.

What can chickens eat?

If birds free-range or have treat access, start by feeding their complete feed in the morning before they go out exploring. Remember that scratch grains should be viewed as a treat and not be mixed with the complete feed.
 
Chickens are natural foragers, so trying new foods is inevitable. Chickens tend to avoid foods that are bad or harmful for them, but some are healthier than others.
 
When it comes to foraging, there is a lengthy list of plants that chickens love as treats. Dark leafy greens can result in darker, richer yolks. Lettuce, kale, turnip greens and chard are great greens options. Watermelon, strawberries, and blueberries make healthy snacks for chickens when fed in moderation.
 
A few flock favorites include:

  • Vegetables: Lettuce, beets, broccoli, carrots, kale, swiss chard, squash, pumpkins and cucumbers
  • Herbs: Lavender, mint, oregano, parsley, cilantro, thyme and basil
  • Perennials: Daylilies, hostas, daisies, roses, coneflowers and ferns

If birds are free-ranging, they will find their favorite plants and snack on them. Install a chicken fence or tunnel in the yard to keep them away from your favorite gardens and consider planting a chicken-friendly garden for them to explore. Place a Purina® Flock Block supplement in the yard to encourage natural pecking.
 

What not to feed chickens

Avoid treats that may cause an off-flavor in eggs. Garlic and onions are the two most common culprits that may impact egg flavor.
 
A few other foods should be avoided because they contain toxins that can make birds ill or even be fatal.

  • Avocado pits and skins are toxic to chickens as they contain a toxin called persin.  The flesh of the avocado is fine for chickens.
  • Undercooked or dried beans can be harmful because they contain a compound known as hemagglutinin, which can inhibit digestion of everything the bird eats.
  • Rhubarb contains anthraquinones, which can have a laxative effect. Rhubarb damaged by the severe cold can also contain a high concentration of oxalic acid, which can be fatal to chickens.
  • Moldy, rotten foods and very salty foods can result in excessively wet feces and may be toxic.   

Feeding chickens a balanced and complete diet is simple if you follow the 90/10 rule and are mindful of the foods your birds have access to. Start with a complete feed as the baseline and then be careful not to over-treat your birds with goodies. When you do provide treats, choose healthy, wholesome treats that complement a bird’s diet.

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

Six Milestones of Chicken Growth

Friday, May 29th, 2020

As you get started on the journey of raising backyard chickens, it’s fun to look forward to the milestones you will celebrate with your flock. From baby chick to retirement, there are six important chicken growth stages. Each stage signals nutrition changes for your flock’s complete chicken feed.
 
Graduating school. Getting married. Having children. Retirement. We celebrate many milestones in life. 
 
Key moments also happen for backyard chickens. While your flock won’t be buying their first new car any time soon, each bird will also go through important growth stages.

We recommend using these six chicken growth milestones as a roadmap to creating a complete feeding program:

1. Weeks 1-4: Baby chicks
Graphic showing pathway of chicken growth stages, including: Baby chicks, teenage chickens, laying eggs, molting chickens and laying hen retirement.

Start your birds strong by providing a complete starter-grower feed with at least 18 percent protein to support chick growth. The feed should also include amino acids for chick development, prebiotics and probiotics for immune health, and vitamins and minerals to support bone health.
 
Chicks are also susceptible to illness. If chicks were not vaccinated for coccidiosis by the hatchery, choose a medicated chick starter feed. Medicated feeds like Purina® Start & Grow® Medicated, are not impacted by the Veterinary Feed Directive and can be purchased without a veterinarian.

2. Weeks 5-15: The teenage chicken stage

During weeks 5 and 6, chicks will go through visible growth changes, including new primary feathers and a developing pecking order. Growing birds are now referred to differently. Pullet is the term for a teenage female, while a young male is called a cockerel. Between weeks 7 and 15, the physical differences between genders will become even more obvious.
 
Continue to feed a complete starter-grower feed, like Purina® Organic Starter-Grower, Purina® Start & Grow® Medicated or Purina® Start & Grow® Non-Medicated, during the teenage stage. Along with 18 percent protein, make sure the feed contains no more than 1.25 percent calcium. Too much calcium can have a detrimental effect on growth, but a complete starter feed has just the right balance for growing birds.

3. Weeks 16-17: When to switch from chick starter to layer feed

Around weeks 16-17, people begin to check their nesting boxes for the coveted first egg. At this point, consider layer feed options so you can make a smooth transition.
 
As compared to starter-grower, a layer chicken feed has less protein and more calcium. This added calcium is important for egg production.
 
Look for a chicken layer feed that matches your flock goals – whether that’s Purina® Organic Layer Pellets or CrumblesPurina® Layena® Plus Omega-3 or Purina® Layena®. In any case, be sure the layer feed is made with simple, wholesome ingredients and includes 16 percent protein, at least 3.25 percent calcium as well as key vitamins and minerals.

4. Week 18: At what age do chickens start laying eggs?

When birds reach 18 weeks old or when the first egg arrives, slowly transition to a layer feed. Make the transition gradually to prevent digestive upset.
 
On our farm, we have found it’s best to transition over time rather than all at once. We mix the starter and layer feed evenly for four or five days. If birds are used to crumbles, start with a crumble layer feed. The same goes with pellets. The more similar the two feeds are, the smoother the transition will go.

5. Month 18: Molting chickens

Once the first egg has been laid, it’s business as usual for a while. Around 18 months, feathers will likely begin to cover the coop floor. Welcome to the season of molting chickens!
 
The first molt usually occurs in the fall when days become shorter. Your flock will take a break from egg laying and shed feathers for a few weeks. This is a completely natural annual occurrence.
 
Protein is the key nutrient in a flock’s diet to keep them strong during molt. This is because feathers are made of 80-85 percent protein, whereas eggshells are primarily calcium.

When molt begins, switch to a complete feed with 20 percent protein like Purina® Flock Raiser®. A high-protein complete feed can help hens channel nutrients into feather regrowth. Once birds begin producing eggs again, switch back to a layer feed to match their energy needs.

6. Laying hen retirement

One day, the time may come for the veterans of a flock to take a vacation and retire from egg-laying. Although a laying hen will stop laying as she ages, she still has an important place in the flock as a steady companion who brings joy to the entire family.
 
At this point, transition back full circle to a higher-protein feed, such as Purina® Flock Raiser®. If you have laying hens in the flock, supplement with oyster shell to assist their egg production.

Stop by Argyle Feed for all your feed and supply needs for chickens and any other animals you may have. We carry a full line of Purina Poultry Products to keep your animals healthy. 

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

Purina EquiTub Supplement with ClariFly

Friday, May 22nd, 2020

Purina EquiTub Supplement with ClariFlyCalling all horse owners, check out a new product arriving in June 2020, the Purina EquiTub supplement with ClariFly! Say goodbye to flies, and hello to gastric health + optimal body condition.

This is a premium self-fed supplement that provides gastric support, fly control, and consistent nutrition in an easy-to-feed and convenient form. Purina’s innovative horse tub combines 3 supplements into a single product:

  1.  ClariFly® larvicide is expelled in manure, where it helps control house and stable fly populations by interrupting their life cycle.
  2. Outlast® gastric support supplement promotes gastric health and proper pH.
  3.  Amplify® high-fat nugget to support endurance and bloom.

Find out more about this product here Purina EquiTub Supplement with ClariFly.

Shop local, shop Argyle Feed store for Purina Horse Feed & Supplements and all your horse supplies.  #FeedGreatness

Stihl Dealer Days

Thursday, May 21st, 2020

Argyle Feed Store is an authorized local STIHL dealer and is bringing you unmatched deals during the STIHL Dealer Days. These offers are valid until June 30, 2020.

  • Save $50 on the FS 94 R Trimmer. Now Just $299.99. Was $349.99 BME-SRP.
  • Save $30 on the FSA 65 Battery Trimmer (Unit only). Now Just $179.99. Was $209.99 BME-SRP.
  • Save $40 on the FSA 85 Battery Trimmer (Unit only). Now Just $199.99. Was $239.99 BME-SRP. 
  • Save $50 on the FSA 90 R Battery Trimmer (Unit only). Now Just $279.99. Was $329.99 BME-SRP. 
  • Purchase a KombiSystem (KombiMotor and an attachment) and receive a FREE FS KM Line Trimmer Attachment (Part Number: 4180 200 0471). A $99.99 BME-SRP value.
  • Save $20 on the HSA 25 Battery Garden Shears Set. Includes battery, charger and two cutting blades. Now Just $99.99. Was $119.99 BME-SRP.
  • Save $70 on the HTA 65 Pole Pruner (Unit only). Now Just $329.99. Was $399.99 BME-SRP. 
  • Save $50 on the KMA 130 R KombiMotor (Unit only). Now Just $299.99. Was $349.99 BME-SRP. 
  • Save $40 on any AK series double battery bundle. Includes tool, two batteries and charger.
  • Save $75 on any AP series double battery bundle. Includes tool, two batteries and charger.
  • Save $20 on the MS 170 Chainsaw. Now Just $159.99. Was $179.99 BME-SRP.
  • Receive a $50 rebate on the HT 56 C-E Pole Pruner. Just $349.99 after rebate. Was $399.99 BME-SRP. 
  • Purchase an MM 56 C-E YARD BOSS and accompanying Wheel Kit (Part Number: 4601 007 1008) to receive a $30 rebate.
  • Purchase an MS 180 C-BE Chainsaw and receive a Free Carrying Case (0000 900 4008). A $59.99 BME-SRP value.
  • Buy now and Save $50 on a STIHL Personal Protective Equipment Kit. Kit includes Function Basic Helmet, Black 6-Ply Chaps, Protective Glasses, Work Gloves, and Duffel Bag with STIHL logo. Now only $99.99. A $149.99 BME-SRP.

Come see us in-store at Argyle Feed Store to save big during the STIHL Dealer Days through June 30th.

BOGO Free Purina Outlast and Carb Conscious Treats

Thursday, May 21st, 2020

Buy one, get one free on Purina Outlast and Carb Conscious treats.

outlast gastric support carb conscious

Show your horses (and their bellies!) some love with Purina Outlast Horse Treats. These treats contain the Outlast Gastric Support Supplement that helps support optimal gastric pH. Purina Outlast Gastric Support Supplement has been researched at the Purina Animal Nutrition Center and is a perfect complement to any horse’s diet. Your horse will love this great-tasting treat, and you will feel great knowing that you are helping to support their gastric health.

Purina Carb Conscious Horse Treats are what your horses need this summer. Your horse will love this great tasting treat, and you will feel great knowing that it is low in both starch and sugar. Purina® Carb Conscious™ Horse Treats were researched at the Purina Animal Nutrition Center and are a perfect nutritional complement to any horse feed, even for horses with metabolic concerns. You can feel good rewarding (or just spoiling) all of your horses!

Visit Argyle Feed Store for buy one get one free on Purina Outlast and Carb Conscious treats.

Save 30% Off Nulo and Acana Pet Food

Thursday, May 21st, 2020

Save 30% off all NULO and ACANA pet food at Argyle Feed Store this June.

Reward your dog with a protein-rich pet food this summer. Save 30% off any ACANA or NULO pet foods, with the exception of Acana Red Meat Formula. Visit us in-store for more details.
 
Acana foods follow nature’s 5 rules:
1. Rich in meat and protein
2. High fresh meat inclusion
3. An abundant variety of fresh meats
4. Wholeprey meat ratios
5. Carb-smart
 
ACANA’s richly nourishing meat inclusions mirror your pet’s evolutionary diet, excluding synthetic additives and anything else that Mother Nature didn’t intend your dog or cat to eat. From free-run poultry, cage-free eggs, ranch-raised meat, and wild-caught fish, to farm-fresh vegetables and fruit, Acana’s ingredients are raised naturally and delivered to our kitchen fresh or raw and loaded with goodness.
 
Nulo’s recipes are exactly what animals need. They’re high in animal-based protein, low in carbs and use low-glycemic ingredients to promote healthy body conditions and stable energy. Nulo also adds a patented probiotic to aid with digestion that survives the cooking process, shelf life, and is viable in your pet’s digestive tract. All of the ingredients are carefully selected with intention and purpose. They are functional, delicious, and nutritious.
 
Stop by Argyle Feed Store to save 30% off Acana and Nulo pet foods through June 30th.

 
 
 

4-5 Week Old Chicks

Thursday, May 14th, 2020

4-5 Week Old ChicksKeeping chickens, 4-5 Week Old Chicks: Your babies are growing up! By weeks four and five, you begin noticing that your chicks’ fluffy appearance slowly disappears and their fuzzy down is replaced with feathers of a mature bird. Chicks will usually be fully feathered by 5 to 6 weeks of age. You also observe their wattles and combs growing larger and taking on a deeper red color.

As they mature, chicks naturally establish a “pecking order” which determines each chick’s social position in the flock. Their place in the order will determine who eats and drinks first and ultimately who “rules the roost”. Although the establishment of a pecking order is normal behavior, you should be watchful for excessive pecking in chicks as it may indicate a more serious problem, cannibalism. This is when birds peck the feathers and other body parts of other birds and if allowed to get out of hand, can lead to bleeding, open sores, and even death.

Cannibalism can occur at any age and needs to be controlled as soon as it rears its ugly head. It is costly and can spread through a flock rapidly if left unchecked. Cannibalism is usually the result of stress, which can be caused by poor management. Some of these stressors may include crowding, excessive heat, bright lighting, noise, hunger, thirst, the presence of sick or injured chicks, parasites, or other stress factors. Providing the correct living environment in terms of these factors will help reduce the potential for cannibalism from occurring in your flock.

Things to do for your chicks this week
Your chicks require less heat as time goes by and they grow larger and more able to regulate their body temperature. Continue reducing the temperature each week to keep them comfortable to a minimum of 65°F. Continue providing clean fresh water each day and providing unlimited Purina® Premium Poultry Feed Start & Grow® feed in their feeders.As your chicks grow, adjust the height of the feeders and waterers. A good rule of thumb is to keep them adjusted to the birds’ back height while standing. This will help to keep litter out of feeders and waterers, as well as curious chicks. Around 4 weeks of age, ducklings and goslings will thoroughly enjoy the addition of a swimming area. Be sure if you provide this to keep any resulting wet litter cleaned up. Because of their water-loving, messy nature, it is best to separate ducklings and goslings from chicks.
 
Tips to grow on
Maintain good sanitation practices to reduce the chance of disease. Bigger chicks make bigger messes, so be sure to keep up. As the chicks grow, make sure they have sufficient space to prevent crowding. Additional feeders and waterers may need to be added now to allow adequate space for all chicks to eat and drink at the same time. Keep a close eye on your chicks for signs of possible health issues. Chicks that are sick may appear droopy or listless, have diarrhea or be unwilling to eat.
Looking ahead
Your chicks will soon be mature enough to leave the brooder and move into more permanent living quarters, the chicken coop. If you don’t have one ready, now is a good time to start looking into getting one and preparing it for new occupants. You’ll be surprised at how fast your chicks will grow and how quickly moving day will arrive. Many types of poultry housing are available for purchase or you can venture to build your own. Whatever you decide, make sure that the house you choose is ventilated, predator proof and provides protection from extreme temperatures, wind and rain.

 

Source: Purina Poultry