Many farms follow their current calving schedule simply because that’s always how it’s been done. But as more and more farms begin to diversify their operations (producing calves and crops throughout the year), some farmers are beginning to wonder if they should switch up their calving seasons. Figuring out which calving season to choose can be complex; each season has its own advantages and disadvantages. Here’s some basic info to help you choose when to run your calving operations.
You finally made the choice to buy chicks! A home, feeder, and waterer are set up for them, but how do you decide what kind of chicken feed to use? There are so many different kinds! I’m going to tell you about the different kinds of feeds and the pros and cons of each to help you narrow your search down!
Mostly it comes down to what you think is best for you and your chickens. There is medicated feed and non-medicated feed. I know individuals who will not feed their chickens medicated feed and others who only feed their chickens medicated feed. It is 100% up to your preferences.
Medicated vs non-Medicated
Medicated feed is just what is sounds like. It has the medication amprolium in it to help prevent certain illnesses in chickens. Amprolium is not a treatment for illness, but it will help build up their immune system to fight illnesses away. There is always a risk for illnesses when you use non-medicated feed. There is also the option of getting your chickens vaccinated to pump up their immune systems instead of using the medicated food.
If you want to go the natural way of feeding the chickens, there is the option of putting a pumpkin in their coop. Pumpkin has natural antibiotics that are helpful for chickens’ immune system.
Once you have made your decision to go medicated or non-medicated, you will need to know about how old your chickens are and select a food that is best for their age category. Here are some images to help you know what to give your chickens at what age.
Life stages of Feed:
Make sure to give your chickens the correct food for the age group so they develop how they should.
Starter Chick Feed (Protein content of 20-24%)
Starter feed is for baby chicks. It gives them a protein dense diet that they need. Baby chicks only need starter feed and water at the beginning of their life. They do not have a need for grit quite yet. (If you do not know what grit is, you’ll learn down below). Chicks should eat starter food until they are about 6 weeks old and then you can move them on to the next stage of food. If you take them off the starter feed too early, they will not get the high protein diet they need to grow into functioning, playful adults. If you leave them on the starter food too long, you can cause liver damage in the chicks from the amount of protein in their food.
Grower/Finisher Chicken Feed (Protein content of 16-18%)
You can think of your 6-week-old chicken as a teenager now. Their diet is very different from those of your baby chicks. You give the grower feed to your chickens between the ages of 6 weeks and 20 weeks. The grower feed not only has less protein, but it has less calcium than normal layer feed that they need later in development. You do not want to overwhelm the chicken’s system with unnecessary vitamins and minerals that they don’t need until they start laying eggs.
Layer Chicken Feed (Protein content of 16-18 %, with extra calcium)
All chickens lay eggs at different times, making it hard to know when you should start the next phase in the feed. A good general rule of thumb would be to start the layer feed as soon as you can see that they are laying eggs. They will generally start laying about week 18-24. This is the food they can continue to eat for most of their life going forward. Layer feed has the perfect balance of protein, calcium, and other minerals and vitamins that the chickens need to perfect their laying talents. Layer feed is like grower feed but has more calcium. The extra calcium helps make sure that their eggshells are crisp, clean and crunchy. Make sure to not feed layering feed to your chickens that are not laying eggs yet (babies or young chicks), they won’t get the necessary diet they need to grow into beautiful layer chickens.
Types of Feed:
There isn’t much difference in nutrition between mash, crumble or pellets. You can get each type for the different stages of life. The way to decide on what type of feed to give then, depends on what you like and what your chickens will eat.
Mash is best described as loose and unprocessed chicken feed. It is like the texture of sand. It’s smaller and finer than any of the other feeds. Mash is mostly used for baby chicks since it is easy for them to digest. Some chicken owners choose to feed it to their mature flocks too. You can give it to them as is, or you can mix it with hot water to create a sort of porridge or oatmeal. If you choose to give it to them as is, you may find that you go through it quicker.
Because it’s so fine, it blends in with the dirt on the ground and gets lost, resulting in more waste since the chickens cannot pick it off the ground to eat. If you decide to create a porridge/oatmeal just keep in mind that it can cause the feed to go bad faster. Make sure to give the mixed porridge to the chickens immediately, and don’t mix too much of it ahead of time.
Crumble is more granular/grainy than mash. Some choose crumble because it is in-between mash and pellet. It’s a happy medium of the two textures. Some say their chickens prefer it. It is not as hard for the chickens to digest as pellets since it is smaller.
Pellets are the most common variety of chicken feed out there. They are exactly as described. They are compact cylinders of chicken feed. Some individuals choose pellets in case their chickens knock over their feeder, they do not lose as much food on the ground as you will with mash or crumble.
What Is Grit
Grit is not a form of chicken feed. However, it is needed to help the chickens digest their food. Chickens do not have teeth to help them break up their food, so giving them grit along with their food helps them break up their food and helps to digest their food easier. It works like this, they eat the grit which goes down to their crop and then down to their gizzard, which is basically just a strong muscle. The gizzard then uses the grit to help grind up the food, so it is easier for them to digest.
Types Of Grit
There are different kinds of grit that you can buy depending on your chicken’s needs. You want to make sure you buy grit for their age range as you do not want grit that is too small for your chicken (it will pass straight through and not help grind up food) or grit that is too big and cannot pass through at all.
One type of grit is Flint Grit or Insoluble Grit. It is basically small rocks that they use to grind up their food. You can give your chickens Flint grit and shells separately, or mix them together. Some will even mix it in with their food.
Another type is Oyster Shell, it is simply pieces of oyster eggshells. Shell grit is good for them because it helps make their eggs shells stronger and sturdier. Some individuals will just use the ground up shells of their own chicken’s eggs and use that instead of buying Oyster Shell Grit. That way they get their grit at the same time as they eat their food. Chickens are smart. They can regulate on their own how much calcium they need. They will only eat as much shell grit as they need. So do not worry if they eat more or less than other chickens.
Chicken scratch is not a feed. It’s more of an extra treat for your chickens. Most chicken scratch includes cracked corn and grains. It’s not very good for them in the sense that it will make them fat, but it helps to keep them warm in the winter and to keep them happy and raise their energy levels. Only give it to them in moderation.
Fermenting your feed is a way to improve the vitamin and enzyme intake of your chickens. It also makes it easier for them to digest their food in addition to making the toxins neutral. Fermenting their food also helps your chickens feel fuller longer which means they will not eat as much.
Varieties of Broiler Feeds
Broiler feeds are for individuals raising chickens to eat. They come in starter, grower, and finisher varieties. It helps them grow faster and bigger. Make sure to not feed your layer hens broiler feed.
Again, everything is based on what is best for you and your chickens. It is all up to you. Hope you have success with raising chickens!
Here at C-A-L Ranch, we love when that time of year comes around when we get to hear the little peeps of the baby chicks in our stores! Every spring we get our stores ready for these little ones. We have partnered with Hoover Hatchery to get you all the information you need to know to take these chicks home with you today.
Here is a list of the chick breeds that we stock in our stores:
Chick Breeds vary by store.
We also offer special orders through our stores for the other breeds listed here
You will also see the current price for those specific breeds.
Once you have decided on the breed(s) that you want to take home here is a list of everything you will need to care for your new chick(s).
- Feeders and Waterers Hoover Hatchery suggests a 1-foot trough feeder or round feeder for every 25 chicks. They also suggest using a 1-gallon waterer for every 25 chicks.
- Starter/Grower Feed Hoover Hatchery suggests that chicks should stay on a starter/grower feed for about 5 months.
- Brooding Area/Pen
- Brooding Heat Lamp Hoover Hatchery recommends 1 red heat lamp with 100-watt bulb placed 1-1.5 feet above brooding area per 25 chicks.
- Bedding Hoover Hatchery recommends using hay, straw, or wood shavings as bedding on the floor of the brooding area. DO NOT use sawdust, sand, or cedar chips/shavings.
HooversCareGuide – Hoover Hatchery has some great information to help you be prepared to take care of your baby chick(s) at home. Make sure to learn more about care and feeding requirements before purchasing a baby chick.
C-A-L Ranch also offers Chick Tours to local kindergarten and 1st-grade classes in our communities. if you’d like to bring a class into one of our stores please Click here for more information.
K9 Honey, Natural Health Supplement for Dogs
We’ve all heard the benefits of eating raw natural honey. It helps with weight management, it helps relieve pollen allergies, it’s a natural energy source, tons of antioxidants, helps with sleep, reduces recovery time in healing wounds and ulcers, is a natural cough syrup and MORE!
So why not give all these awesome benefits to your best friend? Your dog!
Your dog’s health should be just as important as your own. When you first get your new puppy (or older puppy), you make sure you get all their shots and get them the best food. But why not give them a treat that’s not only good for them but something that tastes delicious too!
K9 Honey is the first company to come out with its own line of honey just for your dog! K9 honey is “the first raw, unfiltered honey designed by nature for your dog’s overall wellness and vitality”. It is blended with bee pollen from nine different regions across the USA.
Although the list of how honey can benefit you and your dog is endless, here are a few explanations of how it can be used and why it should be used, from the makers of K9 Honey for dogs. https://k9honey.com/pages/your-dog-s-health
“While K9 Honey for Dogs is intended to be used as a treat or food topper, raw honey has long been studied for its many health benefits. The authors of Canine Nutrigenomics: The New Science of Feeding Your Dog for Optimum Health write, “Bee products – raw honey, pollen, propolis and royal jelly – are a functional superfood that contains a wide variety of health benefits for dogs.”
You can use it alone as a treat, or drizzle some on top of your dog’s food. It will “promote your dog’s overall holistic health”. And because it’s just pure honey, you can share it with your dog! I know my dog is more inclined to eat things when he sees me eating them. Although it is very good for them, you won’t want to give them too much as it could give them a tummy ache. The recommended serving sizes are as follows:
Here is a short list of the many ways that raw honey has been used to assist pets around the world.
Veterinarians have recognized the value of raw honey for wound care in shortening treatment time and improving healing. Honey’s acidity or pH is low enough to hinder or even prevent the growth of many types of bacteria. Also, an enzyme in honey produces hydrogen peroxide which is an antibacterial agent. It has been shown that honey reduces inflammation and soothes the pain of wounds and burns.
A number of studies have been performed on dogs and the research is so promising it’s being used in treating humans as well. Read these studies and articles from nutritionists, veterinarians, and scientists to learn how raw honey may decrease healing time.
“The use of honey in the management of wounds enhances healing and eliminates invading bacteria without the use of systemic antibiotics. Honey also decreases inflammatory edema. Thus the use of honey can be an effective and economical approach to managing large wounds.”
“Honey has a high glucose content, which bacteria use instead of amino acids, resulting in lactic acid production, in place of malodorous compounds from amino acids. This action deodorizes the wound—typically overnight. Honey also decreases edema, accelerates sloughing of necrotic tissues, promotes granulation and provides a protective protein layer over the wound.”
Some dog owners have found additional health benefits to feeding raw honey to their dogs, including improved mobility in arthritic dogs. In addition, dogs consuming raw honey appear to exhibit higher energy levels, a reduction in stress and improved digestion.
Reduced Allergy Symptoms
If your dog has been prone to chronic ear infections, itchy paws, and other allergy symptoms, your dog may benefit from a daily spoonful of raw honey. Not only will your pet enjoy the daily treat, he may experience relief from the allergy symptoms that plague him.
There are numerous studies done that have shown the superior efficacy of honey in the treatment of burn wounds. Honey has a pH that is low enough to hinder and even prevent the growth of many types of bacteria and contains an enzyme that is an effective and proven antibacterial agent. In fact, some studies indicate that raw honey is better at reducing inflammation, soothing burns, and healing wounds than many modern treatments.
If your dog is plagued with bouts of indigestion, diarrhea, or constipation, raw honey is certainly worth trying. Most dogs appear to respond well to a teaspoon of honey in their food each day, reducing (and in some cases, eliminating) the recurrence of digestive problems including diarrhea, constipation, flatulence and other digestive disorders.
Natural Energy Source
Just like people, dogs benefit from the slow metabolic release of sugars that raw honey provides. Honey sugars are mostly glucose and fructose, which are simple sugars, or monosaccharides. These sugars are more easily assimilated than the complex disaccharides and polysaccharides you’ll find in processed sugar.
For humans, a teaspoon of honey when they have a terrible cough can provide instant relief. One of the greatest health benefits of honey for dogs is that it does the same thing for adult dogs who are unlucky enough to get a kennel cough. It may also help your dog find relief from the dry, unproductive cough caused by Bordetella.
Chronic Ear Infections
Raw honey has proven useful and nutritious for dogs.
So, then make sure to pick some up on your next trip to C-A-L Ranch! Or find it online here.
Thanks for stopping by.
Oh, waking up to the sound of birds chirping in the morning, warm sun rays inviting you to go barefoot through the crystal dew drops hanging by each grass thread, the smell of last night’s campfire still lingering in the air…it’s all those little things that make camping such a magical experience.
Too bad winter is coming… Should you stop doing what you love once the first snowflakes begin to fall? No! Even though they may appear as warm-weather outdoor activities, not all of them are limited to summer months. Sure, we all know that hiking is a year-round activity. But have you ever considered snow camping or winter paddle boarding?
SPORTING DOG HEALTH: YOUR FIRST LINE OF DEFENSE IN THE FIELD
The fall colors are fast approaching which means the bird-hunting season is right around the corner. For those discerning hunters that chase their tail-wagging companions around, it is important to recognize the environmental elements a sporting dog can face afield and the precautionary measures that can be taken to help alleviate risk in a trip to the vet office.
For a sporting dog, eyes, ears, and footpads are three areas that see the most abuse and can lead to irritations and infections that prove quite troublesome. In my years of guiding wing shooting trips and training pointing & flushing breeds alike, here are some tips to keep your hunting partner running the whole season:
Holiday Craft DIY – Canning Lid Pumpkin
I love Fall. The smells, the sweater weather, the hot cocoa, and the colors and in my area of Idaho that includes canning. Knowing how to can and putting your canning knowledge to good use, is a great way to help sustain your families food storage supply. If you’ve never canned before visit our blog article “Top 5 Reasons Why You Should Start Canning Today!”
But what if you do can and have leftover canning lids this DIY craft project might be a fun way to usher in the Fall season. Today we are going to teach you how to make a cute Halloween canning lid pumpkin using your leftover canning lids!
A Family Affair! Top 5 Reasons To Start Canning
We are 5 sisters from Idaho who love to can! We grew up canning alongside our grandma and our mother! It’s of our heritage, a cherished skill passed down from generation to generation! The wife of a farmer and rancher as well as the mother of 5 children, our grandmother found canning an essential part of life. At age 90, she still cans today! She learned from her mother and ours from her. Now we want to share this love with, not only our posterity but with you! We want to share some reasons why starting your first canning adventure will be worth it!
The point of this article is not to make you feel bad about shopping at your local grocery store for food or feel like you need to be a canning expert to get started. What we will show you is why preserving even one item a year can and will enrich you and your families life.
Get Your Fall Chicks Flock Started Now
However, Fall or Winter can be successful seasons to get a jump start on next year’s flock. There are advantages to getting Fall chicks instead of waiting for springtime. Listed below are a few of them. You can get chicks at all 25 of our store locations! Find your local store, here
Tentative Store Delivery Dates:
Idaho, Utah (including Elko & Yuma) Store – Sept 4th, 11th, & 18th
Arizona (excluding elko & Yuma), Nevada Stores – October 9th, 16th & 23rd.
- Acclimating New Fall Chicks to Hot Climates.
Extremely hot weather can be very hard on animals living outdoors. A good portion of the United States is in hot to very hot climates. Chickens of all ages can struggle with adjusting to scorching temperatures. Starting your flock in the fall allows your chicks to make a smooth transition from an indoor brooder box to an outdoor coop.
Here is a simple way to churn butter at home!
What goes better with warm homemade bread than creamy homemade butter? We were able to churn butter using an LEM Butter Churner that you can find at any of our 25 C-A-L Ranch Stores. Find a store.
We included a basic recipe for this blog, but other recipes are included also. Let’s begin!
Step one, open up your LEM Butter Churner. Buy this online
Step 2, the ingredients.