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Author Topic: Over 2 decades of experience  (Read 4727 times)

Don

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Re: Over 2 decades of experience
« Reply #15 on: September 22, 2015, 08:22:47 AM »
Thanks Paul for that info.  We have access to a red millet grown by a farmer just north of our home.  I have used it and the birds seem to like it.  But I like the wheat and oats for the birds as they are all priced similarly and the protein levels in these grains are higher.  They also sprout easier which is great for winter treats when the green grass is no longer available.  So how many/percentage of feed grains are you growing at this time?  Any specific ones that seem to be more efficient for the small scale farm/poultry grower.  I do not have equipment to grow grains in any significant amounts here on our small place. 
     For winter I do have a few patches of honey suckle that stays green most of the winter and I can pull some of this for the pens.  The birds like the green stock almost as much as some of the other treats.  I bag our summer lawn trimmings and they go after this fast.  I have thought about trying to pack some of this into barrels for later in the winter.  But probably wouldn't be able to store enough bulk to keep the grass good for very long.  I wish I lived close to a dairy farm that kept corn silage.  I remember seeing the farmers open up the trench and seeing the steam rise out of the silage in the cold weather.  I bet they would love to get into a bucket of this in the winter time and I would imagine that the resulting egg production would be great too.  (Though I would bet you couldn't find any non-GMO corn on dairy farms today.  And we are eating all that residual Round-up every time we eat any thing that includes or is fed corn or corn sweetener products.)
« Last Edit: September 22, 2015, 04:55:04 PM by Don »
Don Cash
" No word was ever as effective as a rightly timed pause."  Mark Twain

Paul

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Re: Over 2 decades of experience
« Reply #16 on: September 23, 2015, 09:42:09 PM »
Hi Don,

  In the near future we hope to be growing almost everything the birds eat as well as the hogs, sheep and us.  Presently it is very little of their diet.  We had a terrible growing season with 29.5 inches of rain on our place in the month of May.  That much ruined the wheat, oats and some of the corn.  The grain that we did produce wasn’t good enough to plant later or for us to eat.  We managed to feed our flock for about a month on what little it produced.  The wheat was shriveled and very light weight.  We have 6 varieties of wheat (Turkey, Sonora, Yamhill, Wart Hog, Red Fife, Russian Beardless).  All are heirloom wheats.  The Turkey wheat is one of the main parent stock in many of today’s modern varieties in the US.  The Red Fife has done the same for Canada.  Sonora is white and believed to be the oldest (first) in the US.  We have three varieties of oats-one hulless for humans to eat.  We added hulless Ethiopian purple spring barely this year.  It made enough for us to be able to plant a large plot next year.  When you were here, I didn’t think to show you our recently purchased and restored 1937 AC drag type combine.  For several years I picked grains by hand and thrashed them-a lot of work.  I don’t recommend making chicken feed that way.  You ask “What can I grow for the birds?” I recommend a small kernel corn like Texas Honey June corn.  It is small enough that the LF should be able to eat it whole.  Many corn varieties like Hickory King, will produce huge kernels that will have to be grown before the birds can eat it.  We plan to get a grinder soon!  The one I want cost $2500 plus freight from Montana.  Once we have one we can make our own flour and corn meal plus grind corn for the chickens & hogs.  The sheep are fed whole corn & oats.  I’ve been told the ole time wheats make the best breads that can be made!  Can’t wait to try some homemade biscuits using my mom’s recipe with flour from them!  We use to raise, put up and feed silage to Dad’s cows when I was a youngster.  Never fed any silage to the chickens-don’t think it would be very good for them.  We primarily put up corn silage, but sometimes a sorghum and one very wet year oats & vetch.

  The fresh lawn clippings would have to be dried before storage-otherwise it would heat-up and rot.  The birds can be fed Alfalfa hay in the winter.  We use to feed it and the birds like the leaflets.  You may also try raising hulless oats.  The chickens love them and will learn to harvest their own in the field.  The same goes for cream southern peas.  They pop open if left too long in the field and the chickens learn to harvest them.  The cream southern peas are small and white when dried.  They are good eating when they are green and cooked with ham.

  The past 16 years I’ve learned that chickens have likes and dislikes (just like people) when it comes to feed grains/food.  Some Ameraucanas don’t like corn, oats, sunflower seed, and most don’t like sorghum/milo, while others will eat/like them.  Normally only one of the afore mentioned is left in the individual bird’s feeder cup.  When the birds are penned in groups those go unnoticed, but when individually penned-it is very obvious.
Paul Smith

Don

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Re: Over 2 decades of experience
« Reply #17 on: September 26, 2015, 09:32:38 AM »
Paul,  I can only imagine the amount of work that goes into hand threshing.  The threshing floors in biblical/olden times were very important places for the community.  Probably took the whole community to bring the crop in for the season.  We have a farmer about 45 mins north of us that grows grain on about 1500 acres, mostly rented land.  He grows corn, wheat, millo, oats and soybeans.  Its much cheaper/better to buy directly from the farmer.  I asked about the hull-less oats, he said that they were only grown in Canada. Glad to hear you are able to grow them that far south.  We used to see these oats named "Triple cleaned" oats for horses in our area, and we fed them in the fall for conditioning.  Oats are higher in protein than most other grains except for beans/peas and they were quite expensive too.  We are able to use the hulled oats for some birds but some will not eat them unless they are soaked/sprouted.  We grew some spelt one year as a cover crop in the garden.  It produced a good crop, took a long winter to summer to crop and was way too rough for the birds too eat.  I can imagine how hard it must be to hull and thresh this for human or animal consumption.  But it is reported to have less gluten than the wheat we use so much now. 
« Last Edit: September 26, 2015, 09:47:41 AM by Don »
Don Cash
" No word was ever as effective as a rightly timed pause."  Mark Twain

Paul

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Re: Over 2 decades of experience
« Reply #18 on: September 28, 2015, 09:24:46 AM »
Hi Don, 

  Yes, it is a lot of work to hand harvest, hand thresh, wind and clean the small grains.  It was only done to propagate the rare grains.  We managed to increase most of them from a small handful start to bucket fulls.  Glad to own an antique obsolete machine to do that work now.

  The hulless oats can be grown in either the spring or fall in our area.  We are on the borderline for as far north as they can survive the winter without freezing out.  The chickens learn how to harvest them and will literally eat them up, out in the field, if allowed to free range where they have access to them.

  We tried spelt once several years ago.  It's production was fair here.  Same year we tried some spring wheat called Khorasan-Kamut-QK-77-three names for the same variety.  It's 20 year patent had expired, so it was legal to reproduce it.  It came up, grew poorly and never headed.  We have successfully grown spring small grains in our area.  Among them-the hulless oats barley from Ethiopia.  We tried another spring barely several years ago, that also failed to produce in our area.  We have learned that there is a big difference in varieties of small grains, as to how they will perform in different areas.  There is no such thing as native US wheats.  They all have been imported from other countries around the world. 
Paul Smith

Jeffery and Cheryl Vance

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Re: Over 2 decades of experience
« Reply #19 on: October 20, 2015, 07:54:11 PM »
Paul thanks for sharing this we have read it several again thanks .
Jeffery and Cheryl Vance

Paul

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Re: Over 2 decades of experience
« Reply #20 on: August 08, 2018, 09:29:24 PM »
                                                       Vaccination Program

  Time has gotten away!  I can hardly believe its been almost two years since I have shared on this thread.  Plan to do better in the future.

  Summer is an excellent time to start an annual vaccination program for your flock.  As the temps get high, the interest in purchasing birds gets low.  Its too hot to ship birds and the incubators are shut down, so ceasing all movement of birds doesn’t disrupt much.

  We vaccinate our entire flock for LT when the last retained hatch of our hatching season is four weeks of age.  Laryngotracheitis is a viral respiratory disease that infects chickens (normally 14 weeks or older) pheasants, peacocks, chickens and turkeys.  Each state animal health agency has its own rules dealing with LT.  Texas’s rules are , if you get LT in your flock, your flock will be euthanized.  Pennsylvania and Georgia use to require that the birds must be vaccinated before they can be shown.  We had the misfortune of losing out flock in 2004.  The Texas Animal Health Commission worked with us to allow us to save hatching eggs so we could retain our genetics before the entire flock was destroyed.  The large commercial flocks do not want to have to vaccinate for LT, so the plan is to keep LT out of the state.

  There are two kinds of vaccine for LT.  The only one that should be used in a breeding show flock is LT-IVAX which is a highly modified live virus vaccine that will not cause the vaccinated birds to be carriers of LT.  It is intended to be an eye drop, but should be dropped into the bird’s nostrils so it will not cause eye infections.  The instructions say it may cause eye infections, remove the doubt; it will cause eye problems if dropped into the eye.

  A second round of LT vaccination must be administered six weeks later.  The entire flock is vaccinated again.  A few weeks after the first round of LT vaccinations, the entire flock is vaccinated for fowl pox.  Fowl Pox is caused by a virus which is carried by mosquitoes.  A poultry person doesn’t have to go to a show or anything to get fowl pox.  The mosquitoes will bring it to your birds.  White sores normally will appear on the birds’ combs and waddles (if they have waddles), and red parts of their face.

  Pox vaccinations are administered with a double needle applicator which comes with the vaccine.  The applicator is dipped into the vaccine which charges both needles.  Spread the birds wing.  Remove fluff feather from the underside of the web (about the size of a dime).  Then push the needles through the birds web missing any large blood vessels, bones and the wing muscles.  Continue the same process until all birds are vaccinated.  The chicks need to be at least 8 weeks old for the pox vaccine that we use.  Some pox vaccines allow 6 week old chicks to be vaccinated. 

  A test can be preformed to see if mosquitoes are in your area.  Put about 2 inches of water in a 5 gallon bucket, then place a gallon jug inside the bucket.  Place the 5 gallon bucket with the water and jug in the area you want tested, in the early afternoon or evening.  The next morning remove the gallon jug and watch for mosquitoes to fly out of the 5 gallon bucket.  I have performed this experiment with rain water, well water and chlorinated community water with very little to no noticeable difference in the number of mosquitoes in each bucket.

  There are several diseases which infect poultry.  Many diseases have vaccines to prevent them from infecting the birds.  Each state has its own rules dealing with each disease.  Texas doesn’t allow several of the vaccines to be used.  Check with your state’s animal health agency for information on which diseases your flock should be vaccinated for protection in your area.

  I use to have the attitude-”Why vaccinate if you don’t have a problem?”  The answer is, so you will not have a problem.  The old saying “an ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure” comes to be true when dealing with poultry diseases.”
Paul Smith