Care For Your Flock During Molting Season

Are your hens starting to ruffle your feathers when you walk into your backyard and it looks like your flock was involved in the Royal Rumble of pillow fights! Feathers are everywhere and your hens look skinny and sickly without beautiful feathers. Don’t panic, your flock is fine, they’re just molting!

When chickens lose and re-grow feathers it’s called molting and it usually starts when a hen is around 18 months old. It occurs every year when the days get shorter.
Molting is a necessary natural process where chickens lose old, broken, worn out and soiled feathers for new feathers or plumage. These new feathers provide protection for the elements, insulation and give your hens their beautiful colors and patterns.
During the molt, hens typically stop laying eggs and use this time to build up their nutrient reserves.
Most chickens molt in the autumn months when the hours of sunlight decrease. It is a good time for the birds to prepare for winter when quality feathers are essential. Don’t be alarmed if some hens go against the norm and molt in summer.
Every bird is different but molting typically lasts for 8–12 weeks. Also, don’t expect all your hens to molt at the same time. Older hens seem to take a bit longer to grow their feathers back and can molt for 13–16 weeks.
Shortly before a chicken begins molting, their feathers may start to appear more dull than normal. Once the molting process begins in a chicken, the new feathers will slowly begin to push out the old feathers, leaving small patches of missing feathers. This usually begins on the head and neck area and works towards the tail. Did you know that feathers are made of 80-85 percent protein? Meaning, molting requires large amounts of protein for a chicken to grow new feathers. When you notice your chickens are losing their feathers, it is recommended to increase the amount of protein, probiotics, prebiotics and key vitamins and minerals in their diet. Unfortunately, losing feathers and growing new ones can be a bit painful and stressful for a chicken. All chickens handle it differently. Some will act normal while others might become more aggressive and develop mood issues. The best thing to do is to take steps to help get them through their molt.
Below are some simple, easy ways to help your flock through molting season.

1. Eliminate stress: Provide a safe shelter from the elements and limit stress events like deep cleaning the coop and adding to your flock. Do your best to separate any birds that are getting picked on.

2. Up their protein intake: A higher protein feed is recommended. Layena High Protein will provide your flock a balanced diet with 19% protein and each pellet containing black soldier fly larvae, grains and other protein sources, so you can feel good knowing your hens are getting a taste of the good stuff in every bite. It’s a good time to limit treats or unhealthy foods, so they get the nutrients they need.

3. Limit or avoid handling: It can be painful to grow new feathers. These new feathers called pin feathers are full of blood. If they break or are injured in some way, this can lead to other problems like pecking from other chickens or infection. It is best to avoid handling them.

4. Provide fresh, clean water.

Winter Grilling Traeger Style

Tips For Winter Grilling

If you aren’t a die hard Traegerite, tis the season to put your Traeger to the test. Create delicious and flavorful Traegered food all winter long, you’ll be converted by the time the sun is back in full force. Here are some fiery tips for grilling in the cold, and tricks to keeping the flavor flowing all winter long. Fire it up, even in the winter!

 

Tip: Bundle up when grilling outdoors in the winter.

These limited-edition Traeger Meat Sweats are loaded with features to handle everything from grillin’ and chillin’ to working out, working in the yard, or working from home. Reinforced knees and a tool loop keep things functional, while the Cow-Moo-Flage print adds a no-bull attitude.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tip: Clear off your grill, having snow on the grill when cooking will only inhibit the heat from being conserved, snow isn’t insulation. In the winter your grill might take a little longer to heat up

 

 

Tip: Keep the grill closed as much as possible to help conserve the heat. A heated insulation blanket can help the heat stay inside and conserve hardwood pellet consumption. Hardwood pellet fuel burns quicker in temperatures below 35°F. An insulation blanket keeps the metal hot and the heat in, preventing the escape of good hardwood heat.

 

Come rain or shine, everyday is a great day to get Traegering. You can Traeger anything, veggies, meat, or sweets all year long. Let the flavor reign over your household; with Traeger you can live a healthy and flavorful lifestyle.

Share your Traeger addiction with friends and family and spread the wood-fired love.

Wild Birds During Winter Months

Wintering Wild Birds: To Feed Or Not To Feed

Feeding wild birds is a fun hobby for so many. There are a variety of new little feathered friends to be made out there, even throughout the winter months! Food can be scarce in the winter for the non-migratory types. Birds have to take what they can get, so if you keep your backyard feeders full, expect to find birds literally flocking to it. Black Oil Sunflower seed is considered “the hamburger” of the bird world. Nearly every bird that stops by your feeder will eat it because its thin shell is easy to crack. Other favorites include Peanuts, Nyjer/Thistle, Safflower and Cracked Corn all available at Burns Feed Store along with a variety of mixed seed. Mealworms and Suet Cakes are another big hit!

Don’t forget the little Hummers! For cold weather feeding, either bring the feeder indoors overnight when it gets cold and put it back outside first thing in the morning. Hummingbirds like to feed as early as possible, especially when it’s cold out, to keep their energy up.  If you like to make your own sweet nectar for the little birds, remember to never use honey, molasses, brown or raw sugar.  Also, Experts recommend cleaning your hummingbird feeder once every three days, well before the sugar water becomes cloudy. Bacterial infections from a dirty feeder can cause their tongues to swell up and they slowly starve to death.  They can also pass that infection on to their babies.

If a new bird feeder, wild bird feed, or nectar are on your shopping list, stop on by! We’ve got a humdinger of a wildlife department!

Standlee Compressed Timothy Hay

Now Stocking:

Standlee Timothy Compressed Hay

Premium Timothy Grass Compressed Bales are formed by allowing Standlee forage to grow to the proper stage of maturity, cutting the plants, allowing them to sun-cure (dry) to an acceptable moisture level and baling the forage at the optimal time. Standlee Premium Products creates compressed bales of forage from a large 4’x4’x8’ bale that is put through a press, sliced horizontally, pushed onto a scale, weighed, compressed and then banded. Timothy Grass forage is highly palatable, is low to moderate in protein and high in digestible fiber.

Recommended For:

Growing (slow to moderate growth), mature and overweight horses, horses with HYPP, performance horses, early pregnancy mares and breeding stallions

Compressed Bale Feeding Tips:

*Weigh out the current amount of forage (that you are replacing with compressed feed) that you feed your horse per feeding.

 

*Cut the bands on compressed bales 8 to 10 hours before feeding to allow the bale to expand to avoid overfeeding.

 

*Gradually replace existing hay with the compressed forage over a 7-10 day period. Replace existing hay on a 1 to 1 basis with the compressed forage.

 

*Always provide free-access to fresh, clean water.

 

Forage is the most important part of your horse’s diet. To calculate how much forage you should be providing your equine companion, check out: Standlee Forage Calculator.