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Tips and Tidbits

Tip #1
Cable Tie Leg Bands:
Cable ties can be used as leg bands. Don't pull them too tight, and try to make sure the ends won't harm the bird in any way. Many use them since they can be cut and adjusted as needed!

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Tip #2
What to do for Heavy Molt:
When your birds go into heavy molt there are several things you can do to help them out. Get a starter (unmedicated) feed with much higher protiens till there feathers grow back. You can toss a hand full of dry cat food, for higher protiens and some oils. Some people make a Cod liver oil sandwich chop it in small pieces and toss it as a treat. Also for higher protiens and oils.
The main thing is it takes protiens from them in order to grow feathers. So upping the protiens is a big help!
Some will also molt loosing head, neck, wing, breast, and rump (vent) feathers. Or any combo of these. But always give a check for parasites just  incase! :)
 

Tip #3:
Difference in Guinea & Bantam Eggs:
Here is a bantam egg on the left and a guinea fowl egg on the right.
Notice the guinea egg is a bit more triangular then the bantam egg. All my guinea eggs were noticably different then a bantam egg.  Once you start getting guinea eggs and bantam you will notice a difference in texture too, one will be smoother and shinier, one will be rough or courser! It is small differences, but you will get the hang of it. Give yourself time..it will come! :)

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Tip #4:
Medication i like most:
When my birds are sick i suggest using Terramycin.
I use it when they seem to have a common cold. I have lost birds to common colds and when i treat one bird i treat them all. There is an old saying "If one is sick their all sick", and it has proven to be true for me.
I isolate the sickest and treat them all with Terramycin in their water. 5-7 days fresh daily. The birds show signs of improvement within 24 hours. That is just my experiance.
 
 
 

Tip # 5
Never Do This:
Neverever use styrafoam egg cartons to hold eggs during incubation. They emit toxic fumes that kill most embryo's, those that survive will have nurological and physical deformities, obvious enough to need culling!
I made the mistake of making holders out of mine. Out of the two that had survived one had a crooked beak, and the other had a problem swallowing and walking. I noticed it's tongue was always to one side of it's mouth when swallowing. I had to cull this chick as it did not work it's problems out. A hard lesson to learn, and a real shame! 
So my advice is to NEVER, EVER use a styrafoam egg carton to hold your eggs while incubating!

Tip #6
Watch for Age Difference Behaviours:
I found age differences with birds can be hazardous to the younger ones. I suggest if you see older birds pecking the younger ones, that you seperate the older ones.
Also some breeds are a bit tougher then others and you may need to seperate two different breeds for the same reasons. I've had "just dry" ones put in with week olds and they have killed the younger ones, or pulled feathers off till bleeding many areas. Pecked toes down to the bones, etc. Just becuase their all chicks does not mean their all sweet! Always keep your eyes open and notice how they treat each other.
Youthful play looks rough at times..but when you see major toe, feather or any pecking going on..keep a close eye to see how rough it is getting. Seperate the offenders and treat the wounded!
 

Tip #7
Make sure your incubator is not too old. Nothing wrong with buying a used one, just make sure it's not too old. If it is you will get only a short time out of it.
I learned this by using my incubator almost streight thru the year. It was used when i got it and it was used when the person i bought it from got it. But it worked great. As time went on though i noticed more and more birth defects & lower hatch rates. I started to check into what could be the problem. In the mean time i bought a new one to use as hatcher, and when my eggs slowed down i decided to unplug the used one and just run one incbator for awhile. Well soon as i did that hatch rate increased and birth defects decreased.
I take good care of my incubators and clean after every hatch and so on, so that was not the cause. I suspect after 3 or 4 yrs (also depending on how much you use them in that time) there is going to be build ups deep down and no way for your cleaner to get it all.
I have even seen cabinet incubators create bad hatches when the water pans weren't cleaned, even the downy build up would cause low hatch rates and birth defects. This info i got of message boards when people simply got lax and forgot a cleaning after a hatch.
So after checking normal temps and humidities and making sure breeders are healthy you may want to start narrowing down the incubators age as well. 
 The cabinets last longer and work more consistantly i believe. If thier not cleaned they will cause a problem though.
I'm mostly talking about the small styrafoam ones, as their more readly affordable and obtainable. Most people don't think of the age of them.



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