Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Summer is just around the corner....

As we draw closer to June 21st and the official start of summer many Buckeye breeders are wrapping up their 2012 breeding season!  Hard to believe it's coming to a rapid close, many of you have already put the incubators away for the year but a few of us die-hards are still hatching chicks.  Even when the last broody hen leaves the nest you can still count on that marvel of technology, the incubator!  Today's incubators have come a long way and there are models available today that are "almost" idiot proof.  If you are considering a new 'bator for next season now is the time to conduct a little research and start saving or ask the spouse to spend a little more for Christmas!

We turn out attentions toward raising those young Buckeye babies thru June, July & August.  This can be a rough time for the young fowl especially if you live in a hot humid environment....or in Ohio where it's 90F one day and 45F and raining the next!  Make sure your young birds have plenty of fresh water and every other week add some electrolytes and vitamins to the mixture.  Some folks like to add Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) to their plastic water founts to keep their fowl healthy.  Personally, I can't say it helps a great deal but it certainly can't hurt!  Keeping the waterers clean and feed dry (avoiding mold) are equally important.

When temps change suddenly and chicks get wet illness can take hold quickly so make sure they have a dry place to go when it is raining.  Healthy fowl are less likely to get sick under these weather condition changes but if they do develop a cough or runny nose there are natural ways to help control the spread.  For me personally, I have found GSE (Grapefruit Seed Extract) in liquid form to be an ideal medication for treating my Buckeyes when the "sniffles" start.  Just add a few drops in their drinking water for 5-7 days and it often works miracles!  You can find GSE at many health food or drug stores for about $19 for the 4oz bottle but it will last a long time and treat hundreds of birds.

Summer is also a time to step up your predator control.  If you don't have any "live traps" yet, now is the time to go purchase a few!  Set them close to you chicken pens or coops because the raccoons, possums and skunks are probably already visiting at night.  Coyotes and Foxes are a little more difficult to catch in a "live trap" but some do so with success.  For me, I prefer a good light and the old 12 gauge shotgun when it comes to Coyotes and Foxes at my place!  Plan to spend a night or two in the barn or near the chicken coop....I've actually sat on the tailgate of my pick-up next top the barn and had foxes walk right by in search of a chicken dinner.

Finally, plan to attend a few poultry shows this coming fall and now is the time to prepare if you have a desire to show your Buckeyes.  There are poultry shows at county and state fairs as well as independent exhibitions all over the USA.  Find one close to home and just go visit, county fairs are a GREAT place to go and see what is happening within the local poultry community.  You may be surprised NOT to see any Buckeyes at many of these county shows and if you are a breeder of Buckeyes you need to change that in the future!  Talk to parents and kids involved in 4H and offer to help them next season with their very own Buckeye project.  Help "Preserve the Buckeye Breed" anyway you can this summer!!!

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