Chickens and Flock Health

 

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Chickens are fun, educational, and practical pets.  Every day, more people are considering having chickens at home. Keeping chickens is a rewarding experience. Whether you consider yourself a hobbyist or a serious poultry farmer, we’ve come up with a few tips on maintaining a happy and healthy flock.

Nutrition

Like with other animals, nutrition is the corner stone to a happy flock. On average a chicken will drink a half-pint of water per day and more in warmer weather. You will want to make sure your hens have access to clean, fresh water 24/7.  We’ve got several different poultry waterers available to keep your flock well hydrated. Poultry nutrition science has come a long way from the cracked corn and scratch of by gone days. You’ll want to limit the scratch in your chicken’s diet to 10% or less while providing a well-balanced diet.  Mary’s has many different complete poultry feeds to meet your particular flock’s need.  Chicks 1 to 8 weeks old can be put on a starter feed  while laying adults may need feed that contains supplemental calcium or omega-3. Sometimes you may want to give your chicken a special treat Meal Worms are an excellent choice as they are high in protein.

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Flock Dynamics

Chickens are active and gregarious birds that can provide hours of entertainment. The added benefit of watching and enjoying your flock is you’ll get to know them through your daily observations. You will soon learn everyone’s normal behavior and personality quirks. They thrive on interaction so be sure to notice any changes to their personalities.  Pay attention if a chicken begins to isolate herself from the group, or if one hen or another starts to become a bully.  Noticing these changes early on can help stop a problem before it starts.

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Cleaning Routine

Backyard birds are quite susceptible to respiratory illness caused by dust. Chickens scratch, they molt, bedding ages and breaks down and feed is bound to spill and be trampled. By developing a regular cleaning routine such as replacing bedding monthly), cleaning waterers and feeders  weekly and scrubbing your coop bi-annually you will keep bacteria, viruses, and external parasites at bay.

Of course, if your birds fall ill and succumb to sickness, please call your veterinarian and the USDA.

Many of us at Mary’s are Chicken Enthusiasts and are happy to answer any questions you may have about raising chickens at home. We have a wide range of chicken products and feeds including Organic/Non-GMO and can provide feed and supply suggestions to keep your flock happily clucking along!

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Staff Favorites – Carey

You met her last week in the Meet Mary’s Feature, now we’ll introduce you to some of Carey’s favorite items sold at Mary’s Tack and Feed.

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  1. Papa Psuka dog treats – both my dogs love them and will do anything for them. They are crunchy and stinky and stay fresh in their resealable bag.
  2. One K Defender Helmet – A very comfy and stylish helmet at a great price point.
  3. Romfh Sarafina breeches – the most comfy breeches I have ever worn. I wear them all day! Great color selection as well.
  4. Ultimate Hoof Pick – sturdy and strong hoof pick that is extremely comfortable in your hand.

West Coast Dressage Convention

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On April 8th and 9th. Mary’s had a Booth at the SH-Productions West Coast Dressage Convention at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. The event was packed with people from all over the United States, Mexico and Canada, as it would be British Gold Medalist, Carl Hester’s only west coast appearance to do clinics and provide valuable feedback to riders and trainers alike.

While all the seats in the house had a great view of the dressage court in the Del Mar Arena, the Mary’s booth also had a grand and unobstructed overlook!

Mary’s Tack was joined by our amazing vendors from Mushroom Matrix, ERS, Fleeceworks and Romfh Equestrian Apparel. Carl Hester joined Mary’s staff and customers to the booth Saturday afternoon for a meet and greet with clinic goers.

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We were happy to see familiar faces and meet new ones, providing the excellent customer service that you’ve grown to love.

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Sit and Fit: Stubben Portos Elite

Check out our new favorite Stubben hunter/jumper close contact saddle…the Portos S Deluxe Leather Saddle. With a newly designed (= soft and comfortable) seat based on Stubben’s state-of-the-art tension saddle tree technology, stitched knee rolls to instantly conform around the block, and equipped with close contact foam panels, the Portos feels as good as it looks! Stubben saddles are made in Switzerland with the highest standards and quality control.

Purchase your New Saddle Today

This saddle is eligible for Mary’s Saddle Trial Program. Mary’s understands how important it is to get the right saddle for you and your horse so we let you try it before you buy it. Please look over the details of Mary’s Saddle Trial Program and let us know if you have any questions!

Stubben Portos S jumping saddle has the following features: Wide and very soft shallow seat. Thin foam panels. Small cantle. Contrast stitching. Vegetable tanned full grain deluxe calfskin leather. Spring tension tree.The Stubben Portos S Deluxe leather is available in two colors: Ebony (dark brown, shown) or Tobac (lighter brown, looks incredible when oiled).

Foal Nutrition – Weaning to Adulthood

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Foals are the cutest and before you know it they are growing by leaps and bounds. Knowing what to feed them and when can feel like its guesswork, but it’s a science.  Continuing with our previous post , we’ve come up with some quick notes on where to start developing your foal and young horse feed program.

  • Creep Feeding is often overlooked but can be instrumental in helping the weaning process. Creep Feeding provides the foal with supplemental nutrients to continue optimal growth as your mare’s milk begins to wane in nutritional quality. It also helps foals and mares deal better with weaning stress. Once your foal has adequate teeth with which to chew their food, you can begin creep feeding. Typically, this is after one months of age, which also coincides with production of enzymes to help your foal digest sugars and starches that are found in concentrated feed. If your mare produces a normal amount of milk you can begin feeding one pound of creep feed per month of age for the first 3 months. Once the foal is successfully consuming four pounds of feed per day it can typically be weaned. Crude Protein should be about 14-16% and the dietary ratio of calcium to phosphorous should range from 1:1 to 3:1.
  • By yearling year, their rate of growth has begun to slow down. When foals hit 12-15 months they’ve achieved 90% of their full height potential. Most yearlings may need 1 ¼ to 1 ½ lbs. per 100 lbs. of body weight of a balanced grain mix daily when grazing on winter or poor pasture. Insure your grain is nutritionally balanced to support growth with high levels of calcium and phosphorous, copper and zinc. Yearlings should get about 12.5% crude protein. Providing amble good-quality legume or mixed hay will encourage your yearlings not to chew on each other’s manes and tails.
  • Young horses should be fed at a moderate, steady rate to promote optimal growth over maximal growth. Rapid weight gain can lead to developmental orthopedic disorders or unsoundness related to weight gain. Good grazing and forage will always be the keystone to any winning feed program. At 2 you can begin your adult horse feeding program. Feeding a ration balancer along with rice brain and flax oil will help your young horse get all their nutrients and fill out.

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You can always call the friendly staff at Mary’s with your questions and for suggestions (858) 755-2015. Our knowledgeable staff will be happy to help you design a good feed program for your growing foals and blossoming young horses. We offer many different concentrated grain formulas specifically for your needs as well as high quality forage. Don’t forget to share your pictures and stories! Always consult your veterinarian about your horse’s dietary needs.

For further information regarding young horse nutrition please refer to the following resources: Equine Feeding Development, Feeding Yearlings, and Nutrition for Weanlings and Yearlings