The 4 Seasons Programme For Better Results
Every bird in the wild goes through 4 seasons, Spring, Summer, Autumn.
A time to breed, moult, maintenance build up for lean times and pre-breeding build up.
During these times the body has to cope with changing temperatures’ and the availability of food in quantity and type.
Pre-breeding build up. Along with the increase in light, birds are stimulated with the availability of food and an increase in body weight from the extra food becoming available. A time to give super nutrients so the yolks as they develop in the hen has all the elements to produce a chick. Whole fresh foods, up greens, add boiled eggs foe good nutrients
Time to breed. Critical time to feed super nutrients. Birds feeding chicks are setting them up for the rest of their lives. Feed fillers and poor nutrients and the life of the chicks will be less with more stress. Feed good nutrients and the foundations of the chicks is solid for going through life.
Moult. Once the birds have bred they need to recover and replace old feathers. Super fresh nutrients are required and still available in the wild we need to continue feeding to build feathers.
Maintenance build up for lean times. Birds will eat to put weight on to see them through a lean spell. Once the moult is finished cut the birds back on the amount they get but include whole foods and good nutrients. Cut back on eggs, cut back on greens. We have put so much feather on some birds, that still needs to be maintained year-round or the birds will be under stress. A health bird does not have to be an overweight bird
Keeping birds well is all about good habits every day routines. It takes the same time to do a good habit as a bad one where the bird’s condition and performance suffers.
When we put a bird or birds in captivity we ultimately play God and are in control of the seasons the birds go through. Get it wrong and the results will show in the condition of the birds and their breeding results.
There are 3 areas we must focus on.
The Environment we create, Nutrition we provide and the Health of the birds.
Environment. Birds in the wild get a new environment every day, fly to a new tree, it rains, the wind blows. We need to give our birds a new environment in our establishments every day. Keep your establishment clean for you and the birds.
Lighting. As close to natural as possible is ideal. Never go past 14 hour of light
Nutrition. Food needs to be 3 things.
Palatable Nutritious and Digestible. If it lacks one of the 3 the bird is compromised and under stress. Fresh and natural is best. You do not make protein from protein! You make it from amino acids, essential and non-essential. The biggest body builders in the world Gorillas eat plant based amino acids. The most nutritious way to feed seed is to start the germination process. Soak seed for a day drain and leave for a day, rinse and feed to the birds. Wheat soaked for 2 days is far superior than plain canary at a fraction of the price. When you soak it, it starts to germinate changing the composition of the nutrients even better for the birds. What is the main ingredients in egg food? Bakery by products (Wheat) Boiled eggs are amazing taking a chick from a few cells to day old. Every egg laid in the world, the chick is always bigger than the yolk. Amazing nutrients and then add the amino acids in the white and even better food for chicks. Dry egg in egg food does not come to life when you add water.
Birds where designed to grow fast to leave the nest quickly to survive. Birds breed to coincide with the availability of insects and switch their diets to capitalise on the increase of protein (Amino acids available) Birds in captivity do not have Insects, unless you pay a lot to buy some, but we have better in eggs. Fresh is best, Spinach, broccoli, veg of all sorts give amazing Amino acids too.
We feed our birds processed and manufactured foods. Look at the ingredients of the foods and go to the source of the main ingredients and give these fresh to your birds. Fresh whole foods are cheaper than buying manufactured, often fillers with a lot of wastage in un eaten food. People buy foods for convenience but at what cost to the nutrients the birds get. Feeding fresh whole foods means you do not need additives in food or water, save on time and money.
Water should always be fresh Add something in the water and a bird has no choice but drink it. A reduction in water intake due to adding something is putting stress on the bird and can lead to dehydration.
Breeding Birds are switched on by 3 things to breed. 1 lighting, 2 Availability of food and 3 their body weight.
Lighting. As close to natural as possible is ideal. If Increasing weekly going up by 15 minutes a week is ideal. Never go past 14 hour of light, 12 is good with an option to increase during the breeding season. Going over 14 hours of light will over stimulate the bird’s pituitary gland making cocks come in and out of fertility, hens in and out of cycle on and off eggs and chicks. Birds see night and day with a difference of 100 lux and take the longest period of darkness as night Need to see your birds early and late then put a dark period during the day as not to go past 14 hrs.
It is not about making the bird fit by making it go through a lean spell it is about making the bird think there is an increase in availability of food. Hemp is an amazing seed packed with very digestible Protein give a dish of this a week before breeding to stimulate the birds (Soaked or not soaked your choice depending on the type of birds you keep). Soaked wheat too. Up the greens, add boiled egg.
Birds over weight will breed but a bird at its peak weight, like an ideal fighting weight will perform better, less sluggish and not so easily distracted from the task of breeding.
Take stress off your birds, try make them bullet proof from it and your season will go smoother.
In most types of birds, we are breeding away from the natural more size, shape, feathering, stance etc. We are breeding freaks of nature! We need to focus more on Egg numbers, Fertility, hatchability, liveability etc. How much feather do we really need?
We need to make a hen a hen and not put cock traits on it. A big hen laying 2 eggs rearing one chick which is a cracker and we breed with that one is going down a dead end fast. We need to draw back and think!
Hatching for me has 2 areas, development and hatching. If an embryo dies within the first 0/9 days, chances are there is lack of trace elements etc for the chick to form and it switches off. If a chick forms and dies just around hatching could be a week chick, too strong a shell, low humidity drying the chick out or bacterial infection at any stage due to soiled or damaged eggs.
(Only give the birds a source of calcium they can take themselves never in water and never to cocks)
There is one word that causes 99% of our bird’s issues. STRESS! On all 3 areas above.
My story to prove the point. Sitting in a microbiology class as part of my Diploma in Poultry Production the lectured brought out a pigeon from a basket. “We are going to find out what bacteria is growing in this bird’s mouth”. He got a swab rubbed it around the bird’s mouth then wiped it on growth medium on a petri dish, put the lid on and with a marker wrote A on it. “Ok we will put that in the incubator and next class we will identify the bacteria present in the bird’s mouth” He then went on to do his lecture with the bird tucked under his left arm walking around the room. Looks at his watch, “ten minutes up we will find out what bacteria is growing in the bird’s mouth” I am thinking to myself You did that 10 minutes ago! He does the same procedure and marks the second petri dish with a B.
“We will identify the bacteria growing when we come back for our next class. The following week we get A petri dish out. Bit blue, bit green. Streptococcus and staphylococcus a wee bit. Then out comes petri dish B. World war 3 with every colour of the rainbow! Streptococcus, staphylococcus, E.coli and a number of other bacteria! We thought the bird was relaxed tucked under the arm but in fact was stressed to the max wondering what was going on. Every bacteria in the body had multiplied in 10 minutes under stress. All 3 areas we need to focus on we need to take stress off the bird’s Environment, Health and Nutrition
All birds have bacteria in them, good and bad, it is only under stressful times the bacteria will multiply. What kills your birds is what multiplies the quickest? Mites are attracted to stress, ill bird’s, bird’s nest with chicks are a stressful Birds breeding, leaving the nest, moulting out are all stressful times. Transporting birds, showing Stress! STRESS! S T R E S S ! Every bird reacts differently to Stress.
Our natural, very affordable solutions to our keeping / breeding issues
Health (Minimum) Switch the bird’s immune system on for ailments that cause our birds problems. The effect of Homeopathy lasts for 3 to six months, every bird and animal is different with a minimum of 3 months. BM 302 stress reducer EVERY 3 MONTHS. BM 307 going light. (cocci / Mega bac) EVERY 3 MONTHS. BM 306 Cocci / wormer 2 times a year. As instructed knock the bottle 30 times on the day of use to activate add 2 mils to a litre in the drinking water. Leave for half an hour and top up to what you need for the days water 2 / 3 litres. Fill your drinkers leave some water in container or containers. Top up full to use for day 2 water, repeat for 5 days. Homeopathy will multiply at full strength for 6 / 7 days, only required for 5 days. Keep homeopathy bottle in fridge, good for 18 months. When using homeopathy keep aniseed away from birds (found in conditioning seed and some grits), it will null and void the homeopathy. Homeopathy works when it gets into the bird’s system. Add solution to egg food / soft food. In soaked seed, birds unwell do not drink so much if comfortable put 2 mils of the made-up water into the birds crop to aid recovery. Preventative or remedy for birds with ailments.
Antibiotics suppress the condition often draining the bird and putting it under more stress. Often when you remove a bacteria from a bird under stress another will take its place. Buying from people who use medication and antibiotics regular could result in your birds crashing health wise if not kept on the same regime. Resulting in disappointment with performance and results
Homeopathy switches the immune system on for specific conditions switching the immune system on for a minimum period of 3 months. If the remedy saves 1 bird a year it has more than paid for the cost and effort.
Various species of birds have specific conditions that affect them more than others, each establishment can have its own issues. There are other specific remedies available e.g., Trichomoniasis, Salmonella, Young bird sickness etc. Ask for details.
Environment Birds in the wild get a new environment throughout the day every day, fly to a new tree, it rains, the wind blows.
We need to give our birds a new environment in our establishments every day. Clean and Clear Check Mite FOOD SAFE, Super concentrated with a money back Guarantee. So many uses.
Mite infestation 100 mls per litre, spray everywhere, birds do not need to be removed. (do not spray directly on the birds) No need for it to dry. Mites and eggs killed instantly going dark green on contact. Miss a bit and they will come back.
Cleaning 20 mils per litre (can be sprayed on the birds at that level) Spray wipe on surface leave for 20 minutes and dirt wipes off no need for scrubbing. (Food Safe).
Mist spray every day 10 mls per litre, does not matter if it hits the birds, feed water. Only place you do not spray is over eggs. Chicks in nest ok. Will kill Cocci oocysts on the ground at 20ml per litre. People with chest problems / asthma see a massive improvement in their ability to stay in their etablishments.
Nutrition A healthy gut means a health bird! Even with poor nutrition Top-S will set up the gut to produce and maintain billions of good bacteria to strip more nutrients out to give the body better absorption of nutrients to perform better. Feed better nutrients and the results are amazing. Fresh and natural is best.
Just a pinch like dusting pepper on food daily, ideal eggs food/ soft food, greens, fruit and veg.
Droppings go lighter in colour dryer, less and no smell. Chicks leave the nest early better feathered. Ringing chicks must be done 2 days early because of accelerated growth rate.
You get out what you put in. Keep it Simple whole foods and fresh. Feed for the seasons type of food and amounts. Save on wasted food and using unnecessary supplements and additive and save on time and money and have birds that will perform better.
This is a very brief guide.
In conclusion. Stress free birds are happy healthier birds, performing better.
A healthy gut means a healthy bird. A clean environment is good for the birds and you
Keep feeding simple and fresh.
People seeing great results have great habits not just for a short period but all year-round paying attention to detail.
It takes the same time to do a good habit as a bad habit, but the results can be dramatic in condition and performance.
5 things to look for to identify changes in health of our stock.
1 water consumption, too much or too little will indicate a problem with the birds.
2 feed intake is an indicator of health
3 Droppings of the bird identify what is normal for the birds you keep and check everyday to see if there is a change. Always have your floors so you can see clearly what the droppings are like. Loose, change of colour?
4 Smell, every establishment has its own distinctive smell you and the birds create with your feeding regime. Any changes in smell can be an indication of health issues with your stock.
5 The bird’s appearance and movement, activity or lack of. Fluffed up, wings dropped, wheezing, dirty vent. Birds are good at hiding ailments till sometimes it is too late.
All four seasons have their stress points, learn what they are and prevent them happening as much as possible.
Feel free to contact me for more information. Get a simple programme specific to your type of bird and your own establishment with more detail
Colin Leask CPH. DPP. Tel 01383 853208 Mob 07779422256
We make no medical claims.
If in doubt consult a Vet, preferably one specialising in Avian Species.
Happy to help. Colin.
Look out for future videos and literature on a variety of topics.
The planting guide to grow your own nutrients.
How to promote our hobby to grow in numbers.
The best foods to feed and when.