Ronnie Sillitoe’s 2020 Breeding Diary

Plus 17 Weeks

This week has gone from very warm to very cool which will cause outbreaks of coccidiosis and bacterial infections in the cabin possibly resulting in chicks with full crops dying so I treat for this with baycox for two days.
Most of my chicks are weaned now I am only waiting for some 18-day olds to fledge then all the nest pans will be out and washed and put away for next year.
I keep my chicks in pairs preferably cock and hen as two cocks will squabble, I give them soaked groats to bulk up which they take well also soaked wheat daily.
The adult birds are starting to moult now and it won't be long before the chicks join them.
At this time, I put Premoult 100 into the water daily this gives them everything they need for a good moult.
Also at this time I start reducing the lights by 15 minutes a week until I reach 10hrs then I stop and they remain at 10hrs till the last few weeks of the show season and then I reduce again by 15 minutes a week till I get to 8hrs, which they stay at until I start to condition up for next year .
The diet for chicks through the moult is morning soft food, dinnertime green food and groats, teatime soak seed, evenings soft food and wheat . I give different things each time so they are stimulated to eat new things each time. The hard seed hoppers are topped up every day until the end of August, after this time you have to watch for birds putting on too much weight so I adjust the amount they have.
Show cage training continues right through the moult with a bit of honey on the top bar to encourage them to show themselves.

Plus 18 Weeks
This week has seen the temperatures plummet from 24 degrees to 11 degrees where I live and lots of rain raising the humidity to a high level so the dehumidifier has been working quite a lot and also the heating turned up a couple of degrees.
The big fluctuation in temperature makes bacterial/coccidiosis and fungal spores start to grow and puts the stock in danger so keeping the cabin dry and warm is most important to minimise the danger.
My chicks have been treated with Baycox at the age of 6 weeks for this purpose to prevent them going light and as soon as the younger ones reach 6 weeks they will also be treated.
As I have finished breeding my hens are now in a flight cages for a well-earned rest with access to baths which I put on for an hour in a morning to minimise moisture with the weather being damp. They are fed mixed canary , greens and soaked groats to help them through the moult.
The chicks have a show cage hung onto the stock cage all day which they bob in and out of, but I remove them on a night to stop the chicks sleeping in them. There is water and condition seed in the two drinkers on the cage.
I use Premolt 100 in the water daily to give them all the nutrients they need to get through the moult and find this helps a lot to give them a nice sheen on the feathers.
The youngsters this year I've found have gone for hard seed earlier than previous years so I've kept them topped up daily ,the protein in mixed canary is much the same as egg food so they’re not missing out, also when they are taking more hard seed they seem to moult quicker than those who eat more egg food .
Stay safe everyone

Plus 19 Weeks
This week has seen thick coastal fog all week and with that brings high humidity even though I have finished breeding I still keep the humidity down to 70% as bacteria, mould and fungus cause sickness in the stock, so the dehumidifier has been running all week.
The damp weather also plays havoc with the moult and stops the birds finishing off so a warm and dry cabin in paramount.
I put a product called Premolt 100 in the water daily through the moult to give the birds vitamins and minerals/trace elements to give them all they need to have a good clean moult.
The birds also get soaked seed, green food, soft food, groats and wheat on different days.
I train the birds daily for an hour on the stand then spray them with DYNA-MITE in warm water to give them a nice sheen at a teaspoon to one litre of water.
I now start decreasing the light by half an hour per week to 10 hours at which time I stop for the show season then mid-November I finally decrease the lights to 8 hrs at the same rate.
This is the final update for this breeding season as there is no longer much to report for a while in the shed.
Good luck everyone and please stay safe

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