Chickens & Gamebirds Info Center


  • Tips for Raising Pheasants & Chukar

    Tips for Raising Pheasants & Chukar

    Tips for Raising Pheasants and Chukar Proper care of your pheasant and chukar chicks will produce a healthy, robust flock! Feeding — Baby Game birds requires a higher protein feed. Make sure you are using a quality game bird starter with about 30% protein. If you can't get a game bird starter, you can use a turkey starter instead. We do sell game bird feed , but if you are raising many birds, you'll want to source it locally. Brooding — Make sure you have a good brooding area. Pheasants and chukars need 95°F for the first week, and then drop it by 5° each week so they feather out. Litter concerns — Gamebirds can have a tendency to eat their litter when they're young. If you use woodchips or sawdust, cover it up with paper towels (changing the towels frequently) until they know where their food is. This will prevent them from eating the litter and dying of a compacted gizzard. Elbow Room — Pheasants need plenty of space as they age. Many of the pecking problems associated with pheasants can be attributed to the birds being too crowded. The Great Outdoors — Letting your birds outside early is a great way to get them active and strengthen them up. Get them outside for about 3 hours a day in your flight pen. You can place them outside permanently at 8 weeks of age, when their feathers should be developed enough to handle the weather. Protection: — Don't forget to give your birds some cover in the flight pens. A cold rain and wind can take its toll on young birds. Also don't forget to top your flight pen with game bird netting . This keeps your birds in and, more importantly, keeps the predators out! Outdoor Feeding — While your birds are outside, having feed available that's protected from the elements is a must! Provide your birds with range feeders to keep outdoor feed dry.
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  • Hova-Bator Buying Guide

    Hova-Bator Buying Guide

    Hova-Bator Buying Guide Hello and welcome to Stromberg's Chicks and Gamebirds guide to Hova-Bator Incubators. We sell four different styles of Hova-Bators, and we wanted to walk you through the differences and similarities. Stromberg's has been selling Hova-Bator incubators for decades, and we have expertise in using and trouble-shooting these incubators. We can assure you that these are great economical incubators that can provide years of use. In this guide, we want to help you understand the core features of these Hova-Bators and how they'll impact your usage. We'll address these issues: What are the differences between the Hova-Bator incubator models? What are the similarities of the incubators? What are the differences in the Hova-Bator thermostats? What do the different viewing windows look like in the Hova-Bators? Similarities of the Hova-Bators First, let's talk about the similarities of these incubators: Styrofoam Body of the Incubator Each of the four incubators' bodies are made from styrofoam. This styrofoam body is an efficient and economical way to build the structure of the incubator and insulate it at the same time. The insulation allows the thermostat and heating element to provide a consistent temperature throughout the incubation time period. As temperature is a critical component to incubation, this is an obviously important feature. Plastic Water Tray for Humidity The next common feature is the plastic liner that lines the bottom and holds the water for humidifying the incubator. These troughs are specially designed to allow the correct amount of surface area of water to be exposed for the box size and temperature. As you can see, there are four troughs, and each of them is numbered. You will want to fill trough #1 during the first incubation time frame, which, for chicken eggs, is the first 18 days. Then you will want to fill trough # 1 and 2 during the last three days, or the hatching period. This raises the humidity during the critical hatch period. You will always want to keep the proper trays filled with water, as running out will lower the humidity in your incubator. Plastic Floor They also all come with this plastic floor. This is what you lay the eggs on during the hatch, and it also prevents the baby birds from stepping directly in the water after the hatching. Its plastic construction makes it easy to clean and sanitize. Ask anyone who has hatched, and they will know it can be a little messy! Since sanitation is key to success when hatching, having this easy to clean plastic tray is a great way to contain and clean up the hatch time mess. Capacity of the Incubators and Automatic Turners All of the Hova-Bators have the same stated capacity. However, true capacity will depend on if you install one of the automatic turners, or if you choose to manually turn your eggs. So while the turner will reduce the capacity of the incubator, there is the upside of automatically turning your eggs. Since this is a critical portion of incubation, automatic turners are highly useful. If you choose to manually turn your eggs, you will have to do so at a minimum of 3 times per day. An automatic turner turns them about once per hour. This prevents the yolk from sticking to the side of the egg and will make your hatch results much better. For capacities see the chart below. Hova-Bator Incubator Capacity   Manual Incubator - Without Turner Automatic Egg Turning Incubator - With Turner Universal Egg Racks (Holding Partridge Size Eggs to Duck Eggs, including chicken eggs.) 50 42 Quail Egg Racks - This is for the small Eggs 130 120 Goose Egg Racks - This is for the big eggs. 20 12-16 Differences of the Hova-Bator Models Now let's talk about the differences among these models. We sell four different models, so that we can offer our customers different price points and features, getting the best incubator for their budget, with the features that matter to them. Thermostats The biggest difference between all of these models is the thermostat, how they work, how you adjust them, and their accuracy. This feature of incubators is so important that we've created a comprehensive guide to Hova-bator incubator thermostats — read all about the different types of thermostats here Airflow Another difference to note about incubators is how the air is moved around within the incubator. This is done one of two ways: with a fan, or with convection. Proper airflow provides oxygen to the developing embryo and will also eliminate hot and cold spots within the incubator. The 1588, 1583 and 2362E Hova-Bators models all have fans. This allows the air to be evenly heated, with more oxygen forced into the incubator. The only Hova-Bator incubator that does not have a fan is the 1602 model. This model uses convection to circulate the air, using the natural process of warm air rising and cool air falling to circulate the air throughout the incubator. The simple addition of a fan is a great way to achieve better hatch results. Viewing Windows The last big difference between these incubators is the viewing windows. The 2362E and the 1583 have the picture window, while the 2362E and the 1602 have the smaller windows. These do not affect the performance, however, it's fun to be able to get a great view of those baby birds popping out. Something that everyone enjoys watching! If you have any questions about these incubators, please don't hesitate to call us here at Stromberg's at 800-720-1134 or send us an email at: info@strombergschickens.com . Happy hatching, from all of us at Stromberg's!!!
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  • Thermostat Types for Hova-Bator Incubators

    Thermostat Types for Hova-Bator Incubators

    Thermostat Types for Hova-Bator Incubators Learn about the various thermostats available for the Hova-Bator Incubators. As incubators become less expensive, the easiest way for a manufacturer to save is on the thermostat. Now, does this mean the less expensive thermostats don't work … no, they work, but they'll require more attention on your part to ensure that they're maintaining the correct temperature at all times. Let's take a closer look at types of thermostats used with Hova-Bator incubators The 1602 and the 1583 are two models that use a thermostat wafer to maintain the proper temperature. A thermostat wafer is a very simple machine that has been used for decades to accurately maintain temperature. It consists of a metal "wafer" that contains a small amount of ether. This ether expands and contracts and causes the metal wafer to expand and contract. As the wafer expands and contracts, it hits a micro switch. This switch controls the heating element, turning it on or off. Wafer thermostats generally require a bit more maintenance because they are not as accurate as we would like. It seems that you need to check the temperature and adjust the settings very frequently with these thermostat types. How frequently? I think that seems to depend on the conditions outside of the incubator. However, when I use this style, I try to check it as frequently as I can, and keep notes on how I've adjusted the wafer's position in relation to the switch. The 2362E model incubator uses a dial style thermostat. This is not as accurate nor as easy to use as digital style thermostats, but is still much easier and accurate than the wafer style. With these incubators, you simply turn the dial to adjust the incubator's temperature up or down. These thermostats use a small electrical conductor that will maintain the temperature. It does not have a digital readout like we will see next but is still more accurate than the wafer style. You will to experiment with your dial settings see how they affect the temperature inside the incubator: Adjust and then observe. The 1588 model is the most popular and easiest to use, with a digital thermostat that controls the incubator's temperature. What does this mean? Instead of using a dial or having an adjustment screw, this unit has a very simple two-button system: You simply hit the "up" arrow to increase the temperature, or the "down" arrow to bring the temperature down. As you can see in the photo above, you can adjust this to the exact temperature that you're looking for. As with all incubators, I do suggest having a backup thermometer inside just to be certain the thermostat is reading correctly. If, by chance, this thermostat does start showing the wrong temperature, there are easy-to-follow instructions included to recalibrate the thermostat. Would you like to learn more about Hova-Bator incubators? Read our comprehensive Hova-Bator Buying Guide , and let us help you pick the right incubator for you!
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  • Buyer's Guide to Chicken Nest Boxes For Eggs

    Buyer's Guide to Chicken Nest Boxes For Eggs

    Chicken Nest Box Buying Guide Hello and welcome to Stromberg's Chicks and Gamebirds guide to buying a chicken nest box. Not every nest box is created equally and this guide is here to discuss the differences between the nest boxes. We carry many different styles and as with many of our product lines we like to carry a deep breadth of products to meet your needs. So this guide will be how you can distinguish them from one another and choose the right nest box for your chickens. Nest Boxes Quick Facts You need one for every four to five hens. They should be easy to clean. They should be kept in the darkest quietest part of your chicken coop to encourage laying. A proper nest box can get birds laying in the "right spot". Questions Answered by this article What is a good construction material for a nest box? What is the difference between a standard and a roll out nest? What is the difference between a front roll out nest and a rear roll out nest? How many nest boxes do you need for your chicken coop? What makes for a good nest box perch? What type of nest pads do you use in a nest box? Construction Material Why do we sell plastic and metal nest boxes? The nests we sell are have plastic nest bottoms with metal or plastic construction for the body of the nest. The reason why we do not focus on wooden nest boxes is simple.. they are hard to clean and harbor bacteria. While this might not be a large concern to the beginner hobbyist chicken raiser it, is a concern for us. We at Stromberg's feel that good sanitation leads to better results for your flock. The easiest way to do this in the nest box is with the materials. The plastic material can be cleaned. Wood nest boxes can be cleaned but can still harbor bacteria that can be harmful to the eggs and to your birds. The bottom line is if you are going to go through the trouble of cleaning your nest boxes, don't you want them clean? The best way to prevent a disease issue in a flock is sanitation, so we want to make it easier. Roll Out or Non Roll Out Nest Boxes What is a roll out nest vs. a standard nest box? If you have laying hens you will need nest boxes. Standard nest boxes are what we are all familiar with. They are the simplest in design. They are simply a box that has a perch for the birds to jump up on and a have a lip on the front so the eggs can not roll out. We sell a variety of styles of these to fit your coop. See our selection here: Standard Nest Boxes A roll out nest is very similar to the standard, however, instead of the nest laying flat the nest is inclined. The incline allows the egg to "roll" into a compartment for safe keeping until you come in and harvest the eggs. Here is our selection of roll out nest boxes Roll Out Nest Boxes and Big Bird Nest Boxes , Now that I know what a roll out nest is, why do I need one in my coop? I recommend a roll out nest to our customers for a few reasons, but first let me explain what a roll out nest is in detail: Roll out nest boxes are a nest box with an inclined nest. Once the egg has been laid and the chicken leaves. The egg is free to move, since there is an incline, it will roll down the nest and into a small compartment to await your collection. The first reason to get a roll out nest is that chickens can start EATING THEIR OWN EGGS!!! How are you supposed to enjoy your breakfast if the girls enjoyed it before you collect the eggs? We at Stromberg's get called frequently and are asked what a customer can do to prevent egg eating. There are many reasons why egg eating starts: Not enough nesting boxes. Overcrowding your birds. Nutritional deficiencies leading to soft eggs (which then break and the birds eat them). Not enough nesting boxes. For whatever reason they start eating eggs they keep doing it for the same reasons I keep eating eggs…. they are nutritious and delicious. Once they have started eating eggs it is very hard to get them to stop (once again, just like me!!). A very simple and effective method is to simply remove the temptation. If you have a roll out nest the eggs are hidden away safe from the egg eating hens…. Problem solved! The next reason that I suggest roll out nests is SANITATION (a recurring theme). If you have been raising chickens long enough you know the birds can make a mess of their nest boxes. The last thing you want to be eating is an egg that is caked in waste or has been sitting in waste for hours before collection. With a roll out nest box the egg is rolled into the compartment which is covered and protected from getting waste into it. Eggs are porous so they can absorb some of the moisture that makes up that waste. Which I don't think anyone would like to think about eating that. A huge bonus is that your eggs will also need minimal washing if you have a rollout nest. This leaves the natural cuticle covering in place which is what protects the contents of the egg. Also, with less washing you will save TIME! So you can enjoy your chickens company instead of washing their cackleberries! Front or Rear Roll Out What is the difference between front and rear roll out nests? We supply both front and rear roll out nests. This means the nest will roll either front towards the front of the nest to be collected or towards the rear. Most people want front roll out nests. These are easier to install because you just hang them then collect from the front of the nest box. Rear rollout nest boxes need to be installed specifically for your coop. Since the eggs roll backwards you need to either cut a space behind the coop, or have a walkway behind the nests that allow for collection. The only nest box that allows that we offer that allows you to switch from front to rear roll out is the Single Hole Roll Out Nest Box. Quantity of Nest Boxes How many nest boxes do I need for my coop? You need to get one nest for every 4-5 hens in your flock. To minimize the space needed we sell nest boxes that are side by side and are stacked. This way you can have the nests needed but do not need to take up a lot of space in the coop. Nesting Box Perches What makes for a good chicken nest box perch? A good nesting box perch is sturdy enough so the birds can jump on and off of it especially if your nest boxes are up off of the ground, which they should be. The chickens need to use these to be able to jump up to the same level as the chicken nest box and then enter the nest box. Some of our chicken nest boxes come with plastic perches. These plastic perches are nice for the same reson the plastic nest boxes are nice. They can be cleaned and sanitized easier than wood perches. The next consideration for nest perches is if they are hinged to close off the nest boxes. Why would you want to close off the nest box? Chickens can develop bad habits like sleeping in the nest boxes. This can happen especially when your roosts are set up lower than the highest nest box. So what do you? The answer is simple close the nest boxes off and raise up your roosts. This should break the bad habit quickly. We offer these style nest boxes with hinged perches to close them off. Standard Nest Boxes Single Hole Roll Out Nest Boxes Roll Out Nest Boxes Big Bird Nest Boxes Rear Roll Out Nest Boxes The last thing you will need to look at is getting nesting material in your nest boxes. Look at this entry about nesting materials to find out the scoop on them! So now you know the ins and outs of nest boxes. Hopefully, your girls are laying and your enjoying those delicious farm fresh eggs!!! So keep on cracking,from all of us at Stromberg's!!!
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  • Pasty Butt Identification and Treatment

    Pasty Butt Identification and Treatment

    Pasty Butt Identification and Remedy Welcome to Stromberg's guide to identification and elimination to pasty butt We put together this article and video so that you can be more successful raising your baby chicks. One health issue you can run into when you are raising baby chicks is pasty butt also known as pasting up. Read or watch the video to help you to identify and treat this common issue. Pasty Butt Quick Facts Droppings accumulate under the vent blocking the birds from being able to defecate. Check you birds daily especially during the first week. It is easily eliminated with warm water and a paper towel or cloth. To prevent: make sure your birds are at the right temperature, have proper nutrition and are hydrated. Questions Answered by this article What is pasty butt? Why is pasty butt a problem? How do you identify pasty butt? How often do you check for pasty butt? How do you treat pasty butt? How do you prevent pasty butt? What is Pasty Butt Sometimes when reading about raising baby chicks you will hear the term pasty butt or pasting up. You think, gross! This won't happen to my little chickie babies! But in reality usually one or two will have an issue. The term pasty butt refers to the vent of the chick getting plugged or crusted over with manure. Runny droppings can accumulate on the downy feathers around the vent. This will eventually cause pasting over and will prohibit the chick from defecating any further. Why is pasty butt a problem? Why is this a problem? Well, because your baby chick is taking in a lot of food and water in the first couple of days and being unable to defecate can cause death. Eventually they will be able to take care of this for themselves with grooming, but until then, it is essential to your chick's life to check for and if necessary remove this daily. How do you identify pasty butt? You will identify pasty butt very easily. Al you need to do is flip over each chick and take a look at the vent area. This is the area right below the tail. If you see a piece of dried up manure or droppings over the vent this bird will need treatment(see the graphic below to help identify birds with issues). How often do you check for pasty butt? We suggest checking at least once daily for you new chicks. If you notice that you are having a problem you will want to check multiple times a day. Be certain you are checking each chick by having a box to separate the inspected chicks from the non inspected chicks. How do you treat pasty butt? The good news is that to do this is very simple: You will wet a cloth or paper towel using warm water. Use the warm water on the paper towel to soak the dried droppings. Gently wipe away any feces from the vent. If it is especially dried on; wet the area thoroughly and wait a couple of minutes. This will soften the manure and make easy to remove. Keep your chicks warm while you are in the process, they will chill easily. Also, do not just pull off the dried manure! You can cause injury to this delicate area and may cause infection. Usually Pasty Butt will disappear in a few days as the chick starts to grow! How do you prevent pasty butt? The good news is that to do this is very simple: You will wet a cloth or paper towel using warm water. Use the warm water on the paper towel to soak the dried droppings. Gently wipe away any feces from the vent. If it is especially dried on; wet the area thoroughly and wait a couple of minutes. This will soften the manure and make easy to remove. You can also use warm running water to just soak the manure and then work it out of the fluff with your fingers. Keep your chicks warm while you are in the process, they will chill easily. Also, do not just pull off the dried manure! You can cause injury to this delicate area by pulling the fluff and feathers off of the skin and may cause infection. Usually Pasty Butt will disappear in a few days as the chick starts to grow! How do you prevent pasty butt? I feel like there are steps to take that will help prevent pasty butt. However, regular checking for the problem will always be suggested. Here are some tips on prevention. Make sure you are feeding a commercial starter feed to your birds. We sell purina but there are many great brands of feed for you birds on the market. Use chick grit for your baby chicks. This will provide them with the proper "tools" to digest their food. Birds do not have teeth but instead use small stones or grit to grind the food once they have swallowed it and it has entered their system. Make sure that you are keeping your birds at the proper temperature. Chilled birds are more susceptible to pasting up. See our brooding baby chicks video to see proper brooding techniques. Be certain that your birds are hydrated. I suggest using two waterers. This way the birds will always have access to fresh water. Sometimes dominant chicks will block the weaker chicks from the waterer if there is only limited space at the waterers. From all of us hear at Stromberg's, good luck with your baby chicks!!
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  • Options For Watering Your Chickens During the Winter - Video

    Options For Watering Your Chickens During the Winter - Video

    Options for Watering Your Chickens in the Winter Explained Winter is coming and you might be thinking about how to keep your poultry waterers from freezing up? This is the video for you as we discuss winter waterers. I am Eric Stromberg and this is a video talking about keeping your birds hydrated during the winter months. Stromberg’s is located in Minnesota and I can tell you from experience it gets cold. It can get to 40 to 50 below zero here in Minnesota and I can tell you from experience UFFF DA that is cold! With this cold weather comes one very important challenge. Keeping your water for your birds from freezing. We all know the importance of providing clean water to your birds. They can drink 1 – 2 cups per day and this need does not diminish in the wintertime. We offer a few options and we are going to discuss those today. Here are the three different types of options that you can take a look at. Heater Bases, founts with built in heaters and Light Bulb Bases Between these options you should be able to make the right choice for your coop. We carry two options for heater bases. I like these the most because they are the most versatile. They work with any different style of waterers and when you are done with them for the season you can just rinse them off put them away and get them out again when the weather starts to cool off. Also they have a thermostat built into them. This is great because the unit will not turn on until it is needed to keep the water warm. This saves energy during the winter time which is one of the sneaky unseen costs of raising your birds! If you are living in an area that has larger temperature swings or are concerned about water freezing during the spring or fall when night time temps are low but daytime temps are high, then the thermostat is a must. The first is from miller manufacturing and you can find it here Electric Heater Base . This unit is 110 volt and 115 watts and will keep your water free and clear of ice up to -15 degrees. This unit is only approved for metal waterers so it would not be appropriate to have any plastic waterers in use with this model. The next unit is what we call the Automatic Electric Base . It too plugs into the standard 110-volt outlet and will use 100 watts of power. This unit is approved to 15 degrees above zero. Now I know what you’re thinking why the heck would you buy this one. However, the biggest reason is that it is approved for use with plastic waterers. Which are a popular choice for poultry hobbyist because they are easy to clean, do not rust and you can see your water levels. We offer two different heater bases because some people will want a lower wattage heater for the plastic bases and some like the higher wattage output and want to use the metal founts. Now I know what your thinking. How can you recommend a heater base in Minnesota that is only rated to 15 degrees above zero when you stated that temps can be well below zero. I can personally assure you that if you keep these fount heaters inside your coop that they don’t freeze up even at sub zero temperatures. You cannot have any drafts and they must be inside the coop but they do work in subzero temps. The manufacturer will not guarantee it but I have tested it. Also, you may want to start with warm water when filling your waterers to give them a bit of help during those subzero days. Alright on to the next option. Which is the built in heater base. This is the Heated 3 Gallon Poultry Fount that we offer. Also, you can convert it from summertime to winter time use. So it is the best of both worlds! Some founts do have the built in base but not the summertime base. By including the summertime base, you don’t have the wear and tear on your winter base during the summer months. Extending the life of your fount. The last option that we have here at Stromberg’s is this Small Fount Heater lightbulb model. This is based on an older design but still works great. This unit uses a 100-watt lightbulb to heat the waterer to keep it free of ice. Now if your weather is not as extreme or is more extreme you may want to use a higher or lower wattage bulb. Since this is an enclosed unit it is a much safer alternative to just using a 250 Watt light bulb. These can be popular where space is a factor and is also popular with people raising pigeons. Maybe you have a small coop or loft and this smaller unit would work great in your space. Now there are a couple of cons that we should discuss with this style. The first is that lightbulbs do burn out. So you will want to keep a close eye on this style of heater to make sure it is always operating properly. They also do not have a thermostat so they will run continuously for the winter. You will notice that we did not mention automatic watering. This is because it is very difficult to operate an automatic watering system during the winter time. Usually if you need to run automatic watering systems during the winter time you would need to heat your entire coop. This is becasue all of the connections between each of the watering cups or nipples would need to be kept above freezing which can be difficult. Also you would need a source for your water which is above freezing. In Minesota that would mean that we would have to have an pipe buried at 8 feet below the ground. For many of people raising poultry these obstacles are big enough where they do not want to try automatic waterers but instead use the options presented above. Now heres a simple safety tool for your coop is this small device which is an outlet cover . This covers your outlets and does not allow them to get water into them. We all know water and electricity do not mix so these are important to use! The last thing we are going to talk about is a safety issue in the coop. You will want to use a GFCI(ground fault circuit interrupter) plug in your coop. Well I am sure you have heard of these before, but what are they? Usually you see these outlets in your kitchen, your bathroom or outside. They are the outlets with the small buttons on them that say test arnd reset. I’m no electrician but this is my understanding of these– they keep you from getting shocked by sensing imbalances in the current in the line. So if the electricity starts going into your body instead of your water heater they shut off the power. These are a must for a poultry house where water and electricity are a must in cold weather. It is more advanced than a breaker because it does not just trip when there is too much power but rather cuts the power off if it is going somewhere wher it is not supposed to be going like your body. From all of us here at Strombergs enjoy your chickens even in the winter!
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  • Baby Bird Banding and Identification Video and Article

    Baby Bird Banding and Identification Video and Article

    Baby Chick Identification Options Spring is here and to many of us that means BABY CHICKS!! There can be one problem: how do you tell which is which? This article and video will help you solve this problem and make decisions when identifying and banding you baby chicks. Here we discuss both temporary and permanent solutions. The temporary solution is leg banding and the permanent solutions are the wing bands and toe punch. By permanent we mean that these marking methods will allow the bird to grow with no further interference from you. Why would you want to keep track of you baby chicks? Well, the answer varies from poultry fancier to poultry fancier but here are a few reasons. Breeding Program - One of the main reasons you would want to track your baby chicks is so that you know their lineage. So this would be done by using one of the methods that allows you to track the individual birds. Which means it needs to have numbers on them. Tracking a Breed - Sometimes a breed can be easily identified by the type of eggs or the chick marking so you want to tag them and id them right away so you can keep track of that bird. Age/Year of the birds - You may want to band your birds so you know how old they are. Layers are usually only laying a lot of eggs for about two years so if you have flock of mixed age birds you should band them so you know which birds belong in which age group. ***Stromberg's Tip*** The method for marking individual birds from chick to adult that we recommend at Stromberg's is the Jiffy wing band . Although it may seem like it is a more difficult approach than using leg bands it is actual much easier than it sounds. You will also not need to look after them as much as you would if you were trying to use leg bands. A leg band left unattended will grow into a bird's leg and will cause severe harm. See this video for how to apply Jiffy wing band (if you want to skip right to the application of a Jiffy wing band it starts at 10:15, not thinking, I put my favorite method at the end of the video). Temporary Methods of Identification Spiral Bands The spiral band is a very popular method of identification for birds of all ages. They are essentially a colored plastic key ring that you can slip over the bird's leg. The biggest strengths of them is that they are cheap and they are easy to apply. This makes them an ideal candidate to use in many applications. Their weakness is that they do not allow for marking of individual birds unless you have a very small flock or a very complex color coding system. So why would you use spiral bands for your flock? As previously stated they are easy to apply. If you are marking year classes in your birds for instance 2017 is green birds and then year 2018 is red. Then if you find in 2019 your egg production starts dipping you know that it is most likely your 2017 birds. Then you would know which birds they are… they are the birds with the green bands on. How do you mark your baby birds with spiral bands? This is very simple you would simply start with a size four our smallest spiral band size. Then we recommend that you would use every other size until they reach their adult size. So for most female chickens that take a size 11 when adults you would start with a four and work your way up to a size 11. Be certain to check frequently to make sure the baby birds are not growing into their leg bands. The leg bands should always be loose enough to move on the leg but not so loose as to slip over the foot. Bandettes Bandettes are also a great way to mark your birds for identification. They are very similar to spiral bands in that they are affordable and made out of colored plastic. However, there is one huge difference; they are marked with large easy to read numbers. This numbering is critical to identify individual birds. This is useful to mark individual birds. Many fairs use bandettes to keep track of birds that are coming in the door so the judges and keep track of which bird is which. Remember to order your leg bands early for your fair sometimes you have to turn in your numbering earlier than the fair so you would want to have them on hand when you are submitting your paperwork. Another use for numbering your birds is if you have a breeding program and you need to identify which two birds were bred together for a specific bird you would just keep record that blue 33 and red 40 mated and that you banded their offspring with yellow 12. From that point forward you would know which pairing you did and what the lineage that your bird came from. Now if your records are complete you can build a very accurate picture of your birds genetic traits and how your breeding program is going. A breeding program is only as strong as its records so numbering your birds is key! So know for the weaknesses of the bandette. Although they are great for marking birds temporarily they can fall off a birds leg. I have heard of some breeders using two bands that are the same number and color one for each leg. That way if one falls off they still know which bird it is. However, if your knowing your bird's unique id is critical you should probably use a more permanent form of identification. How do you mark your baby birds with bandettes? This is the same concept as used with the spiral bands. For a bandette you would start with a size five our smallest bandette size. Then we recommend that you would use every other size until they reach their adult size. So for most female chickens that take a size 11 when adults you would start with a five and work your way up to a size 11. The difference here is that you would want to get the same number and color sequence so you can trace the bird color and number as it grows. Be certain to check frequently to make sure the baby birds are not growing into their leg bands. The leg bands should always be loose enough to move on the leg but not so loose as to slip over the foot. Numbered Zip Ties The number zip tie is used very similarly for marking as the numbered bandette. The nice thing about the numbered zip tie is that you do not need to know the size of the band. The down side is that they are harder to remove than the bandettes and once removed they are not reusable. We suggest using a wire snip and clipping the band off as the bird grows. And then reapplying the same number and color of band to the bird. However once a numbered zip tie is attached unlike the bandette it is very hard to remove which can be a good thing. Permanent Marking Methods These methods are permanent and will grow with the baby birds. The two methods that we discuss are going to be toe punching and wing bands. The toe punch works great for identifying a group of birds quickly and easily for instance if you punch all of your 2017 birds right leg right toe web. You will always know that those birds were your 2017 birds. The wing bands have numbers and colors and will work great for identifying groups of birds or specific birds. Toe Punches The toe punches are a great tool and is very easy to use. You can mark the birds at a very young age and it will stay with the bird for it's life time. How you use this is to just punch between the webbing of the birds toes and it will "punch" a hole. Make sure you check the hole a week after you have done it and remove any scabbing. This hole does not go away and allows you to distinguish between birds. For a specific example of how to do this see the video at the time 8:40. There are 16 different variations of toe punching and here is the link to the printable file. Use this so you can make sure you know which group is which. Toe Punch Marking Variation Sheet Jiffy Wing Bands We feel this is the easiest way to mark your baby chicks. This allows for permanent marking of your birds. Just like us getting our ears pierced the band is placed in an area where there are no major blood vessels and there isn't structure. All you do is crimp the band through the wing back onto itself. See time 10:15 for instructions on how to do this. These are also numbered and colored so keeping track of specific birds is very easy to do. These work great for breeding programs and are a must to keep track of your birds! Here is a picture of the band applicator plier with an open band and a closed band. Here is a picture of the wing structure and your target. Finally here is a picture of an actual bird wing and the target you are aiming for. So this should be all you need to know to successfully band a bird from baby to adult. If you have any questions feel free to call us here at Stromberg's. Good luck and enjoy your birds!!
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