Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Watering poultry

Watering poultry

  You've made an investment in your livestock and making sure your livestock has a fresh clean water supply is very important. Water should be changed daily if you are not using a pressurized water system. Wild animals will want to use your poultry water supply and this poses a health threat to your livestock. If you can keep your water supply clean this will reduce the stress on your poultry and improve the health of your flock.

Chicken nipples

Poultry nipples are a fairly new way of safely watering your poultry.They allow you to water your poultry and keep wild birds out of your water supply and from spreading disease.

 It is a more sanitary method of watering your poultry . They are a miniature version of the watering nipple used for dogs and larger livestock. You can attach these to buckets as you see here or they can be attached to pressurized water systems. You should use two or more nipples in case one gets clogged or if you have a lot of poultry.

 Two things should be kept in mind.  The cheapest source is usually eBay. The second thing to keep in mind is that chickens will not learn to drink from these on their own . Simply tie a string to one of the nipples and let it drip. After a day or so the chickens will know where to get their water . The buckets need to be cleaned from time to time, but all in all they work well during the summer. In winter I am back to using a rubber bowl.
    I only have turkeys and chickens at this time so I don't know how well it works for other birds. It should be noted that I am still trying to get the turkeys to use the nipples.

During the winter months I use a rubber feed dish. These feed dishes are made from recycled tires,come in a variety of sizes and will last forever. They remain flexible during the winter months (Unless you live in sub freezing temperatures, in which case everything breaks.) when the water freezes and makes it easy to remove ice. When using this type of waterier it's important to change the water daily, as wild birds will leave droppings in the water spreading disease.
(note) this type of dish should never be used around baby chicks as they will fall in and drown.
    During the winter months chickens have a tendency not to drink enough water. A heated watering dish will encourage the chickens to drink more water. An additional benefit to a heated watering dish is that the hens will lay more eggs during the winter months. Although heated watering dishes are expensive, homemade watering dishes can be made with a light bulb under a metal pan. It should also be noted that during the winter months it is a good idea to add minerals to the water. 
These mason watering jars for baby chicks are made from galvanized metal, left and glass on the right. both are dishwasher safe and will last a lifetime. The glass one on the right has been in my family for over 50 years and the only thing that I have had to replace on it is the jar. I do not recommend plastic for several reasons. One it is designed to the biodegradable which means they will rot in the sun after a year or two and the other is for about the same amount of money you can find the metal or glass ones. In addition as the plastic heats up in the sunlight it leaches chemicals into the water.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Golden turkeys

With the price of gold over $1600 an ounce, I thought it would be good to relate a story about gold nuggets in the turkey gizzards. This is a story that my father and uncle told me about how they found gold nuggets in the turkey gizzards. At the time my father and his oldest brother were left to manage the farm, while the rest of the family went to California to work. One day after selling some of the old breeding stock to a butcher in Reno, Nevada my father got a phone call from the butcher. The butcher wanted to know if he could get more of those turkeys and was willing to pay three times the normal price. Now breeding stock is tough and only good for making soup. My father wanted to know why his turkeys were in such demand, so he did some investigation. After a few phone calls my father learned that the butcher was finding gold nuggets in the turkey gizzards. My uncle and my father immediately butchered a couple of turkeys and sure enough they did find small gold nuggets. But where did the turkeys get the gold nuggets from? In those days turkeys were herded much like cows into open fields for feed. And in the process of feeding on alfalfa they periodically pick up bits of gravel and sand. They are especially attracted to anything shiny and will eat it just to find out what it is. Turkeys and other birds use this grit in their gizzards to chew up their food. They do not have any teeth so they swallow their food whole. Well one thing led to another and they ended up butchering the entire flock of 300 turkeys. They searched for months trying to find the gold on the old homestead, but never did find the source. The only conclusion they could come up with is that some old prospector lost his gold pouch and the turkeys founded it. When everything was said and done, they had managed to collect enough gold from the gizzards to replace the flock of turkeys, before their parents returned home from California. To this day no one knows where the turkeys got the gold from but people still go looking for the legendary Golden turkey gizzards. The moral to the story ; don't always be in a hurry to throw out those gizzards when you are butchering. Those turkeys and chickens may be worth more than you know!