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  1. Since we began raising Silkies in May, we have slowly gravitated toward them as our exclusive chickens. They are easy to raise, the hens seem to make good mothers, and the Chinese (and others) apparently love this breed over all others to eat. Recently, we brought two of these little guys from the farm, as we are keeping the larger chicks - a couple months old, up to full grown chickens, at the farm. In this case, I am very happy that we did. Most of the Silkies tend to shy away from us naturally. However, these two little guys have been like children ever since we got them to the house. You can hold them indefinitely. They will stay in your hand as long as you let them. They love to be held and will chirp endlessly if put back in their box. Yep. Spoiled rotten already. Anyway, here are some photos of them from yesterday: Born: July 28th, 2014
  2. Randy, the one in the hatching video (posted at the bottom of this post), is the first chick to successfully hatch in the incubator. The other seven in this video were hatched by a hen. Randy and siblings, in the coop at the house. They will be moved to the farm very soon. Randy is the cockerel standing on the piece of wood at the end of this video. 14 more chicks will be put in the coop in their place. Randy, the day he hatched, July 3rd, 2014.
  3. Randy (or Randi) about to meet its siblings. Brewster the Rooster, nails anything in sight. First and second hens setting. The third hen setting on her eggs. Broody hen looking for "her" nest. Chicks arriving home.
  4. Parrothead

    Passin' out the cigars!

    Well, it's paid off, kinda. About an hour or so ago, our first little Silkie chicken hatched in the incubator. This is my first successful hatch. The little things lungs work well, I can tell ya that. It has been chirping since before it was completely out of the shell.
  5. Our original "two day old chicks" purchased on the 25th of March, and our 41 additional chicks purchased five days later, are all now 70 days old, or 10 weeks, one day old. One died from wrye neck. One was given away to a family member last week. So, we are now down to 59 birds of the original flock. This flock is now on their 3rd sack of 30 kilos of maintainer feed, plus 1 sack of 30 kilos of grower feed, plus 5 kilos of grower feed on the day we bought the first 20 birds. So, all in all, they have consumed most all of that feed (the current sack has only been feeding them for two days), plus various fruits and veggies we have given them along the way. The largest chickens are over 1.5 kilograms. The smallest are over 1.0 kilograms Each full sack has cost us $18.75, plus $3.75 for the first 5 kilos. This comes to a total of $78.75, plus fruits and veggies in the amount of $22.00. So, about $100.00 USD to raise 61 chickens to twelve weeks old. (Bear in mind, the current sack of feed will last almost two weeks.)
  6. Before I post this update, I want to say this has been a learning experience for me. It has also been somewhat costly for me - but not nearly as costly as it could have been. Either way, maybe I can save others headaches and money, by posting threads as I learn. Onward. We have been busy. In the past few weeks, we have built a second chicken house, had one chicken end up with wry neck, moved the first flock of chicks out to the farm, and have started making plans for future housing for more birds - and extending the Chicken King's Empire throughout Cambodia! Okay, maybe that is a bit much. But, if we can house a few more birds here and there, the few extra bucks earned will be worth it. Our first babies - 60 of them in all (minus the one that was already at the farm, below), were moved to new digs on Tuesday, just under two weeks back. As you can see in the photo below, they made themselves at home right away: Anyway, if you recall, one of the chicks ended up with a case of Wry Neck (fotos in this post), prior to the transfer. I didn't have the heart to cull (kill) the little guy. (Dumb arse me.) So, we sent it out to the farm with the intention of keeping it isolated from the other chicks. This newbie (READ: That's me, the dumb arse) at keeping chickens found that to be a lesson to be learned, when one of Chan's relatives did the unthinkable, after we transferred the other 60 chicks to the farm. I won't make that mistake ever again. The cost is far too high, to allow one chick to possibly destroy an entire flock of birds. On the 26th of April, we dispatched the little guy. He / She was not doing well. We had transferred it to the farm on the 21st. So, folks, if you are considering raising chickens, especially any amount of birds you would NOT want to lose, do NOT keep a bird alive that could spread anything to the rest of the flock. It may cost you more than you will ever know. I certainly didn't want to lose 100 birds because of one. Lesson #1 learned. On a lighter note, here is a much cheaper lesson in efficiency and money saving. Some time back I purchased a large feed dispenser, trying to think ahead for when the birds were bigger. In the brooder / coop at the apartment, we primarily use feed trays, like the blue ones pictured below: But, I knew we would need something larger once the chicks were transferred to the farm and housed in a larger coop. It was a spur of the moment purchase that seemed like a good idea at the time. However, that dispenser really needs some modifications to its design, in order to stop the birds from spilling large quantities of food from it. Do not buy one of these dispensers. Trust me, here. Whether set on the ground, or hanging, it is not a very efficient way to feed the flock. Not to mention the birds jump on it, and in it, to feed. They drop litter all in the feed as well. Lesson #2 learned. This is the dispenser I am talking about: So, while online a day or two ago, I noticed that someone had posted an image on a friend's Facebook wall. It happened to be a chicken feeder made from PVC pipe. I had seen these types of feeders before, but had not really given much attention to them. We went to the farm yesterday (Saturday). It just so happened that Chan's mom mentioned how much the birds jump on and in the feeder, causing it to spill valuable feed - in no small quantities. (The birds had spilled so much feed, that the family ended up putting a plastic sheet down to catch the feed. Amazing. I had just the answer to this little issue. It was a simple design that I remembered seeing the day or so before. I figured we could make up one or two and try them out at the farm. We did and they work well. Here is the information and photos of the PVC chicken feeders: 1 - 4 meter length of 4" Schedule 40 PVC pipe. 2 - 90 degree elbows, 4" Schedule 40 PVC. 2 - 45 degree elbows, 4" Schedule 40 PVC. 1 - small can of PVC glue (which I ended up not using). Total cost, $13.00 USD. I will pick up two more elbows (1 - 45 and 1 - 90 degree) so we can make one more feeder from the left over pipe at the farm.
  7. A friend (who shall remain nameless, unless he chooses to tell) has ordered, and shipped a new 300 egg incubator to me. He (and I) wants to see what I can do regarding incubating some fertilized eggs. Anyway, I have calculated that, after one full month of incubating, we could incubate up to 500 eggs per month in this unit. The incubator is fully automatic, including an automatic egg "turner". It doesn't really turn the eggs. It actually changes the angle of the (suspended) trays by a timed motor. You can set the interval at any time you wish. Typically, chicken eggs should be turned three to four times daily. It also has UV lighting to help keep the air pure inside the incubator. Humidity is kept in check, and is generated by an open tank of water with a float valve and pump that fills the tank from an eternal resource.Three computer sized cooling fans run constantly, circulating the air throughout the incubator and over the water source. After such a long trip, and a bit of cosmetic damage to the unit, I tested it for some time to make sure all functions were in proper working order. Check. Below are some photos. If you look closely at the opened door views, you can see the egg "turner" in two positions: Control Panel:
  8. First, we have 61 chicks. Today, in fact, they are 4 weeks old. Tonight, while watching them, I felt as though something was wrong. There is a box inside the coop where they sleep, that was turned away out of direct sight. I grabbed a piece of bamboo, opened the door, and pulled the box around so I could view inside it. One of the chicks, the original 20 (one of the large black ones) was walking around with its head hanging down. If I were to compare it to something, it looks as though the little guy is walking around with a broken neck. Chan seems to think he has no food in his stomach, as though he hasn't been eating. We are going to administer meds, try to get the little guy to eat and see how it goes. I hope the little guy ends up okay. Dang. I was just bragging today as to how proud I was to have such a healthy flock of birds.
  9. The above quote couldn't have been posted at a more appropriate time. You recall we had one chick sent to the farm to be watched, and isolated from the other birds? Keep that in mind a few minutes, please. So, this morning, up before first light and the chickens. We planned on taking the chicks to the farm this morning, and wanted to do so before it got too hot. A bit late starting out, as we had to stop by a supply store and pick up a couple of rolls of chicken wire to finish off the new digs at the farm. Got 'em all boxed up, meds and vitamins packed, food packed, larger water and food dispensers packed and ready to go. Off we went down the road. Arrived before the sun was too high in the morning sky. We unloaded the birds, took the boxes into the new (walk in) chicken house, and opened 'em up. Three boxes, three Khmers, unloading and counting. 60 birds? Check, 60 birds present. (One in seclusion, isolated, if you recall above.) Man, were they happy! Diggin' around in the cool dirt to have a bath in. Not nearly as hot there, as it is here. Even had a nice breeze blowing there. So, those chicks are going to be quite happy. Anyway, we (READ: I) noticed one of the large water dispensers (that you hang from the ceiling) was cracked and definitely would leak. So, off the boss and I went to get another one to replace it with. Got back, filled the water with pretty fresh rain water from the storage tanks, and I put it in the chicken house. Sitting there, watching the flock, I started to feel a bit bad, because I had not even checked on the little guy who had Wrye Neck, a few nights before. So, I asked Chan if the isolated chick had any water and food. She, in turn, asked the family, rather than going and looking. The next news I got, chilled me to the bone, and pissed me off beyond belief. Yep. Sure enough. "Paul, he put the chick in with the others after we left to get the water dispenser." After throwing everything from my hands, picking up and throwing a chair, and raising my voice enough so they could hear it in Phnom Penh, I asked her why in hell he would have done such a stupid thing? She said she didn't know he would do it. He didn't know the chick was supposed to be isolated. So, you come home from the land (they were planting crops before this morning when he returned home), see this one chick off by himself, and say, "Boy, wouldn't he like to be in with his friends?!" That, is, rather than querying yourself, and then others, as to why a chick would be in isolation away from the rest of the flock. Either way, he came over, walked inside the chicken house, looks at the birds, and picks one from the 61 birds walking and laying around their new digs. Ya know, I am curious here. I wonder how in hell he would have a clue as to which, specific bird was the one with wrye neck, especially since the bird had shown NO symptoms in over two days. In my mind, I feel that we just played the lotto - or would that be Russian Roulette? And, we will not know if we won, or splattered our brains all over the floor, very soon. I tell ya, I begin to think they are ready for the next step, and then they prove what an idiot I am for thinking such a stupid thing in the first place. They simply, without a doubt, without a second thought, have no clue as to what they need to do, in order to properly provide for the chickens. Of course, if they lose them all, why should they care? They have zero dollars invested. I am the rich foreigner who can afford to start this all over again. Yeah, right. I have a headache. I just walked over to the motorbike, started it up, and drove off toward home. I am here now, and need some rest to cope with this. A couple more photos:
  10. Okay. So, I finally got hold of the vaccination for the birds I am now raising. But, first, we did drop by one place, and rang the other supplier, to ask if they had in fact vaccinated the birds prior to us receiving them. Both said they did. Maybe they did, maybe they didn't - I don't know for sure. However, there is NO doubt, I am talking zero doubt here, that they have not been vaccinated now. I know, because we did it today, for sure. The stuff comes in two bottles, kept refrigerated until mixed. Here is what you get when you buy the "Var'ceen (វ៉ាក់សាំង) or VARK'SUNG": One bottle is pure liquid. The other is some sort of crystals. Take a needle and plunger, stick it in the liquid bottle and fill the plunger. Take it out, inject it into the bottle of crystals and fill that bottle mostly full. Shake it until well mixed. Fill the plunger with the mixture, remove it from that bottle and inject, and fill the previous bottle (the one with all the liquid). Repeat until all the crystals have dissolved and have been mixed with the liquid, and have been transferred to the larger bottle with the liquid in it. Shake. Insert the little injector / dispenser thingy (the third item in the photo above). Grab one chick and hold it so it's head is turned with its eye facing you. Gently squeeze one drop into the bird's eye. Turn the bird's head (or its entire body) over and repeat. Total cost for both items and the injector / dispenser thingy was 7,500r or just under $2.00 USD. This mixture will treat up to 100 birds to prevent Newcastle disease from being spread to them.
  11. Firstly, you gotta love living in SE Asia - a junkies haven. Go to the farm supply place and get a syringe and needle, no questions asked, dispensed to anyone that comes in. The same at Pharmacies around the country, I'd bet. Anyway, the issue I have is a calculation for vitamins. It's a 100 ml container - bottle. It reads, "One part (20 ml) to 40 liters of water." This is for "Normal Conditions". It reads, "One part (20 ml) to 20 liters of water." This is for "Intensive Conditions". Both mixes are to be fed to them 3 to 5 days per week. My first question is, what would be considered "Intensive Conditions"? Second question - more of a concern here is, please verify my math here. 20 ml to 40 liters would be 100 ml to 200 liters. So, this should be 1/2 ml to 1 liter for normal conditions and 1 ml to 1 liter for intensive conditions, right? Just making sure here.
  12. Probably not exactly what you thought. Let me explain. A little while back, before we got the first chicks we have now, a driver told us that he would keep us in mind the next time he had chicks. He rang today. 2,500r per chick, no minimum. We met him, asked him to wait for us to go fetch some other watering bottles, and off we went. A little FYI: The ducklings are 1,500r each. Came back, he followed us to the house and she counted out 30 chicks. He only had 11 left. He offered 1 free if we bought the last 10. I countered at buying 8 more and getting 3 free. He quickly agreed. Obviously, I should have started at a lower number. So, now we have another 41 chicks. Yes, 41. This brings the total to 61 chicks in all. We will keep these little ones separated from the others for a couple of days, to make sure they are okay. He said these little guys are 1 week old today. Just so happens, so are our original birds. EDIT: Merged posts
  13. Still have to make some changes. Gotta work on the gravity fed water system too. May hang the watering bottles from the ceiling until I can sort out the gravity feed system. So, guys and girls, whatcha think? 20 meters - 1.5" x 2.0" lumber - $20 1 saw - 9,000r ($2.25) 2 poles - 3 meters each - $4.00 1 roll of chicken wire - 28,000r ($7.00) 1 shovel - 15,000r ($3.75) 3 bundles bamboo - 19,500r ($4.88) 1 saw - $4.00 2.5 kilos nails - $3.25 1 hammer- $2.00 1 chisel - 3,000r (.75c US) 23 meters - 1.5" x 2.0" lumber - $23 4 meters - plastic floor "wire" - $5.00 Various latches, hinges, screws - $3.50 4 M2 metal roofing - $10 $93.00 materials and tools ==================== 3 tuk tuk trips - $10 (transportation / moving) =============== Labor - $20 (3 days) $123 USD Total
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