Star Milling

When it Comes to Chick Season, Winter is the New Spring

Raising baby chicks has traditionally been a springtime activity. Chicks fit right in with the sense of renewal and new life that spring brings. In years past, when mother hens raised their babies “the old-fashioned way,” spring was the perfect time to do it. But nowadays we have brooders and heat lamps, and chicks can be raised just about year-round.

Have you ever considered raising chicks in the fall or winter? There are some considerable advantages you might want to know about!

  1. Work with the weather, not against it.

    Your chicks will be kept warm and cozy all winter long in their brooder under their heat lamp. By the time they have grown big enough to live outdoors, it should be warm enough for them to thrive. Some say that chickens who finish maturing during a spring chill are hardier birds.

    Shipping day-old chicks is less risky during cooler months because there is a real threat of overheating while being shipped in spring or summer. Raising chicks in the winter also gives them time to grow larger and be less prone to dehydration before the grueling summer temperatures hit.

  2. She’s got eggs!

    Egg production is at its peak in spring and summer and at its lowest in fall and winter, due to the length of daylight. Since young hens begin laying at around 5-6 months old, chicks raised in fall will be ready to lay eggs as soon as spring comes around instead of not laying until the following year (as often happens with spring chicks).

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The Right Treats for Horses

By Dr. Robert E. Bray, Equine Nutritionist

Many horse owners love offering a tasty treat to their horse as a reward or during a “bonding moment,” especially during the holidays. Just keep in mind that treats are just that – a treat – and they’re perfectly fine as long as you go about it the right way.

  • Only feed a small amount.
  • Be frugal with the frequency of treating your horse.
  • Be mindful of the size and texture of the treat. Horses may be more aggressive when consuming pleasant-smelling treats, causing them to chew less and increase the risk of choke.

Carrots: I do not recommend feeding carrots to horses. Carrots are solid, stiff foods that break off into chunks and do not soften very well with saliva. If the horse is an aggressive eater or has dental issues, the carrot’s texture provides a risk for choke. If you do feed carrots, please keep a close eye on the horse during consumption.

Apple: Instead of feeding the whole apple, cut it into slices instead. An apple corer used for forming small wedges is about the right size. One medium size apple contains approximately 19 grams of sugar.

Orange peel: During my years packing in the Sierra Mountains and the Montgomery Wild Horse Pass, feeding leftover orange peel was popular with my horses. Orange peel is mostly fiber and a few other nutrients. You are feeding a very small amount so the nutrient profile is insignificant anyway.

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