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Peachick Grammie
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 28, 2009 11:18 pm Reply with quote

Everyone I talk to from experienced breeders to the guy at the feed store says never ever put your peachicks on the ground. If they are born in the wild they are on the ground...right? So where did this philosophy come from.

I purchased an 8 x 8 pop up screen tent. Two sides are shade and the rest are screen. I take my chicks inside it and teach them to eat grass and they have plenty of space to run and flap around in 100% safety. I don't do this every day. I move the tent around to a different part of the yard on usually a combination of grass and gravel. I stay in the tent with them the entire time which is usually about an hour or so. It has helped with merging my 7 chicks (white and IBs) ranging from 2 months to 3 weeks.

What am I risking...if anything...by doing this?

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eberhardt22



Joined: 20 Jun 2009
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2009 12:06 am Reply with quote

im not an expert but i think the only thing you are really risking is parasites like worms. From what i understand the chicks can eat worm eggs with the grass. but i have no clue if im right
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peadude



Joined: 06 Apr 2009
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2009 11:34 am Reply with quote

This is also my first year with chicks, so I am just repeating what I have learned in the last few months. I like to take my chicks out and let them play on the ground and do it in a very similar fashion as you. What the concern is for the babies, as Eberhardt said, is blackhead which they can get from paracites in and on the ground and ground cover. I think we are taking a risk, be it very small considering the time they spend outside. But, I would not recommend placing them on the ground permanently until they are six months old or until the first heavy frost. This way, the chicks will have a more developed immune system and the frost will kill the germs. At three months of age, I am planning to put the peas in an elevated cage inside my pen which will keep them off the ground and away from predators and their poop. I have eggs in the incubator now and must (hopefully) make room for more.

Hope this helps, and others are welcome to correct me if they need to. Good luck with your chicks. They sure are fun!
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featherhead
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2009 3:15 pm Reply with quote

Don't forget about the chicks contracting coccidia, which lives in the soil and is not killed by freezing at any temperature. I could be wrong, but it seems that coccidia can kill chicks much quicker than worms. What experience/opinions do others have about this?

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Kevin
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2009 3:37 pm Reply with quote

Main basic difference between wild and domestic: in wild birds are generally much more spread out and domestics are 'highly concentrated' in a much smaller area, especially so for birds kept in pens. So parasite/disease load can be very different. Can be sparse in wild and incredibly high levels under a pen or in the yard due to repeated traffic/high concentration of area receiving poop.

Another main difference is some diseases aren't present in the wild native lands(and vice versa). Domestic and not so domestic animals can come from completely different regions of the world where they would never have met naturally and then there they are, in the same 30 X 30 pen.. For example chickens normally do not get sick from black head and don't have as much problem with some worms yet they can shed those into the ground.. making the pen or the yard a "hot zone" as far as peafowl are concerned. This is why some peafowl breeders(and also turkeys- they get killed by blackhead too) advise against having chickens with peafowl. Not all chickens have black head, but they can get infected and become shedding carriers. Tricky part is you can't tell by looking at them to tell which ones have it and which don't.

Wild birds do get sick but they usually get rapidly killed by predators or die due to no treatment so it may seem all the live birds look great but behind the forest curtain are a lot of birds that did get sick and die.. just can't see them. So it's entirely possible in the wild 50% or more of chicks get killed by disease or worms and we wouldn't even know about that unless we went out and studied them in the wild in very close detail.
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Peachick Grammie
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2009 4:19 pm Reply with quote

Are coccidia and blackhead the same thing? Their feed is medicated. I only have 3 adult peafowl in a coop that is part white playground sand and part cedar deck. It is extremely clean as I picked up the poo at least once per day...usually twice. I put fresh sand every 7-10 days...sometimes more often than that. I move the pop up tent around being especially careful not to put it where there has been greyhound poop and don't do it on days like today following hard rain. My birds do not come into contact with other birds and I did worm the adults just before mating season.

What is the earliest you can do a "routine" worming on peachicks?

I would not be surprised if the mortality rate on peachicks in the wild is higher than 50%. With the nests on the ground like they are I would think a hen would be doing good to save 2 out of 6. As hard as it is to keep one alive in the best of conditions I sometimes wonder how they even manage to exist in the wild.

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bcraft



Joined: 09 Nov 2007
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2009 6:01 pm Reply with quote

yes keeping them off the ground give the chicks time to build up immunity to coccidiosis, thats why you feed medicated feed also.

Keeping them on wire, just help the odd that you will raise all. Yes in the wild some will live,but many dont.

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featherhead
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2009 7:10 pm Reply with quote

Hi Susan ~ I'm not sure we answered your questions about coccidia versus blackhead. These are two different illnesses.

Coccidia is a microscopic intestinal parasite. It lives in the soil and is carried by many different creatures. Some strains infect birds, others infect mammals. Wild birds are also carriers of coccidia. Symptoms include black, watery stool; sometimes there will be blood in the stool when the parasite load is heavy. This is a critical stage, and when the disease gets this far, it's usually not good news for the bird/wild animal/domestic animal. They literally bleed out. Amprolium is a coccidiostat that's often added to starter feed to protect chicks until they develop an immune system.

Blackhead is also known as histomoniasis. You'll see a white, watery stool with yellowish droppings. Antibiotics will treat blackhead but they will not cure coccidia, and vice versa.

Whenever one of your birds doesn't seem to be itself, or gets droopy and lethargic, first thing to do is check the poo.

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Peachick Grammie
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 30, 2009 12:02 am Reply with quote

I have been a nurse for wow 25 years (just now did the math) and its ALWAYS about the poo! Rolling Eyes

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Kevin
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 30, 2009 2:10 am Reply with quote

featherhead had excellent answer as for the diseases.

Different species have different 'solutions' as to how to keep their species going. Some simply produce thousands of eggs/sperm and "let 'em loose" and just hope that one or two will survive to adult hood.

The other solution is fewer young but with more parental investment. Peafowl go this way with much fewer but much larger eggs. Notice the chicks come out already having good sized feathers on their wings? They have yet another "solution"- being very long lived with potentially 10+ breeding seasons available to each bird. So a peahen that makes it to adult hood will have several years with several broods so even if she loses more than 50%, let's say there might be 5-10 final total of hers that survive long enough to breed.. that's more than enough to keep the population stable and even increase(assuming the breeding population is not getting killed off at such a high rate too).
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jadobber



Joined: 28 Nov 2007
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2009 3:44 am Reply with quote

I raise most of my young on wire...BUT there is one exception to this..Pure javas and high percentage spaldings,,,should be raised on the ground..The wire is really hard on there legs. As a really good example,,,my first spalding chick,,,has to be put down as it pulled 1 leg for sure out and the second isn't much better...When it comes to my javas and spaldings,,,I try to put them on wire for the first couple of days and then to pens that I have on the ground. Much better for there leg development. AND yes,,,,it does mean worming them younger. I usually start to worm about 7 or 8 weeks of age..The high green blood or anything on the ground,,,4 to 5 weeks..And unlike many people out there I am religious about worming..Usually 4 times a year..Switching around wormers...Julie
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DMFarms
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 02, 2009 10:39 am Reply with quote

Hi Susan
I think the sooner they are off the wire the better. All of our chicks are left in brooders for 4 to 5 weeks they are move to 6x8 pens in the barn with cement floors with sand on them. They are then wormed. They will stay there till they are 2 1/2 or 3 months old then move to outside pens they are 10x30. We worm chicks ever 3 to 4 weeks and we also use metronidazole to prevent blackhead. Peachicks need room to get exercise. We have done this for several years and has work well for us.
Doug
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Kevin
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 03, 2009 12:52 am Reply with quote

OK since some are reporting their peachick raising methods, I'll toss mine in.

I'm lucky to live in a very dry area. Normal year, no rain at all from about mid April to either October/November, give or take a couple weeks either way.

At my place, peachicks can be on the ground from day one-or literally hatch on ground if being hatched by chickens or peahens. I agree with Doug that lots of room for exercise seems to be excellent for them. Probably Greens and high percentage Spaldings in particular. My first Spaldings, I was SO scared of losing them and refused to let them touch the ground for months. Finally I had to give in and let them into a 10 x 30 pen. The first thing the male one did was try to fly up onto a perch.. to my horror not even a foot off ground, he suddenly "tensed up" and crashed flat on the ground.. He broke his wing. It broke just from flapping his wings! I removed all perches immediately All of the spaldings had very sore wings and legs for the next two days. Thankfully they all recovered well over the few weeks, although the broken wing male was never able to fully extend his wing again.. The India Blues that was with them didn't have this problem, interestingly.

Ever since, it's been my policy to have Greens and Spaldings in particular, to be raised by hens/mothers to moved to covered dog runs ASAP.. I do this with Indians too, though as I love seeing the babies fly and run around with a lot of room available. I do realize I am very lucky to be able to have these kind of setups though..
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