|Mildred in molt with one lone tail feather left|
Do you keep records on your chickens? With backyard chicken keeping becoming more and more popular and homesteading taking hold, keeping records of our flocks is very important. In addition, most veterinarians are not avian specialists and finding one that is an avian specialist is not easy. Even then, more of them specialize in exotic birds, not chickens.
|Alice in the foreground at two days old and Myrtie not even 12 hours old|
For example, I recently, at 18 weeks, begin to let Alice & Myrtie eat layer crumbles. Because I feed them medicated chick starter and it has 20% protein, they needed to be switched to adult layer rations of 16-18%. Adult layers rations also contain a higher level of minerals that may damage the kidneys of birds that are not laying.1 I am currently waiting to see when Alice & Myrtie will begin to lay. Because I know their exact ages from my records, I know they are 21 weeks old and could begin laying anytime between now and after Christmas.
|Example of Xcel record|
Keep track of names, breed, age, first lay day or first crow, vaccinations, order & receive date on chicks or hatch date, illnesses & treatment, injuries & treatment, broodiness, incubator or candling dates. You name it you can record it for your chickens and a have a handy resource when you need it.
|Part of my spring 2014 order saved to a word doc|
I personally keep track of most everything and I’ll probably add things to keep track of as my flock keeps experiencing chicken math. Speaking of chicken math, I just ordered some new chicks for spring, I copied and pasted the order into my “Chicken” file.
My first round of records started as a Word document and then I graduated to Xcel because I wanted organized categories. As I said, I’m sure my records will continue to morph as time goes on but here’s a sample of my Xcel doc.
1. Willis, Kimberly; Ludlow Rob; Raising Chickens for Dummies, How to Choose Commercial Chicken Feed; 2009, For Dummies