Episode 53.

In this episode, we talk about Max’s flea allergy, help a listener with a predator issue, discuss whether it is a bad idea to buy hatching eggs, and try to figure out if Don is a biosecurity hypocrite.

Max’s Flea Allergy

Our Captain of the Canines, Max, has been struggling with itchy skin the entire summer. It started off with him scratching like he had fleas, but he has always been on a full-time flea preventative. As the summer became hotter and wetter, his skin became noticeably inflamed and Max looked miserable. We ended up taking him to the vet and discovered he is allergic to fleas. Who know there was such an allergy?

What About Hatching Eggs?

Our good listener Andy asked us what we thought about ordering hatching eggs online.

This last spring, we ordered some hatching eggs from a breeder in northeast Florida in an attempt to inject some new blood into our own line of Barred Plymouth Rocks. All in all, I would say we are happy with the experience.

One thing to be aware of is that hatching eggs sent through the mail tend to have a low hatch rate. Whereas the completion rate of incubated eggs from our own chickens is between 50% and 85%, it is not uncommon for mail-order hatching eggs to have a rate of 25% or lower.

Other than the low hatch rate, I like the idea that when the eggs hatch the chicks can go straight to the brooder. If you order baby chicks online, they will spend two or three days in the mail before you can put them in your brooder and get them started on growing into big healthy chickens.

Predator Strike

Our good listener Kim had a sad incident where a predator wiped out her adult flock. She has a set of chicks in the brooder but she wants to make sure that they will be protected when they are big enough to go out to the coop.

We spend some time discussing building a protected run area, switching to a chicken-tractor style coop, getting a dog, and maybe even getting a guard donkey.

Is Don a Biosecurity Hypocrite?

When people ask about buying chickens locally, we often advise them to see the parent stock so they have an idea what the baby chicks they are buying will grow up to look like.

We also often advise chicken owners to keep visitors away from their chicken coops to keep them from catching diseases from other flocks.

Tim emailed us to point out that there may be an inconsistency with those two thoughts. So now I have to try to figure out a way that this doesn’t make me a biosecurity hypocrite.



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