Episode 54.

In this episode, we talk about vaccinating for coccidiosis and discuss what the float test really means about your eggs.

The Garden

Based on the weather reports, some of you have probably already had to shovel your driveway this year. So you may not enjoy hearing about our fall garden and the cucumbers we picked yesterday. But don’t get mad at us… we didn’t tell you to live up north. 🙂

Gordo’s First Thanksgiving

Our anatolian/pyrenees/plott hound mutt, Gordo, is about to have his first Thanksgiving. I am not sure he will enjoy it though, because two days before he is going to the vet to get fixed. At 67 pounds, he will be a lot to handle when he is all doped up and smashing into everything with his big plastic cone of shame.

Chicken ‘n’ Dumplings

Suzy found a quick and easy way to make chicken ‘n’ dumplings that taste just like her mom used to make. Well, almost.

Check out this yummy comfort-food recipe here.

Coccidiosis Vaccinations

Blair sent us an email from Texas to let us know that she will be getting her first batch of baby chicks soon. The hatchery offered her the option of having them vaccinated for coccidiosis. She questioned whether this was a good idea and wondered if it could possibly contribute to developing a coccidiastat-resistant super-coccidia some day. What a great question!

Coccidia are bacteria that develop in the excrement of many animals, including poultry. Chickens will develop a natural immunity to coccidia, but it takes time and it is possible for the coccidia to develop fast enough to overwhelm and kill a baby chick before she develops her immune system.

One way to combat this is to immunize your chicks against coccidiosis. The way this is done is to introduce them to several strains of coccidia to stimulate their immune response. This can have the side effect of making a chock sick or uncomfortable for a while.

The most common method of protecting against coccidiosis is to use a medicated feed when your chicks are just getting started. Medicated feeds have some type of coccidiastat to slow down the growth of coccidia so that the chick has time to become immune.

Coccidiastat-resisitant coccidia can develop in very large hatcheries where they are developing thousands and thousands of chicks generation after generation. In the backyard flock, however, it is extremely unlikely that you could raise enough chicks for this to be an issue.

The Float Test

Our good listener Dave in Pennsylvania told us that 20% of his eggs are not passing the float test when he goes to cook them. He doesn’t believe they are in the fridge longer than three weeks and they shouldn’t be floating yet.

The float test is used by many chicken keepers to sort out bad eggs from good one. The problem is, the float test doesn’t really measure whether an eggs if good or not. In reality, it only give an idea how old an egg is.

When you place a fresh egg into cold fresh water, it will lay flat on the bottom of the water container. As the egg ages, the air sac inside grows and cause it to become more buoyant. After three days, it will start to tip upwards. At one week or so, it will be standing up but still touching the bottom. After many weeks, the egg will become buoyant enough to float.

Traditionally, this is when most chicken keepers discard an egg, but it is not necessarily bad at that point. The only way to tell for sure is an egg has begun to rot is to crack it open and smell it. If it is rotting, you will know for sure. It will smell like.. well.. rotten eggs.

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