Robert Plamondon's Poultry Newsletter, November 11, 2004As always, if you're tired of this newsletter, please scroll down to the bottom of the message for easy instructions to make your subscription go away.
Christmas is Coming
As winter closes in, I'm seeing an upsurge in book orders. For me, this is the first sign of the approaching holiday season!
While our poultry keep us at home during the holiday season, the farm work dies back to just enough to keep us from feeling cooped up in the house, and it's very pleasant.
Looking for the perfect Christmas gift for a poultry lover? Look no further! Our books will do the trick. The timing could hardly be better. Hatchery catalogs tend to start arriving in the first week in January (seed catalogs, too), and people's minds turn eagerly towards the coming spring.
Upcoming Price Increase
Officially, the retail price of Success With Baby Chicks rose from $13.95 to $15.95 some time ago, and it's been selling for that price at Amazon.com and other retailers. But I had more than a hundred copies with the old price on the cover, so I've continued to sell it online at the old price (actually, for 10% off, which comes to $12.55).
Well, those books are just about gone, so on December the price will go up to $14.35 (10% off the new cover price). If you're thinking of buying the book, do it this month and save yourself $1.80!
Sorry about the higher prices, but the per-copy printing costs are pretty high when you're not printing thousands of books at a time, and the old price was optimistically low.
If you're interested, I'm using digital print-on-demand publishing through Lightning Source. Basically, you upload PDF files of your book and cover, and you get back books! You can order books one at a time if you really want to; there's no minimum print run. This is the up-and-coming technology for books that have a continuing demand but whose volumes aren't going to set the world on fire.
Books Now Available on eBay
I've started auctioning some books on eBay, so maybe you can get a good deal there. I also have fixed-price listings to round out the offering. Finally, I'm occasionally auctioning off books I don't want anymore, because the house is choked with books we've bought over the years! Check it out:
How Many Square Feet Per Chick?
At the moment, I have 300 two-week old pullets in a brooder house with 96 square feet of floor space. That's three chicks per square foot!
Such a high density would be madness with older chicks, which brings me to my point: The size of the bird is really important when figuring out how many can be shoehorned into a small space.
The old rule of thumb was one chick per square foot. This is the right answer if you're going to keep them in the brooder house until they're ready to go into permanent housing. Broilers were traditionally kept to slaughter age in this kind of density.
I can use three times this density only because the chicks are tiny. The reason I did it this way was that having two brooders in one house kept the house a lot warmer, which is good for the chicks during the first couple of weeks. But now I need to split them between two houses (three would be better) and scooping them up at night is not going to be a lot of fun.
The best reason for not doing what I'm doing now is that procrastination can spoil your good intentions and lead to damaging levels of crowding before you actually move the chicks.
How can you tell if things are too crowded? The floor becomes too damp and caked with manure. The chicks start plucking out each other's tail feathers. Everything becomes filthy. If you aren't using medicated feed, you'll have coccidiosis outbreaks that arrive earlier and are more severe than you're used to.
In a crowded house, it's almost impossible to install enough feeders, so there may be competition for feeder space and the bigger chicks may drive the smaller ones away from the feeders. It helps if you don't let the feeders go empty, to avoid feeding frenzies, but more space and more feeders is better.
Thanks for All the Kind Words
I get email thanking me for the newsletter, not all of which I have time to answer. Sorry about that. But I do appreciate it!
November To-Do List
November is traditionally the worst laying month and therefore the month of maximum egg prices, though nasty winter weather may cause production to be even worse during cold snaps. Most people have no baby chicks at this time of year (though brooding conditions are as good as they are in March), so it's a quiet month.
Inspired by a similar list in Jull's Successful Poultry Management, McGraw-Hill, 1943.
If you like this newsletter, please send copies to all your friends!
Copyright 2004 by Robert Plamondon. Permission is granted for copying if the material from here to the end of the message is left unaltered.
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