Purina® Rabbit Nutrition E—Newsletter

FEATURED STORY | Joan Adolf: So Ugly They're Cute

Joan and Kevin Adolf moved to Missouri 13 years ago from California, and the ever-changing weather of the Show-Me State wasn't Joan's only surprise.

"After moving here, I saw these strange little birds," Joan said. "I was told they were guineas, and they were so ugly I thought they were cute. It's like their heads were too small for their bodies."

But six years ago, when the Adolfs bought a brand new home a few acres outside of town, the strange little birds made their way back into Joan's life.

Chickens "Once we were living in our new house, grasshoppers kept feeding on our window screens," said Joan. "I decided that getting a few guineas would be a great idea to keep them away."

After asking around and talking to different people about the birds, Joan was given eight "fuzz balls" that she put in a cage in her laundry room.

After about three weeks and a big mess, it dawned on Joan that the birds would soon need a new home, as they were quickly growing larger. So the Adolfs put up a building with a fenced in area. Within a few months of moving out to their new home, it was finally time to let the guineas roam and eat bugs. It was then that Joan found out that guineas hate being locked up.

"The 'home' was empty 90 percent of the time!" said Joan.

Joan began talking to people again about birds and was offered 20 chickens to fill her empty coop.

"I only took eight because I was scared," Joan said. "Scared, because I'm a transplanted city person. I knew nothing about chickens, and I was afraid they would all end up dead on me. It wasn't fair to the birds to be placed with me."

Well that was three years ago, and since then, Joan has even added chickens to her flock. She now has three crested Polish chickens, four Bantams, four Welsummers, a couple of Ameraucanas and about four Plymouth Rocks, plus a couple of black chickens and white chickens.

"That's what happens when you put a city girl into the country and give her chickens. She can't remember which are which," Joan said. "But, I found out that having chickens isn't that hard and neither are guineas. Just make sure they have plenty of food and water at all times."

Joan feeds her chickens Purina® Layena® SunFresh® Recipe pellets that she gets from Northside Feed, in Warrensburg, Missouri. She also gives them Purina® SunFresh® Recipe Scratch Grains, which encourage natural pecking and feeding instincts. Once her chickens are locked up for the night, Joan throws out the wild bird seed for her guineas.

"It bribes the guineas inside the wired area so they are protected overnight," said Joan. "And they think the millet that is mixed in with the other seed is like fudge."

Joan has fully embraced being a chicken owner and now sells eggs to her neighbors and even brings her Mom and Dad eggs when she comes to visit.

"My cousin who was raised on a farm cannot believe that I have chickens," Joan said. "He once said to me, 'Tell me the truth, they are pets right?' I told him, 'Only three of them have names, Penguin, Pigeon and Fuzzy,' and he laughed and said 'I knew it!'"

People also get a laugh at Joan's expense when they hear about her rooster attack.

"I had an Orpington rooster that kept attacking me," Joan said. "One day I saw him coming after me again, so I kicked and yes, broke the big toe on my right foot. I've been told I should have made chicken and dumplings, but I still cannot bring myself to do that."

Joan did end up finding him a new home, one that said they wouldn't eat him, and now she can sit back and enjoy her flock.

"My yard needed some life in it and why not get some eggs," said Joan. "Sitting on my back deck on a summer morning having my coffee listening to the rooster crow is the most peaceful place I can think of."

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FLOCK TIPS | Basic Chicken First Aid Kit

You never know when one of your chickens might have some type of minor accident. Having a first aid kit on hand and will make providing care to your flock easier and faster. Listed below are items to help you create a basic avian first aid kit.

Item Purpose
Safety Glasses Protection
Face Mask Protection
Rubber Gloves Protection
Flashlight To locate chickens in the dark
Scissors To cut gauze and other bandages
Pliers/wire cutters To remove leg rings
Toenail clippers & nail file To trim beak and nails
Tweezers To remove small objects
Small gauge syringes For injecting
Small plastic containers To collect fecal droppings
First aid tape To cover wounds
Gauze pads To cover wounds
Vet Wrap/Stretch Gauze To protect wounds and bandages
Triple Antibiotic Ointment For cuts and broken skin
Tongue depressors/Popsicle sticks For splints
Cotton balls/Q-tips To clean wounds
Small soft brush To clean wounds
Nolvasan To clean wounds
Styptic powder To stop bleeding in minor cuts and peck wounds
Eye wash, drops or rinse To remove debris from eye
Vitamins and electrolytes For dehydration or shock
Honey For dehydration or shock
Baking Soda Add to water in hot weather to prevent acidosis
PolyAid A maltodextrin-based supplement for birds that are not eating
Apple cider vinegar For congestion and to break up mucous
Topical Menthol Ointment For congestion and to break up mucous
Probiotics To replenish good bacteria after an illness
Petroleum Jelly For egg binding and prolapses
Anti picking ointment To stop pecking

Emergency Numbers
Either use business cards or write down phone numbers for your veterinarian and the closest 24 hour emergency animal clinic, and post them inside your first aid kit so they are easy to find. Consider posting a bird inventory, housing diagram and list of care instructions for others in case you have to leave. It's also a good idea to have a pet carrier on hand to make transporting your chickens to the vet easier.

Be sure to check the contents of your first aid kit regularly, throw away any out of date materials and restock as needed.

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GET TO KNOW | Purina® SunFresh® Recipe Flock Raiser® Poultry Feed

Purina® SunFresh® Recipe Flock Raiser® Poultry Feed takes "natural*" to an entirely new level by using only the freshest, highest quality sun-grown grains and plant proteins. It is a nutrient-rich feed, perfect for a mixed flock of chickens, ducks and geese from hatching until laying age (18 to 20 weeks) and turkeys from 8 to 10 weeks until laying age. Flock Raiser provides your poultry with the quality nutrients it needs to grow and stay strong, healthy and beautiful.

  • SunFresh® Recipe—Fresh, natural* plant proteins, FREE of all animal proteins and fats
  • Small, Crumbled Pieces—Waste less feed and ensure proper food intake
  • Superior Nutrition Including Essential Amino Acids—Provide chicks with a strong start, optimal muscle development, uniform growth, and top vigor
  • Vitamins A & E—Support overall health, reproduction, vitality, and a healthy immune system throughout your bird's life
  • Exclusive Level of Marigold Extract—Give your birds brightly colored beaks, shanks, and overall appearance
  • Complete and Balanced—Provides wholesome nutrition for your entire mixed flock with no supplements needed

*with added vitamins, minerals, and trace nutrients

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