Dr. Tom W. Smith, Emeritus Professor of Poultry Science, Mississippi State University
The following solutions have been used as supportive treatments by poultry and game bird producers. They are intended as aids in treating the described conditions, not as a replacement for any management, drug, or antibiotic therapy.
Used as a general treatment for reducing distress conditions of birds (fever or listlessness) that accompanies many diseases.
Dissolve five (5 grain) aspirin tablets in one gallon of water.
Offer this solution free-choice to the birds for the duration of an illness. The solution aspirin equivalent to 25 grains/gallon or 324 mg/gallon of drinking water. The dosage rate is about 25 mg/lb body weight per day.
This solution can be used to treat young birds that show non-typical disease symptoms of poor growth. The solution can also be given to birds suffering from respiratory diseases that produce a large amount of mucus exudate. This solution will help “cut through” the mucus and allow it to be expelled easier.
Two quarts of apple cider vinegar diluted into 100 gallons of water (4 teaspoons/gallon)
The tannin in the apple cider vinegar aide in removing any mucus or coating from the mouth, throat, or intestinal tract. Nutrients and drugs are more readily absorbed. Offer this solution as the only drinking water source for two to three day intervals.
Use this solution as a treatment for mycosis (mold infection) in the crop. An alternate name for the condition is “Thrush”. Use the solution as a “follow-up” treatment after flushing with epsom salt solution–refer to the section for LAXATIVE SOLUTIONS.
Dissolve .5 lb copper sulfate and .5 cup vinegar into 1 gallon of water for a “stock” solution.
Dispense stock solution at the rate of 1 oz per gallon for the final drinking solution.
An alternate method of preparing the solution is:
Dissolve 1 oz copper sulfate and 1 tablespoon of vinegar into 15 gallons water. Use either solution as the sole water source during the course of the disease outbreak. Copper sulfate is often referred to as “bluestone”.
This procedure has been used to destroy pathogenic organisms such as Mycoplasma spp. that can be carried on the hatching eggs. The procedure must be conducted exactly as described, and is not intended as a routine hatching egg treatment. The procedure is only used in unusual situations.
The antibiotic solution contains 500 ppm gentamycin sulfate (1 gram per 2 liters of water) or 1 gram tylosin per liter of water. The hatching eggs must be carefully washed, rinsed, and sanitized prior to treatment. The eggs are then prewarmed to 100 degrees F. for 3-6 hours and immediately submerged into the antibiotic solution that has been previously cooled to 60 degrees F. The eggs are left in the antibiotic solution for 15 minutes before being placed into the incubator.
After each day’s use, the solution must be sterilized by heating to 160 degrees and maintained for 10 minutes. Any water lost during sterilization must be replaced. Refrigerate the solution in a clean covered container between uses to prevent bacterial contamination. Do not use or store solutions for more than three days after dilution.
The following solutions or mixtures are recommended to flush the digestive system of toxic substances, most notably for treating birds exposed to botulism toxins.
Add one pint of molasses to 5 gallons of water Offer the drinking solution free-choice to the affected birds for about four hours. Treat severely affected birds individually if they cannot drink. Return the birds to regular water after the treatment period.
As a supportive treatment for symptoms resulting from Cryptosporidia infection, often referred to as coronaviral enteritis, use:
One quart molasses in 20 gallons of water.
Offer this solution free-choice for a period of up to 7-10 days. It is assumed that the molasses replaces certain minerals lost from diarrhea during the course of the infection.
Epsom Salt Solution
1 lb Epsom Salt per 15 lb feed
1 lb Epsom Salt per 5 gallons water for 1 day
Give the epson salt feed mixture as the sole feed source for a one day period. This feed can be used only if the birds are eating. If the birds are not eating, use the water solution. If the birds are unable to eat or drink by themselves, use individual treatment with:
1 teaspoon of Epsom Salt in 1 fl oz water.
Place the solution in the crop of the affected bird. This same amount of solution will treat 5-8 quail or one chicken.
Castor Oil Therapy
Dose individual birds with .5 oz castor oil.
The following solutions can be used as supplements to diets that are deficient in certain amino acids, energy, or vitamins and electrolytes. They are used only as temporary additives and not intended as part of a regular feeding program.
Amino Acid Solution
100 grams (7 fl oz) dl-methionine and 110 grams (6 fl oz) l-lysine HCl dissolved in 50 gallons water.
2 grams (.8 tsp) dl-methionine and 2.2 grams (.7 tsp) l-lysine HCl in one gallon of water
Offer the solution free-choice to the birds as an aide to reducing the depressing effects of low-protein diets. Make up a fresh solution daily and offer to birds in clean waterers. All measurements in parentheses () are volumetric measurements while those expressed in grams are weight measurements.
10 ounces of granulated sugar per gallon of water.
This solution may be given as an energy treatment for weak chicks. Offer the solution as the only water source for the first 7-10 days. Clean the drinkers and replace with fresh solution at least once daily. The solution shown above contains eight percent sugar and approximately 2000 kilocalories per gallon.
Vitamin & Electrolyte Solution
This solution can be used to reduce the effects of stresses caused by subclinical diseases, transporting, management errors, etc. Dilute a commercial vitamin/electrolyte packet into the prescribed amount of water. Use as the only source of drinking water until the stress problem has been corrected.
The following treatments have been shown to be effective for eliminating internal parasites from poultry and game birds. Neither of these drugs (fenbendazole or leviamisole) has been approved for use by FDA, so the producer accepts all responsibility for their use. Both drugs have been very effective if used properly and will eliminate most types of internal parasites that affect birds. Caution: Do not use with birds producing eggs or meat destined for human consumption.
1 oz Safeguard or Panacur per 15-20 lb feed
Dissolve the fenbendazole product in one cup of water. Mix this solution well into the feed and give to the birds as their only feed source for one day. When completely consumed, untreated feed can be given. Be sure that the commercial medication contains 10% fenbendazole.
Safeguard is a product of Ralston Purina, and Panacur is a product marketed by American Hoechst. One ounce of medication will treat about 1000 10-oz bobwhite quail. Adjustments of the amounts of medication and feed needed may be necessary depending on the number and size of the birds.
1.2 oz Safeguard or Panacur in 100 lb feed
4 oz pkt of “Worm-A-Rest Litter Pack” (Ralston Purina) in 50 lb feed
5 lb bag of “Worm-A-Rest Mix Pack” in 495Lb feed.
Feed all the medicated feeds free-choice for three consecutive days. The feed mixtures provide 75 ppm fenbendazole. Quail will receive about 1.7 mg/bird each day for adult birds or 2.75 mg/lb of bodyweight.
Fenbendazole has been shown to be a very effective treatment for eliminating Capillaria (capillary worms), Heterakis (cecal worms), Ascaridia (roundworms), and Syngamus spp. (gapeworms). Toxicity from overdosing with fenbendazole is very remote. Research indicates that amounts up to 100 times the recommended dosages have been given under research conditions without adverse effects to the birds. Use of this product during molt, however, may cause deformity of the emerging feathers.
52 gram (1.84 oz) pkt Tramisol in 100 gallons water
13 gram (.46 oz) pkt Tramisol in 25 gallons water
52 gram (1.84 oz) pkt in 3 qt water (stock solution)
Dissolve the 52 gram packet of “Tramisol Cattle and Sheep Wormer” or the 13 gram packet of “Tramisol Sheep Drench Powder” into the appropriate amount of water. If the stock solution is used with a water proportioner, be sure that the stock solution is dispensed at the rate of 1 oz/gallon in the drinking water.
Any of the solutions are effective at treating Capillaria (capillary worms), Heterakis (cecal worms), and Ascaridia (roundworms). The solutions contain .5 gram of leviamisole per gallon of water. Allow the birds to drink the solution for one day, then remove. In severe cases, the treatment can be repeated every 5-7 days.
Dissolve into 10 gallons of water:
6.5 fl oz 10% Permethrin EC
11.5 fl oz 5.7% Permethrin EC
2.5 fl oz 25% Permethrin EC
1.5 lb 25% Malathion wettable powder
5.3 oz 57% Malathion EC
.75 lb 50% Carbaryl (Sevin) wettable powder
Spray birds thoroughly to wet the skin and feathers. Pay particular attention to the vent area of the birds. Each gallon of spray will treat 75-100 adult leghorn-type laying hens or 250-300 adult quail. A second treatment can be applied about four weeks after the first application if necessary. The walls, ceiling, and litter of the house can be sprayed with these solutions to kill individual insects not on the birds.
Mites, Lice, and Housefly Residual Spray
Dissolve one of the following in 10 gallons of water.
1 quart 5.7% Permethrin EC
1 pint 10% Permethrin EC
6 oz 25% Permethrin wettable powder
3 lb 25% Malathion wettable powder
10 fl oz 57% Malathion EC
Apply the permethrin spray to all ceilings, walls, roosts, nests, cracks, and crevices at the rate of one gallon for every 750 square feet. One application will be effective for at least three weeks.Malathion sprays are used as residual sprays to ceilings, walls, roosts, litter, and any dark location that is difficult to reach. Malathion sprays are applied at the rate of one gallon for every 500-750 square feet. Malathion is not recommended for fly control, but is usually effective when used in combination with body sprays for mites and lice.
These solutions will reduce or eliminate slime and most disease organisms in water, drinkers, and water lines.
For Constant Use
1 teaspoon chlorine bleach (sodium hypochlorite) in 5 gallons of drinking water
This solution provides 11 ppm chlorine for sanitizing. The birds will drink the water and not be harmed by drinking it. They may need a short time to become accustomed to this solution. A more dilute solution with half the above level of bleach can be offered for a few days before using the 11 ppm solution. Clean the waterers thoroughly each day to get the best effect.
Weekly Sanitizing Rinse Solution
1 oz Chlorine Bleach in 6-8 gallons water Rinse, soak, or expose equipment to this solution. Let stand at least one hour, then rinse with fresh water. This solution contains equivalent to 45 ppm chlorine. The procedure is most effective if conducted on a weekly basis. Remember, chlorine disinfectants are inactivated by organic matter. Clean all equipment well before using chlorine rinse solutions.
Clean waterers prior to vaccination. Deprive the birds of drinking water beginning one hour in hot weather and two hours in moderate or cold weather. Mix 3.2 oz powdered skimmed milk packet or equivalent into ten gallons of water. The milk neutralizes the small amount of chlorine or sanitizer present in many water sources.
Follow the vaccine manufacturer’s mixing instructions for dilution level. Administer vaccine-water solution in the waterers immediately after mixing. All the vaccine solution must be consumed within 15-20 minutes if good immunization is expected.
Trade names have been used in an effort to make the information contained herein more useful. No endorsement of named products is intended, nor is criticism implied of similar products that are not mentioned.
Observing Your Birds In Cages To Assess Their General Condition
By Ritzelle Maria Q. Capili, DVM
Character of the droppings
Physical examination of the restrained bird
Causes of diseases
Common clinical signs of digestive problems
On Salmonella infection
Common signs of respiratory disturbances
On Fowl Pox
By Tan Bark.
If a man lives long enough the time will eventually come when he will have to cross his inbred fowl. Fowl cannot be raised under such ideal conditions, and no man is so infallible that he can inbreed fowl indefinitely and produce practical pit cocks. Generally speaking most of us expect to introduce fresh blood every 15 or 20 years.
It amuses me to have men quarrel about the purity of fowl claimed to have been inbred for 60 or 70 years, and then advertise shake cocks for sale of these same strains. I do not believe that nature suspends her laws in favor of a few chosen individuals, and it is amusing or disgusting, as you choose to view it, to see some huckster blossom forth advertising some grand old strain, that has been extinct for a quarter of a century.
Every case of this kind that has ever come under my personal observation I know to be hokum pure and simple. I have letters from some of these self-styled perpetuators written when they were scurrying around hunting all sorts of crosses. They would make a much a better hit with me, if instead of advertising Whitehorses, or Warhackles, bred from trio arriving from John Gilkerson or George Stone in1858 ,they would advertise “fowl carrying large proportion of the blood of such and such a strain and closely resembling them in appearance and pit qualities. They contain only the following additional crosses, etc.” Then I would have some confidence in what I was getting and feel that I was dealing with an honest man. If the purebred fowl did exist which they don’t, they would be fit only for museums and not for the pit.
So when the time does come for crossing, you will have had sufficient experience to know what men breed fowl that you would not be afraid to try. No man can foresee the results of a cross, it is entirely a gamble. I have known two excellent, inbred strains to be crossed and result in chickens that couldn’t whip a canary bird. It happens more often than not that a cross is entirely different from what might be expected. All you can do is make a guess and hope for the best and if it fails try again.
For crossing select a strain that has been pure bred for a number of years, as much like yours in style of fighting and characteristics as possible. Style and characteristics of the proposed cross are much more important than color. Color in itself cuts no figure, but you will probably be more apt to find fowl like you own in the same color. Most of the light reds in this country are descended from and carry more or less of the blood of the old Derbys and allied families and fight more or less alike. As a general proposition the dark reds are rushing, body cutting fighters.
The Doms all descend from the Minton and O’Neil blood and all that I ever saw were shufflers. The Pyles are descendants of Genet and Newbold blood and are sparring cocks expect of course Pyles, which are merely crosses of White Dominics.
So other things being equal, you are more likely to find what you want in strains colored like your own. Get the best individual of the strain obtainable. It is usually more satisfactory to get a cock, because you can select the kind you have seen in battle, that suits you and it is a very rare thing that you can buy a tested hen .Breed the new cock to the very best hens that you own. When old enough test some of the stags for gameness. If they are going to be bad, the sooner you know it the better. If satisfactory so far, breed the new cock to his daughters and one of his sons back over the hens. Then the next winter your original cross of your old stock so that you may compare them.
Unless the cross is approximately as good as your old family, you should go no further with them, as by so doing you will be going downhill.
It is very likely that you may be fooled by the goodness of the first cross. Sometimes a cross between two inbred strains will temporarily niche and produce chickens better than either side of the house, the stream runs higher than the source, as it were and yet the niche will not breed on when put back to either ingredient strain. That is the first cross or half bloods may be the only mistress of the two bloods that is any good. So don’t pat yourself on the back until you have fought the cocks of 3/4th your own blood and 1/4th of the new blood.
If they can fight as well as your own chickens you are on the right track. As I have said before, if your hens are intensely game, their sons out of short bred cock may act game, so you will not be sure of the deep gameness of your cross until you have tested out cocks with new blood on their dam’s side. So likewise test out some of the sons of the new cock over his daughters. If they stand the test your cross is game at any rate.
After you have bred the new blood down to 1/8, 1/16, or 1/32 you have the advantage of the cross and have chickens just like and as good as your own family with all the characteristics you have spent in developing your fowl.
If the cross is real success, put aside a few of the hens carrying 3/4 of the new blood. When they are seven or eight years old, you can go back for new blood of the same blood and can do away with all the guesswork and uncertainties of trying out an entirely new mixture.
When you have made a cross be man enough to admit it .Don’t join the band of phony old dodos who claim that nature makes special dispensation on their and who breed game chickens just as Noah had them in the Ark
Filed under: Breeding | Tagged: Agriculture, Breed, Breeding, Breeding Gamefowl, Breeding program, broodpens, Crossing, Fowl, Gamecock, Gamefowl, Gamefowl Care, inbreeding, Line Breeding | Leave a comment »
These are all the different toe marking or toe punches you can do to mark your flock.
\ | /——\ | /
\.| /——\ | /
\ |./——\ | /
\.|./——\ | /
\ | /——\.| /
\.| /——\.| /
\ |./——\.| /
\ | /——\ |./
\.| /——\ |./
\ |./——\ |./
\ | /——\.|./
This is done by using a toe punch to put a hole in the web between the toes or you can slit the web between the toes
Nutrition, Stress, and The Gamecock
By John W. Purdy
The most important nutrient in life is water. Water composes, on average, 55% of the adult chicken’s body weight – over 2.5 pounds of water in a 5 pound rooster! Obviously, the quality of water we give our fowl has a huge impact on the quality of their performance in the pit, in the broodpen, and on their overall health. Access to fresh and clean water gives fowl the opportunity to digest food properly, regulate body temperature, and carry out the thousands of biochemical process that keep them kicking.
A chicken has the unique ability to tolerate poor quality water and survive. We have all seen water containers that were less than clean, yard fowl drinking from stagnant puddles, and yet the chickens seemed fine. What is not apparent is that the chicken’s immune system is constantly battling the germs found in the water, as well as all the other germs in the air and soil, from wild bird droppings, etc. Obviously, in response to this “stressor” the natural resistance of the bird can be overcome and disease may develop. To help prevent this from happening, and to eliminate one “route of exposure”, simply change the water frequently, and make sure it’s clean. This will allow the chicken to use its energy to fight off other potentially harmful bacteria and viruses, develop strong and flexible feathers, muscle, bone, and body systems that will be vitally important in the pit and in the broodpen.
Although chlorinated water is sanitary, chlorine is a strong chemical that I feel should be avoided when conditioning roosters. In fact, there are a variety of chemicals used to treat drinking water that are not beneficial to a gamecock in a conditioning program. If your source of water is treated with chemicals, there are a couple of possible solutions you should know about. First, since chlorine rapidly changes into a gas, leaving your buckets or jugs uncovered overnight will allow most of the chlorine to evaporate. Another solution is to use an activated carbon water filter. These filters are widely available, inexpensive, and very effective in removing a variety of chemicals. Bring a jug of de-chlorinated water with you to the pit. Changing the source of drinking water with sharp cocks the day of, or before the fight, can be a mistake.
If drinking contaminated water can be a source of stress for gamefowl, then what are examples of other stressors? And what is a stressor, anyway? A stressor is any factor in a chicken’s environment that challenges the “normal” condition and forces the bird to make an adjustment as a response. For example, the heat from the sun (the environmental factor) causes the body temperature of your favorite rooster to increase (the change from normal), and he begins to pant (the response). The response to a stressor is usually negative, because the bird will often have to reallocate energy and nutrients. In this example, your favorite rooster is expending extra energy to get rid of the excessive body heat. Energy production is dependent upon the breakdown of carbohydrate and fats, requiring many vitamins and minerals including thiamin, niacin, and riboflavin, in addition to magnesium, as “co-enzymes”. He will also have to move large amounts of extra carbon dioxide, which increases the blood pH, requires electrolytes, changes critical water balance and so on. As the air temperature increases, the difference in temperature between the rooster’s body and the air decreases, and the rate of heat loss is reduced. Since chickens don’t have sweat glands, they have to use a variety of other ways to remove heat from their bodies. They’ll seek shade, pant rapidly, and spread their wings so that air currents will remove the layer of hot air next to their feathers. They’ll often lie on the ground, with legs and wings spread, so that heat will travel from their body to the cooler ground. The combs and wattles provide surface area for the blood to transfer heat to the air, but we take that option away when we trim our stags.
To reduce the effects of heat stress, feed early in the morning and late in the evening in hot weather, so that the heat of metabolism (digestion) does not occur in the hottest part of the day when the fowl are trying to cool off. Provide shade for your fowl, and place their water containers in this location. Provide additional water containers for young fowl running loose. Provide electrolytes in the drinking water 3 times per week. If the birds eat less (as they will in hot weather), increase the concentration of nutrients in their diet, so they are getting the same amount of protein, energy, vitamins and minerals. Supplement their diet with fruit containing high moisture content such as apples, peaches, bananas, pears, mangos, etc. If you discover a bird who is under severe heat stress and he appears to be on the verge of collapse, dunk him into cool water (not cold) and keep him in the shade. I once had a box full of black day-old chicks that I placed in the sun while I was preparing the brooder pen. It didn’t seem that hot, but in 20 minutes, most had passed out and several died. Boy, did I feel stupid! I moved them in the pen, flicked droplets of water on them, while praying to the Big Rooster in the sky (these chicks belonged to my employer!). In a few minutes they started peeping and soon were running around, seemingly fresh and ready for their next experience!
Heat stress is an example of a physiological stressor. Other types of physiological stressors are rapid growth, high egg production, intensive conditioning, sparring, poor water and/or feed quality, disease challenge, parasites, and vaccinations. In general, stress increases the destruction, utilization and synthesis of glucose and fats, increases the degradation of muscle protein, increases hormone production such as corticosteroids (e.g., adrenaline), insulin, and glucagon, and has a negative impact on electrolyte balance.
Psychological stressors are also important to consider. Hawks flying overhead are an example of psychological stress. Gamefowl are remarkably adaptive to this type of stress, once they become accustomed to it. In preparing fowl for battle, many people play loud music in the cockhouse 24 hours a day to accustom the birds to the loud noises they will experience at the pit. This is a good idea. Frequent and gentle handling of cocks and stags prior to the Keep is also beneficial. Get your birds used to all the strange experiences they may experience at the pit. Remember – you want a sharp, focused rooster when you set him down on the score line. A good friend of mine puts his birds in carrying cases during the Keep, carries them around the cockhouse, and takes them for a ride in the truck. You might think this is extreme, but it’s little details that often make the difference. Use 2′ x 2′ stalls when you feed your evening feed. This is the type of holding stall you’ll use at the pit. Rub their legs frequently so they get accustomed to pressure on their legs and around their spurs – they’re less likely to kick and struggle when you’re heeling for battle. When you spar your roosters, have a couple of friends come over and yell at each other and wave their arms around to simulate the crowd your rooster will surely be surrounded by at the pit. Changing the person with whom the birds are comfortable with (the feeder) when you get to the pit can also make them nervous. Try to insure that the feeder/conditioner is also the handler, or have the handler help spar the fowl during the Keep. Always use a few experienced cocks when you spar fresh, unfought roosters. This will increase their “awareness” in a hurry! Nutritional supplementation also gives birds under psychological stress the “tools” to respond and recover more rapidly.
Some breeds of fowl tend to handle stress better than others. Oriental fowl are famous for their calm disposition, disease resistance and tolerance to close confinement. Highly inbred fowl are often nervous and are more difficult to condition because of their inability to handle stress. Nervous or “high-strung” fowl are quite a challenge to bring to “point” on fight-day, but when they’re “right” look out! If you have high-strung fowl, it is VERY important to spend a lot of time in the conditioning process to accustom them to handling, hauling, confinement in the cockhouse stalls, sparring, loud noises, etc.
As experienced cockers know, it’s not easy to get that extra 10% performance, the last shuffle, the last peck, and that elusive money-fight. How you handle the interaction between stress, nutrition and performance has a major part in accomplishing your goals in this sport.