Feed to breeding birds that are feeding chicks. Wean chicks onto this diet for the first 1-3 months post-weaning (3 months for the larger species, one month for the smaller species). High-Energy Breeder will provide these young birds with extra protein, calcium, and Vitamin D3 needed for the continued growth that occurs during that time. The higher energy will help put back the body weight lost in the weaning process. Mix 1/3 High-Energy Breeder to 2/3 Maintenance mixture for use in birds with a higher calcium need or are being introduced to Roudybush. Do not give additional vitamin or mineral supplements, such as cuttlebone, mineral blocks, or multivitamins. Fresh fruits and vegetables may be given as a minor part of the diet.
Q: My bird has a tendency to become 'egg bound' how do I avoid this problem and what causes it?
A: There are many causes of egg binding. Cold environmental conditions, laying a first egg, laying an abnormally large egg, laying a thin shelled or soft shelled egg, hypocalcemia (lack of calcium circulating in the blood--usually a problem with not enough dietary calcium or vitamin D3). Make sure your bird isn't being subjected to unusually cold temperatures during egg laying. Make sure your bird is being adequately supplemented with calcium and Vitamin D3. Birds exposed to direct sunlight for 20 minutes two or three times a week minimum can manufacture their own Vitamin D3. Exposure to full spectrum lights with UV range to allow birds to manufacture their own vitamin D3 is risky for two reasons: the bulbs lose the UV potency over time, as quickly as 3 months, and the bird needs to be within about 6-8 inches of the light to benefit from it. Seeds, fruits and vegetables do not contain vitamin D3. Your bird needs to eat a pelletized diet containing vitamin D3 or get an avian multivitamin with vitamin D3. You can give your bird plenty of calcium but if it isn't getting adequate vitamin D3 it will stop absorbing the calcium from its diet. Roudybush diets are adequately supplemented with vitamin D3 and no further supplementation is needed. Birds that lay 6-8 eggs/year can receive enough calcium from Roudybush Daily Maintenance or Low-fat Maintenance. If your bird lays more eggs/year than that you'll need to mix one of the Roudybush Breeder diets with the maintenance diet. Mix High Energy Breeder with Daily Maintenance at a ratio of 1 part breeder to 2 parts maintenance or mix Breeder with Low-fat Maintenance at the same ratio. This should be adequate for egg production out to 20-22 eggs. If your bird lays more than that, mix the breeder diet with the maintenance diet at a ratio of 1 part breeder to 2 parts maintenance. If your bird hatches chicks and feeds them remember she needs to be on 100% High Energy Breeder or Breeder to meet the growth requirements of the chicks.
Q: I want to try Roudybush bird food for my breeding birds, when is the best time to switch them? Is it ok to switch them during breeding season?
A: The best time to switch your birds is when you first shut them down from breeding. This will give you the maximum time for them to adjust before you want them to breed again. Breeders will often start eating a pellet but their perception (not reality) is that it isn't adequate or appropriate for raising babies--sort of like famine conditions vs the abundant feast of nuts and seeds they used to get. It takes some birds a few months to fully accept the pellets and decide they can raise babies on it. One thing that helps when you start setting them up for breeding after making a switch to pellets is to still provide any treats or soft foods you used to provide at breeding season. Some people say that switching your birds during breeding season works well because they switch more quickly because they have to feed their chicks. I believe that is a risky, dangerous method. Some birds may not feed it to their chicks or feed it in too low amounts and my experience is that many pairs of birds will go out of production and not lay eggs if switched during the breeding season or too close to the start of breeding season.
Q: I am having a problem with 'soft eggs', how do I correct this problem and prevent it in the future?
A: Soft eggs or thin shelled eggs are usually a problem of your hen not getting enough calcium and/or vitamin D3 in her diet. If you cafeteria style feed it might mean the hen isn't making good choices (a very common problem) or if you provide calcium via a cuttlebone or mineral block you may have a hen that doesn't like it (also a very common problem). For hens that produce soft shelled or thin shelled eggs you need to put them on a pelleted diet appropriate to their level of egg production. Birds that lay 6-8 eggs/year can receive enough calcium from Roudybush Daily Maintenance or Low-fat Maintenance. If your bird lays more eggs/year than that you'll need to mix one of the Roudybush Breeder diets with the maintenance diet. Mix High Energy Breeder with Daily Maintenance at a ratio of 1 part breeder to 2 parts maintenance or mix Breeder with Low-fat Maintenance at the same ratio. This should be adequate for egg production out to 20-22 eggs. If our bird lays more than that, mix the breeder diet with the maintenance diet at a ratio of 1 part breeder to 2 parts maintenance. If your bird is currently laying soft eggs, give her a few weeks of High Energy Breeder or Breeder to replenish, then put her on whatever mixture is appropriate for her level of egg production. Remember that when they hatch chicks and feed them, they need to be on 100% High Energy Breeder or Breeder to meet the chicks' requirement for growth. If you pull eggs and incubate them, the pair can stay on the mixture of a maintenance diet and a breeder diet.
Q: Which Breeder diet should I use and when?
A: The Breeder and High-Energy Breeder diets are formulated to meet the needs of growing chicks and are recommended to be fed to parents when they are feeding chicks. They are not needed for pairs to produce eggs or to incubate, though you may want to feed the Breeder or High Energy Breeder Diet during these stages to avoid changing diets just as the chicks hatch. If you are breeding a species or pair of birds that raises light-weight chicks or that needs additional fat in the diet choose the High Energy Breeder Diet. The High Energy Breeder Diet may also be helpful in overcoming low temperatures when chicks are being raised. If you have a species or pair of birds that raises chicks that are too fat, choose the Breeder Diet. For most purposes the High Energy Breeder Diet is the more palatable diet and should be your first choice.