Hubbard Life

Hubbard Life Blog

Your resource for advice from Hubbard® Life experts.


The Proud Heritage Chicken: A glimpse into the poultry past

I was given the wonderful opportunity to speak at P. Allen Smith’s Poultry Workshop last month held at his beautiful farm just outside of Little Rock, Arkansas.  As we arrived and started to set up our Hubbard Life booth, Allen’s staff started to bring out some of the different heritage poultry that had been raised on the farm.  When I say raised, I mean both in numbers and in people’s education.   He had a barn built specifically to raise and show these over 24 different exquisite color/pattern breeds.  One of Allen’s goals is to bring back some of the old breeds of poultry that have almost left us. 

Modern operations raise the large white birds for maximum number of eggs and meat which is great for that is what our ever expanding population is demanding.  But, the birds that were raised for their feather quality/color, calmness, brown egg, tolerances to heat and/or cold or many, many other traits were sometimes lost in the major commercial expansion.  Allen’s goal is to raise awareness of these cool old breeds.  There are the egg layer breeds and many were chosen as good meat producers and some as both.  These breeds ranged from the beautiful white faced Spanish birds with their black bodies and large white patches on their face and necks to the different shades of colors in the Wyandotte breeds - similar to those that my great-grandfather raised off the Little Kanawha River in West Virginia.   

Each breed has its own wonderful story about its background and its rise and fall from the poultry world.  If you wish to learn more about these wonderful breeds, please go to P. Allen Smith’s webpage (www.pallensmith.com) or find a copy of the Hobby Farm magazine called “Chickens” 2nd ed., 2013.  This magazine has several nice articles on the Heritage breeds and many other articles on feeding, housing, etc.  See if can pick just one of the breeds as your new favorite.

We are proud to say all these heritage breeds at Allen's Moss Mountain Farm are being fed our Hubbard® Life Homestead® Poultry Feed!  You can see this highlighted on their website at Allen's Pick's.

You can also visit our website for more information on the products: www.hubbardlife.com/poultry.aspx 

Posted on 10/22/2014 by Dr. Ed Bonnette  |  Category: Poultry
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The Not-So-Cute-Side of Rabbits: Coprophagy and why they need it

What is coprophagy and does my rabbit need it?

Coprophagy is a long, fancy term for the consumption of feces.  Sometimes it is referred to as hindgut fermentation.

And, yes, coprophagy is something your rabbit needs.  Let me explain why.

You have probably heard it said that rabbits consume their own feces.  It is true, they do, and it is perfectly normal and necessary.  It is essential to your rabbit’s healthy digestion system and weight gain/maintenance.

Rabbits do not have a complex ruminant digestive system.  They extract extra nutrition from grass by giving their food a second pass through the gut.  So, how do they accomplish this?  Rabbits produce cecotropes which are called “soft feces’ or ‘night feces’.   The cecotropes are the material resulting from the fermentation of food in a part of the digestive system called the cecum.  Rabbits also excrete another kind of feces which is their typical hard fecal pellet, but they do not normally consume that.

Cecotropes are nutrient-rich and are passed out of the body, like feces, but are re-ingested by the rabbit so that more nutrients can be absorbed.  Cecotropes have twice the protein and half the fiber of their typical hard fecal pellets.  They also contain high levels of vitamin K and B vitamins (Vitamin B 12 in particular).  After ingestion, on the second pass through, the extra nutrients are absorbed by the small intestine.  Without this process, many of the nutrients in the food would be lost and passed through the colon, and out as typical feces.

Rabbits are herbivores, eating only vegetable foods.  And they do well on fiber diets.  The rabbit’s cecum goes to work digesting the food.  At night, the contents of the cecum move rapidly through the colon because very few nutrients are absorbed there and then cecotropes are formed.  These cecotropes are the soft feces consumed by the rabbit straight from the anus.  That is how the rabbit is able to consume the feces before it falls through the wire mesh of the cage and onto the floor of the hutch.  The fecal pellets you see on the floor of the hutch are the ‘hard feces’ I mentioned earlier.

You will generally never see the cecotropes, but if you did they would be smaller, softer, more moist, and covered in a greenish mucus (compared to the hard feces that is round and hard).

In a way, cecotrophy (cecotropes passing through the system a second time) is similar to the process of ruminant animals chewing their cud.  Cows, goats and other ruminants chew their food once, swallow it, and then the digestive process continues in the rumen where the fiber starts to be broken down by bacteria.  When these animals chew their cud, the material from the rumen is brought back up through the esophagus to the mouth where it is re-chewed and swallowed.  By repeating this portion of the digestive process, ruminants, too receive more nutrition from their food.

I hope this helps you understand one of the natural body processes of the rabbit.  For more rabbit tips check out our Rabbit Tips & Tools page on our website.  You can also get information about our Hubbard Life Rabbit Feeds at www.hubbardlife.com/rabbit.aspx

Posted on 9/24/2014 by Amy Brown  |  Category: Rabbit
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New Year, New Opportunities: Get your game birds ready

What a difference a year can make and we’ve definitely seen a turnaround when it comes to moisture this season. Crops are projected to be very good in most parts of the Corn Belt, which has driven grain prices to much lower levels.

“USDA forecast the corn crop at 14.03 billion bushels, up from its July forecast of 13.86 billion and from the 2013 harvest of 13.925 billion. The soybean crop at 3.816 billion would be up from July’s 3.8 billion forecast and from 2013’s 3.3 billion”.

That’s good news for our game bird producers who rely on formulas that contain corn, soybean meal, and other crops. Many of you are at a point where this year’s flock is nearing maturity and ready for hunting season, but one may want to consider the opportunities that lie ahead for this coming year’s crop. Now is a good time to start looking at forward pricing for your game bird feeds to give you an idea where prices are going to be.

The following will give you a guideline for figuring how much total feed you’ll need per bird;

 

Quail

Chukar

Pheasant

Starter to 6 weeks

.8 lbs

1.4 lbs

1.8 lbs

Finisher

2.5 lbs to 16 weeks

5 lbs to 14 weeks

9 lbs to 14 weeks

**Remember to add Flight Conditioner quantities depending on how long you’ll be holding your birds.

 

Why not give consideration to the great Hubbard® Life Game Bird feeds this coming year. These items are proven to provide optimum performance and the quality you expect and deserve.
 

Hubbard Life Game Bird Products

Game Bird Starter:  A complete 27% granulated ration that is specifically formulated for priming the digestive tract for optimal development and growth in all game birds.


Game Bird Grower:  A complete 20% (min-pellet) granulated ration for growing game birds fast and efficiently for market using high levels of vitamins/minerals and probiotics.


Game Bird Flight:  A complete 17% (min-pellet) granulated ration specifically formulated using synthetic and natural amino acids for producing well-feathered, lean birds that will be released at a later stage. Ideal for birds that are going to be released for immediate hunting.


Game Bird Breeder:  A complete 18% ration with high levels of vitamins and trace minerals to help improve fertility, egg strength, hatchability and chick livability.

Posted on 8/27/2014 by Doug Rowse  |  Category: Specialty, Game Bird
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