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Will postage costs make this a thing of the past

These are definitely changing times for the poultry world. In late June the USPS upped the cost to send a 100 size chick box by in some cases 300%. We sent a box of ducklings to a customer in mid June that cost $35 and then sent another box in early July and it cost $100.03. We quickly learned that had we divided the ducklings into two 50 size boxes the total for the 2 boxes would have only been $56 for the early July shipment. We checked and even a box to a location 90 miles away went from $12 to over $30. It appears we will have to send larger orders in multiple 50 chick size boxes in the future.

We continued on with our bedding experiment reported earlier and it is now a sure thing to use Sphagnum peat moss instead of wood shavings. Economics, health and bird happiness all dictate it is a great thing to do. Our one brooder house takes 2 bales of wood shavings at $5.95 per bale to properly cover the floor once cleaned. This building has a cement floor. So the cost to bed the building is $11.90. When shavings are used it has to be cleaned almost every week especially in damp weather or the ammonia level builds up and coccidiosis rises significantly. Therefor to properly maintain the building costs $47.60 per month during the baby brooding season. Even at once a week we still get ammonia build up in damp weather. When we use Sphagnum peat moss a 3.8 cubic foot bag costs $12.95 and one bag does the building and during super humid times it needs cleaning maybe every 2 weeks, during dry weather even after 3 weeks there is still no ammonia build up and it is reasonably clean. Proper maintenance of the building for a month costs between $19.43 and 25.90, less than half the shavings cost. Plus there is no ammonia and coccidiosis has been nonexistent because it is always dry ( remember to continue to bleach waterers regularly). It is also fun to watch the chicks dust bath in the peat moss. Even as young as 2 weeks they love to fluff up and play in the peat.

We also tried this in our range brooder house where the 8 week olds go to mature and they have an acre of orchard hillside to range and play in. This building has a dirt floor and we spread a full bag of peat in there and now after one month it is dry and fluffy. It is great to have less work to do and have happier healthier birds.

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That earthy peat-y smell must be wonderful to step into, and what great compost eventually, too. I use a deep litter in my brooders and in my hen house of gone to seed mixed grass hay I grow and cut myself. Very dry here in MT so no molds, and the birds love to turn that litter for all the grass and legume seeds all through it.

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