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Dean_NZ

My First Absolute Disaster Breeding Season

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*EDIT* (Sorry the table didn't post very well, hope you can read it!)

 

Hi guys. As many of you might know, I have plodded along with average quality birds for the last 2 years to get hands on experience. Last year I bred over 50 chicks from only 4 pairs and although I have experienced most problems - clear eggs, DIS, chicks not fed, deformed chick (single), plucked chicks, damaged eggs etc etc it has always been in small amounts.

 

This year I spent a lot of money on new birds of a much better quality and put them down to breed. For the first time I have had TERRIBLE results as you can see from the quick table below:

 

6 nest boxes

 

37 eggs

 

(Avg 6 eggs per nest)

 

6 clear

 

(Avg 1 egg per nest)

 

31 Fertile

 

3 died while hatching

 

-28

2 hatched and are healthy

 

-26

6 eaten (2x nests, 3x eggs each)

 

-20

2 malformed

 

-18

6 porous DIS (old hen)

 

-12

5 fertile (live embryos still)

 

-7

2 Damaged

 

-3

2 died after hatching

 

-5

3 unexplained DIS

 

0

 

As you can see - I currently have TWO live chicks from 37 eggs over 6 pairs. One hen is an unrung foster hen who i had a feeling was past her egg producing years - so the 6 porous eggs are hers. Still the remaining 31 eggs have produced me TWO live chicks and only 5 fertile eggs remain and to be honest - I would consider it a small miracle if the A) make it to hatching or :D live AFTER hatching.

 

I have been wracking my brains to think of reasons why this might be and so far have put it down to these factors:

 

- Placed the new birds down to breed too soon.

- Majority of hens were maiden

 

Another possibility I looked at is:

- At the start of the year I changed seed suppliers - the birds seemed to adapt to this fine, no fluffing up, no runny bums. The old seed mix was 50% pure canary, 50% mixed millet. New seed mix is a pre-made budgie mix of canary, millet (mixed?) and oats - im unsure of raitos exactly but its probably 50% canary, 40% millet and 10% oats. I offered rolled oats as additional feed once every 1-2 weeks, and I continue to feed the usual broccoli, carrot, corn and soft food mix that i've always fed.

 

As I read over the table listed above, the problems seem to indicate to me nutritional deficiency (eggs eating, hatching weak, failing to hatch, DIS just prior to hatch). What are your thoughts? Is it more that the pairs were placed down too soon (and either werent fed too well in their previous aviary or didnt have time to build back up after the stress of changing?). Is it perhaps indicative of a nutritional flaw in my feeding regime?

 

Please dont be afraid to be blunt or honest. I wont be offended - Im always trying to make improvements and to do this I feel one must be freely able to admit flaws and make corrections (based on good sound knowledge and evidence). You wont scare me away and while I am deeply upset by the problems, I am always determined to do the best by my birds and want to make sure I am doing everything I need to to make things run smoothly and keep them in tip top shape (and THEN keeping them healthy for and during breeding).

 

Cheers :D

Edited by Dean_NZ

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Welcome to breeding better quality budgerigars, it has been my experience over 50 breeding seasons, the better the bird the harder it is ti breed with. No top quality breeder I know would ever get 50 chicks from 4pairs. Eg. I use about 20 pair to breed about 100 chicks per year. Don't be discouraged keep looking for the good ones, I,d rather have 10 good chicks than 200 lesser quality. Cheers Clearwing

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Once we get into better birds and also our hopes for these birds increases, we feel the disasters more keenly than we would otherwise. Most of these things you have had happen seems to be par for the course in breeding these "better birds " but because our hopes and dreams are riding on them we feel every little things as a real disaster. After awhile you may take it as normal.

Many reasons for what you have experienced.......I dont need to tell you as you have and will work it out for yourself.

I just know that its always the ones I have high hopes for that do not work out. The corker of a chick that fails, or the best breeding pairs that have major issues. Then there are the "surprises" that make us smile for awhile :D

I hope for your sake it gets better, but it just sounds like normal stuff for me.

Edited by KAZ

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Hi Dean, I have experienced the same thing the last 2 years, Last year I only bred about 50 all year and this year about the same.

I put my pairs down in March I think 12 pair and got 2 chicks from all that. Then I put more down each time a few chciks , all I was getting was clear eggs.

I rested all the birds and let them moult and put them down a few weeks ago because it is now warming up and I getting good results. Still getting clear nest from some. Mainly young cocks aren't doingb their job. But I have discovered that they do a better job when they are 18months or older.

A couple of weeks ago I lost 7 chicks from 2 different nest, uggrh yellow belly, so I treated the effected nest with moxi T and now i am having top results, not loosing any chicks. At the moment I have about 30 little chicks in the nest now.

I find when they destroy the nest they weren't ready to breed, that's my opinion.

Is itwarming up over there, if it is you may have good results from now on.

But Clearwing is right the better the bird the harder to breed from them.

A couple of my clubs members spent a really lot of money on 3 birds from auction and so far they haven't bred anything, heart breaking I think.

Dean I hope things improve for you soon.

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Thanks guys. I try to take it all in my stride - I had heard the 'better' birds bred poorly but I guess I had hoped it would be different for me lol. I am totally pleased with the 2 chicks I *DO* have as they are from a delicious looking cock bird and I had only wanted hens from the pairing - both chicks are hens!! I feel fortunate that I have forums like this as a support and resource, although I would plod along on my own without them I get so much more enjoyment out of the hobby being amongst like minded people such as yourselves. Its great experiencing the highs and lows with you, makes the lows more bearable and the highs more satisfying.

 

@ Splat - I do have a feeling things will improve with the weather getting warmer. I did start earlier this year than I ever have before so perhaps that also is part of it. I accept this is part of breeding, so I will try and learn what I can, improve what I can and move forward :D

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Just a little side note Dean.

 

We are more inclined to post about the good stuff here and keep the bad stuff to ourselves most of the time :D Doesnt mean we arent having bad times, just that we dont always talk about it on forum. You are in great company here :D

:D

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Yes believe me I have heaps of bad times but I just keep some of it to myself. :D

But Dean I don't think I will bother breeding early nexy year, I think I will wait till Late July next week, because I have feel like I have waisted my time this year breeding any earlier than then.

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Yes believe me I have heaps of bad times but I just keep some of it to myself. :)

But Dean I don't think I will bother breeding early nexy year, I think I will wait till Late July next week, because I have feel like I have waisted my time this year breeding any earlier than then.

 

im with you splat on the nest destroying thing and in leaving nests letting eggs addle yet sitting next morning

so birds out condition do this

 

also with you on breeding latter rather than earlier

 

dean good luck with it all

and maybe add some salt in nest box cages in with their grit

which i have been told that they do need regardless of all the negative talk and things people say about grit

so grit in breeding cabinets and in aviary

along with salt

block

the horse type lick is okay the one i was told is safe is a brand called 007

took my one year to find this out now i know for sure its safe its a definitely must in my aviary and cabinets now on

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I have the one with added molasses. I actually thought the one I had was for cattle.

But it only comes in 20kilos blocks, I get out there with axe and try chipping some off, really hard job :D but in the winter get goes all soaky because of the moisture. I have stopped using it for the time being and silly me threw the block in the rubbish bin and there had to be 19 kilos still there :)

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Probably better you did throw it away! Often cattle blocks (any ruminant blocks actually) contain urea which ruminants can convert to a form of protein but which is toxic to other animals that don't have bacteria in their stomachs to do the digesting for them. Make sure it's not one containing urea or you are likely to poison your birds!

 

And Dean, what everyone here has said is spot on. Breeding better budgies is really hard work and most of the work comes in finding a system that works best for you and your birds. It might be feeding, breeding time or whatever but we have all developed our own systems to get the best we can out of our birds but I think we have all had the heartbreaks along the way too. You are definitely not alone with your experiences although I have to say that you've had more than your fair share of tough luck this season. It should get better than that but will never be as easy as breeding your pet quality birds.

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Probably better you did throw it away! Often cattle blocks (any ruminant blocks actually) contain urea which ruminants can convert to a form of protein but which is toxic to other animals that don't have bacteria in their stomachs to do the digesting for them. Make sure it's not one containing urea or you are likely to poison your birds!

 

And Dean, what everyone here has said is spot on. Breeding better budgies is really hard work and most of the work comes in finding a system that works best for you and your birds. It might be feeding, breeding time or whatever but we have all developed our own systems to get the best we can out of our birds but I think we have all had the heartbreaks along the way too. You are definitely not alone with your experiences although I have to say that you've had more than your fair share of tough luck this season. It should get better than that but will never be as easy as breeding your pet quality birds.

 

 

so nubbly could you find out for me if the 007 brand of horse lick is dangours as i havnt used one as yet

but i finally got told their safe by a breeder who uses them

but your the expert in that feild would you please find out if theirs a brand i could use or if not what salt can i use

apart from i think rock salt which i think is safe

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You guys wont even believe what happened today.... So disappointed I cant even bring myself to explain, lets just say when it rains it POURS. I'll be lucky to come out of this season with a single live chick.

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You guys wont even believe what happened today.... So disappointed I cant even bring myself to explain, lets just say when it rains it POURS. I'll be lucky to come out of this season with a single live chick.

 

Knowing what can happen in a breeding season, I would expect anything. Go on, buddy, spill the beans. We will understand what you are going through :D

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Probably better you did throw it away! Often cattle blocks (any ruminant blocks actually) contain urea which ruminants can convert to a form of protein but which is toxic to other animals that don't have bacteria in their stomachs to do the digesting for them. Make sure it's not one containing urea or you are likely to poison your birds!

 

And Dean, what everyone here has said is spot on. Breeding better budgies is really hard work and most of the work comes in finding a system that works best for you and your birds. It might be feeding, breeding time or whatever but we have all developed our own systems to get the best we can out of our birds but I think we have all had the heartbreaks along the way too. You are definitely not alone with your experiences although I have to say that you've had more than your fair share of tough luck this season. It should get better than that but will never be as easy as breeding your pet quality birds.

 

 

so nubbly could you find out for me if the 007 brand of horse lick is dangours as i havnt used one as yet

but i finally got told their safe by a breeder who uses them

but your the expert in that feild would you please find out if theirs a brand i could use or if not what salt can i use

apart from i think rock salt which i think is safe

 

Is this the one GB?

 

OLSSENS 007 MINERAL BLOCK 2KG

 

 

Formula 007 mineral bricks are designed to provide the essential mineral and trace element in supplementary form, giving horses extra vigor, stamina and muscle and bone strength. Field tests have shown that Formula 007 helps brood mares produce sound foals and helps keep stallions in top condition without piling on fat. The balanced levels of calcium and phosphorus in the brick build stronger bones in growing foals, and replenishes these minerals drawn from the mare's reserves during pregnancy and lactation.

 

Formula 007 blocks contain:

 

Salt, molasses, phosphrous, calcium, cobalt, zinc, iodine, manganese, potassium, magnesium, iron, fluorine and sulphur.

Directions for Use:

 

One 2kg brick should last a single horse about three weeks.

If consumption rate is higher than this at first, it merely indicates a mineral/trace element deficiency in the animal which is greater than normal. The horse will lick for what it needs, then, with its hidden hunger satisfied, daily consumption will settle down.

Olssens Formula 007 mineral blocks are available in 2kg and 20kg.

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Hi Dean

 

Good luck with it all - it is the tribulations that make the wins all that more sweet, and either make or break you.

 

In terms of your breakout - I like your methodology. I like to believe the old saying that you can't manage what you can't measure, and you do a great job of record keeping, so you can see where things break down, relative to a normal breeding cycle. When you consider your eggs, 37 across 6 pairs is a good average of 6 per nest. All things considered, 6 of them being clear is not a bad average. So, the breakdown seems to come with 1/ DIS, 2/Poor Mums. A lot of people will tell you in this hobby to buy your cocks, and breed your hens (when purchasing). People often move on problem hens, so you can buy a can of worms, where the cocks job is much simpler. So, I'd make an allowance here for the new birds that you brought in, that you havent used them before, and dont know how they individually behave in a breeding cabinet. I find those hens raised by good mums, most often turn out to be good mums. Now, in terms of getting them right, it is important to wait until the right time to breed, and not too early, but I think you'd see more fertility issues than you've seen, if you started too early. It looks to me like a possible Doxycycline issue, and a B12 issue, as your rate of hatchability seems to be down. A lot of people adovacate Doxy for two weeks, three weeks prior to pairing - the last week is reserved for vitamins etc. The Doxy has the effect of clearing up any infections in the bird (thats a broad statement I know, but that's the intent), and the B12 in the last week gives amazing strength to the chicks as they try to hatch - they come out of the egg a bright red color, screaming for food, and have a lot of strength to chip out of the egg - I call these the 1%'s, and they've worked well for me.

 

Hope some of this advice helps! All the best for the rest of the season, and keep the chin up.

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You guys wont even believe what happened today.... So disappointed I cant even bring myself to explain, lets just say when it rains it POURS. I'll be lucky to come out of this season with a single live chick.

 

Knowing what can happen in a breeding season, I would expect anything. Go on, buddy, spill the beans. We will understand what you are going through :D

 

 

Whatever it is, I'm feeling very sorry for you. ;)

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Nubbly what ever block I had, other breeders around here used as I asked them to write down which one so making sure I purchases the right one. I used it for 2 years without any losses at all. BUT I didn't use it last year or this year.

Actually since I have stopped using it I have had feather pluckers :(

 

Dean sorry about you bad year, but as I was saying before mine is basicly the same but improving now. So lets hope yours improves now.

Troy is right about hens. and maybe they do need a doxy treatment. and B12. I use the B12 on my birds.

 

I have some friends here that have probably spent over over 4 and 1/2 thousand on 6 pair from one particular breeder, and all they have bred is 3 chicks from 1 pair only and one hen that cost over $a few hundred lays soft eggs.

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Probably better you did throw it away! Often cattle blocks (any ruminant blocks actually) contain urea which ruminants can convert to a form of protein but which is toxic to other animals that don't have bacteria in their stomachs to do the digesting for them. Make sure it's not one containing urea or you are likely to poison your birds!

 

And Dean, what everyone here has said is spot on. Breeding better budgies is really hard work and most of the work comes in finding a system that works best for you and your birds. It might be feeding, breeding time or whatever but we have all developed our own systems to get the best we can out of our birds but I think we have all had the heartbreaks along the way too. You are definitely not alone with your experiences although I have to say that you've had more than your fair share of tough luck this season. It should get better than that but will never be as easy as breeding your pet quality birds.

 

 

so nubbly could you find out for me if the 007 brand of horse lick is dangours as i havnt used one as yet

but i finally got told their safe by a breeder who uses them

but your the expert in that feild would you please find out if theirs a brand i could use or if not what salt can i use

apart from i think rock salt which i think is safe

 

 

Formula 007 mineral bricks are designed to provide the essential mineral and trace element in supplementary form, giving horses extra vigor, stamina and muscle and bone strength. Field tests have shown that Formula 007 helps brood mares produce sound foals and helps keep stallions in top condition without piling on fat. The balanced levels of calcium and phosphorus in the brick build stronger bones in growing foals, and replenishes these minerals drawn from the mare's reserves during pregnancy and lactation.

 

Formula 007 blocks contain:

 

Salt, molasses, phosphrous, calcium, cobalt, zinc, iodine, manganese, potassium, magnesium, iron, fluorine and sulphur.

Directions for Use:

 

One 2kg brick should last a single horse about three weeks.

If consumption rate is higher than this at first, it merely indicates a mineral/trace element deficiency in the animal which is greater than normal. The horse will lick for what it needs, then, with its hidden hunger satisfied, daily consumption will settle down.

Olssens Formula 007 mineral blocks are available in 2kg and 20kg.

 

Is this the one GB?

yes my friend is one i was speaking of

(off toppic helllo :( )

OLSSENS 007 MINERAL BLOCK 2KG

 

 

and dean my start to show birds has not been grand cheak out my web page thats on my sig you will see the blog freak storm

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Hi Dean,

Don't throw in the towel yet. Reading through your results, sounds like (to a novice breeder that is) you don't seem to have any disease problems, as such, more like inexperienced hens/cocks etc.

If you have new birds they may not have been used to your feeding regime, different vege's seed etc. new aviary, partners etc. I suppose it all adds up. I'd say take a deeeep breath, smile and put them down for a second go now it's warming up.

I've just got five new chicks, first for this season. Already lost some eggs, my fault but the birds seem to have settled now.

Good luck from here on just know you are doing your bit and the birds will sort out their bit. :(

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Horse blocks are okay, they don't contain urea as it's toxic to them too. Not all cattle blocks contain urea either but you need to check. Sounds like the one you used Splat was just fine. "Dry feed blocks" are the problem as the urea is used to help ruminants digest dry pasture.

 

It's just a bit of a worry when people use things without knowing the full implications/technicalities of them. An example I'll use (without naming names coz they are on this forum too) is one breeder I know was told to use Ivomec cattle pour-on for scale and worm treatment. Now Ivomec is safe and effective but another popular cattle pour-on (well spot-on actually) Tiguvon is a very powerful organophosphate pesticide and while effective on cattle lice is very deadly to budgerigars, so this breeder found out after killing all bar one of the cock birds that they treated - all of the cocks in their stud that is! So not all cattle pour-ons are the same AND not all cattle blocks are the same. So I like to caution people on the random use of products they are not fully familiar with as well as when we talk about stuff we use here, being specific about it and why, so that others don't just go out and get any old cattle block and then end up with an aviary full of dead birds.

 

And hang in there Dean! When things start to go right AND THEY WILL, this season will seem like a dim memory and the successes will outweight the hardships - otherwise none of us would bother doing the exhibition budgie thing at all!

Edited by nubbly5

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You guys wont even believe what happened today.... So disappointed I cant even bring myself to explain, lets just say when it rains it POURS. I'll be lucky to come out of this season with a single live chick.

 

Knowing what can happen in a breeding season, I would expect anything. Go on, buddy, spill the beans. We will understand what you are going through :)

 

The oldest of the two surviving chicks developed splayed legs (both). I was applying the sponge method to correct this and all was going well when the chick gave a massive kick, squirmed around and I dont know how it happened but trying not to drop the thing I somehow broke its leg right at the hip joint. It was CLEARLY broken and I had to euthanize it.

 

I was so beyond belief at that point. I had told myself I could handle ALL the other stuff going on because I had those two lovely babies. And then because I somehow muffed up the sponge thing, I had to kill one of the two babies who were keeping me from really getting down about things. So I was NOT prepared mentally for that! Hit me really hard. She was going to be such a beauty, i just know it. Her sister has a lot riding on her now lol.

 

You know what the funny thing is, at first I thought "no more budgie ANYTHING tonight, im DONE". But somehow I ended up here blabbing on about violets and I couldnt help but feel better. Man I love these silly birds!

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Oh Dean :) Believe it or not these things happen to all of us. Its easier on these forums to just talk about the positives so thats what we do to feel better about the cr*p moments. At least all of us here understand WHY we get so elated about good looking chicks in nests and so down in the dumps about the losses. Most families and other friends dont understand our heights of emotions about these feathered loves of our lives.

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You guys wont even believe what happened today.... So disappointed I cant even bring myself to explain, lets just say when it rains it POURS. I'll be lucky to come out of this season with a single live chick.

 

Knowing what can happen in a breeding season, I would expect anything. Go on, buddy, spill the beans. We will understand what you are going through :)

 

The oldest of the two surviving chicks developed splayed legs (both). I was applying the sponge method to correct this and all was going well when the chick gave a massive kick, squirmed around and I dont know how it happened but trying not to drop the thing I somehow broke its leg right at the hip joint. It was CLEARLY broken and I had to euthanize it.

 

I was so beyond belief at that point. I had told myself I could handle ALL the other stuff going on because I had those two lovely babies. And then because I somehow muffed up the sponge thing, I had to kill one of the two babies who were keeping me from really getting down about things. So I was NOT prepared mentally for that! Hit me really hard. She was going to be such a beauty, i just know it. Her sister has a lot riding on her now lol.

 

You know what the funny thing is, at first I thought "no more budgie ANYTHING tonight, im DONE". But somehow I ended up here blabbing on about violets and I couldnt help but feel better. Man I love these silly birds!

I'm really sorry to here that :( I have just applied Kaz's sponge method to 3 of mine. I have my fingers crossed. Good luck with your remaining chick!

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My personal view on this subject is somewhat objective. Many people seek to be successful based on quality alone. I feel that breeding programs can be based on a minimalist veiwpoint. Now I know that this will confuse many. My point is that most successful breeding should include fertility rates. Therefore, if one is to excellerate breeding processes, one needs to look at fertility as a major part of your program. Now what does this mean? It means breeding that encapulates the parents abilty to parent. This would mean that hens that are from fertite and productive parents are where you need to focus your breeding programme from. This will increase productivity no end, but this is a numbers game, so therefore work on fertility and the results will come. So I guess this is somewhat confronting to most, but if we all focused on fertility the breed would be where it needs to be to complete with the European market, Cheers, PS I am Happy to debate anyone on based on facts .

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Horse blocks are okay, they don't contain urea as it's toxic to them too. Not all cattle blocks contain urea either but you need to check. Sounds like the one you used Splat was just fine. "Dry feed blocks" are the problem as the urea is used to help ruminants digest dry pasture.

 

It's just a bit of a worry when people use things without knowing the full implications/technicalities of them. An example I'll use (without naming names coz they are on this forum too) is one breeder I know was told to use Ivomec cattle pour-on for scale and worm treatment. Now Ivomec is safe and effective but another popular cattle pour-on (well spot-on actually) Tiguvon is a very powerful organophosphate pesticide and while effective on cattle lice is very deadly to budgerigars, so this breeder found out after killing all bar one of the cock birds that they treated - all of the cocks in their stud that is! So not all cattle pour-ons are the same AND not all cattle blocks are the same. So I like to caution people on the random use of products they are not fully familiar with as well as when we talk about stuff we use here, being specific about it and why, so that others don't just go out and get any old cattle block and then end up with an aviary full of dead birds.

 

And hang in there Dean! When things start to go right AND THEY WILL, this season will seem like a dim memory and the successes will outweight the hardships - otherwise none of us would bother doing the exhibition budgie thing at all!

 

Thanks Nubbly, I relise dyou just warning others on here, understand completely. :) Because before I started writing about the one I used, I was thinking it was a horse one because I know when we had horses we were told not to use cattle ones because they were poison to horses. So then I was thinking why would I have a cattle one for budgies. But it was because it was 20 kilos and I don't think horse ones come that big and besides I was going to give it to a friend who has cattle.

But yes I bought the one that I was told too.

But I don't want anyone else on here buying any cattle block like Nubbly said because it will kill your birds if you get the wrong one.

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