Good post Ms. Ross! As always I have a couple of questions/comments.
"The vitamin formulas are really the same, too, so I'm going with
what the people with the multi-thousand dollar birds do on this one.
That's where alot of my research has come from in the first place." Could you clear this up for me, exactly what are you doing about vitamin/mineral supplements? If I am reading your post correctly, you are depending on liquid oils for the vitamins and Kelp for the minerals? Now my neighbors with multi-thousand bird houses (each bird may be worth a buck )use a bagged supplement (the rest of the feed components come in by the truck load) that is inline mixed just before feeding. the vitamin supplement needs to be kept as cool as possible to prevent breakdown of the vitamins. I looked into buying the bagged supplement from where they get their supply but a bag would go stale with my little flock so I worked out a deal where they would sell me a pound at a time (for biosecurity I drop off a cooler by the drive and they place the supplement inside, they won't allow a backyard man on their place!)
This would not be practical in an area where there aren't commercial operations. I agree that if you must depend on those small supplement packs sold by the hatcheries to be mixed with water, you can't leave that water there all day or you will have a foul soup. I have used two sets of waterers,the small ones have the supplement mixed into cold water, the big ones have nothing but clean water. First I remove the big waterers so they must drink from the supplement waters. While nothing but the supplement waterers are in place I feed and clean the the big waterers and refill them with fresh clean water. Finally I remove the supplement water and replace with the big waterers. More work but it does get fresh supplements in and out again before they have time to spoil. As long as I can get the commercial supplement I just top dress the regular feed with oily supplements and mix in. I hope this isn't too confusing.
The second point is the time to keep babies from adults I am a firm beleiver in maternal antibodies passed in the egg that give chicks a immunity to some diseases. I often let parents raise their own offspring. I have no real proof however and of course the big producers never mix generations so there isn't much research on the sublect, so you may be right. ~gd