Instructions for training your first kit.
By Clay Hoyle
Take the young birds from the nest when they are young. 24 to 28 days old.
Put them in a kit box with a solid bottom. (If your kit box has a wire bottom, put some thin plywood over the wire. This is temporary and will be removed after a few days.) Have a bench or table that is the same height as the floor of the kit box. If you have an old hen that is very tame, put her in with the babies. Get a plastic or glass-measuring cup that you can see through. This will make measuring easier. One measuring cup holds 16 tablespoons of food. If you use anything else to measure, make sure you know how many level tablespoons full it will hold. You must measure the food every day, forever. You have only one way to control the birds and that is food. I recommend wheat for the initial training. Do your training at the same time each day. Do not feed the birds the day you put them in the box and never leave uneaten food in the box. Dip each bird’s beak in the water as you are putting him or her in the box. You do not have to worry about them not eating, but you do have to make sure they know where the water is. On the next day, put a small handful of wheat in the kit box. The old hen will be hungry from not eating the day before and she will start to eat. Some of the babies may start to eat. Wait for five minutes and take the food away.
Decide on a noise that you will use to call the birds to eat and make the noise every time you feed the birds. (This can be a whistle or a small bell or rocks in a can…etc.) The next day all will come to eat. Keep adding food up to a maximum of one tablespoon for each bird that is actually eating. When this is gone or after ten minutes, take the food away and watch to make sure they drink. Any who do not drink, stick their beak in the water. Repeat this the next day. They should all be eating and not afraid of your hand in the box. Be careful not to feed more than one tablespoon per bird. The next day, place your table in front of the kit box door. Open the kit box door and place about a teaspoonful of wheat on the table. Some of the birds will come out and eat this wheat. Toss about a teaspoonful inside the kit box. They will all run back in and eat. Wait a few minutes and repeat. Just use a small amount of wheat. Make them go in and out several times. They should all be coming out and going in. Do this again the next day. The day after this you just open the door and do not give them any food. Just stand around for about ten minutes and let them go in and out of the kit box. Some of them may get on top of the kit box or on the ground. Do not let them on the ground. I use a fishing cane to touch them to make them get off the ground. After a while you give them a little wheat on the table and then throw some in the kit box. When all are in the kit box you can give them the rest of the food. You can now start to increase the food by ten percent each day. After a couple of days you can move your table away from the door a foot or so each day and when you open the kit box door they will go to the table. Wait about ten minutes before you feed them and some of them will fly a little. You will know when you have fed them too much the day before because a couple of them will sit on top of the kit box and look at you like you are stupid and not come and get in the box. They must be a little on the hungry side while you are training them. Do not worry if some are not flying. Just wait a while before you feed them and do not feed them until the ones who are flying have come down.
They will all soon be flying. Clay Hoyle