Rebuilding the coop February 13, 2016 No Comments

We spent the first three years in our new house looking out our kitchen window at an abandoned old coop, which must have been sitting empty for at least a decade before we were here. Structurally solid, but inching its way down the hill with each freeze and thaw of winter. Covered in cracked rolled roofing and tree sap. Its potential was obvious to anyone wearing rose-colored glasses.

IMG_0605

The view from our house. Note the stray guinea hen crossing our yard.

I spent those first three years hatching a plan to fill that coop with pretty, feathered inhabitants. First, it had to be emptied. It was full of the fun things you might expect to find in the abandoned outbuilding of a man who built and maintained his own home and property. Once we scavenged the place for its neat old gardening equipment and its eclectic collection of rusted springs, squeaky hinges, and random metal objects, it was time for a good cleaning.

No room for eggs in these nesting boxes.

Ew. No room for eggs in these nesting boxes.

Years spent as nothing more than a spare tool shed had left the place Read the rest of this entry »

Chicken Consultant: Top 10 FAQs February 11, 2016 No Comments

You may be new to chicken keeping or an old pro but beginners and experts alike all end up having a question at some point. Hi there, my name is Shannon, and I’m a professional chicken consultant. *Waves* Yup, chicken consultant. That would be me.

feather legged chicken bowing to chicken consultant

How-dee-doo, chicken consultant

You may be wondering how much my services cost. The answer is: ZERO. I and my colleagues will answer your chicken questions for free. My job is to pick up the phone 50 times a day to help chicken people from all walks of life, and that are at all levels of ability when it comes to keeping their beloved poultry. I am a chicken consultant just chicken consultant -ing around. It’s a dream job, right?

When I say “How can I help you?” the questions come pouring in. I’ve been talking “pet chicken” with people across this country for nearly five years now, and I still hear some never-before-asked questions that can stump me. However, there are also the top questions that, as a chicken consultant, I hear daily.

Many are beginner questions, but they are GOOD questions—that’s why they get asked so often! They are things you should know if you keep chickens, so I’m happy to hear people ask them.  That means, don’t call me and say “I know this sounds stupid, but…” because it’s NOT stupid. It’s something you want to know, and we agree you should know it! This is why you called the professional chicken consultant, right?

Here are the top ten most frequently asked questions I receive regularly as a professional chicken consultant, and the answers I hope you’ll find enlightening!

Top 10 FAQs for a Chicken Consultant

1. Can you sex a chick while its still in the egg?

The short answer is Read the rest of this entry »

Today’s Best Way to be Chicken Crazy January 28, 2016 No Comments

Are you chicken crazy? We are. First we’ll share some clues that will tell you whether you–or someone you know–is chicken crazy, too. And then we’ll tell you the BEST way to be chicken crazy today.

You may be chicken crazy if you post photos of our first egg on Facebook as if it’s a new grandchild, or gather up pretty fallen feathers without knowing what to really do with them. Like us, you may agonize over which egg to eat when cooking–because they’re all so pretty! You take—or in my case write—quizzes to determine how much of a crazy chicken lady or man you really are. You may add chickens to your flock because: Chicken Math! Your cars may have chicken bumper stickers. You have–or are planning to acquire–rare chicken breeds that few have ever heard of, and some of which don’t really even look like chickens. Your holidays have chickens in them, too: gingerbread chicken coops, chicken ornaments, egg nog. And your houses are filled with chicken themed giftstin signs and art that you try to keep sophisticated rather than hokey—with mixed success.

That brings us to…

Today’s Best Way to be Chicken Crazy

My favorite way to be chicken crazy–today–is DreamscopeTo be clear, this is a free app, and we are not getting compensated by Dreamscope. I just think it’s COOL.

Dreamscope is an app my cousin introduced me to. It will transform your own photos–since I’m chicken crazy, my mind went naturally to chicken and egg photos–into art. My thinking is that I’ll have my transformed photos printed onto canvas and hang it on the wall.

That addresses three issues that only other chicken crazy people will understand.

3 ways Dreamscope will help your chicken style

1. You can choose your chicken style, chicken crazy person! Not only can your chicken art avoid The Hokey, but it can even be quite modern. Or, if you prefer, rustic. Choose your favorite filter. For example, check out my beautiful egg photo, transformed into an oil painting:

beauty eggs

Still life with Breakfast

As chicken crazy people know, when it comes to eggs, your egg basket can be practically unique–particularly if you keep rare breeds! Blue, green with purple speckles, terra cotta brown, chocolate, olive. It’s a still life masterpiece you wish you could have painted. Well, now you sort of can. You can showcase your own egg colors.
2. Using Dreamscope also addresses the fact that you can find 60 kazillion–I will fact check that figure later–pictures with Leghorns or Rhode Island Reds pictured on them, but next to zero with rare breeds. If you want to showcase your favorite rare breed chickens, where are you going to find Frizzle Tolbunt Polish art? Or Cream Legbars? Super Blues? Favaucanas? Or Easter Eggers that look like yours? Read the rest of this entry »

Chickenzilla Gingerbread Showdown December 24, 2015 1 Comment

Happy Holidays, my fellow Hen Hoarders! I had the most amazing idea for a holiday post.  It involved an unwanted gingerbread house (licked clean), little tiny plastic people running in fear, and an attack by Chickenzilla! It was going to be epic. EPIC.

So I threw on a jacket, grabbed the camera, ran outside into the early morning cold, and waited for the perfect shot. In my head, I had it pictured like this:

 


Unfortunately, my Chickenzillas were suspicious of the Gingerbread house, and were…well, CHICKEN.  The hens wouldn’t come anywhere near the scary figurines, so I pocketed the poor little guys.  The gingerbread house seemed scary as well… perhaps it was the super-bright technicolor red?  I thought chickens were attracted to the red color?  Why do my hens have to be so weird?

chickenzilla and gingerbread house

What is this suspicious object?

I even threw down scratch to tempt the flock, and waited.  Unfortunately, they were not interested.

It was cold outside, the grass was frosty, and my shoes were soaked. Still, I was DEDICATED to this venture. I WOULD get my holiday Chickenzilla monster movie photo shoot! Read the rest of this entry »

Top 10 Chicken Gift Guide December 11, 2015 No Comments

That special time of year when everyone asks what I’d like to have has come. Each year, my family and friends try to find the perfect unique items that match my chicken loving personality. This is the time I can ask for the chicken gift I’ve wanted, that I just couldn’t pull the trigger to buy for myself. After all, I usually spend my mad money on little extras to keep my chicken ladies happy!

So what do you get for the chicken guru who seems to have everything? Here are my top 10 chicken gift suggestions for my friends, family and husband, comprising both my must-haves and past favorites, anything I think deserves a place on your holiday wish list, too!

Top 10 Chicken Gift Guide

1. Glitter and Feather Rooster Ornaments 

My tree always needs a new ornament each year. It’s a tradition: something that symbolizes the season and fits my personality, or that of my family. For chicken lovers, chicken ornaments are perfect. I love these glitter ornaments particularly. They have a country spirit, with twist of glam.

 

chicken gift - chicken ornament

Glitter rooster ornaments

2. Vintage Style Egg Basket

A great gift has to have Read the rest of this entry »

Blue Genes, not blue jeans December 8, 2015 No Comments

One of my favorite colors to hatch is the “blue” or “splash” chickens.  The breed doesn’t matter, I am all about the splash or blue chicken. I don’t know why, I am just attracted to blue genes.

Blue genes, not blue jeans.

Though I do like the latter: but I digress.

However, with most blue breeds, the color blue is not guaranteed when hatching.  The color blue just doesn’t hatch true in chickens.

Splash silkie chicken with two blue genes

Blue genes: I got ’em!

Just what color are you supposed to be?

Read the rest of this entry »

Backyard Chicken Farmer December 2, 2015 2 Comments

A lot of my fellow My Pet Chicken employees write for our blog so I thought why not try it ,too? My name is Judi and I work for My Pet Chicken, one of the best companies ever—especially if you’re a backyard chicken farmer like me!

Copndoc Acres

My farm sign–as you can see, we also keep horses. :)

I wasn’t always a backyard chicken farmer, though. In fact, you never would have guessed I’d eventually grow up to be a backyard chicken farmer based on my background or family. I actually grew up in big city Pittsburgh, PA , and I never even ate a piece of fried chicken until my mother remarried and we moved to Richmond, VA when I was 15 years old.

My mother is about as “non-country” as you can imagine. Read the rest of this entry »

Docile chickens: What is docile? December 1, 2015 5 Comments

When I first started raising chickens, one of my biggest concerns was how they would interact with each other, and my family.  Everyone has seen the cartoon hen who bullies the flock, or has heard stories about the aggressive rooster who attacks whenever you step into the barnyard. I wanted to make sure to get docile chickens.

While there is some truth to those characterizations, I’ve found those sorts of behaviors are far less common than I had previously believed.  Most hens (and roosters) are pretty laid back: you go about your business, the flock will do the same.

Still, even with years of chicken keeping and plenty of successes (and failures!), I choose carefully before adding a new breed into my flock, so I can have docile chickens and a docile flock overall.

With small children in the house, I make sure any new breed I add is docile.  But really, what is docile when it comes to chickens?

docile chickens

This is one of our docile chickens, for sure!

Read the rest of this entry »

Blue Combed Chicken Mystery November 30, 2015 2 Comments

Recently I have been made aware that there is a fascinating “new” breed of chicken floating around the internet.  No one knows what it is called, where it comes from, or where to get one. It would seem it was first spotted on Pinterest, which is a great place for locating the new and unusual, never-before-seen must-haves. So, I did what any good chickenista would do and picked up my magnifying glass, plopped on my detective’s hat, and located pictures of this elusive blue-combed, blue-wattled bird. First I went to the reputed source: Pinterest. Sure enough, there was the blue combed chicken… a white chicken with the bluest comb and wattles ever seen! I began trying to locate the source of that picture and could not seem to track it down to any one site with information, so I decided to poll our team here at My Pet Chicken to see if they knew where this photo of a blue combed chicken could have come from.

blue combed chicken, Fair use for the purpose of critique

You may have seen this altered photo of a blue combed chicken circulating on social media. (Fair use.)

We have a lot of team members that love rare and unusual breeds of chickens. You can’t call us hoarders because our flocks are limited to what we can properly care for, but we definitely have an affinity for going “Oh, look! New chicken!” But there is no chicken breed with bright blue combs and wattles. There was some joking about this being a “snipe hunt” or  “wild goose chase” even! My Pet Chicken’s own Lissa is a pro at reverse searching and located the original source of the altered photo of the blue combed chicken, which shows Read the rest of this entry »

4 ways to validate your chicken addiction November 28, 2015 2 Comments

Crisp autumn air surrounded me as I went to feed the chickens this morning. Dried leaves crunched under my feet and the hens scratched for the last of the bugs trying to keep warm under the fall carpet. This season makes me start to dream. The birds look so pretty in their fine “dresses” as they scratch amid the bright colors of autumn, and since I love variety, I start to visualize what other breeds would look like out there scratching, too. Of course, this leads me to browsing chicken pictures online… Hi. My name is Jordana, and I think I have a chicken addiction.

Chicken addiction: silver laced hen

“Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful!”

I don’t know about you guys, but I can dream pretty big. And here is my problem; I tend to like what is just out of reach, really unique and unheard of, or even brand-new. Some of that urge has been filled with my newest additions. A friend and I hatched out some of the new and cool Cuckoo Bluebar, a variety developed for My Pet Chicken. I’ll tell you more about them later. A bunch of us are really excited about this variety (but I digress). Right now, I’m discussing my chicken addiction.

"Who said I look funny?!"

“Who said I look funny?!”

Personally, I really love Read the rest of this entry »