Top 3 ways to help your molting flock September 19, 2014 No Comments
Molting, or shedding old feathers to grow in the new, is triggered in your flock by waning sunlight hours, and typically happens in late summer or fall. During this time, your flock will look pretty raggedy, and may slow down or temporarily stop laying while their feathers grow. So how can you help your molting flock?
Nutrition is especially important during this period, no matter which type of molt your birds are going through. During the molt, it’s always doubly important to provide sufficient protein in their diet. After all, they’re growing their feathers in for the next year, and if they are lacking in nutrition, their feathers could be brittle or dry–until the next molt. During this window, you need to take action.
Here are the top 3 ways you can help your molting flock:
1. SWITCH to a higher protein feed during the molt to help your molting flock.
Check your feed bag: how much protein is in your feed? Layer feed is usually Read the rest of this entry »
Be careful what you wish for: the Change.org petition that harms chickens September 13, 2014 267 Comments
We have recently been the target of a Change.org petition started by a vegan animal rights activist which denounces the shipping of baby chicks. It’s time to bring you all into the loop. The following petition has received more than 71,000 signatures to date:
A post on Facebook today had me livid and I felt compelled to start a petition.
1-DAY-OLD CHICKS SHIPPED BY MAIL
Yesterday I was at the post office and heard the familiar sound of newly hatched chicks. They were calling out from inside a pair of cardboard boxes on the counter. No mama. No food. No water. Yes, the shipping of live, day-old baby chicks is a booming business in the States. Read the rest of this entry »
The #1 reason to raise chicks in the fall September 5, 2014 5 Comments
Why is spring the traditional time to begin raising baby chicks? The main reason is that, in the past, chickens simply laid fewer eggs than they do today—and their top laying season was in the spring, so more eggs were available then for hatching. However, since modern chicken breeds have been selected for higher production and near-year-round laying, we can now choose to raise chicks almost any time of year. Fall has some important advantages!
The number one reason to raise chicks in the fall is Read the rest of this entry »
Chicken watching for Labor Day weekend August 29, 2014 No Comments
In addition to visiting with family, grilling food, having a picnic and so on… don’t forget to enjoy some chicken watching this Labor Day. It’s good for the soul, and good for your chickens.
We’ve talked about the benefits of chicken watching before. More than once. Some people refer to chicken watching simply as “chicken tv.” Some people even gear their coops and runs with closed circuit cameras, so they literally have chicken TV where they can enjoy chicken watching to their hearts content; others have chairs set up in the midst of the flock so they can enjoy tea and chicken antics surrounded by ranging chickens.
We say the more you engage in chicken watching, Read the rest of this entry »
4 Strategies to Beat Flock Boredom August 19, 2014 6 Comments
Flock boredom can be an occasional problem in any flock. Do your chickens sit around for most of the day, not amused by each other or the things in their coop? Let me help you beat flock boredom. Keeping your flock entertained is good for their health, and the quality of their eggs. These methods of entertaining your flock are both very simple and inexpensive (if not free), so why not? Your chickens will surely thank you!
1.) Combat flock boredom by offering kitchen scraps or other treats they can have fun “foraging”!
When your chickens are confined to a run, scraps are a free and simple way you can give your flock some entertainment. By saving fruit, vegetable, bread, noodle, and grain scraps you can bring the health of your flock Read the rest of this entry »
Top 4 Reasons Factory Farms HATE Your Chickens August 15, 2014 14 Comments
Do you raise backyard pet chickens? Factory farms hate your chickens—and they hate you. You and your chickens are Public Enemy #1 to them!
In fact, the main reason humanely produced local eggs tend to be so much more expensive than eggs produced by factory farms is because the price of factory farm eggs is kept artificially low when factory farm producers aren’t required to provide humane care for their flocks. In the cruel stress of severe overcrowding, factory farms keep the hens from hurting each other by searing part of their beaks off. They are not required to invest in the space their flock needs. It’s cheaper to remove their upper beaks.
Providing humane care costs more… so you, on the other hand, as a human being, make certain you’ve provided enough space in the coop and run. You make sure there’s room at the feeders for everyone; that food and water is fresh; that your birds are not too hot or cold. You ensure they can engage in instinctual behaviors like preening, roosting, dust bathing, laying their eggs in nests and so on. If needed, you expand their space to make sure everyone has plenty of room. You probably even provide your flock with special treats, or even toys! You spend time watching them, and notice if someone gets injured or sick.
This is simple humanity… but from a factory farm perspective it would be a ghastly loss of profit.
Let’s look at the 4 top reasons factory farms hate your chickens:
1. When you keep your own chickens, you’re buying fewer (or no) eggs from factory farms.
All those eggs you’re enjoying: you would have been buying them from factory farms were it not for your backyard flock. Increasing numbers of people keeping pet chickens represents Read the rest of this entry »
The Ragged Feathers of Summer: 7 causes August 8, 2014 No Comments
When your day old baby chick feathers in for the first time at 12 weeks old or so with her complete juvenile plumage, there’s almost nothing quite as beautiful. Each feather is shiny and new. And a perfectly-frocked, robin-sized bird that runs to you for affection is more exciting than most of us would care to admit (in public). Those perfect feathers don’t always stay perfect, though. Soon will come the ragged feathers of summer!
There are a few common causes of missing or ragged feathers, many of which are more of an issue in the summer. If you’re seeing problems, take a few moments to review what may be happening to see if it needs to be addressed.
For instance, (1) Read the rest of this entry »
Chicken Poop Dog Treats Recipe August 1, 2014 7 Comments
Chicken poop dog treats: that’s my project today. (You heard me!) While I’m not sure about the advisability of teaching your dog that what looks like chicken poop is delicious, making these treats for your friends with dogs–and emphasizing that they are a gift from your flock–sounds like some gross fun. Want to encourage your teenagers to learn to cook? The “Grossout” factor of chicken poop dog treats may be a good strategy.
Plus, the treats are actually from your hens, in a sense, since your girls will lay the eggs needed.
Chicken Poop Dog Treats Recipe
- 2 large eggs Read the rest of this entry »
New Chicken Blogger: Farmer Sam July 29, 2014 7 Comments
Let me introduce myself! I’ll be My Pet Chicken’s newest flock member and chicken blogger, so I’d like to share a little about myself. My name is Sam, although I prefer to be called Farmer Sam by my chicken keeping friends. I live in Fairfield, Connecticut where I raise chickens and sheep. I started my chicken keeping adventure with three production red hens I got from our local feed store. Not long after I got them, I started my first blog, called “Connecticut Chickens.” While trying to get more readers I volunteered to give a talk at our local feed store’s springtime chicken keeping seminar.
That was where I first met My Pet Chicken’s Traci. Traci helped open my eyes a little more to the many amazing chicken breeds that exist, and to how the chicken keeping industry worked!
One day, a few months after the seminar, we were buying chicken feed at the feed store and overheard a lady talking about her sheep. We asked her about them a little and after looking at the photo of them we were convinced we had to have some. She kindly brought us to her home to meet her sheep. After visiting her farm, we went online to find breeders who had the breed we wanted. We found one not too far away and arranged a visit. The sheep she had were a set of twins just under a year old. We immediately began preparations for them and in no time we were ready to take them home. We would never have had that opportunity if we hadn’t entered the backyard farming world with our wonderful chickens!
Chicken Math – Blessing or Curse? July 25, 2014 18 Comments
Chicken math: it’s sort of an inside joke with chicken keepers. It goes something like this:You get approval from your significant other to get just a small flock–maybe five chickens, tops! How do you get to five?
Well, first you need two chocolate layers.
Then you need two blue layers. So far so good.
But you notice that the almost-impossible-to-get olive eggers are available on your targeted hatch day, so you add one. Okay, and maybe a Favaucana just for a different shade of green. How many is that; it can’t be more than five, right?
Then, you remember that your daughter needs a Silkie as her special pet lap chicken.