Be careful what you wish for: the Change.org petition that harms chickens September 13, 2014 266 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!

raise chicks in the fall - seven chicks

Raise chicks in the fall? You bet. You can start your laying flock as soon as NOW!

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.

Reggie the dog chicken watching

My little dog Reggie watches over the girls as they enjoy some watermelon on a hot day

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”!

Combat flock boredom by offering forage

Here the flock has a blast digging around in a pile f lawn clippings.

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!

factory farms hate your chickens

So very threatening, right?

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. 

sick hen

You provide appropriate care for your sick or injured pets.

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!

ragged feathers of summer, hens and rooster

Ragged feathers? A few, but they’re not too ragged here. You can see feather loss in their beards, and just in front of rooster Francis’ tail.

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.

Chicken poop dog treats

These are perhaps the most unappetizing cookies you will ever make!

Plus, the treats are actually from your hens, in a sense, since your girls will lay the eggs needed.

Chicken Poop Dog Treats Recipe

(Wheat free)

DSC_3551

The ingredients look tasty!

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!

Barn And Tree of a chicken blogger

Our barn

 

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!

Read the rest of this entry »

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.

Black Copper Marans eggs

Marans eggs: because who doesn’t want eggs that looks so gorgeous?

Then you need two blue layersSo far so good.

CreamLegbar

A couple Cream Legbars should provide some lovely blue eggs.

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.

Little girl and juvenile silkie

Chicken Math means the silkie you get your daughter doesn’t count against your flock total.

Read the rest of this entry »

Chicken Care Automation Part 2: DIY Chicken Project July 20, 2014 1 Comment

Several weeks ago, I blogged about how great our automatic chicken door is… but it’s not by a long shot the only accommodation we’ve made to ensure our chickens are happy, safe, and provided for when we travel.  We also engaged in a DIY chicken project or two. Along with our automatic chicken door, we adore the trough feeder and heated waterer we built ourselves. If you’re the kind of chicken keeper who’s willing to put in a little elbow grease, a DIY chicken project might be up your alley.

Your chickens (like Chloe here) will thank you.

Your chickens (like Chloe here) will thank you.

DIY Chicken Project #1: PVC Pipe Feeder

The PVC feeder we constructed holds enough food for ten chickens for about three days. Read the rest of this entry »