4 Strategies to Beat Flock Boredom August 19, 2014 2 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 11 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 6 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 17 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.
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.
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 »
Hen stone – Chicken Rorschach Test July 18, 2014 No Comments
Traci recently found a stone at the beach. “It looks exactly like a hen!” she said. A hen stone.
I saw the hen in the stone immediately, a bearded hen like a Faverolles. WOW! ”That’s crazy,” I said. “I can even see her beak and eyes!”
We marveled together. “She looks bearded to me,” I pointed out.
… it was a few minutes before we realized we were seeing two completely different chickens in the hen stone. Read the rest of this entry »
4 Point Daily Coop Damage Inspection July 11, 2014 No Comments
It’s the one thing most people forget, but it’s also something that should be done daily make sure your flock is safe! It doesn’t take long; it will probably take 2 minutes or less. What is it? A daily coop damage inspection should be a part of your regular maintenance routine!
Having a predator-secure coop is not enough. The truth is, if you have determined predators, they can do enough coop damage that they can break into any coop over a period of days, so it’s up to you to catch the coop damage in time to take steps.
How to do a 4 Point Daily Coop Damage Inspection
- Look for splintered wood near doors and windows could mean something has been trying to strong-arm its way into your coop—pry open a door or window, break a lock, or just pull out screws. Make sure to check locks and latches every day, and replace weak wood with strong, or reinforce with metal. Read the rest of this entry »
Silly Chickens and Mud Puddles June 27, 2014 6 Comments
Silly chickens. Chickens can be contrary.
- You can provide them with the most fabulous coop, and some will want to roost in a nearby tree in the rain.
- You can give them huge, roomy nests filled with soft, clean nesting material in a secure place, and they want to lay eggs in the dirt under your porch.
- You can give them a dust bath you built yourself, and filled with the good stuff: diatomaceous earth, wood ash, sand and so on… and they want to dust bathe on your flower beds.
There are ways to deal with each of the above problems. For the first two, it helps to leave the chickens “cooped up” for a few days, so they learn to regard their coop as home (again), a safe place to lay (again). Chickens are creatures of habit, after all–you just need to get them into a new habit, or in some cases, a new old habit. You can also, with a little effort, keep them out of your landscaping and garden beds with a combination of fencing and netting.
There’s one thing I haven’t been able to come up with a solution for, though: how do I convince the chickens to drink from their clean waterer rather than from mud puddles? Silly chickens.
Addressing the habit thing really doesn’t seem to help in this case. Keeping them cooped up inside for a few days means they drink from their waterer during that time, but as soon as they’re let out, the mud puddle habit re-establishes itself. Read the rest of this entry »