Debbie Vornholt

Aug 242010
 

Last update: August 24, 2010 – 2:47 PM

A subsidiary of Arden Hills-based Land O’Lakes Inc. said it’s voluntarily recalling about 292,000 eggs that originated at one of two Iowa egg producers involved in a massive nationwide recall.

Fontana, Calif.-based Moark LLC, which is Land O’Lakes’ egg operation, said it’s pulling eggs produced at Hillandale Farms because they have the potential to be contaminated with salmonella. The effected eggs were repackaged by Moark and sold to wholesale and retail customers in southern California and Nevada.

Hundreds of people nationwide, including 14 in Minnesota, have been sickened with salmonella connected to egg recalls at Hillandale Farms and Wright County Egg. On Friday, Hillandale announced the recall of 170 million eggs under a variety of brands. The eggs involved in Moark’s recall are part of the 170 million recalled by Hillandale, said Jeanne Forbis, a Land O’Lakes spokeswoman.

Beginning on Aug. 13, Wright County Egg recalled 380 million eggs, which by itself is the largest egg recall in recent history, according to the FDA. The FDA believes the two recalls are linked.

MIKE HUGHLETT

To see more or view the comments CLICK HERE

Aug 122010
 

My chicks have been outside for about a week now and are doing great.  Their extra sturdy chicken run and chicken coop seem to be holding up well. 

I’ve had no more predator problems either lately.  I set a few traps humane around my yard and caught a few racoons and a possum.  I relocated those critters so that hopefully, none of my other hens or chicks will be killed.

Chicken care is very important to me and I like to feed all of my chickens, roosters and chicks natural treats which incluce lettuce, chards, tomatos, fruit and veggie peels of all sorts, apples, oranges, melons, etc.  If it is a fruit or veggie, they will probably eat it and love it!

Anyway, I gave my chicks a couple of really small cherry tomatos to eat.  Well, they ended up playing chick football with them.  One chick grabbed the tomato and took off running with it.  The other 7 chicks quickly took off after her.  They raced round and round the chicken run with the tomato changing beaks constantly.  This went on for about 30 minutes until the tomato was completely pulverized.

They finally collapsed and decided to take dust baths before taking a short nap.  Chicks are so much fun to watch and now that they have almost reached the four week mark, I am starting to worry about them a lot less.

If you are thinking about raising chicks to start a backyard flock, you need to give serious thought to building a very secure hen house.  Get some plans and free advice by clicking this link.



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Aug 112010
 

Well, I had every intention of keeping the chicks indoors until they were at least a month old but they didn’t like that idea.  It is very hot here and I started taking them outside twice a day to a specially fenced area fortified with chicken fencing that I made just for these babies. 

I didn’t leave them unattended but since I had a lot of yard work to do, this worked out well.  I put a large deck umbrella over part of their area, added food and water and a pile of straw.  I also failed to mention that the grass and weeds were pretty tall in this area so they had lots of cover.

They had a ball running around and acting silly.  They figured out how to take their first dust baths and how to sun themselves.  They were not happy when I rounded them up and took them in each time.  It got to the point that they screeched incessantly while they were inside.

When the chicks reached 3 weeks of age, I finally caved and put them outside in a very secure little chick house with an extra secure run and double chicken fencing.  They were driving me crazy at this point and they were very unhappy.  I also started leaving my two labs outside at night to patrol the yard, which they loved!  So far, so good.  My little family of 8  chicks is thriving being outside and they are growing fast.  They also eat a lot less chick feed since they are busy running around and taking dust baths.



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Aug 112010
 

Are you raising backyard poultry and are wondering about egg production in poultry?  Well you are not alone.  Chicken forums are full of questions about egg production in poultry and what is normal.

  • How do you know if there is a problem?
  • Are my hens producing the right amount of eggs?
  • Why are my hens not laying eggs right now?
  • Can I increase egg production in my hens?

These questions are all normal.  Generally speaking, as long as your hens are still clucking about happily pecking and scratching and they look healthy, their egg production is probably normal.  A sick hen will not be active, will look listless and will not eat or drink very well if at all.  These are all signs of a problem.

Egg production in poultry varies due to the age of the hens, whether or not they are moulting and how hot or cold it is outside.  You will see a drop in your egg production in poultry when it is very hot or cold outside, once your hens are more than two years old and if they are moulting.

Right at this very moment, it is August and in Kentucky we are having a heat wave.  I have 14 older hens and I was getting from 4-7 eggs a day until last week.  Now all of a sudden, I’m only getting from 1-3 eggs a day.  That is completely normal and I wouldn’t be surprised if I got no eggs one day.  I have 8 young pullets that will pick up the slack next year when they start laying since my older hens don’t lay an egg every day.  I have one 9 year old hen that only lays 1-2 eggs every week.

If you want to increase egg production in your poultry, make sure that you feed them a high quality pelleted feed that you can find at your local feed store.  During the cold winter months, you can put a heat lamp in their chicken coop to keep them warm and they will lay a lot better.  In the summer, there really isn’t a lot you can do about the heat.

Also, if you really want more eggs, you will need to invest in a new group of pullets or young hens every single year.  The bottom line is that the older your hen is, the fewer eggs she will lay.  Young hens lay more eggs more often which will really boost your egg numbers.

Egg production in poultry will vary depending on the season and the age of your hens.  Unless you notice a health problem with your hens, your egg production is probably in the normal range.  To find out more about how to increase production in poultry, check this out.

Aug 062010
 

chicken runMaking A Chicken Run

The dream of many people who decide to raise backyard chickens is to have then free range. But, the sad fact is that not everyone can raise free range chickens and having a chicken run is the only viable solution to keeping your chickens alive.

Making a chicken run may be necessary for a number of reasons:

  • You live in an area where your chickens are not allowed to roam.
  • You don’t have enough room to keep your chickens safe and off the road.
  • There are too many predators and you would lose too many chickens.
  • You don’t like chicken droppings all over your yard, porch, deck, etc.

Whatever the reason, making a chicken run doesn’t require you to be a rocket scientist nor does it have to break the bank.  The goal of making a run for your chickens is to give your chickens room to move around during the day and still keep them safe and contained.

When making a chicken run, the size will depend on how many chickens you have.  If you have a small flock of chickens, you will only need to make a space that is around 10 square feet.  But if you have a large flock of chickens, you will need to consider making one that is much larger so that your chickens are not overcrowded.  Overcrowded chickens are more stressed, more prone to disease and will not lay as well.

Before you start making your chicken run, you need to consider the following things.  small chicken run

  • It needs to be constructed to keep predators and pets out.  Sometimes predators will dig under your chicken run so take that into consideration and bury some of your fencing.
  • Use good quality lumber to build a chicken run that is strong and will be long lasting.  I used 4×4’s along the base when making a chicken run for my chickens and it made the structure very sturdy.
  • Consider using a hardwire mesh when making your chicken run.  It’s a great material because it’s tough, it can be bent to mold around the chicken run and predators can’t squeeze through it.
  • The hardware you purchase for doors and windows needs to also be animal proof.  Many dogs, racoons and foxes have the ablity to open latches on gates and get to your chickens.  So always buy latches that have pins or that you can put a clip through.
  • Consider intalling motion detector lights around your chicken coop as a predator proofing method when making your chicken run.  Most animals will run when a blinding light comes on.  If you can see your chicken coop from the house, you will also know when something is lurking around and threatening your chickens.

Raising chickens is a fun way to become more self reliant but it can be heartbreaking to go out in the morning and find dead or missing chickens.  Take the necessary precautions when making your chicken run so that your chickens live long and protected lives.

Check out these links if you need chicken run blueprints or just want some different ideas before you start making your chicken run.



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Jul 022010
 

So, you have a hen that has gone broody and you decide that you want to raise a few chicks.  I have done this countless times and I finally have a method to the madness of chick raising.

After I put a few fake eggs under the broody hen to keep her happy, I then decide which hens that I want chicks from.  Some of my hens are friendlier or prettier than others and I usually pick these hens.  I will gather up the hens that I want eggs from and confine them to a different chicken house and run for a few days.

I collect the eggs every day and I don’t use any of them that don’t look perfect.  Any eggs that are an odd size or just don’t look right are not good candidates to put under your hen.  I put the date that each egg was laid right on the egg.  I collect 10 – 20 eggs depending on how many chicks I want and when I have as many as I need, I put them under the broody hen.  I also release the other hens and keep all of them away from my broody hen so they don’t keep chasing her off the nest to lay more eggs.

I then feed and water my broody hen every day because sometimes they won’t leave the nest at all and they can starve to death.  I keep a close eye on her and the eggs and I usually don’t candle them until they are around two weeks old.  I remove any eggs that aren’t fertile and place the rest of them back under the broody hen.

All that is left to do is to count down to hatching day and watch for the chicks to begin to hatch.  I always monitor them and make sure that none of them have any problems.  Sometimes one or two will hatch late after mom has left the nest. 

I will take them inside to incubate them.  Once they hatch, I grab one of the hen’s chicks and when it starts to scream for her and she gets upset, I slip both the new chick and the old chick back in.  Chances are good that she won’t even notice that she has an extra chick or two.



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Jun 292010
 

I have a chicken flock of about 40 hens and roosters and I have three chicken coops.  They usually tend to congregate in one chicken coop which is fine but I have extra hen houses for several reasons.

– If things get too crowded or they have to be locked up for extended periods of time due to bad weather, I can separate them – whether they like it or not!

– If there is a lot of bickering or fighting, I can pull out the offending chicken and put her somewhere else.

– If I notice that the roosters are damaging the hens too badly, I will pull all of the roosters out of the flock for a few weeks until the hens have a chance to recover.  I try to only keep 4 roosters at a time to help minimize the damage.

– I can use an extra chicken house and chicken run to raise chicks in.  Sometimes none of my hens are broody and I will incubate the eggs inside.  Since they don’t have a mom to watch over them, they have to be separated from the flock until they are older.

These are just a few of the reasons why it is a great idea to have more than one chicken coop or hen house.  The more hens and roosters you have, the greater the chances are that you will need more than one chicken coop.

To get some fantastic chicken coop blueprints, check this out.



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Jun 272010
 

I made the decision to buy some chicks a few years ago on a whim.  Now, I can’t image not having my chickens because they have given me a certain amount of self sufficiency that I really enjoy.

People ask me all the time if they pay for themselves and really, that isn’t what this is about for me.  I usually say I doubt it and I really don’t care.  This is more about my need to not be so dependent on others to feed me and my family. 

Chicken care and chick care are all about how to best take care of my family and my flock.  A broody hen is a great thing to me becaus she is ready to raise the next generation of chicks for me.

My chickens provide eggs, meat and new chicks for future egg layers and meat producers.  They also provide a lot of fertilizer for my garden in the form of chicken poop.  The chicken poop makes my vegetable garden healthier and it produces a lot more vegetables for me to feed to my family as well as sell to locals.

They also provide a lot of entertainment. I can spend hours watching baby chicks run and play as they discover the joys of being outside.  I also love to watch my hens and roosters peck and scratch around the yard.  Even when they manage to escape and cause havoc in the garden, I still have to chuckle at them.

So, to those of you considering raising chickens and making a profit, I wish you luck.  I’m sure it can be done but I’m just not that into that.  My initial goal wasn’t to be more self sufficient but it has transformed into that for me as the years passed.  I enjoy knowing that no matter what our government does or the state of the economy, I will be able to feed my family.

To learn how I figured out how to build my very first chicken coop without pulling my hair out, check this out.



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Jun 272010
 

I’m happy to report that about a week after their mother was killed, all 8 of the chicks hatched.  They are so cute and active.  Caring for chicks can be so much fun!

I love watching them as they attempt to break out of their eggs.  I have to really resist the urge to help them out of the egg and it is really nerve wracking for me.

I had the chick brooder all set up and ready to go.  Given how the hen was killed, I’m not taking any chances with these babies.  I plan to keep them in a metal cage in my kitchen for as long as they could stand it.

They are eating and drinking just fine.  I had to fiddle with the heat lamp a little at first so that I could get the temperature just right by they seem happy now.



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Jun 272010
 

I was so excited.  One of my bard rock hens went broody and started collecting a clutch of eggs to sit on.  Everything was going great.  I made sure that she ate and drank every day and she was being a good broody hen. 

On Friday night I candled all 8 eggs and all of them had little baby chicks floating around inside the eggs.  It was so great!  I locked her up tight in her separate little hen house and went to bed happy.

I got up the next morning and walked out to let the hens and roosters out and to check on my broody hen.  To my horror, I found her dead outside her little chicken coop.  Somehow something had managed to pull a board lose and then finished getting in my chewing a hole in the wood chicken coop.  The hole was just large enough for whatever killed her to drag her out of the hen house.  Whatever had killed her hadn’t been able to drag her body off though.

I checked the eggs and they were still there but they were cold.  The eggs were 13 days old by this time and I was sick that they would probably die.  By biggest problem was that I only had a 3 egg incubator so I jumped in my car and drove to Tractor Supply to get a larger incubator.  Luckily they had one in stock so I bought it and got home as fast as I could.

I put all 8 eggs in the incubator right away even though it said to let the temperature stabilize for several hours.  I figured at this point, what could it hurt.  So I sat there literally for almost four hours until I was sure the temperature in the incubator had stabilized.

I figured that I had done all I could do for the moment.  I waited twenty four hours and I candled the eggs again to see if I had any chicks left alive.  At that point I noticed that one of the eggs was actually chipped.  I didn’t hold out much hope for any of them still being alive but to my amazement, they were all still alive!

Now the wait was on to see if all of the baby chicks survived and hatched out ok.


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Jun 232010
 

While caring for a flock of chickens is pretty straightforward because they are so self sufficient, chick care is just the opposite.

What can go wrong?

  • Keep them too warm and they will die. 
  • Keep them too cold and they will die.
  • Forget to check them for pasting up and they will die.
  • Keep the chicks in a brooder that isn’t predator proof and they’re going to be killed.

All chicks require plenty of attention, particularly during the first four weeks of life.

As soon as you pick up the shipment of chicks that you ordered through the mail, you need to keep in mind three vital chick care tips that you have to be aware of or your baby chicks may die. 

The three most important things that you need to be concerned about are pasting up, access to water and umbilical cords.

Pasting Up
As soon as you collect your baby chicks from the post office or wherever they were delivered, get them straight home.  The first step in proper chick care is to remove the baby chicks from the box one at a time and inspect their butts for a condition called “pasting up”.  It is very easy to spot as you will notice blackish waste that has become stuck to their butts. The dried up poop covers up their vents and prevents them from being able to poop any more.

This is a very dangerous condition and has to be handled straight away.  I prefer to use a damp, lukewarm washcloth and soak this area to get it to the point that it is soft enough to remove the stuck poop.  In a number of the most severe cases, I have been forced to immerse the chicks’ rear end in water just to get it off.  It is possible to use a tooth pick or anything that is disposable to also help get the balck mess to come off.  I dry the chick off using my hair dryer ( set on low heat to be sure that I don’t injure the baby) and then I put it in the brooder.  Keep a close eye on the entire flock of chicks since this problem can return.

Provide water immediately
The second important chick care tip is that your new baby chicks will need to have water as soon as you have  inspected them and taken care of any pasting up problems that occurred in transit. I don’t take any chances that my baby chicks can’t figure out what to do with the water. Remember, they were plucked from the hatcing box and placed in a box as soon as they were hatched.  They have never seen food or water.

As I place each chick in the brooder for the first time, I gently dunk their beaks into the water source.  They always get the concept very quickly and begin drinking.  Keep a careful eye on them and be sure that all of the chicks have the hang of both eating and drinking.  Do not ever try and force them to drink using a syringe because you will drown them.

Umbilical Cord
The third essential chick care tip is to not be taken aback any time you notice that some of your baby chicks still have their umbilical cords attached.  You may note what looks like a black string which is attached at their butts.  This is very common and will fall off with no help from you.  Do not under any circumstances pull it off orremove it yourself.  It is possible to badly injure your chick by doing this.

The issues discussed are  just three essential chick care tips that everyone needs to be aware of.  Chick care is generally incredibly time consuming during the first four weeks and you’ve got to be able to provide the constant care they need to keep them alive.

Don’t make the mistakes that will cost your chicks their lives.  CLICK HERE to find out more about how to keep your newly hatched chicks alive.

Jun 232010
 

chicken breeds Did You Buy The Right Breed Of Chicken For Egg Laying?

Your chickens have become old enough that they are beginning to lay eggs but you might wonder “How many eggs are normal“.  Look back to when your your chicks initially were picked up and brought home.  They were so tiny and irresistible and funny that it was tough to envision them ever being big enough to lay eggs for you. It is truly amazing that these birds can lay eggs so consistently.

As your chickens get older, you may get a little worried because they weren’t laying eggs like they used to.  As egg product decreases, many people obsessed that they are unhealthy or that they are doing something wrong.  Usually, there is nothing wrong with chickens and is normal.  There are a lot of things that can put your chickens off laying whether it is for a short time or in some cases, forever. I found out that there’s not an easy response to that question since how many eggs are normal for your laying chickens will depend upon a number of things.

5 Egg Laying Essentials

* The breed of chicken matters.  Chicken egg laying is almost completely dependent on the breed of chickens that you invested in.  Anyone that is relying on the fact that you are going to get one egg every single day from every single chicken is going to be disappointed.  A large percentage of chicken breeds will not lay eggs regularly and prolifically for you.  If you are concerned about getting a large number of eggs, it is advisable to pick the breed of chicken you because that is not what they were bred to do.

* How old are your chickens? What is assumed to be to be customary “chicken egg laying” for your hens will also depend on the age of your chickens.  Remember, the majority of hens will be the most prolific egg layers through their first year or two of laying.  As your hens become older, they will lay smaller amounts of eggs and they won’t lay eggs as regularly as they did when your chickens were more youthful.  But the flip side of this is that older hens usually produce larger, better quality eggs.  Older hens are also not as  prone to contracting diseases than more youthful hens.

* What season is it? Winter, summer, etc.  Chicken egg laying is dependent on the time of year and the weather.  Most chickens should produce more eggs more consistently during warmer weather and the longer days that come with summer and fall.  During the cold winter months and in periods of unbearable heat, don’t be alarmed if you find that you do not get any eggs at all.

During these times, you will find that egg production will normally be irregular and you will only get an egg if you are really, really lucky  As long as your hens still look healthy and happy, it is perfectly normal and there is usually nothing wrong with your flock.

* Are your chickens moulting?  Any time you note that your chickens are molting (losing a lot of feathers) your egg production will drop.  How do you know if your chickens are moulting?  If you start noticing a lot of feathers on the ground, they are moulting.  Moulting is hard on your hens and can cause your chickens to produce a smaller amount of eggs than is typical for your flock.  Don’t worry though because as soon as they are done moulting, your hens will start to lay again.

* Are your chicken healthy?  The number of eggs your chickens lay will be almost completely dependent on how hale and hearty your chickens are.  If you notice that your chickens show an abrubt decline in laying, then something may be up with them. Carefully inspect the legs and feet of your chickens carefully for scales that are raised or swollen as mites may just be your problem.  You have to get rid of the mites or your chickens will not be able to lay very many eggs.

* Give them enough room. Even if you only purchased breeds that are specifially bred to be laying chickens, they will not produce if they are kept confined in an area which is overly crowded or an area that is not kept properly ventilated and is not clean. You might have to build more chicken coops and chicken runs so that you can split up your flock.

These are some of the common reasons why your chicken egg laying may decline.  Most of the items discussed really can’t be fixed and you just have to live with lower production.

Click on the links to find out more on chicken health and common chicken health problems.

 

Jun 012010
 

keeping chickens

Raising Chickens In Your Backyard

So, you have decided to take the leap and get some chicks to keep in your backyard or barn or wherever.  Keeping chickens can be a lot of fun if you are properly prepared, you have enough space, some extra money and a little extra time.  I decided to start keeping chickens a few years ago and I have never regretted it.  There is nothing better at the the end of the day to sit in a chair out back and watch them run around catching bugs, digging in the yard and generally just being happy little critters. However, like anyone that jumps in feet first without doing their research, I made a lot of mistakes at first.  I don’t want anyone to go through the troubles that I had when I got my first chicks.  So let’s discuss some of the things you need to consider before you ever buy your first chick. We are going to discuss the following things:

  • Are you allowed to keep chickens in your area?
  • Do you have enough money to get started?
  • Chicken coops – Design and Installation
  • Chicken coop location.
  • Do you have any storage space?

Do Local Regulations Allow For Chickens?

Make sure that your area allows you to keep chickens in your backyard.   Some areas have very strict rules and regulations that forbid you to have chickens at all.  I know of a situation in a neighboring subdivision where a new family moved in and brought their six hens with them. In most areas around me this is allowed, however, the neighbors all quickly objected and it was discovered that this particular subdivision had rules against having any chickens. This poor family was forced to find a new home for their beloved family pets.  Do not let this happen to you.  Be aware that keeping chickens can be done in a lot of areas, but that doesn’t mean your neighbors will like it.

Financial Considerationsbuild a chicken coop

While having a few chickens is not extremely expensive, money is required especially in the initial start up.  Chickens are not picky about where they live but you will have to be able to provide a secure coop of some sort to house them in. You will also have to look at the chicken coop and run that you build.  Functionality is also very important so that you can easily care for your hens without too much trouble.  A poorly designed coop will look bad and will be a pain to work in when you have to gather eggs and clean it. Are you handy with a hammer and nails?  The cheapest way to build your chicken coop is to do it yourself.  I tend to be a pack rat and I have lots of scrap wood in my barn which made it very low cost to build the actual coop.  But, if you are not handy or just don’t have the time, you will need to hire someone to build it which will add to the cost.

Chicken Coop Location & Design

The size of your chicken coop will depend on how many hens you are going to keep and how large of a building you can afford to construct.   Even a small number of chickens have minimum space requirements.  Most of the pre-built chicken coops that I have seen online are way too small for the number of chickens they say they will hold.  If your flock is confined to an area that is too small, they will fight, it will be smellier than is should be, it will be harder to clean and the health of your flock will suffer. Remember that you will have to have electricity and water located close to your hen house.  Trust me.  There is nothing worse than having to keep a very long hose run across your yard and driveway so that you don’t have to carry the very heavy water containers from the water faucet to the coop!  Same goes for your electrical needs.  Extension cords work in a pinch but are not really intended to be run across a large area of your yard year round.  It is a huge safety concern.  So either build the coop close to water and electric or budget to install it. Drainage, sunlight and shade are also very important considerations when deciding where to build the hen house or coop.  A low area will hold too much water and flood the area which can lead to illness and just generally nasty conditions.  Too much sunlight and your chicks will suffer through the summer.  You may be forced to invest in screens or shades to provide enough shade for them to survive.  If you have a shady, well drained area, you should consider placing it in that area.

Storage

You will also need some space to store all of the things you need for keeping your chickens.  Keep in mind that you will have to keep, cedar bedding, lighting equipment for winter on hand and anything else that you might need.  If you don’t have a storage area, you will need to build one.  Convenience is always something to consider.  It will be a real pain if you keep your supplies in the garage and the chicken coop is not located close to your garage.

Conclusion

This is just a brief overview of some of the things you need to consider before you think about keeping chickens.  One thing I didn’t talk about above is time.  Make sure you have the time to commit to taking care of them.  You need to be able to check on them every day and clean the coop once a week.  Do not make the mistakes that I did. I didn’t do my homework and I lost a lot of chicks in my first attempt. My biggest regret is that I didn’t take the time to properly research the various chicken coop designs available. I went cheap and small at first.  It didn’t last very long at all (2 years) and it was way too small for the number of girls I ended up with.  A friend of mine bought a pre made coop online in June of 2013 and it is already falling apart so be sure and read the reviews before you purchase.  You don’t have to buy or build the most expensive hen house but it does need to meet your basic needs.  Talk to local people who own chickens now and visit some online forums to get an idea of some of the issues these people have faced.  It is easier to avoid these problems to begin with than to go back and try to fix them at a later date. Check out this resource for more information on building a chicken coop. Bookmark & Share

Jun 012010
 

Before considering raising day old chicks, you will need to think about chicken brooders to ensure the survival of your babies.  Chicken brooders don’t have to be complex or expensive to build.

The primary use of chicken brooders is to ensure your young chicks maintain their body temperature and to keep them safe.  Separating them from the main flock allows your baby chicks to socialize with animals the same size and age and they will be able to eat and drink without being stressed by bigger chickens or other animals.

Chicken Brooder Tips:

  • Plastic or Cardboard? 
  • Location, Location!
  • Keep Me Warm!
  • I’m hungry – Feed me!
  • I’ve Fallen And I’m Dirty

Plastic or Cardboard?  Chicken brooders can be purchased or simply constructed from something you have inside your shed. Keeping in mind that you just need something with walls that are high enough to prevent your chicks from hopping out and to protect them from drafts.  Two of the simplest chicken brooders that you’re going to ever get are simple plastic tubs and cardboard boxes.

Location, Location!  As soon as you have decided which sort of container you are planning to use, make a decision about where to place your chicken brooder.  Keep in mind that you are going to need to use an electrical outlet so plan take that into consideration. 

Keep Me Warm!  You have to buy a light with a 250 watt bulb to help keep all of your chicks warm.  It is required to be placed {directly over the top of the chicken brooder.  Getting the correct temperature in the box will require you to acquire a consistent thermometer and fiddle the heat source.  It may have to be raised or lowered based on the temperature.  Your chicks will not thrive if you cannot ensure that the temperature in the brooder is not too hot or too cold so keep a close eye on the temperature inside the container.  Always be sure that there is at least one area of the brooder which is away from heat source on the off chance that your baby chicks become too warm.  For that first week, the temperature inside the brooder is required to be set at roughly 99 degrees F after which it needs to be lowered once the chicks age.

I’m hungry – Feed me!  Your new baby chicks will need constant access to food and water.  A feeder and water container will be needed that is the appropriate size for newly hatched chicks.  You’ll need to purchase special chick feed as it is smaller in size so that they can more easily consume it.  They won’t be able to handle the larger chicken size pellets.

I’ve Fallen And I’m Dirty!   It is important to keep your chicks clean and their living environment clean.  Dirty chicks are likely to become ill and die. I always use wood shavings in the bottom of my chicken brooders because they are economical to use and they are incredibly absorbent.  They are also simple to scoop out and replace as needed.

Raising baby chicks is usually a enjoyable project for the entire family and if they are handled a great deal while young, your chickens will socialize with you when they are full grown.  To get more detailed information on how to raise baby chicks, click here.  

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Jun 012010
 

It used to be very common for people to raise chickens in their back yard, even if you lived in the city.  The hens provided fresh eggs and meat for their owners.  They also had the added benefit of providing bug control.

Chicken keeping fell out of favor for awhile but it is making a come back as people more and more want to know where their food is coming from.  They make great pets and are fairly easy to keep, even if you don’t have a lot of room.

Benefits of Raising Your Own Chickens

  • Constant supply of fresh eggs.
  • Fresh supply of meat if you choose to go that route.
  • Insect control in your yard.
  • Their poop makes great fertilizer for your lawn and garden.
  • They aerate your yard as they scratch and peck around.
  • You know exactly what you are eating since you provide the feed for them.

Raising chickens in your backyard can be a fun and exciting experience for the whole family.  Do your research so that you know what to expect and so that you are properly set up to care for your new flock of hens.

Visit this link to get more information on raising chickens . You can also sign up for a free newsletter by clicking here.

Find out how to avoid the 7 deadly mistakes when keeping chickens in your backyard and learn how to keep your chickens alive.  Click here or click the picture below and then scroll to the very bottom of the page to get your FREE report.

 



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Jun 012010
 

Fencing For Chickens – Why You Should Invest In Good Fencing!

Fencing for chickens is the best way to stay on good terms with your flock of hens.Fencing for chickens will protect your flock.

Don’t get me wrong.  I love my chickens but one day I was at the end of my rope!

Why you might ask?Fencing for chickens will protect your flock.

I came home from work one day – not too long after my first chickens were finally old enough to free range – and discovered that ALL of my flower beds and my garden had been completely destroyed!

It seems that while they are out puttering around in my yard, they discovered the joys of scratching around in my garden and my flower beds.  The problem is that they can destroy these areas in a very short span of time which I  unfortunately discovered.  I obviously was not going to get rid of my chickens but when I finally got tired of my flock going where I didn’t want it to go, I started investing in some chicken fencing.

Fencing For Chicken Options

There are several options available when you go online and look for “fencing for chickens”.  The old standby that is still commonly used is the chicken or poultry fencing.  It is a mesh type fencing with small openings that can be ideal to help keep the little darlings out of areas you don’t want them in.  Just keep in mind that poultry fencing is not a good option for predator control as it can be pretty easily torn through.

Poultry Fencing or Chicken Wire

The basic problem with any type of fencing for chickens is that those girls (and boys) are smarter than most people give them credit for and they can fly pretty well too.  Most of my chickens were most appreciative of the fact that I was nice enough to provide fencing for them to land on and perch on.  So I found that when I used this fencing to basically cordon off my garden and flower beds it was very effective, as long as I also put it over the top as well as along the sides.  I also had to build frames to support the weight of the chickens as they walked over the top of the mesh trying to get to the flowers and veggies! It was a huge pain in the you know what, but well worth it to me.

 

Plastic Mesh Fencing

A friend of mine got creative when looking at fencing for chickens and used the plastic mesh fencing to try and contain her birds.  It comes in a variety of colors including orange, green and white.  I was skeptical about it working but, while it didn’t look great, it functioned surprisingly well. It’s a fairly tall fencing and is durable so it can be moved around if you want to.  It is easy to work with and can be stapled or hooked to posts, garages, your house, etc.  Again, the biggest problem is that smart chickens figure out how to fly over it or try to perch on it.  I personally didn’t find it very effective at keeping my chickens in or out of certain areas.

Chain Link Fencing

Chain link fencing actually worked very well too.  It is very durable and predators cannot tear through it.  The biggest problem with using chain link is its cost and it is harder to install.  But, you can go to Tractor Supply or just about any other hardware or feed store and by chain link panels to use as fencing for chickens.  These panels can then be secured together and assembled pretty quickly.  I recommend lining the inside of the wire with a layer of chicken wiring along the bottom as an added layer of protection.

2 inch x 4 inch Mesh 14 Gauge Galvanized Wire Fencing

This is another type of fencing that can also be successfully used as it is very strong and more affordable.  Chicks can also squeeze through these openings so it is a good idea to use some chicken wire along the bottom of the larger galvanized fencing to prevent escapes until they are bigger.

Electric Fencing

Electric Poultry Netting can be very effective at corralling your birds if they aren’t very good fliers.  It also helps to keep predators out of your chicken area which is great.  Because they get a mild shock if they touch it, they don’t land on it and very quickly learn to just stay the heck away from it.  Even some of my fliers now won’t fly over it because they touched it as they tried to escape.  Again, it doesn’t contain all of your birds but I have found it to be very good at containing all but the most escape minded hens.

Choosing fencing for chickens can be overwhelming but keep in mind that there is a wire type for just about any budget out there.  Each type of fencing has it’s advantages and disadvantages so my advice is to know what you want and how much you can spend.

Check out these options for Fencing For Chickens


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