How to protect your flock against the animals who view them as lunch, starting with the pine marten. It's one of the most amazing benefits of keeping backyard chickens - having beautiful, nutritious, fresh eggs every single day. Eggs used to get a bad press - accused of building high cholesterol levels. But not any more - it's now recognised that that research was faulty.
So my eggy pages cover all that information, and more: nutrition, storage, health benefits and, of course, some of my favourite recipes. Cholesterol, fat, high calories - eggs have had a bad press over the years. But they're one of the healthiest foods around.
Devilled eggs are the easiest way of using up your flock's offerings. I share my favourites - made in minutes, enjoyed for hours! Yummy devilled eggs! To clean or not to clean? To refrigerate or not to refrigerate? Always a subject of debate, here's the answers based on fact. How to store eggs, safely. At least, it does if you do it properly. Here are some of the things I'm planning to be included over the next few months Lots of adverts.
I recommend something either because I have used it myself and love it, or I know someone I respect, who has. I recommend only items which I know will be of use to you and your flock. A place where harm is done to chickens. This is an important one to me. This site is about raising happy chickens.
I don't talk about killing our girls and I don't talk about eating them - because I don't. If you want a place that goes into details like that, that's fine - there are loads around the internet. A place where you're afraid to ask a question because you think it's too silly. There are no silly questions. When it comes to keeping our girls happy, everything's important. In fact sometimes I was so clueless I didn't even know what to ask. A place of know-it-all experts.
I read books which teach me things too, although sometimes my chickens disagree with the books. I take an active part in forums and talk to people I live near, who have been raising their own hens for generations. I find out what works for them, then I try it out and I let you know what worked - and whether it might work for you. In case you're wondering what my credentials are, to be able to give you good information about how to incubate, brood and raise chickens, I've written a page all about how I got to this point.
It's not a story of a country girl born and bred - far from it. I was born and raised in Liverpool, England - and there aren't many chickens there! What it will show is that anyone can learn how to look after chickens - and have fun doing it. My aim is to use all the knowledge I've learned over the last ten years of keeping a flock of chickens, and share it with you to so that you avoid the mistakes I made and enjoy all the benefits. Click on the pic to go to that page.
And don't forget to join me here, on Pinterest. In my articles I recommend some products I use and love. If you buy something through one of those links, I receive a small commission.
Martha's Guide to Raising Happy, Healthy Chickens at Home
There is no additional cost to you. To learn more, please see my affiliate disclosure document. Sooooo helpful, and a delight to read!! Amazon Ad - see this page to find out more. We use Mailchimp as our marketing platform. By clicking below to subscribe, you acknowledge that your information will be transferred to Mailchimp for processing.
Learn more about Mailchimp's privacy practices here. Click to see my copyright , privacy and affiliates policies. Click here to contact me. Ask here! Privacy and cookies policy Starting out Chickens and the law Are chickens for you? My chickens start free-ranging from a very young age! Quick links - find what you want here, or carry on reading! Before you start. Incubating and hatching. Care of adult hens. Pin for later. About me. Your girls' lovely fresh, delicious, healthy eggs will add up quickly!
Beautiful coops by the Amish community in the USA provide all the home comforts a chicken could need! Thank you for sharing the chicken love! Affiliate products. Featured Article. Your June to do list!
Calcium in oyster shells for strong egg shells. They'll know how to consume each, by nature. If you do not want chicks then simply collect your eggs daily. They can not hatch what they can not sit on. Other than that nothing else is needed.
Raising Chickens 101: How to Get Started
Your eggs are all good for sale. At least as far as I have found. I have a Rooster, he is the protector of the girls, not only from other animals but he also keeps the flock in order. I collect my eggs each morning and before I lock up for the night I do a final check. I have no problems with my eggs and everyone loves them.
Something digs holes outsise the coop and getting into my chickens. It kills and eats part of them. I am so upset. It sounds like a possum or a weasel They are nuts over eggs and they kill and eat chickens also. Try throwing a few old eggs in a place near your hen house but not right next to it. A possum will take the eggs and leave your chickens alone as long as he is getting a meal.
Possums can be great to have around - they eat rodents and old seed. Just remember he is there and give something to him to eat so that your chickens aren't such a temptation to him. It could be a racoon or oppossum they both will chew the head off a chicken and leave the carcass laying there, very sad but it happens.
The best thing to do is is dig down about " around your coop and lay chicken wire down and fill it in. This will stop them from digging under it. Otherwise fill your coop floor with chicken wire or some small hole fencing you can buy at your local co-op store. An easier way to lay chicken wire instead of digging a trench for the wire is to lay the wire out about 18" running away from pen, then cover with a little dirt and let grass grow over it.
When a critter tries to dig in he hits the wire and gives up. Has worked for me for years. After about 5 years replace the wire because it will rust. I've got some beautiful bantams, 3 d'uncle and one buff brahman, I've had them about 9 months, and they are all laying well. About a month ago they ganged up on the brahman and took all the feathers out of her chest, so I had to move her out of the coop. I tried to introduce her back into the flock with only one other hen, but each one I tried her with lasted about 15 minutes before the pecking began.
After a terrible afternoon, she's without feathers again and I'm desperate for suggestions I can't have this poor bird spend her life in a dog cage in my garage! Unfortunately, she's the, "bottom of the pecking order". It's a real thing. If you have the room, keep her by herself. If you don't have the room It sounds brutal, but more brutal to have her try to live through that. She'll be too stressed to lay, eat or socialize. I have 3 Bantam chickens, one is a Rooster, and I have 9 other full size chickens. I have found that my Roo will quell most pecking order issues that the girls may have.
He is protective of his ladies and will stop their squabbling before anything gets that serious. If you can have one that is what I would do. I think that is better than killing her just because she is the one getting picked on. Ill have my chicken coop ready for spring.
I also have 6 nest, prep for the chickens I plan on only having 4. Also I was wondering will they return to the nest after the day is over? No, you don't need roosters at all! I have 4 in my coop, which would never go back in when I first got them, I had to put them in every night. Then it got really cold and I had to shut them in the coop for a few days, and after that - Voila!
They understood that was their "bedroom" and they go in without any encouragement. So wait for a cold snap, and keep the coop door shut for at least 48 hours. You'll need to feed and water them as normal, but don't let them out. As soon as the weather improves open the door, and they will go in and out as if they've done it all their lives. Enjoy your eggs! You do not need a rooster but, if you are allowed to have one then why not? You do not have to wait for a cold snap to get your chickens to take to the coop either, just put them in there for a few days and do not let them out, then when you do they will start going in on their own.
Our little man was a free rooster. He is beautiful. When he came into his roster roll, I hated him.
A guide to raising healthy, happy chickens without antibiotics – Living Better
He is very bossy to the girls. I must admit, he goes out of his way to protect them. Everyday I let them roam outside of their enclosure. He wrangles them up just before dusk, and they go in to roost. He is terrifically protective. I love to watch him shake his head and make his jesters to get the hens to behave. I collect my eggs once a day. I'm going to hatch some eggs this spring.
I have a whole other space for that though. Hello, we inherited 2 chickens with our coop. Raised chickens as a child and starting over many years later. I would like to know if one of these is a rooster! The bigger one is more agressive. Trying to figure out how to send you a picture! A rooster has a larger comb the fleshy crest on top of their head than a hen, and longer tail feathers as well. There is a pecking order in flocks of chickens, even among two, with one picking on another.
I have been raising broilers but now want to switch to layers. Is there any concerns if I clean the coop my broilers used to used and put layers in? Will that hurt them anyway? Hi, I'm Jessie and I'm just starting with my free ranch chickens project. I observed that a few of my chickens started developing a weird behavior moving erratic, loosing balance like they have a neurological problem.
The hen died few days later. Please can you help me with this situation and give me the best advice. Sometimes chickens need more room to exercise. Sometimes they are too hot; ensure they are not getting overheated. Great Post! I had to go through a whole process of trial and error in which I made a couple of mistakes that I could have easily avoided had I known some basics. My journey is not yet over. I guess there are many many things to learn. A chicken that is over heated They also can have, sudden onset, heart attack and just, "keel over" and die. More common than anyone would believe of a chicken!
Fresh cool water, times, daily during summer. I even freeze my corn cobs and let them have at it, the day after putting up my corn. Cold, refreshing and it's a, "yummy pecking toy". For some reason I started thinking about the way about the way I used to keep eggs fresh without Refrigeration in the olden days After Gathering eggs I would put them in a egg carton and turn them over twice a day to keep fertile eggs fresh.
This kept the sperm from floating to the top That way I can plant them under a hen that is sitting and the eggs still hatch but once you refrigerate the eggs there's no use trying to put them under a hen to hatch cold it kills the sperm Has anyone else heard of this. Also when Gathering eggs you must always leave at least one egg in the nest so the hen will come back and lay again in the same nest for some reason a chicken can just count up to 1 I have even used a golf ball to keep in a nest and the Hen didn't tell no different. I also remember one time that I had a hen laying eggs in a box and I put something over the top of the box and move the the box with the hen and eggs and put it back porch and kept the cover over the top of the box for about a day and she come back and laid eggs on my back porch I even seen one hen waiting on another hen to get off the nest to lay an egg what gets confusing Is when more than one hen wants to sit on the eggs..
Raising chickens? Your gonna need water! My wife raises a lot of chickens and i got tired of all the work. Check out this automatic watering system- autowaterkit. Hi i will like to know which places around gauteng and Northwest where can i buy small chickens to raise. Will also like to know to whom will i sell? Am a beginer eager to start my own farming ,however what i read recently was also educative and can lead me some where thanks. I have land an was trying to c,what do I have to have to start my own farm.
A friend of mind was telling me since u have ur own land u can get help. If you vacation, know that you have someone knowledgeable to tend your flock. Start small. Have a Cool or Chicken Tractor built before you purchase pullets. A good hatchery will mail your day old chicks to you. Be prepared to RUN to the post office when they arrive!!! Have a chick brooder ready and waiting for your babies. Have chick feed and feeders, chick grit, chick waterers and heat lamp.
I was once a, "dummie". I have five hens,a good sized Coop, fenced In yard for My chickens,we feed them a diet of chicken feed, mixed with corn and sunflowers, fresh water, and any fresh food we do Not eat,also throwing In weeds and greens,they are tended to daily,we get maybe three eggs every other day,what Am I doing wrong? Are they new? It can take 6 weeks for hens to settle in. Are temperatures too high? Could your hens be stressed about anything like predators?
Is there a rooster stressing them out? Are they actually eating their mix? What Breed are your chickens? Heavy layers lay approx eggs a year, average layers around a year. Breed can make a huge difference on the amount of eggs you get and some breeds lay once every 3 days approx eggs a year. If your chicks are young they all might not be laying yet either. I wish you the best in your farming adventure. Hope this helps.
I am considering raising chickens for egg. I need the basic material and accessories for a foul coop am thinking a 40 by 20 foul pen. I have a barred Plymouth Rock chick that has a growth on the back of her leg that is sharp and poking a hole on her backside. She is eating and drinking and I have her separated from the others. I can send pic if need be. Do I cut this off? What can I put on the wound? She is about 8 days old.
Any help would be greatly appreciated. In general all other requirements being fulfilled, such as a rooster , a hen will be more likely to produce fertile eggs if she is healthy and has good nutrition. Breeder feed is recommended when the hen is laying eggs for hatching; or second best, provide layer feed for hens that have started laying eggs. What a great site! We used to raise chickens when I was a kid in Illinois, but I don't remember hardly anything.
Now, I live in North Texas and want to build me a li'l ol' chicken coop, with a big flock of 3 or 4! I want them to lay through the winter, but the summers can be brutal here. What breed would y'all suggest? Hi Rusty, Welcome! I have a rooster that apparently hurt his leg and has been limping for several weeks now, now he has been doing nothing but sleeping and staying in the coop, his tail is down and he doesn't even crow anymore, can you help me and give me some suggestions??? Thanks Jim. Another question sorry but I just saw a garden snake entering the coup!
Small only about 2 ft. But can they be a problem? And they haven't been sleeping in there coup was thinking it was the heat. But could it be the snake or all the flies?? What is to cooled for chickens. I have 3 adult chickens. Thanks for what u do. I have a problem with a attack chicken. I've raised them from babies but now 1 is literally coming after me pecking, then she does her little squat and shake?
What's going on? You've probably been so kind that this hen thinks she's above you in the pecking order. Never let her attack or chase you or she is showing her dominance. You chase her around.
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Then you can gently hold her down and force her to bow. Or, you can also hold her upside down. Flip her around, and carry her around for 15 to 30 minutes in front of the other girls. Thank you I can report today was the first day with no attack! Everything she tried I picked her up and send her flying so far so good thanks much We are in the Great North East. First, we have chickens need more for colder climate. Good layers and good meat. During winter, they lay better. We shore up their runs and coops with bales of hay and each coop has an infrared heat lamp, on timer.
Summer they want in high heat, but we make sure they have fresh, cold water daily. Winter, we make sure water didn't freeze a. And p. We have never had issues. But all chickens are different! Hello, If possible I'm looking into a small, cheap as possible chicken project. I'm looking into maybe getting 4 hens for egg production. Any advice is greatly appreciated. Also, Can you please tell me of a chicken that can take the heat pretty well? Also, what is the difference between white and brown eggs?
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Hi to all, with eggs prices these days I am thinking to get a couple of chickens and commit to them but I live in far west texas in the middle of the desert, here is very hot in the summer and very cold in the winter not like new york. Does you guys have any recommendation for me? I just got 20 young chicks and 4 days later I lost one and 3 others are acting strang what should I do I don't want to lost all. Make sure aloes they have water and food available. To reduce mortality very important add special vitamins to the water, you can by them in any pet store.
I just got 20 young chicks and 4 days later I lost one and 3 others are acting strang what should I do I don't want to loose them all. Our neighbors raise chickens…I love chickens, I love their sounds, and I love their eggs. Their tunneling is destroying the brick patio and back fence line flower bed. How can we get through to our neighbors that they need to make a change? Please HELP!! You can have rat problems without chickens.
The best way to handle rats is to put out some fresh coke in a container where they can get to it. Rats love the sugar in coke and will be attracted to it. They can't burp, so the carbonation in the coke expands in their intestines and explodes, killing them. They won't have time to dig holes. They come, drink and die.
By the way, rats are very prolific and produce hundreds of little ones each year. So if you have rat holes you likely have nests of rats in the ground. The coke will attract and kill all of them. But, you can expect to pick up dead rats all over your yard until they have been eliminated. I have two hens and one rooster In a 5'-5' coop.
I am not wanting to eat the eggs I am wanting babies. One of the hens laid 3 eggs and after the third day I noticed the hens ate the eggs. What should I do?? Well a couple of things. First, if you want your hens to hatch out their eggs, you need a hen that is "broody".
Not all hens are broody and a lot of breeds are bred to be non-broody. A broody hen has a behavioral tendency to sit on a clutch of eggs to incubate them. She will be very defensive, refuse to leave the nest, often she pulls feathers from her breast to line the nest and keep the eggs warmer. They will not eat or drink while exhibiting broodiness. If you don't have a broody hen you wont have chicks.
Once hens start eating their eggs, they are very hard to stop. If you want to hatch your own chicks, you will need to get rid of your current hens since they are now eating eggs, and find a hen that is broody. Easier yet, buy an incubator and hatch the eggs yourself.
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I would also increase the number of hens that you have to at least six. An aggressive rooster will really tear up just a few hens. Totally new here. Just researching raising chickens and am so glad I found you. Told my husband when we get home, I want some! We live in north east Indiana and have no idea where to start. My biggest concern is predators and weather. I have no idea where to start and love your input. Last Spring I started my own meal worm farm for my birds and have also read that they are a fav for chickens.
Cannot wait to start this new hobby. My chickens got into paint chips none lead and mortar chips. Is there any way to help cleanse them? I have just begun to raise chickens and bought I began using the MMS therapy we use for our own health which goes into their water. The MMS will quickly disappear in sunlight, so it must be given daily for a while. It kills parasites and bacteria. It is excellent for overcoming almost all diseases in humans, so I'm sure it will work with the chickens, just don't make the MMS too strong.
I am using it to make sure any disease residing in the chickens is destroyed along with removing any heavy metals such as you find in paint. It also reduces the damage done by feeding them feeds that contain GMO which is in most commercial feed unless you specifically purchase non GMO feeds which run a little more expensive. I will not feed my chickens or pets anything containing GMO. I just got 6 chicks. My very first chickens. Enjoying them. When do you introduce grit? Right now I give them only unmedicated starter. I would add chick grit after the first 3 days. Sprinkle it on food like salt or pepper.
It helps with digestion and "pasty butt". I have never used this stuff, but the name Chlorine Dioxide made me think twice. Read all of the reviews before using this stuff MMS or any other suppliments. Thats all I'm sayin. You eat what you feed your chickens! Another quest for advice. How long do the hens remain fertile after the roo is removed from access to them?
I purchased 3 hens which were exposed to a rooster. I want them to breed with my own rooster. How long should it take before I can be sure the fertilized eggs I am getting are by my own rooster? I would like to hatch some eggs from my hens. I was told to gather the fertilized eggs a couple of times per day, bringing them inside and keeping them at room temperature until I have the amount I want to hatch. Also told that the fertilized eggs will remain viable for 10 days or so as long as they don't get real cold, such as refrigeration, or staying in the nest for too many hours without a hen.
Is this true? How long can they set and a chick still be able to hatch under proper incubator conditions? What is the best average rooster to hen ratio? I am just about to inherit my buddies chickens and need to know if any more chickens need to be bought He has 2 red jungle fowl and a rhode island red rooster.
What is the average lifespan of laying hens which are healthy and well kept? Thanks in advance. I was given 13 hens and 1 roo.. They could be molting or you may just need to be patient. One of my hens had that problem when I purchased her and the old feathers had obviously been broken off. I started using MMS in my water and her feathers are growing back. But the thing I would caution you and all chicken owners is to be careful about commercial feeds. Most contain genetically modified organisms GMO which is very detrimental to any animal that eats them regardless of how much the information put out by the chemical companies praises them.
Their chemists are paid to lie. GMO has been proven by independent scientists to be deficient in the nutrients the grains should have so your chickens are not getting the nutrition you think. It costs a little more, but nothing containing GMO will ever be fed to my chickens. My chicken coop at home which my husband and a friend built is almost done.
Can't wait to buy my own chickens. Do you have any suggestion on how many to buy? As beginners we wanted to just take it easy and we are looking into raising chickens as a hobby. Do you have any suggestions on what breeds to buy? Thankyou will really appreciate any insights and recommendations. The question of how many chickens to buy depends on how many eggs you want assuming you're raising chickens for eggs.
You'll get, on average, 2 eggs a day from 3 hens. So, if you want a dozen eggs a day, buy 18 hens. Thank you for your reply.. We are raising hens just for a hobby so might as well settle for 3- 5 chickens considering us being a newbie in chicken raising. I Will surely check the link you provided. Be sure to check for city ordinances limiting the size of your flock; and don't forget about the HOA home owner's association.
Good luck with your new hobby! We had chickens when I was younger and 4 was a good number for us. We got an egg from each of them each day so you end up with 2 dozen a week. They had access to our entire backyard during the day and they put themselves to bed at night, they had an old cubby house that we modified a little bit for them and locked them in at night. They would live to approx. Also, for anyone with kids or a large piece of land - we whistled when we fed them and it takes weeks but they train well to respond to a whistle.
They will come to you when you whistle very reliably and it comes in handy or can be a good party trick for the kids! I'm not sure if its a hen or roo. I'm nervous its a roo because we have 2 hens ans we dont want baby chicks. Is there a way i can tell if its a hen or roo? It's hard to tell a male from a female. The rooster will try to crow about 2 months though it could be later. I'm new to this but recently bought 4 chicks from the local feed store. One was a bit more outgoing and curious as a kitten. Its comb grew faster, wider and redder than the others and it started to "dance" in front of the others.
It's been almost 6wks. I'm no pro but Id say I have a roo! If you collect your eggs daily, you will never have to worry about having baby chicks. A rooster can be a great asset to your little flock.