So you finally got yourself a flock of backyard chickens. What a great feeling, fresh eggs every day — but wait, will you get fresh eggs? Are your chicks female? How can you tell? Don't worry, it's a question countless backyard chicken newbies have asked before. Here's the skinny on your new flock's sex.
Common Ways To Sex Chickens
If you're looking for hens to lay eggs than straight run chicks can be tricky. A straight run chicken means the sex is unknown. That can be a problem if you don't want to end up with a flock of roosters. Luckily, there are some tried and true ways to figure out the sex of your chicks.
Vent sexing is complicated and mostly done by trained professionals in large hatcheries. It requires looking for the male reproductive organ by expelling feces and examining the inner parts.
A much easier way than venting, feather sexing won't work on all breeds. When chicks are moved to the brooder, a female's wings will be more visible and vary in length. The male's wings will be around the same size from one feather to the next.
Sex Link Breeding
This technique has been around for years and involves determining the sex based on the down color. While not applicable to all breeds, and usually only working on first-generation sex links, this method is successful in certain breeds with defining patterns and characteristics.
If you can wait for the chicks to grow a bit, you may be able to determine sex by their behavior traits. Males may act more dominant and ruffle their feathers while standing upright. Females are more passive and tend to hover in corners when confronted with human interaction.
While some of these methods are more foolproof than others, determining the sex of chicks can be a complicated process. Sometimes the only way to know for sure is to watch the chick grow.
And no matter male or female-treat your chicks and chickens with our PopWorms! treats! Check out our products ON SALE NOW!
Nobody likes a bully-- and your chickens are no exception! "Chicken bullies" can cause some rifts in a flock; but, on the bright side, there are plenty of steps that chicken owners can take to minimize bullying and create a safe environment.
What is Chicken Bullying?
"Chicken bullying" is a pretty broad term. It might be easier to tell you what it's not.
Instead, you should think of chicken bullying as a more targeted (and problematic) behavior. It occurs when members of a flock systematically pick on one or a small group of hens.
Some chicken bullying is relegated to feather plucking and other similar behaviors. This, obviously, is not ideal-- but it still beats more aggressive bullies. Some instances of chicken bullying escalate into fights that cause severe injuries (or even death).
The Pecking Order
Chicken bullying may seem like it's partly tied to a flock's pecking order. In reality, this isn't true.
How to Stop Bullying
If you notice an issue with bullying hens in your flock, there are several steps you can take to try to mitigate the behavior. Try out:
In rare cases, roosters actually emerge as the bullies of a coop. If you notice your rooster acting a little too aggressive, try:
Stopping chicken bullies in their tracks isn't always difficult, but you might need to get a little creative! There are lots of fun and enriching ways to help your chickens chill out and keep the peace.
If you own chickens, you probably don't look forward to cleaning your chicken coop. But failing to keep your coop clean and disinfected could lead to a diseased flock and other problems. Here are five basic guidelines on how to clean and disinfect your chicken coop, along with some considerations and warnings.
1. Know What to Clean and How Often
Be sure to clean and disinfect everything in your coop. This includes nesting boxes, the coop ground and walls. As for how often you need to clean and disinfect, a good rule of thumb is about once every one to two weeks or even sooner. Of course, consider that cleaning frequency can depend on need, the size of your coop, weather conditions and other factors.
2. Scrape and Shovel Out Manure and Other Filth
The first step is scraping and shoveling out dried, old chicken manure, cobwebs, shavings, dirt and feathers. For stubborn dried poop, use a square shovel which is exceptionally effective.
3. Hose Down Floors and Walls
Besides hosing down floors and walls, spray grime and manure off nesting boxes and roosting bars. Do this until all the poop has been loosened and knocked off. For those more stubborn spots on roosting bars, use a sponge that's been soaked in white vinegar. Applying a little "elbow grease" also helps to sanitize as well as deter bugs.
4. Repeat the Process
As a final step, repeat what you've done. In other words, scrape, shovel and hose down, again, to remove any remaining dirt, softened manure or other debris. After the water has drained, sweep everything out.
5. Add Fresh Bedding
The type of bedding you use is critical for keeping your floor clean, in addition to making it easier to clean away manure. For your bedding, choose dry, absorbent materials. What's more, the right bedding can prevent poop from becoming stuck to the floor as well as control odor. Ideal bedding materials include those, such as chopped straw, wood shavings or untreated wood sawdust.
Other Considerations and Warning
• Pick a sunny, warm day to clean so that your coop can dry out quickly, following the cleaning procedure.
• Before you start the cleaning process, protect yourself by wearing a disposable dust mask.
• Consider that some chicken diseases are usually detected in manure. Therefore, when removing poop from a litter tray, examine it to see if it appears normal.
• Consider painting the surface of a home built coop. This is even more critical for a plywood coop as mites won't be able to burrow into bare wood.
Check out our previous blog posts to learn about more ways to keep your flock healthy and happy! Also, be sure to check out our store wide sale! It won't last much longer, so make sure you are in on the deals!
Easter is fast approaching, and with the excitement of the holiday comes the fun, kid-approved activity of coloring Easter eggs. Some may choose to have a flock of chickens that allow you to already have a variety of colored eggs (see my last post)-but what if you don't? There are several ways to color eggs, and there are even some great natural and safe ways to dye eggs. So before you begin grabbing your eggs and giving color a whirl, make sure you have taken note of what you might need.
Preparing Your Eggs For Color
Before you start coloring your eggs, the first thing you have to do is hard boil then. According to the University of Minnesota, the best way to safely boil eggs is to use a saucepan with cold water at least one inch above a single layer of eggs. Then, after the water reaches a boil, you will want to leave the eggs in the pan for eighteen minutes if you have extra large eggs, fifteen for large eggs, and twelve minutes if they are medium size. Finally, they suggest you run cold water over them until they are cooled, and then place the eggs into the fridge until chilled. This process should help reduce frustration when you peel your eggs, but don't leave them in the fridge for too long as they should be used within a week of cooking.
How To Dye Eggs Traditionally
The most traditional way to color your eggs is to use food dye. According to My Frugal Home, you can easily make some egg dye by putting half a cup of boiling water into a mason jar with a tablespoon of vinegar. Then, taking your favorite food-safe dye, you put ten to twenty drops, depending on how dark you want the color, into the jar and then allow the eggs to soak into the mixture for five minutes. You will want to make sure you flip the egg if you feel it isn't getting equal coverage.
How To Color Your Eggs Naturally
If you want to color your eggs, but you are not sure you want to use dyes to do it, you can color your eggs another way. Good Housekeeping has found that, in place of using dye, you can substitute different spices and foods to achieve a variety of colors. You can follow the water and vinegar ratio from the example above, but instead of adding drops of dye, you can add one of the following to your water:
So, as you can see, there are several options for coloring your eggs. Whether you choose to dye your eggs with food coloring, or with a more natural route, you can achieve both beautifully colored eggs and fun quality tine with your family. For both of these coloring techniques, white eggs work best, but if you have your own chicken eggs, maybe you and your kids can experiment in what colors you can make from all kinds of eggs from your flock.
And don't forget to feed your flock with our PopWorms! ECO and PopWorms! PRO. Also, be sure to check out our site wide sale! Lots of goodies at great prices while they last!
Nothing is more exciting to a chicken owner than gathering the eggs daily; having a variety of egg colors makes this task extra fun! Here is a guide to creating a flock that will give you a colorful egg basket.
Brown eggs have always been considered wholesome and farm-fresh. Did you know there are many varieties of brown eggs? Typical brown eggs are produced by Rhode Island Reds or Australorps. A few egg-layers produce gorgeous brown eggs and add vibrant color to your egg basket. Chicken breeds such as Welsummers, Barnevelders, and Marans produce these beautiful egg colors. Welsummer eggs are not only dark brown but also have speckles on them. Marans tend to be a bit more expensive, while Welsummers and Barnevelders are on the lower end of cost.
White eggs offer their own beauty in any egg basket. A typical white egg layer is the Leghorn; a less common but popular breed that lays white eggs is the Polish chicken. Several rarer breeds, laying white eggs, are Andalusian, Ancona, and Lakenyelders; these breeds are not necessarily expensive, but they may be harder to find.
Greens and Blues
Green and blue eggs are particularly fun to have in our egg basket, and the chickens that lay them are easy to find and are not terribly expensive. The most popular breed that lays green and shades of blue eggs is the Easter Egger. The Easter Egger is not a recognized breed, and their appearance can vary quite a bit. But you can be assured their egg will be beautiful! A more expensive green egg-laying breed is the Olive Egger. Their eggs end to be darker shades of green, similar to olives.
Pinks and Creams
Several common chicken breeds will produce beautiful eggs that are cream to pink in color. Affordable and easy-to-find breeds include Australorps, Orpingtons, and Susex. Some Easter Eggers may lay this hue of eggs as well. A unique, beautiful chicken breed that lays cream-colored eggs is the Silkie. These fluffy chickens are relatively easy to find and are affordable to purchase.
Creating a mixed flock designed to lay a colorful variety of eggs is fum and easy! Despite the color of the shell, you ca be assured they all offer the same farm-fresh aste.
No matter the breed, be sure to treat them with PopWorms! ECO and PopWorms! PRO! Stock up on both of these products and more during our site wide spring sale!!
Chicken breeds are hugely varying in terms of color, physical appearance, as well as their egg-laying characteristics. The following are some unusual and remarkable chicken breeds:
1. The Appenzeller Spitzhauben
This breed originates from Appenzell in Switzerland, the Swiss-German region.
What makes them unusual: They possess a unique forward-pointing crest. This breed has a v-shaped comb and can display black spangled, silver spangled, gold spangled, and blue spangled plumage.
What makes them remarkable: Curious and active chickens hat choose to range and forage in an unlimited area.
Eggs and availability: This breed lays around 220 tinted or white eggs per year. This breed is pretty scarce in the United States. They do well in free-range, but not so well cooped.
2. The Naked Neck
This spooky appearing chicken breed originated from Hungary.
What makes them unusual: Ability to display buff, black, white or red plumage. The breed can also be patterned wearing shriveled feathers.
What makes them remarkable: Naked necks are affectionate and friendly to their keeper. Due to their gentle and sweet nature, they can make perfect pets for kids. his breed can flourish if given the liberty to forage.
Eggs and availability: This chicken breed lays around 120 light brown eggs per year. They are readily available. Search for them here.
3. The La Fleche
This breed originates from France. It is among the most distinctive looking chooks on the perch.
What makes them unusual: They have a unique horn-shaped comb that gives them an ominous-looking form with white earlobes and a blood-red wattle.
What makes them remarkable: They are a pleasure to keep in the chicken coop. Active and inquisitive chicken that like devising ways to explore their backyard in a very aloof way.
They lay around 180 eggs per year and are very scarce.
4. Ayam Cemani
Ayam Cemani is one of the strangest and most superb chicken breed in Indonesia. They are well-regarded as religious and mystical signs and are tremendously expensive.
What makes them unusual: They are completely black--all over!
What makes them remarkable: Friendly and make caring mother hens.
Eggs and availability: Ayam Cemani lay around 80 cream, slightly pink-tinted eggs per year. These are also pretty scarce, but you can get them here when available.
5. The White Sultan
This chicken breed originates from turkey and belongs to the group of crested chicken.
What makes them unique? They have feathered feet, a long tail, full crest, a horned comb, and a fifth toe!
What makes them remarkable: They are a feathered fashion show ! Also, they are friendly and can live health lives restricted to a roomy chicken backyard.
Eggs and availability: he Sultan chicken breed lays around 180 white eggs per year. You can look to buy them here.
These are only just a handful of the odd and amazing chickens out there. I encourage you to check out the links I included in the blog to add some to your flock! And no matter how bizarre the breed, be sure to give them love with our PopWorms! treats.
Do you own several hens and are thinking about adding a rooster to your flock? Maybe you don't have any chickens, but you just loving having a handsome rooster strut around your barnyard. Here are a few of the basic pros and cons for adopting a rooster, along with some considerations and warnings.
Benefits of Owning a Rooster
Roosters offer several benefits, including:
Introducing Your New Rooster
Before introducing a new rooster to your hens, wait about two weeks, keeping him separate from the chickens. This lets you look for any possible health problems that he may have, and gives you time for handling his temperament.
While your rooster is being housed in a separate pen that is in viewing distance for the other barnyard animals, he and the chickens can watch one another interact. Then, after your rooster seems to be acclimated to the hens, let him out of his pen, so he can join the others.
Food, Water, and Housing Requirements for a Rooster
Roosters consume both plan and animal foods. Feed them a complete diet as found in feed store products. Replace the water trough daily, making sure drinking water is not too cold or too warm. Don't let your rooster drink puddle water as it may contain dangerous pollutants.
It is best to let your rooster have its own sleeping quarters in a separate wire cage, when it's not enacting or mating with hens. If you are raising roosters for showing in competitions, such as fairs, keep them in a smaller pen that is about two feet wide by three feet long. Just ensure it is located in a warm spot since there are not other birds to help it stay warm.
Other Considerations and Warnings
To learn more about how to care for hens and roosters, visit us at Popworms.com for tips and treats!
Chickens are pretty amazing and unique animals which inspire curiosity both in folks who own them and those who don't. These are some of the most frequently asked questions about chickens.
1. How many eggs does a chicken lay?
The number of eggs most chickens lay depends on the care you provide and also on their breed. Some chicken breeds can give you up to 300 eggs per year, while others may only give 50-60 per year.
2. Do chickens come home to roost?
True to the legend, your chicken can walk all through Texas, Kentucky, and Tennessee but rest assured that she will be back at your brooder by sunset. Chickens are very loyal and intelligent creatures.
3. When do chickens start laying eggs?
Egg-laying varies by breed, but most chickens will start laying eggs at around five months of age and keep doing so for the rest of their lifetime if good care is given.
4. What predators should I be watching out for?
Raccoons, being smart and intelligent animals, are the greatest threat to your backyard chicken-second only to the human being who occasionally eats chickens. Simple safety practices will keep your chickens safe from predators such as raccoons, eagles, and hawks.
5. How long do chickens live?
If you give them the care they deserve, you will have your chickens roaming around your backyard for 7 to 15 years. Different breeds have different lifespans, but it is vital to understand that the longevity of your chickens depends on how well you care for and how happy and active you keep them.
6. Are roosters needed for chickens to lay eggs?
Unlike humans, chickens had 1st, 2nd, and 3rd wave feminism inbuilt and don't need a male to lay eggs. However, it is not all doom and gloom for the rooster as he is required for the eggs to hatch.
7. How much attention do chickens require?
Despite being lovely, chickens require pretty low maintenance. Chickens mostly go about the backyard minding their own business. Apart from routine food, watering and egg collection, your chickens will do just fine.
8. What do different egg colors mean?
Egg color depends mostly on the breed and does not signify taste or quality. The feed and care the chickens are given determine the quality of the eggs.
9. When should I let my chicks outside?
It is a general rule of thumb to let your chickens outside when they are well feathered. It is advisable to let your chicks out at about 5-8 weeks.
10. Why do roosters crow?
Your guesses here were probably correct. The crow is alarm clock 1.0, and roosters crow as a response to an internal body clock, and also a response to stimuli such as people walking around or cars approaching.
Here at PopWorms!, we are a family dedicated to providing quality treats for your chickens. We hope this post answers some of your nagging questions regarding chickens. But, please also check out our other blog posts, and great products that will help keep your chickens happy! Shop our selection of products and use promo code "KC" to receie 25% off orders of 1lb bags of PopWorms! ECO or PopWorms! PRO! Hurry, because this offer is valid only until February 16, 2020!
As winter settles in, our flocks have acclimated to the colder temperatures. Often, our chickens' activity levels drop off during this time of year; in addition to the colder weather, the ground is dormant, and the bugs are gone. Despite all of this, you can create enriching exercises for your flock that will make them more active and are excellent boredom fighters. Here are some ideas!
Providing fun things for chickens in the coop will keep them engaged and exercised. You can install a chicken swing. Chickens love to roost on elevated surfaces; having a swing adds movement in addition to height. You can also add treat balls to their environment. Treat balls are toys that you can fill with tasty treats for your flock; they have to peck at the ball for a surprise to fall out! Check out our selection of delicious and nutritious treats for your treat balls!
Another easy way to add enrichment for your backyard flock is to hang a head of cabbage! Drill a hole through the cabbage and thread a rope through it, then hang it up in the coop! Hang it high enough for them to have to work at it, but not too high that they lose hope of reaching it. You can also use baskets or hanging seed cages and stuff with leafy treats, such as kale or spinach. Creating opportunities for your chickens to work for a fresh vegetable treat will fight that winter boredom, and it is good for them!
Let's Get Physical!
There is a good chance that your backyard flock is excited to see you every day! Take advantage of this energy and lead your chickens on a walk! Get them out of the coop and get them moving. You can also quickly train your flock to follow you. Use delicious treats, like PopWorms! ECO, PopWorms! PRO, and PopWorms! LIVE. Encourage them to follow you while making a noise reserved for them, such as a high-pitched whistle. Chickens learn quickly, and before long, you can open their coop and whistle for them to come to you! Whether urban or rural, your chickens will benefit from some supervised and guided free-ranging time!
Providing enriching activities for your flock is a great way to fight obesity in your hens and beat boredom! Happy, health chickens is the goal. Check out PopWorms! for more tips and delicious treats!
We love the summer, and chickens do too! Not only does summer mean warm weather and lots of bugs to eat, but it also means lots of eggs from our flock. But, as the days grow shorter, our hens lay fewer eggs. Hens require 14 to 16 hours of light a day to lay an egg. When the days become shorter, they naturally lay fewer eggs. But you can influence your hens' winter laying by adding artificial lighting to your coop!
To Light or Not to Light
This is a never-ending debate among chicken owners. Some say to allow chickens to rest over the winter, others say to provide artificial lighting to keep them laying. There is no wrong answer here--it all depends on what you, as the owner, want to do! You'll have to weigh the pros and the cons of providing artificial light and decide what is best for your flock.
By lighting the coop through the winter, you'll continue the egg-laying cycle despite the shorter days. The artificial lighting stimulates the pituitary gland in the hen, which signals her ovaries to release an egg. For chicken owners that sell eggs, this will keep your business running. Families will continue to get the eggs they need for their household as well. Lighting your coop also warms up your coop just a bit, and in particularly cold climates, this is a nice benefit.
Providing artificial light means the hens don't get rest through the winter, which many agree ultimately shortens their life. How much it impacts their lifespan is up for debate. Also, lighting a chicken coop increases the chances of an accidental fire that may destroy your flock. Lighting the coop requires consideration for doing so safely.
Types of Lighting
There are several methods for providing light in your coop. You are essentially extending their daylight hours, so putting your lighting on a timer to come on early in the morning and again after the sun goes down, ensuring your hens get at least 14 hours of light in all, is a preferred method. You can use a regular light bulb or a halogen light; you can even choose to use an infrared lamp. Lighting can be powered using solar or using electricity. In the end, ensuring your lighting is safe from breaking is most important. Also, installing your lighting in just the right place to avoid direct contact with your coop bedding is a critical consideration.
For more ideas on getting the most out of your chickens, check out our blog. For more useful information and to learn about our PopWorms! ECO and PopWorms! PRO chicken treats, visit our website. Your chickens will love you for it!