A hen in your flock is suddenly spending a lot of time in the nesting box and is not welcoming you in her space. Chances are, you have a brooding hen. If you have a rooster, you can assume that your broody hen is sitting on fertilized eggs. While it may seem overwhelming at first to ready the coop for new chicks, a brooding hen will do all the hard work. All you need to do is keep her safe, fed, and happy! Here are some considerations when caring for her.
What to Expect
A brooding hen may pick out her chest feathers to expose her skin, helping keep her eggs warm and moist. She may be rather grumpy about your presence and may very well be outright vicious toward you. She will leave her nest once a day to eat, drink, and relieve herself. Her poop will be huge and very smelly, even more than usual! Prepare the area for her safety and comfort, and she'll do the rest.
Ideally, having a dedicated space for hens to hatch their chicks is ideal. Whether you have a dedicated area or not, the space with the nest box needs to be predator-proof, quiet, and dark. Nest boxes should be upscale and have a soft bottom to ensure the eggs are well protected. You can use straw on top of a good liner so the hen can move it around to suit her needs. Keep the area clean, replacing bedding as often as needed. You could move a brooding hen and her eggs to the maternity ward if she forgot to reserve her space beforehand. This might be tricky, so it's best to do so at night.
Food and Water
A brooding hen will eat far less while sitting on eggs, and of course, she will not lay eggs during this time. Because she doesn't need the layer food, feed her a higher protein mix. You can feed her starter food like the chicks will eat when they hatch, or some other special diet high in protein. And, don’t forget to pamper her with PopWorms! ECO or PopWorms! PRO!! Offer her scratch as well; the carbohydrates will give her an extra boost. Take extra care in the provision of water; ensure the brooding hen has access to fresh water as it is critical to her good health as she sits on eggs.
Mom will welcome her chicks around the 21st day; you should hear peeping in the egg around day 19. You have provided her with security, comfort, and sustenance. The rest is up to her! And, don’t forget to pamper her with PopWorms! ECO or PopWorms! PRO!!
While your dog or cat is your best friend, she can be unpredictable at times. It is prevalent for these domestic pets to want to make a delicious meal out of your chicks or even the grownup chickens. Perhaps, cats and dogs have the ancestral predatory instincts that are yet to get eluded from them; hence, they may end up considering your chicks as easy prey. Taking the necessary steps is, therefore, is vital to realizing benefits from your newly acquired chickens. Here are a few tips that will help you protect your chickens while maintaining that friendly relation you had with your pet before the new visitors arrived at your backyard.
1. Let the pets have the scent
Your pets should experience the chicken's trail first from you before you formulate an official introduction. After handling your chicks, call that dog or cat, offer it nose your hands. This way, she will be friendly to the chicks because it first got the scent from its owner.
2. Pets Learn from what they see
Select the time when your pet is at her finest. This is usually after a meal or playtime. Allow that cat or dog to observe you as you interact with the chicks. It will learn from your friendly handling and recognize that these chickens are also part of the family. Nevertheless, Do not be in a rush to leave your pet unattended with the chicks regardless of the much tolerance she demonstrates.
3. Install Low-voltage Electric Fence
When the chickens are in the open-air, keep a beady eye on your pets as they interact with them. If they prove aggressive or curious around the birds, installing an ultra-low-voltage electric fence around the coop may be a good move. Once bitten, twice shy — your pet will ultimately overlook the enclosure thanks to the occasional light zap on the muzzle.
Still, you may allow the pets to coexist with your chicken if they seem uninterested and lenient. But there is no assurance in the future that they won't act violently towards your birds.
Give your Backyard Flock a Treat
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Storms can be severe during this time of year; it is essential to prepare your home as well as your chickens for the likelihood that you will be the brunt of foul weather. Here are some tips to get your flock ready.
If you have forewarning of a storm, it's a good idea to unplug anything in your coop. Lightening may create a power surge that can damage appliances. Ensure your coop is secure; make sure the roof and sides are sturdy and close windows and doors. Remove or tie down loose objects that may become a projectile by storm winds. If your chickens are free-ranging, gather them up into your chicken yard, so they have an opportunity to seek shelter quickly if they choose. Chickens do well protecting themselves in a storm, as long as they have the choices for sheltering. You can close them up in the coop if you prefer; make sure they have food and water available.
Bringing Them Inside
Some pending storms are so threatening that you want to bring your chickens inside until it passes. A hard floor, such as concrete or tile, is best. A garage or laundry room is a perfect location. Lay down a tarp and place their food and water in the area. Ensure that the area is secure, with the doors and windows closed; nervous chickens may panic, which will make a flighty flock. Once settled, leave them alone; they will be fine until it's time to get them back outside.
After the Storm
Once the storm passes, check your coop and the chicken yard. Also, check that the flock is unharmed. Chickens are not bothered by the rain, so it's okay if they are wet. Have supplies on-hand to make any quick repairs, including a hammer, nails, and a tarp. If there is damage, tidy up and make any immediate repairs. Return your flock to your coop, if you've relocated them. Always make sure you have plenty of food on hand; roads may be washed out, making it difficult to get supplies. If you have puddles, cover them with sand or straw to avoid breeding bacteria. Keep your coop clean, particularly during periods of wet weather, to prevent an infestation of mites or other insects.
Storms are stressful; with a little preparation and a plan for after the storm, your flock will remain safe and secure. They depend on you to keep them safe! And, it is also always a great idea to treat your flock with PopWorms! treats after the storm is over!
We've all heard the phrases, "Don't be such a chicken," or, "Which came first, the chicken or the egg," but have you ever stopped to wonder why? There are hundreds of references to chickens that people use every day, and some may not even realize it.
Here's a look at our favorite chicken idioms and where they came from:
Your handwriting is chicken scratch
People often use this idiom to describe someone's messy or illegible handwriting. This phrase stems from the idea that the handwriting looks like the tracks chickens leave in the dirt.
Run like a chicken with its head cut off
This phrase is typically used when someone or something is running around hastily. Think about what your mom looks like right before company comes over. This phrase, however, comes with a more morbid meaning. When a chicken's head is cut off, it sends triggers through the chicken's nerve endings, causing it to flap and move around for a few seconds.
Fox in the henhouse
Used to mimic what a fox looks like when it's prowling for a meal in the chicken coop, this phrase is often used to describe a person with bad intentions or someone who is trying to take advantage of a situation.
Don't count your chickens before they hatch
This idiom reminds people to not count on plans that may not happen. For example, just because a chicken has six eggs, it doesn't mean all six will hatch and become chicks.
A hen party is often used to describe a bachelorette party, or simply a large group of women. This is because hens are typically separated from roosters to avoid fertilization of eggs.
You're no spring chicken
This is phrase is often used jokingly to imply that someone is old. Chicks are often hatched in the spring, meaning they are at the youngest point in their lives.
Don't put all your eggs in one basket
This idiom is warning a person not to risk everything on the hope that one venture will succeed. Although the origin of this particular idiom remains unclear, many think it refers to the trouble that could come if you put a full day's harvest in one basket and then drop it.
You eat like a bird
You eat like a bird is often said to someone who is eating very little at the dinner table. This is because chickens eat small amounts at one time.
Fly the coop
Synonymous with "leave the nest," fly the coop is used to refer to someone who is leaving their home. This term comes from mysterious chickens who try to escape their home on the farm.
Like with most animals, larger chickens often get the most food at feeding time. This phrase is often used to describe the way people are ranked in relation to each other.
If those idioms got you thinking about your feathered friends, check out these treats that will make any of them cluck with happiness.
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.