It won't be long before millions of families across the nation will gather together around their tables with bowls full of dye, some fancy stickers, and a whole bunch of chicken eggs. Along with Easter comes Easter eggs. They are such a staple of American life that people rarely stop and think about why, exactly, they do it. How do colorful eggs and chicks relate to Easter? Why do we do it, and where did it start?
The practice of coloring eggshells for special events is an ancient one. The oldest known examples date back to 60,000 years ago when prehistoric humans painted ostrich eggs. After the rise of civilization, ancient Mesopotamians and Egyptians would paint eggs to symbolize new life and a celebration of spring. This practice spread through other cultures, eventually influencing early Christians who soon adopted the practice in their worship of Jesus Christ.
For early Christians, the egg was a clear symbol for Jesus. The eggs were most often painted red to symbolize the blood of Jesus, and baby chicks acting as a symbol for the rebirth of Jesus. During the middle ages, the practice of using eggs during Easter only continued to grow. It was a common practice of the time that people weren't allowed to eat eggs during Lent. After going weeks without them, the people were naturally excited and decorated and celebrated their ability to enjoy the food staple once again.
The Easter Egg tradition would later be brought to America by Germans who settled in Pennsylvania. The eggs were still a symbol of the life of Jesus, and the practice slowly spread throughout the entire nation. Today, it's estimated that over 180 million chicken eggs are bought each Easter as people continue the decorating tradition.
The practice of dying eggs remains alive and strong, and there's no doubt that there will be plenty of dining tables with new stains on them very soon--and lots of egg salad sandwiches in the near future! Happy Easter, everyone!
None of us ever want our chickens to turn up sick; but sometimes, there's not a lot we can do to avoid it. Certain diseases of backyard poultry are more common than others.
We've put together a quick guide to recognizing illness, remedying the problem and protecting your flock, and a handful of the most frequently-seen ailments.
Common Diseases of Backyard Poultry
We find that the majority of backyard poultry seems to fall ill with one of these:
What to Do-- Natural and Medicinal Treatments
Obviously, the exact steps you should take to help your chicken (or chickens) depend on what negative symptoms you've observed. Some things to try include:
How to Protect Healthy Chickens
There are a number of things that chicken owners can do to prevent the spread of disease:
How to Protect Yourself
Keeping yourself and your birds healthy isn't exactly rocket science, but it does take a little work. The good news is that you'll be rewarded with a happy, thriving flock!
Now is a perfect time to plan gift-giving for the chicken lover in your life. Here's a guide to get started!
1. Add a personal touch to every egg with this personalized egg stamp. Starting around $30 on Etsy, you choose the design. Made from premium wood and laser-engraved rubber, it's the perfect gift!
2. Give the gift of knowledge with this fun book that delves into the unique behaviors of chickens. How to Speak Chicken goes beyond the basics and provides a fascinating look into chicken language, habits, and more. They will love this gift, which is just $15 on Chewy.com.
3. Give the gift of chicken poop! This fun lip balm is not really chicken poop, but they will love the name. Made of all-natural ingredients, this lip moisturizer is a lighthearted gift for less than $3.
4. Make gathering eggs easy and fashionable with this chicken egg apron. You pick the fabric and choose from two options--4 larger pockets or 12 individual pockets. Made from 100% cotton for easy care, this is a perfect gift for around $27 on Etsy.
5. The chicken person in your life will enjoy this puzzle that depicts 49 hens. Choose the difficulty level, from 30 to just over 1000 pieces. Starting at around $20 on Zazzle, this puzzle is sure to please!
6. Every coop needs a peck toy that dispenses a favorite treat, and it's a perfect gift for the chicken person on your list. The Omlet Peck Toy is less than $15 and provides excellent enrichment for the chickens.
7. A must-have for every chicken devotee is crazy funny chicken leg socks, available on Amazon. For less than $10, these socks will not disappoint!
8. Chicken fans will love a chicken mug, and CafePress has a huge selection of mugs for $10 or less. There is a mug for every chicken aficionado.
Don't forget the flock! Check out our selection of delicious and nutritious treats at Popworms! Happy shopping and Happy Holidays!
It's that time of the year again! The holidays are here; but what do you get for the one who loves taking care of their chickens? Here is a list of ten great gift ideas for the chicken lover in your life!
These ten awesome and unique gifts ideas would be perfect for the chicken lover in your life! And for the chickens in their life? PopWorms! ECO and PopWorms! PRO, of course! For these, or for more ideas, check out our PopWorms' Buy Online Section. We hope you have a Merry Christmas this year! Happy Holidays!
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
Want to give your feathery friends something they will love and make them healthier? Check our PopWorms! treats that will leave your chickens happier while giving you an excellent return to your chicken investment.
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.