Do you have a special chicken keeper (or the chickens) in your life? Would you like to give them a gift this holiday season, but not sure where to start? Then keep reading because every chicken enthusiast has a long list of things they wish they had. I’ve had so much fun combing the internet to hand-pick some of the best gifts to help them excel at their favorite hobby. There were so many, I am showing products within a 5-part PopWorms! Guide to Chicken Christmas Cheer! I could not help myself…so many cute and cool chicken clothes (for your chicken person, not the chicken), goodies, gadgets, and gizmos out there!
To kick it off, let’s talk about items for the coop. When looking for the right gift for chicken keepers, you can’t go wrong with anything that helps your chicken loving friends upgrade, or fortify their coop more easily or comfortably, or to allow chicken entertainment.
Coop and Chicken Heating
Want to help keep the feathered friends warm over the colder months? The K&H Pet Products Thermo Chicken Perch will keep chickens warm and happy. The perch warms chicken feet, and aids to retain body heat. This ergonomically designed perch also includes dual internal thermostats to regulate the perfect temperature, day and night. You can purchase for $36.44 from Chewy.com.
If you would rather provide a more substantial heating source, the Cozy Products Flat Panel Chicken Coop Heater uses both radiant and convection heat with low wattage for warmth without the risk of overheating. This heater should be easy to set up in any coop, and uses 90% less energy than a space heater. This product also comes from Chewy.com and is a little under $40.00.
Water and Feed Containers
Chicken feeders and water containers are nifty devices that come in handy. Even if your hobbyist already has some, they could also use more, as it never hurts to change them out periodically for a good cleaning. And who doesn’t like new stuff? Lixit makes a versatile and inexpensive product that can be used as a chicken feeder and /or waterer. The reservoir holds 64 ounces of water or 4 pounds of food, and the chicken design on the outside is just cute! Feathers and Beaky drinkers and feeders add a height adjustable feature that lifts the base off of the ground, and features a sturdy design.
The Bergan's Autowata drinker keeps a continuous supply of fresh water flowing. The drinker is simply attached to a garden hose and ensures that the chickens always have enough to drink.
If your chicken enthusiast is good at DIY, then the poultry water nipple would be a great addition! These can be easily attached to a PVC pipe, a hanging bucket, or watering kit to provide the flock access to a steady supply of clean water. And depending on geography, Heated waterers or bases can keep the ice water away all winter long!
Fun Chicken Toys
Chicken lovers love to keep their feathered friends stimulated and happy. These chicken coop toys are sure to please! You can get them all or choose one or two. Your chicken hobbyist, and the chickens, will thank you.
For starters, the Ware Manufacturing Chick-N-Veggie Treat Ball rolls and entertains chickens. It can be filled with fresh veggies to also provide a healthy treat.
Want to combine chicken exercise with chicken enjoyment? The chicken swing or chicken ladders are easily installed inside the coop and are sure to delight! These products are also perfect for giving to your friends who have chicks. Everyone will enjoy watching the chickens jump on and off, and the chickens will be occupied and have a blast!
Finally, another way to keep the chickens engaged is with the Lixit Chicken Toy. This fun toy doubles as a treat dispenser and food is slowly released from the openings, as the chickens peck to get at the food, keeping them active and occupied.
Of course you need to fill the dispenser with something, so why not our PopWorms! ECO or PopWorms! PRO treats! And, there is no need to decide which product to get the girls… just get them both with our PopWorms! Holiday Bundle: 2 bags of PopWorms! ECO, and 1 bag of PopWorms! PRO, for a great low price!
Stay tuned for next week’s post, but until then, maybe some of these gifts might inspire you to take up the hobby yourself! Also, be sure to check out our upcoming site-wide sale from 11/29-12/1!
Since your chickens are limited on what they can forage this time of year, you need to feed them more. Of course give them their scratch, meal and corn (digesting corn warms the little darlings up internally), but you will definitely be supplementing more during the winter.
Warm, Tasty Treats Your Chicken Will Thank You For
Other Treats Chickens Love
PopWorms!, are nutritional treats made from dried black soldier fly larvae. Your chickens will rave about them. PopWorms! ECO has a higher protein content and 25% more calcium than mealworms. PopWorms! PRO has probiotics, necessary for keeping a healthy gut. You can get the girls a PopWorms! Holiday Bundle, which comes with 2 bags of the PopWorms! ECO and 1 bag of the PopWorms! PRO by clicking here.
What Not to Give your Chickens
Per The Happy Chicken Coop you should not give your girls these: acorns, apple cores and seeds, avocado, dry rice, eggplant, beans and lentils, leeks and onions for a complete list click here.
Springtime is the traditional season for getting new chicks and beginning to raise them. However, there are many advantages to doing so in the fall instead! These advantages could range from the freedom to spend more time with your chicks to better egg laying when they've matured.
Here are 4 key benefits of raising chicks in the fall:
Of course, in order to be successful you'll need to plan ahead. For instance, you'll need to obtain a heat plate or some other source of heat for those colder days that will signal the start of winter. Also, you will want to take advantage of fall produce, and occasionally feed high protein treats to your chicks, especially after they begin their first molting season.
For more insight into how best to care for your chicks, as well as many, many other chicken-related resources, explore our website at PopWorms!
If you are reading this blog it's because you are like us...You LOVE chickens! We do too! But there are some other awesome poultry pals you can keep which we find almost as enthralling. The best thing about a mixed flock is that they usually don't compete for the exact same food resources, so you can keep more birds with a little variety.
Ducks - YES!
Ducks are AWESOME! They are hilarious to watch and many have very distinct personalities. While not incredibly intelligent, they aren't mean spirited either. They tolerate most climates pretty well, aside from the desert southwest. They like rain and humidity and they love to have a good romp in the snow.
If you've got touchy neighbors, ducks usually make much less commotion early in the morning and all night long than some other fowl friends we'll cover.
Ducks are more expensive than chickens to maintain. They'll cost almost twice as much to feed, and they require adequate water. Ducks need to be able to swim and bathe all the time. In a backyard setting you can just keep a kiddie pool or two filled with fresh water daily for them. They do lay a considerable number of eggs though, so they really do try to earn their keep.
Turkeys - YES!
If you are meat farming, you need a turkey or two. They are relatively efficient for their size because they forage a lot. Turkeys come in many varieties, and some of them are known to be quite intelligent and personable. It is this author's experience that turkeys raised singly by a family can be quite a loving pet, while those raised unhandled in large groups tend to get rude and aggressive, especially towards little children.
They are suitable for most climates, and tolerate just about any kind of weather. So if you're into raising poultry, not little people, give them a try!
Peafowl (peacocks) - Maybe?
Peacocks are amazing if you have the space. A lot of space. Did we mention they need space? The males especially need at least 100 square feet per bird to really stretch out during mating season. If you're farming for sustenance you'll be spending good money after bad with peacocks. As one old farmer once told this author "They're more of a lookin' bird than an eatin' bird."
Pheasants - If you've got what it takes.
Pheasants are gorgeous. They're also solid layers during spring and summer, laying as many as 10 eggs per day! But they come with some real challenges too, like the fact that your chickens may not like the pheasant addition. It's true. Pheasants are very aggressive and competitive, and may attack smaller birds, if they feel they are a threat. However, offering alot of space to prevent overcrowding, and raising pheasant and chicken chicks together from the beginning, with caution, might ease initial threat perceptions.
Though not native species to many areas, pheasants can handle most US climates other than the driest deserts. But they need a lot of space or they will start pecking at others.
They also spook much easier than other birds. So if you live in a noisy neighborhood or have big barking dogs, you might find that pheasants stress out too easily.
Here at Popworms, we love all kinds of poultry just as much as our customers do. Take a look at our website for more great poultry resources, and enjoy your flock! Use coupon code LIVE to receive 30% off Popworms! Live. Offer good through October 31, 2019.
Autumn brings changes to our backyards. Cooler temperatures, shorter days, and an abundance of falling leaves transform the outdoors. Our chickens are noticing seasonal changes too. Help your chickens prepare to enjoy the fall season with these simple maintenance tips.
Pamper Molting Chickens
Strewn feathers in your chicken coop and run are a sign of molting. Loss and regrowth of feathers is a natural phenomenon that occurs annually, typically during fall. Seasonal molting begins when chickens are at least 18-months old. The process can last for eight to twelve weeks. You might notice a slight drop in egg production during molting. Chickens give themselves a well deserved break from laying and prepare their bodies for winter. You can help your chickens to remain healthy and comfortable by:
Tidy Coops & Runs
Fall is a great time for a thorough clean of your chicken coop and run. Chickens will enjoy the comforts of a clean, dry, well ventilated coop during their fall hiatus. Keep an eye for any mites, lice, or parasites as you clean and treat the coop with pest repellent if necessary. Molting chickens are particularly susceptible to infestation. Scrub feeders and water fountains with an environmentally friendly cleanser.
Secure the Perimeter
Protect your chickens from lurking predators. Food becomes scant during fall so, predators are on the hunt for an easy meal. Inspect your coop and run and make any necessary repairs to overhead netting, chicken wire, fencing, or other perimeter boundaries.
Light Up the Coop
Chickens are photoperiod sensitive. Dwindling hours of daylight as fall progresses can decrease your chickens egg laying. Help your chickens to continue to lay by providing 14 to 16 hours of light per day. You can achieve sufficient lighting by equipping your coop with one 24W bulb for every 40-square-feet of coop.
Embrace the autumn changes in your backyard and enjoy the scene while listening to the happy, "Cluck, cluck!" of your well prepared chickens! Don’t forget to treat your chickens with Popworms! during the autumn season! Use the Promo Code “FALL” to receive 20% off PopWorms! ECO and PopWorms! PRO. Valid through October 5, 2019.
Nothing is more exciting than starting off your chicken raising adventure! Whether you're starting a coop to harvest precious eggs, raising birds for meat, or just enjoying the company (and sometimes cacophony) of a flock of beautiful birds, you'll need to make sure your yard is ready!
The most important investments you'll make for your chickens is quality housing and a safe outdoor space to frolic.
Chicken Coops: Size Matters!
The size of your coop depends on the number of chickens you plan on having. You don't want to overcrowd poultry! Floor space should be your number one concern when planning your coop.
Per Coopsandcages.com "Ideally, every chicken must have at least 3 feet space. Therefore, if you have 5 birds, you'll have to get an enclosure that measures 15 [square] feet. In addition to the recommended 3 feet space, every coop must also have a roosting area, a nesting area, and a feeding area."
Chicken Runs: Shady Pastures
Fit your yard for chickens with plenty of shade and plenty of water. You can hand water chickens once or twice a day or purchase automatic chicken waterers. These still need to be checked every day! Chickens love dust baths, so a nice dry spot of dirt would really be appreciated.
Finally, shade is key! Chickens can suffer from heat exhaustion in the summer, so make sure you have some methods to cool down your yard, and plenty of shade.
Welcome to an amazing new hobby! You're going to have so much fun! Check out the rest of our blog for more great chicken articles and stories, and to learn more about our PopWorms! ECO and PopWorms! PRO chicken treats! Your chickens will thank you!
If there's one thing chickens love, it's insects! We might have their lack of taste buds to thank, or maybe chickens know how good insects are for them.
They'll eat just about any type of creepy-crawly, including ticks (which aren’t insects, but are closely related to spiders!). Eating these not only makes your yard a safer and more comfortable place to be, but it's good for your flock, too.
Benefits of Eating Insects
Insects like crickets and grasshoppers, and other arthropods such as millipedes and spiders are a good source of protein for chickens. In addition to being nutritious, chasing down these meals fulfills your chickens' natural instinct to forage for their food; a free (and fun!) source of food for your feathered omnivores.
Remember that no matter how "buggy" your yard is, chickens cannot survive on these alone. Be sure to feed your flock complete feeds regularly, and always have clean water available.
Some Words of Caution
Certain types of flies are not only annoying, but they are harmful to chickens. House flies and blow flies (the metallic blue and green flies) can cause a skin condition commonly called "flystrike." These flies are attracted to droppings, leftover and rotting food, and untreated or open wounds on your animals. Because flystrike can be fatal, it's important to keep your coop and the area around it clean.
If your chickens are free-ranging, be mindful of harmful pesticide use on your lawn or garden. While your chickens are foraging, they will be exposed to any chemicals applied in their environment. Pesticides may make your birds sick, and we know how precious your flock is to you!
Supplementing Nature's Supply
Depending on where you live and how hungry your chickens are, you may want to supplement your local insect supply. If you have the time and space to raise your own larvae on food scraps from your kitchen. Popworms! Live are an excellent choice. If you are interested in building a container for raising PopWorms! Live that can automatically provide the mature larvae to your chickens, check out this past blog post. Chickens love to chase after their snacks.
For chicken keepers who don't want to deal with live insects, PopWorms! ECO and PopWorms! PRO are at the intersection of nutrition and convenience. Sold by the pound, these dried black soldier fly larvae offer up a nutritious treat with a puffy, crunchy texture. Whichever type you choose, your chickens are sure to love them!
Use the code LABOR and receive 20% off orders of PopWorms! ECO, PopWorms! PRO, and PopWorms! Live (valid until 9/6/2019)!
So you've taken the leap, bought the chickens, and now you're dreaming about all the fresh eggs and other benefits your new coop will bring you. But, now you are wondering: who knew chickens could be so noisy? Don't worry, you're not alone. Navigating the noise of domestic chicken flocks is one of the most frequently searched questions for prospective backyard farmers, but luckily the problem isn't insurmountable.
When it comes to deciding what birds fit your needs, research is key. Certain breeds, like the free-range loving Ancona, are hardy and intelligent, but tend to be pretty vocal. Calmer breeds, like the tenacious Australorp or the beautiful and broody Orpington, are quieter, and might be a better fit for your home coop. Whatever the breed, roosters will always be louder, and they can create drama in your flock.
Time and Reason
Many breeds of chicken are naturally quiet, but even these birds will speak up if given a reason. Pay attention to the sounds your birds are making and when. Chickens will often make an excited noise when laying an egg, or cluck busily after laying as though to announce her accomplishment. They are also much more vocal when they feel in danger, so heightened noise levels may mean that your birds are uneasy. Make sure you're providing them with a safe shelter they can retreat to when they feel threatened. Which brings us to the next point.
Depending on the breed, your chickens will likely need 12 to 14 hours of light in order to lay, but providing a sheltered, safe-feeling space for them to retreat is just as important as giving them access to the outdoors. Nervous chickens are noisy chickens, so if your birds are constantly clucking, it might be that they're telling you they don't like their coop.
As with all aspects of backyard farming, it's important to know the rules. Look into your local sound ordinances, or any specific restrictions your area may have on raising chickens. You don't want to literally bet the farm on keeping your coop a secret, only to have the chickens themselves give it away. Additionally, many localities have laws against owning roosters but not hens, so make sure to study up!
August is here and chicken fanciers everywhere struggle to keep their beloved chickens comfortable. First things first though, you need to know the signs heat stress in poultry:
If you're seeing any of the above symptoms you need to act NOW to cool your birds. Obviously, fresh drinking water is key. Start by offering your birds lots of fresh, cool water. Water pans (especially metal or black rubber) can get pretty hot during the summer. Very hot water is not appealing at all to poultry, and unless you've got automatic watering systems you'll need to put some extra effort into providing adequate cool water.
Put out extra water pans. Keep them in the shade if you can.
Bring down the temperature in your yard rapidly by spraying your whole yard down with a water hose. Spray it all, bushes, trees, fences, go ahead and spray the coop exterior. You can spray inside too if no one is setting.
Some breeds, and some individuals for that matter, may enjoy a hop in a kiddie pool with a few inches of water in it. Put it in the shade if possible.
Shade helps a lot! You can either purchase poultry shade systems or rig up something of your own. You can get pretty creative, nail tarps over fenced corners, hang old banners between fence posts, bust out the canvas canopy that's sitting in your garage. Re-purpose camping tents by setting them up and cutting out the sides and bottom. Right now aesthetics don't matter so much as lowering the temperature and UV exposure for your birds.
Take a look at your coop. Is it clean and well ventilated? Open any shutters and vents. If your chickens are plainly suffering you can set up fans, however they may be a bit of a fire hazard. Don't leave the yard if you have fans running.
One last bit of advice. Some people like to give their chickens frozen fruits during the hottest summer months. This is cute and fun, but remember that sugar increases body heat, and that your chickens will actually maintain a higher body temperature to digest frozen goodies. So while frozen fruits can be a yummy snack and fun to feed, don't feed it when your chickens are experiencing heat stress. Save those for tomorrow morning before it gets hot.
Summer is in full swing. Temperatures are in the 90s, and people are looking for shade. What better time to chill with your chickens in the backyard? Just, make sure your chickens have ways to stay cool, too.
Dehydration is the first sign of possible heat-related problems. Just like humans, chickens' electrolytes become unbalanced when dehydrated. It is a good idea to add electrolytes to their water to lessen the impact of dehydration.
Make sure their water is cold. Cold water helps regulate a chicken's temperature so keep it readily available during hot weather. You may need to change the water periodically to keep it cold.
To keep chickens hydrated, place berries in water and freeze overnight. Set the frozen treats out the next day. The chickens will peck at the ice and berries, creating another way to keep them hydrated.
Make sure the chickens have a shady place to rest. If possible, construct their coop to provide ventilation. You could consider placing a fan in their coop, but only operate it in the daytime when you are at home.
Reduce the bedding in the coop to a minimum. Thick bedding acts as an insulator, holding heat in the coop.
You can mist the chickens and the coop. If misting isn't enough, you can wet down the coop and create cold water puddles for the chickens to walk through to cool off.
Leave the chickens alone as much as possible. Chickens generate heat when they interact with other chickens and with humans. In close quarters that could significantly increase the surrounding temperature.
Cut back on hard to digest foods. Chickens generate heat when they digest their food. The harder their system works the more heat it generates.
See if your chickens like to swim. Fill a kiddie pool with an inch or two of cold water. Watch them jump in, or not.
As you look for ways to stay cool when the temperatures rise, remember these tips for keeping your chickens cool.