Articles

  1. Aging Eggs Through Floatation

    If you are wandering about your property and happen across some eggs a sneaky hen has laid in a surprise location, your first instinct may be to rush them inside and put them in the fridge. While saving such eggs is a noble cause, you have to ask yourself what the likelihood is that those eggs are still safe for consumption. Sure, they may have only been there since this morning, (or yesterday morning, or twenty mornings ago) but how are you to know? The hen may know but it is doubtful she...
  2. Selecting Broiler Chickens

    One of the fastest and easiest ways to put meat on the kitchen table is by raising your own broiler chickens. With a maturity rate faster than any other form of livestock, chickens can be mature and ready to eat in mere weeks depending on the breed. Selecting a breed for broiler chickens is important as some breeds mature and flesh out quickly and in different ways than others. For the purpose of fast, economical food, you want something that will grow quickly in order to be cost effective;...
  3. Rental Chicks for Easter

    Every year for Easter, chicks and bunnies aplenty can be found for sale in various places. Oftentimes these animals are dyed in pastel colors and marketed almost like toys would be to create a desirous and cute impulse buy. In the end, they are frequently treated like old toys and discarded, or cared for improperly and forced to suffer with preventable illnesses or even death. The best case scenario these animals face still is not without issue. If they are lucky, someone will swoop in and...
  4. Itchin' Chickens: Mites and Lice

    If your chickens are itchin', it may be possible that you have a mite and/or poultry lice problem on your hands. Mites and lice are external parasites that will move into your coop and onto your chickens, using them as hosts for feeding and breeding activities. Although the life cycle of such parasites is short and averages about a week, during that time they can lay over 100,000 eggs which can pose a real problem if their population is allowed to grow unchecked. The presence of mites and...
  5. Missing Hen = Surprise Chicks

    In recent times, we've discussed eggs not being where they are expected or supposed to be. Also mentioned were hens that liked to lay 'outside of the box.' This can be troubling if you do not intend to hatch eggs and sometimes those eggs laid elsewhere do wind up hatched. This could lead to extra flock members you for which you weren't planning or prepared as well as babies from an unintended cross. Either way, chickens have a way of surprising us sometimes. A few years back, we had a...
  6. Discouraging an Egg Eater

    Even though it may seem unlikely, there are some chickens who will take to eating eggs. Upon discovering how delicious and nutritious eggs are, stopping an egg-eater can be rather difficult. Worse yet is that this is a behavior that catches on and can spread amongst the birds in your flock. In some cases culling is recommended, but that is far from being your only option. To get to the bottom of why eggs are being eaten, some homework may be necessary. There are several reasons that...
  7. Slow to Grow Jersey Giants

    In the 1880's, two brothers from New Jersey decided to put their heads together for the creation of a large breed of chicken that would sell well at meat markets. John and Thomas Black undertook this mission armed with breeds such as the Black Java, Black Langshan, and Dark Brahma. Also rumored to be thrown into the mix were Cornish and Black Orphingtons. The results was initially dubbed the Jersey Black Giant, although competitors who copied the breeding referred to birds as Macy Giants and...
  8. Deterring Hawks with Fishing Line

    At a time of year when so many of us have chicks to protect, hawk attacks are even higher than usual on our list of concerns. While the chicks are safe in the brooder, the concern of a hawk attack may only be lurking in the back of your mind. However, as the time comes to introduce growing chicks to the outside world, hawk threats need to move from the back of your mind to the forefront. Hawks and other birds of prey are an unfortunate part of life with which chicken owners are forced to...
  9. The Barred Plymouth Rock

    One of the most highly regarded breeds of chicken you will see today is the Barred Plymouth Rock, which is named for its feather pattern which includes alternating bars of black and white. Not only is this breed a dual-purpose breed that is good for both meat production as well as year around egg-production, but they are also a Heritage Breed dating back to the 1800's. In addition to being dual-purpose, they are also hearty birds that thrive in many different environments and their placid...
  10. Understanding Heritage Breeds

    From time to time you may hear of certain chicken breeds being referred to as a Heritage Breed. What exactly does that mean? How does a breed come to be deemed a Heritage Breed? For quite some time chickens have been on the menu in America, be it in the form of eggs or the meat of the bird itself. When explorers arrived in this country, they brought with them chickens. As time passed, those chickens were bred and new breeds arose from their lineage. The progression of breeding has led to...
  11. Pest Police: Chickens and Bug Control

    A popular selling point when it comes to owning chickens is the pest control they provide. Through their daily routine of moving about and scratching for food, chickens are actually doing us a great service. This is because the things we find to be nuisances are to a chicken quite delicious. It is not only the creepy crawly things you see that chickens will feast on, but also the ones you cannot see. Anything moving on blades of grass or atop soil is fair and easy game, but the hunt does not...
  12. Decreased Egg Production

    When you go out to collect eggs in the morning, chances are a feeling of elation overcomes you at each egg found. Knowledge that your hens are happy and healthy is reinforced by each egg you come across. If there are few eggs or even none at all, a whole different feeling overcomes you: disappointment. Decreased egg production can happen for a lot of reasons. These reasons can vary from environmental disturbances to health issues or even stress. To diagnose which birds\' laying has...
  13. Pullets & First Time Egg Laying

    As your pullets grow, you may be eagerly awaiting the day they will lay their first egg. Watching for signs of imminent egg laying is sure to be exciting, but what specifically signals that an egg is near? The time when a pullet lays her first egg (referred to as the 'point of lay') depends on several things. Egg laying for the first time usually occurs around six months of age but for some pullets can take up to a year or even longer. When a pullet will lay is also influenced by health,...
  14. Preventing Obesity in Chickens

    We've all heard the term 'kill them with kindness.' While this term has several meanings, one in particular is troublesome when it comes to chicken care. A way in which we might kill our chickens with kindness is through excess feeding. Out of love, we sometimes give our chickens (and other animals) that little bit extra. Once in a while that is okay, but when it becomes a frequent or even daily occurrence, it can start to negatively impact our chickens in the form of obesity. In days past,...
  15. Living with Scissor Beak

    Every now and then you may come across a chicken with a beak that does not align perfectly. This abnormal alignment is known as Scissor Beak, or Crossed Beak, and is a condition that exists when the top and bottom of a chicken's beak to not meet as they should. The cause of this could be an inability to properly wear beaks by honing on hard surfaces, injury, or most likely genetics. It may not initially appear upon hatching that a chicken will ultimately have such a problem, but unless it is...
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