Spring back with the chicken that could

Finally winter has come and gone bringing many challenges and learning experiences. I gladly welcome spring! I’m happy to say even after frost bite mishaps, minor injuries, and a super cold winter my flock is well and thriving. This marks year 3 of chicken raising which means my third generation of chicks!  New milestones and new challenges, but all worth it!

This year my husband Rodney and I have decided to build a bigger chicken coop as I will soon integrate the 3rd generation with our current flock! In effort to do so I decided to raise extra pullets to sell as laying hens another 4-8 weeks from now! With our love of A frames we have decided to make an A frame chicken coop and I can’t wait! I’ll be sure to take pictures of the process! The baby chicks are so adorable and tomorrow they will be 8 weeks old.

Hope (the only named chick) has taught me many things I had not previously experienced. At 3 weeks old we discovered she was not able to walk normal and she had a sort of bowed look to her legs. Never experiencing this before I was unsure what to do but with the help of youtube we began to treat it like a severe case of spraddle. That only seemed to make it more complicated for her to walk so I began to treat it like a slipped hook joint. The following three days, twice a day, I began a sort of physical therapy with her gently stretching her legs out as she had yet to stretch them behind her on her own.

She was behind the rest of the girls on everything else also, pin feathers, roosting, and she didn’t do much more then sit. I was dedicated to her recovery and so was she, thus it seemed only appropriate to name her hope. I added a few large tree limbs that provided a much a larger roosting area compared to the pvc and sure enough she began to roost around 5 weeks old. I’m happy to say 5 weeks later she now stands straight (mostly) walks very well, flies to the top roost, stands her ground with others, scratches around, and almost all her baby fuzz is gone. Yep, she is totally the chicken that could and I’m one proud chicken mamma.

Hope at  7 weeks on the top roost <3

Hope at 7 weeks on the top roost ❤

DIY Quick Treat: The Positive Effects of Garlic

Let’s first look at a short explanation of garlic.

Why garlic? Garlic is a delicious and natural form of medication for both you and your chickens. The sulfur compounds that are known for making our breath stinky aren’t going to only scare the opposite sex away, it is also strong enough to kill off certain parasites and worms common to chickens. The antibiotic properties of garlic can also be used to boost immune systems and heal wounds faster.

20141126_152834 20141126_153355 20141126_153711 

Now onto a quick an easy 3 step treat you can make under 5minutes and for less than $2.

  1. Take one stalk of broccoli and cut it into smaller sections. Then take one small clove of garlic per two chickens and cut it into smaller pieces (approximately ½ t per bird).
  2. Toss broccoli and garlic into a blender and add 2 T of water blending until it has the consistency of a slushy (add more water if needed).
  3. Give it to your feathered friends and watch them enjoy!

Want more information? Check out this article from Backyard Poultry Magazine. http://www.backyardpoultrymag.com/the-benefits-of-garlic-for-poultry-2/

To heat or not to heat…that is the question!

With freezing temperatures and bone chilling winds the winter can be tough for chickens. There are many opinions and reasons on whether or not to heat your chicken coop for the winter. Before you decide whether or not a heat lamp is right for your coop you should ask yourself some questions. Questions like;

  • What are the lowest temperatures and winter conditions where I live? Chickens can typically handle low temperatures pretty well but there extremities such as their waddles, combs, and feet are at risk of frostbite with high wind chills and freezing temperatures. What breed you raise also makes a difference which leads to the next question.
  • What breed of chickens do I have? Different breeds require different care in the winter. I have leghorns and they have large combs and waddles making them higher risk for frostbite. Breeds such as Ameraucanas, Ancona, Black Australorps, Black Giant, Blue Andalusian, Brahma, Buff Orpingtons, Cochins, Delaware, Dominique, Langshan, New Hampshire, Plymouth Rocks, Rhode Island Red, Russian Orloff, Speckled Sussex and Wyandottes are cold hardy winter birds according to the Tractor Supply Co and they handle the colder weather better.
  • Is egg production in the winter important? Chickens lose daylight during the winter and typically will molt and halt production because they need 10 hours of daylight to continue normal egg production.
  • What are the risk and the can I afford the extra cost? Heat lamps should be used with extreme caution. A 250 watt heat lamp puts off a lot of heat and if to low in your coop, it can cause harm to your chickens. Also, if you are using straw for the bedding there is the risk of fire. When it comes to cost it will vary depending on what watt you use, how many lamps you use, and for how long you have them turned on. You can count on anywhere from a $10-$40 increase in your electric bill.

Whether or not you decide to heat your coop it is important to make sure you have proper ventilation. A dry chicken is a happy chicken! Poor ventilation can create moisture which increases your chances of frostbite and disease. There are high levels of ammonia gases in their droppings and if it is not changed regularly it can create moisture and hurt your chicken’s respiratory system.  Stay tuned for my next blog on an inexpensive DIY heat source that creates heat safely.

Sources: http://www.tractorsupply.com/know-how_Chicken-Care_how-to-prepare-your-chickens-for-winter