Friday, April 20, 2018

Do chickens really need grit?

When you first get chickens it's kind of hard learning everything new and picking through what they really do need and what is just a waste of money. Grit is one of those things that chickens really do need, but yet it's still kind of a waste of money.

Let me clarify....grit is necessary for the chickens digestive system to run smoothly, but you don't need to spend money on it! Grit is simply tiny rocks that the chickens use to grind their food up so that it digests easily.

Chickens and grit

You see, chickens don't have teeth. So while they do try to rip off small pieces of food, they pretty much just swallow everything whole. I mean everything! Serabelle even swallowed a frog whole once (naughty chicken, Yuck!) It would be really hard on the body to digest food whole like that, so the food needs broken down somehow. That is what the gizzard does. 

Friday, April 13, 2018

Stop chickens from pecking each other

Chickens do some weird things. Eating non food items and picking at each others feathers are way at the top of that list! They're are lots of reasons chickens might peck at each other and sometimes it's completely normal. After all, they don't call it the pecking order for nothing! A good solid peck can tell a hen who's boss or chase her away from something yummy they they don't want to share.

Sometimes normal pecking goes too far though and can result in injury or even death. It's important to stop chickens from pecking each other before it gets that far. If one chicken causes another chicken to bleed by pecking, that bloody area suddenly gains a new fascination for the offending chicken and sometimes the rest of the flock too. Having the whole flock picking at one spot on a hen can cause serious injury so we need to nip this bad behavior in the bud!  

chickens in yard and how to stop them from pecking each other

If chickens pecking each other is a problem, it's important to figure out why the chickens are pecking each other in order to stop them. Here are the main 6 reasons I've seen for chickens pecking each other.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Can you force hens to start laying?

Can you force your chickens to start laying eggs? I get asked all the time how to get a chicken to start laying and the short answer is: You can't! There are a whole lot of myths around egg laying though. Old wives tales abound, from feeding hot peppers to using fake eggs and unfortunately none of them work.

However, some of these methods seem to work some of the time. That is where it gets tricky!  

Most of the time when someone is getting impatient for their hens to start laying it's either because:
A) The winter laying break has dragged on long enough already!
B) These chickens have to be old enough to lay by now! Right?

Fresh eggs | how to get a chicken to start laying

In either of these cases, using the old wives methods of prompting your chickens to start laying will generally coincide with the chickens naturally starting to lay anyway. So it only seems like it works. Here are the ones I've heard recently...

Friday, March 30, 2018

Ducklings! Everything you need to get started raising them

Well, that darn kid talked me into ducklings again! I always say we don't need ducks again because ducklings are messy. They are! The pond just sits there though, and the waterfowl coop has been empty over a year...and so we got ducklings. *sigh*

Since we've had ducks before, we already have everything we need to raise ducklings. Ducklings are almost the same as chicks with just a few small differences. Today, I wanted to talk about exactly what ducklings need and why. 

What you need to raise ducklings

Ducklings are obviously going to need a brooder with a heat source, feed, water and bedding. That's pretty much exactly what chicks need so chances are that if you've raised chicks, then you already have most of it on hand. They also might need a special water dish and niacin supplements, and maybe a swimming area but that should be the only differences. Maybe.