Friday, June 26, 2015

Friday Funnies!

It's the last weekend of the month! Time to kick back, relax and kiss this stressful week goodbye! Let's start it out laughing...

funny chicken jokes

Did you hear about the chicken who could only lay eggs in the winter? 
She was no spring chicken.

Q: How many eggs can you put in an empty basket?
A: Only one – after that it’s not empty any more!

Q: What do you call the outside of a hand gren-egg?
A: The bombshell!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

What is a grow out pen. Do you need one?

It's the time of year when spring chicks are getting big enough to be outside. They are fully feathered and no longer need heat. It's definitely time to get them out of the brooder! Now the big question is: Where do they go from here? Most of us are eager to get them into the coop, but if you already have a full grown established flock in there it might not be such a good idea. Full grown chickens could injure or kill the much smaller chickens. They could keep them from the feed or water or chase them out of the coop and not let them back in. Anything could happen really. It's kinda like letting the grade school kids out to play with the high school class. You'd like for it to work and it usually does, but sometimes it goes bad real fast. 

WHat is a grow out pen? Do you need one?

So what are your options? You could put them in the coop but separate them from the adults for awhile. Large dog crates work pretty well for this. Or you could put them in a grow out pen instead. A grow out pen is pretty much what the name implies: a fenced in coop and home for the chicks to grow up a bit before they move in with the adults. I've been using a grow out pen for 4 years now and I love it. Ideally it will be placed close enough to the chicken coop that when everyone is free ranging the adults can come right up to the pen and check them out. It's a great idea for them to get to know each other a little with some fencing in between.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Free chicken e-books

I'm back with more free books. I'm always surprised how many books have been written about caring for chickens and even more surprised to find them free! I'm featuring several kindle eBooks that are currently FREE. However these are usually only free for a short time, so grab them now while they are available!

free kindle books about chickens

Friday, May 29, 2015

Friday Funnies

It's the weekend! Time to kick back, relax and kiss this stressful week goodbye! Let's start it out laughing...

funny chicken jokes
Why did the chicken have spots?
They were people pox

How do you stop a rooster from crowing on Sunday?
Eat him on Saturday. 

Monday, May 25, 2015

Keeping your flock disease free: The 8 rules

Due to the recent spread of Avian Influenza (H5N2) I have decided to rewrite this post. Because AI is spread through close contact with infected birds many poultry shows have been cancelled this season, some for the year. Here in Pennsylvania the shows have all been cancelled for the rest of the year because of the very real threat of bird flu. Poultry swaps though are a smaller scale and there has been no official word on them as of yet. If you go to a poultry swap, auction or show you probably know about practicing good bio-security. But did you know that you should be doing the same things if you go to the feed store, farm store or tractor supply? 

8 rules to keep your chicken flock disease free

When you think about it, if someone has an infected flock and drives off their property they carry the disease with them. It's on their shoes, tires and possibly their hands. When they drive onto the parking lot, walk into the store, touch the cart etc etc...they can be spreading the disease. Then you come along and drive onto the lot, walk into the store, grab a cart etc etc. You could very well be picking up that disease and taking it home with you! Normally I'm not all fanatical about this but with the recent outbreaks of Avian Influenza you just can't be too careful! Here are the steps I take whenever I attend a poultry swap or show. These are steps that I believe we should all be following to keep our flocks safe. These are 'rules' that I've came up with and stuck to for the last 3 years and they've worked so far....knock wood! lol

Friday, May 1, 2015

Heating your brooder: What are your options?

If I had a dollar for every time I read the words "heat lamp caused fire" I would be one rich woman indeed. The truth is that while heat lamps are common for brooding chicks they are also very dangerous! There are several options to traditional heat lamps and they are just as easy to set up and operate. I've tried many different types over the years and I've spent time compiling the information on heat sources for your brooders to help you make an informed decision. I know we all love our little chickies and really just want them to be safe and grow up happy and healthy. Sometimes things like cost and convenience have to factor into the equation though...and that's where it gets tricky. 

Brooder heat options for chicks

In this comparison I will be looking at several brooder heat systems I have used over the years:  
  • traditional heat lamp with red bulb
  • traditional heat lamp with infrared ceramic heat emitter
  • reptile heat lamp and bulbs
  • commercial brooder heat source (aka...Brinsea ecoglow)
I will be looking at cost, convenience, upkeep, flexibility, set up and safety. So...lets get started!

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