Friday, March 16, 2018

How to add a rooster to the flock

I have always had roosters in my flock of chickens, but many people start out with just hens. Since you don't need a rooster for the hens to lay eggs, and many people get chickens just for the eggs, this makes a lot of sense.

Often the decision to add a rooster is made after the flock of hens has been established. One reason you may decide to add a rooster to an established flock of hens, is to protect the hens. A rooster will alert the hens of any danger approaching, giving them a chance to hide. A rooster will often confront a predator to protect his flock of hens, thus sacrificing himself for them. Also, by adding a rooster to the flock, the hens eggs will then be fertilized. You'll need fertilized eggs if you want to hatch chicks

Adding a rooster to a flock of hens safely

If you decide to add a rooster into an already established flock, things can get a little tricky. The head hen doesn't always adapt well to the sudden drop in her ranking. Some hens don't appreciate a rooster trying to ahem...'romance' them. It can just generally upset the pecking order.

To avoid upsetting the hens too much, a gradual introduction is the best approach. Allowing them to acclimate to each other slowly can reduce squabbles and make the whole process go more smoothly. I choose one of these two methods each time that I want to introduce a new rooster to my flock. 

Friday, March 9, 2018

Oven baked eggs (instead of pan frying)

We're getting close to that time of year when the hens are laying soooo many eggs every day, that you just don't know what to do with them! I end up making eggs for breakfast every weekend morning, which can be a lot of work if all 5 of us are here.

An easy way to make a whole lot of eggs at once is to bake the eggs in the oven. This is also super convenient if you are cooking for a bunch of people since 1 batch is 12 eggs! It gets better can also bake scrambled eggs and poached eggs in the oven!

Make oven baked eggs instead of frying them. An easy way to make a dozen eggs at once!

This is super simple so I'm just gonna jump right into the 3 different recipes. You'll only need a muffin tin, some cooking spray, eggs and whatever seasonings you prefer. 

Friday, March 2, 2018

Guinea hens: Everything you need to know

I've been raising guineas since 2009. My first set of guinea fowl was a trio of 2 guinea hens and 1 guinea cock. Since then I've had as many as 80 guineas at one time. Over the years I've become pretty well known locally as 'the guinea farmer' and because of this I get asked a lot of questions about them. Luckily, I have answers!

guinea hens

Everything you need to know about Guinea hens

Here is my list of most commonly asked questions about guinea fowl and specifically guinea hens, breeding and egg laying.

Do guinea hens lay eggs year round? 

No. Guinea hens do not lay eggs in the winter. They start laying for the year in spring and continue through summer into fall, stopping when the days get noticeably shorter.

When do guinea hens start laying eggs? 

Guineas start laying in their first spring as an adult. If you get keets this year, they probably won't begin to lay eggs until next year. Occasionally I'll have young guineas drop 2-3 eggs around December right as they mature. These first
eggs aren't always fertile and very rarely do they hatch. 

How often do guinea hens lay eggs? 

A guinea hen will lay an egg almost every day during her laying season except when broody. That's 6-7 eggs a week.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Preparing your chickens for Spring

Now that days are getting longer and temperatures are getting warmer, it's time to get the chickens ready for spring. This is when I put away the winter chicken equipment, clean the coop, haul out the brooders and get ready for chick season and lots of free ranging!

As with the other seasons, a quick health check is in order. We all should be looking the chickens over for lice, mites, dirt balls (or poop balls) long nails, overgrown beaks etc etc on a regular basis. However, I know a lot of us included! Making sure it gets done between seasons though, makes sure we don't go too long without checking!

Preparing chickens for spring

This is the third in my seasonal series and you'll notice that inspecting the coop is always first on my list. A safe coop is your #1 line of defense against predators. Unfortunately seasonal weather and time can take their toll on the coop allowing small holes or loose boards where predators can get in. Personally, while I may be in the coop every single day that doesn't mean I'm looking around at it! These seasonal checklists remind me to take a closer look and make sure everything is in good shape.

Preparing your chickens for Spring

Check the coop: Give the coop a quick once over and check for holes or loose boards that may let predators in. As water freezes and thaws during winter it expands and contracts which can loosen boards, nails and hardware. Check the roof for leaks and patch them up before the spring rains begin.

Break out the brooder: Chick days are coming and whether you buy your new chicks each year or let your hens hatch them out, you'll want to have a brooder set up ready to go in case you need it. Check to make sure all equipment is in working order before you bring chicks home.