Friday, October 13, 2017

Preparing your chickens for Autumn

As the seasons change so do the things we need to do to take care of our flocks. Since I have a list of seasonal chores I do to prepare for each season, I decided to make a little graphic to show exactly what I do in the coop to get ready for fall. (yeah, I know I'm a few days behind...but I did them for all the seasons, so at least I have the rest of the years graphics done now! 😁)

Caring for chickens in autumn

Since Autumn brings cooler weather, I focus on getting the chickens back to their pre-molt splendor and making sure they enter fall parasite free. I also check the safety and security of the chicken coop. We don't want any predators getting in during these cooler months, now do we? I add in a little bit of cleaning to get rid of some of the yuck from summer and call it done. 

Now lets get started... this shouldn't take long at all!

Getting your chickens ready for fall

First, check the chicken coop to make sure there are no leaks coming from the roof, or water seeping in through the walls. Looks for holes and rotted wood. Make sure roost bars are still sturdy. Check latches on doors and make sure windows close and lock. If you have electric in your chicken coop give that a look over too making sure all the wires are still in good shape.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Why you don't want squirrels near your chickens

It's fall and suddenly there are squirrels absolutely everywhere. I'm seeing squirrels in my yard constantly and much to the dogs delight, they are quite persistent in coming back! I let her out to chase them and 20 minutes later, they're back. This goes on all day long! Since my chickens free range daily, this is a problem.

You see, while squirrels many seem harmless, you really don't want them getting too comfortable around your chickens for several reasons. Not only can squirrels end up costing you money in feed bills and ruined equipment, they'll actually go after chicks if they get hungry enough!

keep squirrels away from chickens

Obviously squirrels will eat the chicken feed. Not only do they eat the feed they can get to, but they'll eat holes in feeders or through your feed storage containers rendering them useless! (see photo) Since they are from the rodent family, they can also chew through wood quite well and might just make themselves an entrance into your coop when they get hungry. Not only is it a nuisance but I doubt you want to buy extra chicken feed for the squirrels!

Friday, September 29, 2017

How to ship hatching eggs (the right way)

I have bought a lot of hatching eggs online. In fact, I started my chicken adventure with shipped hatching eggs! Every time I opened a new package of shipped eggs was a little surprise. It seemed like everyone had a different method for packing and sending eggs through the mail. Sadly not all of them worked!

With all the boxes and boxes of shipped eggs I received, only 1 box that was crushed but luckily the contents were just fine. I started comparing the different styles of packaging for shipping eggs and found the similarities in the boxes with the broken eggs and the boxes that all the eggs were intact. From there I figured out exactly how to ship hatching eggs with great results.

how to ship eggs

First though, I want to tell you what didn't work. Not enough padding was the main reason hatching eggs arrived cracked. If there was any movement inside the package, the movement could cause the eggs to bang against the sides of the box and crack. 

Not securing the eggs was another problem. Many time I received a box with well wrapped eggs just floating around inside a box of packing materials. Flimsy packing materials was another problem. Wrapping eggs in paper towels is great for absorbing the mess when they inevitably crack. Not so good for actually providing some padding.

Friday, September 22, 2017

How to remove rooster spurs

My least favorite part of the rooster is the spur. I bet you're not surprised at all by that little confession. Spurs are actually quite useful though, as they are a roosters main line of defense against predators. However when they're used against people or are hurting the hens, then it's time to remove your roosters spurs!

Spurs are actually an outgrowth of bone covered by a sheath of horn. A spur grows from the base outwards. Like an animals toenail, there is only a blood supply at the base and the tip can be easily trimmed. Spurs continuously grow and can get quite long.

rooster spur removal

To control the length of a roosters spurs you can either trim or remove them. When you remove a spur you leave the base and only take off the hard outer covering. Removing spurs on a rooster is fairly easy to do. It requires very few tools and only takes a few seconds to remove each spur. In fact it's so easy to do, I once did it by accident!
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