Friday, April 28, 2017

How to care for Guinea keets

You've decided to raise guinea fowl and like most people, you've decided to get started with guinea keets rather then adult guineas. (smart move!) Guinea keets are about the cutest little things you will ever see. They have bright orange beaks and legs and scurry around like crazy little bugs! Luckily raising guinea keets is almost the same as raising chicks so if you've raised chicks before, keets will be just as easy.

How to raise guinea fowl keets

The brooder set up that you'll need for guineas is the same as it is for chicks. You can see my recommendations here in Brooder Basics. I like to raise guinea keets in their own brooder separate from regular chicks. Since keets are so small, they can easily be trampled or squashed by bigger chicks. The only illnesses I have seen in guinea keets is spraddle leg and pasty butt so they are pretty hardy for as small as they are.

Friday, April 21, 2017

6 Most common problems in chicks

Chick season is upon us and just about everyone I know has hatched or bought new chicks for their flocks! By now your chicks are running around their brooder happily doing their cute little chick things. Nothing can make the fun come to a halt faster then a sick chick can though....and I have spent more then my fair share of time worrying about the little feather balls! It can be pretty upsetting when you don't know what's wrong with your chick. Luckily there aren't too many illnesses chicks can get so it's usually pretty easy to figure out what's wrong.

illness in chicks

First of all relax, most chick issues are not your fault! Many are caused by genetics or nutritional deficiencies in the breeding stock. The first thing you need to do when you notice a sick chick is to make sure they have everything they need in their brooder. (here's a list of brooder necessities) You'll want to make sure chicks are not too hot or too cold. If your chicks are a week old the brooder temperature should be around 95° at chick level, right under their heat source. You'll want to decrease this temperature by 5° a week as they grow. Make sure their water is clean and not contaminated with food, bedding or chick poo. Make sure the food is dry and free from poo also.

Friday, April 14, 2017

12 Clever ways to reuse eggshells

If you have chickens you probably dispose of a lot of eggshells. I know I was throwing out dozens and dozens a week until I started looking for ways to reuse them. Luckily there are a lot of ways to reuse eggshells. The shell of an egg is made of calcium, so they make a great calcium substitute for animals, plants and people. They can also be used as pest repellent, cleanser and even toothpaste!

how to | reuse eggshells

Clean you hummingbird feeder: because of their narrow opening hummingbird feeders are difficult to clean, but when their filled and sitting in the sunlight for days they can grow mold and lots of other bacteria. To clean, empty feeder and rinse with warm water. Add a tablespoon of crushed eggshell and fill halfway with warm water then shake vigorously for a few minutes. Rinse well.

Scrub pots and pans: mix powdered eggshell and water into a paste and use it like soft scrub cleanser.

Toilet rings: if you have lime rings in your toilet you can also use the eggshell paste to scrub the ring away. Just drain the water from the toilet and rub the paste into the stain with a rag.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Using straw as coop bedding

I haven't talked about coop bedding lately so I think it's about time we talked about it again. We've already discussed using fall leaves and shredded newspaper, so this time I want to talk about using straw in the chicken coop. Straw is the first tier of cost when it comes to bedding. Leaves and old newspapers are free obviously, with straw or hay being next in cost and wood shavings and sand being the most expensive of them all (which is why I saved those for last!) Around here I can get straw bales for between $2-4 each, all year round. Even with all 5 coops going, I can refill them all for under $10. That's definitely a price I can live with!

Straw in chicken coop

First of all lets talk about what straw is and what it isn't. Straw is the dried stalks of grain after the grain has been harvested. It is the byproduct of grain production. The leftovers. When crops like wheat, barley, and oats are harvested for their seed, the stalks are left behind. These remaining stalks are then bailed as straw. There should not be any grain, seed or edible parts left. Straw has a hollow stem and is nutritionally defunct. Straw isn't feed & it isn't the same as hay though we'll get into hay in another post.  
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