15+ Signs of chicken illness

People that raise chickens tend to spend a lot of time watching them. They're pretty entertaining after all! We even have a name for our chicken watching, we call it "Chicken TV". The great thing about chicken watching is that by observing your flock when they are healthy, you can quickly identify a problem when your chickens are showing symptoms of illness.

Determining illness in chickens

There are lots of signs that will indicate that your chicken is sick. Sometimes it's the chicken themselves, like their stance or behavior. Other times you need to check their droppings or watch their eating habits to determine illness in your flock. It can be tricky to know when a chicken first gets sick as they often hide it very well.

The 9 worst mistakes a chicken keeper can make

We all make mistakes in life, and usually you just learn from it and move on. When it comes to chicken keeping mistakes though, some of them can be deadly. There are a lot of small chicken keeping mistakes like running out of feed and having to cook them something, or buying a waterer that's too small and having to fill it constantly. I'm talking about the big mistakes though...the ones chickens don't live through.

Deadly chicken mistakes

I've made several of these mistakes over the many years that I've owned chickens. I've had predators I underestimated, health problems I missed, a coop that wasn't as secure as I thought and a kid that thought making sure all the chickens were in the coop at night was optional. *sigh* There is definitely a learning curve to keeping chickens!

A lot of these chicken keeping mistakes are simple to prevent so hopefully exposing my mistakes will prevent your flock from having the same issues!

Do TV egg products work for farm eggs?

I spent most of my day yesterday trying out "As seen on TV" egg gadgets. I steamed eggs, boiled eggs, shook eggs and shoved them through weird plastic contraptions. It was enlightening. We've all seen these ads with kitchen products that cook or peel your eggs easily right? They make egg preparation look easy and effortless, but I wanted to know if they actually worked. 

Reviews of 4 popular TV egg prep tools

More importantly...do these kitchen gadgets work on farm fresh eggs? Being that fresh eggs are notoriously harder to peel than store bought eggs, I wasn't sure that these egg gadgets would be up for the challenge. To conduct this experiment I bought the Eggstractor, Egglettes, Perfect Egg Maker and the Negg and I'm giving a full review on each egg preparation product. 

As seen on TV, Egg product reviews

I was pleasantly surprised at how many of these products worked for farm fresh eggs! I had assumed that all the egg peeling tools would not work at all and was really glad to be wrong...mostly. 

How to protect your chickens from raccoons

Raccoons are a problem for almost all chicken keepers. While only those of us in rural settings have to deal with things like bears or bobcats trying to eat our chickens, raccoons are literally everywhere. Also, they are quite smart. Raccoons can remember the solution to a problem for at least 3 years. That means that if a raccoon figures out how to open your chicken coop, he's not going to forget any time soon!

Protect chickens from raccons with these easy steps

While predator proofing your coop and run is always important, predator proofing for raccoons is a little more difficult. They're smart, can dig well, can climb almost anything and are very skilled with their front paws. Plus raccoons in high density areas tend to socialize in groups, often meeting at feeding grounds. So if one raccoon finds your chickens, more are often close behind. 

The best course of action is to avoid attracting raccoons to your chicken coop to begin with. A predator proof coop and chickens that are securely closed in at night when raccoons are most active are your best lines of defense against these midnight bandits.

Easy ways to keep snakes out of the chicken coop!

When discussing poultry predators, snakes are often labeled as more of a nuisance than a threat. Many people believe that snakes will only eat eggs and since they also eat mice, it's great to have them around the chicken coop. Many see snakes as basically harmless to full grown chickens.

They couldn't be more wrong.

Over the past 2 years I have lost 2 grown hens, a few chicks, and some eggs to snakes. Unfortunately since I live in the woods, I have more snake encounters than the average chicken keeper...but that also means I have more opportunity to test out snake repellent methods.

Snake in chicken coop

A snake will kill a full grown chicken even when it's glaringly obvious that it could never swallow a chicken that size. Many chicken keepers have found a deceased chicken with a wet looking head and neck. That happens when a snake kills then tries to eat something that is too big. It gives up and spits it back out.

In  my situations both of the hens that the snake killed had chicks with her. I found both with the snake still wrapped around the hen and it's my theory that she was trying to keep the snake from the chicks. She may have even pecked at it to try to make it leave. The snake couldn't get past the mama hen so it decided to kill her first. I don't think the snake would have even attempted to swallow the hen, but we'll never know.