How to raise the Omega-3 content of hens eggs

Last week I posted a recipe for easy suet cakes for chickens. One of the ingredients I used was  flax seeds. I received several emails asking about flax seeds and why I feed them to my chickens...so I decided to answer that question publicly. I've been feeding flax seeds to my chickens for about 6 years now and I started adding flax to their feed to increase the Omega-3 content of their eggs.

Adding flax seeds to hens diet

I eat flax seeds on a daily basis because they are high in protein, fiber, omega-3s and antioxidants. After I started adding flax seeds to my diet I noticed the 'expensive' eggs in the store with labels that touted their Omega-3 content. Since the nutrition of a hens egg is a direct result of their diet, I concluded that it had to be that chickens diet which added the Omega-3s to the eggs. 

I had recently found a great deal on a huge bag of flax seeds so since I had them on hand I started adding flax seeds to my chickens diet. I mix them into their scratch grains, add them to treats and bake them into flock blocks. The chickens seem to like them and I felt like I was adding something nutritious to their diet.  

Quick and easy winter chicken treats

It suddenly got really cold at our farm. The weather turned overnight and this morning the ducks didn't want to go in their pond because there were ice chunks on the top! The chickens refused to come out of the coop because there was snow on the ground! So, in celebration of the chickens first cold day of winter I decided to make them some simple and quick treats to warm them up and alleviate boredom.

Suet cakes made for chickens

I mean, they had to be bored! The chickens just stood in the doorway of their coop clucking at the snow fall. Poor kids. Luckily I had some of their favorite seeds on hand. I mixed those up with some fat and solidified them in the refrigerator real quick and presto, we had chicken boredom buster treats!

These are about the easiest chicken treats you can make and you really only need 2 ingredients: seeds and fat. Oh, and you'll need a muffin tin and a refrigerator to speed things up. 

I had several types of seeds and some mealworms on hand so I used all of them, but whatever you have will work! 

How common is chicken illness?

Today's discussion comes to us courtesy of a friend who was going to get chickens but then changed her mind. In doing some research she had found countless websites discussing the various illnesses that chickens can get. There are a lot of people out there writing about chickens, and many of us talk about chicken illness and disease. So many in fact that my friend was sure she was going to be battling illness in her flock from day 1! This brought up the question "How often do chickens get sick?"

How often do chickens get sick?

Thankfully, my chickens don't get sick nearly as often as she seemed to think they would! Is my flock abnormally healthy though? In order to determine the answer to that I turned to a group of chicken owners and asked 6,000 of them a simple question: How long have you had chickens and what illnesses have you dealt with in your flock?

Feeding a sick chicken

What do you feed a sick chicken? When a chicken is ill the food they eat needs to fuel their recovery. They need extra vitamins and nutrients, plus lots of hydration which can be really hard to get into them if they've lost their appetite because of illness. I have a few special foods that I give to my sick chickens, especially if they are turning their beaks up at the regular feed.

That doesn't always happen though. Sometimes when a chicken is sick she will still have a good appetite. In these cases you can supplement her regular feed a little bit, but make sure she has unlimited access to her normal feed so she can eat as much as she wants. Layer feed is nutritionally complete and even though the foods I have listed below are high nutrition...they really shouldn't take the place of her regular feed.

Sick chicken eating

Unfortunately many times a chicken that is battling an illness will lose her appetite and we must try to entice her to eat. In this case you want every bite of food to count. I've compiled a list of high nutrition foods that chickens love along with all the benefits of feeding these foods to a sick chicken.

Train guinea fowl to be friendly

Guinea fowl are not well known for being friendly. I can't even count the number of people who have told me that they can't get anywhere near their guineas. This is the complete opposite as to how my guineas act! Now granted, guinea fowl will never be super duper lovey birds, but they can be trained to be friendly with you.

Trained guinea fowl

Guinea fowl are just naturally more high strung than chickens. Everyone says that they are not terribly intelligent (true) but they can easily be trained or uh, bribed...with treats like BOSS, scratch or millet. Just like chickens, they will quickly learn to come running when you have their favorite treat!

One of the key points to training guinea fowl to not be afraid of you is to never give them a reason to fear you and in fact, become their favorite person. Don't worry, it's super easy!