The chicken keepers 8 biggest fears

Raising chickens is a lot of fun and is growing in popularity across the nation. More people are raising chickens now than ever before but unfortunately chicken keeping comes with a bit of a learning curve. Oh sure there are books and blogs and informational groups and sites, but with so much (often opposing) information, how do you know which is right?

Many people decided to start raising chickens for eggs then realize that chickens have unique personalities and quirks. Chickens become like family pets. They're kind of like dogs or cats, no two are exactly the same. Unlike dogs or cats though, there are very few vets that specialize in them. Like any loving pet parent, chicken keepers worry about the stuff they can't control with their animals.

I asked "what worries you the most about your chickens?" and chicken keepers answered! Here's what they had to say...

Everything from feed cost to zoning can be a worry for the backyard poultry farmer. After seeing the same things being stressed about again and again I decided to put this question to my fellow chicken keepers: What do you worry about the most? I asked thousands of people across several platforms and compiled their answers into this list:

Most popular chicken blog posts (from the last 8 years)

I've been spending time going through the past 8 years of chicken blog posts. (that's over 200 if you were keeping track lol) I'm looking for trends in chicken keeping practices. It's interesting to me to see what chicken topics are popular now and through the years.

Posts about chicken coops are always a popular topic, and anything about chicken health also gets read a lot. I've also noticed that people love to read about saving money on chicken care and supplies. Then there's guinea hens, which people either love or hate! So many different awesome things to write about chickens and chicken care!

The most popular blog posts from 2010-18

Anyway, I figured out which posts have gotten the most views since the day I started blogging about chickens and made this list of my top 15 chicken posts of the last 8 years. So here they are in revers order.....

Which chicken bedding should you use?

When it comes to the stuff laying on the floor of your chicken coop you would think that it doesn't matter all that much. Trust me, it does. Choosing a chicken coop bedding can depend a lot on your particular situation. Throughout the years I have tried: wood shavings, sand, dry leaves, dry grass, straw, hay and shredder paper in my chicken coops. They do not all perform the same way!

When choosing a chicken coop bedding you'll need to consider the size of your coop, weather, coop placement and your chicken population. A large coop could be expensive to fill with wood shavings or sand, even more expensive of it's packed with chickens and the bedding needs changed regularly. Plus, not every material works in every climate.

Choosing a chicken coop bedding

For example, a few years back sand had a sudden surge in popularity as coop bedding among chicken keepers. Unfortunately if you have a coop and covered run in a shady area like I do, sand  does not stay dry. In fact, once it's wet it pretty much never dries out. Wet sand sitting on the coop floor and against the walls of the run causes wood to mold and rot. Now I know people who use sand and it works great for them, but their coops are in sunnier locations so the sand stays dry. It did not work well for me though and that coop was completely destroyed from wood rot.

Gathering dirty eggs? Here's how I get clean eggs from the nest boxes

Last year I was having a real bad time with the eggs from one of my coops being dirty all the time. Nobody wants to collect dirty eggs each day and because of a certain hen, it was happening all too frequently around here. Up until then I had collected clean eggs daily from the nest boxes, so obviously I needed to fix something!

The problem had been hens sleeping in the nest boxes. Well, ok there was a rooster that was doing it too but Hei Hei is a totally different story. Let's just say he really takes after his namesake! Anyway, here is How I got my chickens to stop sleeping in the nest boxes. This is probably the number 1 factor in keeping my eggs clean! 

Other than that issue I rarely have a problem with dirty eggs and I attribute that to these practices.

Should you cull your flock in fall?

As fall approaches, hens that are 2 years old or older slow down on egg production. Many farmers and homesteaders chose to cull old or unproductive hens from their flock before winter. By culling the flock in fall, they cut their feed costs over the winter. This makes a lot of sense if your main reason for having chickens is to get farm fresh eggs.

However, not everyone runs their flock like a farmer. Many chicken keepers are perfectly happy letting their flock live out it's natural life. I have one chicken that's 9 & 1/2 years old, so I can certainly understand that sentiment! Chickens can live pretty long though, so if you don't intend to let them live out their natural lives, culling before winter may be a good idea for you.

Culling the chicken flock in fall

What is culling? 

To cull the flock means to reduce its population selectively, removing animals by choice. Remove does not always mean butcher or kill, but it can. Many people cull their flock by selling off chickens they decide they no longer need. I have posts about poultry swaps, poultry auctions and my ridiculously honest craigslist ads as these are all ways I have used to cull my flock.