How to keep chickens out of the garden

I have had a garden for as long as I've had chickens. Gardening and chickens just sort of go together after all. Unfortunately they don't quite understand that the garden is not for them! The first year that I had them I learned how to keep the chickens out of the garden. Fencing! Since then I've learned that keeping chickens out of the garden is really simple and almost any barrier will do. 

Keeping chickens out of the garden

Of course some barriers work better than others and garden fencing can get quite expensive, especially if you chose a tall wooden fence! There are many cheaper fencing options though that are less permanent and allow the chickens closer to your plants (so they can eat bugs and weeds) without letting them in to destroy things. Let's talk about those...

Can chickens eat Cicadas?

Here in Pennsylvania we are deep in the throes of the 17-year cicada invasion. My chicken's couldn't be happier. The first time I saw a chicken eat a cicada it was one of my tiniest Silkie hens. I actually thought she might have flung it away because it seemed too big for her to actually swallow until I watched her eat a second one almost immediately. I had to tell other chicken keepers this and the first thing they said was "Can chickens eat cicadas?"

chickens eating cicadas

Well, she did! But that made me start thinking if cicadas are okay for chickens to eat? Is there any harm chickens eating cicadas? So I decided to look it up and found a surprising amount of information on the nutritional content of cicadas. The are high protein, low fat and have no carbs. 

Treats for ducks

We only have 2 ducks right now, and they are kind of having a rough few weeks with everything that's been going on. So I've been giving them lots of treats and special attention lately. Ducks love treats but just like kids they tend to prefer the junk food! When feeding ducks though you need to be careful that you give them healthy snacks most of the time. 

Treats for ducks.

While ducks love treats like bread, it's really not that good for them. If you think about it, white bread isn't all that good for us either which brings me to the first rule of duck treats: If it's not good for you, it's not good for them. Just like when feeding chickens treats, things that shouldn't be given to ducks include alcohol, caffeine, lots of salt and spoiled foods.

Dealing with the death of a chicken

I want to talk about chicken death today. What do you do when a chicken dies? How do you feel when you lose a pet who is also a livestock animal, and how to discuss that strange blurred line to people who don't understand. It's ok to be 'all over the map' emotionally after the death of a pet chicken. It's a lot. So if you've ever lost one of your chickens read on. 

For the lucky ones that haven't experienced death in the chicken flock, you might want to bookmark this for later in case you need it. 

when chickens die

Those of you who get my newsletter know that we've been dealing with at least 2 foxes, maybe more. They have taken several chickens and 1 duck, plus injured another who has since died from his injuries. For everyone who has asked "How's it going?" Here's the answer: "not good". I can't catch the fox, I feel guilty on several different levels, I've spent too much money and it feels like it's never gonna end. *sigh* Now let's unpack all of that crap....

Homemade flock block recipe

A few days ago I was replying to comments on my posts and somebody asked me what homemade flock block recipe I use. I realized I had never written about it and promised to post it this week...so here it is! I make my flock block with my chickens health and my pocketbook in mind. It's sort of a throw it together recipe that ends up producing flock blocks that are much cheaper than the store bought ones!

Yeay for frugal chicken keeping!

cheap flock block recipe

My flock block recipe has seeds, a little bit of layer feed, oats, some fresh carrots, mealworms, eggs, molasses and coconut oil. That is it! I do not add any type of vitamin supplement to the recipe because it's just a treat and as such does not have to fill any nutritional requirements. Super easy to make!