How to make a chicken feather wreath

The other day when I was browsing Christmas tablescapes online, I saw the cutest grapevine wreath napkin rings. The were decorated with ribbons and bells but I thought they would be amazing with some feathers on them instead. I have tons of chickens and guinea feathers that I've picked up from my backyard flocks and love to use them for crafts.

2 mini grapevine wreaths with feathers on them hanging on a pine tree outside at Christmastime. Craft tutorial.

Well, I ordered the wrong mini wreaths! They were much larger than the ones I had seen being used as napkin rings, but I decided to go ahead and decorate them anyway. Turns out, they make pretty cute decorations! 

I even used some as package tie-ons and I decorated egg cartons with others! It was a small thank you gift for those customers who have been purchasing eggs from me all year.

I'm going to attempt to write a tutorial for you here, but it's super simple so there's not much to write! We'll start with what you need:

Mini grapevine wreaths
Feathers: either purchased or rescued from where ever your chickens dropped them!
Ribbon and/or bows
Beads, bells or other adornments
Hot glue gun and glue sticks

What should you feed wild ducks?

Growing up, we used to go to the park every winter and feed the ducks. Like everyone else, we would take bags of half stale bread, uneaten crackers etc. We had no idea how bad it was for them, we just knew they swarmed us like they were starving.

Wild duck approaching person holding food

Unfortunately, bread was the worst thing we could have given them! Of course, eating bread is better than starving and often the population of ducks in local parks outgrows available resources, especially when winter comes. 

Why can't you feed ducks bread?

There are lots of reasons why you shouldn't feed bread to wild ducks and geese and the most important one is nutrition! It has calories which they might need, but practically nothing in the way of necessary vitamins and minerals. 

To ducks bread is like junk food and they would rather eat it than look for their own foods. A ducks natural foods are grasses and weeds, worms, bugs and small minnows. These are all full of healthy things that will be missing in their diet if they eat a lot of bread or crackers instead. 

Keeping chickens safe from foxes

Foxes can be a problem for many chicken keepers. While only those of us in rural settings have to deal with things like bears or bobcats trying to eat our chickens, foxes are getting closer and closer to the suburbs! Because fox moms have several babies each year, a single fox sighting can mean there are 6 or more in the area! A fox will take a chicken every day given the chance...so 1 fox can wipe out a flock of hens pretty quickly.

Of course with all predators it's easiest to prevent them from getting their first meal, than it is to stop them once they get a taste for chicken. 

Directions to protect chickens from a fox

A fox will not leave much evidence when she takes a chicken. You may see a few feathers but usually the hen will just be gone. This may lead some to think the hen is off brooding somewhere or has just wandered off. Any time a chicken is missing like this though, there's a good chance it was a fox. Most other predators leaves a mess behind, the fox just grabs and runs off to her den to share with her family. 

Predator proofing your coop and run is important, and since foxes are known to jump high and dig well, we need to focus mostly on the run.

A sturdy run and coop with a solid floor is the best place to start. If you don't have a run on your chicken coop, you might want to build one. Foxes hunt by staying right outside the open areas and watching for the moment they can run in, grab a chicken and get out. Our biggest fox problems have been when the chickens were free ranging.

Supervised free range time definitely helps, though some foxes will still manage to make their move if you are far enough across the yard! When you realize that you have a fox problem, it's safest to end free range time until the problem has been sorted out. 

Which treats can baby chicks eat?

Every year when we raise chicks I start to feel bad for them. It must be boring eating the same feed every single day! Unfortunately for them, chick feed is formulated to be nutritionally complete. So they don't need anything else. I still like to give them occasional treat and lots of special attention. When feeding chicks treats though, you need to be careful that you give them healthy snacks most of the time.

Oh, and grit.

Young chick eating a bug

While chickens 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 chick treats: If it's not good for you, it's not good for them. Just like when feeding adult chickens treats, things that shouldn't be given to chicks include alcohol, caffeine, lots of salt and spoiled foods.

How to raise friendly chickens

When I first started raising chickens I raised the friendliest flock you could ever dream of meeting. They absolutely loved being around us and came running as soon as we walked out of the house! The entire flock would hang around me waiting for treats and even the shy ones would beg for treats by sneaking up behind me and pulling on my clothes! I could pet and pick up each hen and they would jump up on my lap the second I sat down.

Even the roosters were super friendly.

Teenage boy with friendly white chicken perched on his head

Honestly, sometimes it was too much! Especially if we tried to eat outside because of the constant begging. If we had people over that didn't happen to like birds (I didn't know that was a thing till it happened!) they would be freaked out by the chickens walking up to them.

In contrast the first set of chicks that I let a hen raise were flighty and scared of us. They ran if we tried to pick them up and would fuss if I pet them when on the roost at night. So, what happened?