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chickens

Chickens

We have a small flock of chickens including Dominiques, Rhode Island Red, and Araucanas.
We gather eggs every day and sell at our farm. They have outside runs where they can eat insects and scratch in the yard. We also feed them food scraps and quality feed.

Eggs:
Farm Fresh Eggs - $3 per dozen
Eggs collected every day
NO antibiotics, arsenic, hormones, or GMO fed chickens
Buy at farm in barn kitchen

 

 



Check out information and links on chickens below.

 

 

 

Frequent QUESTIONS on Chickens

FEATHER PICKING - People have asked me what to do if their chickens pick at each other. I have researched, talked to poultry fanciers, and vets and have come up with the following conclusions.

The feather picking can be from many reasons: boredom, overcrowding, stress, lack of exercise, too few feeding or watering stations, high calorie low fiber rations, excessive heat, nutritional imbalance (too little salt or protein), rooster picking on the hens, and external parasites. Different people will give you all kinds of reasons for it.
You can give the birds labor intensive food such as whole vegetables and fruits, branches for them to jump on in the outdoor pen for a diversion and hidden food under a thick pile of leaves and straw to keep them occupied.
I would make sure they have a large outdoor run with water outside as well as inside. Some let the chickens out of their pen 1-2 hours before it gets dark into their gardens. The chickens will eat up all the bugs then go back to roost when it gets dark on their own. Of course, you can only do this is you don't have dogs or other predators that can get the chickens.
They need a large pen or several pens that you rotate them on. We rotate ours on several pens, plus give them lots of food scraps, left over bread, leaves from cut branches, as well as their chicken feed and supplements.
It seems that feather picking is usually a management problem that can be solved by either making the pen larger, lowering the numbers of chickens (sell or cull extra), or giving them more activities to keep them busy - food under leaves, etc. If these solutions do not work, then it might be parasites or a nutritional imbalance. Some resort to clipping off the very end of the beak of the culprit if nothing else works. I would try management solutions first.


HENS TO ROOSTER RATIO - What is the best number of chickens to have? Depends on the size of your coop and yard. Also depends on how many eggs you want to eat or sell.

If you have a lot of space, you might want 10-15 hens and 1 rooster. That will give you lots of eggs for your family and plenty to sell. If you have a average size coop, I would have 8-10 hens and 1 rooster. Too many roosters in a pen causes fights and stress. Best to cull or sell extra roosters.


NEST BOXES AND ROOSTS - How many do I need?
As far as nest boxes, you don't need that many. In a typical day, all of our hens will lay their eggs in about 2 or 3 places. They take turns sitting on the clutch of eggs. Some people just have one large area where the hens take turns sitting on the eggs. You do need enough roosting space for them to sleep at night. Most of our chickens use the roosts, not the boxes at night. Allow 8"-10" per bird on the perch. On the top of the nest box, put a 45 degree slanted board on it so they don't perch on top of the boxes and leave a terrible mess.

INCUBATOR OR SIT ON EGGS - Should you use an incubator or let the hens hatch their eggs?

The broody hens sit on their eggs and you can mark the eggs with date with a permanent marker so you know what day they were laid and when they are due. This requires you to daily lift the broody hen to see what new eggs she is laying on and remove them and leave dated ones.

We use an incubator for our eggs. It needs to be a good incubator - one that you can regulate the temperature, rotates the eggs, and regulates the humidity. It needs to stay clean and free of germs - clean out thoroughly after eggs hatch. Mark eggs with date in pencil so you know when they will be due. We raise the same age chickens in a separate cage from the older chickens so they don't pick on each other.


Hot Weather Tips for Your Fine, Feathered Friends

They say, if you’re raising poultry, it all comes down to feed, water, heat and light. But in the summer, beating the heat is equally important. Water and proper shelter can play a big role in your flock’s health and welfare.
Here are some tips from betteranimals.com to help you and your flock survive the summer months.

• Birds require unlimited access to fresh, clean water, especially in the hot summer months.

• Birds—even free-range birds—need access to shade in the summer. If there is none, you’ll need to create it by building a structure.

• Placing your poultry in a well-ventilated area will reduce the incidence of heat stress. In a chicken coop or chicken house in summer, make sure nothing obstructs the flow of fresh air, and don’t allow ammonia to accumulate.

• A misting fan or fogging system in a well-ventilated area can help birds cool themselves.

• Position water containers in the shade. If water is too hot (or too cold) chickens will not drink enough to keep egg production up.

• Adjust waterers to shoulder height of birds. This will help keep the litter dry.

• If food, bedding or feces gets into drinking water, change it.

• Ducklings and goslings need access to fresh, clean drinking water. However, they love to play in water and will quickly soil it. Use a water dispenser that allows only their bills to enter. Put distance between their feed and water dispensers to prevent cross contamination.

• Grown ducks need access to water at least one or two inches deep in order to groom themselves.

• Ducks and geese do not require swimming water, but they must always have fresh drinking water available.

• Baby turkeys sometimes need extra coaxing to drink water. One trick is to put a few bright-colored marbles in their water. When they peck at the marbles, their beaks will slip into the water. Pretty soon, they’ll get the hang of it. Remove the marbles before the birds get large enough to swallow them.

• Digestion generates body heat, so feed poultry during the coolest times of the day.

• Severe heat stress can affect egg quality, egg size and hatchability. It can also increase the rate of mortality.

• Heat-stressed birds consume less feed, so meat-type chickens (i.e., broilers) will grow more slowly and hens will produce fewer eggs—even more reasons to add adequate shade and ventilation.

• Birds don’t have sweat glands, so they cool themselves by panting. Panting can be a sign of heat stress, and the act of panting can alter a bird’s electrolyte balance. If you suspect heat stress, talk to your veterinarian about adding electrolytes to your birds’ water.

• One of the best ways to prevent heat stress is to prevent overcrowding. To instantly reduce the heat, reduce the number of birds in the house.

• Avoid unnecessary activity. Summer heat places enough stress on birds. Take care not to disturb them during the hottest time of day.

• Signs of an unhealthy chicken:

--less active than the rest of the flock

--the comb is pale and limp (the comb is a good barometer of health)

--breast is concave and the keel bone becomes prominent

--liquid diarrhea (versus a semisolid green and white splotch, which is normal)

--unusual breathing or wheezing (some panting is normal in hot weather, but not to excess)

If one of your chickens exhibits any of these symptoms this summer, talk to your veterinarian.

• Poultry experience a major moult (shedding feathers) in late summer. It consumes a great deal of energy, so they may devote most of their calories to replacing their feathers and maintaining body temperature instead of producing eggs. Be sure to provide a good quality feed during this time.

• Germs multiply even more quickly in the summer heat. To keep your flock healthy, disinfect incubators, feeders, water containers and other equipment periodically, particularly between broods.

LINKS for More Information on Chickens

University of Georgia Poultry Information
Poultry Information and Links

American Egg Board
More than you ever wanted to know about eggs!

Home Processing of Chickens
Step by Step guide

Feathersite
Poultry Information and Links

Cackle Hatchery
Murray McMurray Hatchery

Places to order Poultry online