Articles

  1. Backyard Dinosaurs

    Many moons ago, I was introduced to a new resident at the barn where I keep my horses. His name was "Hoppy" and he was a retired fighting rooster, or so the story goes. No one knows what happened to him to bring about his retirement, but he moved with a distinct, hopping gait. He was purchased at a flea market at a discount due to this defect and bore all the physical adaptations of a true fighting cock. He wavered from being strangely tame to downright dangerous as one minute you could pick...
  2. Give Life to An Egg

    Hatching chicks is an easy process, but it is a matter of patience and timing. The primary tool you'll need in breathing life into your eggs is an incubator. Above all, chicks need heat in order grow inside egg, and you'll be providing that for them. Eggs are most ready to hatch within a seven day time frame of being laid. After 10 days, the chance of nurturing them drops even further. The entire hatching process should take 21 days, but some eggs may hatch a few days early. For...
  3. DIY Easy Chicken Waterer

    Chickens, delicious as they are, can be messy little creatures. If you use a standard waterer with an open bowl area, you are likely no stranger to the disgusting things chickens can do to their water. This means multiple daily cleanings for you to ensure the waterer stays not only clean but also full. In addition to being messy, chickens are not the daintiest of drinkers and tend to spill. Chicken nipples are an excellent and clean way to provide water. However, they must be strategically...
  4. Molting

    There may come a time when your chicken appears to be going bald, but worry not as molting is a natural part of a chicken's life. Hens and roosters alike both molt, which basically translates to shedding out old, dull feathers and replacing them with vibrant, new ones. Molting generally begins at the head/neck and progresses down the back/over the wings and onto the tail. Chicken molting takes place when the day becomes shorter than the night, usually in late summer/early fall. Daylight...
  5. Chicken Breeds Part Two: Rare Birds

    In my last article about chicken breeds, I highlighted some rare and common breeds, but with part two of this piece, this is a good time to shine light on some chickens you may have heard of before. These are chickens that are sold on the market, or are found in other countries. And because of their rare stature in North America, they may not make the best meat sources, since they can be fairly expensive on the market. Instead, they would make good trophy and pet birds rather than as your...
  6. Listen To Your Chickens

    Chickens very well may be the best watch animals of all time. They will certainly let you know very loudly when something is amiss. Many nights I had to sneak into the house and walk the dog in an area away from the chickens after a late night at work or else they would wake everyone with news of what I was doing. They would start off slow but rapidly gain momentum if I did not heed the first few calls and get my rear end in the house where they decided it belonged in the wee hours. However,...
  7. Chicken Sweaters

    You may wonder why chickens should wear sweaters, but I implore you to ask instead, why not? Who said chickens were too good for stylish winter clothing? Dogs wear t-shirts. Horses wear blankets. Chickens should not be out in the cold, feeling left out. What chickens should be is clothed in sweaters! This chicken obviously could benefit from a sweater. Chicken sweaters actually do have a purpose other than making you look like an insane person who likes putting clothing on poultry. It is...
  8. Clipping Wings

    Heated debate often follows when it comes to the issue of cutting chicken feathers. If you're going to keep backyard chickens, clipping their wings will be essential; however, this will not harm the bird, and the creature will not feel any pain. This not only prevents them from flying over your fence, but it keeps them out of danger from predators, getting lost, or being hit by cars. But you can avoid clipping their wings by constructing a roof over their living quarters, or by placing...
  9. Therapy Chickens

    At some point in our lives, we have all seen a service animal. While typically these animals are dogs, the service animal field is non-descriminate and accepting applications from other species. This has led to miniature horses, cats, monkeys, and even chickens stepping up to fill the need for emotional comfort animals, animals that people with disabilities have every right to have. Take, for instance, the case of a 3-year-old autistic boy named J.J. Hart. The City Council in DeBary, FL,...
  10. Avoiding Salmonella

    Baby chicks are cute, possibly even irresistible. You just want to pick them up and hold them close. If you, as an adult, are drawn to the fuzzy little cheepers, imagine how children feel. Put a kid near a pen filled with baby chickens and it is instantly open season for petting and touching. In fact, a local feed store near me does this every year, and every year they nearly have to pluck curious kids out of the holding pens for chicks, ducklings, and goslings. Cute though chicks are, and...
  11. Chinese Chicken Outrage

    Get Ready To Eat Bad Chicken I have read of China lobbying to get USDA approval to import their Chinese grown and processed chickens to America. This is bad but do not take my word for it. Just read this quote from Long Island News.com to see why this would put our entire country at risk. China has been home to a number of serious food safety concerns. In March, thousands of dead pigs were found floating in a river in China that supplies drinking water. The incident occurred after a large...
  12. Safe and Unsafe Chicken Treats

    It is a natural human inclination to want to make your animals happy, and one thing sure to make your animals happy is food. With holiday cooking upon us, it is likely that we will have atypical food items in our homes as well as leftovers to share with our furry and feathered friends. As much as your chickens will probably appreciate some extra as well as new and exciting snacks, be particular about what you give them as some food items can do more harm than good. Something to remember,...
  13. Raising Mealworms

    When it comes to feeding chickens and keeping them healthy, you want to feed items that are both delicious and nutritious. Options for feeding chickens in the form of both regular meals as well as treats are plentiful, but having an option that is self-renewing is both convenient and easy on the bank account. Being low maintenance is also a plus. One edible item that meets all of these criteria is meal worms. Mealworms are the larval form of Tenebrio molitor, a species of darkling beetle,...
  14. Keeping Your Coop Warm in Winter

    With many instances of chicken coop fires in the news recently, such as this one that caused $35,000 in damages, it is only natural to wonder whether or not adding additional heat sources to your coop is safe or necessary. No one wants to risk injury to their chickens by burns or fires, but how can you ensure that your chickens stay warm enough in the winter months? Heat lamps are commonly implored as warming devices, but they are also responsible for many of the fires reported every year,...
  15. Keeping Chickens in Your Backyard in a City

    Chicken are fun and productive pets, to have in your backyard, but certain cities have very strict rules, which prohibits having them. If you are living in a city and really love having these birds in your backyard then you need to check out if it is legal to have them. Cities such as Calgary, Detroit, and Iowa City do not allow them, and some cities will only allow them if you have a large property. The First Step Your first step would be to find out if keeping chickens in your backyard is...
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