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Good Habits Make Safer Chickens

Predators are a constant consideration when you have chickens.  There are several things that you can do that will help you keep your flock safe. Build your coop with predator proof and durable materials. Don’t make it easy for a predator to gain access to your flock by using flimsy materials.  Hardware cloth should always be used, to put it as plainly as possible – chicken wire isn’t protection. Save it and use it for craft projects!  Make sure that you have strong and durable walls, doors, roofs and locks! Use locks that require two or more steps to open.  Raccoons are just like monkeys and have all night to figure out a bolt latch or other simple latches. Build...

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The Menacing 7: Common Winter Predators and Your Flock

Although predator proofing your coop is important year-round, it is especially important during the winter.  Wintertime can be hard on all of us, especially wildlife.  Food sources are scarce and the bitter cold makes it much more difficult to find.  Shorter hours of daylight and less time spent outside with our flocks also adds to the opportunity that many predators will take advantage of. In this article, we will break down 7 of the most common wintertime predators.  Next week we will take a more in-depth look at the do’s and don’ts of predator proofing your flocks habitat. #1 Raccoons- Absolutely the smartest of all the predators who will commonly infiltrate the hen house.  A raccoons diet consists of berries,...

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Dangers of Heat Lamps

The story is always the same.  Time after time, year after year, every single winter another coop, brooder, barn, home, livestock or life is lost due to a heat lamp fire. Farming, no matter the scale, is an exercise in risk management.  Even a small backyard flock requires many decisions to be made by carefully weighing the pros and cons and deciding if something is a risk worth taking. Heating the coop, in my opinion, is not a risk worth taking.  You might ask why?  I’m cold so they must be too right? Wrong, for thousands of years flocks have been able to not only exist but thrive without much human intervention at all.  Many species of birds, including chickens,...

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Spring has always been the go-to time for raising new chicks.  Have you ever thought about why? The main reason to this question is two-fold.  Prior to the 1920 and 30s, chickens were not bred specifically for year-round and increased egg production.  By the late 20th century many breeds had been developed to continue egg laying (although reduced in the winter) year round.  So, prior to that development it was natural for the chicks to be born in the springtime when the hens would once again start laying. The second part to this is that hens are typically broody in the springtime.  So prior to the invent of brooder heaters and incubators, the hens were the only way to hatch the chicks. ...

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Understanding the Molt

The scene always takes me by surprise, walk out into the coop and it looks like a chicken has literally exploded with feathers everywhere.  Sound familiar? What your flock is experiencing is natural, it’s called a Molt.  A molt will replace the dull, worn, broken feathers with new vibrant and warm feathers in time for the winter season.  Molting season is usually brought on by the decrease in sunlight and can take between 8 and 12 weeks to complete. Molts will happen yearly beginning when your hen or rooster is about 18 months old.  However, during the first year of their life chickens will go through several smaller molt cycles. Molt Timeline 6-8 Weeks             ...

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