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Understanding and preventing predators in and around your coop

Having a poultry flock takes a lot of planning and attention to even the smallest of details.  One of these details that need to be addressed from the start is protection from predators. There are a few steps that can be taken to help protect your flock. Good predator management begins with good fencing.  Make sure that the openings in the mesh are less than 1" and don't use chicken wire.  Remember that chicken wire will keep chickens in but it won't help keep predators out.  Electric chicken fencing is a great deterrent for ground predators. Bury your wire mesh fencing a good 10-12" around the enclosure to keep predators from digging into the area. For avian predators, cover your...

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Surviving the First Medical Emergency

Have you ever watched your chicks hatch and sit there wondering what color they will be and if they will be healthy? The anticipation is hard to describe but the moment is so magical!  Once the chick hatches then you carefully watch with anticipation to make sure that they can stand and walk correctly - are their legs strong?  Are their toes curled or flat like they should be?  Can they hold up their head right?  All things I catch myself holding my breath over as the new chick starts to move around. I've been really, really lucky.  I haven't had any of the before mentioned issues -- until this week. This week we separated our 1st hatch who are...

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Chicken Chores and Children

Awhile back, one of the chicken groups I'm in had a post about having the kids help with the chicken chores.  Several comments were made about not letting the kids help until they become teenagers.  Although I agree that it is definitely more an issue of maturity than actual age appropriateness, there are some chores that can be completed by the younger children in the home.  What better way is there to teach responsibility than by helping out? There’s nothing quite like teaching your child how to tend a flock. From cuddling chicks to cleaning the coop, there are many different chores that can be given to a child.  Chickens are one of the easiest jobs around the barnyard, teaching lifelong skills...

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Feeding Milestones of a Chicken Life Cycle

Weeks 1-4:  Baby Chicks Start your birds strong by providing a complete starter-grower feed with at least 18 percent protein to support chick growth.  If your chicks were not vaccinated, choose a medicated feed. Weeks 5-15:  Teenage Stage During weeks 5 and 6, chicks will go through visible growth changes including new primary feathers and developing pecking order.  Growing birds are now referred to by pullet for a teenage female and cockerel for the teenage male.  The differences between the genders will become even more obvious in the weeks between 7 and 15.  Continue to feed a complete starter-grower with 18 percent protein.  You do not need to continue to provide medicated feed in this stage. Weeks 16 and 17:  Setting...

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Showing Poultry

Have you thought about joining the growing number of chicken keepers who show poultry at the various shows?  This is an area that I am looking forward to venturing out in!  As I build my show bird flock, I've started to put together informative sources that will hopefully answer all the questions I don't even know that I have yet! We believe very strongly that showmanship is a key component in every area of the livestock/show circuit world, here are general rules for showmanship in a poultry show. Rule #1 - The first rule for showmanship is KNOW YOUR BIRD!  Know how to handle them well, hold them securely, put them into and take them out of the cage headfirst, and...

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