Spotlight on Rhode Island Reds

 

Looking for an all-around great chicken? Look no further than the all-American Rhode Island Red!

The first Rhode Island Reds were bred in Adamsville, a small village in Little Compton, Rhode Island in the 1840s. The English-bred Black Breasted Red Malay rooster was necessarily to produce the Rhode Island Red. Rhode Island Reds became a standard breed recognized by the American Poultry Association in 1904. By 1925, the Rhode Island Reds became so popular in the United States that the Rhode Island Red Club of America funded a monument in Little Compton. The Rhode Island Red is held with such high esteem in Rhode Island, that it is also the official state bird.

Rhode Island Reds are large birds, weighing up to eight pounds. They have single combs and four toes. Although red is certainly the most popular and widely recognized color, white Rhode Island chickens are also a recognized variety. Rhode Island reds are referred to as utility or dual-purpose birds because the hens are excellent egg producers but they are also good meat birds. Rhode Island Red hens can produce between five and seven extra-large brown eggs per week; some eggs can even be too large to fit into standard egg cartons!

Rhode Island Reds are great for homesteaders and backyard chicken raisers in most climates because they tolerate cold and heat equally well. For homesteaders who have day jobs, Rhode Island Reds are a good breed choice because they tolerate confinement well. They do not tend towards broodiness and, in general, have docile and laid-back personalities. Watch out for the roosters, however, as they can be particularly aggressive when provoked to defend their flock.

Rhode Island Red roosters are often involved in producing sex-linked (Red Star or Black Star) chickens because of the breed’s excellent egg-laying characteristics.

 

7 Steps to Making a Chicken Wire Fence

 

The benefits of free ranging your chickens are relatively clear: better eggs, happier birds, and less money spent on store-bought or homemade chicken food. Letting your chickens completely free range is not always a possibility and not always safe for your birds. In these cases, a simple chicken fence is usually a good idea.

Certain conditions in urban and rural areas can prevent a homesteader’s ability to free range their birds. In rural areas, the presence of predators like coyotes and foxes can make free ranging dangerous. In urban and suburban communities, fencing is often required in order to raise backyard chickens in accordance with city codes.

Fortunately, constructing a chicken fence is easy and cheap. Here’s how to make a simple chicken wire fence that will keep your flock safe.

  1. Locate the area of your property you want to fence in. The great thing about chicken wire is that it is flexible. Your fence can trace the border of your property in a rectangular fashion, or you can construct a circular fence. Keep in mind that trees make very good, natural fence posts.
  2. Mark your fence area. Landscaping paint is a great way to do this. If possible, try to get a rough estimate of your fenced-in area’s perimeter.
  3. Purchase or gather your supplies. A good fence height for chickens is 6 feet. Your chicken wire should accommodate this, as should your fence posts. You’ll need:
    • Chicken wire
    • 2×4 lumber for posts, cut to 7 feet long
    • Drill and screws
    • Wire cutter
    • Post digger
    • Staple gun
    • Staples
    • 1×1 lumber for gate
    • Drill and wood screws
    • Hinges and a latch
  4. Dig holes for any stakes you will need. Use a post digger to dig holes. The holes should be about one foot deep. Allow about six feet between holes.
  5. Install posts. Set each post in its hole and pack the ground tightly around it.
  6. Roll the chicken wire. The easiest way to do this is to measure out six-foot sheets of chicken wire and use a staple gun to attach the individual pieces to the posts.
  7. Make a gate. You can make a gate by constructing a frame out of 1×1 lumber and attaching chicken wire to it. Use hinges to attach the gate to the posts and install a latch to keep it shut.
 

2 Easy Ways to Make a Dust Bath for Your Chickens

 

A dust bath is incredibly important for your chicken’s health and wellness. Chickens have a natural instinct to take a dust bath when they need one, as taking a dust bath helps chickens prevent infestations of lice, mites, and fleas on legs and under their feathers.

If your chickens free range, they will most likely find a place in their area to take a dust bath. If your chickens are not free range and don’t have a place to take a dust bath, you’ll need to help them by either creating an area of land for this purpose or constructing a dust bathing box.

Below are two easy ways to make a dust bath.

Method 1: Find an existing area of land suitable for a dust bath

The easiest way to create a dust bath for your chickens is to find an area of land suitable for a dust bath. If your property lacks dusty areas, you can make one by pulling up all the grass from a patch of land. A good place for this might be under a tree or in a shady area.

Once you’ve pulled up all the grass and the soil dries, your chickens will probably start digging a hole and rolling in the soil. If don’t start bathing in the dirt, you can encourage them by placing some fireplace ashes and/or sand in the area.

Method 2: Make a dust-bathing box

If your chickens are mostly confined to their coop or if you don’t want to dig up your grass, you can make your chickens a dust-bathing box. Use a sturdy box for this, as your chickens will be rolling around. You can construct a box out of plywood; sandboxes and baby pools also work well for this.

Fill your box with a combination of fireplace ashes, road dust, and sand. Add in a healthy dose of diatomaceous earth (DE) to prevent mice, lice, fleas, and intestinal parasites.

Finally, remember that dust baths are absolutely necessary for all chickens. Not only will your chickens love getting dirty and shaking themselves clean, a regular dust bath will keep them free of mites and lice.

 

There are many tips and tricks to raising happy chickens, but nothing makes sense unless you have a properly built chicken coop. Get a safe, comfortable coop for your birds and you'll have yummy fresh eggs every morning. Make a critical mistake or two and your whole chicken operation will turn into a disaster. Learn what these critical coop mistakes are and how to avoid them. Download my FREE report right now - Go here: http://www.mysnazzychickencoop.com/free-report/

7 Reasons Your Chickens are Pecking Each Other

 

One of the most startling chicken problems to have is to find that your hens are pecking each other’s feathers. There are a number of different reasons why your chickens may peck at each other, and if you find them engaging in this behavior, it is very important to take action against it immediately. Not only does this cause chickens discomfort and bleeding, but your chickens can actually kill (and eat) each other if the pecking gets out of control.

  1. Crowding. Crowding is the most common reason that chickens peck each other. For this reason, many commercial egg producers actually remove their hens’ beaks. Rather than engage in this cruel practice, the easiest way to address crowding is to provide your chickens with more space and allow them to engage in natural chicken behaviors. If you suspect your coop is too small, consider adding a simple addition to your chicken coop. During the daytime, be sure to allow your chickens to forage for food, peck, and range outside of their coop. If they are allowed out of their coop during the day, they will be less stressed and happier when they are in their cop.
  2. Litter and bedding. Make sure that you are providing your chickens with floor litter and a nesting box bedding that they like. Pine shavings and straw are the most popular litter and bedding materials for chickens. Avoid using cedar, sand, or any unnatural or treated materials for litter.
  3. Malnutrition. When chickens peck at each other’s feathers, they are not only acting out of stress and irritation, but they also are getting a couple drops of blood with every feather they peck. If your chickens are indeed acting cannibalistically, they may be suffering from malnutrition. Make sure the feed you are giving your chickens is a complete feed, meaning it contains all vitamins and nutrients necessary for your chickens to thrive. Often, when chickens pluck each other’s feathers in search of blood, they may be lacking enough protein in their diets.
  4. Lack of water. Fresh and plentiful water is absolutely essential for your chickens’ health. Lack of fresh water can cause high stress levels among chickens and could cause them to engage in aggressive behaviors like feather plucking. Always make sure your chickens have enough fresh, clean water no matter, 24 hours per day, seven days per week.
  5. Salt. Feather plucking is often a sign of a salt deficiency in chickens. Adding a little salt to their water, and re-evaluating their diet (see above), may cure your chickens feather plucking.
  6. Light. High levels of artificial light increases chickens’ stress levels and can cause aggressive behaviors such as feather pecking. If you are providing your chickens with artificial lights during the winter months to increase their egg production, consider using a dimmer light bulb.
  7. Parasites. Parasites, including mites, lice, and fleas, cause extreme stress and irritation among chickens. Examine your chickens regularly for parasites, paying careful attention to their vent area and underneath their wings. If you find any parasites on your chickens’ bodies, you’ll need to treat your birds appropriately and aggressively.
 

There are many tips and tricks to raising happy chickens, but nothing makes sense unless you have a properly built chicken coop. Get a safe, comfortable coop for your birds and you'll have yummy fresh eggs every morning. Make a critical mistake or two and your whole chicken operation will turn into a disaster. Learn what these critical coop mistakes are and how to avoid them. Download my FREE report right now - Go here: http://www.mysnazzychickencoop.com/free-report/

4 Things to Know About Diatomaceous Earth

 

For backyard chicken raisers, small farmers, and homesteaders, using diatomaceous earth can provide a variety of wonderful benefits to your chickens. If you haven’t been raising chickens for very long or have never used diatomaceous earth before, you’ll likely find that some homesteaders swear by this product, using it all the time, while others only use it when necessary. Regardless of how you use diatomaceous earth, here’s a summary of what you should know about it.

1. Diatomaceous Earth is completely natural

Diatomaceous Earth, also known as DE, diatomite, or kieselgur, is a very fine powder that comes from sedimentary rocks. These sedimentary rocks contain fossilized diatoms, or single-celled hard-shelled algae. Diatomaceous Earth is used in a variety of formulations for water filtration in aquariums and swimming pools, in toothpastes, skin products, cat litter, and to prevent parasitic infections in animals. Diatomaceous Earth is completely natural and very safe for humans and animals.

2. Always use food-grade Diatomaceous Earth

Always use Food-Grade Diatomaceous Earth for your chickens. Although Diatomaceous Earth is completely natural, the type of DE used for water filtration contains higher amounts of crystalline silica than the food-grade variety, and this can be toxic to chickens. Inhaling crystalline silica can be dangerous, especially for humans suffering from asthma. If you are concerned about inhaling DE while you’re applying it around your chicken coop, wear a mask.

3. Diatomaceous Earth kills parasites naturally

Diatomaceous Earth treats parasites like mice, lice, fleas, and ticks in chickens because the powder is mildly abrasive. When DE comes in contact with a parasite, the powder cuts into the parasite’s exoskeleton, causing dehydration and death. Because chickens can eat small amounts of DE, the powder will also kill internal parasites like intestinal worms. DE is safe for daily use, so it can be used to prevent infestations of parasites as well.

4. Ways to use Diatomaceous Earth

There are many ways to apply Diatomaceous Earth around your chicken coop to treat and prevent parasitic infestation. DE is safe to use in the following way:

●      Sprinkled on to your chickens’ litter

●      Sprinkled in your hens’ nesting boxes

●      Mixed into a dust bath

●      Applied directly between chickens’ feathers and on their skin

●      Added in small quantities to chicken feed

 

There are many tips and tricks to raising happy chickens, but nothing makes sense unless you have a properly built chicken coop. Get a safe, comfortable coop for your birds and you'll have yummy fresh eggs every morning. Make a critical mistake or two and your whole chicken operation will turn into a disaster. Learn what these critical coop mistakes are and how to avoid them. Download my FREE report right now - Go here: http://www.mysnazzychickencoop.com/free-report/

Spotlight on Sussex Chickens

 

Sussex chickens are among the oldest chicken breeds and they are still very popular among homesteaders and farmers today. They are a great dual-purpose breed, capable of consistent egg production even in cold weather and their heavy statue makes them suitable for meat.

Sussex chickens are nearly 2000 years old! The first Sussex chickens were probably bred in England beginning as early as the Roman invasion of the area in 43 AD. Prized for their eggs and meat as well as their great personalities, these birds are believed to be the ancestor to the modern-day boiler chicken.

Sussex chickens are large, weighing up to eight pounds, and have single combs, and four toes. The speckled variety (brown feathers with black and white spots) of the Sussex breed is the most common. Not only are the speckles beautiful but speckled Sussex chickens will also develop more speckles after each molting cycle and the spots provide camouflage against predators. Although less common, Sussex hens can also be red, light, brown, buff, silver, white, lavender, gold, and Coronation. The Coronation Sussex is extremely rare, has light feathers with grey-blue markings, and was bred in the 1940s specifically to celebrate King George’s coronation.

Sussex chickens are great egg layers, producing about four large, light brown eggs each week, even in very cold temperatures. Homesteaders who are waste-cautious will appreciate that Sussex chickens are economical eaters and enjoy foraging for food on their own.

Best of all, Sussex chickens are fun to raise! Their docile and mellow personality allows them to tolerate confinement easily. They are also curious and friendly, making them a great choice for homesteaders who have small children.

 

There are many tips and tricks to raising happy chickens, but nothing makes sense unless you have a properly built chicken coop. Get a safe, comfortable coop for your birds and you'll have yummy fresh eggs every morning. Make a critical mistake or two and your whole chicken operation will turn into a disaster. Learn what these critical coop mistakes are and how to avoid them. Download my FREE report right now - Go here: http://www.mysnazzychickencoop.com/free-report/

Four Ways to Treat Chicken Lice

 

Like mites, lice are a parasite that may infect your chickens from time to time. Lice will live beneath your chickens’ feathers, lay eggs there, and suck blood from your chickens’ bodies. Although lice are small, they can cause huge damage to your flock: an infestation of lice can cause a decline in egg production and anemia, and, in severe cases, death.

An infestation of lice is not necessarily a sign of bad chicken coop hygiene. Keeping a clean chicken coop will certainly help prevent lice, as will regular dust bathing, but lice is usually transmitted to chickens through wild birds. Lice that afflict your chickens is different from human head lice, so don’t worry about catching lice from your hens.

Lice are difficult to spot, so it’s important to check your chickens regularly. The easiest places to find lice are around chickens’ vent area and under the wings. You may also see lice around the chicken coop if you have an infestation.

If you find that your chickens have lice, you’ll need to treat it promptly and aggressively. Here are a few ways to treat lice in chickens:

  1. Diatomaceous Earth. Diatomaceous Earth (DE) is the safest way to treat lice in chickens. DE is not a chemical, but it comes from fossilized marine algae (diatoms) that is reduced into a powder. DE works by tearing the bodies of parasites like lice and causes them to die within one or two days. If you use DE, make sure that you use food-grade DE. All other DE (like DE for pools) is too strong for chickens and will kill them. Even if your chickens don’t have lice, sprinkling DE around your chickens’ coop, nesting boxes, dust bathing area, and in their feed is a good way to prevent parasites from feeding on your flock. It is safe to eat your chickens eggs while using DE and DE may not be effective for severe infestations of lice.
  1. Sevin Dust. If you have a severe infestation of lice, you may need something stronger than DE, like Sevin dust or Adams spray, to treat your flock initially. The active ingredient in Sevin dust is an insecticide called Carbaryl. When purchasing Sevin dust, make sure the product contains at most 5% Carbaryl. Wear gloves when handling Sevin dust, and follow the package directions accordingly, adding the dust to water to make a spray. Apply the spray all around the interior and exterior of your chicken coop, including your chickens’ nesting area. Do not apply Sevin dust directly to chickens. 
  1. Malathion Spray. Malation spray is similar to Sevin dust. To make a Malathion spray, mix 1.5 pounds of malathion with 10 gallons of water. Malathion spray can be applied to the chicken coop’s walls, roosts, and ceiling. Do not apply Malathion spray directly to your chickens or on their feeders, waterers, or nests.
  1. Permethrin. If you need a lice-killing product to apply directly to your birds, mix 6 ½ ounces of 10% Permethrin with 10 gallons of water. This solution can be applied to chickens directly. Lice like to congregate in your chickens’ vent area, so use Permethrin generously there as well as underneath their wings.
 

There are many tips and tricks to raising happy chickens, but nothing makes sense unless you have a properly built chicken coop. Get a safe, comfortable coop for your birds and you'll have yummy fresh eggs every morning. Make a critical mistake or two and your whole chicken operation will turn into a disaster. Learn what these critical coop mistakes are and how to avoid them. Download my FREE report right now - Go here: http://www.mysnazzychickencoop.com/free-report/

2 Supplements for Your Chicken Feed

 

If you’ve decided to make your own whole grain chicken feed, you know that the process involves a lot of trail and error. Feeding your chickens your personalized homemade feed mix requires that you provide your chickens with a variety of different types of grains, seeds, legumes, and maybe even nuts.

The goal of this variety is to ensure that your chickens get the maximum nutritional benefit from their food. While you’re experimenting with your chicken feed, there are two supplemental products you may want to consider including in your flock’s diet.

Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous Earth is also known as DE, diatomite, and kieselgur. Diatomaceous Earth looks like a very fine powder and comes from sedimentary rocks that contain fossilized diatoms, or simple hard-shelled algae. Although DE powder is completely natural and safe for your hens to eat, only use food-grade DE, never chemical-grade. The chemical-grade DE that is used in water filtration contains higher levels of crystalline silica, which can be toxic to chickens.

When added to your chickens’ feed, Diatomaceous Earth will help prevent intestinal worms and other internal parasites that can harm your chickens. DE powder is slightly abrasive, so if any intestinal worms enter your chickens’ bodies, the DE powder will cut into their exoskeletons, causing dehydration and death. Ingesting Diatomaceous Earth also provides your chickens with rare trace minerals that are beneficial in their diet.

DE can also be used to prevent external parasites, such as mites, lice, and fleas by directly applying the powder under your chickens’ feathers and on their skin.

Food-grade DE is available at most online chicken websites, such as My Pet Chicken and at local feed stores.

Poultry Nutri-Balancer

Many homesteaders and farmers that make their own chicken feed have concerns that their chickens are not consuming all the nutrients they need. Adding a poultry nutri-balancer to your chickens feed will ensure that they are indeed getting all the necessary vitamins and minerals in their diet.

Many chicken raisers prefer Fertrell Poultry Nutri-Balancer, which is also available in organic formula and manufactured in accordance with the USDA/NOP Organic poultry production standards. In addition to providing your hens with kelp meal and microbials, adding a nutri-balancer like Fertrell’s to your chickens’ feed includes the following nutrients:

  • Calcium
  • Phosphorus
  • Salt
  • Selenium
  • Methionine
  • Vitamins A
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin E
  • Lactic Acid
  • Bacillus Bacteria
  • Vitamin B12
  • Biotin
  • Folic Acid
  • Thiamine
  • Copper
  • Zinc
  • Niacin
  • Riboflavin
  • Manganese
 

There are many tips and tricks to raising happy chickens, but nothing makes sense unless you have a properly built chicken coop. Get a safe, comfortable coop for your birds and you'll have yummy fresh eggs every morning. Make a critical mistake or two and your whole chicken operation will turn into a disaster. Learn what these critical coop mistakes are and how to avoid them. Download my FREE report right now - Go here: http://www.mysnazzychickencoop.com/free-report/

7 Ingredients Your Chickens Need in Their Feed

 

The decision to make your own whole grain chicken feed will be a great one for you and your hens. Switching your chickens to a homemade, whole grain diet will allow you to tweak your chicken’s feed to suit their needs (and taste buds!). You can change ingredients in your chickens feed for summer and winter and you can even give them a purely organic diet if you wish.

Many online poultry websites have recipes for chicken feeds. In general, you’ll need to experiment with your feed proportions to develop your own individualized feed recipe for your chickens. Here are some general guidelines.

  1. Wheat. Wheat will be the primary ingredient of your chicken feed. Feed your chickens a combination of soft white wheat and hard red winter wheat for the best nutritional balance. In addition to providing your hens with the energy they need, hard red winter wheat is a great source of protein.
  2. Corn. Corn will also be a big part of your chicken feed. Many homesteaders feed their chickens less corn in the summer, as it requires a lot of energy to digest. Feed your chickens whole corn.
  3. Other grains. For maximum nutritional benefit, feed your chickens a combination of many other grains. These include:
    • Hulled barley
    • Oats and oat groats
    • Millet
    • Quinoa
    • Amaranth
    • Kamut
  4. Legumes and seeds. Legumes and seeds boost the protein content of your feed and also provide your chickens with more nutritional diversity in their feed. Do not feed your chickens dried beans: they contain hemagluten, which is toxic to chickens. As with grains, feed them a variety of legumes and seeds for maximum benefits:
    • Split peas
    • Lentils
    • Sunflower seeds
    • Flax seeds
    • Peanuts
    • Sesame seeds
  5. Kelp granules. Adding a small amount of kelp to your chickens’ feed will provide them with important nutrients that will help your birds maintain a healthy weight, promote healthy growth, and aid in egg production.
  6. Oyster shells. Oyster shells promote strong eggshells for chickens. Provide crushed oyster shells in a separate container. Your birds will eat as much as they need.
  7. Girt. Your chickens will need more grit on a whole grain diet. You can mix this into their feed or offer it to your birds in a separate container.

Making your own feed will undoubtedly involve experimentation. To avoid waste, start by making small batches of feed to determine if there are any grains, legumes, or seeds that they will absolutely avoid eating. This will also keep your feed fresh.

 

There are many tips and tricks to raising happy chickens, but nothing makes sense unless you have a properly built chicken coop. Get a safe, comfortable coop for your birds and you'll have yummy fresh eggs every morning. Make a critical mistake or two and your whole chicken operation will turn into a disaster. Learn what these critical coop mistakes are and how to avoid them. Download my FREE report right now - Go here: http://www.mysnazzychickencoop.com/free-report/

5 Reasons to Make Your Own Chicken Feed

 

What to feed your chickens is a common question among chicken raisers, and there seem to be a lot of choices. If you’re looking at store-bought chicken feed, you’ll find that there are feeds formulated for chicks, pullets, and laying hens. You’ll also find high-protein feeds and medicated feeds.

With all these options, some chicken raisers opt to make their own feed, and there are many benefits to doing this. Here are some reasons homesteaders are opting to make their own feed.

  1. Control. By making your own chicken feed, you can control exactly what your chickens need. If you find that your hens need more protein, for example, you can easily add more legumes. Chickens’ nutritional needs are different in the summer and winter. By making your own feed, you can have a feed specially designed for each season.
  2. Whole grain diet. Most store-bought feeds are ground or in pellet form. The sad truth about ground feeds many of the vital nutrients the grains and seeds provide are lost when they are ground and hulled. A whole grain diet will preserve these nutritional benefits.
  3. Cost. Homesteaders debate about the cost benefits of making chicken feed. If you have a cheap source of grain in your area you can save money on chicken feed by making your own. If your area has a local mill, they may sell you grain in bulk. The cost difference in making your own feed will also depend on if you are feeding your chickens organic or non-organic grains.
  4. Storage and shelf life. Grinding, cutting, and hulling seeds and grains decrease their shelf life. By feeding your chickens whole grains, buy feed in bulk to save money, but keep it in storage containers for months until you’re ready to use them.
  5. Waste. One of the biggest benefits of a whole grain diet is that it virtually eliminates feed waste. If ground or pellet chicken feed spills, it is usually wasted. If whole grains or seeds spill, however, they will become sprouts and seedlings that your chickens will love!
 

There are many tips and tricks to raising happy chickens, but nothing makes sense unless you have a properly built chicken coop. Get a safe, comfortable coop for your birds and you'll have yummy fresh eggs every morning. Make a critical mistake or two and your whole chicken operation will turn into a disaster. Learn what these critical coop mistakes are and how to avoid them. Download my FREE report right now - Go here: http://www.mysnazzychickencoop.com/free-report/