Chicken Fever: Part 2

CHICKEN TIPS 2.0

  • It can take 4-12 months for hens to start laying. Depends on bird and breed. *Mine all started laying within 5 months. Some started around 4 months.
  • Happy hens lay more, so give them scratch feed, fruits, and veggies. Chickens also love fried chicken, but that is up to you whether you want to make cannables out of your flock. Scrambled eggs are a great way to add protein to their diet, however.
  • Feeding straight garlic to chickens may change the flavor of your eggs. Same with onions and avocados.
  • Pumpkin is a great natural de-wormer. Raw or roasted, either way works. Give in the spring and fall for sure, but you can give it to them throughout the year.
  • I have heard don’t feed chickens citrus (if you know why, let me know!). Don’t feed them raw chicken eggs, as they may start to eat their own, and apple seeds, which contain small amounts of cyanide.
  • Use petroleum jelly on their combs in winter to prevent frostbite. Larger combed birds are more susceptible. I have not had to do this here in Texas yet, but a sheltered roosting area helps when temps get low.
  • Hang waterer in coop so they don’t stand in it. Less cleaning!
  • Chickens are very heirarchal. The ‘pecking order’ is a real thing. Integrate new chicks slowly to a formed flock, or they could be killed. Fair warning. Start integrating around 8-20 weeks old.
  • Keep egg boxes clean. Chickens won’t lay where they poop most of the time. Cover boxes until 20 weeks old if you have to.
  • Chickens feel safe off the ground, so give them plenty of roosts to sleep on.
  • Hens may lay later if eating fermented feed, but eggs tend to be heavier, with thicker shells and better taste.
  • Orange yolks mean a well balanced diet. Eggs from hens that have access to insects and grasses as part of their diet tend to have orange colored yolks that are firmer and have a thicker shell. Light yellow yolks mean a poor diet–looking at you cheap store bought eggs!
  • You need at least 1 next box per 3 hens.
  • Yogurt is great for laying hens, who have been known to lay like crazy when fed wholesome plain yogurt. Avoid fancy ‘sugar free’ or flavored yogurts that have tons of sugar.
  • Generally, hens will lay through spring and summer into the fall, as long as they have 12-14 hours of daylight, and the weather isn’t too cold. Collect the eggs daily to encourage laying. You may need to collect multiple times p/day, depending on how many chickens you have. Some breeds will lay through the winter as well, like Russian Orloffs.
  • 1 hen can only lay 1 egg a day.
  • Provide a dust bath for chickens to prevent mites. They will make their own bath in the ground if they can.
  • Diatomaceous Earth can help prevent parasites. Sprinkle around the outside of the coop. Aka DE. You can also add a little of the food grade DE to their feed.
  • Put ceramic eggs or golf balls in nest to let hens know where to lay and deter snakes. Snakes will not be able to pass them if they swallow one and die, so no more snake problem.

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Many blessings,
Emma Lee

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