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Building a Chicken Coop and Introducing New Chickens

This story illustrates the problems that can arise in introducing new chickens and the importance of observing your chickens closely:

1 week ago I got 3 black Orpington bantam pullets (4 months old and put the newcomers in with my Porcelain D’Uccle hen. They all have become comfortable with each other except for 1 of the Orpington birds.

We have been building a chicken coop, so they all went in together in the new swanky quarters.

I have not seen her being picked on but she does not eat while the Porcelains are eating, she constantly looks at the ground and now she spends time hiding in a little hut in their hen house.

She seems to be quite healthy as they all do.

She may be feeling stressed. Moving from one environment to another is stressful. With a little time, most chickens adjust to a new environment. She could be homesick, so it should pass.

Another possibility could be that she’s just shy. Chickens have distinct personalities just like people and other animals.

The way she holds her head down and stays away from the others leads me to believe she could also be naturally shy. If that’s the case, she’ll probably stay that way – that’s fine as long as she is healthy.

I’ll report back on her progress.

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Keeping Chickens In Garden – Top Ten Tips

chickens in garden

I have seen many people with chickens in their garden, and I had always wondered how they could keep their chickens inside without having to run around all over the place to keep them in.

Looking at them made me wonder what they do to make their chickens so ‘good’ and not ‘naughty.’ Well, I decided to read and research and I found some of the most amazing answers for keeping these birds at bay.

Tip #1 – Build a chicken coop, there are some DIY chicken coops which can be bought online and all you need to do is to assemble the coops by following the simple instructions. They are easy enough to follow and all you need is a hammer and some screw drivers. Also, you need to be able to follow simple diagrams.

Tip #2 – if you don’t like them cooped up for you feel sorry for them, you can build them a chicken run attached to the coop. The chickens could go run along that run and have the time of their lives and get back into the coop for shelter.

Tip #3 – buy chicks and put them in the coop. if you buy them young they can get used to the area much easier and will grow up in the back yard. They won’t run.

Tips #4 – if you buy them older, then you need to make sure they can’t get around much. Some use a bird tie where one end is tied off and the other is looped to the leg of the chicken. They will get used to the place after a few weeks and the tie could be removed afterwards.

Tip #5 – clip the wings of the chickens. The chickens could fly, they are birds and if they want to fly they will. Clipping their wings means you cut the feathers at edge of the wings. I once talked to a city girl and she was so mad when I mentioned clipping the wings. She actually thought that the clipping meant to cut off the wings. No, it is only the feathers that are cut. The chickens are safe and sound. You will need to do these often until the chickens trust the area and won’t wander and fly off.

Tip #6 – feed them well and within a time schedule. Chickens may be bird brained but they can be trained and once they know your feeding schedule they will come to rely on that so they won’t go anywhere else for feed. They will simply wait and peck around the backyard until you come around.

Tip #7 – if you can feed them, you have to water them as well. Do you know that chickens love to bathe? Some people think that all they need to do is to put a watering container off on one side and place vitamins in it. What some don’t know is that if there were a basin of water the chickens like to flutter their feathers in it and bathe themselves.

Tip #8 – do you know that chickens will answer to their names and your call. Okay, so you may think that they are not dogs, but that is where you are wrong. Chickens can be given names and they will answer if called, they are even better at it than cats. You don’t have to give them names, all they need is to hear your voice. So talk to them and they will learn to trust you and once they trust, you don’t even have to clip their wings anymore.

Tip #9 – If you have new chickens, make sure the chicks are cooped and separated from the older ones until they are big enough to fend for themselves. Then you can slowly introduce them to the rest and they will just ‘follow the leader.’

Tip #10 – Make sure there are no predators. If these come into the back yard easily the chickens will learn to distrust and run away, or fly off. And they can fly, maybe not great distances, but enough.

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Basic Requirements To Raising Chickens

Raising Chicken

New to raising chickens? If you are, then there are a couple basic requirements you should know. First I want to say it is awesome that you are wanting to raise chickens on your own.

I remember when I got my first chicks in the mail, yes you can order chicks through the mail. Crazy right? It gets me excited every time I hear about new chicken owners or people that want to learn about backyard chicken raising.

So lets get started on the basic things you need to know before getting chickens and building or buying a chicken coop.

Time: How Much Will You Need to Put In

Like with any animal you raise you are going to have to put in time to care for them. It is no different with raising chickens. It is recommended that you check your chickens at least twice a day. You can check on them in the morning and the evening, which should take a total of 15 minutes for each session.

If you have chickens or hens that lay eggs, you should collect them at least once a day. So you can collect the eggs in the evening when you check on them for the second time.

Now the for the fun part, cleaning the coop. Not really my favorite, but it has to be done. This will take up more time and should be done at least once a week. You will need to remove the chicken poop, add clean litter, clean the water containers, and refill the feed bins.

This will easily take up an hour, so plan out a day of the week you will be able to do some cleaning chores. Also, plan on doing this when your chickens are up, doing it when they are sleeping will put stress on them. We all want happy chicken right?

Space: What is Adequate?

Just as we need our space, chicken need their space also. If you place chicken in a coop that is too small, they often will fight each other. This can lead to some nasty wounds. Some that can even cause death, if they get infected. So what is the solution?

Chickens need at least 3 square feet between each other inside the coop and another 4 for the run. So if you plan on getting four chickens, then the coop should be (2 x 6) or (3 x4) and other 4 x4 for the outside run. You can be more flexible with the dimensions. The height of the chicken coop doesn’t have to be larger than 3 feet unless you want to be able to stand inside the coop for easier access while cleaning it.

Money: How much will it Cost You?

Price of Chickens – So this is one of the biggest question I get all the time, how much will it cost to raise backyard chickens? Well this depends on a lot of different factors. First what type of chickens do you plan on getting? You can find rare breeds that can be pretty pricey, but if you are just looking for a good egg layer, they run around $10.

Price of Chicken Coop – As for the coop, this is where it can get really pricey. If you are planing on buying a pre-built chicken coop, expect to pay at least a couple hundred dollars. If you like to build stuff, then I would suggest building your own coop.

When you build your own coop, you can customize it the way you want. You will feel happy that you built it, and of course, save money. I’m a do it yourself type of person and decided to build my own coop.

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10 Deadly Foods For Chickens

chicken food

Just as we have certain thing we shouldn’t eat such as gasoline, rat poison, toilet bowel cleaner and etc. Chickens also have their fair share of things they should never consume.

It may not be the most obvious things, so I wanted to share the top 10 products that chickens owners should never let their chickens get a hold of. Lets get started below why don’t we.

So what are these products that are harmful to my flock?

Top 10 Things to Never Ever, Even if they Cluck at you for it, to Feed you Chickens

  • Alcohol: Unless you want your chicken to dehydrate, I highly recommended not letting have any strong drink. I know it may seem like a funny ideal to see a drunken chicken but its a BIG no-no. It is also recommended not to place it near your build chicken coop.
  • Avocado: Birds cannot process a fatty acid called persin, which is in avocados.
  • Chocolate: Like dogs, chickens eating chocolate can be harmful to them.
  • Potatoes that turned green or grown sprouts: These parts are poisonous, so avoid feeding your chickens potatoes that went bad, just throw them out.
  • Leaves from tomatoes, potato, or eggplants
  • Moldy Foods: Mold contains toxins that can be harmful
  • Raw Dry Beans: If you want to feed your chickens beans just make sure you cook them. This will eliminate the toxins they contain.
  • Raw Peanuts: Peanuts contain a fungus, aflatoxin, which is harmful for chicken consumption.
  • Rhubarb Leaves: These contain a poison called, oxalic acid
  • Tobacco: The nicotine is poisonous to the birds

So these are some things I would avoid at all cost to feed your chickens. There are plenty of other treats you can feed your chickens that are healthy for them.

If you want, just print, bookmark, or email this to yourself so you will know what is safe to feed your chickens.

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Chicken Breeds – Which Should You Choose?

Chicken Breeds

When you’re starting out it can be rather bewildering knowing which breed to choose and also to decide whether you are into building a chicken coop yourself or want to buy a hen house.

Let’s look at the chickens themselves now, and I’ll come back to the chicken coop question later.

There are large chickens like the Orpington and smaller types such as bantams, there are beautiful birds such as the Leghorns but they can be flighty – and then you need to decide whether you are going to go for Chicks and rear them yourself, or broody hens that are ready to lay.

Start by making a list of what you want from your chickens: e.g. good layers, type of eggs, good as pets, good in larger numbers, highly attractive etc. Then you can research the different breeds and start to take a view.

You may also be influenced by what kinds of chicken breeds are available where you live – and which work well in your climate – some are better than others in colder climates, or damp conditions for example. And then there’s the simple matter of supply. if you want broody hens you may want to go and pick them out at the farm, so you’re likely to be limited in the choice available.

Finally – if you want to raise chickens, which breeds are better for beginners also need to build a good chicken coop.

We’ll be coming back to this subject over the coming months as I work through some of the options.