Top Toys for Chickens from Omlet

Not sure what to buy for your chickens to help them pass the time? You might want to consider investing in some toys for chickens from Omlet, one of the best places to buy chicken supplies.

If you raise your chickens only for their egg or meat producing capabilities, you’re missing out. Scientists are just beginning to uncover the many ways in which chickens are similar to humans in their capacity for intelligence, feeling emotions, and other characteristics.

Therefore, you might want to consider raising chickens as pets. Not sold on the idea? Check out our article on why you should keep chickens as pets – we’ll change your mind!

Even if you don’t invite your chickens inside all day, providing them with plenty of toys is a great way to keep them busy. These top toys for chickens from Omlet will provide your flock with a way to stay entertained, something that’s beneficial particularly if you want to avoid negative flock behaviors like feather pulling and egg-eating (and during the long, dull days of winter, to boot!). 

Consider these top toys as you get started on your journey toward building a fun-filled (and healthy!) chicken coop. 

4 Top Toys for Chickens from Omlet

best toys for chickens from omlet

1. The Omlet Peck Toy 

What It Is 

The Omlet Peck Toy comes with two options – you can buy the Poppy or the Pendant. Both are super fun, interactive feed toys that your chickens will absolutely love. Combining enriching entertainment with a steady flow of treats, these toys can be installed in any coop or run (don’t worry – they’re waterproof). Fill it with treats and watch as your chickens enjoy pecking at this toy all day long. 

The slow release nature of the Peck Toy ensures your chicken treats last longer.

The Poppy Peck Toy is meant to be pushed into the ground, like a garden stake, and allows your chickens to peck at the dispenser via the holes. The Pendant Peck Toy works in a similar way but comes with an adjustable string so it can be hung in a coop or run.

Not sure how to finish setting up the rest of your coop or run? You can find more tips here.

Where to Buy It 

You can purchase this toy by visiting Omlet’s website here

What the Company Claims 

  • Provides an engaging, interesting challenger or playful hens
  • Has a slow-release format so it prevents dominant hens from enjoying all the treats
  • Can help encourage natural and healthy chicken behaviors, like foraging and pecking
  • Comes with two legendary designs – both hold the same amount of treats
  • Quick and easy to tall
  • Measures 15cm x 8.5cm 
  • Holds 300 g of corn 
  • Dispenser is easy to refill and dishwasher safe 

Our Experience 

Does the Omlet Peck Toy  Live Up To Its Claims?

The Omlet Peck Toy does live up to its claims. Although there were a few issues that I found with the toy – like the slots that allow the rain in – it’s a good treat dispenser if you’re using feed that won’t mold quickly.

What Don’t We Like 

It may take some time for your hens to get used to this product. Some chickens need to be shown how the device works before they use it. 

Is it Useful for Chicken Owners?

The Peck Toy from Omlet is useful for chicken owners. Not only can you use it as a regular treat dispenser for your backyard hens, but you can also use it to provide mental stimulation. It will help you control portions when dispensing treats and can also provide your flock with essential exercise. After all, there are so many benefits associated with free-ranging and proper exercise!

What to Watch Out For

There are some slots in the top of the Poppy Peck Toy that let the rain in. You may want to use this one only in a covered run or inside a coop so that the feed does not become moldy. 

If you’re looking for treats to fill your feeder, you should take a look at our non-GMO cracked corn. It’s delicious and nutritious and fits perfetly in this feeder.

Summary 

These peck toys are absolutely phenomenal, providing your chickens with a source of sustenance as well as hours of entertainment. They can also help you control the portions of your chickens’ feed so you don’t have to worry about them filling up on unhealthy treats like scratch grain. 

If you’re in the market for a better way to feed your chickens, you might want to consider these low-waste feeder ideas.

2. The Omlet Chicken Perch 

What It Is 

Chickens need places to perch, and this chicken perch by Omlet provides your hens with the perfect spot! Naturally weather-resistant, this perch can be put anywhere inside or outside of the chicken coop. Most chicken keepers will put it outdoors in the run so that it can help your chickens perch at the highest point for a great view at any time of the day. 

Where to Buy It 

You can purchase this toy by visiting Omlet’s website here

What the Company Claims 

  • Fits directly into Omlet prefabricated chicken coops
  • Two bars can be attached together for a longer perch 
  • Can be extended to fit just about any size run
  • Connector clamps around mesh or chicken wire for a secure, neat finish
  • Can be attached directly to any surface
  • Made out of durable eucalyptus 
  • Easy to install

Our Experience 

Does the Omlet Chicken Perch Live Up To Its Claims?

It’s a pretty basic perch, but it does live up to its claims. It’s easy to install and your chickens will likely take to it immediately.

What Don’t We Like 

Although this chicken perch is sturdily built, it’s made out of wood so is prone to some natural splitting along the length. This isn’t necessarily a dealbreaker, but you’ll want to stain it or use a varnish to prevent it from cracking anymore. 

Is it Useful for Chicken Owners?

Chickens like to perch, as it mimics the behaviors they would display in the wild when searching for predators and potential sources of food. By putting one of these Omlet perches in your chicken run, you’ll be helping your chickens express their most natural, wildest selves. 

What to Watch Out For

Just keep in mind you may have to do some finagling to get this perch to fit inside your coop or run. Although it can fit most sizes and styles of runs and coops, you might have to extend or add on to it to get it to fit perfectly. 

Summary 

While some reviewers claimed that this product seemed like a “glorified broom handle” at first, you’ll likely find that to be anything but the case when you invest in this product (as did most reviewers after submitting their initial reviews). Not only is it sturdy and durably built, but it will give your chickens the perfect vantage point no matter the size or design of your run. 

3. The Chicken Swing 

What It Is 

If your chickens are constantly on the move, you won’t find a better product than this chicken swing by Omlet. It’s a toy that will not only allow your chickens to perch, but also to get some much-needed exercise. It has a unique patented design that enables the chickens to move the swing themselves rather than needing to be pushed by the owner. 

Chickens will love swinging on The Chicken Swing

Where to Buy It 

You can purchase this toy by visiting Omlet’s website here

What the Company Claims 

  • Has a corn-like texture for added grip
  • Can be used by chickens of most breeds and sizes
  • Requires no pushing by the owner
  • Made from safe, high-quality parts that are durable and weather-resistant
  • 16.25” in length
  • Comes complete and ready to hang 

Our Experience 

Does the Omlet Chicken Swing Live Up To Its Claims?

Yes and no. I found that this swing was a great way to acquaint your chickens to the idea of playtime, but you’ll have to invest some time in getting them used to how to use it. Start young!

What Don’t We Like 

If you don’t take the time to train your chickens to this swing, they might not ever get the hang of it (or like using it). It’s best to start using this chicken swing when your birds are young. That way, they will get used to it being in the run and won’t be spooked when it moves on its own in the wind.

Is it Useful for Chicken Owners?

When you buy this chicken swing, you won’t just be providing your chickens with hours of entertainment – you’re also likely to find yourself giggling away as you watch chicken butts flying in the air! This swing is a great way to give your girls some exercise as they stretch their legs and wings, and it’s made from high-quality parts that are sure to last. 

What to Watch Out For

You may want to introduce this swing to your chickens when they are young. Although adult chickens can (and do!) easily get the hang of it, it’s easier for young chicks to learn how to use the swing first. 

Summary 

The Omlet Chicken Swing is a great accessory for any chicken coop, pen, or run. Your birds will likely get the hang of it quickly, and they don’t want to stop swinging once they do!

4. Caddi Chicken Treat Holder

What It Is 

One final product from Omlet to consider as you’re on the lookout for the top toys for chickens is this chicken treat holder. Like the other chicken treat toy reviewed earlier in this article, this toy is a great way to keep food secure, off the ground, and portion-controlled – while also entertaining the heck out of your chickens!

Not only does the Caddi offer a clean and tidy solution to feeding your hens, it will keep them entertained for hours!

You can hang this swinging feeder by its adjustable nylon strap and plastic hook. You can hang it in any chicken enclosure, in fact, and it’s a great compliment to the Peck Toys reviewed earlier in the article. You will be sure to meet all of your chickens’ treat-feeding needs with this combo!

Where to Buy It 

You can purchase this toy by visiting Omlet’s website here

What the Company Claims 

  • Measures 7.9” x 3.1” 
  • Built from heavy-duty welded steel with a waterproof rain cap
  • Keeps hens’ treats off the ground for neat and tidy dispersal
  • Great source of entertainment that can be used with all kinds of treats (like leafy greens)
  • Nylon string is adjustable so you an hang it in any setting
  • Easy to detach the plastic hook for quick cleaning and refilling

Our Experience 

Does the Caddi Chicken Treat Holder Live Up To Its Claims?

Yes. This chicken treat holder should be at the top of your list! And if you’re looking for ideas of what to fill it with, be sure to check out our huge line of non-GMO treats for your chickens, like these mealworms!

What Don’t We Like 

There’s very little we don’t like about this product – it’s made out of durable materials and is easy for your chickens to use. 

Is it Useful for Chicken Owners?

The Caddi Chicken Treat Holder is super helpful for chicken owners. Not only will it help you provide your flock with a bit of exercise as they peck and nibble around the treats in the feeder, but it will also keep the foods safe, secure, and off the ground – no more wasting food! 

What to Watch Out For

When you hang this chicken treat holder, be sure it’s at a height that’s accessible to your chickens. You may need to watch them for a while and adjust to make sure they can get at the food with ease, or they won’t use the feeder. 

Summary 

With very little assembly required, this chicken treat holder is the perfect chicken toy from Omlet. It’s a combination feeder and plaything that’s sure to delight your flock! 

Related Articles

How To Keep A Chicken Coop Warm In Winter

Not sure how to keep a chicken coop warm in winter? Then pull up a chair, because we got quite a few (battle-tested) ideas for you today.

 

(Want to know how to keep your flock’s water from freezing? Get my genius hacks here).

 

herbs for backyard chickens

 

While the winters never get too brutal here in Missouri, we still do get our share of freezing temps (usually in January and February) thanks to the polar vortexes from our Canadian friends up North.

 

And trying to keep a chicken coop warm in winter is never fun. In fact, it’s usually a battle of ingenuity, and we’re kept on our toes trying to find new ways to keep the flock toasty and cozy when it’s gotten so cold we don’t even have a prayer of getting the hose getting unfrozen.

 

Now before we begin, just remember: For the most part, your chickens will be fine during the winter.

 

Every year, I get a few people who ask whether their hens will freeze in temperatures below 40 degrees, and the answer is no. Your chickens will likely be fine no matter what.

 

Only once temperatures dip below zero and into the VERY below zero temperatures (negative 30 degrees, for example) do you really need to be concerned about keeping them warm.

herbs for backyard chickens

 

In temperatures above zero, your chickens will fluff their feathers to stay warm and all the walking around and foraging will help keep their blood circulating and their body temperature up.

 

At night, they’ll bundle together on a roost and keep their little legs warm by sitting on them.

 

But you still are probably wondering how to keep a chicken coop warm in winter, so here’s some ideas we’ve used on our farm to get you started!

 

  1. Shut the door midday and let the sun warm your coop up

 

We’ve had a lot of luck with the various coops on our property by using solar energy to keep the coops heated.

 

Our coops have windows, so for the first part of the day, we can open the coop doors and let the hens forage.

 

About mid-day, you can close the doors and allow the heat to get trapped inside the coop, keeping it warmer than it would be otherwise.

 

Now, don’t ask me how many degrees this will raise the temperature – that’s going to depend on a wide variety of factors.

 

And this won’t work 100% of the time. But it might be the difference between 22 degrees and 32 degrees in the coop – and that’s a heck of a difference.

 

herbs for backyard chickens

2. Use lots of straw & clean out every week

 

Straw is an amazing insulator – that’s why you see those straw houses becoming so popular.

 

Putting about a foot deep of straw in your coop will do wonders keeping the cold air out and the warm air generated by your flock’s body heat in.

 

As a bonus, your flock won’t have to stand on a cold floor.

 

Now, you might hear that straw is not good to use as bedding – to each his own. Some people have decided that straw harbors mites, and the answer is if you don’t clean your coop, pretty much anything will harbor mites.

 

Clean the straw out of your coop weekly, and you’ll be good to go.

 

Wondering how to keep a chicken coop warm in winter? Keep your backyard chickens toasty warm with these 6 genius hacks!

3. Deep litter method

 

If you don’t know what the deep litter method is, or if you’ve heard of it but aren’t sure what it entails, then you can learn everything you want to know right here.

 

Now for full disclosure, I don’t use the deep litter method. But people who DO use it claim it can raise the coop temperature by about 10 degrees – pretty significant when your talking about daily highs in the teens.

 

The reason it generates so much heat is because the manure dropped by the chickens composts, and the breaking-down process causes heat.

 

herbs for backyard chickens

4. Radiant space heater

 

Like the deep litter method, this one isn’t going to be for everyone. If you’re not sure what a radiant heater is, you can see an example here (you can also buy one here).

 

Now note, I didn’t say heat lamp – that’s a definite no-no because they get way too hot. Every winter, there’s a slew of posts on Facebook about people who used a heat lamp and their coop went up in flames.

 

Just say no to heat lamps.

 

Radiant heaters are a different thing – they don’t get so hot and have some safety features. They can raise the temperatures in your coop a few degrees, and that can make all the difference.

 

Just note, you will need an electrical source to use a radiant space heater.

 

Now, would I personally use one of these in my coop? Probably not. I’m WAY to paranoid about fires and our winters are not that cold – it’s the odd day that things get below zero.

 

That being said, you might want to use one – and if you do, the more power to you.

 

 

5. Use a treeline to break the wind

 

We have one horse pasture that I swear is 10 to 20 degrees warmer than the others. When the water is frozen solid in the other fields, it’s not even icy in this particular pasture.

 

And the reason is that there’s a lot of trees causing a ginormous windbreak. And it makes all the difference.

 

It’s pretty insane how much a treeline can keep a coop warm simply because it’s keeping the cold winds away from your flock.

 

If your chickens are in a tractor, or if you can somehow move them behind a treeline, you’ll be able to keep the coop from losing warmth.

 

If you can use something else to create a windbreak (moving the coop behind a structure so it’s protected), then that’ll work as well.

 

If you plan to use straw in your coop, you could even buy extra bales to create a “wall” to break the wind (don’t laugh – we’ve done it and it WORKS.)

herbs for backyard chickens

  1. Use insulation around doors and windows

This one will take a bit of planning on your part, but you can save a lot of heat by simply eliminating drafts. (After all, it IS those polar vortexes that contribute to the cold in the first place)

 

Making sure your coop doors and windows have proper insulation will go a long way.

 

Don’t use any of that spray foam however (my husband loves that stuff and it’s a nightmare to look at and clean up, and your chickens might decided to taste test it – never a good thing.)

 

If you’re trying to figure out how to heat a chicken coop in winter, then spend a little and get something like this that will do the job without taking the chance your flock will try to eat it.

herbs for backyard chickens

Want genius ideas to keep a chicken coop warm in winter? Here's 6 genius hacks perfect for beginner backyard chicken mamas!

16 Duck Breeds For Colorful Eggs!

Sometimes, I lay awake at night and think about how great my flock would look with all kinds of different duck breeds.

 

(Well, maybe not really all night. I do like to sleep.)

 

Ducks are lovely creatures that make great pets – and they lay eggs! Lots of eggs (sometimes, more consistently than chickens).

 

From wonderful egg layers like the Ancona and Silver Appleyard, to beautiful heavy breeds like the Rouen and Aylesbury, ducks are great to have in any backyard or farm.

 

However, there’s so many options, it can be hard to know which duck breeds are best for you!

 

In this article, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about ducks, from baby duck breeds or miniature duck breeds, and to mixing duck breeds in order to find a combination that’ll fit your needs.

 

List of Pet Domestic Duck Breeds

  • American Pekin
  • Ancona
  • Appleyard
  • Call Duck
  • Cayuga
  • Crested Duck
  • Indian Runner Duck
  • Khaki Campbell
  • Muscovy
  • Magpie
  • Mallard
  • Orpington
  • Rouen
  • Saxony
  • Swedish
  • Welsh Harlequin

 

Duck Breeds

American Pekin

This large duck breed has been domesticated for over 2000 years! They’re one of the most popular duck breeds, and are instantly recognizable because they’re white! This friendly duck has an orange beak and legs, and is an excellent producer of large, white eggs. They’re generally healthy (although you need to give them Brewer’s Yeast as ducklings so they grow healthy bones). American Pekin ducks are good-natured and make for excellent pets.

 

They’re both heat and cold hardy, and are one of the heavier breeds, weighing at about 9 pounds.

 

How many eggs do Pekin ducks lay?

On average, Pekin hens lay about 200 very large white colored eggs per year (this will depend on diet – you can learn what ducks eat here).

 

Ancona

This dual-purpose duck is beautiful and friendly….and lays GREEN eggs! They’re also excellent foragers, and will keep your gardens free of slugs and other pain in the butt garden pests. Originating in England, they’re a relatively new breed (developed in the earthy 20th century) and are said to descend from Runner ducks. They’re great producers of eggs, and can lay green, blue, white, or cream eggs. They’re friendly, and make excellent pets if you feed them lots of treats.

 

Appleyard

Named after their breeder, Reginald Appleyard, this is a pretty new duck breed, but growing in popularity rapidly. They’re one of the “champion egg layers” of the backyard duck world, producing about 250 white eggs per year. They’re heavy, weighing in at around 9 pounds for the drakes, and are excellent foragers. You can find Appleyards at most big hatcheries. You can learn more about this duck breed here.

 

Call Duck

These are smaller ducks (kind of like bantam chickens) that are mostly kept as companions. They have smaller bills and were originally used as decoys by hunters to attract wild ducks. Because of their size and adorable appearance, they make great pets, and enjoy human company. The drakes weigh about 1.5 pounds, with the hens weighing about 1 pound (so, pretty small). Their egg colors can range from green to white to cream.

 

Because of their size, they’re even more susceptible to predators, so make sure their duck house is safe. You can watch this video of us making a predator-safe duck pen here:

 

[brid autoplay=”true” video=”453701″ player=”19074″ title=”Finishing the Predator-Proof Chicken Run & Duck Pen” duration=”113″ uploaddate=”2019-08-21 17:32:52″ thumbnailurl=”//cdn.brid.tv/live/partners/14575/thumb/453701_t_1566408761.png”]

 

Cayuga

Although it’s not clear how this duck breed developed, one thing is for sure: Cayuga ducks are very distinct! Their unique name derives from the indigenous people who occupied modern day Upstate New York before the European invasion.

 

They’re solid black (although their feathers have a green sheen to them, especially the drakes). They’re friendly and are excellent foragers. The hens lay eggs in shades of light grey to a dark, charcoal grey (sometimes even black). As the season progresses, the eggs get lighter and lighter. The males weigh about 7 pounds, and the females about 5 pounds.

 

Crested Duck

Crested ducks are great pet breeds (especially for children) because they’re friendly and look like something straight out of a Dr. Seuss book! The crest on their head is actually a genetic abnormality. They seem to be an ancient breed, and there’s some 2000 year old images showing a duck with a crest of feathers. Weighing in at around 7 pounds, they’re also fairly large.

 

They’re excellent layers of about 200 eggs per year. There’s also a bantam version of this duck breed. The crest is caused by a lethal allele, and when both parents carry the crested genetics, 25% of the clutch won’t hatch (similar to araucanas and their lethal genetics). So, it’s best to breed a crested duck to a non-crested duck to ensure the best possible hatch rate (50% of the ducklings will be crested). You can read more about hatching eggs here.

 

Indian Runner Duck

This duck breed is very distinctive, with their nearly vertical build. They also don’t waddle, instead, they’re built to run (hence their name “runner duck.) They’re excellent layers of about 300 eggs per year, and are great for pest control. Originating from the East Indies, they’re quiet ducks that prefer to forage. They’re also on the small side, with drakes weighing about 5 pounds. Their duck eggs are green or blue (or shades in between).

 

Indian Runner duck colors include:

  • White
  • Penciled
  • Buff
  • Black
  • Chocolate
  • Blue
  • Grey
  • Fawn & White

 

Khaki Campbell

Khaki Campbells are a popular duck breed that lays large, white eggs consistently (about 200 per year). They’re brown, and it’s easy to tell the drakes from the hens. They’re friendly if hand raised, and fed lots of treats. However, they’re susceptible to predators, especially since they tend to be on the small side. They also tend to “go broody” (want to hatch eggs) more than other breeds. You can easily find this breed at most big hatcheries.

 

Muscovy

The Muscovy duck breed is a bit of an anomaly in the duck world – they’re the only duck breed not descended from Mallards! The have very distinct appearances, with faces that look covered with bright red warts. Unlike other duck breeds, their eggs take 35 days to hatch (other breeds take 28 days to hatch). They’re also one of the only breeds to perch in trees, and have claws to aid them. They’re large, and lay about 200 off white eggs per year. Some owners say the eggs have a greenish tint, but aren’t exactly green. They love to eat ticks and mosquitoes! You can read more about Muscovy ducks here.

muscovy duck breed with red face

 

Magpie

This is a funny black and white duck breed that’s becoming more popular as a pet. They’re friendly and distinctive-looking birds, and enjoy human company if offered lots of treats. They’re fairly upright (although not as vertical as Runner ducks) and are excellent layers – about 280 eggs per year.

 

Mallard

With their green heads and pervasive quacks, mallards are fun a duck breed to raise. While you can find them in the wild, there’s also domestic mallards that hatcheries sell. The males and females look different (unlike Pekins where both are white), with the females having black and tan feathers that remind me of tiger stripes. They’re very beautiful! The females lay about 200 white or greenish white eggs per year.

 

Orpington Duck

Developed in the town of Orpington in the UK, this breed is less known in the US, but rising in popularity. Their developer, William Cook, also developed the Orpington chicken. Good Ol’ William crossed Rouen, Indian Runner, and Cayugas to create his beautiful Orpington ducks. They’re great producers of large eggs, laying around 200 per year. This duck breed comes in 3 color variations: Buff, Blond, and Brown. The males have a yellow bill, while the females have darker colored bills. While admitted into the American Poultry Standard of Perfection, they don’t necessarily breed true.

 

Rouen

The Rouen are a duck breed that’s colored like the mallard, but are larger. Originating in France, they’re beautiful birds to look at, and lay prolifically: about 200 white eggs per year. They make great farm ducks, and enjoy human company.

 

Saxony

Saxony ducks are distinctive looking with their grey heads and wood-colored feathers. Unlike other duck breeds on this list, they were developed in Germany in the 20th century, and are great layers of large, white eggs. They’re large ducks, weighing in at about 9 pounds.

 

Swedish

This popular breed has white feathers on its chest, and beautiful blue/grey feathers. They were developed in Germany and Northern Poland, and are called “Swedish” because the recognized government was the kingdom of Sweden at the time the breed became known. Blue is the most well known feather color, but other varieties include brown and black. It’s said that Daffy Duck was a Swedish drake – he certainly has the characteristics! They’re great layers of large eggs.

 

Welsh Harlequin

These are smaller ducks, weighing in at around 5 pounds. Originating in Wales (hence the name Welsh Harlequin) and are derived from Khaki Campbells. Like Mallards, they have green/black heads, and lay prolifically – about 300 white eggs per year.

 

How Many Varieties Of Ducks Are There?

There’s about 28 types of domestic duck/pet duck breeds in the USA.

 

What Kind Of Duck Has A Green Head?

Several duck breeds have green heads, including Mallards, Welsh Harlequins, and Rouens. Cayuga drakes also have green heads, although their entire bodies are covered with black feathers that sport a greenish sheen.

 

What Breed Of Duck Has Yellow Ducklings?

Duck breeds that have yellow ducklings are Pekins and Khaki Campbell ducks. Their ducklings are covered in yellow feathers and have orange beaks and feet.

 

Keeping Ducks as Pets

What Are The Best Backyard Ducks?

The best backyard duck breeds that lay lots of eggs and are friendly are:

  • Khaki Campbell (about 280 eggs/year)
  • Magpie (about 280 eggs/year)
  • Mallard (about 200 eggs/year)
  • Welsh Harlequin (about 280 eggs/year)
  • Buff Orpington (about 300 eggs/year)
  • Crested (about 200 eggs/year)
  • Rouens (about 250 eggs/year)
  • Call Ducks (about 300 eggs/year)

 

Different breeds lay different colored eggs. While most ducks lay white eggs, they can also lay off white, cream tinted, green, blue, or black eggs. Here’s a chart that shows you which breeds lay different colored eggs:

 

BreedEgg ColorEggs Laid Per Year
American PekinWhite200
AnconaGreen200
AppleyardWhite250
Black East IndieGrey, charcoal grey200
Call DuckGreen, white, cream300
CayugaBlack, charcoal grey, light grey200
Crested DuckWhite200
Indian Runner DuckGreen, blue300
Khaki CampbellWhite280
MuscovyOff white, cream, speckled200
MagpieWhite, bluish green280
MallardWhite, greenish white200
OrpingtonWhite300
RouenWhite250
SaxonyWhite200
SwedishWhite200
Welsh HarlequinWhite, blue300

What Are The Friendliest Duck Breeds?

The top 3 in friendliest duck breeds would have to be the Pekin, Rouen, Khaki Campbell, Swedish, and the Call duck.

 

Are Ducks Friendly Pets?

Yes! Particularly if you hand raise them and give them lots of treats, they’ll be your best friend. It’s also important to pick breeds that are friendly, such as Call ducks. You can learn about how to raise people friendly poultry here. If you want to give your ducklings treats, you can learn what ducklings eat here.

 

Can A Duck Be An Indoor Pet?

Yes, but it’ll have to wear a diaper. Ducks, like all birds, don’t have a bladder, so when nature calls, they’ll go anywhere. That being said, ducks are happiest with other ducks, and living in a flock. 

 

What Is The Largest Breed Of Duck?

Pekins. The drakes weigh about 12 – 13 pounds. Traditionally, Pekins were raised as both meat and egg producers, but in modern times, they’re largely kept as layers and pets.

 

How Long Do Domestic Ducks Live?

The average lifespan of the average domesticated duck is 8 to 10 years, as long as they’re cared for properly. This will vary by breed and individual bird. You can read more about how to raise healthy ducks here and more about how long individual duck breeds live here.

 

Do Ducks Bite You?

Just like any animal ducks can and will bite when threatened. However, these incidences are few and far between, and ducks don’t generally bite their owners without being provoked and very scared.

 

Can You Train A Duck?

Yes, with treats, you can train a duck to come when called. If you work with them every day and follow some simple steps (like training them with treats during evening, when they naturally want to come to their house), your ducks will be trained in no time.

 

Are Ducks Affectionate?

Yes, pet ducks can be very affectionate when they receive the right care.

 

Will Domestic Ducks Fly Away?

Fear not, as most domesticated duck breeds cannot fly because they’re too heavy compared to their wings. However, some breeds like Mallards have evolved to fly, so you can simply trim their wings.

 

How Can You Tell If A Duckling Is Male Or Female?

When they hatch, the other sure fire way is to “vent sex” a duck, however, only qualified professionals should attempt this. When they’re about 4 to 6 weeks old, you might notice some ducklings develop a deeper quack, while others retain a high pitched squeak. The lower pitched quack is a sign of a duck hen – their adult voices develop much sooner. As adolescents, a good sign to look for is a curled feather that sticks up near the tail, called a “drake feather,” which indicates the duck is a male.

 

Which Breeds Are Quiet?

Muscovies are quiet (they don’t quack. Instead, they have a quiet, whispery call that sounds like a hiss). You can learn more about Muscovies here.

 

Duck Breeds For Eggs

Ducks for White Eggs

Duck breeds that lay white eggs are the Pekin, Buff Orpington, Indian Runner, Swedish, Magpie, and Ancona.

 

Ducks for Green Eggs

Duck breeds that lay green eggs are the Indian Runner, Call, and Ancona.

 

Ducks for Blue Eggs

Duck breeds that lay blue eggs are the Indian Runner and Magpie.

 

Ducks for Black Eggs

Duck breed that lay black eggs is the Cayuga.

 

Are Duck Eggs Good To Eat?

Yes, duck eggs are good to eat as they are high in fat and rich in omega 3. They’re potentially healthier than chicken eggs, and often, people who have an allergy to chicken eggs can eat duck eggs. You can discover more about duck eggs here.

 

What Are The Best Laying Ducks?

The best laying ducks are the Campbell, Runner, Buff, Welsh Harlequin, Magpie, and Ancona.

 

Do Ducks Need Shelter At Night?

Yes, it’s a good idea to give all duck breeds shelter at night to protect them from predators and from inclement weather. You can learn how to build a safe duck pen here.

 

What Do Ducks Like To Sleep On?

The good thing about ducks is that they don’t roost, so they are fine with sleeping on soft shavings on the coop floor. You can learn about different coop bedding options here.

 

Which Duck Breeds Are Broody?

The best broody duck breeds are Muscovies and the Welsh Harlequin.

 

Feeding Backyard Ducks

What Can I Feed My Backyard Ducks?

It’s best to feed your ducks a high quality layer feed specifically formulated for ducks. You can also supplement their diet with oyster shells for additional calcium. As for treats, you can feed your backyard ducks insects, worms, weeds/grass, fish, eggs, berries, cracked corn, or sunflower seeds. For a full list, you can learn more about what to feed ducks here.

Some veggies and leafy greens that ducks love are:

  • Cut grass (that hasn’t been sprayed with any chemicals)
  • Kale
  • Swiss chard
  • Radish & turnip greens
  • Lettuces & other salad greens

Some high-protein treats you can feed ducks are:

Remember: Ducks aren’t chickens – they have round bills that don’t pick food up easily like sharp beaks. So, it’s best to float treats on water so your ducks can easily dig them up.

Which duck breeds do you raise? Please a comment below!

What Can You Grow In January? Get Crackin’!

All right, y’all. We made it past the holidays, and now we’re into big gardening time. So, you’re probably wondering, “What can you grow in January?”

 

What can you grow in January? Here's vegetable gardening for beginners ideas and when to plant your seeds!!

 

 

 

January is kind of a dull month. All the major holidays are over, we’ve all got sticker shock at how much we spent in the past couple months, and it’s freakin’ cold.

 

So, not much fun, which is where starting your seedlings comes in. The seed catalogues are rolling in, and it’s time to start figuring out what you’ll grow.

 

(this article is an excerpt from my bestselling book Organic By Choice: The (Secret) Rebel’s Guide To Backyard Gardening.  You can get a copy on Amazon or buy it directly from me which will save you 10% and you’ll get the digital copy for free.

 

Buy your copy right here)

 

What can you grow in January?

Now, there’s definitely some vegetable seedlings you can start indoors under lights, which you can eventually transition out to cold frames.

 

I show you in this article which vegetables do best in cold frames.

 

And there’s some things you can grow right in your kitchen, such as sunflower microgreens (tasty for you AND your chickens).

 

So, if you’re still wondering “what can you grow in January?” then hang onto your pants (please, do, really. No one wants to see you with your pants down), and check out the list below.

 

square foot gardening plant spacing

Kale (Brassica oleracea acephala)

My old friend kale does well in cold weather, and because of that, you can start it right now if the gardening itch is getting to you.

 

You can buy kale seeds from my favorite store Seeds Now.

 

Keep that grow light about 1-2 inches above the pots. I tend to broadcast kale and then thin because the seeds are so tiny.

 

My old eyes and cranky finger joints can’t handle the fiddly-ness of individual potting. If this sounds like you, then broadcast in trays filled with soil, and cover lightly with dirt.

 

In Organic By Choice: The (Secret) Rebel’s Guide To Backyard Gardening, I show you how to care for kale, harvest it, and save the seeds. All important stuff for a self-sufficient garden!

 

square foot gardening plant spacing

Lettuce (Lactuca sativa)

So, confession time. I grow lettuce for my chickens and my rabbits because it’s fun watching them eat it, and I’m not a huge fan of lettuce personally.

 

You can get organic lettuce seeds for a reasonable price right here.

 

I started using this plan because I always wanted to grow in January, even though I’m not a huge fan of lettuce. But it works out, and the critters are happy with everything I grow for them (in January and the rest of the year, too).

 

So, lettuce isn’t that much different than kale, although it IS less cold loving.

 

Because we live in Missouri, and don’t have a spring, I start these in January. The rule of thumb is to start lettuce seeds indoors under lights about 6 weeks before the last spring frost date.

 

Go here if you want to grow in January based on the last spring frost date.

 

Lettuce seeds like a heat range of 45 – 75 degrees for germination, so if you’re startings seeds inside your house, you should be okay, but if you’re starting out in a garage, you might need a heat mat like this one.

 

If you care for your lettuce seedlings well enough, you should get quite a few early spring harvests out of them.

 

Just remember that your lettuce will be with you indoors through January and on into the later months before transplant, so they’ll need a bit of space – go with 6 inch pots to start them so they have plenty of room to grow.

 

square foot gardening plant spacing

Mustard (Brassica juncea)

Mustard is another one I start to grow in January. It’s best to start mustard 3 weeks before your last spring frost date, but in this neck of the woods, that can be very early.

 

In 2017, we had a series of very warm weeks in February and into March, and it never really cooled down again.

 

And mustard doesn’t like heat, so it shoots up, and I lose my crop. Which is why I start it under lights as early as January 15.

 

Like kale, mustard seeds are small and fiddly, so I broadcast in a tray and then thin.

 

Those seeds like temps at least 55 degrees, so again, if you’re starting them outside in a greenhouse or garage, use a heat mat.

 

You can also learn how to heat your off grid greenhouse, which is simpler than it seems.

 

Mustard seeds are another one I save. It’s easy, and I show you how to do it in Organic By Choice: The (Secret) Rebel’s Guide To Backyard Gardening.

 

Onions (Allium cepa)

Onions are a bit tricky, and if you want to grow in January and transplant, now is a good time to get going.

 

Now, fair warning: They need a lot of space and it’s easier to start them from sets. But if you’re dedicated, you can definitely have success starting them under lights in January. Onions need temps over 30 degrees to flourish, so just remember that when you start your grow tray.

 

square foot gardening plant spacing

Spinach (Spinacia oleracea)

I’ve never had much success growing spinach indoors since it doesn’t transplant well, but maybe you’ll have better luck.

 

You can buy organic spinach seeds here.

 

I prefer direct sowing, especially since it can survive light frosts (the plant, at least. The seedlings….that’s another story).

 

Spinach needs soil temps of at least 40 degrees to grow, but doesn’t do well if soil temps are above 70 degrees. So, this is a good one to start in a cold frame or in a garage under lights. Or a greenhouse!

 

Herbs

You can start various herbs now for transplant in your garden in spring/early summer. If your house is warm enough, you can start them under lights without a heat mat (although it’s easier with the heat mat).

 

You can buy organic herb seeds here.

 

square foot gardening plant spacing

Use these tricks to starting seeds easier

There are some seeds that take a few extra steps to start (or, it can help them start better). In this article, I show you 2 easy tricks that should be in your master gardener toolkit to starting seeds from certain vegetables easier!

 

Wondering what can you grow in January for your chickens? Well, luckily, pretty much all the veggies we discuss in this article are great for chickens. Mine particularly like kale, herbs, and spinach!

 

square foot gardening plant spacing




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The Best Herbs For Chickens To Eat? These Are Them (Plus One For First Aid!) [Podcast]

While a lot of herbs are great for chickens, there’s a few that I feel are the best herbs for chickens to eat.

There’s also a couple on my list that are perfect for other uses, such as first aid and as natural cleaners (make sure you grab my free reference sheet).

 

In this episode of What The Cluck?! we look at my favorite herbs for chickens to eat, as well as how to actually incorporate these herbs into your daily life with your flock. 

 

 

You’ll learn:

 

  • Which are the best herbs for chickens to eat
  • Why I recommend avoiding cinnamon
  • My favorite way to clean a chicken coop

 

Where to Buy:

herbs for hens

Chicken Farms Try Oregano As Antibiotic Substitute

Boy In Kentucky Dies From Cinnamon Inhalation

 

what herbs can chickens eat content upgrade-min

Transcript:

 

So, first let’s talk about the whys, meaning why bother being concerned about the best herbs for chickens to eat, as well as using herbs in the first place, and there’s some good reasons, as well as scientific reasons, why herbs are a good idea.

 

When it comes to chickens and their eggs, withdrawal times is a big deal, more so than with dogs and cats, for example.

 

And this is for obvious reasons, we eat eggs and we eat chicken, and many modern medicines will come out in their eggs and meat, we know this for a fact, so unless you want a mouthful of antibiotics, which I don’t think any doctor out there would recommend unless you’re sick, then withdrawal times play a really important role when making decisions for your flock.

 

Herbs, on the other hand, don’t have withdrawal times, so the advantage in certain situations is pretty clear.

 

As an aside, if you end up raising goats for their milk, for example, you can avoid wasting milk if you’re able to treat them with herbal remedies since medicines can come out in their milk.

 

But getting back to chickens, you can also use herbs to promote better laying and to get your hens to lay in their nests, if they don’t already do that. I do get questions frequently from readers and listeners whose hens won’t lay in nests, and there herbs I do recommend for that.

 

So, lets get into the best herbs for chickens to eat and how to use them!


Hens love nesting herbs!

nesting box herbs

Yes, I want to SPOIL my hens with nesting herbs!


Oregano

So we’re going to start off with my favorite herb to use in my coop, and that’s oregano. Oregano is one of the best herbs for chickens to eat and there’s a couple reasons for that.

 

Oregano is well-known for its antibacterial properties, and it’s becoming the darling of the egg industry because studies are showing that it’s more potent than antibiotics for keeping chickens healthy.

 

And these are large farms with hundreds of thousands of chickens, so disease tends to run rampant at those places just because of living conditions and overpopulation.

 

But these farms in New York State found that when they fed oregano, that their death rates and illness rates declined quite extensively.

 

And I’ll put a link in the show notes where you can read an article from the New York Times about it.

 

So, the way I like to offer oregano is dried or fresh in bunches, and the nice thing about this is that the chickens can peck at it, and it keeps them busy and not forming negative behaviors in addition to keeping them healthy.

 

Another great thing to do with oregano is to use it in their nesting boxes, and you can do this by just putting fresh leaves into the boxes themselves.

 

The hens will love the scent and it will help deter pathogens. Another nice thing is it will help keep the eggs clean because your hens will have a clean place to nest, and the scent will give them a boost and stimulate egg laying.

 

At the end of the day, happy hens lay better and if they have healthy food in their systems, like oregano, their eggs will be healthier, so offering them a nesting box with oregano leaves will help them lay better eggs.

 

So, like I said, oregano is really one of the best herbs for chickens to eat.

herbs for hens lavender

Lavender

While lavender has some antibacterial properties, and it is one of the best herbs for chickens to eat, it’s better known and better used as a calming agent.

 

So, lavender is well known to be a way to calm people and animals, and that means chickens too.

 

I like to use lavender in nesting boxes to help create a peaceful environment for chickens to lay in.

 

While it doesn’t outright promote laying, meaning you can’t feed a hen lavender and out pops an egg, you can create an environment that promotes calmness that will help your hen feel secure enough to lay.

 

Laying eggs is one of the most vulnerable times for a hen because she needs to stay still, and since hens are a prey animal, in the wild, not moving could mean death.

 

So, a hen that’s stressed or worried is not likely to lay, or at the minimum, she won’t lay a good, healthy egg.

 

So offering an environment that lets her feel safe is a great way to encourage her to lay, and if she feels secure, she’ll lay better eggs, assuming you’re also feeding her an adequate diet.

 

You can incorporate it into their feed as well, either fresh or dry, and like I said, it is one of the best herbs for chickens to eat because it does have antibacterial properties, so your hens will derive some benefit from it that way too.

 

You can also add lavender to cleaners to give them a calming scent your hens will appreciate.

 

Now when it comes to using herbs in your chicken’s nesting boxes, be sure to change them frequently so they don’t mold or breed other pathogens, especially if you use fresh herbs. Switching them out every other day or so will work well.

 

The other thing about lavender is it repels insects, and I’ve found it useful against flies, so including it in your nesting box will help repel flies, which of course, spread disease.

 

Mint

Mint is extraordinarily useful for many things when it comes to your chickens and I always keep a ton of it around the homestead. I like to use peppermint for a lot of things, and so that’s what I mostly grow, and it’s one of best herbs for chickens to eat.

 

Mint is great to put in nesting boxes along with lavender to stimulate laying, and it will create a fresh, good smelling environment for your chickens.

 

But what I really like using mint for is as a repellent. On our farm, because we have so many animals, we have a lot of flies, and I can tell you that mint is great for repelling flies.

 

I have a natural fly repellent I made here on the farm, and it works great.

 

You can read the exact recipe to make it on the blog, but to recap, you boil the herbs, I like to use both mint and lavender since both repel flies, and allow them to steep in the boiling water, just as if you were making a tea.

 

You then mix it with witch hazel to formulate your fly repellent.

 

The witch hazel does have a bit of a scent, but because water is absorbed really quickly into things while witch hazel isn’t, it works better for ensuring the lavender and mint stick around longer.

 

Once you make the repellent, you’ll have herbs left over, and you can feed them to your chickens for an additional immune booster.

herbs for hens calendula

Calendula

So next on our list of the best herbs for chickens to eat is calendula, and there’s a good reason for that.

 

Calendula have long been known to repel insects in gardens, and they’re considered to be one of the best companion plants out there.

 

So, using them in your chicken coop, in nesting boxes, for example, will help repel bugs and keep them out of your nesting boxes.

 

Calendula is also edible for both people and chickens, and they’re said to make your chicken’s egg yolks more orange, so if you want, you can offer the petals to your chickens in their feed.

 

 

Grow herbs in herb boxes

Now, if you want to do something fun and entertaining, you can grow the best herbs for chickens to eat in a grow box, which is a raised bed, 4 to 6 inches high is a good height, that also has a top made of hardware cloth.

 

So, as the herbs grow, they reach the top of the hardware cloth.

 

Chickens can peck the herbs above the hardware cloth or a little below it, but they can’t get to the roots of the herbs, so once the tops of the plant is gone, it has the ability to grow back.

 

It’s a great way to offer herbs to your chickens in a way that’s also interesting to them.

 

You can either grow the herbs straight in the ground or make the grow box like a container garden for them.

 

Now, if you’re interested in giving your hens herbs and want a handy reference sheet, you can grab my free tip sheet on the blog at TheFrugalChicken.com/chickenherbs.

 


Hens Love Nesting Herbs!

nesting box herbs

YES, I WANT TO SPOIL MY HENS WITH NESTING HERBS!