Raising Backyard Hens For Eggs Is Easy!

Raising Backyard Hens For Eggs Is Easy!

If you’re thinking about raising chickens for the first time, you might feel a little bit intimidated by the process. You may even be asking yourself, “how do I get started raising chickens?”

Luckily, chickens are some of the easiest animals you can raise – but it’s important to learn how to do it correctly. In this article, we’ll walk you through some of the most important information you need to know in order to get started. 

Why Raise Backyard Chickens?

In these uncertain times, a lot of people are concerned about food security. Raising chickens means always having a supply of fresh, organic eggs (even as the prices in the stores skyrocket). 

Chickens are easier to care for than dogs or cats. They only need:

  • A home
  • Food
  • Water
  • Protection from predators
  • Veterinary care as needed

Unlike dogs, you never need to walk them. You can also leave them alone for a couple days (with food, water, and protection from predators) if you need to leave town for a few days. Hens are quiet, and like parrots, these birds can provide companionship. They’re also a great pet for kids!

How Do I Get Started Raising Chickens?

Buy the Chickens!

Your first step in raising chickens? You’ve got to buy the chickens, of course! Don’t rush out to the feed store to purchase your chicks right away. Make sure you have a brooder set up and ready to go so that you have somewhere to put the little fluffy butts. This should include a heat lamp and plenty of food and water. 

If you plan on raising adult chickens, you can skip this step. Otherwise, keep reading – we’ll give you more information on where to buy your chickens below.

Feed

You are also going to need an ample supply of feed to give your chickens. We’ll talk more about this later in the article, but make sure you have your feeders ready to go. 

Waterers

The same rule applies to waterers. You are going to need a water for your chickens so they can stay hydrated at all times. Invest in good water because they can last for quite some time when cared for properly.

A Coop

Last but not least, you’re going to need a coop in which to house your chickens. It doesn’t have to be huge, but there are some considerations you will need to make.

Where Can I Buy Chickens?

The first thing you need to do is purchase your chickens. Decide on your breed first. If you want your chickens to be pets as well as egg producers, some friendly breeds that give lots of eggs are Australorps, Orpingtons, Speckled Sussex, Brahmas, and Cochins.

Next, start the search for your birds. Hatcheries are often chosen by beginning chicken keepers because they raise and ship chicks in a safe, humane fashion. Yes, that’s right – you can get mail-order chicks!

When you order from a hatchery, the chicks are sent at one day old and sent directly to the post office. You’ll pick them up there. You will be able to choose from a wide selection of breeds. If you;re not allowed to have roosters in your neighborhood, you have the option to purchase only hens (female chickens). 

There are hundreds of hatcheries out there, but it’s important to find one that is reputable. We use Cackle Hatchery, but other good options including Murray McMurray and Meyer Hatchery. Do your research and make sure your hatchery of choice has plenty of positive customer reviews! 

You may also want to check out local farm stores. Most people are familiar with shops like Tractor Supply, Rural King, and Orschelns. The only downside to purchasing chicks from a farm store is that you are often limited to what they have in store. That said, some stores allow you to place an order ahead of time in which you can specify how many and what breed you are interested in buying. 

A final option is to consider local breeders or even your neighbors. The internet is a glorious invention that makes it possible for us to find chicks for sale just about anywhere! Just remember to inspect your chicks carefully before you bring them home to make sure they are healthy. 

Want to learn more about where you can buy baby chicks? Here’s a helpful resource to get you started.

How Much Should I Pay for a Chicken?

In most cases, a baby chick will cost less than $4 apiece. Often, that price is quoted by hatcheries with all expenses – including shipping fees – rolled in. After all, buying chicks should not break the bank! 

Hatcheries will sometimes offer discounts if you buy in bulk – with discounts usually given for purchases of 25, 50, or 100 birds – or if you purchase unsexed chicks. 

You can also purchase adult chickens that are ready to lay. While the price of these can vary widely depending on the breed and age of the bird, try not to pay more than $10 to $20. It’s very easy for you to find yourself scammed or overcharged!

If you want to buy adult chickens, keep an eye out for free birds on Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, and via other Facebook groups. Again just be aware of scams and don’t be afraid to ask for health records for the birds!

What Do Chickens Eat?

Chickens are easy creatures to feed, but you will need to pay attention to what you are feeding them – especially in the early days.

Young chicks (those under the age of 16 weeks) need to be fed a chick starter ration. This contains 18% protein and all the nutrients your chicks need to be healthy. You can purchase chick starter from your local farm store. If you want it shipped directly to your home, you can purchase chick starter from our website here. 

Once your chickens get a bit older, you’ll need to provide them with alternative feed. Laying feed is fine for laying hens – it contains extra calcium – while broiler feed is best for meat birds. If you want layer feed shipped directly to your door, visit our store here

Now, chickens are some of the best backyard pets you can raise because they are incredibly versatile creatures that can be fed a wide variety of scraps and leftovers. If you want to read a full list of what chickens can and cannot eat, be sure to check out this post

frugal feeds chicken water feeder hacks

What Type of Waterers Are Best?

Having plenty of fresh, clean water at all times is just as important as having plenty of fresh feed. Although you can use basic waterers from Amazon (here’s some options), or even just a dog bowl with water for your adult chickens, you’ll need to be more careful about how you give water to young chicks. 

Chicks can easily drown in open bowls of water, and while some people simply put rocks or pebbles in the bottom of their adult chicken waterer to prevent this, accidents can still happen. Therefore, you will want to use a mason jar-style waterer, which tends to be much safer to use. Here’s a video that will walk you through everything you need to know about chicken waterers. 

What Type of Coop is Best?

You can purchase your own chicken coop on Amazon or you can build your own chicken coop. Here are some free plans to help you get started. There are all kinds of styles you can choose from, including coops that are portable and meant to be moved every day, those that are designed for small flocks, and those that are best for oversized breeds. 

Either way, remember that you will need at least six to ten feet of space per bird in your coop. You’ll need even more than that out in the run, so make sure you leave plenty of outdoor space for your birds, too. 

Also in the coop, you will need to leave room for nesting boxes and roost bars. The roost bars should be no more than a few feet off the ground and positioned away from the nesting boxes. 

You can purchase a coop for as little as $200 on Amazon. But remember that any structure can serve as shelter, as long as it’s dry, draft-free, and provides protection from predators. So, if you have a garden shed or even an old play house that’s no longer used by your kids, you have the start of a great coop!

How Much Room Do Chickens Need?

Experts recommend 10 square feet of space per chicken. So, if you have 3 hens, then your coop should be 30 square feet. Your flock will also need a fenced-in run so they can get sunshine and exercise! If you can’t build a run, don’t worry. While it’s not ideal (due to predators), you can allow your chickens to run around your yard part of the day to stretch their wings.

Frequently Asked Questions:

How do I keep my chickens safe from predators?

There are all kinds of creatures that like munching on chickens! From raccoons to coyotes, weasels to foxes, your chickens need to be protected from these threats. The easiest way to do this is to build a strong, secure chicken coop that can withstand any threat. Make sure it has no openings or gaps through which a predator can sneak and lock your chickens in each and every night.

You can find more tips on how to make your chicken coop predator-safe here

What temperature is best for baby chicks?

As with all baby animals, young chicks are extremely susceptible to temperature fluctuations when they are first born. Baby chicks need to be kept in a warm place until they have all their feathers. 

The brooder should be at least 95-100 degrees for the first two weeks of their lives, and then reduced five degrees each week until the chicks reach four weeks old.

Not sure if your chicks are too warm or too cold? Here’s a video that will tell you quick ways you can figure it out. 

What kind of nesting boxes do I need?

You can build your own nesting boxes or you can purchase some prebuilt ones from the farm store or Amazon. Whichever you choose, make sure you have at least one nesting box for every four chickens. You’ll Want to fill it with fresh, clean bedding and check it at least once a day to keep it from becoming overrun with eggs.

Here are some more tips on what to look for and consider when researching nesting boxes. 

When do chickens start laying eggs?

Wondering when all of your hard work is going to pay off – and your chickens are going to start laying eggs? If you’ve purchased layers, they should begin laying eggs right away. 

You can learn more about when chickens start laying eggs by watching this video, but as a general rule of thumb, baby chicks start laying when they’re six months old. Some breeds, like White Leghorns, Sex Links, and Australorps start laying as early as sixteen weeks old, but others can take up to eight months to start laying.

How often do chickens lay eggs? 

Most hens lay four to five eggs each week, but some breeds (like Production Reds) lay more and some less (such as Mille Fleurs). You can encourage better laying patterns by feeding a high-quality feed. Check out this article for more information!

Final Thoughts

Getting started with backyard chickens is very easy – and chickens are simple to care for! As long as they have shelter, food, water, protection from predators, and appropriate veterinary care, they’ll do great! If you do decide to dive right in, we have all the resources you need on this website! If you’re not sure, and have a million questions, then reach out to us at [email protected] and we’ll do our best to answer them!

How To Keep Your Chickens Laying Through The Winter

How To Keep Your Chickens Laying Through The Winter

Today we’re going to talk about keeping your hens laying through winter.

And since mine have started to drop off in production, this is a topic near and dear to my heart.

There’s many reasons why a hen can drop off production in the winter, and we’re going to look at reasons why that happens, both biological and environmental, and what you can do about it.

Some people like to give their hens the winter off, or let nature do its thing and go with the flow as their hens naturally drop egg production in the winter. Personally, I like to be eating omelets year round, so I try to keep my chickens producing eggs in the winter.

Why do chickens stop laying in the winter?

The biggest reason hens stop laying in the winter is because the days get shorter, and so there’s less light. Egg production is triggered by light, specifically by the pituitary gland and the amount of light that is affecting the pituitary gland. And since shorter days mean less light, it triggers the pituitary gland to stop producing the hormones that command egg production.

Chickens need about fourteen hours of light per day to keep laying eggs. Now this isn’t to say every hen needs fourteen hours, and we’ve even bred chickens that will keep laying throughout shorter days, such as Production Reds. But generally speaking, most chickens need fourteen hours or so of light in order to lay eggs consistently.

From an evolutionary stand point, more energy is needed to keep a hen alive during the winter. And chicks are less likely to survive in the winter because chicks have a harder time maintaining their own body temperature until they feather out. So there’s less evolutionary value in producing eggs during the winter. So from that angle, it makes sense why hens don’t lay in the winter!

Now for people this stinks, obviously, because we have to work to keep egg production up, or just simply go without eggs.

How can I keep my hens laying?

There are several things you can do to keep your hens laying through the winter. The main thing is adding light. In order to keep your hens laying throughout the winter you have to supplement the light that your chickens get with artificial light. In our coop, we use battery powered lamps.

If you’re lucky enough to have electric lights in your coop, you can use those, or you can also use solar energy. That’s a great option if you are off grid. We’re looking at getting solar panels for our coop this winter, but for now we’re just using battery powered lanterns.

One thing to keep in mind is you need to use a strong light.  When we first started putting lamps in the coop, the lamps just didn’t emit enough light and so it was useless. Obviously, you don’t need to blind your hens, but just using  a small LED flashlight, in my experience, doesn’t work. So we use battery operated lanterns, which shed enough light to keep egg production up, but not so much that it’s overwhelming for my hens.

I advise you to skip infrared heat lamps. That’s the red light bulbs. In my opinion, the risks are way too high. Those heat lamps get really, really, really hot! And all it takes is a hen knocking it down (and chickens are great at getting into trouble) and you might lose your whole flock to a fire.

Putting a light in your coop is the top way to keep your hens laying throughout winter. But let’s talk about some other things you can do that are really just as important.

Molting

So the next thing we’re going to talk about is molting. If you don’t know what molting is, when hens molt they’re losing one set of feathers and replacing them with new ones. This could take a couple months, and while hens are molting they aren’t producing eggs.

Now when a hen molts, her body naturally puts all of its energy into producing new feathers, hence the drop in egg production. This generally happens in the fall and in early winter after your hen’s first year. Usually when she’s about eighteen months old, although I have had them molt at younger ages.

Now there’s really nothing you can or should do to speed up molting. I know in factory farms with chickens, they try to speed it up. But you really shouldn’t be doing anything to speed it up. It’s a natural process. But one thing that you can do that might help is to feed your hens extra protein, so her body can redirect extra energy into producing eggs.

So if you have a hen that’s molting, you can try a 22% commercial feed, or something with a lot of protein in it. Try things such as mealworms, black soldier fly larvae, or wheat fodder. If you like to feed eggs to your chickens, eggs are another protein supplement you can give a molting hen.

I supplement molting hens with my Fluffiest Feathers Ever Chicken Supplement. It’s packed full of protein and nutrients to help your hens have the fluffiest feathers ever! You can find it in the store here: Fluffiest Feathers Ever Chicken Supplement

 

Make sure your hens have enough to eat

The third thing that you can do in the winter to keep your hens laying eggs is to make sure they get enough to eat, especially if your hens are used to foraging.

During the cooler weather, foraging obviously gets harder, and as the weather turns cooler, chickens start using more nutrients and energy from whatever they’re eating to keep warm. So if they get too cold, they’re going to take all the energy and put it to keeping warm instead of producing eggs.

So it’s really important in cool weather to make sure that your chickens are getting enough to eat. And if your hens will be cooped up all winter, or if there is a lot of snow and they don’t want to leave their coop, you’ll need to watch how much they’re eating and increase what you’re offering so that they have enough energy to make eggs.

And when I give this advice, I’m assuming that you’re also providing a supplementary light to promote egg production because the bottom line is that without the supplementary light, most chickens won’t lay. But making sure that they have enough to eat is also very important.

You can simply feed more of your hens regular ration or supplement with mealworms, if you don’t already feed them. If it’s gonna be a cold night, you can offer corn. But as a consistent way to increase their feed, I don’t suggest feeding corn. You’re better off offering just more of what they already normally eat, and making sure that they’re getting enough protein and calcium.

Calcium

To help keep your hens laying toward the winter, you should also make sure that they’re getting enough calcium. This is really important. Winter is an especially important time to offer oyster shells as a calcium supplement. You should do it all year round, but winter is especially an important time to do it.

I just offer oyster shells separately in a bowl or a dish. Don’t mix it with their feed, just offer it separately so they can take it as they need it.

Without the calcium supplement, hens will start to draw calcium from their own bones which you don’t want. It’s not to say that if you don’t offer oyster shells, they will absolutely draw calcium from their bones, but if they don’t get enough calcium in their diet, it will start to come from their own bodies.

So I suggest that you offer them oyster shells as a supplement and let them eat at it as they need it.

If you have any concerns about whether your chickens are getting the right diet or are deficient in anything, you can always take them to a vet to have blood pulled to double check. But as long as you’re sticking to a recommended diet and feeding enough, your chickens should be okay.

Just remember, that I’m not a vet, so this is just a public service announcement. If you have any concerns about your chickens not getting the right amount of nutrients, have a vet pull some blood and double check it.

Now let’s just talk about scratch for a minute. I think you should avoid scratch at all costs, especially commercial scratch. If you make it from home and it has enough protein, that’s one thing. But commercial scratch … I suggest that you just save your money and don’t buy it.

Personally I think you’re better off offering more of the regular feed, or offering some other tasty treat.

Stress

Now something else that can shut down egg production in winter, even if you do everything else right, is stress. When a hen’s body is stressed, she’s less likely to lay. So when it’s very hot or very cold, she is less likely to lay because her body is having a little bit more stress. But there’s also environmental stresses that can be brought on by winter and confinement.

Now as it gets colder, you might choose to keep your hens in the coop more often. Or when there’s a lot of snow hens will choose to stay in the coop rather than brave the elements. This can lead to some environmental stresses, especially if they’re used to getting out and about a lot.

This is the classic issue of overcrowding. Overcrowding can lead to a drop in egg production and behaviors like egg eating, picking at each other, fighting. So when there’s snow everywhere and they don’t want to go outside, what are you going do?

Here’s what we do. In the past, we’ve put straw on the ground in the run. We don’t use shavings because shavings absorb water and it can become a boggy mess in the run very quickly. So we use straw which gives them a nice, clean place to walk and it’s a little bit warmer than snow.

Then to convince them to go outside we offer them treats, like mealworms. Pumpkin is another favorite. You can offer them any treat that they really go nuts for.

The situation of chickens being in the coop too much really becomes one of weighing the risks and the benefits. If they stay inside, what kind of behavioral, or even nutritional issues will they develop if they’re in the coop for long periods of time without sunlight. Vitamin D absorption can become an issue which then causes problems with calcium absorption. So look at the risks versus the benefits in making them go outside for a couple hours.

Obviously I’m not saying you should make them go outside in negative thirty degree weather or thirty mile an hour gusts. I definitely wouldn’t have them go outside in that case.

I’d definitely wait for a day when the weather is better. If you have really bad weather every day where you live, I’d consider building them an indoor warm area, like a greenhouse. But in reasonable winter weather, there’s no harm in making them go outside for a couple hours, and it will only benefit them and help avoid cabin fever.

Boredom Busters

Another option is what I like to call boredom busters. You can find a lot of examples out there on the internet. You can move perches around a lot to give them some interesting environmental things to think about. Something mine love are pumpkins, and literally what I do is I just break it in half and let them peck at the flesh and enjoy that for a few hours. We have about thirty chickens in our coop and it takes them a few hours to get through it all.

If you can’t find pumpkins in your area, you can offer them squash or other gourds. And the nice thing is that since the flesh is a little bit tougher in pumpkins and squash, it can take them some time to get through it, they get extra food, and they also love the seeds.

In my experience, the squash and the pumpkin keep them occupied longer which, in the dead of winter, when they’re bored, is always a good thing. It also keeps them moving around, which helps them keep their body temperature up.

With your flock, you can use some of these ideas to help reduce their stress levels, or you can always come up with your own to keep your flock occupied during colder days of the year when they might not want to go outside and play. And the less stress that they have, the more likely they are to keep laying throughout the winter.

If you want more boredom buster ideas you can head over to my article about my favorite gifts and winter boredom busters for your chickens.

So to sum up, making sure that your hens get enough to eat, get enough light, and have low levels of stress, will help you keep your hens laying eggs. Do you have any ideas you have on how to keep hens laying through the winter? What are your favorite winter boredom busters for chickens?

7 Hacks for Healthier Urban Chickens!

7 Hacks for Healthier Urban Chickens!

One of the questions I get asked the most is: “Can I keep urban chickens even though I live in the city?” And my answer is always a huge YES!

 

Raising chickens is a rewarding and meaningful experience and I highly recommend it to everyone! There are, however, some things that you need to keep in mind when you are raising urban chickens in the big city.

 

It’s totally possible, but you will need to make some adjustments for an urban coop in order to keep you chickens happy and healthy.

 

Here are some of my favorite tips and tricks for raising urban chickens in small spaces.

 

My top tips for raising urban chickens are:

  1. Make sure you can have chickens in your area
  2. Feed organic herbs for healthier hens
  3. Feed your chickens a balanced diet with calcium and protein
  4. Use calendula
  5. Practice good coop hygiene
  6. Provide environmental enrichment
  7. Predator-proof your coop

 

 

 

Make Sure You Can Keep Chickens In Your Area

Before we get started with the rest of the tips in this article, first and foremost you need to make sure you can keep chickens in your area. Not every town allows them – PLEASE do your homework first!

 

Your town might allow chickens, but have limits on the amount of chickens, how many feet they need to be kept away from other homes, or whether you can keep roosters or not.

 

It’s no good trying to keep chickens if your area doesn’t allow them – you’re doing your chickens a disservice because you might have to re-home them. Not fun for anyone!

 

Now, if you CAN keep chickens and you know all the regulations, then read the rest of the tips in this article to help your flock be healthier and happier!

 

Use Organic Herbs in Feed & Nesting Boxes

For people keeping chickens in smaller spaces, such as urban backyards, my favorite piece of advice is keeping them happy and healthy with organic herbs.

 

Because urban coops tend to be smaller and owners need to protect their flock from predators, such as dogs and cats, urban chickens run the risk of developing negative behaviors such as feather picking because they don’t have as much space to roam.

 

Urban chickens also tend to have more stressful lives than pasture raised chickens, so herbs such as peppermint, oregano, garlic, wormwood, and calendula.

 

(And blends such as the herbs we carry in the Living The Good Life With Backyard Chickens store) provide both a natural health boost and environmental interest because hens can pick at the herbs and explore their treat.

 

 

nesting box herbs

Feed your urban chickens a high-quality, nutritious diet

Especially for urban chickens, it’s important that you make that they have a well balanced diet. They can’t forage for nutrients, and they lead slightly more stressful lives because urban chickens are typically cooped all the time, or face environmental stress such as polluted air, lots of noise, etc.

 

One important nutrient to ensure the health of your chickens is calcium. Making sure your hens have ready access to high quality calcium supplements is important to ensure they lay eggs with strong egg shells.

 

You can offer a calcium supplement in the form of oyster shells or dried, crushed eggshells. To dry your egg shells, simply wash them so the albumen is cleaned off, then allow them to air dry a bit.

 

Next, toast them by placing them in your oven at 200 degrees for about 10 minutes. Then crush, and offer separately or mix with your flock’s feed.

 

It’s also important to make sure that your urban chickens are getting enough protein. If you want an out-of-the-box treat, black soldier fly larvae are full of protein, fat, AND 50 times more calcium than treats such as mealworms.

 

And hens LOVE them! I have an in depth article about the benefits of black soldier fly larvae here if you want more information!  If you want black soldier fly larvae for your hens, we carry them in the store right here.

 

Keeping urban chickens is easy and healthy!

Mix Calendula With Your Urban Chicken’s Feed

 

For golden yolks (which is why most people keep chickens – for healthier eggs), adding the herb calendula to your chickens’ diet is a must. (We carry calendula in the store right here.)

 

Calendula contains beta carotenes, which lend their orange color to your hen’s yolks.

 

Practice Good Coop Hygiene

All natural hygiene is a must for urban chickens. They are more susceptible to internal parasites such as worms and external parasites such as mites because they’re not able to move around as much as their country cousins.

 

Using essential oils such as melaleuca and lemon when cleaning their coop will help keep their home clean and hygienic.

 

It’s important to not use household cleaners such as bleach – the fumes can harm your chickens, and when bleach mixes with the ammonia from your flock’s droppings, it can produce mustard gas! Yikes!

 

So, all natural cleaners are a must to keep your flock healthy.

 

Keeping urban chickens is fun!

Provide Environmental Enrichment

Like we talked about earlier, urban chickens have more stressful lives due to different environmental circumstances than their pasture raised counterparts.

 

So in order to avoid negative habits such as feather picking, you need to provide your chickens with some environmental enrichment activities.

 

This could be things like providing herbs for them to pick at or ensuring that there are places for your chickens to perch in your coop.

 

Providing environmental activities for your chickens helps to keep them happy and helps keep them from developing bad habits.

 

Predator Proof Your Coop

I’ve seen way too many urban chicken owners get burned because they didn’t predator proof their coop. They thought there weren’t chicken predators in the city.

 

While you might not have to worry about chicken predators like raccoons or possums in the city, you do need to worry about cats, dogs and any other animals that might be “interested” in your chickens. Always make sure that your coop is predator proof so you can keep your chickens safe.

 

Dogs can be another problem for those raising chickens in the city. If you have a pet dog they can be just a little bit too interested in your chickens and that can cause huge problems.

 

My number one tip is to keep your chickens and dogs separate. Even the best behaved dogs might get curious and ANY dog has the potential to seriously injure your chickens (even little dogs), so I recommend that you just keep them apart if you think there’s a chance your dog might play too rough with your chickens.

 

Make Sure Neighbors Are On Board

Many of the readers I get messages from are concerned about their neighbors getting upset because they have chickens. Honestly, as long as you don’t have a rooster, it very unlikely that anyone will know you have chickens at all!

 

In fact, I know someone who was raising chickens in the middle of a neighborhood for years and his neighbors didn’t even realize they were there! Hens can be very quiet!

 

I keep my coop super clean so it doesn’t smell as bad, and hens aren’t typically noisy. In fact, I think dogs are 10 times more annoying for neighbors than chickens could ever be!

 

Most chickens are docile, quiet, and pretty well-behaved from my experience. And trust me the second your neighbors try some of your chickens’ delicious eggs they won’t complain. In fact, they’ll probably want to get chickens of their own!

 

I always recommend that you check your cities’ ordinances and policies about chickens to be sure you know the rules about raising chickens in your area. Some cities might limit the number of chickens you can own based on how big your backyard is. Check it out to be sure!

 

Do you have experience with raising urban chickens? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!




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How to Catch a Rooster with Your Hands

How to Catch a Rooster with Your Hands

Do you need to know how to catch a rooster with your hands but afraid you’ll get hurt?

 

Read along to discover how I catch the most aggressive rooster in my backyard chicken flock – without getting a scratch on me!



While it’s completely natural for roosters to protect their territory, it’s also a real drag when one tries to beat you up on a daily basis.

 

As time goes on, you’ll probably need to give your rooster medical treatment – buuuuuutttt…..you might also be taking your life in your hands.

 

In this article, I’m going to show you how to catch a rooster with your hands….and without getting hurt.

 

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Why do roosters attack?

Chickens don’t have many natural ways to protect themselves. In fact, running away from predators and flogging with their spurs are really all the things chickens can do.

 

From a survival standpoint, it’s important that chickens exercise any natural defenses they have.

 

So, from that perspective, it’s easy to understand why roosters attack.

 

Even though we keep chickens as pets, it’s hard to remove millions of years of survival habits, and in some cases, we don’t WANT our fluffy butts to be defenseless.

 

On our farm, there’s been many, many instances where predators have tried to take down our backyard chicken flock – and the rooster has saved the day.

 

In domestic breeds, it’s uncommon for roosters to want to attack humans, although it can definitely happen.

 

On our farm, we’ve only had 3 roosters (out of hundreds) who really came after humans.

 

One stopped eventually (and he’s now a sweetheart) but the other 2 just never got over it.

 

Particularly once they reach maturity (around 7 months old), you might notice your rooster becoming more and more aggressive.

 

(You can read this article to find out how to train a rooster to stop attacking you)

 

Now, just for clarification, you should never have to deal with a rooster that hurts people if it’s making life difficult, and it’s okay to find another home for him.

 

However, if you choose to keep him, you’ll probably need to catch your rooster at some point.

 

How do roosters attack?

Without getting too deep into this conversation, when roosters attack, they might:

  • Fly up at you
  • Dig their spurs into you
  • Bite you with their beak
  • Hit you with their wings
  • Divebomb you from above (I’ve had this happen, and it’s actually pretty painful)
  • Charge at you or chase you with their feathers ruffled

How to catch a rooster with your hands (without getting hurt)

Do it at night

If you have to catch a rooster, the easiest time possible to nab him is during night time or just after sunset.

 

Chickens like to roost after sundown. They can’t see the world as well, making them a prime target for nocturnal predators.

 

So, they evolved to stay still and quiet when it’s dark. Because of this, your rooster is much less likely to run away at night.

 

They are bedded down and quite sedated – and that makes easy for you.

 

Be confident

The worst thing you can ever do when dealing with an aggressive rooster is show that you’re scared. He’s already scared of you, and he will take your fear as a reason to attack.

 

Further, you should also never turn your back to an aggressive rooster – they’ll know you’re scared and take the opportunity to chase you.

 

If you’re not confident, you also might tip them off that you’re trying to catch them – and once your cover is blown, you might have a harder time nabbing him.  

 

Which leads us to my next tip – covering yourself so even if you get attacked, it doesn’t hurt.

 

Gloves are critical

Even though your rooster will be quieter at night, you should still wear gloves or other protection depending on how aggressive he is.

 

We’ve had some that are very, very aggressive – and gloves give us confidence that if he does attack, we’re less likely to get spurred.

 

When I wear gloves, I use leather work gloves, which are hard to penetrate.

 

I’ve used gloves and I’ve used socks – both work. Socks are good because you can layer them, which gives you even more padding.

 

 

How to nab him

Make sure you first know what you’ll do with him once you have him.

 

In our case, we usually need to grab them for medical treatment or to remove an errant string around their feet, so we’ll put him into a large dog crate.

 

If you’ll also put him into a crate or carrier, have it handy so you can immediately transfer him.

 

The less time you’re holding him, the more successful you’ll be.

 

Once you’re confident and invulnerable to getting hurt, grab him (without crushing him) around his middle and over his wings so he can’t flap them hurt you.

 

Hold him about as tight as you would a child who is trying to run away, and make sure you have the crate ready to pop him straight into.



He’ll probably be mad and cluck at you in self-righteous indignation, but at least both of you are safe!

 

If he flaps his wings while you’re holding him, don’t worry – just hold him snugly and at arms length away from your face until he’s calm.

 

If necessary (if he’s going completely berserk for example), you can hold him upside down. This is a last resort, but it works because the blood goes to their heads.

 

However, as soon as he’s calm, transfer him to the dog crate so he can be upright again.

 

And that’s it! Catching a rooster is pretty easy as long as you’re confident that you won’t be hurt.

 

Do you have any tips for how to catch a rooster with your hands? Leave a comment below!






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Why Eggs Are Nature’s Perfect Protein Source

Why Eggs Are Nature’s Perfect Protein Source

Did you know the perfect protein source is hiding in your backyard?

 

No, it’s not your chickens….it’s their eggs.

 

Turns out, our grandparents who insisted on two eggs for breakfast were onto something.

 

If you’ve been feeling tired lately, put down the caffeine and toss out any commercial energy bars.

 

Instead, pull out your pan and start scrambling some butt nuggets. Use one of the 50+ egg recipes in this article!

 

Why eggs?

Once upon a time, people suffering from high cholesterol were told to avoid eggs, but the times they are a-changin’.

 

According to medicine, unlike caffeine or our other usual sources of quick energy, eggs don’t cause blood sugar or insulin to spike and crash.

 

In other words, eggs are a sustainable source of energy for your body.

 

In fact, eggs are such a good source of high-quality protein, they’re pretty much the gold standard for comparing ALL sources of protein out there, and something even top nutritionists keep in their fridges.

 

What?! My hen’s eggs are really that great?

Yup, your hens aren’t just giving you breakfast every day: they’re doing you a MAJOR solid.

 

We all know that eggs from backyard chickens have way more vitamins than store-bought eggs, but did you know that a single egg contains 6 grams of high-quality protein (it’s not just about protein, but how GOOD that protein is – that’s why commercial protein bars are questionable in more ways than one)?

 

You can also count on consuming 13 percent of your daily protein need with that same egg, and getting some extra thiamin, riboflavin, folate, as well as two key vitamins responsible for way more vitamins: B12 and B6. 

 

(But be sure to eat the yolks – this is where most of the nutrients are found. Oh, and be sure to eat eggs at breakfast, since it’s important WHEN you eat protein to keep you feeling energized all day.)

 

So eat some eggs = gardening longer without feeling pooped, especially if, like me, you’re getting on in years.

 

So, now the big question people ask.

Can eggs help you lose weight?

 

Possibly.

 

A study performed in the UK showed that eating two eggs for breakfast might help overweight people lose 65 percent more weight when eaten as part of a healthy diet.

 

Study participants also said they felt like they had more energy, too.  

Maybe this is why grandpa insisted on eggs for breakfast every day?

This article was reviewed for medical accuracy by a licensed physician on 7/16/17.




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