How To Keep Your Chickens Safe On Halloween

How To Keep Your Chickens Safe On Halloween

So I’m a huge fan of Halloween! I think it’s so fun for kids and I love the costumes, the pumpkins, and all of the fall decorations.

However, especially if you’re raising chickens in an urban or suburban area, Halloween can be a pretty stressful and scary time for your chickens. So today we’re going to talk about how to keep your chickens safe on Halloween.

Now the thing about Halloween, is that it’s really fun for us humans, but for animals it can be kind of a scary time, especially if you have domestic animals. There’s going to be a lot more activity in your neighborhood during Halloween and that can be very stressful for chickens and other pets.

 

Trick-or Treating People

The number one thing to remember during Halloween and Trick-or-Treating, is that not every neighborhood Trick-or-Treats at night.

Usually chickens will go in their coop at night and you’ll keep them safely cooped up all night long night, so you might think you don’t need to take any extra steps to keep them safe.

But some areas tend to have Trick-or-Treating hours during the day, or at dusk, right before sunset, which are times when your chickens might be out and about and hunting and pecking instead of safely in their coop.

So you definitely want to make sure that you coop your chickens up during the hours of Trick-or-Treating, especially if they’re during the day.

More and more neighborhoods are shifting more towards day hours to protect kids. And so younger kids who might go to bed earlier, can still enjoy Trick-or-Treating.

So definitely make sure that your chickens are cooped up. And make sure that the coops are secure. You’re going to want to make sure that other people can’t easily get into your coop. 

I would also consider keeping your chickens cooped up the night before Halloween because that tends to be mischief night. Mischief night is a big deal in some areas.

It’s not such a big deal in our area. We live in a very rural neighborhood, and I grew up in a rural neighborhood where we actually never got Trick-or-Treaters.

But in some areas that I have lived in, mischief night has been a big deal, especially if you have a lot of teenagers around or young adults who might be impetuous.

It could be a pretty disastrous situation for your chickens. So my suggestion is just all Halloween, the night before Halloween and Halloween day, and that block of time around Halloween, just keep your chickens cooped up, or if you do allow them to forage and run around, supervise them just for the sake of safety.

It’s not worth somebody possibly harming your chickens, to let them roam around free.

My recommendation is that you keep your chickens cooped up or make sure that they are being supervised, so that you can make sure they stay safe.

 

Dogs

This is another reason why you should coop your chickens up on Halloween. A lot of people, as they’re taking their kids around Trick-or-Treating, bring their dog with them. And we all know that even the most family friendly dog, when it sees a chicken, can turn into a killer.

I know this from personal experience. Our dog was a great family dog. Loved people and was so friendly, but the second he got around a chicken, he turned into a chicken killer.

Not every dog out there is going to be like that, obviously. But you really don’t want to take the chance that’s somebody’s neighborhood dog could get at your chickens. That’s just another reason to keep your chickens cooped up earlier on Halloween.

 

Predators

Because of all the candy and all the food around during Halloween, predators might be a bigger issue. Namely, things like possums and raccoons.

Raccoons are pretty nondiscriminatory when it comes to what they eat. If it’s there, they’re going to go for it.

So because of all the candy and food around, raccoons are more likely to be out than they would any other night. They’re going to be out every night, but they’re probably going to be out in droves on Halloween (and probably a couple days after too).

So I recommend that you double check that your coop is secure, so that your chickens will be safe from predators.

Traffic

Another reason to keep your chickens cooped up around Trick-or-Treat time, is because of higher volumes of traffic. I remember when we were kids, my parents didn’t want to walk with their kids from house to house. It’s not fun. It’s tiring. You’re an adult. You’ve been working all day. So what do you do? You get the car out.

The problem with this, (I’m sure you’re already put it all together) is that chickens sometimes aren’t the brightest when it comes to traffic. I know mine aren’t. We’ve actually never had a chicken get hit, but it can happen because people aren’t paying attention. They’re watching their kids. They’re watching the dog. They’re not paying attention to what your chickens are doing.

Then there’s the people who’ll hit your chickens on purpose. So best advice, during Trick-or-Treat hours, after Trick-or-Treat hours, and on mischief night, just keep your chickens cooped up.

Your chickens won’t be harmed in any way by keeping them cooped up. Just make sure that they have plenty of food and water. You can give them extra treats and boredom busters to keep them entertained, but I would recommend you keep them in their coop.

Candy

Don’t be tempted to give your chickens candy. As we all know, chickens are curious creatures, and when given the opportunity, they’ll taste anything. If you’ve been thinking about giving them candy during Halloween, don’t do it. Just don’t do it. They don’t need it.

There are plenty of other healthy treat options you can give your chickens if you want to spoil them on Halloween. You could give them corn (real corn, NOT candy corn!), lettuce, Black Soldier Fly Larvae, mealworms, or one of my treat mixes, but please don’t give them candy.

Now another thing to keep in mind, is to make sure that you keep your trash cans lidded up tightly, so that your chickens can’t scavenge in the trash cans.

For the most part they’ll pretty much eat whatever they can find. Candy can mess with their blood sugar and it can mess with a whole ton of other things.

The other thing is that certain candies, such as hard candies, gumballs, or candy corn, can be choking hazards for your chickens. Once they swallow the candy it goes into their crop. Eventually it hits the gizzard. The gizzard has rocks in it and it grinds everything up.

But in the meantime, as it’s going down the esophagus, there’s a chance that they might choke on it. Especially if it’s something big and hard.

Don’t give your chickens candy and try not to throw candy in your yard. You just want to make sure that your yard is fairly clean before you let your chickens out of their coop again.

Chances of them choking on candy are probably slim (they could also just as easily choke on a piece of hard corn) but for the sake of making things easy on ourselves, just avoid giving your chickens candy.

The final thing that I’ll say about candy, is to not give your chickens anything that’s been unwrapped. As an example of this is, some families prefer to give out healthy treats, so they’ll give out apples, or oranges, or bananas.

My suggestion is although it might be tempting to throw them in the compost pile, or to feed it to your chickens as their Halloween treat, don’t feed them anything that’s come from another person that’s been unwrapped.

It’s the same reason as we don’t give it to our children. You don’t know what somebody’s put in it. You don’t know if they’ve put poison in it. You don’t know if they’ve put pins in it.

We all hear the stories every year of somebody where someone found pins or other stuff in their kid’s Halloween candy. It can happen. My suggestion is stay safe, don’t feed your chickens any unwrapped fruit or vegetables from other people, because again, you don’t know what’s been in them.

Candy Wrappers

So as we all know, chickens are opportunistic eaters. They might very well go ahead and try and eat candy wrappers. And that’s definitely not good for them.

So just make sure that when your kids are eating the candy that all the candy wrappers get cleaned up so your chickens don’t accidentally ingest them.

Candy wrappers are something that could very easily mess with your chickens digestive system. It might not hurt them immediately, but it could cause some serious problems later on.

Make sure your chickens can’t get at any candy wrappers and be sure that you keep your trashcans lidded so that your chickens can’t get in them and dig around and accidentally ingest a candy wrapper or anything else that they really should not be eating.

It’s good to keep the raccoons away too, so I highly suggest you lid your garbage cans.

 

Can your chickens eat pumpkins or gourds?

We’ve talked about all of the scary stuff, so now let’s talk about feeding your chickens pumpkins! If you have unpainted pumpkins or other sorts of gourds, go ahead and chop them up and feed them to your chickens.

They will absolutely love you for it! If the pumpkin or the gourd has been painted, I probably would not feed the peel itself to your chickens. We don’t really know what’s in those paints so it’s not good for them. And as the person eating their eggs, you don’t want to ingest any of that either.

Go ahead and cut away the painted part, then feed it to your chickens. If the whole outside has been painted, maybe just cut it open and scoop out the interior.

There is a belief that pumpkin seeds can help your chickens with worms. I don’t really see any proof of that, but at the end of the day, the chickens love the seeds. They think they taste great and they’re good for them. And the pumpkin itself is very good for them. It has a lot of nutrients in it!

My one tip when it comes to pumpkin and gourds, is to wait to buy them until the day after Halloween. The grocery stores in our area heavily discount gourds after Halloween, so I will often buy like 10 gourds for only five bucks.

I feed them to my pigs, I feed them to the chickens. We even feed them to our goats too!

It’s a perfect opportunity for people like us to go score really inexpensive food for our chickens and the other livestock on our farm. It’s super healthy for them and they love it! They get to dig through it and they’ll just have the best time ever.

So yes, your chickens can eat pumpkins and gourds. They will love it, and it’ll be very nutritious for them. So go ahead and feed them away to your flock!

So that’s all folks, I hope you were able to learn a little bit more about how to keep your chickens safe for Halloween! Let me know in the comments below what you do to keep you chickens safe for Halloween!

Try This DIY Hanging Pumpkin Treat For Your Chickens

Try This DIY Hanging Pumpkin Treat For Your Chickens

Today I wanted to share a simple DIY hanging pumpkin treat that you can make for your chickens.

The idea for this project comes from reader Herdy Bell! Thanks for sharing it with us Herdy!

My chickens love pumpkins and since it’s right after Halloween there tend to be a lot of leftover pumpkins around! You can snag great deals on pumpkins at grocery stores or at farms after Halloween. I always stock up on pumpkin, so that I can feed them to my flock.

Remember, however, that pumpkins are treats – not a replacement for a good basic diet.

Now this project is pretty simple, basically you’re just going to hang a pumpkin in your coop.

You might ask, why would I hang my pumpkin and not just give it to them? Well you can definitely just slice your pumpkin in half and give it to them. Trust me they’ll love it.

But hanging the pumpkin provides some different environmental interest for your chickens. It’s something new and fun for them to do. Providing environmental activities is important, especially going into the winter months.

When winter comes and chickens tend to be in the coop more, bad behaviors (such as picking feathers, or picking on others) can set in very easily. And that can make your life difficult.

Providing stimulating activities in your coop or run for your chickens can distract them from developing negative behaviors.

Plus it’s just fun to watch your chickens play with and figure out new toys and treats!

Here’s how to make this DIY Hanging Pumpkin Treat

All you need is:

  • A pumpkin
  • Rope or twine
  • Serrated kitchen knife
  • Drill

Step One: Drill a hole 

Now the first thing you need to do is drill a hole in the stem of your pumpkin. You’re going to want to choose a pumpkin with a think, sturdy stem. Then you need to drill a hole through the pumpkin’s stem horizontally, as close to the base as possible.

After you drill the hole you can thread your twine through the hole. I recommend using thicker twine so that the weight of the pumpkin doesn’t break it.

You can also thread a second piece of twine through the hole to make sure that it’s secure. After your twine is threaded through, you just need to tie the two ends of the twine together so that you can easily hang the pumpkin from something in your coop.

Step Two: Scrape off parts of the outer pumpkin shell

Next you need to scrape off parts of the outer shell/skin. This will make it easier for your chickens to be able to get to the insides and seeds of the pumpkin.

You could do this a variety of different ways. I used a small serrated knife I had in my kitchen. All I did was start sawing at the side of the pumpkin with the serrated knife.

The point here is you want to take parts of the outer layer of the pumpkin off, so that your chickens have access to the soft insides of the pumpkin.

After sawing with the knife I was able to pull off parts of the skin and keep going. You don’t have to take off all the skin (that would take forever), just enough that your chickens will have access to the insides.

Step 3: Hang your pumpkin

Now you can hang your pumpkin in your coop! I would hang it fairly close to the floor of your coop/run, around 6-12 inches off the ground, just to be safe.

And that’s it! I love how simple and easy it is to make this DIY treat for your flock! Thanks again Herdy for sharing your idea with us!

More Chicken Treat Articles:

Fall In Love With Feeding Pumpkins To Your Chickens + Fall Coop Spray Recipe! [Podcast]

Fall In Love With Feeding Pumpkins To Your Chickens + Fall Coop Spray Recipe! [Podcast]

T’is the season for pumpkins…but do you know why they’re so healthy for chickens?

 

Do you know how to safely feed them? How about how to get them for next to nothing?

 

Well, get ready and get on the edge of your seat, because you’re about to discover just how beneficial pumpkin can be to your coop AND your wallet this season.

 

In this podcast, you’ll learn:

  • Why pumpkins are a great addition to your flock’s diet (but why they shouldn’t REPLACE their diet)
  • How to safely feed pumpkin so your flock gets the most benefit
  • Where to find pumpkins for free and how to ask for them
  • My recipe for a fall spray to help keep your coop clean and smelling fresh

 

Links we discuss:

These are the essential oils I use

 

Wondering if you can feed pumpkins to your backyard chickens? You can, and here's why you should!

 

10+ Amazing, Must Make DIY Fall Decorations For Your Coop

10+ Amazing, Must Make DIY Fall Decorations For Your Coop

I LOVE fall! I know once August hits y’all are pulling out your pumpkin spice candles and counting down the days until you can start wearing sweaters. I’m with you!

One of my favorite things about fall is the decorations. I love decorating for fall and there’s nothing better than fall chicken coop decorations.

We’re building a couple of new coops and so I’m super excited this year to be able to try out some of these AMAZING chicken coop decorations!

DIY Pumpkin Vase 

I made this pumpkin vase for my chicken coop last year, and you can bet I’m going to make it again this year! It’s a cheap and easy project that is the perfect fall coop decoration! And when you’re done with this decoration your chickens can eat the pumpkins and the mums! For detailed instruction on how to make this cute vase you can read my article right here.

Looking for a cute fall decoration for your chicken coop? Make a vase out of pumpkins! (Hint: It's also super nutritious for your hens!)

 

Fall Wreath

I am loving this super cute fall wreath for a decoration for your chicken coop! Here’s a tutorial to make one yourself right here or if you don’t have time to DIY you can buy one right here.

Rustic Welcome Outdoor Sign

I love this rustic welcome sign. It’s so easy to make and you can adjust the wreath based on the season! I’m so excited to make this welcome sign for one of our coops and use a fall wreath! You can find the full tutorial for this welcome sign right here!

 

Recycled Bicycle Garden Planter

I LOVE this cute recycled bike garden planter that my friend, Adrianne made for her garden! I love that this garden planter can be used for different seasons too! For fall I’m going to fill the planter basket with orange and yellow flowers (and maybe even some pumpkins) to add a super cute fall touch to the area around my chicken coop!

Happy Fall Y’all Sign

I love this sign! I think it’s so fun! I don’t have a tutorial for this project, but it should be simple to make! All you need is a wood board, some paint, and a little creativity!

Fall Window Box 

I LOVE window boxes for chicken coops! We added this cute window box to one of the new coops we’re building here on the farm! It’s so cute and it’s perfect for fall! Looking for more window box ideas? I’ve got you covered. Check out this post with all of my favorite window boxes!

Backyard chicken coop window

DIY Fall Sign Post

This is hands down my favorite fall decoration I’ve seen! I LOVE this cute fall sign post! It’s quick and easy to make and it will look fantastic outside of your chicken coop! Check out the full tutorial here!

PUMPKINS!

Isn’t this coop adorable! I love how they incorporated mums and pumpkins to give the coop a beautiful fall feel! Even if you don’t have a space like this one to place pumpkins on your coop, you can still place pumpkins around the coop! They’re a super cute and easy way to decorate your coop for fall! (And you chickens can eat them too!)

If you want the plans for this specific chicken coop head on over to my 55+ free coop plans article!

Painted Pumpkins

And speaking of pumpkins, you can also paint your pumpkins for a gorgeous coop decoration! I love this hello fall pumpkin!

I also love how simple it is to make this! All you need is a hello fall stencil (like the one below) and some white paint and you’re good to go! It’s a super simple project that makes the perfect decoration for your chicken coop!

 Corn Husk Wreath

I LOVE this! Not only is it a very inexpensive decoration for your coop, but it looks amazing! Check out the tutorial to make this corn husk wreath here!

View this post on Instagram

It's that time of the year again! Not many know this but I started my business off by just making wreaths about 4 years ago. I don't really make them much anymore, but I LOVE making these corn husk wreaths for fall. We've had ours for going on 3 years now and it looks just as good as the day I made it. 🎃🌽 . These are made to order and I will only be making a limited amount this year, they are listed in my Etsy shop link in bio. ☺️ . . #whimsicallychicboutique #handmadesign #etsyhandmade #sign #woodensign #walldecor #homedecor #decor #shoplocal #shopsmall #etsyseller #signs #woodsign #handmadewithlove #wallart #rusticdecor #farmhousechic #farmhousedecor #etsyshop #makersgonnamake #handmadeisbetter #smallbiz #mclsignmakers #signmaker #cornhusk #cornhuskwreath #falldecor #fall #wreath #fallwreath

A post shared by Whimsically Chic Boutique (@whimsicallychicboutique) on

Metal Cart

I love this cute metal cart because it would be so easy to add some cute fall decorations to! You could fill it with pumpkins or corn stalks and it would look amazing around your coop! You can buy this basket right here.

Fall Signs

I love this cute fall sign! And it’s a simple project that you can put outside of your coop! Chicken coop signs are an easy and adorable decoration that are awesome for any chicken coop!

Chalkboard Platter Wreath

So clearly I’m a little bit obsessed with wreaths…but I just love how cute they look on my coop door! I love that you can customize the saying on this wreath because it’s a chalkboard! Here’s the full tutorial!

Well that’s all for now folks. What fall decorations are you going to add to your coop this year? I’d love to here about it in the comments below!

 

Not Sure What Crops To Grow In May? Here’s Answers! [Planting Guide]

Not Sure What Crops To Grow In May? Here’s Answers! [Planting Guide]

It’s May, but for different areas of the country, that means different crops you can start!

 

Here in Zone 7, we’re well under way, and have already harvested our cool weather crops, and my tomato plants have had a sudden growth spurt.

 

My friends in Zones 3 and 4, however, are just getting started (and I have friends who are still under frozen tundra!)

 

In this article, we’ll discuss what to grow in USDA Zones 3-10, which covers most of the contiguous United States.

 

Zones 9 and 10

This is where you can find some early heat, so you won’t be able to plant a lot of seeds in this region. This is why you will have to focus on starting with some transplants.

 

You can use lima beans, cantaloupe, cucumber, eggplant, jicama, okra, peppers, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, winter and summer squash as well as watermelon and tomatillo. Edible cactuses are another option.

 

If you live in a desert area or if water is scarce, choose varieties that are drought resistant. Eggplants, for example, thrive in arid desert environments.

 

Make sure you water generously in the mornings or evening dusk (very morning will help your plants withstand the mid-day heat.

 

Zones 7 and 8

For these zones, you will be ok with planting lima beans, snap beans as well as sweet corn, cucumber, eggplants, okra, peppers, sweet potatoes, winter and summer squash as well as watermelons.

 

If you want watermelons, you may want to grow them early in the month, especially if you’re direct sowing with seeds. Cantaloupe is another option, be sure to allow it to trellis to keep it off the ground and away from critters.

 

If you have a cooler area of your property, you can still sneak in some radishes and baby lettuce in Zone 7, but kale and broccoli will bolt, as will lettuce if it’s not harvested at an early stage.

 

Zones 5 and 6

Here you may also want to opt for some specific seeds. These include watermelons, tomatoes, summer and winter squash, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, peppers, okra, lettuce, eggplants, sweet corn, cucumbers, cantaloupes as well as lima and snap beans!

 

What you have to note about these two zones is that they don’t’ have to deal with such a challenging weather as other regions do. This is why you can opt for a variety of crops. Thankfully, these can be planted throughout May, with little to no problems.

 

Zones 3 and 4

For these zones, you will see that you can easily plant a wide array of seeds, and the temperature is on your side. You can still start watermelon and cantaloupe inside a greenhouse.

 

Kale, radish, head and leaf lettuce, peas, chard, carrots, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, beets can all be started outdoors – if frost threatens the tender starts, be sure to cover with a cold frame.

 

When the ground is workable, you can plant your potatoes.

 

You can start hardening off your tomatoes, summer and winter squash, pumpkins, cantaloupe, cucumbers, but if frost threatens, leave them indoors. A frost will kill them, wasting your work.

 

This is quite an incredible investment and one that will almost certainly pay off very well in the end.

 

The idea here is to invest in crops that deliver a very good quality and which are easy to nurture and take care of. Most of them can be grown throughout May, although chard and leaf lettuce are better grown at the earliest parts of May to prevent bolting.

 

I’d like to hear from you!

Which of these vegetables and fruits are you growing? Leave a comment below!