Confessions from the Coop: Who’s Laying??

Confessions from the Coop: Who’s Laying??

In this Confessions from the Coop series, I share a “behind the scenes” glimpse of life on the farm! Enjoy!

 

This week, it’s been all about construction on the farm. Well, construction and filming for my new web show series! (Stay tuned for more info about that!)

 

I’ve decided I’m building the ducklings a new fenced in area – they’re already too small for their tractor (the dang chicks stayed in there for a month! Sniff….they grow up so fast!) and it’s warm enough that they’ll be fine in a super-secure fenced in duck house.

 

So, they’ll get their own palace, complete with a pool, a deep waterer for cleaning, a treat bin for black soldier fly larvae and Fluffiest Feathers Ever (yep, it’s full of Vitamin B, so the ducklings have been getting it too – I think that’s why they’ve grown so quickly).

 

As of right now, I’m not going to put flooring on the run besides dirt, but I’m considering brick or other stone so it’s easy to clean and won’t STINK in the rain. You know how easily their poo can turn into a cesspool!

 

The mornings have been getting cooler – I sure hope they have their feathers by October!!

 

Who’s laying??

One of my bantams started laying….and I have no idea who. Based on ages, I’m pretty sure it’s Partridge – a tiny bantam rescue hen someone gave me. But I can’t be 100% certain because I’ve never seen her lay.

 

Previously, she was in a quarantine coop with roosters, and never laid anything. But now she’s in the coop with my Silkies and bantam Cochin hens, and eggs are appearing.

 

The Silkies and Cochins are they’re just a few months old. They’re right on the cusp of laying age, but at just 5 months, it’s a tad too soon for them.

 

The eggs are pure white and about 1/2 the size of a regular egg. I haven’t cracked one open yet to check whether they’re fertile, but if they are….people, I’m hatching bantam eggs. Because the only rooster she’s with is also a bantam. And the chicks will be ADORABLE.

 

backyard chicken eggs

 

I’ve put calendula in the nesting boxes and they’ve been getting Fluffiest Feathers Ever! and Best Eggs Ever! with their feed – which might be why Partridge started laying.

 

We’ve been giving the hens Fluffiest Feathers Ever! lately because the roosters got a bit aggressive earlier this year – and the hens are growing beautiful, glossy feathers back.

 

Some are taking longer than others, but that’s kind of the nature of growing feathers. Some hens just their sweet time!

 

My Blue Copper Marans especially has regrown her feathers quickly. In the span of just a few weeks – less than 4 I think – she’s completely covered where the roosters pulled out all her feathers.

 

She’ll be 4 years old I believe this fall (she was born in November – that much I do recall). The years do pass by, don’t they?

 

We’ve also given Fluffiest Feathers Ever! to the chicks once they reach 5 weeks to help them grow healthy feathers.

 

One of the recent hatches has a completely grey chick.

 

I know this is Hawk’s daughter (I’m sure its female) because the chick has brown tips on the end of her feathers and I KNOW she’s not from my Blue Copper Marans hen (the only other grey hen on the farm) because I didn’t incubate Blue’s eggs. She never lays any, LOL!

backyard chickens

I learned the other day that in Ancient Egypt, there were no chickens (who can imagine such a world?) but there were ducks and quail, and they kept them for eggs and meat.

 

That’s why there’s hieroglyphs of ducks and quail, but not chickens. I thought that was pretty interesting.

 

I hope you’ve enjoyed these photos – I’ll see you next week!

How To Raise People Friendly Chickens

How To Raise People Friendly Chickens

Who doesn’t want to raise people friendly chickens?

 

If you’re keeping backyard chickens, it’s pretty likely you’re also keeping them as pets. Yeah, yeah, they lay eggs, and that’s great, but they also make great pets, right?

 

Which means you likely want to raise people friendly chickens. And luckily, that’s a pretty easy thing for anyone to do.

 

It’s also pretty important if you have children – NOTHING is worse than a rooster who flogs your kids, or pecks bloody holes into you when you enter their coop.

 

While the rooster is just doing his job, it’s also no fun to get beat up just for feeding your flock.

 

So, in this article, I’m going to show you how to raise people friendly chickens so you can have a flock that’s fun and enjoys your company as much as you enjoy theirs!

 

Start with a breed that’s known for their friendly nature

Yes, it’s true that any chicken can be a lap chicken. We’ve had plenty of chickens of various breeds, and whether you can raise people friendly chickens with them largely comes down to how they’re handled and their individual personalities.

 

But like dogs, some breeds of chickens have a tradition of being raised as companions to people, and so are MORE LIKELY to become your best friends.

 

The list of breeds below isn’t comprehensive; it’s just to get you started!

 

Silkies

Silkies are well known for their friendly, docile natures. They’re also great chickens for children because they put up with being held better than other breeds. (Read more about Silkie chickens here)

 

Speckled Sussex

These backyard chickens are so beautiful, and full of personality! They have brave natures, so they’ll readily come up to people while other breeds will shy away from human company. (Read more about Speckled Sussex chickens here)

 

Polish Bantams

Like other bantams, polish bantams are gentle and more willing to be held than other breeds, They also look adorable with puffs of feathers on their heads!

 

Cornish Crosses

I seem to be alone in this opinion, but I think Cornish Crosses are great chickens as pets. They enjoy human company and being held, and love just sitting and watching the world go by.


We’ve kept quite a few Cornish Crosses as pets, and they’ve consistently been great family members. The only drawback is they tend to have heart issues, and don’t seem to live as long as other breeds.

 

Rhode Island Reds

If reared as pets, Rhode Island Reds are great for a starter backyard chicken flock. They have friendly natures.

 

We used to have one hen named Daisy. She would do the “submissive squat” to indicate she wanted to be picked up and held. Such fun!

 

Araucana & Ameraucanas

Both of these breeds are friendly, and lay blue eggs! Araucanas originated in Chile, while Ameraucanas are a hybrid breed created in the United States.

 

You can read more about araucana chickens here.

Raise your flock from the time they’re chicks

It’s simpler to start from scratch when trying to raise people friendly chickens than try to retrain a hen that’s had little human contact.

 

So, if you want your chickens to be members of your family, it’s best to get them when they’re chicks, and consistently interact with them.

 

Now, there ARE exceptions: We’ve had hens we rescued from battery cages, and they made GREAT pets.

 

So, in some cases, rescues will learn to enjoy human company and being spoiled, especially after they spent their lives being shut up in less than pleasant surroundings.

 

But to be on the safe side, it’s easier to start with chicks and train them to enjoy human company.

 

Spend time with them, make them your friends, and establish yourself as flock leader

To raise chickens that enjoy human company and being handled by people, it’s crucial to spend time with them and make them your friends.

 

If they don’t know you well or aren’t sure about your role in the flock, they’ll avoid you.

 

It’s also important to let them know you’re the flock leader. The flock leader keeps them safe, shows them where food is, and keeps them comfortable.

 

Spend an hour or so every day with your flock, give them treats, and play games with them. They’ll love it!

 

Lots of treats!

Yep, it’s true. If you’re the “bringer of treats,” you’ll always be popular.

 

Offer your flock treats from your hands, and spend time talking with them and bonding with them as you indulge them.

 

The more you do this, the more your flock will make positive associations with you, and begin to regard you as their “Fearless Leader.”

 

Get to know their own quirks and what makes each one unique

Getting to know each individual chicken is important. You’ll get to know what makes each one unique, and what might help them bond with you.

 

Does your chicken love black soldier fly larvae? Or is oregano the key to their hearts? Does fast movement scare them? Do they liked to be picked up a certain way?

 

Knowing these individual preferences will help you help them stay comfortable in your presence!

 

Limit foraging and keep ‘em well fed. Be their food source

To raise people friendly chickens, they need to know people are their friends. And it helps if your flock understands you’re their food source.

 

If your flock has to forage for food, they essentially have to fend for themselves. This leads to mistrust – they don’t know what to make of you, so they avoid you.

 

In other words, they go wild.

 

Now this isn’t to say foraging is bad. Quite the contrary – it’s a normal and healthy behavior.

 

If you want to raise healthy people friendly chickens, then allow your hens to free range, but supervise their free ranging, and spend time with them as they forage.

 

Offer them treats at the same time so they recognize you’ll always be there with a meal.

 

You can make a game of it by scattering treats around and let them “hunt” for their dried insects!

 

Learning how to raise people friendly chickens is easy – and get ready to have some new best friends!

9 Chicken Breeds Perfect for Beginners!

9 Chicken Breeds Perfect for Beginners!

I’ve gotten a lot of questions lately about which breeds are best for a backyard flock for the first time owner.

 

First, congrats on making the leap into chicken ownership! Watching your birds scratch and interact with each other is one of the most relaxing past times I can think of.

 

They’re great fun, and when you get that first egg, you’ll feel a real sense of accomplishment and independence.

 

You can either buy established hens or chicks locally, or buy chicks either through the mail or at your local feed store. I’ve found a great variety by buying them locally, and even have gotten some mixed breeds that were fantastic.

 

If you buy locally, you know what you’re getting (for the most part), and you can pick your birds. You don’t have to deal with travel stress, and you’ll meet like-minded people who can help you out if you have any questions.

 

Most chicken owners are very friendly, and interested in helping you keep your flock healthy and happy.

 

If you buy from a hatchery, you will find a great variety, and some breeds you might not find locally. Hatcheries are also a great source of information, and carry chicken-related products that can be shipped with your chicks

 

So, which chicken breeds make great starter flocks? Let’s take a closer look!

 

5 Chicken Breeds For New Chicken Mamas

 

1. Rhode Island Reds

If you want easy to care for and great brown-egg layers, Rhode Island Reds are a great breed. They lay consistently, and are great producers, and convert feed into eggs very efficiently.

 

All ours have been very friendly, and we even had a couple that would run to us like dogs when they saw us.

 

photo (20)

My Rhode Island Red laying an egg (you can never predict where they will choose to lay!)

 

2. Buff Orpingtons

Buffs are a great breed for people who want eggs and big beautiful golden birds. Buff Orpington roosters can get up to 10 lbs, which is heavier than egg laying breeds.

 

The hens produce just as well as traditional egg laying breeds, and can get up to 8 lbs. Their feed conversion ratio is good too!

 

Wondering can chickens lay eggs without a rooster? If you keep a rooster and chickens, you'll need to know this backyard chicken for beginners idea!

 

3. Leghorns – If egg laying is your thing, then Leghorns, with their pretty white feathers, are the breed for you. Their eggs are white, and can be fairly large. They tend to be nervous though, so they won’t make a good lap chicken.

 

4. Production Red (aka Red Sex Links, Golden Comets)

Production Reds are one of the best egg laying breeds around,and have an excellent feed to egg conversion ratio. Our hens also lay in the winter, when our other hens have stopped.

 

They aren’t so friendly though, but if egg production is most important to you, then you can’t go wrong!

 

golden sex link

One of my hens. A great producer!

 

 

5. Barred Rocks

Barred Rocks are an extremely pretty breed to look at! They lay reliably, and owners of Barred Rock chickens are devoted to the breed because of their egg laying ability and friendly natures.

 

Owners report their Barred Rock hens are the watchdogs of the flock, making them a good addition if you’ve had trouble with predators.

 

 

Bonus Breeds

Cornish Cross

I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again: I think Cornish Crosses make great pets. The breed as a whole is docile, they don’t get flustered, love to sit with their owners, and love attention. Ours lay every day.

 

Silkies

Silkies also make great pets, especially for children. Silkie chickens are small, the roosters aren’t territorial, social, and they love attention. They also lay eggs….so there’s that too.

 

Brahmas

We have a few brahmas, and they’re friendly, quiet when picked up, and love attention. They lay brown eggs and lay consistently.

Speckled Sussex

We have a speckled sussex, and she’s friendly, although opinionated, loves treats, and does well when being picked up. She likes to eat from the hand, which is great too!

 

There are plenty of options for starter chicken breeds, and these are just a few. They’re all easy to care for, and produce eggs reliably, in addition to being nice to look at! With any breed you get, you will be entertained!

 

12 Types Of Chickens Smart Women Keep As Pets

12 Types Of Chickens Smart Women Keep As Pets

If you’re here, I’m pretty sure you’re probably raising certain types of chickens for their eggs.

 

Raising chicken breeds for eggs is usually why people get into chickens in the first place! Then, very quickly, you realize it’s a lot of fun to own these weird little cluckers and each of the types of chickens has a distinct personality…….and you fall in love.

 

Some types of chickens are great chicken breeds for eggs, some are good for meat, and some types of chickens are perfect as pets. And there are some chicken breeds you need in your life just because they’re fun and quirky (and you can put bows on them).

 

In this article, we’re going to show you the best types of chickens that are perfect as pets!

 

Are you a backyard chicken beginner and not sure which hens will look super cute in your coop? Here's 12 types of chickens to give you some ideas!

 

Chicken breeds for eggs

Marans

Marans, a type of chicken which originated in France, can lay anything from a light brown egg to the coveted chocolate-colored eggs (said to be the best in the world).

 

The first few eggs a marans hen lays can be darker than subsequent ones, unlike other chicken breeds. Chart your flocks egg colors to see if her eggs stay the same shade! There are several different types of marans chickens, including Black Copper, Blue Copper, Cuckoo, and Wheaton.

 

Production Reds

This type of chicken isn’t really a breed, but rather a modern strain, created for high egg production. They lay very consistently, and some will even lay throughout winter.

 

Plymouth Rock Chickens

This is an old chicken breed that’s been raised in the United States for hundreds of years. Plymouth Rock chickens are a great chicken breed for eggs. They lay about 280 eggs a year and the roosters are great guardians and protectors.

Are you a backyard chicken beginner and not sure which hens will look super cute in your coop? Here's 12 types of chickens to give you some ideas!

Easter Eggers

Easter eggers are not breeds of chickens, but rather a hybrid between chickens carrying the blue laying gene and another breed, such as New Hampshire Chickens.

 

If you’re looking for a healthy types of chickens that lay all sorts of colored eggs, then definitely raise Easter eggers, but know the color of the eggs isn’t guaranteed, since they don’t breed true.

 

Types of chickens for pets & children

Silkies

Out of all the types of chickens, Silkies are best known for their even, friendly temperaments, and some silkies are even used as therapy chickens for special-needs children because they’re so good with people.

 

Silkies are adorable with fluffy feathers and 5 toes on their feet. Adult males get around 4 pounds. Hens go broody easily, and they are the types of chickens that will hatch eggs other than their own.

 

Rhode Island Reds

Rhode Island Reds is one of the oldest types of heritage chickens in America. There are both industrial strains of Rhode Island Reds, bred for egg production as well as the heritage strains, which are larger.

 

They’re docile and friendly types of chickens, and easily trained to be held in your lap. Rhode Island Reds also happen to be an excellent chicken breed for eggs, and they can produce about 280 eggs each year!

 

Ameraucanas

Ameraucanas are great pet types of chickens because they lay beautiful blue eggs and are small and look adorable.  An American breed, Ameraucanas were developed intentionally to preserve the blue egg laying gene of the Araucana (which is the only type of chickens evolved to carry the blue egg laying gene), but to eliminate the some of the lethal genetics of the Araucana breed.


Chickens; Naturally Raising A Sustainable Flock is my best selling book about raising healthy hens! You’ll learn how to handle sticky first aid situations, raise baby chicks with the week-by-week checklist, how to give the best care even in the worst weather, and more! Click here to learn more.



Buy Now


Beautiful types of chickens

Hamburg

Hamburg chickens are beautiful with black and white feathers. They are great chicken breeds for eggs, and you can get either full sized or bantam types.

 

Polish Bantams

These types of chickens look a bit like cartoon characters with big tufts of feathers on their heads (they look like pom poms!) Polish bantams come in a variety of colors, and they are calm and docile. I mean, who wouldn’t love looking at these cluckers all day?

 

Are you a backyard chicken beginner and not sure which hens will look super cute in your coop? Here's 12 types of chickens to give you some ideas!

 

Lavender Orpington

This breed is becoming more popular because…well…..lavender. They’re not really purple, although some owners disagree! They’re a type of orpington, which are known for being great layers. They’re also great companions!

 

Are you a backyard chicken beginner and not sure which hens will look super cute in your coop? Here's 12 types of chickens to give you some ideas!

 

Sultans

Sultans are one of several heritage chicken breeds that are critically endangered. They were bred in Turkey as ornamental birds for the gardens of the Sultan (in fact, their actual name is Serai Taook, which in Turkish means Sultan’s Fowl.) They’re very pretty chickens, with tufts of feathers on their heads and feathered feet.

 

Frizzles

How neat are these Frizzles chickens? Their curled feathers are a genetic trait, and are certainly a show stopper! These types of chickens are docile and happily will sit on eggs for you when they’re not strutting around your yard!

 

Brahmas

These types of chickens are super cool – they have black and white feathers, and tufts of feathers on their feet. They’re docile and happy to hang out on your lap! Best of all, you can get them as average sized chickens, or as large as turkeys! How cool would a huge rooster like this be in your backyard!

 

Beginner backyard chicken owner? Here's 12 super cute types of chickens that'll look great in your coop!

 

For Further Reading On Various Types of Chickens:

Learn More about Types of Chickens with the Backyard Chicken Bundle!

The Backyard Chicken Bundle is a unique ebook bundle with every resource you need to start raising a flock of healthy hens! (Total value $250)

Included in the bundle are:

  • 5 individual ebooks with over 40 gorgeous full color photographs, charts, and recipes for all-natural coop cleaners, layer feeds, herbal first aid salves, and more.
  • 34 page Herbal Encyclopedia to growing 30 different herbs for your hens right in your own backyard
    E-books naturally complement each other so you have information at your fingertips.
  • 3 downloadable checklists to save your flock from bad weather & predators, and to keep them healthy while molting.
  • 1 Apple Cider Vinegar for Backyard Chickens video that shows you step-by-step how to make organic apple cider vinegar in your own kitchen.
  • Information you can TRUST by a recognized backyard chicken expert featured in Reader’s Digest, Glamour, and on major news networks like ABC, CBS, & NBC. And START spending every possible minute playing with & enjoying your pets (without the worry)!

Click here to learn more about the Backyard Chicken Bundle!

Backyard Chicken Bundle

Chickens as Pets: The Best Therapy Yet

Chickens as Pets: The Best Therapy Yet

So you’ve heard keeping chickens as pets is a good idea – you get free breakfast, lots of laughs, and a new best friend to watch Netflix with.

 

You can keep your flock of chickens in a safe coop outdoors; some people like keeping a chicken as a pet in the house (using a diaper, of course).

 

And many owners believe their chickens are the best form of therapy (and you even get eggs….find a therapist that can do THAT).

 

In this article, I’ll answer some frequent questions about keeping chickens as pets: the good, the bad, and the ugly (just kidding…there isn’t any ugly. Or bad for that matter). Pet chicken care is easy, as long as you take a few things into consideration before making the leap into owning indoor pet chickens.

 

What does an indoor pet chicken eat?

Good chicken-keeping practices say that you should feed your pet chicken a high-quality layer ration with at least 16% protein feed. Most major brands out there put a lot of time and effort into producing feeds with the right amount of nutrients, so you can’t really go wrong with them.

 

You can also make your own non-gmo layer feed with my favorite recipe here.

 

That being said, your new chicken best friend can eat most fruits and vegetables (I explain which ones to avoid here), as well as yogurt, cheese, eggs (yes eggs), and meat if you want to go that direction.

 

Chickens are omnivores and opportunistic eaters, so they will go for meat if you let them (they love bugs, right?). Whether you want them to have meat protein is completely up to you.

 

Stay away from feeding your pet chickens anything processed, with salt, sugar, or artificial anything. Fresh and all natural is best for your indoor pet chicken!


Chickens; Naturally Raising A Sustainable Flock is my best selling book about raising healthy hens! You’ll learn how to handle sticky first aid situations, raise baby chicks with the week-by-week checklist, how to give the best care even in the worst weather, and more! Click here to learn more.

Chickens: Naturally Raising a Sustainable Flock

Buy Now


Chickens as Pets: Chicken Breeds

While ANY chicken can make good pets, there are some breeds that naturally lend themselves to the role. Silkies, for example, are beautiful and very docile. Silkies are also healthy, and love spending time with people. Rhode Island Reds are great chickens as pets, and we’ve kept a few as pets and been very happy with them.

 

Thinking about keeping chickens as pets? Here's what you need to know!

 

Chickens as Pets: pros and cons

Before getting chickens as pets, there’s some things you should think about. Will your chickens live indoors or outdoors? Can you handle the amount of poop? (Yes, they poop a LOT).

 

Particularly if you have children, having a pet chicken means you will need to keep up with cleaning and disinfecting, especially if your hens live indoors; they ARE carriers of salmonella and campylobacter bacteria (amongst others), and your kids can pick the bacteria up. Ask me how I know.

 

This isn’t to say you SHOULDN’T keep indoor pet chickens, you’ll just need to be aware and be extra vigilant. There are things you can do (such as feed apple cider vinegar and yogurt) that will introduce beneficial bacteria into your pets digestive system, but it won’t eliminate ALL of the bad bacteria. It just creates an environment where the good bacteria can proliferate.

 

What about medical care? Do you have avian vets in your area? Are you prepared to take your chickens to a vet? Are you willing to learn how to care for her if you can’t take her to a vet? (this is possible and reasonable – we don’t have qualified avian vets in our area, so we have to wing it on our own).

 

Chickens as pets are more delicate than a cat or dog, and they tend to have shorter lives. They also get mysteriously sick and don’t let their humans know until it’s too late (yes, this really does happen)  – are you okay with that?

 

Chickens as Pets: What about Neighbors?

Something else to consider is whether your neighbors are on board if you decide to keep chickens as pets – ESPECIALLY if your local area has restrictions. Don’t be the guy that decides you’re smarter than city hall – the roads are paved with used-to-be chicken owners who had to get rid of their flocks because they didn’t follow town restrictions.

 

If you’re planning to keep indoor pet chickens, then it’s none of the neighbor’s business what you do – but keeping a hen instead of a rooster is a smart idea. If your flock will live outdoors, though, you might want to clear it with the neighbors.

 

Even if your town doesn’t have rules about chickens, a ticked off neighbor can still complain, that the city can “invent” rules at their convenience – yes, it’s happened. People have had whole legal battles and it’s taken months to keep the chickens they were allowed to legally own in the first place. Discretion is the better part of valor.

 

So, do you think keeping chickens as pets is for you? I hope so, they’re a lot of fun!

 

Thinking about keeping chickens as pets? Here's what you need to know!

More Resources for Those Interested in Raising Chickens as Pets:

Learn More about Types of Chickens with the Backyard Chicken Bundle!

The Backyard Chicken Bundle is a unique ebook bundle with every resource you need to start raising a flock of healthy hens! (Total value $250)

Included in the bundle are:

  • 5 individual ebooks with over 40 gorgeous full color photographs, charts, and recipes for all-natural coop cleaners, layer feeds, herbal first aid salves, and more.
  • 34 page Herbal Encyclopedia to growing 30 different herbs for your hens right in your own backyard
    E-books naturally complement each other so you have information at your fingertips.
  • 3 downloadable checklists to save your flock from bad weather & predators, and to keep them healthy while molting.
  • 1 Apple Cider Vinegar for Backyard Chickens video that shows you step-by-step how to make organic apple cider vinegar in your own kitchen.
  • Information you can TRUST by a recognized backyard chicken expert featured in Reader’s Digest, Glamour, and on major news networks like ABC, CBS, & NBC. And START spending every possible minute playing with & enjoying your pets (without the worry)!

Click here to learn more about the Backyard Chicken Bundle!

Backyard Chicken Bundle