The arrival of the 2013 “Backyard Biosecurity” calendar from the USDA (instructions for ordering a free one are here), and the issues my Farm Chick friend has been facing with bird disease made me think that it was a good time to remind everyone with backyard birds – they need to be PROTECTED. It’s so easy to think that it won’t happen to you and let up your guard, but disease can be brought in many ways and can destroy your flock. We learned the hard way several years ago when we brought in two barred rocks from a ”reputable” source. The birds brought Infectious Bronchitis (see story here) with them and our flock had [...]
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Our second Buckeye hen to go broody this season successfully hatched 3 chicks on Thursday (see “Broodies Buckeye Chicks – 10 Days Old” for more background), which is terrific; however, that means we need someplace to house them – the broody box is inside the coop and too small to hold mama and baby chicks for very long.
As the picture on the right shows, they’re tiny when first hatched, but they grow incredibly fast!
When Broody #1 hatched her chicks, we moved them into the Eglu - which was working perfectly; but, we don’t have a second Eglu to move Broody #2 and her chicks into. So, we let [...]
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Broody Buckeye Hen – Sitting For 10 Days & Counting
As of yesterday, our broody Buckeye hen has diligently been sitting on 15 eggs - for 10 days. She gets out of her nest box only to eat, drink, and relieve herself; and has only once signalled a desire to leave the broody box (see Building A Broody Box). We let her out and she took a quick dust bath in the pasture; and then climbed right back into the broody box and back onto the nest. So far, she’s exhibiting all the behaviors of an excellent mother hen, and we couldn’t be [...]
Continue reading Candling Broodies Eggs
I’m so excited – one of the Buckeyes has gone broody!!! Raising the Buckeyes was a great experience (see Raising Day-Old Chicks), but I was hoping the Buckeyes would retain their instinct to go broody, and raise their own young – I’d rather they perpetuate the flock (why should I do the work if they’ll do it naturally?). So, when one hen showed definite signs of broodiness; Randy quickly constructed her a broody box inside the coop.
How To Tell If She’s Broody
In many chicken breeds today, the instinct for raising young has been bred out; because “broodiness” was considered undesirable in factory laying hens. However, some of the [...]
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Giant Yellow Eckendorf
This year, we’re adding a new vegetable mainstay to the garden – not for us, but for the chickens. Mangel beets used to be grown extensively as a livestock feed on small farms; however, usage dwindled in the US as large farms became the norm. Today, it’s being rediscovered on small farmsteads as a great feed for livestock, particularly chickens.
The beets are highly nutritious and have been cultivated as livestock feed for over 1000 years. They’re very easy to produce, grow to immense sizes (10 – 20 lbs.), and store well; making them a good stand-in for fresh [...]
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Rooster 38 at 18 Weeks
The Buckeye roosters are driving us crazy with their crowing and fighting (they’re now 24 weeks old), so we need to select two roosters to keep. And, it’s important to pick the best two, because they’ll be the foundation for the flock.
I get a lot of questions about why anyone would want roosters. The first question is often, do you need roosters for eggs? And no, roosters aren’t necessary for eggs; but they are necessary for fertile eggs. That leads to one reason for keeping roosters; in our case, we’d like the hens to go [...]
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In addition to practicing Biosecurity to protect chickens from disease, vaccination is an effective way to prevent or reduce specific diseases in poultry. Since we’ve had issues with Infectious Bronchitis (IB) in the past and it’s extremely contagious for poultry, we decided to vaccinate our chickens against it. Although we plan to maintain a small-closed flock thereby minimizing possible exposure, IB can “jump” relatively large distances, so we decided to vaccinate anyway. Anyone who takes birds to poultry shows, or buys from hatcheries or other sources and adds them to the flock; should definitely consider vaccinating for this and other common diseases. [...]
Continue reading Vaccinating Chickens Against Infectious Bronchitis/Newcastle Disease
Ok, this post may be a bit “deep” (sorry for the pun), but I’ve been researching chicken litter management. For the past couple of years, our chickens were either housed in an Eglu (with a pull-out shelf for dropping removal), or in a barn stall, where we could shovel dirt and bedding in and out as necessary for sanitary control. However, now that we’ve got the new coop (see New Coop), I’ve been investigating the “deep litter” management method.
What Is It?
The “deep litter” technique originated in Ohio in the 1940’s, and was an important development in poultry management because it [...]
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Bringing new chickens into an established flock should be easy, right? Well, when my friend offered me a young rooster, I found out there are some basics to keep in mind.
Figuring that a Barred Rock rooster would be ok with three Golden Buff hens, I simply added him to their pen. Things went downhill from there (more on that later). Turns out, I should have had a plan.
8 Steps to Success
Verify that the new birds are in good health, and have been properly vaccinated.
Make sure they’re old enough – at least 14 weeks, or as large as the birds they’ll join.
Continue reading Introducing New Chickens