Springtime is definitely the best time of year to get new chicks; and for us getting them in early May is probably optimal. Many breeders and hatcheries have sold out of birds early in recent years, so now it the time to get chicks on order if you want to be sure of getting your picks. I was trying to compare options from several hatcheries but couldn’t find a condensed listing of them, so came up with this one for easy reference.
These are all larger, reliable hatcheries that also have catalogs you can request or view on-line; but, this isn’t a listing of breeders. It depends on what you want the chickens for to determine whether to get [...]
Continue reading Time for Chicks – Free Hatchery Catalogs/Links!
As I talk with chicken keeping friends, I’m surprised that some don’t know that most chickens will cease to lay eggs when day lengths fall below 14 hours in the fall. As we move further into fall and shorter days, chickens will naturally reduce egg production. They lay eggs based on day length; long days and increasing day length mean spring to a chicken – time when they should be producing many eggs and raising chicks. The declining day length and harsher environment in fall and winter aren’t optimal for raising chicks; so chickens will naturally stop egg production, molt, renew their egg laying resources, and [...]
Continue reading Maintain Winter Egg Production – Add Artificial Light
At Bramblestone Farm, we keep both Golden Buff and Buckeye chickens; but, people often ask why we bother with Buckeyes – they don’t lay as large an egg or as frequently as the Golden Buffs, so why do we keep them?
Well, Buckeye chickens are an old breed developed to thrive in Ohio’s weather; and were once very popular backyard birds. However, with the demise of the backyard flock during the 20th century, Buckeyes became endangered (less than 72 known breeding birds in 2003). Then in 2005, the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy (ALBC) began a program to recover the breed’s original characteristics [...]
Continue reading About Buckeye Chickens
On Friday, June 11, our new chicken coop was delivered. It has some nice features: it’s elevated, has eight nest boxes accessible from the outside, three operable windows, a built-in roosting area, chicken hatch that can be opened from the human door, and back ventilation hatch. It’s 8′ x 10′, and they even used dimesional shingles on it that match the house.
Coop Front View
Here’s the back wall ventilation hatch (can be adjusted or closed), and the roost area that’s built in:
Roosts & Back Ventilation
Below is the coop after we got it moved into place:
Coop In [...]
Continue reading New Chicken Coop (with surprise)
Wrinkled Egg – IB Symptom
Back when I wrote about introducing new chickens into a flock (see Introducing New Chickens), I missed one important step, and we’re learning a painful lesson as a result. It wasn’t enough to ask if the new chickens were vaccinated, we should have kept them separate from our flock for 30 days to make sure they couldn’t introduce disease.
Infectious Bronchitis (IB)
As it turns out, Bab and Will brought Infectious Bronchitis into our flock, and it’s destroyed the Golden Buffs ability to produce eggs (it does not affect humans). Infectious bronchitis is a virus, it’s the [...]
Continue reading Infectious Bronchitis in Chickens
I discovered rather suddenly that it’s sometimes necessary to trim a chicken’s wings so they can’t fly. We’d had Golden Buff hens for awhile when I decided to introduce a Barred Rock rooster, and because the hens never flew out of their pen, I was shocked when the rooster flew out (why a rooster would fly away from hens is explained in Introducing New Chickens). I had to clip his feathers to keep him in, and found out it’s a harmless and simple procedure.
Why (Not) to Clip Feathers
I think it’s best to leave the chicken’s wings alone unless there’s a [...]
Continue reading Clipping Chicken Wings (Flight Feathers)
Helping a hen recover from a prolapsed vent is often not as difficult as it may first appear – it often just takes some time and a little attention. We’ve had several hens develop the problem and have always dealt with it the same as with our first:
One night, when I got home from work and opened the hen-house door, everyone popped out with their usual enthusiasm – except Gold Dust. She stayed huddled in a pile in the pen, and upon closer investigation, it was clear she had a problem. Egg was stuck all over her tail feathers, and a mass [...]
Continue reading Curing a Prolapsed Chicken Vent