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
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 [...]
Continue reading Building A Broody Box
Thirteen Weeks Old
I picked up one of the chicks last night, and did a double take. She was a lot heavier than I expected – those sneaky little girls are growing up!
We don’t know exactly how old they are (they were a surprise with the new coop), but think about thirteen weeks. We got them at five weeks, and first kept them in an old Eglu while we painted the coop interior. At eight weeks, we slowly transitioned from the medicated starter feed they were being fed to non-medicated grower feed, and didn’t observe any problems.
At nine weeks, they moved [...]
Continue reading Growing Pullets
After the new coop arrived, Randy wondered whether we should “paint the inside” to protect the wood, and make it harder for chicken parasites to hide-out. Not knowing the answer but thinking it sounded reasonable, I asked on the Backyard Chicken forum, and the response was unanimously in favor of painting. Everyone noted how much easier to clean, better-looking, and pest resistant coops were if treated before being put to use.
One responder to that post (thank you!), also suggested that Minwax (Helmsman) Spar Urethane was a product that they had researched, was safe, and would be good for protecting the inside of a chicken coop. We did [...]
Continue reading New Chicken Coop Protection
We kept our chickens in a 10’ x 10’ stall in the barn; but, since we’ve ordered 25 day-old chicks and are planning to give the stall to some Dwarf Nigerian goats, new chicken housing is in order. There are so many options it’s hard to choose what to buy or build, but there are a few things I think should be considered (books told me I needed roosts, nesting boxes, ventilation, etc. but didn’t necessarily mention these things):
Chickens are dusty! And our entire barn is now incredibly dusty due to the chickens. I never noticed that every [...]
Continue reading Chicken Housing Basics