Category: Chicken Products

Chicken Safety

Protecting Your Chickens

Building a coop offers chickens a sheltered place to hide out from the harsh elements like rain, snow, heat and cold. A well built coop will also protect them from predators and ensure them healthy, comfortable life. In addition they will produce quality eggs in return.

There are a number of things that lurk in the shadows waiting for the chance to get your chickens…

Dogs, cats, raccoons, opossums, skunks, mink, fox, coyotes, hawks, owls, neighborhood children etc. You name it they will kill your chickens!

A safe coop is a necessity for anyone raising chickens, and fortunately there are many different chicken coop designs available. Materials such as PVC pipes, tarps, converted old campers, have all actually been used material for chicken coops, however well constructed wood sheeted coop is the safest and most common way for building chicken coops.

However before purchasing a chicken coop kit, keep in mind the size of the coop run and number of chickens the coop will host. Each chicken needs at least 2 sq feet of space and larger breeds of poultry may need at least 4 to 5 sq feet of space. New lumber can be expensive to purchase, depending on the size of the coop: some second hand stores actually sell used lumber that works just as good!

Although it is relatively simple to build a coop to keep chickens in from scratch, many people simply don’t have the carpentry skills and prefer to purchase chicken coop kits instead. Most chicken coop kits come with all the necessary materials required for constructing the perfect home in which their hens will be safe.

  • A safe coop should be entirely enclosed leaving no opportunities for crafty critters to find a way in.
  • It also should include well ventilation in the summer and be well insulated in the winter. (These areas should be reinforced with chicken wire fencing to keep anyone from scratching through them)

If you desire to have a fenced in area for your chicken the most cost effective way to do this is to construct a chain link fence around the designated area for your chickens (chicken wire or netting may be equally as economical).

1. After constructing the fence wrap it in chicken wire to keep smaller critter like mink, weasels, and cats from getting through it. Mink only need a small hole of

2 inches in order to get through.

3. Also to protect from things climbing over and birds of prey, wrap the chicken wire fencing over the top so nothing can climb/fly over.

4. Finally, dig a one foot trench around the base of the chain link fence and tie you chicken wire to it allowing it to drop down into the trench. Now simply reapply the dirt and burry the fencing.

 

Finally an Automatic Chicken Coop Door can greatly improve your chance of avoiding a predator getting into your chicken coop. The majority of chicken attacks happen in the evening as most predators to chicken are nocturnal hunters. If you are new to chicken keeping you soon will realize the struggle of rushing home from work or from dinner with friends to be sure the chicken coop door gets closed before a local predator pops in for a snack. You number one defense against these attacks and fatalities are to automated the opening and closing of your chicken coop door. As an added bonus to a door closing automatically when your not home it will also open back up the following morning to let the chickens back outside. This gives both you and the chickens the freedom you want. This makes chicken keeping less of an obligation while also keeping the “girls” safe.
Taking these proper precautions will help your chickens to have a safe place to enjoy the outside but still remaining safely out of reach of predators so you can rest easily.
By Jeremy Smith

Turning a bucket chicken waterer into a feeder

Galvanized bucket chicken waterer

I dropped by my mother-in-law’s coop the other day and took a look inside. “What an interesting feeder,” I said. “Where did that come from?”

She explained that the feeder had actually started life as a waterer. But the lip broke off, which meant the gravity-feed contraption no longer worked as intended. So now she fills the bucket with pellets as a low-tech gravity feeder. A great example of Appalachian ingenuity!

Managing spring grass

First green grass

Before livestock entered my life, I never paid attention to the first green grass. But now, even when we don’t have our own chickens or goats, those tender sprouts in late February make me smile. Sure enough, a visit to our neighbor’s house revealed her flock hungrily pecking up not just worms but also every bit of greenery they could get their beaks on.

Eggs for sale

Luckily for all of us, chickens aren’t like ruminants — they won’t eat so much spring grass that they make themselves sick. But they can easily overgraze the first flush so much that their pasture becomes spotty and rank for the rest of the year.

In a free-range setting like this one, there’s not much you can do to prevent overgrazing. And our neighbor doesn’t really need to — after all, her chickens are able to roam across several acres, so once one area runs out they’ll move on to another. But if you’ve got your flock more constrained in either tractors or a pasture, spring is the time to be plotting out your entire year’s rotation schedule so you still have green grass for the birds to enjoy in July and August.

Pasture Basics

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(epub file sideloaded through Bookfunnel)

I’ve plotted out years’ worth of pasturing wisdom in my ebook Pasture Basics, currently on sale for 25% off if you buy direct. Hopefully my tips will let your flock enjoy the spring flush…and the summer lull as well. Happy grazing!