Have you ever wondered how much you’re spending on the eggs your hens lay? Are you saving money by not buying from the store? Here’s an easy to use, FREE calculator to figure out exactly how much you pay for a dozen of your own backyard eggs. Continue reading “FREE Download: Egg Cost Calculator and Hen Productivity Tracker”
During our first winter with chickens, I regularly took readings outside on the coldest days. One morning it was -27° F! Concerned for our hens, I trotted through the icy air to their unheated, uninsulated coop and took a reading inside. -20° F! I was scared for our hens’ safety.
For the past year, our hens have truly ranged freely on our land. In the morning we open the door to the coop and leave the gate of the run wide open. Without much hesitation, the hens hop out of the coop and exit the run, beginning a day of adventurous scavenging and exploration. But recently, while the hens were ranging around in the woods about 50 feet from our house in the middle of the day (while we were outside!) we heard a… commotion. All but one of our hens came sprinting and panting to the house. My heart froze when I noticed a buff orpington was missing her tail feathers. I walked around in the woods for a few minutes and then I found the feathers of one of our plymouth barred rocks scattered in a few circles. Predators. Continue reading “Reflections on “Free Range””
It is very important to keep your chickens entertained, because, well, bored chickens can become all out blood-thirsty maniacs. I mean it.
For chickens, the best entertainment is pecking any and everything around them, including each other. Chicken on chicken violence really isn’t pretty and needs to be managed to reduce risk of injury. And injuries can lead to death! Emotional attachments aside, if one of our hens died prematurely we’d be losing a fairly significant investment. We had to feed them for about 4-6 months before they started actually laying eggs, and 4-6 months of chicken feed isn’t cheap.
And even if a chicken doesn’t get ruthlessly murdered by its companions, all that pecking can be stressful, and a stressed out chicken isn’t a healthy chicken, and an unhealthy chicken doesn’t lay as well as a healthy chicken. Thus happy chickens = plentiful fried egg breakfasts.
So the solution is obvious, they just need something more interesting to peck than each other. Read on for some of our best ideas.