May 15, 2017
May 15, 2017
May 14, 2017
Question My chickens have begun eating the eggs before I can collect them each day. Is there a reason they have started this? Can I do something to stop them?
Answer Chickens that eat their own eggs are a problem as it can be a hard habit to break. Try the following. Collect eggs promptly. Hens usually lay in the early morning, so make sure you have the eggs gathered by noon. Darken your nesting boxes. Hang old towels or pieces of sheet in front of the nesting boxes to block the light. The hens will still get in the boxes to lay. You can leave some golf balls in the nests which they will try to peck and will find too hard.
Trim hens beaks. Hens with fully sharp beaks are more likely to cannibalize their eggs. Provide a low stress environment. Hens that are overcrowded or bored are more likely to eat eggs. Allow the hens free-range time in a safely enclosed chicken yard, and maintain a small flock. Make sure your hens are getting adequate calcium and Vitamin D in their diet. Deficiencies of these nutrients make egg-eating attractive and make it easier by producing weak-shelled eggs that are easily cracked open.
Feeding Oyster shells to your chickens will harden up the eggshells. Identify the hen or hens that are eating the eggs. Eliminate egg-eaters from the flock before they spread the habit or start on the others’ eggs. If nothing else works you can take out all the bedding in their nests and put your nests on an angle with a collection tray that the birds can’t get to. When they lay an egg it will roll into the collection tray and they won’t be able to eat their eggs.
I hope you have some success with these tips. Egg eating is a problem. You might also want to make sure that other pets such as cats are not getting into the coop and eating the eggs.
March 3, 2017
Question At what age & or size should the new chicks be before adding them to the coop and the other full grown 2 year old chickens? How do I add them to my flock without them being attacked by the older chickens?
Answer Never introduce baby chicks to a flock of older chickens. Chickens should be introduced once they are fully feathered and half grown. Once your chickens have reached the age of 12 weeks or so you can start the process of introducing your pullets to your flock.
I usually put the chicks in their own small pen inside the coop at night so that the older chicks can see them and get used to them but can’t hurt them. If you don’t have enough room in your coop to do this then try putting them inside a cardboard box or a small dog kennel in the coop at night so the older hens don’t feel like they are being invaded.
The more room you have the easier it will be so make sure that there are enough nesting boxes and room to roost for your new hens when you first let them into the main coop. It is important for the older hens to see the young ones over a period of time, without them being able to get at them.
You also can, if you have the room, construct a small pen next to the main run with a box or shelter of some description. You need to leave them there for a couple of weeks then when you do introduce them you may need to do it gradually for a few hours per day so it is the least traumatic as possible for all concerned. A pecking order will be formed and this is the most peaceful way of doing it.
Some people have added their new hens to the coop at night while the other hens are roosting. I haven’t tried this but many claim that this is a successful way to add new chickens. The chickens wake up in the morning with the new chickens and think that they are part of the flock and accept them.
You can also construct an area where the younger smaller hens can escape to and where the larger hens can’t access. Take it slowly and you will be fine.
May 1, 2016
1. IS IT LEGAL
It is very important when you start out raising chickens for eggs to make sure that you are allowed to keep chickens in your backyard. You will need to check with your local authorities to make sure that you are able to keep chickens and see what restrictions they may have. i.e. some councils will not allow you to have roosters but will allow hens.
The reason why this is important is because you don’t want to go to all the trouble of setting up your chickens only to find that you are breaking the laws in your area. If you don’t check with your local authority then you may run the risk of prosecution.
Roosters are not allowed in some cities.
2. CHICKS OR CHICKENS
Another important consideration when raising chickens for eggs is whether you raise your chickens from eggs i.e hatch them yourself or whether you buy them as baby chicks and raise them. You can also buy chickens that are ready to lay. For those who are new to raising chickens I would recommend buying chickens that are ready to lay.
One, you don’t have to wait long for your chickens to start laying and two, the older chickens are not as vulnerable as the young chicks and are much more likely to survive. It’s critical that you buy from a reputable supplier because the health of the laying hens is important for their egg production and also makes it easier for you to care for them.
3. CHICKEN COOPS
You don’t have to have an expensive chicken coop for your chickens. There are many ready made chicken coops for sale out there but it is really not too hard to build your own. If one of your motivations for raising chickens for eggs is saving money then buying an expensive chicken coop will defeat that purpose.
There are many books available on building your own chicken coop with easy to follow plans using cheap easily available materials. All you need to do is decide how many chickens you want, (I would recommend 2 to 4 chickens for a city backyard.) and make sure that you find a chicken coop design that will suit that amount of chickens. The less space you have available means the less chickens you should have.
4. HOW MANY CHICKENS
Instead of complicating raising chickens for eggs by having a huge flock, concentrate your efforts on a small number of chickens. Most chickens in full production will lay an egg each day. If you have too many chickens you may find it difficult to use all the eggs that they will produce.
I have found that having 2 to 4 chickens will give you plenty of eggs for your family and friends and you will not be overwhelmed with eggs that you cannot use. Concentrate your efforts by only having a few hens and you will find that raising chickens for eggs is not as hard as you may think.
5. FEEDING CHICKENS
Chickens need to have a place to roost at night which is protected by the weather and they need to be fed and their water checked every day. They also need a nesting box to lay their eggs in which you put in your chicken coop. If you have children, you will find that they love collecting eggs as it is a lot of fun and you can also get them to help with feeding and checking the water as well.
Chickens need a variety of foods to produce great tasting eggs and the best way to achieve this is to feed them all your kitchen food scraps. Chickens will eat just about anything and what they are doing is transforming your food scraps into fantastic garden fertilizer. Chickens will also benefit from eating layer pellets or grain to maintain their egg production and will quickly turn any weeds and garden waste you have into fertilizer as well.
May 1, 2016
Question . I have been raising chickens for 10 years and just this past year my eggs taste funny. Not all of them, but maybe one out of 6 or so eggs will taste bad, even if they are just laid. The yoke, not the white, has an awful taste and smell. I have not changed anything I have been doing. Any suggestions?
Answer It sounds like your chickens have access to food that is making them lay bad tasting eggs. Have you been feeding them onions, garlic, fish meal or fish oil in the scraps that you feed them. It sounds like they are randomly eating something like this and that is why not all your eggs have this taste. Some fruit peelings can also have an effect on egg taste.
Try eliminating the above and have a close look at what they are actually eating. It could also be what foods you are storing them next to in the refrigerator as the eggs will absorb odors from other foods they are stored with.
April 30, 2016
Question We got our first eggs from hens we raised from chicks. The yolks of the eggs, (shells are light brown or tan), are a very orange-y color. We were expecting to see bright yellow yolks as opposed to the light yellow of store-bought eggs, but not the reddish orange of our hens’ eggs. Will that change after they have begun to lay regularly?
Answer Egg yolk color is really just an indicator of the hen’s diet. If they eat more yellow-orange carotenoids, or natural pigments, it affects and changes the yolk’s color. Orange yolks have the same amount of protein and fat than lighter yolks but studies have shown that eggs from pasture-raised hens have more omega-3s and vitamins but less cholesterol due to healthier more natural feed. Orange yolks are an indication of a well balanced and highly nutritous diet and many people claim they taste better as well. Eggs from hens that have access to grasses and insects as part of their diet tend to have orange colored yokes that are firmer and egg shells that are thicker.
February 17, 2014
Chicken Coop Guides is a downloadable guide to building your own Chicken Coop.
John White the author of this guide is a professional architect by trade. He explains the process without using overly technical terms and phrases so that the average individual can easily follow his instructions.
He offers easy to follow Chicken Coop Plans, Complete Chicken Raising Guides and Weekly Chicken Raising tips to all his members.
There are 19 plans on offer and you get a complete material list that you can print out and take to the hardware store. They can prepare the materials exactly for you which makes it so much easier to put together.
The plans are computer drawn with step by step instructions, cross sectional diagrams and full color illustrations.
This Coop was made by one of their customers. This is one of the larger coops but there are other simpler plans for smaller flocks if you only want two or three chickens.
If you purchase these plans you are entitled to several bonuses. You have access to forums with over a thousand active users where you can discuss your experiences with other like minded people. You also get access to instructional videos that show the process of building a Chicken Coop. Plus you receive regular tips about looking after your chickens.
The information in this guide is presented logically and in a format that makes building your coop easy. Instead of struggling with measurements, materials lists etc. it is much easier to build a coop if a professional architect has already developed the plans for you and given you a step by step guide on how to go about the process.
To find out more about Chicken Coop Guides by John White
January 22, 2014
If you are not a handy person and don’t want to build your own chicken coop, you may want to buy a pre-made chicken coop. When you add up the cost of materials and your time it often works out cheaper than designing and building your own.
Most of the pre-made chicken coops available have everything that your chickens will need such as roosts and nesting boxes. They often have handy design features that you may not have thought of such as storage areas. These Coops below are a good cross section of what is currently available and offer good value.
Pawhut Deluxe Backyard Chicken Coop / Hen House w/ Outdoor Run
This coop is a high quality larger size chicken coop which is made of fully treated and grooved wood that is coated with water based preservative. Coming with a two section nesting box for egg laying.
This coop can be wide opened to be a “fresh air school”, and closed to make a controlled-environment coop. This coop is well designed with one Living House, a two section Nesting Box and a Backyard Run.
This Coop is perfect for 2 to 4 Chickens and has received very good reviews from those who have already purchased it. It is sturdy and the price is very reasonable.
Wood Chicken Coop Hen House with Run
This chicken coop gives your chickens the ability to move seamlessly from a comfortable enclosure to an outdoor protected space. The indoor facility includes multiple roosting poles and a large nesting box that is able to hold multiple chickens.
A small entrance with a travel ramp allows your chickens to run in and out easily, without being wide enough to let the elements in when the weather is bad. This attaches to a wide open fenced enclosure that allows them plenty of room to move around.
The roof is split into multiple segments so the roof may be peaked, closed or completely opened up. This is a perfect unit for someone who has a few chickens, but still needs to minimize the space that the coop will be using. This Coop is suitable for 4 to 6 Chickens.
Precision Pet Cape Cod Chicken Coop
The Cape Cod can comfortably house up to four chickens.
The two front doors provide easy access to the shelter’s interior whether you need to reach your hens or simply perform routine maintenance.
The nesting box with roosting bar is ideal if you are using the Cape Cod as a large outdoor chicken coop. A removable pan under the retreat makes cleaning easy.
This shelter is made with high quality fir wood. An internal ramp provides hens with easy access between the raised retreat and the spacious run Zinc-coated wire mesh encloses the run but provides ample ventilation. That way, your pets will always be protected from predators and the elements.
The Precision Pet Cape Cod Chicken Coop is designed for easy maintenance and assembly.
December 22, 2013
I have been looking around for the best pre made chicken coop I can find for a reasonable price and I have found that a lot of them are flimsy and not of good quality. However I just came across this plastic Chicken Coop available from Amazon which has received rave reviews. It is perfect for someone who wants to start raising chickens now. Apparently it only takes 30 minutes to an hour to slot together and it is water proof and easy to clean.
Formex Snap Lock Large Chicken Coop Backyard Hen House 4-6 Large 6-12 Bantam
Specifications and Features
- No tools required
- Impact resistant
- Ultraviolet resistant
- Water resistant
- Chemical resistant
- Maintenance free
- Removable litter tray
- Larger Adjustable ventilation
- Easy access for egg collection
- Insulating, double-wall construction
- Predator resistant, lockable access
- Self contained and light weight
- Four nesting spots with removable dividers
- Three 36″ roosts
- Room for twelve standard breed hens.
- I have never seen a pre-made chicken coop receive so many positive reviews from so many people. I am not usually into plastic but it does make sense when you think about it. If this is a Chicken Coop you may be interested in take a look by clicking the link below:
September 9, 2013
Question: What is the safest way to clean manure and dirt off of the shell of fresh eggs? I am just using warm water and a clean rag.
Answer: You can wash your eggs in water only if you plan to use them right away. By putting the eggs in water, you wash away the bloom from the egg, a protective layering that prevents bacteria from entering the egg. Therefore, if you want to store your eggs for use later, you should not put them in water. If you must wash the eggs, use HOT running water. A good idea is to get a soft brush and brush the dirt and manure from the shell.
September 1, 2013
The most common reasons for chickens to stop laying eggs are decreasing day length, moulting, disease, broodiness, poor nutrition, and stress.
Moulting is a natural process that allows the hen to replace old worn feathers and at the same time rejuvenates her oviduct the organ that “makes” eggs. This allows the hen to increase its rate of egg production and produce higher quality eggs when it returns to lay. With the moult the hen puts all of her energy into feather growth leaving little for egg production. Every year I have first time chicken owners contacting me and asking why the hens that have been laying all year have suddenly stopped.
2. Decreasing Day Length
Natural moulting is a seasonal process related to changes in day length. Once the daylight hours begin to decline this will trigger moulting and consequently your hens will stop laying eggs for a few weeks. This usually occurs in the fall after chicks have fledged.
Often your whole flock will stop laying at the same time. Commercial growers use artificial lighting to prevent their hens moulting all at once and consequently they may often moult at any time.
There are many causes of stress, from predators hanging around or even a loud noise which can cause the hens to stop laying. You may have moved them into a new environment which is definitely stressful for them. Not only do they have to get used to their new home they also have to establish a new pecking order.
Do everything you can to make their life comfortable and they should reward you and start laying eggs.
4. Broody Hens
Some hens of certain breeds are prone to becoming broody. This means that they will try to incubate their eggs to make them hatch. When this happens they stop laying eggs. They are more likely to become broody if they are allowed to accumulate eggs in a nest. The hens will sit on the eggs and get very annoyed when you try to take the eggs from the nest.
To avoid this situation it is best to collect the eggs at least once a day which will prevent the hen from building up a clutch of eggs. This is also important to preserve the freshness and quality of eggs for human consumption.
Diseases will stop your hen laying even if the symptoms they have are not obvious. Keep an eye on the hen and if any disease symptoms appear you will need to treat the disease before your hen begins laying again.
Hens need a balanced and adequate diet to maintain egg production. Many backyard flock owners don’t realize how much calcium a hen needs to produce eggs. To maintain egg production you need to feed your flock a prepared layer ration or at least provide some source of calcium. e.g ground limestone or oyster shell that birds can eat when they need to. You should be able to source layer ration or oyster shell at your local feed store.
Hens can live for many years. As with other species an aging hen will eventually lose its ability to be reproductive and will stop producing eggs. Protect your hens from the elements and predators. Make sure that their hen house is clean and well maintained and make sure that they have a constant supply of nutritious food and water. This will result in high egg production and many quality eggs for your family to enjoy.