A few chicken tips…

I wanted to post a few tips today that I do or use for my chickens.  One winterizing idea comes from my husband, who made a wonderful little heater for our girls to help keep them toasty in their coop.

Warmer my husband made for next to the nesting boxes.

He took a light bulb base and attached it inside a coffee can to a thick piece of wood.  Next he put a large heavy crock over the can with the cord coming out the back.  We tested a 40, 60, and 100 watt bulb to see what the results would be, and we finally settled on the 60 watt bulb.  It kept the crock toasty warm to the touch without getting too hot.  Just enough heat radiates out to warm the girls if they are standing close or snuggling up to it.  We are going to put another one on the opposite side of the indoor run/coop next to their water fountain.

Close up of crock heater.

Here’s a good tip for young pullets that aren’t yet laying eggs.  I have a fake egg in each of the nesting boxes to show the girls where to lay their eggs.  So far, two of my girls are using the nesting boxes, one insists on laying in the coop, and one girl is still freeloading. (I threaten and plead with her everyday to lay an egg as she is 6 1/2 months old.)

Fake wooden egg in the nesting box. Some people even use small balls or golf balls.

I like to offer my girls the option of oyster shells or crushed egg shells daily for their calcium needs.  Most of the time they prefer to eat the crushed egg shells.

Egg shells from my chickens.

After we use any of the girl’s eggs, I rinse them out and set them on a paper towel to dry. I try to remove the membrane from the insides before I crush them (for convenience). I put them into a heavy bowl and smash them with a heavy handle until they are finely crushed. If any of the membrane remains, then it will be left behind when I crush the shells and I just pick it out then.  The calcium that goes back into the chickens is fantastic for the new eggs they will lay.  This helps to make sure your chicken’s egg shells are nice and hard/thick.

My final tip for today is something I like to give my girls everyday…

Liquid Probiotics

I get liquid Probiotics from an online health store which is good for chickens as well as for human consumption. I apply approximately 1 tablespoon of this onto a “salad” that I make for the girls daily as a treat.  I chop up some kale, mustard greens, spinach, or any variety of greens into bite size pieces, and then I add a little of the following…raw sunflower seeds, flax seeds, and raisins. I will also add any left over proteins (meat) and table scraps from our own table.  I use the tablespoon of Probiotics as a “salad dressing” on top of their salad. Occasionally, I might add a little bit of raw honey to their salad.  Honey is a natural antibiotic and is good for them.

The girls enjoying their salad!

Cluck, cluck y’all!

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