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3 Warm Chicken Treats Your Chickens Will Thank You For During Winter

Warming chicken food can be a great help to your chickens during the winter. When the temperature gets really cold, don’t be afraid to give your chickens a warm breakfast to help them stay warm all day.

If you’re wondering what sort of warm treats your chickens might like, here are three warm snacks they will really appreciate during the winter!

Cooked Oatmeal

Oatmeal is great source of carbohydrates to give your chickens. You don’t actually have cook the oatmeal for your chickens: simply add hot water to oats and let them soften slightly. Dump it outside for your girls and watch them go crazy. You could also add hot water to soften up their feed as well.

Cooked Squash / Pumpkins

Another treat chickens love is cooked squash or pumpkins. If you grew any in your garden or bought any for décor that have gone over-ripe in the winter, here’s what to do. Take of the stem, poke a few holes in the squash and bake at 350 for an hour. After they cooled to the touch (half hour or so) toss them out to the chickens. I bet you’ll even get a few wild birds coming over for this delicious treat!

Cooked Eggs with Shells

Here’s the rub – during the winter those deadbeat chickens take a break from laying eggs so they’re harder to come by, but your chickens would really appreciate a warm snack of cooked eggs if you’re so inclined. Just scramble up the eggs and then for an added bonus, toss in the crushed eggshell as well. By the way, save the salt and pepper for your own eggs – the chickens don’t need the sodium.

In addition to the warm breakfasts, it’s also a good idea to give your chickens a handful of cracked corn at bedtime. Digesting that corn through the night will help their little bodies stay warmer. And don’t forget that warm water is also a nice thing to provide your chickens during the cold winter months.

What warm snacks have you found that your chickens devour?

Decorating Your Coop for Christmas

Happy December everyone! I pray your Thanksgiving was full of all the things you love! Like most people, we have a good headstart on our decorating around here. I decided to take it a step further this year and make it a little festive for our flock. I wanted to show you two different ways. The first option was done for under $10!

Then, I decided to up my game a little bit for some fun pictures. The girls love it! Just kidding. They could really care less! Haha! But, it sure is fun to look out our windows to the cute little coop!

 

 

To add a simple Christmas touch, I went to our local Dollar Tree and got some garland, stockings, and two simple wreaths. It was simple, easy and all done for about $7! I was perfectly fine with this set up and felt good about keeping it under budget. We don’t have electricity in our coop, so I didn’t add any lights. See my $7 coop below.


While my $7 dollar version was perfectly fine, I decided while I was out decorating outside our home, I might as well add a little more to the coop! I’ve always been that way. I keep adding to what might be perfectly fine. It’s a flaw in me I’ve come to accept. My husband does too, for the most part, even though he gets roped into my grand ideas!


Before you think I’m a super crafty and creative person, I have to tell you that my husband purchased those big beautiful pots at our local Runnings store. They are absolutely gorgeous and I may even add some fairy lights to those. Someone could probably create them for much cheaper, but that’s not really my jam. I purchased the updated wreaths for just under $20. This coop set up cost quite a bit more than my $7 set up. But, the wreaths and garland faux, I will be able to use them year after year. I kept the stockings because I thought they were cute. See my updated coop below.


And, to make things more fun and interesting, invite your girls to help! Happy and Roxanne oversaw our work and I think they approved!


The bottom line is this, Christmas looks a little bit different for everyone. You can add little touches or go big. Either way is perfectly fine. I would, however, steer clear of things your chickens may consume that could harm them. Outside of that, decorate away! I would love to see some of your coops! Tag me on Instagram @stronganimalschickenessentials or use the hashtag #chickenessentials so I can see your Christmas coops!

Until Next Time,

–The Wing Lady

How to Prepare Your Flock for Extreme Winter Weather

It’s almost the middle of December and here in southwest Minnesota, we still have no snow! Usually by now, we’re all singing “White Christmas” and wearing loads of winter gear out and about. While us Minnesotans are all enjoying this weather, we know what’s coming. The snow always comes and usually without much warning. We have lived through many blizzards, but each year it still takes us by surprise.

I was born and raised here and now we’re raising our family here. I love every season. But, there are certain things we do to prepare for winter, and preparing our coop and flock for this extreme weather is at the top of our to-do list every year.


One of the most asked questions by new backyard chicken keepers is,“Do I need to heat the coop when the cold weather sets in?” It usually comes to surprise to them when I say that we don’t heat our coop and I’ll tell you why.

Chickens are actually able to handle cold weather a lot better than hot weather. The reason for this is that they essentially have a built in winter jacket! Also, chickens don’t have sweat glands so hot summers are actually tougher on them.

Heating your coop can be tough because of the difference in temperatures going in and out. Chickens do better if they can remain in a similar temperature range as opposed to fluctuating temps.

And, lastly and probably most importantly, heat lamps are the largest cause of coop fires! I’ve read horrible stories of people losing their entire flock due to a heat lamp fire.

Our girls have withstood temps far below zero in their draft-free yet well insulated coop without a heat lamp. We also use the deep litter method which provides more insulation and warmth. We manage our deep litter with Coop Recuperate. It has been a total game changer for our girls. I can sit out there with them and walk out smelling like lemongrass and eucalyptus as opposed to chicken poop! If you want to learn more about the deep litter method, check out this short video below or my blog post on how I do it! Coop Recuperate is also available on Amazon now!

Extreme weather changes can be stressful for chickens. So, when a storm’s coming or while it’s here, I supplement our girls with Flock Fixer. Flock Fixer is a vitamin rich water additive that helps hydrate, restore vital nutrients and support immunity of your birds. It contains electrolytes, prebiotics, and probiotics. It gives your chickens everything they need to support their cute little selves in times of stress. And Minnesota blizzards can be pretty stressful! Flock Fixer is also now available on Amazon if you want to give it a try. I highly recommend!

Bottom line, I love knowing that our flock is getting all they need to thrive in the extremes. Our girls have survived 2 intense winters now and we’re thankful this one seems to be a bit more mild than usual. However it’s 2020, so I guess we shouldn’t be surprised it’s a little different! Haha!

As always, but especially when the temps drop, you need to make sure that your chickens have fresh water that isn’t frozen as well as adequate food. I like to give my girls some scratch with cracked corn in the afternoon before bed. It helps keep their bodies working and helps keep them warm. These simple things can help keep your chickens comfortable and healthy even in the middle of a blizzard.

Come back next week to find out how we handle the stress of winter blizzards…we make Christmas cookies!

Until Next Time,

–The Wing Lady

Technology Doesn’t Eliminate Visit

Hoover’s Hatchery™ recently produced a Facebook Live event at Etzel’s Sugar Grove Farm showing how Carl and Gavin Rosier have adapted modern technology to make managing their chicken flock easier. One viewer responded saying, “If I don’t visit my coop every day too many eggs build up in the nest. Some get broken. Most get dirty.”
Carl and Gavin never intended for their devices to eliminate the need to visit daily. Technology just makes it easier to monitor the flock from a distance.

Here are the devices they adapted to make managing the hens easier and visits somewhat less often:

● Electric fence ringing the perimeter of a large run. It keeps the chickens in and predators out.
● An automatic pop hole door that closes at sundown and opens at sunrise.
● A microheater and aerator that keeps drinking water ice free.

All these are powered by solar collectors with batteries storing energy for use when the sun’s behind clouds or at night. The Rosiers pointed a remote-access camera at the coop with the electric fence and pop hole door visible. The camera makes it possible to check the coop’s exterior in real time 24/7 from a distance.

Carl and Gavin live over ten miles from their coop. Typically, each morning they take a look at it on their computer from home. They can instantly tell if the pop hole door is open and the hens are normally walking about. As long as everything appears to be all right, they know they don’t need to immediately rush to the coop, so they can linger home for a second cup of coffee.

Then they drive to the farm every day. They check the coop to collect eggs, fill feeders and waterers, and visibly check it over. Then, they proceed with their regular work at the Farm.

If they spot something amiss, they skip the coffee and drive right out. So, these modern devices don’t eliminate the need to visit the coop daily, but they enable a distant view to make sure everything’s ok.
Visiting the coop a few times a day is important. Eggs freeze during subzero weather and spoil on blistering hot summer days. Waterers tip over, and sometimes a predator breaches even the best defensive door or fence. There are always things that need to be done in person.

Redundancy Is Important

Whether or not a coop has electronic waterers, fences, door controllers or cameras, redundancy in providing critical hen needs is important. Especially waterers.

Chickens drink often, even in the depth of winter. On hot summer days they cool their bodies by panting. Their evaporating exhaled breath helps reduce body temperature but increases their need to drink.

It’s easy for hens to drain a waterer or tip it over. Winter’s chill quickly freezes unheated waterers, and chickens can’t hydrate by eating snow or ice. They must have liquid water. Without it they’ll quickly die on hot days and be greatly stressed when it’s cold. At best dehydration stops egg laying. At worst, it kills.

The solution is redundant waterers. Keep two filled waterers in the coop. If the hens knock one over or drink all its water, they can enjoy a cool drink from the other.

Electrically heated waterers keep water liquid on even the bitterest days but here are some ways to keep it available if a coop lacks electricity:

● Use black flexible rubber buckets, rather than metal pails, for their water. If possible, place it in the sun. The black rubber absorbs some heat, and if the bucket freezes it’s easy to crack out the ice. That’s not possible with metal pails.
● Replace bucket water every few hours on cold days. Warm water resists freezing a little longer than cold water.
● Use an insulated bucket as a waterer. Ice anglers often use insulated buckets to keep the water holding live minnows from freezing. They can be purchased where fishing equipment is sold. The inch of Styrofoam insulation ringing the bucket helps keep water liquid an hour or two longer than a non-insulated one.

Even with the best electronic labor-saving coop devices, it is important to visit the coop every day and, preferably, several times a day to collect eggs, fill feeders and waterers, generally check things over, and say, “thanks” to the hens for their gifts of fresh eggs.

We Have a Surprise for You!

The girls and I have very exciting news to share with our faithful friends and followers and we wanted you to hear it here first! No, I didn’t get new chicks to add to my flock. YET! (winks)

 

You all know the girls and I love Strong Animals Chicken Essentials products and I use them religiously to keep my flock healthy, happy and thriving. What you might not know is that we have an incredible team of people behind the scenes listening to feedback about the products, the packaging and the needs of backyard chicken keepers like me.

 

Que drumroll, please!

 

Get ready for easier to use packaging, a fresh new design featuring the plants and essential oils used in their products, as well as two NEW daily snacks for your hens. Eeek! I can’t hardly wait for you to get your hands on these. My girls just love the new treats!

As you can see, the new packaging is fun and inviting. The team really wanted to make sure that chickens owners knew that Strong Animals products contained organic essential oils since they are the magic ingredients inside their products. The product line features oregano, thyme, cinnamon, lemongrass and eucalyptus essential oils to keep your flock healthy.

 

The best part is that all of the products were specially formulated by Strong Animals poultry nutritionists and veterinarians and they can all be safely used together. Strong Animals is a third generation family run business who understands the invaluable gift of family, so you can confidently provide your flock with products that have your girl’s health and the health of your own family in mind.

 

As you are all very aware, Coop Recuperate is one of my favorite Strong Animals products. It has such an amazing scent. The combination of lemongrass and eucalyptus keeps my coop smelling fresh! I didn’t think it was possible, but the team made this product even better because now it comes in this new jug that makes it easier to sprinkle on the bedding. They also came out with a larger size for those of us that want to use it more often.

Now let’s talk about these great NEW products! My girls literally “flocked” to these new daily snacks and loved them!

Happy Tract is a daily snack containing oregano, cinnamon and thyme essential oils, prebiotics, multi-grains, cracked corn, sunflower seeds and flaxseed to promote digestive health and support immunity. My favorite chicken Happy believes this product was named after her. Ha! Happy Tract smells absolutely delicious and my girls gobbled it right up.

Golden Graze is a daily snack containing oregano essential oils, multi-grains, cracked corn, oyster shells, marigold petals and flaxseed. The Omega-3 fatty acids in the flaxseed are good for your chickens and your family. The calcium in the oyster shells helps with eggshell quality and the marigold petals help to provide golden yolks because as you all know, it is all about the eggs!

Both snacks are compatible with all types of complete feeds. I sprinkled it onto their feed and fed as a treat out of my hand. You can also use it as scratch and just simply toss it on the ground for the girls to scratch around.

 

Remember as with any snack, if your flock does not free range or have access to gravel or rock, you will need to provide some grit so they can properly digest the treats they love so well.

 

Raising backyard chickens is rewarding, simple and so much fun! Making sure they are given all they can to remain healthy, strong, and great egg layers is fun for me. My chickens have become like family. I have not lost one chicken due to health reasons. I actually haven’t lost a chicken yet. I accredit this mostly due to the incredible products from Strong Animals Chicken Essentials. The other part is that I am pretty obsessed with their little personalities, so I spend a lot of time with them! Ha! Whatever raising backyard chickens looks like for you (we’re not all crazy), I hope you consider incorporating these incredible products into your flock. These new-look products will be available in your local farm stores in February 2021.

Maybe I will ask the team to run a little contest so a few lucky insiders can try them before they are in stores!

 
 

Until Next Time,

 

The Wing Lady