All About the Barred Plymouth Rock Breed

I am so excited to write this blog! The Barred Plymouth Rock breed is among my favorite breeds of chickens. They are so great!

It also helps that my absolute favorite chicken is a Plymouth Rock. Happy has been with me from the beginning (#happythechicken). She is the reason I fell in love with backyard chickens. So, what’s so special about this breed?

All About the Barred Plymouth Rock Breed

Barred Plymouth Rocks, also known as Barred Rocks, are docile, gentle and super friendly. They are a dual-purpose heritage breed that will produce around 250 brown eggs a year. They are winter hearty and handle the heat well. Their lifespan is 6-8 years, but they can live longer. I’m hoping Happy sets a lifespan record!

All About the Barred Plymouth Rock Breed

Barred Plymouth Rocks are generally quiet, easy to handle, and are beautiful wandering around the yard. They are friendly to their flock mates and won’t normally be at the top of the pecking order. Because of their disposition, they are a great starter bird for a backyard flock.

All About the Barred Plymouth Rock Breed

This breed has a single comb, white and black “barred” feathers, and clean feet with 4 toes. They do great free ranging as well as being contained in a run. They are a larger breed with the hens weighing in around 7-8 pounds with roosters weighing 9-10 pounds.

“The Plymouth Rock chicken has a long history in the United States. Barred Plymouth Rocks were first shown at a poultry show in Boston in 1849. They have been nicknamed “America’s favorite breed” as well as “the Hereford of the poultry world.” TheSpruce.com

All About the Barred Plymouth Rock Breed

Happy and I have been on so many adventures together! I have a chicken stroller and she loves to go on walks with me, and go to our local farm supply store. She’s even gone flower shopping with me! She is so sweet. Her sisters are pretty great too! It’s been the one breed where all of them want my attention. They lay large, delicious eggs and are all around my favorite breed.

All About the Barred Plymouth Rock Breed

I highly recommend adding a couple of these to your backyard flock! What’s one more chicken? Haha!

Until next time,

–The Wing Lady & Happy

Chicken Month Chat! Topic: Nutrition

Mark your calendars for a Monday, September 26th, Chicken Month Chat on Nutrition (6:30 pm central/7:30 pm eastern).  We’ll share an invite soon so keep your eyes posted for more details on this event, which will be held on Facebook.

Decorating Your Coop For Fall

Fall is absolutely my favorite time of year. Our wedding anniversary and my birthday are in the fall. And it’s Happy’s birthday too!

We live in Minnesota where we get to experience all 4 seasons, and there’s something so cozy about fall. The days get shorter, the nights and mornings get cooler, and the colors are spectacular! Give me all the pumpkin spice everything, a good book and I’m content.

Decorating Your Coop For Fall

I also go all out decorating our house for fall. Garlands, pumpkins, candles and autumn wreaths are everywhere you look. I didn’t want the flock to feel left out, so I decorated their coop as well! Decorating your chicken coop doesn’t have to be hard or overly expensive.

Most of the time, I grow my own pumpkins and they double as a treat for the girls when the end of the season comes. Do as much or as little as you want. Adding color is so much fun.

I went to our local farm supply store and picked up some gorgeous mums and I keep my artificial wreaths from season to season. The entire process was fun and quick and makes the chicken area feel fall fresh.

Decorating Your Coop For Fall

I think the mistake some people make when it comes to decorating, is that they get so overwhelmed with how much, which color, what’s trendy, etc. My advice to you is to do what brings you joy! If you don’t like mums? Don’t use them! If pumpkins aren’t your thing? Use hay bales!

To finish it off, I’d really like to add some simple garland as well. The options are endless really. When the corn dries up a bit more, I’m going to have my hubby make some corn shocks for me to put up next to the side beams.

Before we know it, the snow will fly. But until then? I’m going to sit here, drink my pumpkin latte and snuggle my chickens! Happy almost fall everyone!

Until next time,

–The Wing Lady

Simple Ways to Decorate Your Coop

Are you looking for ways to make your coop stand out?  There are a lot of ways that you can make your chicken coop attractive.  The methods that I’m going to share with you will not only make your coop look nicer, but it can help it last longer and provide benefits to your flock.  Let’s dive in!



One of the easiest and most beneficial ways to decorate your coop is to landscape around it.  You probably have landscaping around your house, so why not add some landscaping around your chicken’s coop?  You could do this very simply with a few plants or you can have small, elaborate flowerbeds around the coop.


If you want a more simple, rustic look, I recommend planting herbs around the coop.  There are a few reasons why herbs around the coop just make sense.  

  1. Chickens love herbs.  Fresh herbs are incredibly healthy for your chickens and can provide much needed vitamins, minerals and antibiotic properties to help keep your chickens healthy.
  2. Herbs can attract good bugs, while repelling bad ones.  Chickens love to eat insects. In fact, insects make up as much as 80% of a chicken’s diet when allowed to free range.  Herbs can help attract good bugs that your chickens will eat, while repelling the bad ones like mites and ticks, that can bother your chickens.
  3. Herbs are not only beneficial for your chickens, but for you also.  If you’re interested in adding an herb garden, you might as well plant it around your coop for the added benefits that your chickens will get out of them.
  4. Fragrant herb plants can help to cover up smells that might come from your coop.  A clean coop doesn’t smell, but sometimes it’s hard to keep up with coop cleaning duty.  Herbs like lavender, citronella, and lemongrass can help to create a pleasant smell around the coop.

When you plant herbs around your coop, plant them on the outside of the coop.  If you plant them inside the coop, your flock will likely eat the herbs down to the ground.  Planting them on the outside of the coop will ensure that your chickens don’t mow the herbs down completely.


You can also take the time to landscape around your coop.  Create small flowerbeds around the coop with small shrubs, trees or flowers.  Be careful not to plant toxic plants around the coop.  Planters filled with seasonal flowers can add a pop of color and fun to the coop’s landscape.



A fresh coat of paint can make a big difference in what your chicken coop looks like.  Almost all coops can be painted, as long as you buy the correct paint for your material.  Wooden coops can also be pressure washed and stained rather than painted if you prefer a more rustic look.


If you want to take your coop up a notch, you can paint the wire also.  Black wire looks more sophisticated and actually blends into the background more, making it almost invisible.  If you want to paint your wire black, use a roller and apply multiple coats.  Don’t use a spray to paint the wire, as most of the sprayed paint will get wasted.  Painting the wire can also help it to last longer.


The inside of your coop can also be painted.  A layer of latex paint can create a surface that is much easier to clean and sanitize than wood alone.  White can look very clean inside of chicken coop.



You can decorate your coop to spruce it up.  There are a lot of places where you can find farm fresh egg themed decor that will look great on or in your coop.  Your chickens won’t mind that your coop is decorated and it will make it much more attractive to look at.


Are you decorating your coop?

Tips for Treating Bumblefoot

Bumblefoot is one of the most common ailments in poultry. If you have chickens for any length of time, you are sure to run across it. Bumblefoot is the term used to describe a bacterial infection in the foot, most often on the bottom. The bacteria responsible is usually staphylococcus. It is imperative you wear gloves when treating!

Unless you regularly flip over your chickens and look at the soles of their feet, then you might never know they have it. One of the first noticeable symptoms is a limping chicken. They may seem uncomfortable walking on a particular foot. It usually will not resolve on its own. Intervention is required to save the bird.

Bumblefoot occurs in both cooped chickens and free range birds. When a bird gets even the smallest tear or cut on its foot, bacteria can quickly invade the body. Since chickens are not exactly known to be the cleanest creatures, walking in filth and feces increases the likelihood of infection. Even if your coop is immaculately clean, there is still a chance of your chickens getting bumblefoot.

We have experienced it in both our chickens and ducks. Luckily, it is relatively easy to treat if caught early. It can be an icky job, but it is a skill chicken owners need to be ready to deal with.

You’ll need the following supplies:

  • Gloves
  • Sanitizing Wipes
  • Clean tweezers
  • Clean razor blade (optional)
  • Gauze
  • Neosporin and Blue Kote Spray
  • Vet Wrap

You may need a helper to hold the chicken.

  1. Soaking the chicken’s foot for 5 minutes helps the loosen the bacterial plug. A simple solution of warm water and sea salt works fine. After soaking, it is time to get down to business.
  2. Remove Plug. Using tweezers, gently but firmly, wiggle the plug loose from the sole of the foot. This may cause some pain to the chicken, but it is imperative to get this out. It should come lose as a whole piece, including the deeper root inside the foot. There may be some blood. When you see the blood and an empty hole, you have removed the plug.
  3. Now it is time to wipe the area clean. Iodine wash, soapy water, or anything you have on hand to clean the hole works fine. Next, spray well with Blue Kote antibacterial/anti-fungal spray. (This is available at most farm stores.) After that, apply a good, big dollop of Neosporin to a piece of gauze and place over the hole. Wrap the foot with vet wrap, being sure the wrap isn’t too tight or too loose.
  4. Try to keep the chicken alone, in a clean environment for several days. You can clean and re-apply the bandage if needed, but usually once is fine. A pet carrier or crate works best. If it is a particularly wild chicken, you can skip the wrapping step and just spray very well with Blue Kote.

It may seem like a lot of work, but treating bumblefoot is very possible! One of my favorite hens had a bad case of bumblefoot once.  After treatment, she healed up nicely and continued to live for years and years after the incident. After you’ve treated it once, you’ll soon have the confidence to do it again and again if needed. Being a chicken mama/daddy isn’t always glamorous, but helping a sick chicken makes it all worth it! Good luck friends!


Back to School Bento Box Lunches

The day is finally here. We’ve been working towards this day from the time he started preschool. Our oldest is off to his senior year of high school!

There are a lot of emotions with that, but I know he will have a great year! Our kids are active and involved in sports. It’s important to me to make sure their bodies are fueled well. Our kids eat school lunch some days, but most days they prefer to pack their own lunches.

The bento box lunch craze started a few years ago. So, if your kids get sick of the same things every day, these are a great option! There are so many different, healthy items you can put in these boxes. My only issue is that with growing sports players, they don’t always provide enough spaces! Haha! But, for younger kids, these are excellent! I will pack their main lunch in these little boxes. The one pictured above I picked up at Aldi and it expands! It’s awesome and when they’re done, it collapses to take up less space.

Back to School Bento Box Lunches

So, what do we put in our boxes? Here’s some ideas to get you started! If your child has access to a microwave, your options increase (mini pizzas anyone?). But, if they don’t, these options below are a great starting point!

  1. Sandwiches

  2. Fruit

  3. Veggies/dip

  4. Sliced summer sausage

  5. Sliced cheese

  6. Crackers

  7. Hard boiled eggs (of course!)

  8. Nuts/seeds

  9. Small cookies

  10. Lettuce salad

  11. Granola bites

  12. Raisins

  13. Trail mix

  14. Protein balls

  15. Jell-O cubes

  16. Pickles

  17. String cheese

  18. Tortilla rollups

  19. Lettuce wraps

  20. Pasta salad

These are just some fun ideas we like to put in our boxes. I always make sure they have enough protein! After that, I’m not too picky on what they want to put in them as long as it’s not a bunch of junk. Treats are always okay if they’re not the majority!

Anyway, I hope you and your family have an incredible school year! We’re raising the next generation and what an exciting one it will be!

Until next time,

–The Wing Lady


How to Tell if a Bird is Molting or if Something Else is Going On

Is your chicken losing feathers?  Any time that your chickens start to loose feathers, it can make you wonder what’s going on or worry you that you aren’t doing enough for your chickens.  Molting is a natural process that can look really bad, but in reality, it’s not.  So how do you know if your chicken is loosing feathers just because it’s molting or if there’s something else going on?


Signs Your Chickens Are Molting

Molting is a natural process that chickens go through every year. Just like sharks go through teeth frequently, chickens and other birds will go through feathers.  Feathers, like the hair on our heads, aren’t living and wear out over time.  When feathers get worn out, they fall out and are replaced with new feathers.  This process of losing and regrowing feathers is called molting.

Birds will molt differently.  Some birds will gradually lose feathers and you might not even notice that they’re molting.  Others will lose a ton of feathers all at once, making them look pretty poor for a few weeks.


Generally, chickens will lose the feathers around their head and wings first, then the feathers along the back will fall out.  As the feathers are lost, they’re replaced with pin feathers.  These feathers are young replacement feathers that look like a pin sticking out of the bird’s skin.  The feather will grow out of this ‘pin’ and replace the feathers that were lost.


When chickens lose feathers due to molting, there isn’t any blood involved. The old feathers simply fall out and are replaced with new feathers.  The process can take several weeks to complete and it’s usually done in the fall, when the weather starts to change.


Signs Feather Loss is Something Else

There are a few other reasons why chickens will lose their feathers and they have some obvious signs that are associated with them.  Luckily, treating these issues is pretty simple.


A rooster is causing the issue.

Roosters can be aggressive when mating.  A rooster will use his beak to grab onto the feathers on the back of a hen, usually between her wings, as he mates with her.  Sometimes this can pull the feathers out.  There may be some bleeding when this happens.


If you notice a bald spot on your hens, you may not have enough hens.  You can add a few hens to your flock so that the rooster doesn’t mate with the same hens over and over again.  If adding more hens isn’t an option, you can buy hen saddles online.  A hen saddle is a protective piece of fabric that prevents roosters from damaging their back and pulling feathers out.


There’s a pest problem.

Chickens are generally healthy, but they can be affected by pests.  Mites are a common pest problem that can cause feather loss.  Some types of mites will attack the feather follicle, causing the feather to drop out.  Usually, the skin looks irritated.  Depending on the type of mite, you might notice red, swollen skin or small dots of blood covering the skin.  Chickens that have mites are itchy and will scratch at the area frequently.  Feather loss due to mites can happen all over the body, but it’s most common around the legs, head and cloaca.


If you suspect mites, treat the entire flock and coop thoroughly for mites.  



Chickens have a strong need for an amino acid called methionine.  Methionine is found in animal and insect protein.  When chickens don’t get enough methionine in their feed, it can cause them to turn on one another.  If you notice behavior that looks like bullying, it’s more than likely a methionine deficiency.  This is commonly seen in chickens that are cooped up.  The bullying behavior can lead to cannibalism and even death.  In these cases, the feather loss quickly turns into larege wounds that then entire flock will peck at.  


This sounds like a big problem, but there’s an easy fix.  Methionine is found in poultry feed, so you might need to change your feed.  A fresh bag or a higher quality feed should take care of the problem. 

DIY Mouse Trap

If you have chickens, unfortunately you will have mice!

Attracted to spilled feed, mice will find incredibly crafty ways to invade your coop. Removing feeders at night is a tremendous help. However, it isn’t always easy to remember to do that. If you’re like me, at the end of the day, the last thing you’re looking forward to is another farm chore.

I’ll never forget the horror I witnessed one night in my coop. I had gone to lock the chickens up at bedtime, but was a little later than usual. The sun had already set and the sky was dark. I opened up the coop door and shined the flashlight at my roosting flock. As soon as the light hit them, they all opened their eyes and peered down at the coop floor. To my horror, there were probably 20 or so mice running for cover! They had been under the feeder, inside the feeder, and basically all over the place! It was the very next day I found a solution.

My husband and I scoured the internet in search of a DIY mouse trap that really works- and we found one!

Simply getting rid of mice in a chicken coop can be anything but simple. Snap traps could be stepped on by chicken toes, and only catch one mouse at a time. Poison isn’t a great option either. Your chickens could accidentally eat the poison, or even more strangely, eat the poisoned dead mice! Yes! I’ve seen it happen before!

So what do you do?

You need to catch LOTS of mice in one night!-without putting your chickens in danger.

Here’s what you need:

  • A bucket
  • Coat hanger wire
  • Wire cutters
  • Drill
  • Old plastic bottle with cap
  • Peanut butter
  • A stick for the ramp

Drill a hole on either side of the top of the bucket. Pull your coat hanger wire through the empty bottle and through the bucket holes. You want the bottle to be in the middle of the bucket, and loose enough to spin.

The idea is the mouse will be attracted to the smell of the peanut butter. They climb up the ramp, and have to jump on the bottle. Once they do, the bottle spins, dropping them in the bucket below.

I really love this trap! It could take a couple of days for the mice to notice the peanut butter, but once they do, you’ll be in business. It helps to remove the feeder at night, so the mice will have nothing else to eat. They’ll just have to go for the peanut butter!


On my first successful night, I caught 9 mice!

Here’s the best part, you have the choice whether it is a “kill” or “no-kill” trap. If you wish to release the mice, you can! Just take the bucket VERY far away from the coop, and set them free.

If you wish to exterminate the mice, add about 6 inches of water inside the bucket. I know it sounds a bit gruesome, but if we do this, I actually give the dead mice to my dogs. We have farm dogs, who are trained to hunt vermin, so they appreciate the snacks.

Mice are cute. They are just trying to survive, and doing what mice do best. Despite this, mice and rats spread diseases to our livestock, eat up valuable feed, and make a nasty mess. Sometimes, we just need them gone. Chances are, you already have all the supplies to make this trap at home! Give it a try and protect your coop from becoming infested!

My Tiny Farm

HELLO! I hope this wonderful season has been blessing everyone’s family and friends with food from gardens and bugs for your flock! I am going to switch it up today! I wanted to talk to you about my tiny farm.


My tiny farm has been growing lately. We went from 30+ chickens and a couple ducks and turkeys, to well…a lot more birds. Our female duck (her name is Mama) and her husband (Shadow) have hatched us 11 out of the 13 baby ducklings. Our neighbors’ ducks went wild so we ended up taking in 20 more ducklings and currently Mama is on a new clutch of 13 eggs. Her favorite number is 13, bad luck to some, but her favorite and who am I to tell her how many babies she can have. Also, for those who are new to the duck world clutch means nest of eggs for ducks. I actually just learned this and saying it does bring a smirk to my face, because the more flock lingo I learn, the cooler I feel. Right? Anyone else feel this way when you learn a new word or just want to sound like you know what you’re talking about? No shame here, we all feel this in some way. Needless to say, we are now up to 31 ducks and 13 eggs (all fertile and hopefully hatch! Eeeeee!)


Raising a flock is not always so welcoming though. With the beautiful comes the ugly. And ladies and gentlemen, I am an ugly crier and when I lose one of my flock it breaks my heart and my husband gets to see the ugly cry sometimes. I wrote a blog called Let’s Talk Chicken. In it I expressed in short, my fear of turkeys and how I have been using the challenge to bond with them. We had two, a white and bronze hen. Well, we lost my beautiful white jenny to heat stroke and organ failure. She was a Broad-Breasted White turkey and their DNA has been basically genetically changed due to the past of adding hormones into the eggs and into the chicks. Luckily, they chose to stop this due to the effect it was having on us humans and our flocks. My jenny’s name was Precious because she was simply that. She made me change my whole perspective on turkeys. 3 years ago, we had a beautiful heritage black hen named Molly. Molly was stunning, we brushed her feathers daily and took very good care of her. After a year though, she started leaving the house for days and one day while walking my 2 year old to the swing, she thought it was okay to attack us. She was out of control and nothing like herself. Needless to say, she made me officially terrified of turkeys. To lose Precious was hard and now Bronzey is alone. Which brings us to 30+ Chickens, 40+ Ducks and 1 turkey and 3 new friends.

We all have been there when the ticks have been out of control and this year is seriously awful! So, I decided it was time to bring in the loudest, bossiest, most tick-eating machines I have known, Guinea Fowl. PLUS, THEY ARE GREAT COMPANY FOR TURKEYS! We used to have 13 and when Covid hit we butchered some and others we sold for decent money. I ended up selling them all though and this year I can’t stand the amount of ticks I have seen. One guinea fowl hen will eat up to 400 ticks PER DAY! EVERY DAY!!! Our neighbor, Kay, has a beautiful farm and has so many she was kind enough to sell me 3. I tried to get girls because I so badly want babies. I definitely will not be butchering them again (don’t get me wrong, they tasted amazing! Light and dark meat with bright yellow fat.. I just need them now more than ever for the ticks!). They will choose bugs over food. If you have a bug issue whether it be boxelder, crickets, ticks, fleas or ants, they get the job done. We have almost 11 acres. I would technically want one guinea fowl per 2 acres, so roughly 5. I chose 3, and hopefully we will get lots of babies. Also, they can cross breed with chickens. Beautiful creatures that they create. Check some pictures out next time your bored and online.

4 years ago, our tiny farm had 4 goats, 2 Jersey cows, 1 piggy and many, many rabbits. I miss these animals a lot! We chose to camp more this year while the kids were smaller and more into it. So, these things will come.

We have a garden for our family, a garden for our flock and we still do have some bunnies. This spring we were blessed with 8 mixed bunnies. If you raise rabbits, the best thing to do is let your yard go. When the grass and weeds get high, cut it down and feed it to the rabbits! Pasture-raised meat is the best meat. We supplement ours with Heinold rabbit feed and alfalfa cubes. Having the land to raise them on though is so wonderful. God gives us so much to use and sometimes we feel we have to spend, spend, spend, when nature has a lot for us and God is just waiting for us to see it.

My tiny farm is growing and each year we will be expanding. I have dreams of raising some more livestock, but for now we have so much to be grateful for.

Our Tiny Farm

· 11 rabbits

· 30+ chickens

· 40+ ducks (13 being eggs)

· 5 beautiful barn cats

· 1 13yr old leopard gecko

· 2 fun loving dogs (Olde English Bulldog and a Dachshund mix)

· 2 gardens

I can’t wait to share my tiny farm news with you and have you be a part of our growth! I’m praying for a chance to have honey bees, livestock and more!

-Amanda B.


Rooster’s Serenade: What in the World Do You Do with A Rooster?

The day a box of peeping chicks from Hoover’s Hatchery® arrives is joyful.


Unfortunately, one or two of those delightful chicks may cause a dilemma. Most city ordinances welcome families to keep hens but their boyfriends are forbidden. Everyone “knows” that roosters are noisy, and the last thing the city council wants is complaints from neighbors awakened by gusty crowing.


To avoid roosters most people buy female, or pullet, chicks. It works, at least most of the time. Few people can distinguish between male and female baby chicks but   Hoover’s Hatchery sexors can. These highly trained workers separate the genders shortly after the chicks hatch. For some sex-linked hybrids that’s easy. Telling them apart is a cinch. Not so with standard breeds like Rhode Island Reds or Orpingtons.


Once in a while the sexors mislabel. Buy 25 pullet chicks and one or two will turn out to be roosters. What can be done with them?


Identifying Roosters

Although baby male and female chicks look nearly identical, that changes as they age.  By six to ten weeks male chicks’ combs are usually bigger and redder than those of their sisters and their body may be slightly bigger. The older they get the easier it is to tell the boys from the girls, but one characteristic is a sure bet.  Adolescent roosters start crowing, often by the time they are ten weeks old. Their first crows are usually off key, rumbly grunts but soon it’s “cock a doodle do!” with gusto.

Why Keep a Rooster


Here are reasons for flock owners who can keep a rooster should consider keeping him:


  • Roosters are a natural part of chicken society.
  • Not everyone dislikes morning crowing. It brings the essence of rural life to suburbia. Neighbors might like the dawn serenade.
  • Roosters are essential for hens to lay fertile hatching eggs.
  • Roosters protect their hens and show them tasty tidbits.
  • Roosters are gorgeous.


Rooster Downsides


Although keeping a rooster can be a delight, they have these downsides:

  • They crow.
  • They might be illegal and may cause neighbor angst.
  • They eat expensive food and never lay an egg.
  • They can be aggressive to both people and hens. Rooster personalities vary. Some are gentle. Others are downright bullies, and it’s hard to predict the future personality of a baby male chick.


What To Do with Unwanted Roosters


In days gone by farm families usually bought “straight run” chicks of dual-purpose breeds. About half would be roosters, destined for chicken dinners, while hens were kept for egg production. Those days are mostly gone. What in the world can a suburban family do with a crowing and probably illegal rooster?  Here are some options:


Dinner:  Well, roosters are delicious. Dual purpose breed roosters, like Rhode Island Reds or Barred Rocks, reach eating size by about 12 weeks old and start to crow.   They’re not fully grown so their flesh will still be tender. How do you do it?   YouTube to the rescue!  Many videos show how to slaughter and process chickens at home.  There’s a problem.  Most cities ban slaughtering and many families simply don’t want to do it. The solution is to place an ad on social media. Often someone will pick up that rooster within hours. Most of the time he’ll end up as the new owner’s dinner but the slaughtering is his problem and, hopefully, he does it outside town.


Finding his new home: Some people want a rooster to add to their flock. Social media may help locate someone looking for a rooster who can legally keep him.


Roosters are beautiful and fascinating animals, but they just don’t work well in a typical small backyard flock. Anyone raising baby chicks should have a plan in place to deal with the occasional rooster mixed in with the females.