Should Chicken Keepers Be Arenophiles?

Some chicken keepers may be secret arenophiles!  They lug sand into the coop and use it for bedding Is that a good thing?


The word “arenophile” is a blend of Greek and Latin tracing back to ancient Rome

In those days crowds gathered in huge arenas to watch gladiators fight to a gory death

Before bouts workers covered the arena’s surface with a thick layer of sand to absorb blood  Gross!


Fortunately, those violent days are gone  Today the word “arenophile” generally means someone who collects samples of sand from such far-flung places as the beaches of Tahiti or Normandy Others may come

A Chicken’s Quirky Vision

If chickens sometimes act in quirky ways, it may be because of their vision


It’s easy for people to assume that animals see things the way we do, but that’s not the case  Animal vision varies greatly  Like most birds, chickens see the world differently than their human caretakers


Anyone who has filled an empty bird feeder is often surprised to see chickadees, nuthatches, and other wild birds almost immediately flap in for lunch How do they know delicious seeds are in a feeder that has been empty for several days? Chickens do the same thing Open the back door with

DIY Composter

In addition to gifting a family with fresh eggs, a backyard chicken flock yields another benefit Their poop


“Soil needs animal manure to maintain health, and few additions to garden soil help produce abundant vegetables as chicken poop compost,” said Drew Erickson, Farm Manager at Rodale Institute’s Midwest Research Center north of Cedar Rapids, Iowa


Our garden produce is a side gift from our hens, and we use their manure in two ways   We sprinkle a thin layer directly on the garden soil and gently work it in Chicken manure is nitrogen rich Adding too much can over fertilize plants, so

How Long Will Hens Stay Broody

Some chicken traits are both admirable and frustrating Patience is an example


People often lack patience They grit their teeth waiting at a red light, and zoom off the second it turns green Instant gratification is expected Fortunately, in this fast-paced world, a broody hen teaches us the merits of calmness and patience


At one time, the only way to get new chicks was to let a broody hen warm egg for a 21-day incubation period Nature programmed hens to develop a maternal urge, usually in the spring, and raise babies  After filling her nest with fertile eggs she’ll fluff up

Keeping Chickens Productive in Summer’s Heat

In the summer of 1896, a heat wave gripped New York City at a time when people lived crammed together in tenements Lacking air conditioning and running water, the heat killed about 1500 people in ten sweltering days


In an era when governments did little to help people, then relatively unknown Theodore Roosevelt took action that saved lives and launched his political career

As police commissioner he ordered the fire department to spray down the exterior of buildings, sidewalks and streets with water and worked to have ice delivered to suffering people The water dropped building temperatures a few degrees and

Sizing an Outdoor Run

Chickens love being outside Give them a run, and they’ll lounge in the shade, scratch for tasty bugs and seeds, gobble delicious sprouts, hunker in the dust and even snatch wayward flies from the air


How big should a run be?  There’s no absolute answer  A tiny run is appreciated but the bigger it is relative to flock size the more the birds will enjoy it and the more natural food it will produce


Chickens are constant foragers and scratchers  If many birds are crammed into a small run, they’ll soon devour every scrap of green vegetation  Expect a dusty run