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What to do With All the Eggs

Winter is coming, which means egg production will slow down on our little farm. I know from history that I will run out of eggs at some point as my chickens stop laying. While I will turn on supplemental light after they finish molting to jump start egg production again, I’m already thinking of ways to avoid having to buy grocery store eggs.

Can we all agree that grocery store eggs are a little gross? We’re so spoiled with our wonderful, farm-fresh eggs. If you’re flush with eggs now and wondering how to make eggs last through the winter, here are a few things you can do with all those eggs!

Refrigerate Unwashed Eggs

Remember in our discussion recently about washing eggs? Refrigerating unwashed eggs will help them last longer. It might a good idea to fight the urge to wash your eggs this fall and to also clean out some room in the fridge for them! Read about refrigerating eggs here.

Recipes that Use a Lot of Eggs

Another way to make eggs last longer is to cook them in freezer friendly recipes that use a lot of eggs. Here are a few of our family-friendly freezer recipes my family loves that use a lot of eggs:

Preserve Eggs

Finally, there are also several ways to preserve eggs to make them last longer. Some of the most popular egg preservation methods include:

  1. Freeze raw eggs – this is pretty easy and works really well. Simple whisk eggs lightly, add a pinch of salt or sugar (salt if you want to use the eggs in savory dishes and sugar if you want to use them in baking), then freeze individually in ice cube trays.
  2. Preserve egg yolks in salt – basically you’re curing the yolks in salt, and then using them as garnish on salads and sandwiches. Learn how easy this egg preservation method is here.
  3. Ferment and pickle eggs – hard boil and peel eggs, then preserve in a vinegar brine and store in the refrigerator. Here’s a traditional recipe for pickling eggs.
  4. Storing eggs with mineral oil – this is another common way to make eggs last longer. Simply wipe the dirt off farm fresh eggs, but don’t wash. Coat with warmed food-grade mineral oil, and store pointy side down in an egg carton in a cool location. Read more here.

What’s your favorite thing to do with all the eggs to make them last?

 

Lights Put More Eggs in the Nest

All of today’s hundreds of chicken breeds originated from wild birds stalking the jungles of Southeast Asia. Their distant ancestors were adapted to a hot, humid climate close to the equator where day length doesn’t vary much throughout the year.

It’s a wonder these formerly tropical animals can survive cold dark winters, but the plucky birds do just fine when the temperature drops and days shorten as winter grips the north. There is a problem. Decreasing daylight as fall progresses causes egg production to drop off.  It doesn’t cease but slows just as the winter baking season starts.

Fortunately, hens can be encouraged to keep laying during winter’s chill and darkness by adding supplemental light to lengthen their workday. It’s simple if the coop has electricity.

  Here’s what’s needed:

  • a hanging pendant type light fixture
  • a timer
  • a six- or eight-watt LED bulb (equivalent to a 40-to-60-watt incandescent bulb)
  • an electrical outlet

Hang the fixture and bulb from the coop’s ceiling where the chickens can’t reach it and where the bulb and shade do not touch anything flammable. Plug the lamp wire into the timer that’s also out of reach of the hens. Then plug the timer into the outlet.

A good date to start supplemental lighting is September 21. That’s the fall equinox when every place on earth receives about 12 hours of sunlight.  Adjust the timer to turn the light on before dawn and turn it off after the sun rises. The timer should be set so the chickens have about 15 hours of light. As days continue to shorten it’s necessary to readjust the timer about once a month to keep artificial plus natural light at about 15 hours each day.

 

What If There’s No Electricity In the Coop

Technology helps people who don’t have electric power in their coop.

Several companies sell solar powered lights that can be made to work perfectly. It may take some sleuthing to find and assemble the components, but the system works.   Perhaps even better, electricity harvested from sunshine is free! 

To assemble components, attach the solar collector to the outside of a south-facing roof, run the wire into the coop and then into a small battery that stores electricity.  Run a wire from the battery to the timer and from the timer to the lamp as mentioned above.     Sunshine charges the battery which stores electricity that’s released through the timer to activate the light bulb.

 

About Bulbs

Incandescent, compact fluorescent and LED bulbs are all on the market. LEDs, for light emitting diodes, are the best for lighting a coop. They consume a tiny amount of electricity, never burn out, and work fine when it’s cold.

Other Equinox Projects

Setting up or taking down supplemental lights at the fall equinox is also a great time to do other semi-annual chores like:

  • Draining rain barrels and putting them away for the winter
  • Caulking holes and cracks that let cold air and mice enter the coop
  • Washing and closing windows
  • Replacing soiled litter with fresh wood chips
  • Scrubbing waterers and feeders
  • Removing cobwebs and generally tidying up the coop

Adding supplemental lights as days shorten in the fall makes it likely that there’ll be plenty of eggs for holiday baking.

Why Feed Oyster Shells?

WHY IS FEEDING OYSTER SHELLS SO IMPORTANT?

For an adult hen who is laying eggs, calcium is pulled from the hen’s body to create the egg. An egg contains 94-97% calcium carbonate. That’s a lot of calcium to pull from a hen who isn’t getting extra calcium supplemented to her! This can cause problems for our little feathered friends. The great news is that if you leave oyster shells out all the time, hens can tell when their body needs more! They are incredibly smart birds and so fascinating. When we supplement calcium, we are supporting the eggshell quality to prevent breakage, supporting our chickens’ bone strength, and strengthening their immune and cardiovascular systems. That seems like a pretty important job!

Luckily, all you have to do is leave out some oyster shells for freewill supplementing and it’ll take care of this need in their bodies. I still leave a bowl of oyster shells out for the girls to take in calcium whenever they need to.

IS FEEDING BACK EGGSHELLS ENOUGH?

I will occasionally feed back eggshells to our flock. Or, I’ll scramble some eggs and leave the eggshells in for an added calcium boost. However, I don’t depend on eggshells to provide the main source of calcium because they don’t contain the same fast-release calcium that oyster shells contain. If feeding back eggshells is your go-to form of calcium, you need to be very consistent in providing them. I don’t have time for all of that. It’s just simply easier for me to fill a bowl of crushed oyster shells and hand out my new favorite treat as opposed to keeping track of all our eggshells.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR?

A lack of calcium can be seen in a few different ways in your flock. Soft eggshells, aggressive behavior, broken bones, and a drop in egg production can all be signs of calcium deficiency. Oyster shells and grit are always a good idea to have out at all times. Strong Animals Chicken Essentials took it to the next level (in my opinion!) by adding this awesome form of calcium right into one of my girls’ favorite snacks. I know without a doubt, this treat is packed full of incredible nutrients that benefit my chickens and their beautiful eggs!

MY FAVORITE OYSTER TREAT

Drum roll please! On top of including oyster shells for my girls, I feed them this new treat! Honestly, all it takes is for them to hear the crinkle of the bag and they come running. I can barely walk through the sea of chickens (all 40 of them) to hand it out before I’m trampled ha.

Golden Graze™ promotes quality eggs with golden yolks and Omega-3 fatty acids and it includes oyster shells for an added boost of calcium for you hens! It contains oregano essential oils, multi-grains, cracked corn, oyster shells, marigold petals and flaxseed.

  • Oyster shells support egg quality

  • Marigold petals for golden yolks

  • Flaxseed for Omega-3 fatty acids

Golden Graze is available in 5 lb. resealable pouch and is so handy to keep in your coop. Your chickens will literally “flock” to it!

Some girls just can’t wait long enough! 😂

Until next time,

-The Wing Lady

Is Changing Feed Harmful to Chickens?

If you’re just starting to raise chickens, a common question that gets asked is, “What is the best feed to give them?” Often, people will search for ways to save money on chicken feed. If someone sat down and calculated out the cost of raising backyard chickens, they may find it costs more than just heading to the store to buy eggs. However, you and I both know that nothing beats farm fresh eggs! For me, the first question I had to answer was, “Am I in this for more than just eggs?” The answer was a resounding yes! Our chickens are our pets! But also, as a mom, knowing that my family is feeding our body natural products matters to me. We don’t do everything perfectly but eating good quality food is important. Feeding our flock a well-balanced diet is essential in my mind! It is important for the health of our chickens as well as the quality of their eggs…which in turn matters to the health of our family. Right now, you’re thinking that I’m overthinking this. Haha! But am I?

As a disclaimer, I’m not an animal nutritionist. I’m not advising you one way or another. I’m just stating my feelings on this topic. If your feelings differ from mine and you have a great system, please carry on with your methods!

When we get our baby chicks, we start them on a non-medicated crumble. We add First Peep™ from the Baby Chick Care Kit from Strong Animals Chicken Essentials. I chose non-medicated feed for my flock because the Strong Animal products give the chickens all the benefits of medicated, but with a natural approach using probiotics, prebiotics and essential oils.

When they are close to egg laying age, we switch them to layer crumble. There are pellets as well, but we feed the crumble. My husband accidentally bought the pellets once. The girls ate it, but they stuck their beaks up a little bit! There is no difference in the formulation between crumble and pellets. It’s just the different shape that threw them! Talk about picky eaters! We keep this feed along with crushed oysters and grit available to the girls at all times.

Then, as a treat, we will give them snacks like Happy Tract™ or Golden Graze™. Scratch treats from the store or mealworms are also great snacks! But these should be treated as snacks or treats…not their main source of energy. Chickens use an incredible amount of energy in regulating their bodies as well as creating and producing eggs. So, eating a balanced diet is incredibly important! We do give the girls scraps as well. If you want to read more on the scraps we avoid, you can find that HERE in another blog.

I often get asked if I make our own feed. The answer is no. I don’t know what the proper formulations are to include everything my chickens need to thrive. I also know that not all feed is created equal. We have done our research and buy chicken food that isn’t necessarily top shelf, but it’s not at the bottom either. I feel confident that we’re giving the girls what they need. They are happy and healthy! If you’re really excited about making your own food, I encourage you to reach out to a poultry nutritionist and see what they recommend. Or you could simply create your own scratch grains with what you know is safe to feed. It seems like a good compromise, huh?

Whatever you choose to do, remember we are what we eat. If your chickens aren’t getting the right nutrients, it can impact their gut health (which affects everything), their feather health and their egg production. Our girls are super healthy, full of beautiful feathers, and are great layers. I attribute this to their well-balanced diet as well as Chicken Essentials products. Raising backyard chickens is definitely a learning journey. Don’t be afraid to ask questions from people who have been doing it much longer than you! I’ve been doing this on and off for 14 years and I’m still learning!

Until next time,

–The Wing Lady

Hard-Working Hens: How to Yield the Best Egg Production Out of Your Flock

At what age will my hens start and stop producing? Is there a breed that produces best? Is there a breed that produces best? How can I help my flock produce to the best of their ability? Do the seasons effect my hens? These are all such important questions to ask yourself as a flock owner. We all want our flocks to thrive and honestly, what is the point in a chicken (besides a pet) if they aren’t producing to the best of their ability? Though they seem like complicated questions, the answers are very black and white. Let’s dig in to the simplicity of maximum egg production!

At what age will my hens start and stop producing? – the anticipation is killing you; I know. Been there. Done that. Fortunately, because chickens grow so fast, you can expect your hens to start producing around the age of 16 – 24 weeks. Exciting right? Now on the other hand… Laying hens only average about 72 good weeks of laying. After this they slowly lay less and less until they eventually stop laying completely.

Is there a breed that produces best? – If eggs are your first priority when it comes to your flock, there are a few breeds that have really “pushed the envelope” when it comes to egg production. Breeds like ISA Brown, Rhode Island Reds, Leghorns, Sussex, and Australorps are all great choices when it comes to mass egg production. These breeds range from crossbreds to purebreds, so when it comes down to making your decision, I suggest doing some research!

How can I help my flock produce to the best of their ability? – The answers here are quite basic. Chickens are simple creatures, but there are a few key things that will help them thrive:

Good nutrition: Laying hens require a protein rich chicken feed that also includes an adequate amount of calcium. Your laying hens’ diet should consist of a protein level between 16% and 20%, as well as balanced level of vitamins, minerals, and calcium. Check the guaranteed analysis information listed on your current feed to ensure your hens are getting what they need. I personally feed NatureServe Layer Pellets, this feed has a 17% protein level and is jam packed with all kinds of goodies like probiotics, prebiotics, essential oils, and omega 3 fatty acids.

Let them be chickens: Chickens need time to be chickens. Time to scratch and roll around in the dirt, pick at some bugs, and blow off some steam. Without this time, they may become stressed and destructive to themselves or flock mates. Self-destructive behaviors like feather picking and bullying other members of the flock is not a good thing to have going on. Make sure you’ve got an adequate amount of space in your run to accommodate these things. Happy and healthy hens lead to a greater volume of eggs.

Do the seasons effect my hens? – Absolutely! Chickens pay attention to the seasons just like we do! They run off of something called “biorhythms”. Biorhythms are nature’s cues to chickens that tell them when start laying, mating or molting. Most people allow their hens to live out there day to day lives pretty naturally and freely. Owners that do not interfere with the biorhythms will naturally see a fluctuation in egg production across different seasons. Laying hens usually start laying in the spring and stop producing in autumn when their feathers start to molt. As we come into the fall season here in Indiana, I’m starting to see my hens slow down on production.

I hope you find this information as valuable as I did when I got my flock! Having a better understanding about things that help with egg production will surely help you ramp up production as you implement them into your personal flock care routine! I hope you all have a great week and happy laying!

Hen Heirarchy

We’ve all heard of the old term: pecking order.

The truth is, the pecking order is a very real thing in a flock of chickens. Although it may seem brutal to us, establishing a pecking order, is inevitable if you have more than one chicken. It establishes the leaders from the followers.

All the way down the totem pole, each and every chicken has their place.

The number one contributing factor in hen hierarchy is age.

Age, not size, separates the bosses from the underdogs.

One of my most assertive hens, happens to be the tiniest, scrawniest little White Leghorn you ever did see. She doesn’t think twice about pecking a much bigger Orpington or Rhode Island Red right on the noggin. Why?

With age comes great privilege in the chicken world. The older hens, who have already established themselves, will have first access to feed, the leading pick of the nesting boxes, the very best sleeping spot on the roost, and are front and center at the giving of any yummy treats.

If you plan on ever adding to your flock, it may be wise to invest in more than one fenced area. You may not need more than one coop, but at least having a second run and shelter attached to your original coop, will help transition new additions.

For the safety of your young birds, always wait to add them to the flock until they are almost fully grown in size. It is very important to keep your young birds away from the adults until they can defend themselves. Chicks that are raised together, tend to stick together as adult birds. They do form little groups of “friends” staying together throughout their lives. Any young chickens that are introduced to the flock will always be on the bottom (unless you have that one bold hen who ain’t taking no crap and ends up hanging with the old girls). It happens!

When bringing in new adult hens, first try introducing them to the flock in a separate pen. Let the chickens first see each other thru a fence before adding them together. Alas, even with proper thru-the fence introductions, chickens will always do a bit of fighting when they are first put together.

It is best not to intervene. Most wrinkles in the flock will be ironed out in a few days.

When you finally do add new birds, adequate space is very important.

Fighting and pecking will be unavoidable at first, but the young or new chickens need the space to escape the onslaught of beaks if need be. An overcrowded coop is a recipe for stress and violence, whether you are adding new birds or not.

Although these pecks and scuffles may seem vicious to us, they are all part of nature. You should only intervene if you notice any amounts of blood being drawn. At the sight of blood, bully hens will only further harm the new bird. Remove the injured bird from the flock immediately until it is back to good health.

Hen hierarchy, although it may seem savage, is a very normal part of having chickens. We all have a place in the world, and this also applies to chickens. Let nature run its course, and soon you will have a happy, harmonious flock!

 

Boredom Busters for Chickens

You’ve probably heard the phrase ‘busy as a bee’.  I think that ‘busy as a chicken’ should be just as relevant.  Chickens are extremely busy and constantly going.  Well, when they aren’t cooped up that is.  Naturally, chickens would spend the majority of their time walking around scratching the ground searching for insects, seeds and bits of grass to eat.  They would get up before daylight and spend the entire day doing this, only retiring right at dark.

In an ideal world, you’d be able to let your chickens out everyday and they could spend their days out and about.  But, what if you can’t let your chickens out because of your neighbor’s dogs, wild animals, lack of space or your work schedule? How can you keep your chickens entertained all day when they’re cooped up?  Keep reading to discover ways you can keep your chickens active and entertained.

Hanging Treats

This is one of the simplest ways to entertain both your chickens and yourself.  It’s also low cost.  You need a raw vegetable like cabbage or ears of corn, string and a screw-in eye hook.  Screw the end of the eye hook into the stem of the cabbage or corn and use this to tie the vegetable to the roof of the coop.  Make sure that the vegetable is hanging low enough for your chickens to be able to reach it.  Once it’s hung, sit back and watch them peck away at it.  Your chickens will go crazy for the fresh vegetable.  They’ll take turns pecking at the swinging vegetable that will entertain them for hours.

Piles of Grass

If there’s one thing that seems to drive chickens crazy, it’s a pile of something.  Piles of straw, hay, grass clippings or leaves and chickens don’t get along.  Your chickens will go crazy if you pile something up in their coop.  And when we say go crazy, we mean that in a good way!  Chickens are made to walk around, scratching the ground in search of food.  Scratching the same coop floor each day can get boring, so the next time that you rake leaves or mow the yard, toss the leaves or grass clippings into your chicken coop.  Your chickens will scratch through it, finding any and every insect, seed or edible bit from the pile.  It’s a great way to give your chickens exercise, a different treat and let them satisfy their urge to dig around.

Temporary Run

You don’t have to limit the space where your chickens can move around to just the coop.  If you want to let your chickens explore, but don’t like the idea of them not being enclosed, then consider setting up temporary spaces for them.  Chicken tractors can be put together over the weekend and will allow you to move your chickens to new spaces frequently.  This is great for both your chickens and your yard if you have enough space.  Your chickens will eat any insects that they see and keep the grass fertilized. Another great idea is to set up a chicken tunnel around your garden.  Many gardeners have used this method to keep insects out of their garden and it works wonders.  The tunnel can be created around the perimeter of your garden with simple chicken wire.  The tunnel keeps the chickens aways from your garden plants but allows them to catch any insects that are making their way to your garden.

Perches

You know that chickens like to roost at night, but they also enjoy having space in the run to perch during the day.  This is especially true if you have a rooster.  A rooster’s job is to look out for his hens and this means keeping an eye out for predators. Perches in the run can provide a better vantage point to see from.  There are many ways that you can put perches in the coop, from chicken swings to repurposed old ladders and tree branches.

Frozen Treats

This is the perfect way to keep your chickens entertained and cool in the summer.  It’s also really simple.  Take some of your chicken’s favorite treats like whole kernel corn, scratch grains or mealworms and place a few into an ice cube tray.  Cover them with water and freeze.  Once frozen, pop the ice cubes into a bucket of water in the coop.  Your chickens will try to peck at the ice cube to get to the treat.  Mix up the frozen treats every few days to keep your chickens entertained.

There are many ways to keep your chickens entertained and prevent them from being bored.  Bored chickens can develop bad habits that are hard to break.  Start using some of these boredom busters to keep your chickens happy!

National Chicken Month Coloring Contest

 

 

We are going to have a coloring contest through Friday, September 17!

All kids ages 12 and under are eligible to participate (1 submission per person)

To enter, download the coloring sheet, print out the page, color it in however you like, take a photo of it and email it to contests@hoovershatchery.com

In the email, please include the child’s name, age, and coloring sheet.

Prizes will be given to 1 person in the following age groups:
– 0-3
– 4-6
– 7-9
– 10-12

The winners will be picked by our customer service team and will receive a Hoover’s Hatchery™, NatureServe Feed, and Strong Animals merchandise package!

How to Integrate Your Backyard Flock Into Orchards and Row Crops

  Put your flock back to work!

This was a lesson I learned years ago when I first became interested in growing my own garden. At a potluck with friends in Oregon I was blown away by my friend’s tomatoes.

I asked her: “What’s your secret?”

“Chickens!” she said.

As it turned out, she was using a backyard-scale crop rotation that incorporated her laying hens, occasionally allowing them to graze her garden beds, add fertility, eat bugs, scratch up the soil, and eat seeds. I realized that this integration was something I needed to try myself.

My poultry experience began soon after, with a small flock of ducks that I allowed to graze around my yard and garden. They did a terrific job of controlling insects, snails, and slugs while keeping the lawn mowed and adding fertility.

A year later, I took a job working on a diverse farm in the Napa Valley of California. The farm had laying hens, vineyards, fruit and olive orchards, and a vegetable garden. It was an obvious next step to use the old laying hens, who were no longer productive, in the vineyards and orchards. This was a great way to utilize old birds that would otherwise be destined for the soup pot.

On the farm, we used a system of electric fencing and mobile coops to move the birds around from place to place. On a farm scale we were using tractors to pick up and move the coop, but there are several ways to accomplish this on a smaller scale:

1) If you have a permanent coop, you can simply create runs using portable fencing and move them when you feel the chickens have done their job.

2) Set up more permanent paddocks that can be opened and closed to allow the birds in and out as you feel necessary.

3) Build a mobile coop that can be moved from time to time. (There are so many ideas for mobile coops—I will let you read some of the other blogs on flock journey to help you decide what would be best for you.)

In a setting where you have established fruit trees, chickens are a natural fit. They are easy to integrate by simply allowing them access to the orchard. The trees provide a natural habitat with shade, branches to perch on, and protection form airborne predators. The poultry provide benefits to the orchard as well. They help with insect control, improve soil, and control some weeds. Ideally you should also plant an appropriate, multi species cover crop that will help improve your soil.

Row crops, on the other hand, need a bit more planning. You can use chickens to improve the soil either before you plant the crop, or after you harvest. You can also put the chickens directly into certain crops that are tolerant of their scratching and pecking. A backyard crop of sweet corn or popcorn provides an excellent place to graze your birds.  Let your crop get to the point where it can provide your birds a bit of shade, typically July for most areas, position your coop near the crop, fence in the area (I like to use a electro net fencing to contain the birds, and provide some additional protection from predators), and if you want, throw out a bit of scratch or a few meal worms to encourage them to get out there and put some nitrogen down. You can leave them in the corn up to harvest and beyond!

Have fun with your flock and find a system that works for you.

Drew Erickson is Farm Manager for Rodale Institute Midwest Organic Center in Marion, Iowa. Learn more about Rodale Institute and their work in the Midwest at RodaleInstitute.org/Midwest.

 

Chickens in vineyards in Napa Valley (above) Chickens in corn in Iowa (below)

Chickens in olive orchard in napa valley (below)

To Vaccinate or Not

Due to human SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19), vaccination is constantly in the news and on the minds of people worldwide. Fortunately, scientists have developed effective vaccines that either prevent or reduce the severity of this sometimes-fatal disease.

Chickens are also fortunate. Although they don’t get COVID-19, they can contract Marek’s Disease, Coccidiosis and many other ailments that can kill them. Science has developed vaccines and medications to help keep diseases from devastating a flock.

Much of what we’ve learned about preventing human COVID-19 applies to many diseases that weaken or kill chickens. In order to sicken or kill either a person or chicken a disease must reach a vulnerable population. People are mobile and interact with others every day at work, school, in stores, or at theaters and events. With so much contact the disease easily spreads from one person to another.  Anyone completely isolated from a carrier won’t get the disease, but few people want to live hermit-like lives isolated from others.

In contrast, a small chicken flock can happily live isolated from others, making disease transmission unlikely. Most chickens started life in a hatchery where chicks are taken from incubators and shipped to customers. Hoover’s Hatchery participates in the Department of Agriculture’s National Poultry Improvement Plan. It practices sanitation and disease prevention, so the box of chicks heading out to a customer is almost certainly disease free.

Although chicks leave the hatchery in good health when they arrive at their future home they often become exposed to many potential ailments. Medication and vaccination can prevent them from contracting Marek’s Disease and Coccidiosis.

Marek’s is a highly contagious viral disease named for Hungarian Jozeph Marek.   If vaccinated in the hatchery shortly after hatching they’re less likely to contract it. Coccidiosis is caused by a protozoon, but medication can be mixed in chick feed to reduce its likelihood or given to them at the hatchery before they are shipped.

Like human COVID-19 the two chicken diseases are highly contagious, but there’s good news for the backyard flock.  It’s easier to protect a few hens from infection than it is for people to prevent COVID-19. The secrets to good health are isolation and sanitation, sometimes augmented by medicine. For peace of mind Hoover’s Hatchery, on request, will vaccinate chicks for Marek’s Disease and treat them for coccidiosis. Customers can also buy medicated starter mash designed to prevent coccidiosis but not other ailments.

Is it wise to vaccinate and medicate?  Most customers can skip it, and their chickens will be healthy.  However, there are situations where treatment is important.  Location is important. Diseases can lurk for years and seemingly come from nowhere when new chickens arrive. If someone is establishing a flock in a place that once housed chickens, even years ago, it is probably wise to augment sanitation with medication.  It also is wise to treat chicks if the flock will be housed near other flocks.

Practicing sanitation and isolation makes it likely that chickens will be amazingly healthy. Vaccination adds a degree of safety. Other health tips include:

  • Keep the coop dry and clean.
  • Give chickens plenty of room and fresh air. Crowding encourages disease.
  • Avoid introducing diseases by:

Not adding new chickens into the flock. The newbie might bring sickness.

Sanitizing shoes, clothing and washing hands thoroughly after visiting

someone else’s chickens.  People can carry disease from one flock

to another.

  • Provide fresh nutritious feed and clean water.

The Hoover’s Hatchery catalog includes two pages of information on how to reduce illness caused by salmonella.  Follow the advice and odds are very good that both chickens and people will enjoy robust health.

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