Tag Archives: chicken

6 Great Ways to Get Your Chicken Coop Ready For Winter

When it starts getting cold, the chickens need a little extra T.L.C. to keep up egg production. Winterizing your coop can help keep the chickens happy, healthy and producing.

How you winterize your coop depends on your geographic location. For instance, those that live in the Midwest will see temperatures dip into the negatives, and their coops will need more care compared to those who live in the Pacific Northwest or the South.

No matter where you live, you will have to do some winter chores to keep your chickens clucking merrily along.

6 Ways to Winterize Your Coop

1. Clean Bedding

Ensuring that the chickens have fresh bedding such as straw or wood shavings to lay and roost on will prevent frost bite. For our coop, we like to use hay for our bedding, especially in the wintertime because it retains heat better. This will keep them more active during the day as well as control the smell of chicken droppings until your Spring cleaning. Move all soiled bedding to the compost pile to compost down for Spring or Summer gardens.

2. Coop Inspection

Check out the coop to ensure that predators have not found an entry in. Predators are usually more desperate to find food during winter and you want to protect your flock. During this time, I also like to check the roof of the coop to make sure there aren’t any cracks or holes. As well, check out the roosts and any other furniture to make sure it is still in good condition.

3. Batten the Hatches

During the warmer summer months having vents and hatches on the coop’s roof and floorboard assist with airflow, help to reduce humidity and any toxic ammonia from the hen house. During winter it is best to fasten the vents and hatches to reduce any cold drafts. Another solution is to wrap a portion of the coop with a tarp or plastic sheeting. This keeps moisture out of the coop, protects it from wind and further insulates it. 4-mil polyethylene film is low cost and readily available. Secure it to the chicken coop to ensure that moisture and wind cannot get through. Again, we want to ensure that the chicken’s body temperature stays at an optimum temperature.

4. Heat Lamps

Keep in mind that young chickens will require more body heat compared to a fully grown chicken. Further, the avian reproductive cycle, which is how a hen produces eggs, is stimulated in poultry by increasing day length. 14 hours of light is what a chicken requires to lay eggs and usually get these results during the warmer months. Having a light bulb hooked up to a timer can assist in continued egg laying. An added benefit to this is it creates added warmth to the flock. To provide some warmth, but not too much light, we use a 250 watt bulb in our coop. One heat lamp per 30 chickens will be sufficient. Light fixtures in the coop should be placed above feeders and waterers, and care should be taken to avoid having areas in the chicken house that are shaded from light.

5. Continued Flow of Water

For those of you who have to deal with frozen water trays in the coop, you’re not alone. This continues to be an issue for many keepers of chickens. One solution is to purchase a heated base for the waterer and run a heavy duty extension cord into the chicken coop. Another solution is to check on your chicken’s water more frequently. Bringing warm water out to replace the frozen water will be very welcomed.

6. Dietary Supplements

Adding grains such as corn in addition to their regular diet can add more fat to their bodies and at the same time provide more insulation and energy during winter. Grains shouldn’t replace their entire diet. We usually do 70% scratch and 30% corn. We also continue to supplement their diets with vegetable and fruit scraps for added nutrition.

Signs of Trouble

Check on your flock a few times per day to ensure the outside temperatures are not too harsh. If your chickens are huddled in a corner or making a lot of noise, take some time to make them more comfortable. Further, if chickens are lethargic or not moving, they may be ill and should be cared for.

Frostbite of the feet and combs are very common in winter months. If signs appear, thaw the affected area with cold water, slowly warming it to room temperature. Then apply a coating of petroleum jelly to isolate it from direct contact with the cold. Reapply two to three times during the day. Warming lights are especially helpful to prevent this.

Another sign to look out for during the cold months is a condition called “pasting.” This occurs when their anuses are blocked with droppings. If caught early enough, you can prevent the chicks from dying by slowly and gently removing the blockage with the help of warm water.

With a little extra attention, your coop will stay very happy during the cooler months. All it takes is some time to get it all prepped and ready.

by Tess Pennington See more at: http://www.naturalblaze.com/2013/11/6-ways-to-get-your-chicken-coop-ready.html#sthash.dkXxpScK.dpuf

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Steadicam chickens

Did you know that chickens have image stabilized heads. It’s true!  It’s actually called the vestibulo-ocular reflex. Naturally (and… nerdily?) people started suggesting that someone should try making a steadicam using a chicken. Well, YouTube user Destin actually went ahead and did it… The results can be seen in the video  below.

Essential kit for the chicken keeper

Boy feeding chickens

Having the right kit on hand means you won’t be caught out when one of your birds is off colour.

If you are new to keeping chickens, picking up any poultry magazine or visiting stockists of poultry equipment and feeds can prove a little daunting given the amount of kit on sale. You will want to do right by your birds and ensure the husbandry of the flock is spot on, but are what essentials should you invest in?

Every poultry keeper should have at hand a field kit: the sort of stuff you will need one or more items from at least once a week. I find it useful to put them all in a bag or box so they are to hand. (It’s also ideal if you are away from home and have someone else caring for the birds.)

Torch – it’s often easier to handle and treat chickens after they have gone to roost; they tend to be much calmer then and can be easily handled. It does mean you will be working in the dark, so you’ll need a torch. Investing in a good-quality head torch, particularly one that has adjustable beam strength, will mean you have both hands free to deal with the chickens.

Scissors – a strong, sharp pair of scissors for cutting string, bandages, plasters and most of all, flight feathers, if there is a flighty one who keeps jumping out the pen.

Toenail clippers and nail file – most chickens will keep their toenails worn down by scratching around, but birds kept indoors or on soft ground may require a bit of a pedicure. Plus you may need to attend to the spurs of some cockerels.

Leg rings – having a range of leg rings in different colours and sizes means you can quickly and easily mark an individual bird. This can be particularly useful if administering treatments to the flock and will help identify those who have been treated from those yet to be dealt with.

Pliers or wire cutters – these are not only useful for emergency fence repairs but are also ideal for quickly removing plastic leg rings.

Feeding syringes – a collection of different-sized feeding syringes are essential for administering fluids such as medicines down the chickens’ throat.

Latex disposable gloves – these are not a frequent requirement. but when it comes to vent-related problems such as a prolapse or vent gleetthey can make the task much easier for the keeper (and probably more comfortable for the chicken too).

Vet’s antiseptic spray – ideal for treating minor wounds to birds but can also double up as anti-feathering pecking spray in minor cases of plumage pulling.

Petroleum jelly – not only does this serve well as a lubricant for sticky catches and locks it can also be applied to the combs of birds during extremely cold weather to reduce the risk of frost bite and applied to dry patches of skin on the face or legs. It’s also handy when treating for scaly leg mite on the chickens should they become infested.

Cotton buds – for delicate tasks such as cleaning around the eye or nasal passages of the birds.

Purple spray – works in much the same way as the vet’s antiseptic spray, however it has the advantage of being visible. This means it can also be used to quickly and temporarily mark birds, either post-treatment or for further selection. Don’t use on chickens you intend to exhibit, though, as it can be difficult to remove fully.

Pet carrier or dog crate – you can never have too many pet carriers for transporting or quarantining chickens. Plastic dog or cat carriers are ideal for single or small numbers of chickens, but be sure to disinfect after each use to avoid any possible transferral of pests or diseases.

Vet’s telephone number – it may not be necessarily needed by you, but if you have friends or neighbours looking after your stock when you are away it could prove invaluable.

Source: http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/gardening-blog/2013/jun/12/essential-kit-chicken-keeper

Chickens are more egghead than birdbrain

Chickens are more egghead than birdbrain

For too long, the chicken has languished at the bottom of the avian intelligence pecking order. No longer!

According to researchers, the hen, far from being a bird brain, is actually an egghead with a capacity for mathematical reasoning, an ability to empathize and a sophisticated theory of mind.

“The domesticated chicken is something of a phenomenon,” said Christine Nicol, professor of animal welfare at Bristol University, and the head of a study sponsored by the Happy Egg Company. “Studies over the past 20 years have revealed their finely honed sensory capacities, their ability to think, draw inferences, apply logic and plan ahead.”

She cites, among other evidence, the animal’s ability to distinguish between numbers up to five and a familiarity with transitive inference — the idea in logic that, if A is greater than B, and B is greater than C, then A is greater than C.

In the chicken’s case, this has been shown to manifest itself in the time-saving skill of determining that if Henrietta the chicken has already beaten you up, and Henrietta has herself lost a fight to Barbara, then there is no point in challenging Barbara for access to the grain bowl.

Actually, in the area of mathematical reasoning at least, science is only now catching up with what Las Vegas has known for years. Ginger the chicken, who roamed The Strip in the early part of this century, has been described as a “chicken extraordinaire” (as opposed to chicken supreme). Certainly for casinos the title was merited by her revenue-earning abilities alone, because Ginger could play tic tac toe and, when allowed to go first, consistently won — as much as $10,000 a pop. Admittedly, going first is a significant advantage in the game but, then again, so is not being a chicken.

Why has it taken so long to discover the chicken’s rich internal life? The American philosopher Thomas Nagel — most chickens will doubtless already be familiar with his work — once posed the question: “What is it like to be a bat?” He argued that it is impossible for a human to know the mind of a bat. As with flying mammals, so with less competently flying birds. Because, argues Nicol, we need “to ensure that all tests take full account of the differing sensory worlds of humans and chickens.”

And what a different world it is. Wittgenstein, another philosopher favoured by the more recherche chickens, said: “The limits of my language mean the limits of my world.”

So it is that chickens’ surprisingly sophisticated language gives a clue to their understanding of the world. They can give alarm calls when predators are nearby, and moderate those calls based on the size of their chicks. They can display distressed vocalizations when their chick is attacked by puffs of air (one of the more esoteric experiments cited). Cockerels, meanwhile, offer up more courtship vocalizations when presented with a hen, rather than another cockerel. The report was welcomed within the chicken cognition community.

Siobhan Abeyesinghe this year published a seminal study Do Hens Have Friends? (Its conclusion: no).

“Chickens certainly have more capabilities than people are aware of,” she said. “I do think they are unjustly maligned. It suits us to do so because we have something invested in farming them in large numbers. We have this psychological shielding to devalue animals we use for meat so we feel less concern about them.

“Work like this is great to make us stop and think: yes, chickens are smarter than we thought, but also we should use that information to enrich their environment in a biologically relevant way and think about welfare implications.”

It is a measure of the effect that Nicol believes her study on chicken cognition will have that she feels the need to start it with a caveat. “Chickens,” she laments, “may not be about to make a significant mathematical, scientific or literary contribution to the world.”

But a minor contribution? She does not rule it out. “On the other hand,” she concedes, “we shouldn’t go too far. No chicken,” she points out, “has yet written a review of human intelligence.”

Source: http://www.ottawacitizen.com/technology/Chickens+more+egghead+than+birdbrain/8549873/story.html#ixzz2WlPEqCIO

Please don’t let farm for 80,000 chickens spoil our childhood

LETTER: Grace and Maxim Plowright have sent to a letter to the local council objecting to plans for a chicken farm.DON’T build a chicken farm and spoil our rural play area is the message from two young campaigners who have joined the fight against the plans.

Grace and Maxim Plowman, both aged 10, have written to Wychavon District Council about their fears over a planned broiler rearing facility which would house 80,000 chickens.

The twins are from Naunton Beauchamp, one of the villages that would potentially be affected by the farm, proposed on a piece of land near Froghall bungalow in Naunton Road, Upton Snodsbury.

In the letter, Grace writes: “I love my home because it’s such a rural area. Which means no busy roads that keep me awake at night! But chickens going ‘cluck cluck cluck’ might keep me awake.

“I am also very happy to have a ford so close to me. I (and my friends) have a den there (by the side of piddle brook). If the chicken farm goes ahead the stinky chicken droppings will get stuck to cause a dam that will stop the fresh water flow which the animals drink.

“So please do the right thing and don’t spoil my childhood’.

Maxim adds: “The chicken farm will spoil the local environment, pollute the waters and damage natural areas of beauty.”

The twins’ parents Claire and Mike Plowman also have concerns. Mrs Plowman said: “Our main worries are the location. We sat the children down to talk to them about it.

There was no doubt they wanted to write the letters.”

Another worried resident, David Pollitt, of Cowsden, said the arrival of the farm would scupper an ambition to open his garden under the National Gardens Scheme.

The 74-year-old said: “If it does go ahead I don’t think I could speak to the NGS.”

Wychavon planning head Giorgio Framalicco said: “We’re considering the planning application and are very aware of public concern.”

Source: http://www.cotswoldjournal.co.uk/news/10481728.Please_don___t_let_farm_for_80_000_chickens_spoil_our_childhood/

Chickens ‘cleverer than toddlers’

Chickens may be brighter than young children in numeracy and basic skills, according to a new study.

Hens are capable of mathematical reasoning and logic, including numeracy, self-control and even basic structural engineering, following research.

Traits such as these are normally only shown in children above the age of four, but the domesticated birds have an ability to empathise, a sophisticated theory of mind and plan ahead.

“The domesticated chicken is something of a phenomenon,” Christine Nicol, professor of animal welfare at Bristol University, and the head of a study sponsored by the Happy Egg Company.

She told The Times: “Studies over the past 20 years have revealed their finely honed sensory capacities, their ability to think, draw inferences, apply logic and plan ahead.”

In her study ‘The Intelligent Hen’, Ms Nicol explains the animal is capable of distinguishing numbers up to five and is familiar with transitive inference – the idea in logic that, if A is greater than B, and B is greater than C, then A is greater than C.

For a chicken, this could be applied to fighting. If the first chicken beat the second, who had already beaten the third, the third chicken would assume that the first chicken would beat them too.

The birds also have an understanding of physics, which was shown in experiments where they showed more interest in realistic diagrams than those that defied the laws of physics.

Young chicks knew that an object that moves out of their sight still exists, unlike human babies who only develop those skills aged one.

Chickens also showed the ability to plan ahead and exhibit self-control, with 93% of hens understanding that if they waited longer to start eating food, they would be allowed access to it for longer.

Further evidence of hens’ intelligence comes from tests showing that at just two weeks’ old, they can navigate using the sun by taking into account its height and position during the day.

Siobhan Abeyesinghe, who this year published a seminal study Do Hens Have Friends?, told the newspaper: “Chickens certainly have more capabilities than people are aware of. I do think they are unjustly maligned.

“We have this psychological shielding to devalue animals we use for meat so we feel less concern about them.”

Source: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/science-news/10129124/Chickens-cleverer-than-toddlers.html

Try To Stay Calm

Keep calm! Harvey Nichols have unveiled its new campaign for their famous Summer Sale, with a play on the famous phrase, 'run round like a headless chicken'

Designer department store Harvey Nichols likes to push the boundaries when it comes to getting noticed.

Previous marketing activities have included a model wetting herself with excitement at the prospect of the shop’s seasonal sale, a ‘walk of shame’ television advert, and beefy bulldogs being touted around in pricey handbags.

But Harvey Nichols’ new campaign for the fashionable Summer Sale, is tongue-in-cheek and somewhat hilarious.

Keep calm! Harvey Nichols have unveiled its new campaign for their famous Summer Sale, with a play on the famous phrase, ‘run round like a headless chicken’

Playing on the famous phrase, ‘run round like a headless chicken’, the campaign created by adam&eveDDB, features headless chickens dressed in key items from the Spring/Summer 2013 collections, alongside the strap-line, ‘The Harvey Nichols Sale. Try to stay calm’.

Julia Bowe, Group Press and Marketing Director at Harvey Nichols said: ‘Harvey Nichols is world-renowned for its fabulous sale, with eager shoppers descending en masse to their nearest store in their efforts to lay their hands on our amazing reductions.

‘In humorous reaction to the (often-irrational) excitement sale time engenders, we have developed this campaign to capture the frantic effect that the Harvey Nichols sale can have upon our customers.

Cluck cluck: The tongue-in-cheek campaign, created by adam&eveDDB, features headless chickens dressed in key items from the Spring/Summer 2013 collectionsCluck cluck: The tongue-in-cheek campaign, created by adam&eveDDB, features headless chickens dressed in key items from the Spring/Summer 2013 collections

‘Using the analogy of a ‘headless chicken’ for the creative concept really captured this in a fun, light hearted way.

‘You can never underestimate that feeling of finding the perfect sale purchase and with discounts of up to 50 per cent off – it is enough to excite and overwhelm even the most composed shopper in us all!’

Photographed by Daniel Stier, the campaign is illustrated through three different executions for womenswear, menswear and accessories, with the oh-so-stylish chickens sporting an MSGM lace dress, a Zegna sport jacket and Valentino clutch.

Ben Tollett and Emer Stamp, Executive Creative Directors at adam&eveDDB added: ‘Trying to come up with another great Harvey Nichols Sale ad is never easy.

‘We were running around like headless chickens until we saw this.’

Back in June 2012, the luxury department store Harvey Nichols came under fire for their advertising campaign, released to promote their summer sale.

The glossy poster depicted a woman who has apparently – and there is no delicate way of putting this – wet her pants with excitement.

In March this year, glossy images used to promote the store’s new Liverpool beauty hall featured three glamorous models appearing to lean in to kiss themselves in a reflection.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) received 17 complaints about the adverts: nine that the images were unsuitable to be seen by children because they appeared to show a lesbian kiss, 10 that they were sexually explicit and two that the phrase ‘love thyself’ in combination with the pictures was offensive on religious grounds.

But it seems that the store have moved away from the controversy to have some fanciful fun with their advertising campaigns.

Source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2336787/Run-like-headless-chicken-Harvey-Nichols-fun-summer-sale-campaign.html#ixzz2W0uQBAzM