It is in the news again and I suspect that as the popularity of keeping backyard chickens continues to rise, so will the cases of salmonella. I haven’t really chimed in on this topic, so I think it is time. I also think that it is very important not to leave our common sense at the door, when reading the articles that are filling up the headlines. As I write this, it is chick days. New chicken keepers are going to be embarking on this amazing adventures and others will be adding to their flocks, because chicken keeping is so much fun! Here’s what you want to know.
This week I really felt obligated to write this post. If you are like me, you want the very best for your chickens. We hate when our chickens are ailing or have something wrong, like a mite or lice infestation and always like to fix things asap. Like you, I certainly don’t like problems to linger or affect my flock or cause harm. However, sometimes in trying to do good and help our chickens, we can actually end up doing harm. Sometimes we can’t even see the harm that we are doing. Sometimes we can even be potentially harming ourselves without even realizing it. This is what is potentially happening in your flock when you use Frontline. Here’s why.
I knew about these eggs with double yolks. I had seen plenty of chicken keepers sharing double yolk eggs with their audiences. It has been seven years since starting out keeping chickens and we still were waiting for one. Then this past week, one of the chickens laid a huge egg. It was about the size of two eggs and took up my entire hand. I thought surely, this must be a double yolk egg. At first, I didn’t want to crack it open. I let it sit on the counter with its sister eggs, so that I could admire it when I was in the kitchen. It was so large and pretty and I know that the chicken that laid it must have had quite to the effort to pass it. Then last night, the kids wanted eggs for dinner. It was time.
Today I wanted to share with you the benefits that I have seen over the years in my flock by adding sea kelp to their diet. I originally started sporadically adding sea kelp to their diet years ago, when I first learned how my lobsterman friends, would set their traps out in the yard for their flocks of chickens to clean. The chickens would go nuts for all the seaweed attached to the cages. They made fast work and within no time they would clean the traps, leaving no traces behind. It got me thinking, what were the chickens getting from the sea anyway?
Last month, I noticed that Oyster Cracker was not herself. She seemed to be under the weather and not herself. She was almost 6 years old and has had bad days since Sunshine passed almost 6 months ago. The first clue that something was wrong was that she did not roost with the others in her usual spot. She tried to sleep in the nesting box. The next night she ended up on the lower roost where no one sleeps. She was just off. By the next morning, I decided that I needed to do some detective work. So, I set out to figure out just what was wrong. As a chicken keeper, there are lots of things that you can do to help determine what might be wrong with your chicken. I also realized that writing a post on how to examine a chicken might be useful for others.
When the baby chicks were little, I could not believe the amount of dust that they generated. I had no idea why and initially chalked it up to the brooder’s bedding. However, I noticed that as they grew in size so did the dust. I was still using the same amount of pine shavings in the brooder for bedding, so why more dust? It surely could not be solely from the pine shavings and I was right. It was from the chickens themselves. The majority of the dust was coming from them.
During the winter, it is very important to the flock’s health that the chicken coop remains dry. Humidity in the coop is one of the number one reasons that chickens become ill during the winter. Humidity can quickly become an issue in quite a few ways. Therefore, controlling humidity in the coop should be a winter goal for all chicken owners.
I had a feeling something wasn’t quite right with Lucy. When I picked her up she had lost a good amount of weight. I first attributed it to her hard molt. She had a very bad molt this past month, even worse than the others. I could see that she had lost some weight too, even though weight loss and a decreased appetite is normal during molting. However my intuition told me to scoop her up and take a good peek at her. Plus she needed her toenails trimmed. As I held her and began to trim her toenails, I noticed that a bit of the webbing on top of her foot between her toes was a bit pink and swollen. I flipped her foot over and discovered that she had bumblefoot. In fact, it was worse, both feet were affected.
If you think about it, chickens lay hundreds of eggs during their lifetime. Many times their eggs arrive just on schedule just as predicted; gorgeous warm orbs of goodness. Hens are amazing! Although rare, sometimes reproductive system and egg laying issues arise that leaves chicken keepers scratching their heads. We’ve all had weird eggs. The perfect place is to start is inside the chicken and what leads up to the laying of an egg.