Your Feedback

Hi Keepers, the most viewed post on this site is Egg Bound Treatment Works, it has also had the most responses or replies,  this came through yesterday and I wanted to share it with you all, incase you didn’t see it in the reply section, it was posted by Penny.

Penny’s Post

I have just had the same problem with one of our chickens, If she is dragging her behind, walking like a penguin & has her mouth open she is in pain, she is most probably Egg Bound. Don’t give up on her I never did.

Firstly do the warm water bath as suggested above, (Must hold. her bottom section under the warm water for at least 20 minutes.), then remove her, put on a plastic glove & oil your index finger with Vaseline or Olive oil.  Shove your finger in the vent & move it around to oil the inside of the vent as well as the outside. Dry her off as well as you can & put her in a separate cage away from the other chickens as they will just peck her & she must be kept warm & quiet so she can relax.If you can bring her inside all the better.

Then lastly go & get a Thick Towel put the towel in hot water or warm the wet towel in the microwave for a few minutes. Then wrap the towel in a plastic bag (I used two bags) It will keep the towel warm for a few hours, also will keep your towel clean. If you have a hot water bottle you could also use that wrap that in a dry towel, make sure it is not to warm as you don’t want to burn her. Put this under the chicken in the cage, she will straight away climb on top of it, (You will also notice that she will stop panting.the warmth helps to ease the pain).

 Our chicken was like this for 3 days & I had to repeat this procedure twice. I also took her down to the chicken run every morning & every night for her to stretch her legs & have some food.Also see that she has water at all times available in her cage. On the 3rd morning I looked in her cage & there it was ONE HUGE EGG!! & One happy chicken & An Even happier owner, never give up. “While their is life there is hope” Cheers Penny.

I welcome your feedback, as it helps us all learn more and in turn be better carers for your birds.

20,000 Visitors from 121 Nations.

Hello keepers, readers, I ‘d just want to say  Thanks, Tena Koe, Merci, Danke, Gracias, Dank, ευχαριστίες , ありがとう, Cпасибо and Obrigado, to all of you out there for reading my blog, sorry to any languages i’ve left out, babelfish only covers certain ones. I’m overwhelemed by the amount of people who are interseted in chicken keeping. Recent studies suggest chicken keeping is on the rise, highest figures since 1955.

The list of nations from which you are visiting the site now stands at 121, great to see something we all have in common. I hope you are enjoying both the factual and personal sides to the posts, if there is anything anyone would like me to add, please do leave a comment in the box, and thankyou to all the regular visitors to the site.

May your chickens live long and lay well

Moulting or Molting

Moulting or Molting, english or american spelling, it still results in the same, feathers everywhere. For those who are unaware of the process, moulting occurs normally once a year, can happen twice depending on the climate. The bird will  gradually shed a considerable amount of it’s feathers, I have noticed it generally starts with the tail feathers, then spreads to the rest of the body. Now the bird doesn’t become bald all of a sudden,  the process happens over a period of weeks, can last for months, depending on the condition of the bird at the start of the process.

In my observations of our hens, it started with one bird, and then a few days later, others joined  the shedding process, interestingly the top hens Nancy and Manuella were the last to start. During this time of renewing their feathers, the laying stops, as the bird is putting all of its energy into the growth of the new feathers, they can become very subdued, spending alot of time sleeping during the day. One other thing I have just noticed, is that their combs seem to shrink down and lose some of their colour, side effect of directing all that energy to the feathers I suspect.

Moulting Manuella

The moulting or molting process, is to renew their weakened and damaged feathers to prepare themselves for winter and better their chance of escape from any predators, perhaps this is why they stagger  the moulting in the flock, so they can maintain some overall strength and protection. Make they have grit (calcium = crushed seashells) in their feed.

They do look a bit of a mess while this is all going on, however when they have finished, they look splendid in their new plumage, like a group of ladies who have just returned from a fancy hair salon.

Revival in Chicken Keeping

After the WWII the people of Britain were still on rations into the 50’s, so after seven or so years of powdered eggs, it seems the spoils of war didn’t include food for the people, of course everyone had been so busy building weapons they didn’t have much time for farming. To combat this new situation alot of the UK’s city dwellers took up urban chicken keeping. Infact it was what you might call a ‘ Boom ‘ in chicken keeping.

It appears to me that we are renewing our interest in urban chicken keeping once more, it would seem for different reasons this time around, mostly from what I have gleened, the new set of keepers are doing for health reasons, both for the birds and for our own health too. Sadly it was after WWII that factory farming took off in a big way, all those production lines during the war must have given some farmers bad ideas, and it has taken us 54 years to realise that, although we are far from ending it tomorrow.

Figures  show that more people are keeping backyard chickens today than they have since 1952. So much so that today I saw online someone looking for a chicken sitter( minder) in London, to look after their birds while they were on holiday. This could open up a whole new industry, another reflection though on the time we live in, back in 1945 everyone knew their neighbours, and they would have gladly looked after your hens.

5000 Visitors

Well a big thankyou to all visitors to the chicken keeper, the site got it’s five thousanth visitor today, which is almost a year to the day I started the site, I didn’t really get going properly on it til November 2008, it had only had 7 views until then, so the figures have primarily been achived in ten months.

One wet hen

One wet hen

This might not sound like alot in ten months compared to some other sites who can reach figures like that almost daily, but it far exceeds my expectations, and the most surprising thing of all is the list of countries that the visitors have come from, which if you are interested in you can view by clicking on the world map in the left colomn at the top, it can be a bit of a geography lesson too.

It’s great to see how many people are keeping their own hens, ”Coop It Going!”  (copyright R.Callaghan.2009)  What do think as a bumper sticker?

Thanks again

The Cost Effectiveness of Chicken Keeping

Hi chicken keepers, or prospective chicken keepers, I recently read a report from an american publication, about a dispute between neighbours in the city of Salem, where the city by-law says the keeping of farm animals is prohibited, domestic pets only.

 The owner of the hens is disputing that they are penned the whole time, and are no bother to anyone other than herself, the case is pending in court, it appeared that the journalist was pro chicken keeping, until a quote from a professor from some obscure university said ” the cost of purchasing the hens, plus buying a coop, which can run into hundreds of dollars, then the feed and time involved, made it totally inaffective as a cost cutting self sufficient exercise”. Poppycock!!

 I imagine this comment was made through ignorance, that may be the case for the yuppies of chicken keeping, but I suspect most of the coops have been made by the keeper, as most of the increase in chicken keeping is from the undeveloped third world countries, where live chickens are sold to eat, there are no Safeways, Tesco or Foodtown to supply prepared birds in shiny plastic bags, therefore the cost would be smaller than buying from breeders as we do in the western world. As for feed, again with no suppliers of feed in remote areas of the world they rely on there surroundings and scraps from human consumption.

So here’s our financial figures, cost of purchasing hens $96.00 , cost of coop $0.00 (totally recycled materials), cost of feed $2o per month. The biggest cost is TIME, one could argue that one til the cows come home, but lets not bring other animals into it, that will just confuse matters.

The price of half a dozen free range eggs at the supermarket $4.00 (organic $6.00), normally we would have purchased half a dozen in our weekly shopping,  we use more eggs now we have more, in baking cakes and other such delights, we also barter with spare eggs, for home grown vegetables from the neighbours, and sometimes we swap the eggs for gold coins, which you can then use later at shops to buy stuff, like chicken feed. ( all dollars figures mentioned are in NZ dollars).

At the end of the day, our seven hens are less expensive to keep than a domestic cat or dog, however the hens provide food in return, they also add to our wellbeing, they provide secondary products like fertiliser, feathers and meat if you so wish, healthy eggs with maximum omega levels, they are really alot of fun to have around, each with their own character.

So it doesn’t have to cost a fortune to start keeping chickens in your back garden, especially if you’re handy with a hammer. The returns are wide and varied, it’s given me the contents of this blog.  As pointed out to me by Karmyn from Oregan, they are also good bug eaters, organic pesticide.

dust bath

dust bath

The Chicken Sitter

Hi Keepers,  as it is summer now in this part of the world it’s holiday season, and we are going off camping. It’s the first time we’ve left the chickens, fortunately we have a great friend with chicken keeping experience who is going to look after the place while we’re away.

It feels a bit strange, that i’m worrying about the welfare of our chickens, I look at it as a sign of getting older, having things at home to worry about, of course in my younger days I would have packed up a bag and off I’d go, with everything I owned in the bag probably, therefore nothing at home at all.

Well on reflection of all the things that I need to ask Terry to do, I have realised how much effort is required to keep everything alive, in this climate if you leave the tomatoe plants unwatered for 1 day they will wilt, and so on. I have been telling myself I need to do more in the new year, which I will, so I definately have my work cut out if we are going to be more self sufficient.

Once the civil engineers have left the garden and returned it somewhat to a habitable situation, I shall set about it like a man posessed, I want to turn the piece on the otherside of the creek into one big veggie patch, using the water as a natural barrier to stop the hens messing it all up.

Lots to do, not to mention then writing about it on here, which takes some considerable time being dyslexic, I think I spend more time correcting than writing, however I did realise yesterday that I type faster than I read, strange.