The Chicken Chick®

Oct 18, 2017

Why Nesting Material Matters for Backyard Chickens

Most of us never think about the purpose of nest box material for our backyard chickens, but the topic deserves some consideration because most of us are getting it wrong.
Most of us never think about the purpose of nest box material for our backyard chickens, but the topic deserves some consideration because most of us are getting it wrong. The purpose of nesting material is to protect eggs from breakage when hens lays them.  Because a hen squats when laying eggs,(check out my video of it here!) nest bottoms should be cushioned to prevent shells from breaking as eggs drop from a hen's vent.
I quickly found that my hens scratched and kicked-out most of the straw from the nest boxes, leaving a hollow in the center of the box exposing bare wood, resulting in no protection from breakage for the eggs.
When I began keeping chickens, I mistakenly believed I was supposed to use straw in the nest boxes without understanding the purpose of nesting material. I quickly found that my hens scratched and kicked-out most of the straw from the nest boxes, leaving a hollow in the center of the box exposing bare wood, resulting in no protection from breakage for the eggs. Long strands of golden straw make a lovely, rustic-looking nest for photographing eggs, but regular straw does not perform well in nest boxes or in chicken coops in general. A few of the most common, effective nesting materials range from pine shavings to plastic pads and chopped hay/straw/ zeolite litter blends.
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Brinsea Ecoglow Chick Brooder GIVEAWAY at The Chicken Chick®
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Sep 30, 2017

The Effects of Mint on Chickens, Flies and Rodents in the Chicken Yard

No shortage of articles circulate online regarding the use of mint with backyard chickens, but how much faith should you place in those claims when the health and well-being of your pet chickens is at stake? Let's take a critical look at the most common claims made about mint to see what they look like when held up to the light.

DOES MINT HAVE A COOLING EFFECT ON CHICKENS?
The Claim is...that mint has a cooling effect on chickens in hot weather.
The Truth is...mint does not have a cooling effect on chickens in hot weather.
While we think of mint as refreshing in hot weather due to its flavor and mouth-feel, mint does not have magical cooling properties, nor a cooling effect on a chicken's body temperature. Chickens probably don't even perceive the minty "cool" flavor due to their extremely limited taste buds. Compared to a human's nearly 10,000 taste buds, chickens have a mere 250! My chickens tend to leave mint and other herbs alone in my chicken yard and while there's certainly no harm in growing mint in the chicken yard, mint does not lower a chicken's body temperature.  Help chickens beat the heat with proven methods in this article.

Sep 15, 2017

Chickens Don't Have Teeth and More Fun Digestion Facts!

How do chickens eat without teeth and why don't they have teeth? The answers relates to their unfortunate status as prey animals.
I'LL TAKE THAT TO-GO
How do chickens eat without teeth and why don't they have teeth? The answers relates to their unfortunate status as prey animals. Being near the bottom of the food chain, chickens developed a dine-and-dash system of eating to avoid being eaten themselves by predators. The result is a unique digestive process that allows them to eat quickly, fly away to safety, and digest later.
Dr. Patrick Biggs, poultry nutritionist, Kathy Shea Mormino, The Chicken Chick and Julie the Garden Fairy
When I visited The Purina Animal Nutrition Center with Julie the Garden Fairy earlier this year, we had an impromptu conversation with poultry nutritionist Dr. Patrick Biggs live on my Facebook page about chicken digestion, which you can view in the video further down in this article!
Chicken Digestive System Illustration by Bethany A. Caskey www.The-Chicken-Chick.com
Illustration by Bethany A. Caskey

Sep 1, 2017

Handling and Storage of Fresh Eggs from Backyard Chickens

Handling and Storage of Fresh Eggs from Backyard Chickens
The debate about the handling and storage of fresh eggs from backyard chickens is alive and well. I could present you with the history of egg sanitation practices in the United States and Europe or detail the many conflicting opinions among poultry professionals about how or whether freshly laid eggs should be handled, and I could bore you with the advantages and disadvantages of each position, but I’m not going to because scientific studies supporting each position can be found on both sides of the Atlantic ocean. If food safety experts disagree about egg washing and storage conditions, how is a backyard chicken keeper to decide what's safer short of flipping a coin?
Handling and Storage of Fresh Eggs from Backyard Chickens

Aug 19, 2017

The Effect of the Solar Eclipse on Chickens

The Effect of the Solar Eclipse on Chickens ~The Chicken Chick
On August 21, 2017, countless chickens on earth will experience a total eclipse of the sun for the first and only time in their lives. The period of time during which the moon will cover the sun to varying degrees depends on where they live, but the "path of totality," or the complete lights-out when the moon totally blocks the sun from the earth, will last only about 2 minutes and 40 seconds. What does that mean for your backyard chickens? Should you take any special precautions, worry about their behavior, be concerned about their their vision or fear a drop in egg-production? The short answer to each is: no, so relax and enjoy the celestial show!