Tuesday, July 30, 2013

New Blog Series: Beginning With Chicks

Hello Chicken Raising Chicks!

Today I would like to announce a new blog series that Miranda and I have been working on.

Beginning with Chicks is basically a five part series that will publish every Friday in August. It covers everything from ordering your chicks to when they can be transferred to a chicken coop outside.

Below is a list that shows the title of each post. After each one is published I will provide a link for it.

Ordering Your Chicks by Cassandra Hart

Preparing For Your Chicks by Cassandra Hart

Picking Up Your Chicks by Miranda Hart

Caring For Them by Cassandra Hart

Putting Your Chicks Outside by Miranda Hart

I know right now isn't the usual time to order chicks, as many people begin in the Spring. However, I thought that by sharing this now it will better prepare you for when you do own chickens.

When Spring makes its glorious return I'll be sure to share this again.

Thank you all for joining me, and I hope to see you back this Friday for the first part of Beginning With Chicks.

Monday, July 29, 2013

5 Tips On Keeping Your Chickens Healthy and Happy

Hey Chicken raising chicks,

Here are five tips on how to keep your chickens healthy and happy.

1. Keep your chicken coop clean.

 Chickens love when there coop is clean. They can run around more.  Their food and water has to be clean as well.

2. Let your chickens run around.

If you keep your chickens in a pen you need to let in run around out of the pen.
About a couple of hours for about three times a week.

3. Use bedding.

If your chicken coop has nesting boxes then in it it needs some soft grass, hay or bedding. This will keep your chickens happy and comfortable.

4. Treats

Chickens love feed but they also enjoy little leftovers. We feed our chickens left over corn, beans, and other vegetables.

5. Feed them bugs!

Have a bug problem in your garden or yard feed them to your chickens. Chickens love bugs especially  worms. We have tons of grub worms and the chickens just love them!

                               Now your chickens should be healthy and happy!  Thanks -


Friday, July 26, 2013

Snake Problem? Let's Fix It!

Hello Chicken Raising Chicks!

This Summer we, and many others, are having a bit of a snake problem.

There are many lakes in our areas that are reporting snake sightings by the dozens.

If you own chickens or other birds this can be a problem for you.

There are many breeds of snakes to be wary of, but a definite worry is the chicken snake.

File:Red Chicken Snake Image 002.jpg
(Image courtesy of Wikipedia)

Chicken Snakes can vary in color from light brown to dark brown to jet black.

So how can you tell if what you're dealing with is a chicken snake?

Well, they tend to hide out in your coop doing this:

Pretty sight huh?

This creatures are an absolute pain to pretty much all chicken raisers.

We recently lost about 12 eggs to one of these sneaky little things.

So, what the heck should you do?

Well first I want to make something clear.

There are a lot of people who have a problem killing snakes. I understand completely and I agree that not all snakes should be killed when you catch them. After all, not all snakes are poisonous or even harmful. Some of them are actually beneficial, such as the rat snake.

However, I personally think that a chicken snake should always be killed when it is caught.


Because chicken snakes are very harmful. Not usually to you, but to your flock.

A single chicken snake can eat dozens of eggs, and then stick around until he's hungry again and then eat more. And on top of that, if your chickens are small enough or if they try and fight back when the snake is eating the eggs, the snake could harm or even kill your chicken.

Even if you catch the snake and release it before it does any damage to your flock, you might be causing someone else a bunch of trouble when that very same snake finds a new chicken coop to raid.

Now, that is my opinion and I ask you to consider it, but the choice is ultimately up to you.

There are many humane snake traps. Simply searching "snake traps" on Google gave me about 4,050,000 results. And you could always find some other way to catch it. I've read that spreading mothballs around the outside of the coop helps keep snakes away, as they hate the smell.

However, if we are agreed on the idea of the chicken snake = varmint then read on.

 The tried and true way of all of our great grandparents is to knock its head clean off with a hoe or shovel. Heck, my great uncle could snap its head off with his bare hands.

But, due to Miranda's any my research after our snake incident, we have found another solution.

Wooden Eggs.

Yep. The kind that can be purchased for about a dollar.

The idea is to keep the wooden eggs in an area where the snake will likely eat them. If you don't mind sacrificing a few other eggs then you could place them all together. Keep them away from your chickens so that they don't get defensive and try to save the eggs.

If the snake eats any of the wooden eggs he should die, as its body can't simulate it. You could also use golf balls.

This is by far the most simple solution and many chicken raisers swear by it.

But, as our snake left after he ate a dozen eggs and injured our rooster, we didn't get to try it out ourselves.

So if this works for you, please let us know.

Thanks for stopping by,

Monday, July 22, 2013

Got Eggs? Candling Eggs To Check for Fertility

Hello Chicken Raising Chicks!

Many people who own chickens, at least at some point, discover that one of their hens has decided to go "broody".  AKA You know how, every morning when you've collected eggs, you've been wondering why one of your chickens isn't laying? Well..... she has been! 

And now, you have before you the chance for some free chicks.


You see, not always are the eggs fertile. Most of the time at least some of them are, but some hens (especially Silkies)  go broody for any eggs. Fertile or infertile.

The best way to check for egg fertility is through candling.

Candling has been used for the longest time and seems to be the best method. But you can only candle the eggs after the have been incubating a minimum of three days. Freshly laid eggs can look the same as an infertile egg. 

All you need is a bright flashlight and your egg. (You might also want a store bought egg for comparison.)

I am providing you with this tutorial from WikiHow because there are pictures for you to compare to.

There are a lot of people who say that another way to check the eggs is by placing the egg in water. DO NOT DO THIS. Eggs are porous, which means that placing one in water can kill the chick. DO NOT DO THIS. 

So far candling is the safest way.

And, when all else fails, sometimes the best thing to do is just let the hen take care of the eggs for 21 days and see what happens. 

We often find that this is the best way to do things. It usually doesn't hurt anything to leave her be and wait it out.

I hope this helped and have a great day,

Monday, July 15, 2013

What the Heck is a "Bantam"? And Why You Might Want One!

Hello Chicken Raising Chicks!

"What the heck is a 'bantam'?"

"Is that some kind of musical instrument?"

"A breed of snake?"


A bantam is a smaller variety of a standard sized chicken.

Well actually I just discovered there are many different bantams, (view that odd list here) but we're here to talk about chickens so we'll just stick with what people mainly mean when they use the word bantam.

According to Wikipedia:

"Most large chicken breeds have a bantam counterpart, sometimes referred to as a miniature. Miniatures are usually one-fifth to one-quarter the size of the standard breed, but they are expected to exhibit all of the standard breed's characteristics."

Think about dog breeds for example. There are a lot of dogs who have miniature counterparts. They both have basically the same characteristics, they are simply different in size.

Here is a picture courtesy of Wikipedia that shows the difference between a Japanese Bantam (left) and an Orpington (right). The Bantam is about half the size of the Orpington.

Many people with smaller space to house chickens prefer bantams because they take up less room.

They have a pretty good egg ratio, but you need to remember that their eggs are about half the size of a regular egg. Except for size their eggs should be just the same as your other chickens eggs.

We have chosen to own bantams as well as regular sized chickens.

What we have noticed is:

° Whereas we have problems with our other chickens when it comes to attempting to fly over the fence our bantams have never tried it. They are quite content with staying in the yard.

° The bantams require less food and water than the other chickens. Their bodies aren't as big, therefore they need less.

° Our bantams were a little finicky to raise from chicks, but they are now very hardy. 

° Our bantams (this could just be due to their breed which is Silkie) are very broody, which means they have the tendency to lay eggs and sit on them until they've hatched. Even our rooster will go broody and has done so quite a few times.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy Fourth of July

Hello Chicken Raising Chicks!

We just wanted to wish ya'll a Happy 4th!

Keep safe and have fun!