Wednesday, April 27, 2011

In the MOOD to BROOD? Dear LIzzy:

Dear Lizzy:
We have new hens and I would like to know if there is a way to make the hens broody?
Moody (Cuz they aren't broody!)
(not one of MY flock!)
Dear "Moody",
Today's modern hen has the "broodiness" bred out of her.  Scientists and breeders worked together to genetically change and create new breeds specifically for egg production, and with that being said, Heritage Breeds are generally the only poultry that will still contain the hormones for the motherhood instinct.  Sad, but True.  ooooOOOOOooooo!

  Check online for information on which hens are broody and set well if the hearts desire is to raise Peeps, and then purchase only those types.  On the other hand, if one already HAS broody hens, there are WAYS to attempt to "break" them for short time if egg laying is to continue...because, when they are setting, they lay a certain number of eggs for their "clutch", then set on them until they hatch (or NOT, depending on if the eggs are fertilized, of course), and they will puff up and peck anyone that dares to try to remove those eggs (again,fertilized or NOT!).
  Such are the pros and cons for Broody Hens!
Hope this helps!
Ms. Lizzy

Opening the Hatch - - by THEMSELVES!

(Photo borrowed- not mine)
Did you know that baby chicks have a little apparatus on the top edge of their beaks that help them drill out of their shells?  It is called an "egg tooth", and as the chick grows, it will fall off because it is no longer needed!
In honor of Spring, and all things Bright and Broody - here's a cute little video that I thought was so sweet and I'm going to share it with you.  Enjoy!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Wishing You a Blessed and Happy Easter 2011

Chick Pops!!
This week I was given my very first Cake Pop - and it was Yumm-dilly-ishus!  What is a Cake Pop, you ask?  Well, check out this Blogger's Page and read the recipe - you just might want to make a few of your own!!! 

Happy Easter to All -
the ChickenWrangler

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Q&A: Roosters Like Eggs for Breakfast!

Q:  My son has a hen and has been getting eggs, now they are all being eaten he thinks by the rooster so he took the rooster you think that's what was happening?
A:  Hens will peck at and eat their own eggs.  They can develop a "taste" for the eggs, or sometimes if they are nutritionally needy, they will begin to look for something to fill that void in their diets.  Once started, the bad habit can spread like wildfire with the rest of your hens!  To nip it in the bud, collect eggs more frequently, if possible.  If the eggs are being cracked as the next hen settles in for laying her egg in a favorite nest box, a Roo may find it laying on the coop floor and he will eat it.  Once he discovers where the tasty treat comes from he may hunt and peck more of them on his own!  Can't blame him - fresh eggs taste wonderful, and are so good FOR you!
It may be the nest boxes need more padding - straw or paper shreds, or perhaps wood shavings - whatever you are currently using may be able to be improved upon, or find a fluffier substitute.  When the girls lay, the egg might make contact with something hard and crack - the next hen will spy it and eat it....Any precautions should be taken.

There are styles of separate next boxes that allow the egg to roll out the back after the hen lays it.  That way any hen will have no access to that egg until the owner retrieves it later on.  And, depending on how your chicken house is set up, I've seen where a "funnel" is added to the bottom of the nesting area, the egg rolls out of the hen and into the rubber funnel into a small padded chamber below.  Folks are so incredibly clever in figuring out how to solve this problem, it never ceases to amaze me.  There have also been stories of blowing out an egg and filling it with something distasteful to poultry....yes, they do have taste buds - not as many as humans have, however, and their taste buds are located near the back of the tongue. 
One of my new PEEPS...
 Another idea worth trying is to make sure the nest boxes are in a darker area (add denim or burlap privacy curtains, perhaps??) away from prying eyes!  Chickens like dark private areas only when they are going to lay or when it is time to roost for the night.  Hopefully the Roos and other hens will stay away from the nesting area and would not notice a new egg.

But, as always, prevention is the key, and there are times that once the habit is established in a flock of hens, they may all have to be replaced if any of these suggestions do not work.

Have a great weekend!
the ChickenWrangler