Backyard Chickens

 

Starting your own backyard flock

IMG_2165

Are you thinking about starting a backyard chicken flock, but not sure if it’s for you?  Are you unsure where to start?  Let me introduce you to the wonderful world of backyard chicken keeping! Explore the links below to learn more!

Welcome to our coop! Enjoy this photo tour of our chicken coop & get some ideas on what to do (and not do!) when building your own

Come check out the Photo Tour of our Coop & Run!

 











Keeping Rodents
Out of the Coop


Building
Nest Boxes


When Can Chicks
Move Outside?


How do chicks
breathe inside an egg?


When will chicken
lay first egg?


Chicken Breeds
for Colorful Eggs


Chicken Keeping
By-Laws


6 Ways to Keep Chicken
Water from Freezing


Feeding Chickens
for Life


Ordering Chicks
Online


Chickens Natural
Tick Control


Water Belly
in Chickens


Backyard Poultry
& Salmonella


Dealing with
Death


Combs, Wattles,
and Lobes


Reasons Healthy
Hens Stop Laying


Raising Ducks &
Chickens Together


Chicken Breeds
Cold Climates


Free Range
Flock


Lessons from
Chicken Moms


Fertilized vs
Unfertilized Eggs


Best Chicken
Breeds for Pets


Top 6 Herbs
for your Chickens


Keeping Chickens
Cool in Summer


Keeping A
Farm Journal


Should you
worm chickens?


Being a Good
Neighbor Farmer


Best Tasting
Eggs Ever!


Mites & Lice
in Chickens


Preparing Farm
Winter Weather


Supplemental Light
in Winter


All About
Chicken Eyes


DIY Chicken
Coop Plans


Chicken Terms
for Beginners


Things to Consider
Before Chickens


How Much Space
do Chickens Need?


How Much Time do
Chickens Require?


How to Train
Your Chickens


How Much Do
Chickens Cost


Basic Chick
Care


Chicken First
Aid Kit


Giving a Chicken
Health Exam


Homemade Coop
&Home Cleaner


Gypsy the
Wanderer


Recycled Wood
Mini Coop


What is a
Broody Hen?


Life of a
Backyard Farmer


Gardening for Your
Pets & Livestock


Choosing the Right
Chicken Breeds


Why do Chickens
Dust Bathe?


Heritage Breed
Chickens


Deep Litter
Coop Maintenance


Preventing Frostbite
in your Flock


Benefits of
Keeping Chickens


Festive Garland
for Chickens


Hows & Whys of
Fermented Feed


Vintage Egg
Cartons


Should You Get
a Rooster?


Designing Your
Perfect Coop


What to do with
Aging Hens


Backyard Chicken
Treats


Helping Your Flock
Through Molting


Introducing Chicks
to your Flock


Hatching Eggs with
a Broody Hen


Integrating a Single
Chicken to the Flock


Deep Cleaning
the Coop


What to Feed
a Sick Chicken


Growing Wheat
Grass Indoors


DIY Brooder
Box

42 comments

  1. rhonda kaine says:

    Help! I have a sick hen. I just read your article but I’m lost. I’ve just adopted 2 hens, 5 yrs old, not laying anymore. I have had them in quarantine for 2 weeks now. One of them started looking sick a week and 2 days into quarantine. She is getting worse. Wet stool, looks terrible. Interesting thing happened. I noticed right away one morning that she was showing signs of not feeling well. Standing still,scratching ground slowly. I have them in a greenhouse. It’s cold here now but we had a mild day and sun was really bright. Knowing this could happen I checked on them and the sick hen was laying on the ground panting. The other hen was fine. It wasn’t hot, I think was just such a quick rise in temperature. Anyway I opened up the
    doors and she recovered. Her breathing normalized. Fast forward to day 3. I picked her up to put her in the box for the night and was heavy!! I thought she would weigh nothing after not eating for a couple of days. I think her previous owner was fattening her up. I got her the day before he killed his meat birds. Could her weight be affecting her? I noticed her comb was slightly bent when she arrived and I was concerned but she ate and acted fine for a week. Although it gradually bent to completed flopped over. Sorry this so long. Any suggestions?

    • Liz says:

      I’m glad you had them in quarantine so they couldn’t get your other birds sick – smart move! Do you have another area where they could be kept, a dog crate in a basement or garage maybe? I’m wondering if the hot humid air in the greenhouse is effecting them. Most chickens do fine in the heat, but humidity can be hard on their breathing. If the greenhouse is closed up, the ammonia from their droppings could be building to unhealthy levels. At the very least, I would leave every vent in the greenhouse open at all times. You say she was rescued from slaughter – is she a meat breed bird or was the farmer just going to process her as a layer that had stopped laying? It would be highly unusual for a meat breed chicken to reach 5 years old, they simply aren’t designed to live that long.

  2. Linda Tyner says:

    I have a hen with no upper bill. She cannot peck. She scoops pellets from the top of the feeder. Is there a way I can help her feed easier?

    • Liz says:

      aww poor thing! Sounds like she is figuring things out with scooping food though. Providing her bowls with feed deep enough for scooping is a good idea. You might also want to consider switching from pellets to crumble feed, it will be easier for her to scoop

  3. Nancy says:

    Hi Liz,
    I have 3 Call ducks, 2 female and one male. They will all be 7 years in May and july. Starting today Sunny, my one female is attacking Peeps, other female, and biting her in the neck. Ranger my male just stays out of it. Why is this happening?

    • Liz says:

      It’s hard to say – she could be reprimanding her for something or just reminding her who is boss. If she is just nipping at her and not pulling out feathers or breaking the skin, I wouldn’t worry about it and just call it sisterly squabbling. I hope she settles down soon!

  4. Kelsey says:

    Hi Liz!
    I just discovered your blog today, love it!! We have a lot in common. I would eventually love to start a small blog of my own, not with any major goals, but just as a way to show and explain what I do to my friends and family who don’t have a clue about gardening or chickens! I have no idea where to start, so I’ll make a point of following your blog more closely. ?
    Anyways, I wondered if you had ever tried keeping young chicks of different ages together? If all goes as planned, I will have a group of 4 week old chicks when my next flock hatches. I would of course give the hatched babies a couple of days to grow and strengthen on their own, but do you have any experience keeping let’s say 1 weekers and 5 weekers together? Ultimately I would like to introduce all of them to my existing flock (2years old) at the same time. I’m wondering if I can keep all the babies in one pen while the older girls get used to them. Thanks in advance!
    Kelsey

    • Liz says:

      Welcome Kelsey! The blog is a lot of fun, I love talking about my little farm and have meet some really wonderful people 🙂 Keeping chicks that are a few weeks apart together shouldn’t be an issue. The bigger issue is when you introduce them to your older girls who already have an established pecking order. Keep an eye on the littlest ones when you introduce them to the older chicks just to be sure everyone is being good, but it should go smoothly. When you are ready to introduce all the chicks to your big girls I would definitely keep the littles in a separate pen for a while so the older girls can get used to them. I would also recommend introducing all the chicks to your big girls at one time, rather than separating them by age, to minimize the disruption. It’s always stressful adding new chickens to the flock (for them & you!) Thanks for joining us!

  5. Reese says:

    Thank you for taking the time to make all of this, you have made my research all the better! Please make more for the duck one, though. I am thinking of getting ducklings once I can support them. 🙂

    • Liz says:

      Glad you enjoyed it! I am working on expanding the duck section – they are so much fun! Sign up for my monthly newsletter so you never miss new posts! 🙂

  6. Amanda says:

    We are getting chicks and having them at our Barn… Is leaving them in a long stall okay? 😐 I do not want to hurt the babies…

    • Liz says:

      If you can completely enclose your chicken run that is the best. Hawks and other birds of prey have no trouble taking down a chicken (we have lost a few to hawks over the years while they were out free ranging)

  7. Terry Galloway says:

    when a chick is hatched in the incubator when is she old enough to joing to flock?

    do chickens need constant food or can they be fed twice a day like horses and dogs

    food left out brings rats!

    • Liz says:

      If you are mixing chicks into a flock of adults, I like to start introductions when the chicks are around 6 weeks by keeping them in an area they can see, hear & smell each other but are separated by wire. I let them live side by side for a couple weeks then let them free range together but keep an eye on them. Depending how they do together and if the big girls are being nice I might keep them separate at night for an additional week or so. You have to feel the flock out and see how they do together. Chickens really should have constant access to food during the day when they are awake. It is ok to bring the food in at night though to deter rodents. You should have water available 24/7

  8. Ashley Parent says:

    I have a hen that is all by herself….how do i introduce new grown hens to her? do I need more than one or can I introduce one at a time? Please help!

  9. Taylor Steinmetz says:

    Hello! I’m sad to say one of my chickens is horribly sick. We found her about an hour ago, and we thought she was dead. She was/is laying on her side not moving. She can’t pick up her head, the most she did was flap her wings when I tried to move her. Now she lays in a cushioned area in the coop not responsive: doesn’t move, eyes closed, breathing still weird, and some times barely twitches her legs.

    We’ve had her for 3-4 years and have never had problems before with her. Just a couple days ago she got in this funk for a week (mind you it’s the middle of summer here) and finally laid an egg. The egg was something I’ve never seen: has a soft shell but it had like a yellow calcium build up around it, and the inside was clear with water.

    I’m not sure if she has some sort of tract infection or what? My father refuses to take her in to a vet. I hope you have an idea? 🙁

    • Liz says:

      I am so sorry to hear your chicken is not doing well. Chicken will occasionally lay a soft or no shell egg. It usually means there is a calcium deficiency in her diet. It’s hard to say if that is connected to her current condition. Extreme heat can be really taxing on them so it could be that. They are also really good at hiding illnesses until it is too late to save them unfortunately. The best thing you can do is keep her comfortable. Bring her somewhere cool and shady if possible. Try to get her to drink some water. If you have any poultry vitamin or electrolyte supplements you should mix that in. If she won’t drink you can try using a dropper. Other treats you can try to build her strength are mashed bananas, plain yogurt or mealworms. I hope she pulls through for you!

  10. Amy Clay says:

    Hi we are new to chickens this year and we want to do the deep litter method this winter. We live in Minnesota and it gets very cold. My question is how do u keep rotating the litter when it freezes. Or does it stay warm enough that it doesn’t completely freeze. We have fourteen chickens.

    Thank u God bless!

    • Liz says:

      Hi Amy, sometimes if I forget to turn it for a couple days the top layer might freeze a bit. But as long as I am good about turning it daily it stays warm enough 🙂

  11. Shellie says:

    Hi. I have a Bantum rooster that’s about 6 months old. About 6-7 days ago, he started sleeping in the laying beds. 5 days ago, he started having a hard time walking and was falling to one side. I separated him from the flock. Whenever I open the door to check on him, he tries to escape but falls over. He’s drinking and eating but isn’t very mobile and lies on his back a lot. He almost acts paralyzed on one side. I started giving him vitamin e oil in his food and fed him some pumpkin. I’m not sure what to do because he hasn’t gotten any better or worse. Please help! Thank you.

    • Liz says:

      That is not a good sign! Do you know if he was vaccinated at the hatchery you got him from for Marek’s Disease? It is a fairly common chicken disease that can cause limb paralysis. It is VERY contagious (among chickens) so definitely keep him separated from the flock. You would have to take him to the vet to get him actually diagnosed, and unfortunately it is fatal with no cure. The only other less dire thing I could think of if you don’t see any obvious injuries would be a neurological issue. I had a chicken once that needed a really high protein diet (lots of meal worms!) or she would start doing odd things like limping or walking backwards. Very strange, but somehow keeping her happy with meal worms always seemed to help. I wish I had better advise for you – but definitely keep him separate and give him lots of good food & maybe grab some electrolytes for his water (you can usually find this at the feed store) and see how he does.

      • Shellie says:

        Thank you. I think we’ve come to the conclusion he has a broken leg and maybe a wing. We still have him up and he’s eating good. Hopefully it has started to heal. Thanks again!

  12. Debra says:

    my buff had been acting strange and falling over when standing, we soaked her feet in a shallow tub of cool water and investigated her feet. We found a few very tiny thorns from the rose bush in their area. I have since knocked off all the thorns. I have crushed a calcium tums for her, but not sure how to give it to her. She is now walking much better and eating with her mates. My birds are just past 15 weeks and have been worried about pre-egg issues. We have them on transition and lay feed.
    Please let me know how to treat her with the tums.

    • Liz says:

      Hi Debra! I know we spoke over Facebook but thought I’d answer in case other people have the same question. I usually crush them up and put a pinch or two directly into their beak to be sure they are getting it. But as you questioned, you can also dissolve the powder into water and deliver it that way

  13. Tee says:

    Hello!!
    What a beautiful farm! What kind of rabbit is your angora? How can I get one as cute as that! Do they all have no fur on the nose ?

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.