Mavis Mail: Shaun Gives a DIY Chicken Coop Tutorial

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A big THANK YOU to everyone who has sent in their photographs and stories. I hope by sharing other peoples pictures and stories here on One Hundred Dollars a Month we can all have a rock star garden this summer. Keep them coming!chicken coop

Today’s submission comes to us from the brother of my East Coast friend, Heather {who kindly shares all of her garden chores from the East coast with us!}:

Hi Mavis,

My wife Kori and I recently bought our first home. As soon as we moved in I began to plan the backyard. First on the list was a chicken coop; after talking to my sister Heather  and doing a bit of research we dove into the job.

chicken coop1I’ve worked in construction in the past so building this coop was an easy job. I began with a basic wall framing with the sub-floor. The garage provided a warm working environment and also a level surface for construction. We began this project on the same day that the first snow began to fall in Denver.

Each wall was temporarily held in place by 2 screws so we could dismantle it and carry it from the garage to the backyard. We then reassembled the coop with a lot more screws, while adding additional support and making everything plum and level.

chicken coop2Next we have installed the plywood sheets over the framing with the addition of 2 windows and 2 vents. Also note we paid careful attention to angle the roof for snow removal. In colder climates its important to make the structure sound to support heavy wet snow.

Surprisingly, we spent more time at the “big box store” looking at roofing than any other part of this project. Shingles would have worked but we wanted something sturdy since we were housing animals, not storing lawn equipment. We chose green instead of the less expensive plain aluminum since we didn’t want the sun to reflect and cause beams of sunlight to blast into our neighbors windows. This is a little more expensive but much more durable.

chicken coop3The camera view is through the coop door to the inside and you can see the perch and nesting box.

Finally the chickens are in their new home. The screws in the ceiling hold the food and water containers. The perch has been sanded to a smooth finish to prevent injury to their feet.

chicken coop4For shingling the side we used pallets that I cut into uniform pieces. This was fun because my wife and I laid out all the pellet strips and decided what combination looked good since each piece had its own color pattern. We also completed the nesting box and added a double hinge to the roof.

chicken coop5Its important to note that the door has double locks to prevent clever predators from accessing the coop. We also added a wooden horizontal strip of plywood to the bottom of the coop. This is made of redwood since its resistant to rot. If you use pellet siding don’t allow it to make direct contact with the soil or it will rot. The plywood strip also helps with the height because recycled pellets are only 40 inches tall.

chicken coop6Coop was done, chickens were happy, but now it was time for us to build the run. For this project, we had built the frame on our back patio and then carried the sections to the coop.

The run is 16 feet long, by 4 feet tall by 4 feet wide. We also added a wide door for making cleaning easier. We now know the reason why its called a “run” since they seem to get a kick out of running full speed back and forth. Happy chicken equals happy eggs. We do allow the chickens free range on nice days, but the run is essential for the long winters.

chicken coop7The coop and run were strategically placed around 2 maple trees to give shade in the summer and built next to the shed to provide a wind break. We also installed a bamboo roof over the run which provides shade and prevents snow from accumulating.

chicken coop8Final notes and some things we have learned:

1. Our dogs don’t care about sharing the yard with the chickens and Mooney the cat seems to think she can catch them. Silly cat.

2. Total project cost was just under $1,000. When we researched building the coop this seemed to be the price that other chicken owners had spent. You should also prepare for the project by purchasing materials before you start building, such as when wood or other supplies that you will need are on sale. Most of the “big box stores” have a section for discounted wood and since this was for the coop, the savings in the materials was an important factor. We cringe to think how much more this project could have cost if we paid full price for all the wood we used!

3. When building a coop project, the first thought should be “ease of cleaning.” We chose the “deep bed method” to create an inside coop compost. When its time to remove the deep bed you want it to be as easy as possible. We open the coop door, rake all the bedding onto a tarp, and carry the tarp to our compost bin and dump it. The run will also need to be cleaned since they seem to take the coop bedding with them each time they go into the run. A sturdy metal rake makes this a quick chore.

4. If you use a metal roof, the other disadvantage besides cost is the sharpness of the metal on the edges. If you have children you should consider using shingles instead.

5. We found that diatomaceous earth, also known as DE {this can be purchased at your local feed store}, should be placed in the coop to prevent mites and other pests. We learned this lesson the hard way – infestation. Be sure that you are purchasing FOOD GRADE.

6. Its really nice having a predator proof run that is open 24-7. Some chicken owners don’t mind unlocking their coops everyday, but we didn’t want the hassle. On bad weather days, the chickens have the option to go in and out as they please and we stay inside warm and dry. Then on really nice days, we can open the run and the coop door and they have free-range of the entire yard.

7. When you complete the framing of the run, be sure to allow about a foot of overhang of the chicken wire on the outside at the bottom. Then dig a trench around the outside perimeter of the run and flare out the chicken wire into the trench. Place bricks or pavers on the chicken wire and then fill in the trench. In the last 6 months we have had skunks and raccoons attempt to breach this barrier. Our most clever was the red tail fox that returned twice but hasn’t been able to gain access. When the predator attempts to dig into the run it will encounter the wire/brick barrier and after several digging attempts in different locations it will decide that this is a lost cause and move onto an easier prey. DO NOT put chicken wire on the floor of the run – the chickens love to dig holes and you could injure their feet with the wire. Also, after attaching the chicken wire to the frame of the run, place another piece of wood over each section of framing to sandwich the wire between the 2 pieces of wood. These clever predators can remove staples, spending the extra time now to make the run secure will be worth it.

8. If you choose to add the bamboo to the top of your run, after you install it add 1 inch thick pieces of wood every few feet across the top of the bamboo and screw them down. This will help prevent the wind from tearing of the bamboo roof off.

Wow, Shaun! Thanks so much for sharing.

~Mavis

Send Pictures of Your Garden For a Chance to Win a $20 Amazon Gift Card

If you would like to have your garden, chicken coop or something you’ve made featured on One Hundred Dollars a Month, here’s what I’m looking for:

  • Your Garden Pictures and Tips – I’d especially like to see your garden set ups, growing areas, and know if you are starting seeds indoors this year. If so,  show me some picture of how you are going about it.
  • Your Chicken and Chicken Related Stories – Coops, Chicks, Hen’s, Roosters, Eggs, you name it. If it clucks, send us some pictures to share with the world.
  • Cool Arts & Crafts - Made from your very own hands with detailed {and well photographed} pictures and instructions.
  • Your pictures and stories about your pets. The more pictures and details the better.
  • Garage Sale, Thrift Store and Dumpster Diving pictures and the stories behind the treasures you found including how much you paid for them.

If I feature your pictures and the stories behind them on One Hundred Dollars a Month, I will send you a $20.00 gift card to the greatest store in the world: Amazon.com.

Go  HERE for the official rules.

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.



Everything You Need to Know About Raising Baby Chicks

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Everything You Need to Know About Raising Baby Chicks

I was at the feed store the other day and noticed they had baby chicks for sale.  *Sigh!*  I have to admit, I reaaaallly wanted them.  Then I remembered that I can’t even have garden beds exactly where I want them–baby chicks are a definite no.  I also had to remind myself that I was simplifying.

After all of that, I decided the next best thing to getting baby chicks is teaching all of you how to start your own flock.  I’m literally living vicariously through the internet at this point, so if any of you are therapists, just know that I know I’m crazy.

baby chicks in a stock tank

For the first several weeks of your chicks’ lives, you’ll need a warm place for them.  The container is called a brooder, and you can use about a zillion different types of containers to do this from cardboard boxes to stock tanks.  You’ll need a warming light {that will satisfy the warm part of “warm place”}.  Also, you’ll want absorbent bedding {you will not believe how messy little tiny chicks can be}, a feeder, waterer, feed, grit, and netting or chicken wire {to put over the top of your container to prevent runaways}.  To set up your chicken brooder, lay a thick layer of bedding down along the bottom.  Place the feeder and waterer, filled, into the center of the chicken brooder–also sprinkle some feed into the bedding to encourage the chicks to scratch.  Then, clip the warming light onto the side of the brooder and position it over the opening.

chicks

Now you are ready to add baby chicks.  For the first week, you’ll want the brooder to be 95 degrees. You can drop the temperature 5 degrees each week until you get to 70 degrees.  Hold at 70 degrees until it’s time to move them outside.  Keep their feeder stocked and check on their water several times a day.  They have an uncanny ability to tip their water, poop in the water, and in general, drain their water.  So, you’ll find yourself filling it pretty often.  Also, because they are going to literally quadruple in size over the next couple of weeks, you’ll find that they are big giant pigs when it comes to eating.

puggle puppy baby chicks

At about 4 weeks, it’s time to transition them to outside–slowly.  It’s like hardening off plants, really. You want them to acclimate at a nice slow pace.  Start that 4th week by placing them next to an open window or door.  Let them experience the natural light and fluctuations in temperature.  It’s a harsh world out there without warming lights-they are going to have to face it, like it or not.

Blue Laced Red Wyandotte chicken chicks

If you weather is fairly mild, you can fully transition them outside somewhere between 5 and 8 weeks. Remember night time temperatures will need to be mild too.  If you are adding them to an existing flock, I like to set them in a caged off area right next to the existing flock for several days.

Adding New Chickens into Your Existing Flock

This allows the flock to see them, without really being able to peck at them.  After the holding pen period, go ahead and put them right in with your existing flock.  They may get pecked at a bit by the older hens, but in general, they’ll learn the pecking order and fall in line.

Adding New Chickens into Your Existing Flock

If you are starting a flock for the first time with your baby chicks, transitioning them to outside is easier.  First, transition them solely to the coop. Keep them in the coop for several days {assuming it has a run}.  This will allow them to get settled.  If you are going to have free-range chickens, remember they are still fairly small, and it’s important to keep them out of predators’ grasp–so a run is best to keep them safe.  As they get older, they’ll learn to hide in the bushes or coop when they hear/see danger {i.e. a hawk or the like}.  Make sure to shut them into the coop every night to keep raccoon, etc. from getting to them {depending on your area, of course}.

chicken scraps

Once you have established your coop, remember to change their bedding, or put a fresh layer on frequently.  Continue providing fresh water and plenty of food/scraps.  Your ladies will not start laying until around 20 weeks, but in the meantime, they will create plenty of potential chicken poop compost…and seriously, I am not lying when I say that your garden will go nuts with this stuff.  So make sure to use it.

keeping chickens book

If you are thinking about getting a flock of your own, check out the book Homemade Living: Keeping Chickens with Ashley English: All You Need to Know to Care for a Happy, Healthy Flock.  It’s a super straight forward guide to raising chickens.

Any of YOU have plans to get chicks this spring?  Are you adding to a flock or starting one?

~Mavis

 

 

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

What are the Best Chicken Breeds for Backyards?

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chickens

I get a lot of emails asking me about the best breeds for backyard chickens, and with baby chick season right around the corner, I thought I would just answer the question in a tidy little post.  BUT, before I jump into answering the question, I want to mention that it really depends on what you want backyard chickens for.

Obviously, you want the eggs, but does temperament trump production {say, if you have little kids that want chickens to be more like pets}?  Maybe you live in a climate that they will need to be really cold hardy?  I am just throwing those nuggets of thought out there as things to keep in mind as you read my personal suggestions.

5 Rhode Island Red chicken chick

First up, the Rhode Island Red.  Rhode Island Reds are really cold hardy.  They are great layers {brown eggs}.  Their temperament really depends on the individual bird.  Some are really docile and sweet, while others can be a bit bratty.

boy with chicken barred rock rooster

Next, the Plymouth Rock.  In my opinion, the barred variety wins for the prettiest backyard chicken.  They are solid layers and pretty cold hardy {again, brown eggs}.  They typically have great temperaments, but again, individual birds may throw you for a loop.

The Leghorn is another great layer.  They typically lay large white eggs.  They also are known for being the best layers, where quantity is concerned.  Their only downside is their temperament.  They can be a little loud–and sometimes flighty.

bantam chickens

The White Bantam Brahma is a great choice if space is an issue.  They are smaller {hence the bantam}, but still solid little layers.  They are known for their docile personalities too.

Buff Orpington

Orpingtons are classic looking birds.  They are pretty good producers, cold hardy, and pretty docile.  They are a great “starter” chicken.

Ameraucana chicken 20 weeksAmeraucanas are a great choice if you want more unique eggs {they lay blue eggs}.  They don’t lay a ton of eggs, but they do really well in the winter.  In super hot climates, they will need quite a bit of shade in the summer.

black australorp chicken

Finally, Australorps are another popular choice.  They are unique because they lay nearly year round.  They get along well with other breeds, so you can mix your flock.  They typically have very friendly dispositions and lay for a lot longer duration than other popular breeds.

So, there you have it.  Obviously, there are TONS of choices, each with unique characteristics, and after you have cut your teeth on the more popular breeds, I think it is fun to try some of the more unique ones out.

In the past I’ve always ordered my chicks on mypetchicken.com.  I’ve always get healthy chicks, and have been happy with the selection.

I hope that helps.  If you are starting a flock this spring, let me know in the comments what breeds you go with.

~Mavis

Once you decide on a breed, make sure to check out How to Care for Baby Chicks.

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

California Implements New Standards for Egg Production

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green eggs

Have  you noticed that the price of eggs went up recently?  I thought at first it was a holiday thing–grocery stores looking to cash in on holiday baking.  Turns out, it is largely in part due to a new Californian standard set into effect on January 1st.  Eggs sold in California will now have to come from chickens that have at least 116 square inches of floor/cage space.  And while that still doesn’t sound like much to me, it is apparently double what chickens have previously had.

So why are we seeing the higher costs?  Well, long story long, it breaks down like this:  As the result of the new standards, egg producers in California have decreased their flock size, as increasing their space would be too costly.  Sooooo, egg production IN California has gone down by about 23% over the past two years {other factors contribute as well}.  The lowered production has increased demand, and farmers all over the country have found that they can comply with California’s new standards and then charge Californian grocers a premium for the eggs.  The result is that the shortage drives prices up for all of us.  According to the article I read, prices have increased between 35-70% in California.

So, while eggs are still a fairly inexpensive source of protein, it looks like egg prices will be on the rise for the foreseeable future.  Meanwhile, the ladies will be able to stretch their legs a little more, so I guess, while still a small step, it might be a step in the direction of more humane and natural food production processes.

Have egg prices gone up in your neck of the woods?

~Mavis

 

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Heather’s Winter Chicken Coop Tour

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I’ve been missing my backyard chickens terribly so I asked my friend Heather in Massachusetts to share some photos of her chicken coop for all of us to see. Here’s what she has to say:

rustic chicken coop

Since Mavis’ move she is chicken-less and has asked me to give a chicken-coop tour.

It all started when I built my coop from pallets. Did you know pallets are not even, straight, or any other sort of plum that some type A person would adore? I didn’t.  In case you missed it, you can read the whole story here.

Coops designs vary {a lot!} depending on your climate. Here is MA the summer can be 95* and plunge to 5* in the winter. That 90* swing requires a few adjustments. I built my coop around the idea that I wanted a lot of natural light, especially since my coop was tucked back on the edge of the woods. I used two storm doors I got for free from a friend.

chicken coop filled with hay

Second, I stuff my coop with hay {which stays nicely in between the pallets}. I also added lighting to increase egg production through our VERY dark winter. I plug it in at 5am and unplug it when we all get home..

old banister

We keep the food inside in a self feeder I created from a dog bowl and PVC pipe.

feeding tube for chickens

This keeps critters out of it and I can fill it without going in the coop. As aside benefit – it’s spill proof!

Water stays outside on a heated base. I buried the cord with big rocks. We all know chickens like to dig and I didn’t want them to peck at the cord, dig it up or generally damage the heater. It’s not cheap but lugging frozen poop-covered water containers into your kitchen sink is no fun either *blech*!

backyard chickens

A regular bird feeder holds their oyster shells and egg shells, keeps water and dirt out of it, and holds enough grit for a week or two.  This is Agnus posturing- she is such a beast and rules the pen.

storing chicken feed in garbage cans

We have many, many tenacious raccoons. They’ve scratched 1/4″ into our town rubber garbage cans, scratched 1/4″ into the pvc pipe feeder and attacked our dogs… So it was a no-brainer to staple fencing to the bottom of the coop, all openings {vents or windows}, and all the way around the border of the pen.

Although we consider our chickens “working chickens” and not “pet chickens” I just couldn’t resist the curtains. They were bargain basement place mats that I cut and stapled to the roost :)

small galvanized trash cans

The back of our pen is all business. Three tins filled with food (with the strap), shavings, and diatrematreous earth. The rake is pinned up off the ground and snow and the extension cords are weaved through the garden and under the coop.

That stump is new, the entire 100′ tree snapped off and landed 2′ on the other side of the tins.

netting over chicken coop

This is where I store my homemade chicken tractor. Storing it up on the blocks keeps it dry and easy to use when needed.

bags of fall leaves

GOLD! Sure they look like giant bags of leaves – but come rain and snow the leaves will keep the mud under control and entertain the chickens.

How are YOUR chickens doing this winter? Do you do anything special to your coop during the winter months?

~Heather

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Caring for Chickens in the Winter

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Caring for Your Chickens in the Winter

I thought I’d repost this article today as a friendly little reminder to those of you with feathered friends. We may not be able to have chickens in our new neighborhood, but I hope to have them again someday.  ~Mavis

**********************

Now that it is getting colder outside, it’s time to change the way I take care of the backyard ladies.

Some of my chickens are a little more cold-tolerant than others, but since they all provide me eggs and hours of entertainment, I like to make sure they are comfortable.

How to Collect, Clean and Store Chicken Eggs

As the days grow shorter, you can expect egg production to drop way off.

Chickens need 12-14 hours of light each day to be on top of their egg-laying game.  If you want them to lay steadily through the winter, you’ll need to add light.  You can combine the light with a heat lamp function and kill two birds with one stone {it feels wrong to use that phrase in light of the topic, but you get what I mean}.  You can also put the light on a timer, so you won’t waste electricity if you forget to go turn it off.

omlet eglu

November is a good time to make sure that your coop is free from drafts too.  Your chickens basically have a premium down coat on, but wind can chill them to the bone.  Don’t confuse a coop with drafts with an airtight coop, though.  The heat from multiple roosting chickens and steamy chicken manure can create humidity, which needs some level of ventilation.  So, free from drafts, but still provide ventilation.  Got it?

Chickens need plenty of fresh water to survive the cold winter {and continue laying}, so unless you want to schlep out to the coop several times a day, I recommend a heated waterer.

how to trap racoons

If you live in an area where predators are a concern, winter is the worst.  Predators are hungry, cold, and see your little chickens as an easy meal, so sure up the perimeter of your coop, making it harder for the critters to get in and nab your birds. A live animal trap might not be a bad idea either.

pine shavings chicken bedding

As for daily maintenance, changing bedding or laying out fresh bedding more regularly is essential.  I like to use natural pine shavings.

Their bedding can harbor moisture, which can lead to frostbite.  Frostbitten feet is a really good way to lose a chicken pretty fast.  In general, checking on your chickens a little more regularly, to ensure that they aren’t wet, cold, sick, etc. will guide you on how often you need to change bedding.

flock block

Also, if your ground is truly frozen solid, it may be a good idea to lay out some scratch grains or a flock block periodically.  They will not be able to scratch as easily as they can when the ground is frozen solid, so the scratch grains will not only provide a little additional nutrients, but also satisfy their primal need to scratch.  Happy chickens = more eggs.

I think that about covers it.  Did I miss anything?

~Mavis

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Ginger From Mississippi Sends in Her Garden and Chicken Pictures

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mississippi1A big THANK YOU to everyone who has sent in their photographs and stories. I hope by sharing other peoples pictures and stories here on One Hundred Dollars a Month we can all have a rock star garden this summer. Keep them coming!

~Mavis

Check out reader Ginger’s fun little piece of land!

mississippi6Hey Mavis ~

Thought I’d send you some pics from my little place in the country.

mississippi7The sweltering heat has taken it’s toll on what the little garden is producing, but thought I’d share pics of my “girls” & fruit trees. My peach tree is producing many small peaches. mississippi9This is the first year for the thorn-less black berries & they have been delicious!

mississippi5My granddaughters, Kylie & Abby (both aged 6) love the chickens, and thought up wonderful names for each of them, photo shows them holding Goldie, but others are named Rainbow SnoCone, Nemo, Lulu Snowflake, Golden Mustache, Ringer & Lemon Drop.

mississippi4My chickens include brown egg layers & Easter eggers. They love to hang out on the deck of my vintage travel trailer that I am renovating. The laying box was a piece that had belonged to my mother.

mississippi2The custom art work of Abby’s hangs across from Grandma’s laying box to inspire good egg production, an idea that came from Vicky, on your blog back in Feb. I just LOVE it! mississippi8A cast iron urinal, reclaimed from military barracks destroyed during Hurricane Camille in the late sixties makes a perfect water trough. Carpenter bees are a real problem here. You can see two homemade bee traps hanging beside the hen house. mississippiiAn antique bathtub is the home for my fish & various water plants.

I enjoy your blog & I hope you enjoy these pics.
Ginger
Saucier, MS

mississippiIf you would like to have your garden, chicken coop or something you’ve made featured on One Hundred Dollars a Month, here’s what I’m looking for:

  • Your Garden Pictures and Tips – I’d especially like to see your garden set ups, growing areas, and know if you are starting seeds indoors this year. If so,  show me some picture of how you are going about it.
  • Your Chicken and Chicken Related Stories – Coops, Chicks, Hen’s, Roosters, Eggs, you name it. If it clucks, send us some pictures to share with the world.
  • Cool Arts & Crafts - Made from your very own hands with detailed {and well photographed} pictures and instructions.
  • Your pictures and stories about your pets. The more pictures and details the better.
  • Garage Sale, Thrift Store and Dumpster Diving pictures and the stories behind the treasures you found including how much you paid for them.

If I feature your pictures and the stories behind them on One Hundred Dollars a Month, I will send you a $20.00 gift card to the greatest store in the world: Amazon.com.

Go  HERE for the official rules.

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Seattle Chicken Coop and Urban Farm Tour 2014

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Seattle Chicken Coop and Urban Farm Tour

If you live in the Seattle  and LOVE chickens and gardens, then you’ll want to stop by the Seattle Chicken Coop & Urban Farm Tour  this coming Saturday, July 12th between 10 am – 4 pm.

pablo picasso

The Girl Who Thinks She’s a Bird and I have been touring local farms and chicken coops since 2009 and every year we have a blast seeing all the creative and unique designs people come up with. We have already purchased our tickets for this years events and plan on taking oodles of photos for all of you that cannot make it.

The tour is self guided so you can go at your own pace {my favorite part}. We typically pack a cooler and make a day of it.  Don’t be afraid to embrace your inner-nerd and do the same.  :)

seattle tilth

Seattle Tilth’s Chicken Coop & Urban Farm Tour

Individuals = $12

Seattle Tilth members or bicyclists = $10
Youth {ages 4-15} = $5
Groups/Family {3-6 people} = $35
Groups/Family, Seattle Tilth members or group of bicyclists = $30
Ages 3 and under = Free

If you are in the area and you have some extra time this Saturday, GO! You won’t be disappointed.  Oh, and if inspiration strikes as a result, make sure to send me your pictures of your new chicken coop masterpieces.

~Mavis

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Help Mavis! Is my Hen a Rooster?

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 rooster or hen 3

Recently One Hundred Dollar a Month Reader, Heidi from Darrington, WA sent in pictures of her hen, in a desperate plea to find out if she actually is dealing with a rooster.  She wrote,

Is my girl Wynonna actually a Willy!!?!!…..  I can’t tell, but she is awful bossy an starting to make some horrible racket in the morning!!  This is my first batch of chicks…  :).

rooster or hen 2

I’ve been in this dilemma myself before.  To be honest, I am not entirely sure I can tell the difference at first either.  I even did a little research when we got a batch of chicks last fall on how to tell which chicks are roosters, and for awhile, I’ll admit, for me at least, it’s a crap shoot on knowing for sure.

rooster or hen 1

I figured, why not ask YOU what you think.  Check out the pictures and weigh in, does Heidi have a “Wynonna or a Willy?”

~Mavis

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Help! I Have Scaredy Chickens!

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chicken chickens
One Hundred Dollars a Month reader, Justine, recently sent me a question asking about her chickens.  She wrote,
We have backyard chickens and they’re very wary of us…the don’t like us to pet them or even get very close and it makes me saaaaad cause I want to hug them! will this get better with time or is there a trick to making them less scared of humans?

Blue Laced Red Wyandotte chicken chicks

My first question is whether or not you have raised the chickens from chicks.  I think chickens that you have raised from chicks are much, much more likely to let you hold them in adulthood, especially if you held and pet them quite a bit as chicks.  If you got them when they were older, you may be out of luck.

You can try sitting in the grass and offering them tasty treats to gain their trust, but it will be a crap shoot as to whether it sticks or not.  If they do seem to get close when you give them treats, try to work up to them eating out of your hand.  Talk the entire time–just to ensure they get familiar with your voice.

broody-chicken

Some people swear that their chickens get friendlier once they start laying.  It mellows them out or something, but I wouldn’t hang your hat on that {if it is even the case that your chickens haven’t started laying yet}.   Still, it might be a last-ditch hope if getting them to warm up to you isn’t working.

grey chicken

If you did get them as chicks and still they won’t allow you to hold them, you may just have gotten unlucky as far as their personalities go.  Some chickens flat out don’t want to be touched/held.  I have a couple myself.  It’s just their temperament.  Chickens aren’t really like cats and dogs, they don’t always bond with humans in the pet-like way that we want them to.  And, as far as I am concerned, they have a right to be suspicious, word on the block is that humans eat chickens from time to time. :)

How about YOU, any tips for Justine on getting her chickens to warm up to her a bit more?

~Mavis

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