Avian Aqua Miser: Automatic, poop-free chicken waterers

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Recent Comments

Debra --- During the early stages, improper humidity isn't going to cause much of a problem. I generally weigh the eggs every couple of days, and use that to determine whether I need to increase or decrease the humidity. The danger of extended periods of low humidity early on is that you could make the eggs lose weight faster than you want them to, which would give the chicks inside less room to develop.

Only when you're getting ready to hatch do you need to boost the humidity up to the point that you'll need to add a washcloth to the bottom.

Posted Monday afternoon, March 2nd, 2015

Ducks don't like change...any sudden change can stop a ducks production...sudden food change,,, really anything! Even something like not getting as much water as they are used to. If you don't have a bucket in your coop they can dunk their heads in that would be stressful to them also... That's where chickens have an advantage.. much more resilient to changes.

Posted late Wednesday morning, February 25th, 2015
Debra Grubbs Low humidity
I am using the Octagon 20 Advance and placed the eggs in today. I have both water troughs filled and still can not get the humidity past 39%. I have opened the incubator several times today and don't want to open again until tomorrow. Should I put the wash cloth in there at that time to increase the humidity? Is there a danger to the low humidity at this early stage?
Posted Tuesday evening, February 24th, 2015
Shirley --- I suspect that those people are talking about a related red sex-link variety. Golden Comets are a hybrid of a White Rock female and a New Hampshire male.
Posted mid-morning Monday, February 23rd, 2015
Nazir Seedat Pastured Poultry
This man has lots of wisdom that can be shared. I have ordered his book before I begin with this venture.
Posted early Friday morning, February 20th, 2015
Shirley Question

Why do some people say that the golden comet comes from a RIR rooster and RIR white hen? Is this correct? Thanks

Posted at teatime on Wednesday, February 18th, 2015
angie comment 1

It's so hard to find a good broody hen,,, I had a really broody hen for a few years... but here's the weird part,, she would sit around 8 eggs and only hatch out 2 or 3 typically,,, but when she sat duck eggs she would hatch every one of them! I though it was the bloodline but I tried several,,, My best fail proof incubators are muscovy ducks ,, they sit and hatch everything , great moms! Plus their eggs are outstanding,,, so is the meat. The worst thing about them is clipping the wing once a year or they might fly away.

Posted at teatime on Wednesday, February 11th, 2015
les cats
Why are there no responses to stray cats... they have hammered me time after time.. trapping works well.. even got a small doxin dog and spray painted him green and released.. he hasnt been back as thje owners now know to keep it home ;)
Posted Monday evening, February 9th, 2015

I'm trying to grow most of my ducks and chickens food... a crop I've had great success with is greens... I can grow mass amounts of them , they are so easy,they are cool weather crops, so they are perfect when there's not much grass. I grow them covered and uncovered. The poultry love them! When I feed a bucket of greens they barely touch their regular food.

Posted late Sunday afternoon, February 8th, 2015
Richard --- Interesting --- I hadn't heard of the device you're talking about. Without a name to google, though, I can't be sure they're not still out there.
Posted mid-morning Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015
Richard Paul Killing chickens

60+ years ago me had a tool that was like e pruning tool. You Put the blade in the mouth and the blade went up into the brain. Is anyone making these today?

Posted Monday afternoon, February 2nd, 2015
I raised a few wyandotte chicks last summer. It was a great experience. I made several waterers throughout this time. My favorite was a 1-3 gallon bucket with 4 nipples. It was my favorite until we hit a -20° Fahrenheit snap. I had an aquarium heater in the bucket, but the nipples still froze up because of the metal parts in them. I will probably go back to this for summer, but I am trying out 3"-4" standing pvc with a 3 way piece at the bottom. The angled side open for drinking, the top with a removable cap for filling, and the bottom sealed. No metal parts to freeze with fish tank heater. I may not get the extreme cold again this year, but I will be prepared for next time.
Posted Sunday afternoon, January 25th, 2015
saheed onayiga layer mash formula

I wuld appreciate it if common and proper laying birds feed formula could be analyse to me. 2nks Saheed onayiga

Posted at teatime on Wednesday, January 21st, 2015
Anonymous --- We haven't used push-in nipples because they tend to be much lower quality, and we like our waterers to go the distance. So I can't tell you for sure whether they'd work in this application or not.
Posted late Monday morning, January 19th, 2015
Cindy --- It's hard to know what might be going on without seeing your chicks. It's normal for one chick to start hatching before the others, but the fact that it didn't make it out of the egg suggests that something went wrong with your hatch. I'd recommend letting it run for a couple more days just in case someone hatches out, then doing an autopsy so you'll know what went wrong for next time. My incubation handbook will give you a lot more details.
Posted late Monday morning, January 19th, 2015
Cindy harris comment 11
I just lost a chick starting hatching yesterday had a hole in egg but no progress in 24 hours lots a rolling and chirpingI didnt know if I should help checked on it its no longer breathing. The chick was breathing hard earlier is that normal or was it struggling for air? I removed one of the plugs from incubator but them I was having trouble with humidity. This was my first attempt to hatch by incubator so any pointers would help . Did I open lid too much? I still have eggs that should be hatching now but no noise or movement.
Posted Friday night, January 16th, 2015
Anonymous comment 7

Can you use the push in nipples vs a screw in type?

Thank you

Posted Wednesday evening, January 14th, 2015
chiken person --- Very good point about adding a thermostat to any light shining on the nipple! A Thermocube is relatively inexpensive and should do the trick nicely.
Posted late Tuesday morning, January 13th, 2015
chiken person chiken whater
I live in Minnesota where temperature can reach -50. The only way to keep chicken nipple not frozen on the bottom is to have 250watt light bulb. I use 5gal bucket and heat tape with insulation. on the bottom light bulb pointing on nipples. Then extra thermostat for the bulb. Put thermostats everywhere or pay hi electrical bill like $100 month in winter. The problem fire hazard, hi electrical bill and if bulb die on you that's it.
Posted in the wee hours of Wednesday night, January 8th, 2015
Oreste --- Thanks for your interest. We only sell our chicken nipples as part of our premade waterers or kits. The least expensive and simplest option is our Avian Aqua Miser Original kits. I hope that helps.
Posted late Tuesday morning, January 6th, 2015
peter snailfeed
that looks very promising ive been looking for ways to commercially propagate golden snail as substitute for expensive fishmeal can anybody help me please? tnx
Posted in the wee hours of Sunday night, January 5th, 2015

I am sorry you don't have a phone number to call. I don't see a way to choose how to buy just 5 of those nipples. And what is their price?

Thanks for your attention.

Posted late Sunday night, January 5th, 2015
Bernadette Laberge-Walker comment 1
Looking forward to it.
Posted at lunch time on Sunday, December 21st, 2014
Michael Hatfield chicken missing/death
I am staying at my Sons house and he had 5 chickens and one came up missing.We found remains next day in neighboring backyard. All we found was the legs that were ripped from the body. /There is a dog next door and I am thinking it is possible that the chicken got over there and the dog killed it. Is it possible for me to send a picture via text to someon there. I can take a pic with my cell and send it to you. Very puzzleing.....
Posted at noon on Thursday, December 18th, 2014
I wonder if there's some way to hook that heat connection up to a solar panel?
Posted Sunday evening, December 7th, 2014
I just completed my transaction for an EZ Miser and I simply cannot wait to receive it!!
Posted Tuesday evening, December 2nd, 2014
Brandy comment 15
Thank You, Anna. I wasn't sure how big the bucket was. With my husband always out of town on business, the kit isn't much of an option since I am not handy with a drill...but 1-2 of these would probably work very well for my flock. Thanks!!
Posted Tuesday evening, December 2nd, 2014
Brandy --- On a hot summer day, you might need to fill your EZ Miser two or three times a week, but in cooler weather, it would last much longer. Of course, with a five-gallon bucket (made with one of our kits), you could go weeks between fillings even in the summer. I hope that helps you decide!
Posted mid-morning Monday, December 1st, 2014
Brandy comment 13
How often will I be refilling the EX Miser for 5 hens and 1 Roo? Would it be better to buy the kit and use a bigger bucket?
Posted at lunch time on Saturday, November 29th, 2014
Amy Opossum?
We have been having a lot of visits from Coopers and Red Tail hawks in our suburban yard lately, so at first, I thought when I found one of my chickens dead that a hawk was the culprit. I have 8 chickens and only one was dead. And it was in the middle of the day. When I inspected it, I noticed that her head was missing completely, her spine had been ripped out and all of her organs except her gizzard were missing. Her crop was torn open, but remained untouched otherwise. No blood. Whatever attacked her went in through her back. It didn't eat any of her breast meat at all. When I looked at your list, I thought maybe an Opossum, even though I have lived here 20 years and have never seen one. My yard has a 6 foot fence all around it. This is the first time in 4 years we have had an "incident" like this. The first time, it was two chickens inside what I thought was a varmint proof coop. We think that time (little bloody footprints) that it was a Fisher Cat. This time, I am not sure. What do you think?
Posted in the wee hours of Monday night, November 25th, 2014
Emily comment 1
If the problem is the smoothness of the box can you take sandpaper and rough it up a bit?
Posted Monday evening, November 24th, 2014
laura --- Thanks for your interest! All of the waterers on this page require no assembly, but the kits on a different page will require you to build the waterer yourself.
Posted early Monday morning, November 17th, 2014
Emma --- Thanks so much for looking that up! Definitely sounds like less of a good idea now. :-/ I'll have to research further and see if the slightly green seeds I have are a risk even pre-sprouting. Maybe that's why no one wanted to eat them....
Posted early Monday morning, November 17th, 2014

Looks like sprouting sorghum is not recommended. Sprouted seedlings have a very high cyanide content, and are therefore poisonous for both human and animal consumption.


(Although I haven't looked for other sources to confirm this research.)

Posted Wednesday afternoon, November 12th, 2014
HI! A quick question, is the avian aqua miser all set to go or is there any assembly?
Posted at lunch time on Wednesday, November 12th, 2014
Emma --- Good idea! That's definitely worth trying!
Posted late Wednesday morning, November 5th, 2014
Even if they don't like the grains themselves, I wonder if the sorghum might be more appealing later in winter, or maybe if it were sprouted first. Haven't tried it myself, just wondered.
Posted late Wednesday morning, October 29th, 2014
Emily --- I'd never even heard of such a thing! That would be hilarious. :-)
Posted late Monday morning, October 27th, 2014
Emily comment 1
I'm imagining a duck/egg version of the automatic cat boxes that use sensors to clean the box after the cat leaves. Only those don't work so well, the cat tends to be afraid of them. LOL
Posted at noon on Monday, October 20th, 2014
RubyB --- Good question! I'm not 100% sure why he tells you to age the chips. The more I think about it, unless you think your chickens would be eating the sawdust (which they shouldn't if they have plenty of good food available), fresh would probably be better since the manure from your chickens will cause them to decompose anyway. Please do report back with your results!
Posted mid-morning Thursday, October 16th, 2014
I think this is a very handy chart, however, it isn't foolproof. Based on the chart, I thought we were dealing with an opossum (birds found, abdomen eaten). We set a trap for several nights without it being touched. Then, last night, my husband walked up on a DOG eating one of our hens in our hay barn. This dog was not killing for sport and leaving the bodies. It was killing and eating for survival. I just wanted to share in case anyone else experienced something similar, do not rule out dogs just because the carcass has been eaten on! Now, we have to figure out a solution to the dog problem, it seemed to be feral as it took off as soon as it saw my husband...he's sneaky and has been coming at various times of the day, so there's no set pattern. And last night was the first time we ever saw him.
Posted early Wednesday morning, October 15th, 2014

Harvey Ussery, in his excellent book, which I checked out from the library, says one can use undried wood chips as long as they are aged. How long do they need to age? We just had to cut down a 100 year old apple tree and 5 ailing, 25-ft tall juniper-type trees. I have about 2 cubic yards of chips and shredded, fine material from this. I would like to know how long it needs to age before I can use it.

Also, do I need to cover the chip pile?

Most of my 35 inches of annual rain fall comes between October and June.

I was thinking of placing a couple of old wood pallets on top of the chip pile and then draping a tarp over that. My goal is to keep the chips from becoming too damp, yet to allow good air flow by not laying the tarp directly on the pile.

If I can get the plastic plumbing pipe cheaply, what would the effect be if I put some vertical pvc pipe with holes drilled in to allow more air into the center of the pile.

Thanks for the help.

Posted Friday afternoon, October 10th, 2014
Anonymous heated waterers
I use a bucket wrapped in reflectix insulation with a 50watt aquarium heater also wrap my PVC in heat tape and wrap them in reflectix duct insulation. With below zero weather my chickens water was toasty :-)
Posted at lunch time on Friday, October 10th, 2014
CAB Nifty!
I love chickens and I'm hoping to set up my coop and have my very own within the next year( as soon as we can!) I've helped care for chickens year after year at my Aunt's and frozen water is the worst!I ran across an eBook which led me here and Im super excited to try this out! Only problem is we hit -30 degree F this past winter and will likely continue to do so. Hoping and hoping that this works because it would save my tub from defrosting water every couple hours on those days :-/. I'll come back and update in 2 years...
Posted late Tuesday evening, October 7th, 2014
Morgan --- Our Avian Aqua Miser Original kits include lots of photos and step-by-step instructions for various types of PVC chicken waterers. I can't answer your second question since I haven't built a feeder just like Darren's, but I have seen several similar ones in action, and the weight of the extra pellets in the vertical tube seems to be enough to push the pellets out to the side. I hope that helps! If you build your own, I'd love to see a photo --- just email it to info@avianaqumiser.com.
Posted Monday afternoon, October 6th, 2014
Kathy --- Thanks for sharing! I'd love to see your photos once you're done. If you have trouble posting them here, just email them to info@avianaquamiser.com and I'll add them to the site.
Posted Monday afternoon, October 6th, 2014
Anonymous --- You can read all of our training tips here. The short version is --- you'll need to take their old waterer out the night before, but most chickens don't need training beyond that.
Posted Monday afternoon, October 6th, 2014

Here are some mistakes or lessons learned from our urban area as we begin building our second.

  1. Chicken Arks are awkward. The space for the birds is small and since they are shaped like a triangle you have to lean in at an awkward angle to clean. The roost is the same height as the nest boxes so they sleep in the nest boxes (poopy eggs.)

  2. Plan for deep bedding. Make sure door thresholds and access doors are high enough off the ground so the bedding doesn't spill out and effect the doors from shutting easily.

  3. Removable and/or easy to clean floor. Our new coop will have a tray that will have deep bedding in it (including sides) with linoleum in the bottom so when the bedding is changed it can be pulled out and dumped easily into the compost bin.

  4. Make the floor high enough that the bedding can be raked out directly to a wheel barrow (if needed see #3 above). Also make sure the coop is high enough that the feeder can be kept under the coop outside so it is protected from rain. Having the feeder in the run will reduce the footprint of the coop.

  5. Predator proof means 1/2" hardware cloth all around the coop and run when they are unattended.

  6. Composting/chickens/garden should be incorporated closer together since they have direct relationships to each other. This means less time moving materials (Garden > Chicken coop > Compost > Garden) and also requires less infrastructure (compost in chicken coop, chicken coop over part of the garden?)

  7. Access to electricity for keeping the water unfrozen during the winter is necessary.

  8. Making the feeder and waterer easily refillable without having to enter the coop or run is good for out of town trips.

Posted at lunch time on Monday, October 6th, 2014
I have an established flock of 7 birds of varying ages and want to build a heated waterer for the upcoming winter using water nipples to replace an older waterer. Will they naturally figure out how to get water out of the nipple or is there a technique for teaching an old bird new tricks?
Posted Sunday night, October 5th, 2014
Kathy Brown Food grade bucket

I am going to try it with these 4.25 gallon buckets. They are food grade materials. I made my summer waterer with a 6 gallon bucket and a gamma lid for easy access to clean and fill.

I will post pictures when I make one.

4.25 gallon bucket: http://beprepared.com/4-25-gallon-bucket-with-lid.html

Gamma lid: http://beprepared.com/gamma-seal-lid-white.html

Posted early Monday morning, September 29th, 2014
Hi there, I LOVE this feeder and am building one right now! two questions: You said you built a similar looking waterer using the chicken nipples-could you please post a photo of what you did and what I need to buy? And for the feeder....do you have any trouble with the feed reaching all the way across the openings? Thanks for sharing, this is AWESOME!
Posted at teatime on Wednesday, September 24th, 2014
Mom of two girls and three cats frustrated!!!
I have been using these for several months now. It worked great at first but the tires kept going flat. I changed to 13" tires. My challenge is that when they are tight they work great, after about two weeks they loosen and get progressively worse until it us almost immovable. :0 (
Posted terribly early Thursday morning, September 18th, 2014

Sarah --- I'm sorry you're having trouble! One thing to be aware of is that chickens are very sensitive to the difference between stale and fresh water. While stale water won't hurt them in any way, it doesn't taste quite as good. So if you put fresh water in their yard, they're going to go drink it quite happily and ignore your waterering system, which will be full of stale water. Since chickens are creatures of habit, it's really essential to take away all other sources of water, too, if you want your chickens to learn to drink from a new source.

Chances are that if you've seen one chicken drink from your system, they all know how to drink and are just happily taking advantage of the fresher water when it's offered. One option is to mark the side of your reservoir so you can tell how much water they're drinking from the nipples per day --- they should be getting 0.4 cups per hen per day. (It looks like chickens drink a lot more from traditional waterers, but most of that is spilled or fouled.)

You can read more troubleshooting tips (and return information) here.

Posted at lunch time on Monday, September 8th, 2014
Vicki --- Good question! We use buckwheat to fill in garden gaps only about a month long, which means the plants only just have time to bloom. We could let them go longer in some areas, but then we'd have to deal with buckwheat weeds from the seeds that would drop as we harvested. Of course, it might make sense to put in separate buckwheat plantings for chickens at some point....
Posted at lunch time on Monday, September 8th, 2014
I had chickens first and they were the smelliest things in the world! Couldn't stand it. Then I got Sebastopol geese, which I have loved. But now that they are no longer endangered I have been raising Silver Appleyard ducks. I'll take emptying water buckets and pools over stinky chicken poo any day of the year. I got four, hoping for at least one female and will raise, incubate and sell their babies. The other two will go in the freezer. They are currently 5 weeks old and I thikn they are foraging for bugs pretty darn well!
Posted late Monday morning, September 8th, 2014
Viki comment 1
My chickens love buckwheat seeds, even going for the forming seeds and flowers. Is there a reason you don't collect the tops of your cover crop for your chickens?
Posted Sunday afternoon, September 7th, 2014
Sarah Prescott Chickens won't use it
I have had the EZMiser for several months, and my hens will not use it. I tried keeping just it in the outside run, but they all still just use the traditional waterer in the coop. I also tried putting it out when they were free ranging, and they won't touch it. Very frustrating as it was expensive to purchase.
Posted at lunch time on Saturday, September 6th, 2014
Pat Leary Auto leveling
What you posted is a pretty darn complex gimbal. You do not need any servos as the device is gravity operated. Even simpler is a chain. Guaranteed level or plumb each and every time. I have always found that the best remedy for technology is less technology. Enjoy.
Posted late Wednesday evening, August 20th, 2014
My argument with your article is simple. The unsustainable aspect of the entire article is that the health care problems related with store bought chickens is the heart of the matter. Chickens that are allowed to free range through the day with a treat thrown at them when needed is in the end far more sustainable than the doctor bills that come with the crap we outlaw here regarding pesticides and poisons, use on mega farms outside the U.S. and then ship the food to the unknowing consumers. That process is not exclusive to chickens as you well know. You seem, maybe not, but seem to beat the drum of the big lobbyists that are trying to legislate consumers from growing their own food. My point that I want to make in closing is that our grandparents "prepared". They canned, dried, and now the art of putting away food, growing a small garden, should be part of every single persons livelihood. Couple that with an address to what consumers throw away at restaurants and you now have no food shortage.
Posted mid-morning Monday, August 18th, 2014
We have 3 geese, 2 ducks, 20+chickens and had 8 guinea hens all in an empty horse stall. Doors closed and locked at night. Radio left on. Something beheaded 3 guinea hens one night, beheaded a chicken another night & stretched the head of another chicken. Last night a chicken and guinea hen were beheaded.. No sign of entry until this morning we found a 2" hole in the dirt floor.
Posted early Saturday morning, August 9th, 2014
We've had chickens that are fine with eating bananas, but then seem inclined to wipe off their wet/sticky beaks a lot afterwards. I've not seen a time when our bananas go uneaten. Isn't it funny how different flocks exhibit varying group preferences, like your flocks and comfrey in the past?
Posted late Wednesday evening, August 6th, 2014

Well, after reading I Am Hutterite (thanks to your suggestion), I'm sure you could use duck feathers to make pillows... in your space time... even though you probably have pillows... with chicken feathers instead. Obviously just kidding. Mulch is a good idea. Is it worth chopping up the feathers with the mower to get them decomposing faster?

Posted late Wednesday evening, August 6th, 2014

Years ago mice came into our coop of 12 hens and all seemed quite harmonious out there, despite me not liking the critters. The chickens didn't mind sharing their food, but more and more mice appeared (as an ample food source will do). I was cleaning the coop one day, scooting mice out into the pen. It only took one hen to try a mouse and the peace was broken. It was rather horrifying, but my pampered Wyandottes (well fed) ate every last mouse they could catch. It was not pretty. We never had another mouse.

Posted in the wee hours of Saturday night, August 3rd, 2014

I have been using the nipples for a couple of years for my chicks and love it, they love it too. I tried them with a pen of bunnies that I also raise and they love it more, I think. They ignore the traditional water bottles and empty the nipple rigged jugs 1st.

Love them, Thanks

Posted late Thursday morning, July 31st, 2014
Anonymous original waterers
I love my original waterers. They are so easy to keep clean. Just need to get the gear ready to make them for winter!
Posted late Tuesday evening, July 29th, 2014
Sparepony Dead hen mystery
Hello! I've got a mystery that perhaps your knowledge might shed some light on. I came home this afternoon to find one of my hens dead on the ground in the coop. It was very hot (105) but I've never lost a hen to heat yet. AND, she had a perfectly round wound centered between her chest and belly area. Also, it looked like some feathers were missing all around the area. No blood, and it didn't look messy and brutal. I don't get it. My first thought was that she'd been shot, but that seems next to impossible, and the wound was approx. 1/2" in diameter. Any thoughts appreciated. All the other hens were fine with no signs of anything troubling...
Posted early Tuesday morning, July 29th, 2014
We just moved our 6wk old guinea keets out to the chicken coop/run last week. No problems except this morning one keet was missing and I found just its head outside of the coop. No damage to any other birds or to the coop/ground around it. I don't know how the predator got it out of the coop. We have 2x3 metal wire fencing so maybe a raccoon reached in and pulled it out through the wire? The guineas haven't figured out how to climb the ramp into the coop yet at night. They are so scared of me but I think I'm going to have to put them inside now. Any ideas? I don't want to lose more birds.
Posted at lunch time on Monday, July 28th, 2014
My sister and I have a big problem with something raiding our coop I don't think it is something small but something bigger we had in the upword 50s of chickens we are down to 38 and the only turkey that is left is our tom but he also sleeps on the chicken coop roof our hen was plucked off her nest she was sitting on her nest she made in a blackberry thicket I found her bones on the other side of the nest 2 days later she was picked clean the eggs were intact none had been eatin there were feathers everywhere we also had about 15-20 baby turkeys they were a few months old were probly about a 1 1/2 ft tall they are all gone now the carcasses were found in the yard picked clean along with the chickens but the turkeys were the first to go but we still have our 2 chicks a couple of our hens hatched out in the thicket somewhere and they are still very lil they don't have their primary feathers yet....
Posted at midnight, July 25th, 2014
rebecca run on home
our ducks always wandered all day and wanted to go home when it got dark. the only times we lost ducks was when someone forgot to lock them up at night. do you think you could train your ducks to free wander the unsafe areas during day and come home to a pasture/coop at night? I would not try it on babies but maybe adults could learn, if you get a couple well trained guys they would probably lead the others. maybe only feed grain in the coop.
Posted early Wednesday morning, July 23rd, 2014
Rebecca --- Mark asked me the same question. We definitely have lots of wild wet areas on our farm, but the trouble is that our dog Lucy doesn't patrol down there, so our ducks would be...well...sitting ducks for predators. I suspect if we let the ducks enjoy our floodplain paradise, we wouldn't have ducks for long.
Posted at lunch time on Monday, July 21st, 2014
rebecca duck

we had ducks for a little while these guys are only lazy on land i always feel as if they act like their feet hurt (except for the indian runners). get them in some water and they get fast, a single 3 week old duck could eat a dozen feeder fish in 3 min. Is there anyway you can incorporate your moat, i mean your stream, in the ducks' life?

Posted late Monday morning, July 21st, 2014
To whoever thought or thinks that clipping a chicken wings is cruel. This is similiar to accusing people of cruelty when they cut someone's fingernails or hair. It doesn't hurt the chicken at all!!!
Posted Wednesday evening, July 9th, 2014
Suzanne mice as food

Our cats catch moles, mice and rats all year long. (Mostly moles in the yard in summer, and mice/rats in winter.. the latter is not a feature I enjoy about living in the country in a very old house..)

Anyway, when we find a "gift" on the front step, we toss it into the chicken yard (meat birds and layers in there at various times of year). Also the ones that we catch ourselves in snap traps. (Not poisoned, of course!!)

I started doing that after I read a bit somewhere from Joel Salatin who talked about folks doing that in "back in the day", especially in winter when there weren't any bugs for the birds to scratch up.

Posted late Wednesday morning, July 9th, 2014
One night I came home from a baseball game and i kept my chickens out in the run because it was day and light out when I left. When I came home my four chickens were all killed. One was laying out in the run but the other 3 were laying on top of each other in the inside coop part. I am only 12 so i ran away right when I saw them but my dad had to take them out to put them away. The second I saw them they looked bloody and had no feathers but the chicken out in the run had all its feathers. The next day my dad told me that they had most of there feathers and mostly here necks were eaten. I think it is a weasel but my Mom thinks its a raccoon because she has never seen a weasel were we live. (Near cleveland OH) We always see raccoons here and they always get in our garbage but the coop is pretty close to the ground and doesn't look like a raccoon can get into it. So please tell me what killed my chickens. I really dint want to kill the wrong thing then have the other kill my next ones.
Posted early Wednesday morning, July 9th, 2014

Well we got Rode Island Reds thinking they should be a decent foraging bird and decent cold hardines (living in Minnesota that is one of my primary selection traits).

That said I probably should get your ebook to have it around for the next time we purchase some birds (though hopefully that will be a while out).

Posted late Monday evening, July 7th, 2014
Elaine --- That sounds frustrating! I haven't done this myself, but I've read that you can sometimes break a hen of being broody by putting her in a well-lit space with no nest-like spaces for a day or two. Good luck!
Posted at lunch time on Monday, July 7th, 2014
BW --- I'd be curious to hear which breed(s) of chickens you have. In my experience, some chicken breeds are just much less prone to forage than others. We ditched our cochin hen for this reason --- she just didn't want to scratch in the dirt. You can read more about the breeds we've had good and bad luck with in my 99 cent ebook.
Posted at lunch time on Monday, July 7th, 2014
Anonymous --- I'm so sorry you feel that way. I'm not sure you understand what wing clipping entails, though. You don't actually clip the flesh of the birds, just the feathers, which is analogous to clipping a dog's toenails or cutting your hair. Yes, it can be an annoyance to the bird, but there's no pain involved at all.
Posted at lunch time on Monday, July 7th, 2014

I am having a similar issue but with some 18 week old chickens. They seem to spend their whole day in the coop barly looking for any food.

We purchased them at 1 month old and then kept them inside for another 3 weeks because of the freezing temperatures. Now they basically only eat the feed I put out for them. That said I am not sure I the black flies are driving them crazy since they are not really even finishing the food I put out for them. Other days they eat it all up and want more food.

Do you have any suggestions on how to get them to range for their food?

Posted early Monday morning, July 7th, 2014
I have read that drying duckweed in the shade (not in direct sunlight) significiantly increases the protein level. Also adding urea fertilizer to the duckweed pond also helps to elevate protein levels.
Posted early Friday morning, July 4th, 2014
What is wrong with you??? Would you like to have your arms or legs "clipped"??? This is animal cruelty!!!
Posted Wednesday evening, July 2nd, 2014
Elaine broody hens
ARRRGGGHHHH!! I have to leg horn/australorps that will hatch chicks then after a few weeks they are done and want to sit again!!! it drives me nuts! as these girls will sit on eggs till they drop dead ( or close to it) (I dont have a rooster so i buy eggs or chicks for them. how can i stop these birds as i dont want any more choickens my yard isnt big enough!
Posted Tuesday night, July 1st, 2014

jen --- We don't actually give our chickens free-choice minerals, mostly due to laziness (not wanting to set up the infrastructure). I wouldn't worry about animals eating too much of minerals fed this way, though. Since the minerals won't be mixed with anything tasty, you'd think animals would stop eating once their cravings go away.

I do think that both animals and people can tell what kind of vitamins and minerals they're short on. Pregnant women definitely crave foods at certain times, so I don't think it's a stretch to believe that humans can tell if we're low on specific minerals. We're probably all so well-nourished at the moment that we seldom have that kind of deficiency.

Posted Monday afternoon, June 30th, 2014
Crystal --- Thanks for the offer! That does sound like a good tree you've got. We've filled up all of our persimmon spots now, though.
Posted Monday afternoon, June 30th, 2014
I live in southwest La ( not in a swamp area ) & have alot of wild persimmon trees in my backyard if you are interested. Its late June right now & I have a tree that is producing fruit. We have never fertilized the trees or given them any special treatment since they are the wild persimmons & they have always given us nice fruit. I only use them to feed the deer around the house & my chickens but always have alot that go to waste. If you would like any seeds plz let me know.
Posted late Sunday evening, June 29th, 2014

I have read here and there that certain minerals should be available "free choice" in individual containers (calcium, phosphorus, and something else I think), so that each chicken can consume whatever amount of each mineral he/she thinks is appropriate. I admit I simply buy the local store's "complete" organic blend and have few problems with thin shells or whatever else is supposed to happen to hens that don't get extra minerals. I tried pulverized eggs shells once, as well as phosphorus and kelp meal, but not one chicken cared. So I quit it. I broadcasted the pulverized shells on the ground once, to see their reaction, and they ate it like they'd been starving. But they do that for almost anything!

Two rhetorical questions: do the people who recommend free choice minerals really think chickens know when to say when; and are humans so out of touch with our own instincts that we are the only species that doesn't innately know which minerals to eat on a daily basis? ;)

Posted Friday evening, June 27th, 2014

Well I just started out with chickens this year so take my experiences in light of that.

I have just started soaking/fermenting my feed for chickens and goats. I found that both animals devour the soaked feed. It is also easier to contain in one area. the down side is that you have to provide more feed every day instead of with grain you can make a feeder that will hold enough for a few days.

I do think that the soaked grain does last longer (animals eat less of it - though one goat eats it quicker and wants more - meaning it likes it more then dry grain).

So I would say try it. Just start soaking a bit of grain and see how the chickens like it and then go from there.

Posted at teatime on Thursday, June 26th, 2014

Emily --- I guess the question is whether chickens raised in confinement at home are really any better quality than those raised in confinement in a factory. On the other hand, your mention of the manure does tip the balance toward making raising them at home worth it even if you don't add value by pasturing your birds.

Cornish aren't generally kept long enough to raise eggs because the breed has been engineered to grow so fast that many perish when full size. Also, the feed:meat ratio tends to decline if you wait longer than six to eight weeks to kill your broilers, so cost per pound actually starts to go up further.

Interesting points!

Posted Tuesday afternoon, June 24th, 2014
I find it strange the warning about not handling newly hatched chicks. To get mum hen to start laying sooner( after 2 wks), I've always carried the new chicks to a brooder without ill effects.
Posted Thursday afternoon, June 19th, 2014
Anonymous chickens are gone
Woke up this morning to find the top of my chicken coop was moved 3 feet so something could get in my coop is 4 feet tall and none of the sides were disturbed just the top there was no feather or anything just the top moved and birds gone. I live in the woods pretty deep and have heard a few big things go bump in the night but im just amazed that some could get in and out of the coop that high off the ground. any ideas??
Posted mid-morning Thursday, June 19th, 2014
autum comment 39
Heard noise this morning around 6 thinking chickens were fighting each other, but found their fence loose and hens about and missing a few without a trace. We're in the city with 40 acres of wetland in the back of our house. Have seen foxes and racoon. More recent on the fox and not the racoon. Have seen hawks and neighbors cat but no dog. Still a mystery.
Posted terribly early Thursday morning, June 19th, 2014
Emily from Bristol comment 1

I wouldn't consider the 20 cents or so too much of a price to pay for what you know is quality. Also, since the birds are going to contribute to fertilizer (poop), and possibly compost (feathers, heads, etc), I'm sure your coming out at least even, possibly ahead.

I'm guessing that since you butchered the Cornish as young as you did that this particular batch didn't get to contribute to the price of eggs?

Posted Wednesday afternoon, June 18th, 2014
I came outside this morning to find all seven of my chickens dead. None are missing. Most appear to have bite marks on their backs. One was ripped in half and the head torn or bitten off, but not eaten. There is a hole dug under the fence. Does this sound like dogs to you? Thanks in advance.
Posted late Tuesday morning, June 17th, 2014
My chicken is bleeding from the head but I managed to save it. Mother hen and all chicks are in the bath tub in the house now. What can I do to help the chick survive? The wounds don't look deep.
Posted late Tuesday morning, June 10th, 2014
We have found several dead chickens in our pen. They are about 2 months old. We will find 2-3 dead at a time. One might be whole with some eaten out of it, the other partially eaten and the third will be completely gone with only the wings and feet left. This has happened 3 times. We checked them one day around 430pm and there were 3 dead, we removed the 3. When we returned home around 11pm and checked again, there were 2 more dead. We left the 2 in the pen just to see what would happen. The next morning, the 2 dead chickens were eaten almost entirely, with the feet remaining and some of the wings. But no other chickens were killed. We have set a live trap and are hoping for some luck, but we have no idea what to expect. Has anyone else seen this killing pattern?
Posted Sunday afternoon, June 8th, 2014
arsen HELP!!!

I live like 5 years in the netherlands and my grandpa and other family is living in armenia. Yesterday they called via skype to say that all their chickens and one rooster (10 out of 10)
Got killed i dont know what it is but all of them got bitten 2 times and all their blood got sucked out they were just in a pen .

My grandpa saw a chicken still wandering around ... same bitemarks and the chicken had a lotta pain so my grandpa decided to finish him off.

When skinning the animal it didnt drop a drip of blood

So i would like to know what it was .. If you know you can email me at arsen_boy@live.nl thanks for the help

Posted Monday afternoon, June 2nd, 2014
I've raised these broilers for 26 years. I always get them in batches of 25 about once a year. Start them out with the sugar water for an hour before I put the starter feed in with them. Keep a heat lamp on them, take the feed out at night after they are a week old. All those things they told me to do. I usually never lose more than 1 or 2 and they always send a couple extra along in the order. Some years I don't even loose those. I love that they are ready to butcher in 8 weeks. Mine stay in the brooder house their whole life though. And I raise them in the fall. Usually get them right after labor day and butcher in Nov.
Posted Monday afternoon, May 19th, 2014

Hi, I lost my best laying hen on Mon. She was partially eaten in my coop which is covered and sided by chain link ( cyclone fence). I was shocked but shrugged it off, 2 nights later I lost my favorite hen. Beeps was disemboweled, most of her was eaten & feathers every where. The Rooster never raised any alarm though, I blocked every entrance I could, nothing lost in 2 nights now but I'm down to 2 hens and 1 worthless Bard rooster! I'm thinkin' possum but I'm in rural west Wa. so I suspect coons too. Any help would be great.

Thanks Don L

Posted Sunday night, May 18th, 2014

I was contemplating buying a hydroponic system for Fodder production (green forage) for my horses. With the rising, and unrelenting price of fuel to make the hay, hay has become very expensive ($5.50-7/bale)with NO end in sight. I wanted to be sure that my horses would eat this type of forage readily. I started to grow it in my DARK- no light available- cellar. Fodder can be grown without any light source, but it will be white and not green. I did, however, use a grow light for 2hrs/day. This made the fodder very green. It took a little bit of trial and error to get the water amount needed just right, but it worked. The animal consumes everything in the tray at the end of the week, seed casing, roots and all. There is no dirt, and the animals do LOVE it. Since fodder can be fed to ALL livestock, I fed to my ducks, chickens, and horses throughout the winter. basically as a treat, as I was only using seed starter trays, and my cellar isn't that big to have the number of trays I would need on a single layer all over my floor. ;) You need to soak untreated seed- Barley works the BEST! And, 85% of it is digestible, so they get a lot of good nutrition from the fodder, unlike hay which is 15% digestible. Protein levels of barley fodder equal that of corn, so you can save on feed! Steps- 1) soak seeds 15 minutes in 5 gallon bucket with 5% solution of bleach or peroxide:water ratio. You just need to make sure all the seed is covered. (you can use this solution to clean your trays after your seeds are soaked, so after the 1st day, don't throw it away. Literally, it takes only 10-15 minutes/day to maintain this feed source! 2) Rinse and fill up with only water- seeds need to soak 24hrs additional. 3) then drain again, after the 24hrs. 4) Place soaked seed inside your trays. 7lbs of DRY seed/day will fill a 12' long channel, and feed 4-6 horses and 100 chickens for the day. SO measure, and adjust the amount of seed you need, to account for how long your trays are and how many animals you need to feed. whether this is going to be your feed source, or if you are just giving them a treat. 50 for the 2nd day, I usually just use a spray bottle to water the seeds- enough to thoroughly soak them, but not enough for a lot of standing water. Then, spray every other day, put in 2cups water/tray every other day, starting on day 3. 5) Each day do a tray- with just enough for each days use. This gives you fresh fodder daily. Each tray takes 7 days to reach the right height. 6) Turn grow light on, if green fodder is wanted, for maximum of 2hrs/day. Materials needed: 5 gallon bucket; (2) 5 gallon buckets with lid are ideal! Spray bottle Water bleach or peroxide scrub brush to clean out trays before 1st use, and after every use to kill and inhibit fungi and mold growth 7 seed starter trays liquid cup measure SEED from seed distributor (online) and place to dry store seed. Garbage can with lid works great! Grow light bulb and brooder lamp works great! Spot where water run off/spillage won't damage property. I placed trays near our sump pump.

You can make your own feed, know what your chickens, ducks, and other animals are getting as a seed (you can be sure that there are no GMO's in your feed, and thus end up in your belly) And, they get fresh feed which they gobble up!

Posted Thursday afternoon, May 15th, 2014
Amanda Thank you!
Chick waterer

We received our original and EZ misers today, and the chicks figured it out in less than 10 minutes. Thank you for building such a smart product!

Posted mid-morning Friday, May 2nd, 2014

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