Her Majesty and I have a 1 acre lake (that's what I call it because of the depth). We started by adopting 4 Pekin ducks, 3 girls and a boy. Started them off in the barn for a week so they should know where they live. Duck wrangled them to the water and that was the end of it. Never got them back into the barn. I'll spare you the 'chasing ducks around on a John boat throwing bait nets trying to catch them' stories; yes there is more than 1. Our property is completely fenced. Some critter, maybe a weasel (closest thing ID'd on critter cam) took out two of our flock in 1 night. We reinforced fences, tightened everything up, closed up all the bottom gaps and pretended we were good. My great idea was to get two more Cayugas, both girls. Then we had the idea to get some of those motion detection activated red lights to put around the place. Cool, we'll try it. Some time later we had another Pekin (our drake) murdered. Down to 3 girls. With a combination of more lights and a newly rescued Great Pyrenees from a local rescue group, we have not had a 'duck incident' for the past almost 3 months. There is a little more mud on the floor. She (our Pyrenees) does spend some time outside after hours of darkness barking, hindered by the fence. We have heard presumably a coyote mom and group of pups at the edge of the fence that decided to move on once yelled at in the middle of the night by our Pyrenees. We have suffered 0 losses since adding the rescued pup to our pack. She spends more time outside than in and has free range (doggie door) so when she feels the need, she's out on the perimeter. Good Luck with your ducks! We are planning on running a just-above-ground electric line to supplement our fence against anything that can squeeze through a 4x4 hole.
I have 4 chickens and one day when I was out one of my two dogs who likes to eat chicken food got the door open somehow. My dogs are fine with the chickens when I'm out there but alone they chased the chickens. I came home and two of my chickens were perfectly fine a little annoyed but the other two were missing. There were a few feathers here and there but absolutely no sign. I doubt there would have been any predators if the dogs were out. Then several days later a body of one of my chickens shows up in the yard. She seems almost wet and is missing a lot of her feathers. The other chicken is still missing. My yard is completely fenced in, my dogs were not outside when the body showed up. Any Ideas?
Dwight --- It looks like one number or the other was a typo, but I can't recall which now!
I'm curious, did I miss something? Your figures don't seem to add up when figuring the space requirements. 150 snails per 125 sq. ft. looks like 0.83 sq. ft. per snail, not 1.5 sq. ft. per snail... What am I missing?
Casey --- You shouldn't have a problem making a heated waterer using one of our kits, but it's tougher to retrofit one of our premade waterers. You can see all of our experiments with heated waterers here. More specifically, this is our current favorite version, and we still have a few of these premade for sale. Our previous favorite was this one, made with heat tape and two five-gallon buckets.
That said, none of these options will work at the -40s Fahrenheit. The nipples on the heated bucket waterer tend to start freezing at the low positive teens and the heat-tape waterer in the high positive teens. For really cold conditions, we just use premade Avian Aqua Miser Originals, which are easy to bring inside overnight. I hope that helps!
BW --- Great idea! That sounds a lot better than an electric heating pad, and I'll bet chickens would love it! We may have to do that for next winter. Any chance you have a photo you'd like to share of your setup? If so, please email it to email@example.com and we'll put it on the blog so other readers can put on their own thinking caps.
Anonymous --- Keeping the room around the incubator warm will definitely make it much easier to raise the humidity levels inside your incubator. Amanda's tips above are also very handy --- I hadn't thought of them before, but they sound like they should work well!
As for taking the chicks out one by one or waiting, it's all about humidity levels. You must keep the humidity high in the incubator during hatch, and if the exterior air is too dry, you can cause problems by opening the incubator repeatedly. That said, I prefer to take chicks out once they've hatched so they don't accidentally harm other chicks who aren't yet out of the egg. So it's up to you and your ability to manage humidity. Good luck!
Eric --- That's a great idea! The only thing I know about catalpa worms is that they are, I believe, what defoliated my father's tree in South Carolina. That's definitely something to research, and might explain why catalpas are a common yard tree in farm areas around here.
Thinking of growing worms on trees, have you considered catalpa worms?
Where is t/"RSS button"?
Hi, I wanted to learn more about the blood ring & what it means. Thanks for t/pics, very helpful.
Hi im new to using the incubator, my incubators humidity only goes to 50 at max, will i have to keep my room warm for the humidity level to get higher te first few days? Also when chicks start pipping out one by one, are we supposed to take them out of the incubator as soon as they are out? Or wait for all to peep out?
I would think if you are trying to give the chickens a warm location to play in just setting up the window and insulating the other sides would help a lot. Think of your new cold frames but for chickens. They would get a nice solar heater where they could take their dust baths and a place to warm up.
I did thin unintentionally this winter with a "shelter" between my coop and barn (for the chicken's to run in). I used a cattle panel and put some tarps over 3/4 of it. Then some clear plastic over the last part. As a result the chickens had a sunny dry place that they used heavily. I saw many deep dust bathing locations in there.
Hey, I'm a city chicken keeper. Girls in tractors.Limited to 4 hens. I was going to get the original 3 pack due to space saving. Can I heat the original with heat tape or a deicer of types? We live in Northern MI. This winter we hit -40s repeatedly and so I really want to not have water worries along with my "are my chickens freezing?!" worries. Thanks for any help!
Pawpaw (Asimina Triloba)is pollinated by the Monarch Butterfly, Carrion Beetle, Carrion Fly, Lady Bug, and many more insects attracted to rotting meat (look at and smell the flowers). The trouble is that wild patches tend to be of a single seed genetic mono-culture with multiple trees suckered up off the roots of a single parent, so you'll collect pollen from one area to take to a different area to pollinate. Hand pollination is useless unless you get pollen from different set of genetic parents. Grafting scion wood into a patch from another patch from another area can increase cross pollination. These areas may be any distance not possibly connected underground by the roots, say 50 feet with no pawpaw trees in between. Check out the Ohio Paw Paw Festival near Albany, OH.
What kind of ducks are these?
I thought I would share my tips on raising the humidity those last few days. I have a humidifier right next to the incubator. I also placed shallow pans of water (I use cake pans) as close to the incubator as possible, sometimes stacking them on top of each other. And pribably the most effective for me has been getting a large towel warm and hanging it up as close to my incubator as possible.Hope this helps, I know how frusterating controlling the humidity can be.
julie --- Usually when I hear about a rooster overmating hens, I say that it's because there are too few hens for the rooster. However, 19 hens should spread him pretty thin! Instead, I'm guessing they don't have enough space to roam, which often makes even hens peck at each others' feathers.
Why I like..no Why I love my E Z Miser.My flock of feathered friends are very special to me. They entertain me with their antics and sing to me during the day.My girls run to meet me when they see me coming like a long lost friend. My feathered friends provide my family with one of the most healthy foods available,eggs.Naturally I want the best for them.Using the EZ Miser they can have the cleanest water available at anytime.I have peace of mind knowing the needed water will be clean and healthy. Having the water dispensed as they need it alleviates the spills that creates a dirty, muddy environment. Having cleaner, disease free eggs ,chickens and pen is very important in successful chicken farming.I guess what I liked most about my EZ Mizer was the ability to assemble it myself. Since the chickens were my contribution to our little farm I took pride in easily constructing the best source of water available to my feathered friends.
I have 19 hens and 1 rooster and all the tail feathers and feathers off the hens back and bottoms are plucked off is this from the rooster and how do I stop it
cindy --- I hear your frustration --- hatching your own eggs can be so daunting the first time around! By now, hopefully your chicks have hatched --- if they haven't at least pipped by day 23, I'd do a float test and then pull the plug. Here's hoping it all worked out for you!
Thus Is My First Time Trying To Hatch Eggs in The INCUBATOR Today Is Day 22 I Have 4 Eggs That SUPPOSE To Hatch Only 1 Started So Far Nothing Yet With The Other 3 I Can't Get My HUMINITY To Go Up Past 45 I Have The Water Chambers And Also A Wet Wash Cloth IN It is it Normal that some eggs take longer? If they don't start hatching could I try and open the eggs to see of the chick is even alive? I am so frustrated about this please help
Glad they are starting to lay again!
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.
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.
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?
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.
This man has lots of wisdom that can be shared. I have ordered his book before I begin with this venture.
Why do some people say that the golden comet comes from a RIR rooster and RIR white hen? Is this correct? Thanks
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.
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
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.
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.
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?
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.
I wuld appreciate it if common and proper laying birds feed formula could be analyse to me. 2nks Saheed onayiga
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.
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.
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.
Can you use the push in nipples vs a screw in type?
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Looking forward to it.
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.....
I wonder if there's some way to hook that heat connection up to a solar panel?
I just completed my transaction for an EZ Miser and I simply cannot wait to receive it!!
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!!
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!
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?
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?
If the problem is the smoothness of the box can you take sandpaper and rough it up a bit?
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.
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....
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.)
HI! A quick question, is the avian aqua miser all set to go or is there any assembly?
Emma --- Good idea! That's definitely worth trying!
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.
Emily --- I'd never even heard of such a thing! That would be hilarious.
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
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!
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.
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.
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
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...
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.com and I'll add them to the site.
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.
Here are some mistakes or lessons learned from our urban area as we begin building our second.
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?
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
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!
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 (
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.)
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....
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!
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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?
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.
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
I love my original waterers. They are so easy to keep clean. Just need to get the gear ready to make them for winter!
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...
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.
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....
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.
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.
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?
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!!!
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.
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.
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).
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!