Avian Aqua Miser: Automatic, poop-free chicken waterers

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view of stealth chicken coop in urban setting

Wondering if your neighbors might complain if you start raising chickens?

Why not make a stealth chicken coop?

My Mom lives in an urban setting and decided to hide her coop by attaching it to the back of a large garden shed.

Posted early Wednesday morning, December 17th, 2014 Tags:
Anna Green eggs

Our ducks seem to like to throw problems at us. First there was the dirty-egg dilemma, then the ducks-refusing-to-go-to-bed disaster, and now...their eggs have turned green.

No, I don't mean the pretty tinge of color that's sometimes present in a duck egg's shell. Instead, about two weeks ago, I started cracking open duck eggs...and finding unpleasantly green yolks inside.

Green eggs

At first, I guessed that cold weather might be causing some kind of chemical reaction with the yolk, a bit like you sometimes get a green layer on the outside of a hard-boiled yolk. However, weather warmed up and the eggs stayed green, so I did a little research.

The consensus on the internet is that green duck eggs come about when your flock finds some sort of wild food --- possibly acorns --- that affects the yolk color. Luckily, the eggs are still safe to eat and seem to taste about the same. So, if you find some green eggs in your egg nests, don't be like Dr. Seuss's character and refuse to eat them. Instead, you may find yourself saying, "I do so like green eggs and ham. Thank you. Thank you, Sam-I-Am."

Posted early Wednesday morning, December 10th, 2014 Tags:
bucket waterer in a chicken tractor

The new 2 gallon chicken tractor bucket waterer is a nice upgrade.

We have 3 hens in our tractor and it's usually enough for all week.

5 gallons would be too heavy and make it harder to move.

Posted early Wednesday morning, December 3rd, 2014 Tags:
heated PVC chicken waterer

This Do It Yourself heated chicken watering apparatus can be cobbled together with parts from most common hardware stores.

A more simple solution would be to get in on the next order of our modified heated Farm Innovations 2 gallon bucket waterer.

Coping with frozen water in your chicken coop can really take the fun out of tending to your flock in the Winter. If I had to guess I'd say this heated bucket saves us a little over an hour a week compared to the old fashioned method of dumping the frozen ice out and refilling.

Posted early Thursday morning, November 27th, 2014 Tags:

Chicken booksWant some free and cheap reading for the Thanksgiving vacation? I figured this turkey-friendly holiday is a perfect time for books on chickens, so I've set The Working Chicken free on AmazonSmashwords, and Barnes & Noble. Find out why hard-nosed homesteaders don't name their chickens and much more in this photo-rich introduction to backyard chicken care. (And, for those of you who are more experienced or less hard-nosed, you'll likely still enjoy the children's book at the end, just right for inspiring the next generation of chicken keepers.)

If that introduction whets your appetite, my more in-depth series, Permaculture Chicken, includes three books bound to make your chicken-keeping adventure run more smoothly. And each ebook is marked down to 99 cents this week --- buy them all and save 74%! Here are the links: Permaculture Chicken: Incubation Handbook, Pasture Basics, and Thrifty Chicken Breeds.

I hope you find at least a few tidbits in these four books to make your own chicken-keeping experience more fun for you and for your birds. If so, why not make my day and leave a review? Thank you in advance for considering my books!

Posted early Monday morning, November 24th, 2014 Tags:
roll out nest box problems

Our new experimental roll out nest box is not working.

I think part of the problem might be the slick surface area of the plastic bin.

Maybe adding a small piece of carpet would be enough to entice our birds?

Posted early Thursday morning, November 20th, 2014 Tags:
incubation eggs

A good way to experiment with new chicken breeds is to incubate your own eggs.

Fertilized eggs can cost anywhere from a dollar and beyond, but it's usually cheaper than ordering live chicks in the mail due to the minimum amount being either 50 or 100.

We had good luck ordering fertilized eggs on E-bay a few years ago. Your chicks won't have that "traveling in a box" stress to shake off, and you'll feel more self sufficient knowing you can expand your flock without any commercial help.

Posted early Monday morning, November 17th, 2014 Tags:
chicken tractor waterer modification

Winter is setting in, and we like to switch from a 2 gallon bucket waterer down to a half gallon Avian Aqua Miser original for our girls in a tractor.

It makes it easier to switch out when you forget to take in the water at night and it freezes solid. We usually bring the frozen one in to thaw for tomorrow and swap it out with a fresh one.

The 2 gallon bucket holder can be built with a gap just big enough for the Avian Aqua Miser original to fit into.

Posted early Thursday morning, November 13th, 2014 Tags:
Automatic chicken door opener details

I posted about the Nu Trac automatic chicken coop door opener before, and thought it needed an update when I noticed a few more pictures.

The motor is a 12 volt automobile seat mover that spins at 190 rpm.

What makes this project most noteworthy is the detailed write up that captures the inventor's process in a way that was easy to understand and maybe replicate.

Posted early Monday morning, November 10th, 2014 Tags:
using a laundry basket as a roll out nest box?

We hope our ducks learn to walk up and lay their eggs in this tilted laundry basket.

The back 3 inches are blocked.

The egg should roll to the back where it will be safe from being stepped on by the next duck waiting to lay her egg.

Time will tell if this works at solving our dirty duck egg problem.

Posted early Thursday morning, November 6th, 2014 Tags:
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I just purchased your chicken nipples and bit, but I have a question since I'm new in the chicken world. Do chickens need direct sun almost all day to lay eggs or are they happy with a few hours in the morning and streams of sun through the trees. They are out in there pen from 8am until dusk.


Comment by suzanne roemer late Wednesday evening, July 27th, 2011

Especially in the summer, chickens will actually gravitate toward the shade. They do like to have some sunny spots for dust-bathing, and like more sun in the winter.

The longer the day length, the better your chickens will lay. But that doesn't mean they need to be in direct sunlight during that time, just that there needs to be enough light to keep them awake and active.

Comment by anna late Saturday afternoon, July 30th, 2011

My chickens go out of there way to try and find sources of the stuff, I have Styrofoam (polystyrene actually) insulating the outside of my package heat pump. They finally figured it out and have peck/eaten a large chuck out of one section, maybe 1 ft in diameter. They have found the stuff before, and they didn't seem to have any adverse affects, I try to keep them out of harms way. I assume they will be fine this time, and I have blocked them off from the area. but my question is, Should I eat the eggs? I have 2 buff orpingtons and a white silkie(the bad influence).They are known as betty white and the golden girls. the buffs had just started laying a few days ago. Any ideas?

Comment by David L at noon on Thursday, February 9th, 2012
I've heard from other people whose chickens go after styrofoam. I figure it can't be good for them, so I'd do my best to keep them away from it. As long as the chickens are healthy, though, I doubt it will affect the eggs, but I don't really know!
Comment by anna Thursday evening, February 9th, 2012
i have a week old chick that was doing fine until yesterday. Now he is not eating and just standing around or sleeping. I put him in a box by himself with a heating pad. I have been trying to get him to drink water with probiotics and electrolites. Does anyone have any suggestions?
Comment by Anonymous at teatime on Thursday, June 21st, 2012
Anonymous --- I'm so sorry to hear about your sick chick! Unfortunately, chicks sometimes just dwindle away, especially if they had some trauma in the egg or soon after hatching that didn't show up at the time. That said, solitary confinement in a warm place sometimes helps them bounce back, so it sounds like you're doing just the right thing.
Comment by anna early Sunday morning, June 24th, 2012
I cook for my chickens.I have four girls. in the morning they get laying food and cracked corn then I give then lettuce and bread they go gaga for it. in the afternoon they get a combo of rice flax seed sucker seed canned green beans. they don't get anything green in Michigan in the winter unless I give it to them. they never got the memo that they don't lay in the winter. their pen is protected and there is no snow in their pen i live my girls.i live in the city and have never had chickens before
Comment by Linda Monday night, March 25th, 2013
Linda --- Sounds like you've got happy chickens!
Comment by anna late Monday morning, April 1st, 2013

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!

Comment by Heather Thursday afternoon, May 15th, 2014

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