Spring Flowers and Fowl!

The secret to a great flock of chicks is great eggs! Today I will be sharing a little bit about an industry secret used in hatching broilers and broiler-breeder flocks to help you this hatching season! Check out the list below for some tips on getting your best hatch yet and really bringing up your hatchability to bragging status this year!

Watch the calcium! 


As calcium is built around the shell membrane, plastering on too much calcium will cause the pores in the egg shells to become covered. This means that any chick embryo inside is not going to be able to perform the proper gas exchange and you will have a lot more chicks never make it out of the egg. Keep your feed regular, do not amp up the calcium for laying season! Chickens are creatures of habit so don’t mess with their diet!

The secret to storing eggs


If you use an incubator rather than good ol’ sitting Silkie to do your heating work, this is a trick you need to know when it comes to getting the best hatch of eggs over a week old. Generally speaking, a hens clutch can be 8-12 eggs large and the ladies are never gracious enough to all lay at once so if you’re like me and you like to hatch multiple breeds at once — you’re out of luck. I store my eggs at 55 degrees in a styrofoam cooler and it holds up pretty well but if you wanna see a huge improvement, for eggs being stored longer than a week; turn them upside down. Any eggs stored for hatching over a week should be stored with the pointy end up rather than the large end up like you would if you were planning to incubate them right away. If you’re interested in the science behind it all, shoot me an email!

Keep Feed Fresh 

Now, this is no secret by any means but in the spring this can be really hard when its raining 24/7 and even when it isn’t raining, it’s humid, especially if you’re in NC like me. It is hard to keep feed from spoiling when its left out in the rain and humidity, while some people like to ferment feed so this isn’t really a problem for them, some are not so comfortable with the idea. Here are some awesome products and quick tips to keep your feed dry this spring.

  • Dine-A-Chook Feeders: These feeders were an amazing idea! This Australian based company created such a wonderful little feeder that reduces waste, is easy to refill, and keeps rain out. My honest opinion here; it’s a PVC pipe and can be made for under $15.
  • Hampster Bottle: This tip works best when you only have a few birds. Using a hamster water bottle as their main water source is infinitely better than just leaving a bucket of water out. That can lead to so much disease and sickness my head starting hurting just thinking about it. If you have less than 10 chickens than 1-2 (depending on the size) hamster bottles should keep your chickens hydrated for the day. This prevents water leaking in the coop and causing a wet mess which means fewer bugs! It also helps vitamin water additives last longer and you can be assured they’re getting the benefits.



Hello Again!

It has been a long time coming WordPress friends! I have been away from WordPress for a few months working at Bayer in their Crop Science Division. I worked in the corporate communications department and loved my time there. Sadly, they were moving to St. Louis and my heart is in NC!

So this semester I am taking a course on hatchery management. So stand by for some awesome tips to help give your chicks the best start in life they can get!

It has been so long…too long…

I have been away for so long now. While I still cannot dedicate a set time to regularly post, here is a great bit of information to get the conversation started about the food myths! Click here for a great site run by USFRA that goes through the ins-and-outs of the ag-world.

If you keep backyard poultry- you’re a part of the Ag community! Do your part to let everyone know that agriculture is here to help not hurt!

It has been a minute…

It has been a very long time since I posted…I skipped June entirely.


I have started work in the corporate communications office of Bayer Crop Science Division in the Research Triangle Park in North Carolina and am pursuing my passion in Ag. Com. One problem I have been running into in the ag industry is this heated debate involving veganism. I have seen the videos on YouTube and have heard the arguments from both sides. One subject I found particularly interesting was a term coined by a Harvard graduate called “Carnism” and it basically states the reason humans are okay with eating one animal and not another is because we’ve been psychologically conditioned to think it is acceptable to be selective with which animals we eat. Personally, I think that is a load of horse crap (Nothing in this world angers me as much as when people address meat as the sole issue for their health problems and do not consider portion size or exercise). But, I am not here to argue Carnism and its validity.

I am here to talk about why I do not like aggressive vegans and I think it’s a point that too many people overlook. Since I have started working in the ag industry, it has become apparent to me how lucky I am to be in a country where food waste is a problem. There are still so many people in this world that go hungry every day but here I am feeling nauseous from eating too much chicken fajita pizza.

By 2050 the world population is projected to be nine billion. We are currently at over seven billion individuals and growing rapidly and WE. CAN’T. FEED. THEM. We do not have the technology to feed the population that exists. We are trying our best but misinformation like “GMOs are toxic” or “Chickens are grown with hormones that will hurt make our children sick,” are making developing new technologies even more difficult because why would we develop something that is just going to get thrown back at us by the consumer because of misinformation? BTW, no hormones are injected into poultry because it is illegal and GMOs are not toxic, far from it, they are amazing. But all this rambling is leading up to the main point I want to make:

I am often approached by vegans and the slightly more active side and they tell me a long list of reasons I should become vegan, mostly involving animal welfare but human health and wellness as well. However; we are not currently able to produce enough food to feed the world right now with meat. How are we expected to sustain a world of 9 billion on a vegan diet? We do not have space nor the technology. Too many people are still rejecting GMOs and now we welcome Crispr into the mix and who knows how that will be received.

I do not have any issues with vegans. I think their cause is noble and that you could eat rocks and glue all day, who am I to judge? Do your thing. However, if you are going to come up to me and be aggressive in your mission to convert me to veganism you must be able to answer the question: “How do feed 9 billion people on a vegan diet with today’s technology and crop space?” If you can give me a good, solid, plausible answer that involves no “invention of…,” “Clear land to make more room for…,” or “Growing our own….” If you can answer that question, let me take you out for Indian food because goodness knows I’m hungry. But until I get the answer I am looking for, please leave people’s dietary decisions for them to decide. My final thought of veganism is that it has a heart of gold but it is also a little ahead of its time. Once we figure out how to eliminate hunger, then we can go back and tweak our process, but until then we need more enegry in promoting agriculture to help feed the world, not fight it.

Surprise mom…you’re pregnant!

I get a lot of questions about broody hens! These grumpy puff-balls are often the bane of existance of backyard poultry owners. When flock owners only have 2-3 hens, a broody hen can really throw off egg production for weeks! This post is all about what brooding is, why it happens, and how to resolve it.

What does “broody” mean???

Brooding is the act of a hen sitting on her clutch (cluster, group, etc.) of eggs. This often happens when they have laid between 7-13 eggs and the temperature starts warming up. The hen will brood on her clutch for 21 days until the eggs hatch, given that they are fertile. However, a hen does not have to have fertile eggs to go broody. Often the annoyance of backyard flock owners come from hens going broody when they don’t even have roosters.

Why do hens go broody?

Just like human women, hens are born with all the eggs that they will ever have. When they reach sexual maturity, the eggs will start to develop. We could get into all the hormonal science behind brooding; however, I think it is best stated that hens have the instinct to brood when they have a nice size clutch of eggs stored up and the day length is just right. Even when there is no rooster, the instinct is still there.

What can I do about a broody hen?!

The first and most plain answer is do nothing. If you have enough hens to satisfy your egg needs, let your broody girl take a crack at it. They’ll move on when they’re ready and that can be a week or two but keep in mind, the eggs pull resources from the hen’s body and their diet cannot always keep up with the nutrient needs. Calcium is a big one. But if you do decide to let her be her broody self, remove all the eggs from under her to prevent rotting. It smells so bad, trust me, remove the eggs.

Your next option, remove her eggs (if they aren’t fertile or if you do not want chicks) and remove her from her nest box. She will puff up and screech in fury but it’s for the best. Hens tend to ignore their own personal health needs when they think chicks are on the way. Either block off her nest box completely or place something inside of it so that she cannot sit. She should be upset for a few days but afterwards, she will be fine. Quick tip: feed her some of her favorite treats away from the nest box. A good mealworm will help her forget about her nesting troubles.

The “Ice Pack” and cold bath method of breaking brooding hens. I have heard about this and I would like to start with I don’t like this. The method is to take an ice pack and stick it under a broody hen so they will become uncomfortable and leave the nest box. The cold water bath is pretty self-explanatory. Just give your hen a bath is cold, not freezing, water and it should break her. Now, I have heard these methods are quick and effective, but they can also be harmful to your hen. Brooding is a natural instinct! To break it could throw her off hormonally and add stress. Hens, especially those bred to lay, are at high risk for ovarian cancer, any added stress could just bring sickness and other health issues. With that being said, brooding is brought on by the release of prolactin which tells the hen’s ovaries to cease developing for the time being.  It is a temporary pause and she will begin laying again eventually.

Now that I have discussed some methods of breaking a broody hen, let’s discuss how you can avoid the issue altogether.

  1. Collect the eggs! Eggs left out will encourage broodiness.
  2. Provide them extra light. When the sun goes down, turn on a LED bulb for them so they can think the day is still going on.
  3. Make sure their nest boxes are warm. Hens tend to try to make a clutch of eggs somewhere that is familiar and cool so that the eggs she lays won’t be incubated until it’s time to brood. A location too warm for this could deter her from laying.
  4. Get chickens that were bred to be egg-layers. These birds often lay 250+ eggs per year and as bad as it sounds, they don’t really have time to go broody. The heaftier birds are the ones that tend to go broody often.


Raleigh, NC Tour D’Coop

Hey everyone! I am sorry for the delay in posting. I have been wrapping up my Junior year at NC State. With finals out of the way, I am ready to starting posting again! Also, update on the eggs, my roommate dropped them but we were able to get some Serama eggs and they should be hatching within the nest week. I am expecting two hatches.

If you live in the Raleigh area and looking to add some more chickens to your family, a friend of mine is hatching out eggs at an elementary school and she has no idea what she is going to do with them after! If you’re interested, please message me!

Also if you’re in the Raleigh area, come check out Tour D’Coop on Saturday, May 20th from 10 am to 4 pm! The event is hosted every year by Urban Ministries of Wake County and it features chicken coops and flocks from all around the Raleigh area. There is even a bike tour aspect for downtown Raleigh!

This is a great event for families and people considering getting chickens! You can come out and talk to flock owners, I will be at one of the coops in downtown Raleigh from 10 am -1 pm. Tickets for the event cost $10 for an individual and $20 for a car full! All proceeds go to Urban Ministries of Wake County. You can find the link for tickets here.

They will also be featuring beekeeping and raffles! So come check it out!

Between Furry and Feathery Friends

For all of us that love our feather babies, we tend to love our fur babies just as much! Though, it can be hard to raise chickens and keep a dog when they haven’t been raised together! I speak from experience. Both my dogs, Cashew and Toby took a lot of work before they could be trusted around the chickens without myself around. I want to share my experience with training them and the tips that I came up with!


Now things are A LOT easier when you have the dog from a pup when it comes to teaching your pets that chickens are friends, not food! But, if you’re like me then you spend way too much time on the SPCA website and the website for your local kennel. Next thing you know, you’ve done chicken math with dogs…

When you have your dog from puppyhood, keeping them around the chickens as much as possible! A friend of mine had a lab puppy and chicks at the same time and they were raised together. Now it’s hard to tell if the chicks think they’re a dog or if the dog thinks he is a chicken! Show your dog that chickens aren’t harmful to them or you. If you have an especially aggressive rooster, it is best to keep your puppy away and not introduce those two until he’s older. Hopefully, the size of the dog would deter your rooster from picking a fight, but we’ve all seen the ones that would fight a tank. For those roosters, I suggest you remove the spurs because they can do serious damage to you and your pets. If you live in an area where you need your rooster to protect your flock from predators you may not be able to keep out (i.e. hawks, opossums, weasels) keep the spurs but be extra careful!

I did not get the chance to train my dogs from puppyhood so it was a lengthy process. Cashew was the first dog we had and he was afraid of his own shadow. IMG_1151He came to us from the shelter. Before that, he was abused and malnourished. He wouldn’t even look me in the eyes, but after sitting with him for a few hours, he finally let me pet his nose and I was sold. Cashew is a beagle – rat terrier mix (we think?) so his hunting instincts were decently sharp. When he first saw the chickens he would chase them until he had them pinned. If your dog is like Cashew, here are a few tips for training him for your chickens:

  1. Find a safe space your dog loves (for Cashew it was his crate) and while having someone hold your pup, bring your most docile bird to him. Hold him steady and let the bird just walk around him. We put cash in his crate and then let the chicken walk around him.
  2. Make sure they interact every day! Whether it’s just a brief walk past the coop every day (on a leash!) or bringing a chicken close to him, it is important to get your pup use to them!
  3. Feed your pup and chickens close together. Bring your dog’s food bowl out to the coop so he can see them while he eats and sees that they are not bothering him while he eats.
  4. Walk around your house doing everyday activities…holding a chicken. Pick your best guy or girl and bring her in for the day! I recommend a diaper to prevent any messes though. Brining a chicken into the home and allowing your pup to see how you interact with it will allow him to see that chickens are not dangerous and you enjoy having them near you just as you enjoy having your pup!

CSAgain, these are just some recommendations on how to get your dog use to your chickens when they are no longer puppies or entering your family as a rescue. While you should first make sure that your dog is comfortable in his new home before starting any type of intensive training, most dogs pick up pretty quickly! You should not trust your dog to remain outside alone with your birds until you have been able to walk him, off-leash, near your birds with little to no interest in your birds.

My newest pup, Toby, still needs work to go near our birds. He lives with me at school and only sees the birds every month or so, Cashew, who stays with my parents, after six months of intensive training, now stays outside with the chickens, weather permitting, and acts as their guardian from other prey. He has come a long way but it took time, so please be patient with your pup and the results will come!


Eggs and eBay

I have been thinking about this pretty frequently lately – eggs and eBay.With the prices of hatching eggs from established online hatcheries, its no wonder people have taken to eBay!


My neighbor is a crazy chicken lady just like me! She has been purchasing hatching eggs from eBay and they have been turning out pretty well…until now. A while ago she purchased polish hatching eggs and ordered a dozen. When she received the eggs, only four had not been destroyed during shipping and in the end, only two hatched and only one survived. While I am excited about her new polish chick,

Don’t get me wrong, I think eBay is a great way to get your hands on some rarer birds for a better price; however, make sure you are buying from an experienced breeder! When you buy online, you buy blind. Anyone can say “Hey! We’re NPIP certified!” but honestly, who’s checking that? If you are thinking about buying eggs online please remember:

  • Check their reviews!
  • Read the product description very carefully!
  • Look up the hatchery. If they say they are NPIP certified they will be listed HERE by state.
  • Look at the shipping time, eggs should not be stored outside a temperature controlled environment for more than 48 hours if you’re planning to hatch them.
  • Ask about flock health!

With all that said, I am not saying you cannot get reliable hatching eggs off eBay and not everyone that sells on eBay has a separate website (though they should at least have a FaceBook page) where you can check out their stock. I would not advise buying from anyone through eBay if they do not have another site or are unable to supply more than one picture of their breeder stock and coop.


I get it– the low prices and cute little cheap-cheaps to come are just so inviting! However, you can never be 100% sure what you are going to get!  Also with every new chick you bring in (let me stress again) is a risk of disease and a biosecurity threat! Do not let those cute little eyes fool you! Vaccinate, vaccinate, vaccinate! Most vaccinations today just require that you put in it in the chick’s drinking water.  If you do not feel comfortable vaccinating your chicks, take them to the vet (though it can be costly) or just go ahead and skip the hatching all-together and the hatched chicks online. We would love to be the ones to greet them as soon as they make it out of the egg but it’s out responsibility to know what is best for our chicks!