When is the Best Time to Start Chicks?

Use a super simple formula for finding the best time to start chicks.Give your chicks a good start with proper care and timing.

Waiting until spring for the best time to start chicks, can be too much to handle. Nothing starts a severe  case of chicken fever like a brooder full of baby fluff butts. Chicks are extremely susceptible to the cold weather and unless you live in an area that has warm weather year round, It can be much easier to wait until close to Spring. Here are my reasons for waiting for the best time to start chicks.

Baby chicks are mailed from hatcheries soon after hatching.  They are mailed out via priority overnight mail and usually picked up at the post office by the customer. The minimum chick order in the winter months can be as many as 15 chicks.  The hatcheries do this to help maintain warmth for the chicks during shipping. If your chicks are delayed or the weather turns extremely cold during shipping, the chicks may become chilled and be less likely to survive.  

The first few days at home 

After you retrieve your chicks from the post office, or hatchery, you must keep the chicks warm in a brooder for the next several weeks.  The temperature in the brooder at first should be 100 degrees F.  As the chicks grow, the temperature can be lowered 5 degrees a week until they can tolerate room temperature.  

As we know, chicks outgrow the brooder long before they are ready for the great outdoors and the fluctuating temperatures. If you start the chicks during January or February, your chicks will be very large before spring arrives.  What will you do in this interim period?  Most people don’t have heated  chicken coops.  Transferring the young birds to an unheated coop in early March can lead to chilling and death.  

best time to start chicks

Starting chicks in the winter requires more equipment and longer time in a heated area

So, as the saying goes, timing is everything. Jumping into a chick purchase in the winter can lead to heartbreak IF you are not prepared to give special consideration to the chicks needs as they grow and transition to an outside coop during the chilly early spring. Often, winter chicks require more time inside the house or heated garage and a large grow out pen in the heated area.  How much space do you have to care for the chicks as they grow?

best time to start chicks

My method of timing the chicks arrival 

 We purchase chicks from a local farm supply store or order by mail for specialty breeds. Here’s some ideas of breeds to order.  Obtain your chicks during early spring.  I usually choose late March.  

Make sure you have the appropriate brooder set up at home with a heat lamp or electric brooder. You will need:

  • an enclosed plastic storage tote
  • pine shavings
  • water fount with warm water
  • feeder 
  • chick starter feed and chick sized grit

Keep the chicks warm  and dry while slowly decreasing the temperature in the brooder during the next 8 weeks. Enlarge the brooder area as necessary while the chicks grow, keeping the recommended temperature range. Once the chicks are large enough to be taken to an outside coop set up, they will be transferring during middle to late May. Usually our nighttime temps are warm enough during this time, that the chicks will transition easily and without too much stress.   

best time to start chicks

Use a Super Simple Formula to Determine the Best Time to Start Chicks 

 It’s disappointing when new chicken keepers don’t realize how fast the chicks will grow. They will order a dozen new chicks and enjoy them for a couple of weeks. Then the chicks begin to grow, fly out of the brooder on test wings and become crowded in the small box that was roomy just a couple of weeks ago. The uninformed chicken keeper might assume that because they are getting big, the chicks should go outside. This often leads to chilling and death for the young chicks who are still regulating body temperature.  Until the chicks are fully feathered and have lost the downy covering, they are susceptible to chills if left in an unheated area.  Spring weather is unpredictable and often the night time temperatures dip quite low.

 Please note that this method does not apply to people who live in year round warm climates.  We are located in the mid-Atlantic region and I feel that this method is the best plan for our area and other seasonal states.   In colder areas, you may want to wait even longer into the spring.  Timing is everything and once the cute little peeps begin to grow into teenage chickens, you will want to put them outside.  

Use a super simple formula for finding the best time to start chicks.Give your chicks a good start with proper care and timing.

Are you ready for the Super Simple Formula for Timing the best time to start chicks?

The Formula for Choosing The Best Time to Start Chicks

Think ahead to when your outside temps at night,  will be consistently warm enough and count back from there 8 to 10 weeks.  This will be the ideal time for you to start your baby chicks.

Did you get that?  It’s so simple!  Here’s an example. If you want the chicks outside after they are fully feathered by June 1 then count back on the calendar. Ten weeks would be mid March. When you call the hatchery, ask for your order to be shipped on a day in mid March.  

The important part isn’t the 8 to 10 weeks. The important factor is knowing your climate, normal weather and factors affecting your chicks warmth. If you have no way to keep the chicks warm in an outside coop, then you will need to keep them in the house until they can regulate their body heat. (Here’s more info on chicken keeping and winter.) The best time to start chicks will vary for everyone. I personally believe that when the temperature cannot be kept above 65 degrees, in the coop or in the brooder, even with new feathers, the chicks will get chilled. 

Best time to start chicks

As far as your Chicken Fever?  Pick up a copy of your favorite chicken magazine and dream on!

DSC_3214

   10 weeks.  Moved to the grow out pen in the coop.

12 week chicks

12 weeks.  Quickly outgrowing the grow out pen.  Almost time to brave the great outdoors.

14 week pullets

14 weeks.  Venturing outside on a warm sunny day.  

psst! I wrote a book all about chickens and DIY projects you can do with little cost. Check it out here or here on Amazon.




How to Fix a Muddy Chicken Run

muddy chicken run

Rainy seasons are necessary but what do we do with the resulting muddy chicken run? Are you tired of muddy eggs, messy coop floors and slippery chicken run?

I’m not going to sugar coat it. If you have an extremely muddy chicken run, it will take some labor to return the run to a better state. You will have to correct the grading and the drainage. The good news is, once you do it correctly, it’s much easier to avoid a muddy chicken run.

muddy chicken run
the flock spends more time inside the coop if there is rain and mud. You will have to clean up more often if they stay inside.

What causes the Mud

When rain sits on top of dirt. And then more rain. It’s been raining a lot lately. Add in chicken manure, coop bedding and spilled feed and you have a disgusting muddy chicken run mess.

Drainage issues– When the ground in the chicken area builds up with bedding, dirt, spilled feed, straw, etc.  It should be regraded and returned to a somewhat gentle slope towards the downward side of the yard.  Natural drainage should be worked with when ever possible. Some folks use a tiller to stir up the dirt and make it drain better.  If they start making a whole lot of racket with that thing I can guarantee we won’t produce any eggs that day!

Run off – directing the run off away from other pens, and areas where it can cause more damage is important.

Grading Problems

Often grading issues are to blame for muddy coops.  In our coop, the yard has a lot of built up bedding both from mulch and straw and from the coop itself being cleaned out.  The flock loves to sift though the leftover bedding but if it’s left on the ground for long, it builds up.  Re-grading is a big job but after a few years of the coop staying in one spot, it may need to be done to avoid a muddy chicken run.

Possible Fixes for a Muddy Chicken Run

Trenches to divert the water

Stone for filtering

Regrade the area

Fill material – adding well draining material to low areas to keep water from accumulating will help  avoid standing water issues. Well draining material can include wood chips, or small pebbles or stones. If you use stone or pebbles the area can be covered with wood chips for a softer ground and a well draining area.

Interim Fixes 

Straw

Adding a layer of clean straw to the chicken run, cleans off the chicken’s feet before they walk back into the coop.  Adding a nice nest of soft straw to the laying boxes will also help keep the eggs cleaner.

Add a Board Walk or Porch

We have used pallets with the boards close together, and also wide plank boards as a platform for the chickens to walk on before entering the coop. 

Call a Tree Service

Occasionally we find a tree service that has some fresh pine tree grindings.  I love his. The ground up trees smell great, and the chickens get a snack too. Pine needles are a healthy treat that helps with respiratory tract health.

Wood Chips

Not the fine sawdust.  The squarish chunks of wood sometimes used on playgrounds. Continue reading for more about why wood chips are a great choice for chicken runs

Bales of Pine Needles

We recently found a local supply for bales of pine needles.  These are more common in certain parts of the country than others.  This is a great cover for muddy chicken runs.  

muddy chicken run

What Not to Use in a Muddy Chicken Run

I have seen pine shavings and sawdust used on top of the run but this rarely works out well.  The shavings just don’t stick around and the problem is often worse after these things are added to a muddy chicken run.

rocks and wood chips help with drainage in the chicken run

Why I Recommend Wood Chips for a Muddy Chicken Run

Honestly, I don’t just recommend using wood chips for a muddy chicken run. I recommend using wood chips all year long. Wood chips are much better for chickens kept in a run, and not just because they help with drainage.

Wood chips break down slowly over time. The chickens will sift through the wood fiber, finding insects that are helping break down the organic wood material. The wood chips contain quite an ecosystem and the chickens can naturally fit into the plan.

muddy chicken run

And more benefits…

In addition to providing a healthier ground cover than plain dirt, the wood chips provide exercise as the chickens scratch. Keeping them occupied helps control any pecking order issues too.

And finally, the wood chips help clean the chickens feet, so they track in less mud and chicken poop when they enter the coop. This helps keep odor to a minimum and keep the eggs cleaner in the nest.

After the Rains End

When we had a particularly bad year of rain and the run was awash in mud, we pushed the mud off to the sides of the run. The chickens had made a trench along the fence while digging for insects. The mud was sent back into the trenches. It was a tough job and not one I wanted to repeat. So we made plans to improve the run and bring in better draining ground material. The muddy chicken run had to go.

How to fix a muddy chicken run and keep it from occurring again.

Cover Part of the Run and Add a Roost

Adding outdoor roost bars gives the chickens somewhere to perch when the mud is a problem. If possible attach a tarp over the perch so that the area can be used during rainy times, and stay drier.

using wood chips to control mud in the chicken run

Leaving the mud to accumulate makes everyone cranky.  The flies seem to enjoy the mud a lot which is kind of annoying because chickens don’t like them very much.   It really is best for everyone if the mud is either controlled or taken care of somehow.  

muddy chicken run

Dear Diary

This post was originally written from a chicken’s point of view. Hope you enjoy the following excerpt from the chicken diary.

Our dear Mother Nature has it a little messed up this year.   The saying goes, “April showers bring May Flowers”.  This year she has sent us May showers.  It is actually more than showers and I am tired of my beautiful black and white feathers getting wet.  

We try to explain…

The humans are quite perturbed.  I almost feel sorry for them.  Usually, I don’t because we are here doing all the work. Laying eggs, digging up bugs and worms, and various other gardening chores and all they do is stop by to watch us work.  We toil and they take the eggs and run.  But that’s not the point.

 They are trying to give us a dry chicken run around our coop but the rains just keep falling.  Rain on top of dirt makes mud, eventually.  Add in a little chicken poo that isn’t cleaned up and wham, you have some potent mud.  Some of us don’t mind the mud. Other’s run through it quickly to get out for free range time and then run back into the coop full speed.  And yet we still track in big globs of mud on our feet.  

Continued…

Let me write down some suggestions in hope that the humans will see this notebook while snooping, I mean cleaning the coop. The ideas in this article does help the ground we walk on stay in better condition. When they bring in more straw or pine needles for the walking area. Of course we have to scratch them out of the way.  But they try.  It’s all we can ask I guess.  

It helps to not add the soft shavings from inside the coop into the chicken run.  Also, we are glad to have some outside roost bars that we can perch on under a tarp so we don’t have to stand around in the mud. 

muddy chicken run




Three Things Chickens Don’t Need For Winter (and three that they do!)

things chickens don't need

When raising chickens naturally, there are three things chickens don’t need for winter. I know it’s hard to believe that chickens can and do make it through the winter months, even in very cold climates, without our interfering. How can a chicken possibly survive the cold and reach the warmer spring months healthy and happy? Because this happens over and over. Chickens all over the world weather the winter without these three things chickens don’t need for winter. 

What are these three things chickens don’t need for winter?  Heated coops, extra light in the coop, and warm winter clothing. Ok the third item is a bit of a joke. However, based on the popularity of several meme’s floating around social media, you would think that chickens are being mistreated if they aren’t wearing the latest sweater vest. More on that later.

things chickens don't need for winter

What are the Things Chickens Don’t Need for Winter

Heat in the coop is a particularly touchy subject with some chicken keepers. When you live in an area that commonly experiences below zero, sometimes well below zero, temperatures for months at a time, you second guess your chicken’s ability to stay warm. And you might add a heat lamp or other heating device to the coop, because it makes you feel better. I can’t judge you on this. There have been a few times that I have also left a light on to add some heat, because I just felt better doing so.

If you absolutely must add a heat lamp to the coop, make a safer choice. This lamp from Premiere is rated safer and more heavy duty for barn use. I knew the truth was, that they would be fine. But, we somehow occasionally fall into the trap of thinking chickens are like humans, or the family dog. Please be aware of the dangers of adding a hot light bulb to a coop full of birds, straw, and shavings. 

Make a Chicken Coop from a Garden Shed

Truth is, chickens are very well equipped to keep themselves warm. The downy under feathers fluff, trapping warm air against the body.  The outer feathers keep the cold air from penetrating. If the chickens are on a perch, they will cover their feet with the belly feathers. What about the comb and wattles? Won’t they be exposed and possibly have frostbite? Not if the coop is well built, has ventilation at the top and is draft free. The coop should not be air tight. In fact that would definitely lead to frost bite. The coop needs ventilation to carry the warm moist air up and out of the coop. Otherwise the moist air will lie on the surface of the combs, leading to frost bite.  Frost bite looks like black blemishes on the chicken’s comb.

But it gets dark so early!

Adding lights to the coop should be done only for your convenience. If you need to visit the coop after dark to tend to upkeep, check on the flock, or any number of chicken care duties, a light makes the task so much easier.  If you are leaving a light on because you want to simulate longer daylight hours and hopefully get more eggs, that is taking away the natural break a chicken needs in the winter. Will it harm the chicken? Not directly. Will you receive more eggs than the person who does not add light to the coop? Yes.  Is it worth it? That question will have to be answered by you.  Here’s my thinking and I am not offering judgement here. This is a management style topic. If you choose to leave a light on in the coop for higher egg production, go for it.

things chickens don't need

What Do Artificial Lights Do to the Chickens?

I like to live as closely to the natural rhythms as possible. Chickens lay less in the fall and winter for a reason. First, starting in late summer, as the days begin to shorten, your chickens lose feathers in the annual molt. The chicken yard looks like a pillow fight occurred and the chickens look like plucked accident victims.  As the days grow short, if the chickens have eaten enough bugs or other protein source, the feathers will be almost fully regrown. These new feathers are ready to keep them warm during the cold weather, approaching.  Adding artificial light holds the chickens back from getting a natural break. 

things chickens don't need

 

There’s More Happening than Meets the Eye

Inside your chicken, other things are still going on. Your hens are recovering from rebuilding the feathers. Even though they may look smooth and glossy on the outside, the annual molt can take a toll on the inside. This is why egg production is still off.  Left to their own time table, and with good nutrition, your hens will gradually regain the protein and calcium reserves that they need to produce eggs. Unless they are ill, egg production will naturally pick up again. You will notice this soon after the Winter solstice. The amount of daylight is a determining factor, don’t misunderstand. I prefer to let the natural light shine through the Plexiglas covered windows in the coop. The hens will notice the gradual increase in daylight. And egg production will increase again.  

Clothing for Chickens?

Clothing for chickens is not to be confused with the fabric hen saddles used to protect the hens backs from a large rough rooster. It’s funny to see photos of chickens wearing the latest knitwear fashion, but in real life, wearing a sweater does more harm than good, when keeping a chicken warm. What actually happens is that the sweater will prevent the feathers from fluffing. The fluffing keeps the chicken warm by trapping the body heat near the body.  I know people mean well but don’t put clothing on your chicken to keep them warm. 

chickens in sweaters

What are the Things Chickens Do Need for Winter?

While there are three things chickens don’t need for winter, we should remember the essentials that they do need.

Shelter, nutritious food, and fresh water are the keys to chickens thriving during the winter months. Spend some time cleaning  the coop.  Give the chickens a good thick layer of pine shavings and straw. You can line the nests with clean straw too. Clean out the cobwebs. Check the air flow. Is the ventilation carrying the air up to the roof vents? Tend to the structure, mending holes, cracks and other weak areas of the coop. 

Check out this fun video!

Water is a necessary nutrient all year long. Making sure that your flock has a source of fresh water through out the day is hard when temperatures drop well below freezing.  There are a number of products designed to keep the water above freezing. Submersible water heaters, heated bases for metal waterers and electric heated bowls will all be helpful if you have electric power in the coop. In our coops without power, we pile dirt and straw up around the water bowl sides to insulate the bowl or water tub. The water will still freeze over night but it does take longer to freeze. 

How to Fix a Muddy Chicken Run

Nutrition is very important during times that your flock cannot forage for greens and insects. Feed a quality layer ration to make sure that the hens are getting the nutrients they need to sustain egg development. Supplement with healthy food from the kitchen or leftovers. And don’t forget a healthy dose of meal worms or grubs to add some protein. 

things chickens don't need

Have you decided to use any of the things chickens don’t need for winter? 

 

things chickens don't need




Pullet or Cockerel? How to Know

 

pullet or cockerel

Are some of your chickens looking different than the others? Do you know how to determine, early on, if you are raising a pullet or a cockerel? Lets say you wanted to raise chickens for eggs and purchased some hatching eggs.  Or, perhaps, you couldn’t resist the fluffy little munchkins at the feed store this spring.  In any event you now have chickens growing up in your backyard.  You are feeding them and caring for their every need. But wait! Some of the chicks are starting to look different than the others. One or two in particular seem, odd. Could they be roosters? There are ways to identify the pullet or cockerel as they develop.

Pullet or Cockerel – How to Know the Difference

pullet or cockerel

There are a few ways to sex chicks and maturing chickens. At hatching the method that has been used for generations is called vent sexing. Sometimes it is referred to as the Japanese method.   Using this method, look inside the tiny vent opening and notice the difference in the cloaca.  I have not seen this done but hatcheries use this method with 85 to 90 % accuracy.  

pullet or cockerel

Wing Feather Sexing

Another method is wing feather sexing.  Look at the wing feathers of a chick on the first or second day after hatching.  Cockerel chickens wing feathers would be all the same length.  Pullets wing feathers would be in two layers of different length.  A note of caution on this method. It does not work on all breeds of chickens.  Certain breeds such as leghorns have the genetic trait that allows this method to be used.  Not all breeds have this trait.

pullet or cockerel

Sex Linked Breeds

Sex Linked Traits – For certain genetic pairings, a predictable and identifiable appearance gives a fool proof method of determining sex of the chick.  For this method you need to understand that the hen contributes genetic material to the cockerels and the rooster contributes genetic material to the pullets.  Any sex linked characteristics will be passed on in this way. Color is one of the sex linked traits.  

Knowing this, if you mate a hen that carries a sex linked color trait with a rooster that does not carry the trait, the cockerels will have the trait.  This makes it easy to separate the pullets at hatching.  There are some popular hybrid breeds that utilize this method.  Black Stars or Black Sex links are the result of a Barred Rock Hen crossed with a Rhode Island Red Rooster.  The cockerels have a white spot on their heads.  Red Stars and Golden Comets are two other breeds that are bred for this reason and for increased egg production.

pullet or cockerel

Black Star or Black Sex Link Hen

If you absolutely cannot have a rooster or don’t want to deal with one, buying sex linked breed pullets is your most fool proof method of obtaining pullets. Using this genetic makeup to choose your flock helps you avoid the hassle and heartbreak of having to re-home or cull a backyard pet. If you are living a self sufficient lifestyle, and utilizing the protein provided from your flock, you might consider roosters as an additional meat. I realize this is a sensitive subject for many backyard chicken keepers and culling rooster for the stew pot is not something all chicken keepers can handle. Keep reading for more on re-homing roosters.

 

Developing chicks 

pullet or cockerel

As your chicks develop, you may begin to notice some differences in the growth and characteristics showing up.  The two chickens shown in the photo are showing classic developmental differences between a pullet and a cockerel.  The young cockerel grew up to be the best rooster we ever had on the farm.  I am glad that the hatchery made that error and sent us King! 

Cockerels will often hold themselves differently, in a more upright stance.  Their neck feathers will be longer and pointy as compared to the more rounded feather ends of the pullets.  The combs and legs will also begin to look different.  Combs on a developing cockerel will be darker colored, and larger than the pullets of the same breed.  By ten weeks of age, you can be fairly certain if you have a developing rooster in the flock.  

 

The Crowing and the Egg

 

keep the rooster

Of course, the final answer to the question comes when you find the egg.  Or the morning noon and night crowing that is hard to dispute.  Although, hens of some breeds, in the absence of a rooster may take up crowing.  

One last anecdotal test.  I have found that my roosters are often the chicks that were the most easily handled and didn’t mind being cuddled.  It doesn’t last though!  Somewhere around 8 months to a year, the hormones fully kick in and the rooster is no longer so cuddly. Before that point be sure you have made it clear that you are in charge. Roosters will look for weakness and begin to strike out when you enter the area where the hens are housed. You can read more about keeping roosters and tips for success in this post. 

 

pullet or cockerel

 

Re-Homing Roosters

If you are totally against using your roosters as food for your family, re-homing is another option that may work out. There are people with larger flocks that keep roosters for protection of the hens. I would check with a local feed store or agriculture supply store about a community bulletin board. Posting your available rooster there might bring some leads. When the rooster is a particular breed, posting on a local community forum might lead you to someone who is looking for a new breeding rooster.  It’s not easy to re-home a rooster. Occasionally the right person comes along and all ends well.

 

This post appeared first on Backyard Poultry Magazine.com   

Last updated and edited June 2019




What Herbs Keep Chickens Healthy?

herbs keep chickens healthyCan herbs keep chickens healthy?  Does herb use increase the immune response in the flock?  The answer to both questions appears to be, yes! Chickens love herbs, so dosing them with these natural compounds is an easy task. 

My Top Herb Choices For Chicken Care

If I could only grow a few herbs I would choose Mint, Oregano, Basil, Thyme, Lavender and Sage. As far as chicken keeping and animal care needs, Sage and Oregano are great for intestinal health and to ward off infections from Salmonella and Coccidiosis (cocci). Lavender is an all around great herb for infections, relaxation, odor control, and repels pests. Mint  repels insects and rodents, is a stimulant for egg laying, and the chickens love it. Thyme and Basil are aromatic herbs so they also repel pests.

Thyme and Basil are good for mucus membranes and Thyme is great for keeping the respiratory tract healthy or aid in recovery from a respiratory illness. Knowing that herbs keep chickens healthy is empowering. When I notice a potential health problem, I can immediately start supportive treatment by visiting my herb garden.  All in all, most herbs are beneficial and growing them to add to the nest boxes or daily feed is a great idea. Of course humans benefit greatly from herbs too.

 I recommend the top six I mentioned because they are great culinary herbs, in addition to being good for your health. Chickens love to eat herbs but we can still use them in our cooking and health care. In the event of illness, making a tea and adding dried thyme to it, can help loosen a cough and make breathing easier. Thyme is great for respiratory health. I grow quite an assortment of all herbs and dry them in the dehydrator. If I am going to make a lotion or salve, I make an herbal infusion in olive oil.  Continue reading to find out how to make an easy herbal oil infusion.

Herbs keep chickens healthy

Adding Herbal Care Into Everyday Life  

Most of the ways I use herbs takes only a few minutes a day.  Snipping an assortment of herbs from the kitchen garden, and putting them in a basket to take to the coop is an easy task.  I can even perform this job with a coffee cup in one hand!  Years ago, I was only growing mint and basil.  I had little idea of all the creative and healthy ways to use herbs.  Cooking and baking our food with fresh herbs is one reward from growing herb gardens. The other rewards are seeing how healthy and strong my flock of chickens is, since I began incorporating herbs in their regular treats and diet.  I have no trouble stating that herbs keep chickens healthy.

herbs keep chickens healthy

Save this pin image for later!

Simple Herbal Oil Infusions

 When I need an infusion of one or more of the herbs, I start gathering the herbs by snipping some each day. It’s better to use the herbs dried so you don’t add excess water to the oil infusion. It won’t take long to dry out a cup of herbs on a drying rack or pop them on the dehydrator tray. 

Using the charts below, you can customize mixtures of herbal infusions for specific issues. Or simply make a fresh herb blend of some of the herbs and add to the coop or feed pan. If you use a chicken feeder, I would suggest adding the herbs to your hens diet separately. Pieces of herbs left behind in the feeder can get soggy and even mold. Be sure to clean up any fresh herbs that are not eaten by the flock.

Drying herbs from your garden is the best way to have a ready selection for winter herbal flock care. Herbs dry easily in a well ventilated area. Electric dehydrators speed up the process and allow you to keep a constant supply of dried herbs for nest boxes, infusions, salve making and cooking.

Simple Wound Salve for Chickens

What you will need:

  1. 2 glass jar – quart size recommended but pint can work too.
  2. quarter cup of each of – Oregano and dried dried plantain leaves, and a quarter cup of one of the following dried floral herbs-choose from calendula  petals, Nasturtium, chamomile, wild violet,or dandelion petals  
  3. olive oil, sweet almond oil or grapeseed oil
  4. mesh strainer
  5. 1/2 ounce beeswax
  6. 1/2 ounce coconut oil
  7. tea tree essential oil
  8. vitamin e oil

Prepare the infusion 

Add the dried herbs to the jar. (always use dried herbs and botanicals when making an infusion)

Pour the oil over the herbs to cover. The quick method for creating an infusion is to set the jar into a pan with a few inches of water in the pan. Bring the water to a simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes, turn off the heat and let the jar with the herbs and oil sit in the warm water for a couple hours. A crockpot set on low can also be used to warm the water and infuse the jar of herbs and oil.

Strain the oil, using the fine mesh strainer. Add a coffee filter or piece of cheese cloth if you feel it is needed. Save the herbs! you can feed these to the flock as a treat. Extra oil not needed for the salve recipe can be stored in the refrigerator for future use. Label the jar.

Healing salve pictured on the right. The left container is a drawing salve using charcoal and infused oil

Making the Healing Salve

Using a double boiler method described above, melt the beeswax and coconut oil together in a glass jar. Add four ounces of infused oil. 

When the oils and beeswax are completely melted together, add 15 drops of tea tree oil.  Add 3 drops of liquid vitamin E or contents of one vitamin E capsule. Vitamin E acts as a preservative.

Have your salve containers ready. Use clean jelly jars, small tins, or other handy containers with lids. Remove the jar from the warm water bath. Quickly pour the mixture into the containers. The salve hardens quickly. 

Use this salve for cuts, scrapes, pecking wounds, bites, and other open wounds. Store in a cool location as the salve will melt if left in the car or in sunlight. 

Always consult a veterinarian if the wound is not improving, worsening, infected and not responding to your treatment. 

Herbal Tip:

Comfrey is an easy to grow herb that can aid soft tissue healing. For sprains, broken bones, and tendon damage, a compress of comfrey salve can be made using the same method. Apply using a compress to the injured area.

 

Knowing What Herbs Keep Chickens Healthy is Simple 

Learning how herbs keep chickens healthy is pretty simple.  Knowing what type of problems cause chicken illness helps you remedy the situation.  For example, if you know that weak egg shells can be a result of calcium deficiency or a reproductive tract issue, seeing that Marjoram, Parsley, Mint and Dandelions are high in the properties that improve reproductive health helps you know which herbs to use.  Of course, make sure to only use wild plants and beneficial weeds from areas that have not been treated with herbicides or weed killers. Here’s a chart that lists common chicken ailments or problems and the herbs that may help.

Herbs keep chickens healthy

Herbs Keep Chickens Healthy Print out Information 

The four page graphic PDF is my way of organizing  the herbal information.  You are invited to print out the PDF, for your own personal use.  

To download and begin referring to How to Keep Chickens Healthy , 

herbs keep chickens healthy

Click here.>>>>>  to download a printable copy of this series of Herbal Info for Chickens

For more Do it Yourself Healing Remedies for Chickens, check out my book, 50 Do it Yourself Projects for Keeping Chickens (skyhorse publishing 2018) available through Amazon and local book sellers

 

herbs keep chickens healthy

 

The Herbal Starter Kit by the Herbal Academy