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"Getting Started With Chickens" A Q&A with beloved author of "Chick Days", Jenna Woginrich

The first installment in the HOMEGROWN Bookshelf series comes from Storey Publishing author and beloved blogger (and farmer!) Jenna Woginrich. Jenna’s new book, “Chick Days: Raising Chickens from Hatchlings to Laying Hens” is a charming and comprehensive primer for anyone interested in keeping chickens (that’s a lot of us). 

Read “Getting Started With Chickens”, then pipe in here with your thoughts and questions. Jenna will be answering your questions for the rest of April – ask her anything chicken-related!

EXCLUSIVE OFFER TO HOMEGROWN MEMBERS, FARM AID FRIENDS AND SUPPORTERS: Get 10% off of your very own copy of “Chick Days” by buying at the Mother Earth News Bookstore and Farm Aid will receive 5% of the proceeds of each sale. Use promotional code: MMEENB3S. Yay! Another way to help Farm Aid!

Tags: Chick, Days, Earth, Hatchling, Hen, Jenna, Mother, News, Poultry, Woginrich, More…birds, chickens

Views: 1356

Replies to This Discussion

Thanks Rachel. I had a read. There is a lot of great info. there. Once we tear down our privacy fence and install split rail, we will have the resourced wood needed for the coop build. My largest question for now is, "Location. Should I keep their coop in full or partial sun, or keep them shaded?"
Less heat is better than too much. Chickens do well in cool temps, but can't regulate their heat so easily in hot weather. A well placed wired window or two to allow breeze movement in summer helps too.

Hi--I love these discussions! Rachel, about your comment on the "hen" who began to crow (item 2. in your initial list) just this comment: I had a flock of 10 hens, mixed standard size and bantams. They were all egg laying hens. In the second year, one of the bantam (bossy!) hens began to crow! I was amazed--but told that occasionally this will happen if there is not a rooster--one hen will go "butch" (a lesbian term) and take over the crowing responsibility. It was amazing. . . and fun!

     Another tip I learned: many people clean out their chicken house way too often. It is actually better only to do it a couple times a year. If it begins to get icky, put on more straw, or sawdust, or whatever you use for litter. Let it just slowly build--. The heat from its composting, or 'ageing' will help keep the chickens warmer in winter; and it helps the younger chickies develop resistance to illnesses--much like the importance of baby mammals drinking their moms milk.

So nice to see all the chick-chat going on? What breeds do you all raise? For eggs or for meat?
I'm living in Dallas for a short time, but, most recently I've had Americauna's, Plymouth Barred Rock, Rhode Island Red, an Arucana bantam, Black Cochin's, a Red Cochin, and a pair of Silver Spangled Seabrights--one of which was my real, for sure, crowing hen!

lol YES!! I've heard that about hens without roosters too!! Silly girls. Unfortunately for me, I had four pullets that I HOPED were really all girls, and upon reaching sexual maturity, we found we had a rooster in the mix. I had doubts "she" was really she from the start... but it can be tough to tell.

 

The method you're talking about is usually referred to as the "deep liter" method. It's the one I use in winter. The only areas I "scoop" are the shelves just below where the hens roost. Those piles go into my dormant garden to be scratched out by the chickens and decompose before spring. :) I also use the deep litter method in my goat house. I can feel the difference in temps!


Gale Green said:

Hi--I love these discussions! Rachel, about your comment on the "hen" who began to crow (item 2. in your initial list) just this comment: I had a flock of 10 hens, mixed standard size and bantams. They were all egg laying hens. In the second year, one of the bantam (bossy!) hens began to crow! I was amazed--but told that occasionally this will happen if there is not a rooster--one hen will go "butch" (a lesbian term) and take over the crowing responsibility. It was amazing. . . and fun!

     Another tip I learned: many people clean out their chicken house way too often. It is actually better only to do it a couple times a year. If it begins to get icky, put on more straw, or sawdust, or whatever you use for litter. Let it just slowly build--. The heat from its composting, or 'ageing' will help keep the chickens warmer in winter; and it helps the younger chickies develop resistance to illnesses--much like the importance of baby mammals drinking their moms milk.

Jenna, with the exception of my 2 golden sexlinks, my RIR and Barred Rock, all of my chickens are mutts. :) I have 13 laying hens, and 28 5 week old chicks. (the chicks are all from my own eggs, and also mutt chicks.)


My Q for you, (I haven't had the chance to read your book yet) is what have you found to be your biggest challenge raising chickens?

 

Jenna Woginrich said:

So nice to see all the chick-chat going on? What breeds do you all raise? For eggs or for meat?

I started out with 13 chicks bought from a local do-it-yurselfer of which 8 turned out to be roosters.  Oye!  One turned out to be a barred rock and the rest?  just huge black chickens that layed little bitty eggs.  I gave them all away with the exception of the barred rock and one beautiful rooster and ordered a batch of rainbow layers this spring.  They are so adorable, some buffs, Polish Crested, one pure gray, some black and white spotted.  Have to wait for my catalog again to figure out what they are breed wise.  I am raising for eggs.  My friends are anxiously waiting. 

Can you freeze eggs out of the shell?

 

We have fire ants in our area.  Do I need to worry about protecting the chickens from them?  If so what is the  safest way to eliminate the fire ants?  Will the chickens eat the fire ants?
Chickens dont eat fire ants.  I would love to hear some natural ways to rid ants from around the hen house - and YES you do have to worry about them.  I killed several hens by mistake by throwing out the granuals - they ate them and were dead the next monring.  Talk about stupid.

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