DIY “Chicken-o-Lantern” (Free Template) Plus The Benefits of Feeding Pumpkin to Chickens

By Kelcie Paulis, Chickenlandia Presidential Advisor

Fall is my absolute favorite season. I love the crisp air and all things spooky. Our family’s Octobers are full of traditions, one of which is pumpkin carving. I’ve carved more pumpkins in my life than I can count; all kinds of different things, including the classics and unique creations I designed myself. This year, as my 5-year-old was picking a cat shape for the 4th year in a row, it occurred to me that I’ve never carved a chicken pumpkin before. I mean, we have chicken yard ornaments for Christmas so why not have chicken-o-lanterns for Halloween?

Just in case you also need chicken-o-lanterns for your porch this year, here is a FREE Printable Hen Carving Template for you to print and carve your own!

Scroll right to see how I carved mine:

My chicken-o-lantern was clearly broody, so I added some chicks for her!

You can print them HERE.

Light them up!

And now Mr. Benedict Bones has a little family on the porch with him. 


Now for my friendly reminder to
SAVE THE PUMPKIN GUTS FOR THE CHICKENS, SEEDS & ALL! 

The Benefits of Pumpkin

Both pumpkin flesh and seeds are beneficial for your poultry.

Benefits of Pumpkin Flesh: 

Low in fat- pumpkin is high in fiber and low in fat, making it an ideal low-fat treat for fall. 
Vitamin A- pumpkin is a great source of beta-carotene, an antioxidant that converts to vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A boosts the immune system and helps regenerate cells. 
Vitamin B- is important for proper energy metabolism & affects almost all of the body’s systems. 
Vitamin C- most people know about all the great benefits of vitamin C, and those apply to your chickens as well. Vitamin C is also a very beneficial supplement to add in times of stress. 
Potassium- is critical to healthy development, especially in chicks. 
Bonus- Hens that eat pumpkin tend to lay eggs with a deeper orange yolk.

Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds:

Vitamin E- is very important to a chicken’s neurological and immune systems. Vitamin E boosts the immune system. Deficiencies in it can lead to development problems. 
Zinc- Zinc is an important mineral to chicken development. Especially in growing chicks. Lack of it can lead to bone deformity and stunted growth.
Deworming?- Ahh the great pumpkin deworming debate. You can watch Madame President’s YouTube video about Pumpkin Seeds and De-worming HERE.  


Whether you believe in the deworming powers of pumpkins seeds, there is still no denying that feeding them to your flock is a wonderful, healthy treat with lots of benefits!


So feed them the pumpkins! They’re gonna love it!!

  • Chickenlandia Presidential Advisor,
    Kelcie

DIY Macrame Chicken Swing Tutorial

By Kelcie Paulis, Chickenlandia Presidential Advisor

Something a Little EXTRA

As an Amazon Associate, Chickenlandia earns from qualifying purchases through some of the links below.

Have you ever felt like your chicken coop needed something a little extra? You know, like bougie extra? No? Just me?

My husband and I are currently in the middle of building our new poultry barn and I’ve been dreaming up the finishing details. Naturally, I want to add some extra touches like vintage screen doors, repurposed nesting boxes, and maybe some corner roosts. But then I started brainstorming about all the cute things I’ve seen others add to their chicken runs for enrichment; things like musical toys screwed to the wall, fancy dust baths, and even swings. That’s when it hit me. I can make swings.

For those of you that don’t already know, in addition to my Chickenlandia advisory duties, I make and sell fiber art through my Etsy shop Wild Moon Knots. I make macrame wall hangings, plant hangers, and fun pet accessories like these little parrot swings:

Super cute swing for rainbow chickens!

I decided I could design a chicken-sized version of this swing. Because why not? My chickens deserve to live that boho-chic life and so do yours!

Not only did I make this Macrame Chicken Swing, but I’m also going to share how I did it so you can make one too. Don’t be intimidated by the word “macrame”. This design requires learning only ONE beginner-level knot. 

You can also follow along with my TikTok video tutorial here:

@wildmoonknots

Make a Macrame Chicken Swing with me…. #bohochickens #chickenswing #chickens @welcometochickenlandia

♬ Stories 2 – Danilo Stankovic

Instructions

Here’s what you’ll need:

400 Yards of 6mm Cord (cotton, jute, or paracord are good choices)
1” diameter Square Wood Dowel
2 Metal O Rings (1”)
2 Metal Carabiner Clips
Measuring Tape
Scissors
Drill with ¼” bit

Step 1:
The Wood Dowel. This will be the roost of your swing. First, trim the dowel to your desired length. You can make it small for bantams, or double wide for extra space. I cut this one to 18 inches long, which is the perfect size for both my standard and larger birds. Next, drill a ¼” hole in each end of the dowel. Set it aside until the end.


Step 2:
Cutting Cord. This is my least favorite part of working with cord. But at least it’s over quickly!
Measure and cut your cord. You’ll need 4x – 100 yard lengths (300 inches).


Step 3:
Macrame. Take 2 of the cord lengths and center them draped over an O Ring. 

Next, we are going to learn how to tie Half Square Knots:

To make a half square knot you will start by working with the two outer cords, these are your working cords. The two center cords are filler and remain in place.

Taking the left cord, cross it over the front of the two center cords and behind the right cord.

Now, move the right cord, passing it over the left cord and then behind the two center cords. Pull the right cord through the loop on the left side.  

Pull both the left and right cords until tight. 

That’s it! Seriously. 

But now comes the time-consuming part. Like knitting, it takes time to repeat the same movements to get your final desired result. Get cozy and repeat this same knot over and over.

Repeat.
Repeat. 
Repeat. 

As you continue this knot a spiral will begin to form.

You can determine how long you would like your swings ropes to be. I recommend measuring where you would like to hang it so that you get the perfect length to fit your space.

I will be making my swing 40” long. 

Once you have the first spiral to your desired length, do it all over again with the remaining two cords and metal ring.

Repeat Steps 1 through 3.


Step 4:
Attach the wood dowel. Pull the two center cords from the spiral through the hole in the wood dowel. Then take the two remaining outer cords and repeat four more half square knots to secure the dowel in place.
Repeat on the other side.


Step 5:
Trim & fringe. Cut the remaining cords to your desired length. I leave between 5 to 10 inches from the bottom knot. Unravel the ends of the cord to create a fringe.
Tip: to make the fringe extra fluffy you can brush it out with a comb.


Step 6:
Hang it! Attach a carabiner clip to each of the metal rings and hang it up.

Done!

Happy Chicken

Ok, maybe not all the way done. I’ll be honest, it took some encouragement to get my chickens to try it out. Because, you know, big scary new thing in the run and all. 

Once I showed my two friendliest ladies how to use it, the others became less afraid. It took a few days, but I’ve been surprised to look out the window to see some of them using it a few times already. And use it or not, it looks super cute in the run! 

If you make one, share a picture with us! I can’t wait to see it!

If Your Chicken is Wounded and You Don’t Know What to Do, READ THIS.

By Kelcie Paulis, Chickenlandia Presidential Advisor

As an Amazon Associate, Chickenlandia earns from qualifying purchases through some of the links below.

Wounds are bound to happen at some point in your chicken-keeping experience. Whether it’s from fighting, predators, something in the environment, or simply a mystery, chickens can be a bit thin-skinned. Luckily, chickens are also surprisingly resilient creatures. I’ve seen them heal from all manner of injuries and wounds. Most minor wounds can heal quickly with a little TLC and some savvy First Aid. If your chicken is wounded right now and you’re trying to decide what to do, let’s break it down in a few easy steps.

Note: In Chickenlandia, we aim to use natural products whenever possible. Some of the suggestions below aren’t totally natural, but in an emergency situation, it’s really important to have options. To see The President of Chickenlandia’s mostly natural first aid kit, click here.

First Aid Kit from myfavoritechicken.com

Step 1: Wash Your Hands

Recently, we’ve learned a lot about how germs spread. To prevent new or further infection to your chicken or you, make sure you wash your hands before and after treatment.

Step 2: Stop Bleeding

When you have discovered a wounded chicken, it’s important to assess the damage and clean the area. But you must stop any active bleeding first. Some wounds, like combs, waddles, and toenails, will bleed far more than others. I use Kwik Stop to stop the bleeding but any styptic powder will work. If you don’t have any styptic powder in your chicken first aid kit, don’t worry! Cornstarch or baking flour works as a good alternative. Sprinkle the powder over the area and press it into the point of bleeding. Allow time for it to clot and dry before cleaning the wound.

Step 3: Clean the Wound

Cleaning the wound and surrounding area is important for both preventing and healing infections. If you do nothing else, don’t skip this important step. It’s the best thing you can do to help a chicken with a surface injury. 

It’s not a completely natural product, but a good old soap and warm water rinse with classic Dawn Dish Soap is my first step in wound cleaning. It is safe and gentle, and for small surface wounds you can simply use it with a washcloth. For larger scraps, I rinse the area right in the sink, while being careful not to get the chicken completely drenched. You don’t want to give them a full bath and stress them out. Just get them wet enough to clean the dirt and germs away from the wound. 

Step 4: Apply a Topical Treatment

There are lots of good topical wound treatments that are safe for use on chickens. Here are my top recommendations for this step: 

VeterycinVeterycin is my number one go-to product for wound care and cleaning. It kills 99.9% of germs. Veterycin is incredibly safe and has amazing disinfecting and healing properties. It can be used for virtually anything, anywhere on the body. Veterycin is readily available for purchase at most pet or feed stores, as well as online. And don’t worry about which formula to buy; while they make many species specific labels, all Vetericyn Plus products are safe to use. Generously spray on and around the wound. Repeat daily throughout healing.  

Raw Honey – We like to lean natural in Chickenlandia whenever possible. Raw Honey has great antibacterial properties. It also helps things heal up faster. Any Raw honey will do. Drop on a glob and gently spread it across the wound. Make sure your chicken is separated from their flock when using honey topically.

Hydrogen Peroxide – Many people have this readily available in their home first aid kit. It is a mild antiseptic used on the skin to prevent infection. You can use this on chickens for minor cuts, scrapes, & burns. However, peroxide should not be used on puncture wounds or bites. I apply it to the wound area with a cotton ball. 

Neosporin – Just about everyone has a tube of Neosporin around the house. As long as it doesn’t have any painkiller in it, it’s perfectly safe to use on a chicken wound. Since it’s a triple antibiotic, it can help to prevent or treat infection during a critical time. Simply slather it on minor wounds and rub it in gently.

Blue KoteBlue Kote is another one of my go-to products. It is an antiseptic, germ-killing, fungicidal wound dressing and healing aid. It works to protect animals against common infections and pus-producing bacterias. Blue Kote is for surface wounds and abrasions, but is also effective for fungal infections and ringworm. Blue Kote contains Gentian Violet, which is an antiseptic dye that dyes the area a dark blue color. This dye is very helpful for “covering up” a wound and preventing picking from their flock mates. Anytime I notice a bird with a wound that is being picked, I apply a spray of Blue Kote to the area (be careful, it WILL dye your hands blue for a few days and it does stain clothes).

Step 5: Repeat

Depending on the severity of the wound, you will likely want to repeat the cleaning and topical treatment process for as many days as necessary. For larger wounds I treat 2x a day for the first 3 days and then once a day until they are on the mend. 

Little Stinker after surviving a Hawk Attack

Frequently Asked Questions

Does my chicken need stitches?

Most surface wounds do not need stitches, but some may be large or deep enough to require closure. I usually don’t worry about stitching wounds that are smaller than a US Quarter. If you feel your chicken may need stitches and the wound is still fresh, seek a veterinarian for sutures. The open edges of wounded skin will dry up in the first few days of healing, thus leaving the skin unable to be remedied by stitches. If this is the case, continue to clean and treat. Chicken skin has amazing healing powers and it may still heal up on its own.  

Should I use a bandage?

This really depends on the severity of the wound, but I generally do not bandage wounds. It often bothers the birds more than it helps, causing them to pick at it or scratch it off entirely. It’s also nearly impossible to effectively bandage some wound locations. I do use bandage wraps when dealing with Bumble Foot or Splay Leg. If you do feel the need to bandage a wound I recommend Vet Wrap self adhesive bandages

Should I separate my chicken?

Many wounds will require separation from the flock for a healing period. For small surface wounds I may just apply a layer of Blue Kote to dye the area and prevent flock members from picking at it, but for larger, more exposed wounds, I recommend temporarily separating. A smaller, quiet space will help the chicken destress and heal.  

Stress Management 

Most wounds will be caused by an event that was likely stressful for the chicken. Managing stress is an important part of wound care as well. I recommend following the R.E.S.T Method for situations where a chicken has been through trauma. You can also give your chicken some Rescue Remedy and/or the homeopathic remedy Aconite in a 30c potency to help calm them down. Click here for more on using homeopathic for chickens. For more information on the R.E.S.T. Method, click the play button below! 

A warm & quiet place to rest with some electrolytes and a tasty meal can do wonders for the body’s ability to heal. Once your chicken has successfully recovered they can be reintroduced to the flock and go on living a happy life. You may need to slowly integrate them, as illustrated in the video below.

Disclaimer Notice

The content of the Welcome to Chickenlandia website, blog, vlog, and all social media are for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Dependence on any information appearing on the Welcome to Chickenlandia website, blog, vlog, and social media sites is entirely at your own risk. Please do your own research and make your own informed decisions regarding the health of your chickens.

What a Lifetime in Farm Stores Taught Me About Baby Chicks

By Kelcie Paulis, Chickenlandia Presidential Advisor

I grew up in feed stores. The smell of feed bags and hay will always be nostalgic for me because my dad worked in several local farm stores during my childhood. After graduating with my Veterinary Assisting Certification, I found I enjoyed working alongside my father and helping educate pet owners about husbandry far more than working in a vet clinic. I was employed at the same feed store for over 15 years and eventually became the manager when my dad retired. That’s 15 years of chick seasons under my belt and probably over 15,000 chicks that I’ve handled in my life. Here are some things I’ve learned about baby chicks along the way.

Kelcie at Hohl Feed and Seed with her Daughter

There is only ONE 100% accurate way to sex chicks (and it’s not what you think)

“An old farmer taught me if you flip them over on their backs and they stick one leg straight out then they are a hen. Both legs kicked out mean it’s a rooster.” As much as I wish this were true, sexing chicks by their behavior, head shape, wing feather lengths, the sounds they make, or dangling a ring above them are not tried and true methods. Behavior alone, when they are so young, isn’t a good indicator, and feather sexing only works on breeds with the “fast feathering gene.” 

Vent sexing is about 90% accurate and is the closest, most accurate way to sex hatchlings of most breeds. It is truly an art and requires specialized training to do correctly and without harming the chick. Because of these odds, roosters WILL happen. One in every ten chicks in that bin marked “pullets” is possibly a rooster. And that is nobody’s fault. My point is, have a plan for accidental roosters because chances are you will end up with one at some point.

There is one guaranteed way you can be sure you are getting all pullets, and that is to stick with “sex-linked” or “autosexing” breeds. sex-linked mixes or autosexing breeds hatch with identifying colors or markings indicating male or female. For example Golden Sex-Link females hatch in varying shades of red & yellow, where as the males hatch as solid light yellow.

Baby Chicks Arriving at the Feed Store

Breed mistakes can happen at the feed store

Not everyone can identify a day old chick’s breed as well as some of us chicken pros can. I’m admittedly pretty good at it (as long as they’re true breeds), but I’ve been shown different chicken breeds since I was a child. When I was a feed store manager, I did my best to help the employees learn how to identify different breeds. I’d even make little cheat sheets for them. But even with good guidance, it can take years of practice to quickly identify breeds and their varieties. Add in stores stocking breeds of similar colors at the same time, or selling “hatchery choice” breed mixes, and mistakes can definitely happen.  

Some chicks simply do not thrive

The harsh reality of raising chicks is that some of them may not survive. A chick dying in those first fragile days of life does not necessarily mean it was treated poorly by feed store employees or arrived diseased. Whether it be the stress of hatching & shipping or a developmental issue, some chicks just aren’t meant to live long. At our feed store, we always gave our best efforts to give baby chicks everything they needed. Despite the vigilance of our care, there were still a few that would fail to thrive. It wasn’t anyone’s fault, just a sad reality. 

Chicks bring people joy

One thing I observed over and over during my time in a farm store is that everyone loves the appeal of a freshly hatched chick. Old people, young people, city folk, country folk, people of all races and cultures; almost every single person would stop to peek at the fluffy butts of little chicks. It is as if chickens have been intertwined with humans for so many years that we have the instinct to check in when we hear those peeping sounds. It would be a rare occurrence to have someone not stop and smile at the chicks for at least a brief second. They are the universal symbol of cuteness. And nothing beats getting to help someone pick out their first batch of chicks to take home. I loved seeing their excitement.

Raising chickens is addicting

I know you’ve probably heard it a million times, but chicken math is REAL. You’ll be back for more, and your local farm store will likely see you again next chick season. 😉  

Click here for a FULL GUIDE to raising baby chicks

Find out what happened to Hohl Feed and Seed

Check out the Backyard Chickens 101 playlist

Announcing an easy-to-use Backyard Chickens Course for Everyone!

Chickenlandia’s Backyard Chickens 101 – A Chicken Course for EVERYONE has arrived! People everywhere are already becoming the confident chicken keepers they know they can be. If you’re tired of all the confusing and conflicting information and you want to learn a way of raising chickens that’s not only easy but more natural and sustainable, then this course is for you. So jump on the poultry bandwagon and go from newbie to expert in just a few clicks! Be sure and use the coupon code “earlybird” for a special introductory price (only available through March 6th, 2021 at 11:59 pm Pacific Time).

CLICK HERE to Learn from a Real Backyard Chicken Educator

Me and Kiki

If you don’t already know me, I’d like to take this opportunity to introduce myself. My name is Dalia Monterroso, but most people know me as The President of Chickenlandia. For many years, I’ve spent my days giving seminars and teaching classes about the joys of raising chickens. Not only am I passionate that chickens can be a way to enrich your family’s health and overall quality of life, but I also believe they are humankind’s most amazing common denominator. In 2017, I gave a TEDx Talk at Western Washington University about how finding common ground through chickens can help humanity understand each other. You can watch it by clicking the play button below.

Let me make your chicken dreams come true!

Of course, we all know that in 2020 the pandemic changed everything. I had to stop teaching in person, but I was fortunate enough to still have my YouTube Channel as a way to continue educating others. Still, I felt that something was missing. I wanted to give people a road map of my teachings that was easy-to-follow and all in one place. I wished to share the “radical” idea that chicken keeping could be a relatively sustainable and natural practice that didn’t further harm the planet. With the state of the world, there were many people who were new to chickens and I felt a strong urge to reach them in a meaningful way.

Fresh Eggs are just One Perk

Learn on Your Schedule, Become Your Own Expert

Have you wished to learn how to:

Easily decide what kind and how many chickens to get?

Keep baby chicks healthy, naturally?

Have a user-friendly coop that your chickens will love?

Keep chickens safe from predators without harming wildlife?

Keep your chickens healthy without pumping them with unnecessary medications?

I cover all this and more in my class. Each chapter has videos, additional resources, a quiz, and there are downloadable PDFs that you can print and keep. In addition, each video lesson is interactive. Students are free to ask questions and make comments in the space provided. The Chickenlandia Team will be reading and responding with expert chicken advice!

Purchase TODAY for your Discount

I believe strongly that chicken keeping should be accessible to everyone, so I wanted to grant the opportunity to grab a break in the price with an early bird special. There’s also the option of a payment plan if the one-time payment is an issue. But don’t wait, this deal will only be available through March 6th, 11:59pm Pacific Time. If you aren’t 100% satisfied, just let us know within 30 days of purchase for a full refund. But I don’t think you’ll need to do that. I’ve put my heart and soul, plus my love of humans and chickens into this course. I’m confident it will transform you into the expert chicken keeper you’ve always known you can be. I hope to see you soon!

Stay Tuned for the Chicken Event of the Millenia!

Since October, I’ve been steadily working on my highly anticipated online course: Chickenlandia’s Backyard Chickens 101 – A Chicken Course for EVERYONE. Well, guess what? There’s finally a launch date! I’m proud to announce that the course will launch on March 2nd, 2021. Yep, you will finally be able to take the course and become the confident chicken keeper you’ve always dreamed of being. Get ready to go from newbie to expert in just a few hours!

You’ve waited your whole life for this moment!

There’s gonna be contests, there’s gonna be prizes, there’s gonna be people who WIN THE COURSE FOR FREE. If you don’t want to miss out on the fun, you need to be sure and follow me on Instagram. I’m so excited, I can barely cluckin’ contain myself!

Look how excited I am!

I remember how confusing it was like researching chickens for the first time. I wanted to find credible information that was more natural and sustainable. I wanted to feel confident that whatever happened, I would have the tools I needed to care for my chickens in a meaningful way. Looking back, I now know that some of the information I initially trusted wasn’t credible. I regret that I had to go through so much trial and error, and I really don’t want to see that happen to other people or their chickens. That’s why I created a course that is interactive, fun, and full of credible information gathered from real-life experience and extensive research. I’ve been a Backyard Chicken Educator for almost ten years. I take a lot of pride in the content I deliver, and this course is no exception.

So hang on to your combs and wattles, because Launch Week is gonna be FUN. Make sure to share this event with your chicken-dreaming friends and family. And let me know what you’re excited about concerning Chickenlandia’s Backyard Chickens 101 – A Chicken Course for EVERYONE in the comments below!

Announcing A Chicken Course For Everyone. Coming Soon Online!

Try this fun, stress free, approach to chicken keeping.

This is an exciting time for me. After almost a year of no in-person seminars, classes, or appearances, I’m pleased to announce that I will soon be offering a brand new online course titled Chickenlandia’s Backyard Chickens 101 – A Chicken Course for Everyone.

So exciting!

You may have heard me talking about this upcoming course on my podcast Bawk Tawk or seen it teased on my social media accounts. Right now, I’m steadily working on the curriculum and soon I will be shooting the accompanying video. It’s a lot of work but it’s also exhilarating because teaching is what I was born for, and now I can to do it on a much larger scale!

The way I teach about caring for chickens has changed a lot over the past year. Going through this pandemic has made me realize that my priorities as a backyard chicken educator needed to shift to accessibility and sustainability. You may think this is a no-brainer, but it’s actually quite the uphill battle. Somewhere along the line, we’ve created a way of keeping chickens that is complicated and exclusive to those who can afford it. I mean to change this. My goal through this course is to make EVERYONE’S chicken keeping experience fun, easy, and stress-free!

Teaching at my local humane society.

This 100% friendly course will teach you how to:

  • Plan Your Flock
  • Care for Baby Chicks
  • Keep Baby Chicks Healthy Naturally
  • Care for Adult Chickens
  • House Adult Chickens
  • Live in Harmony with Predators
  • Keep Chickens through the Seasons
  • Keep Chickens Healthy Naturally
Chicken in the lap of luxury.

There will be a fee for this course, but here’s the thing: it will likely be the cheapest it will ever be since this my first year offering it. Right now, we’re shooting for a launch date at the beginning of baby chick season 2021. Make sure you sign up for my mailing list for the latest news and when you can register. If you can’t afford it, please know that Chickenlandia is still dedicated to offering an abundance of free educational content through the Welcome to Chickenlandia YouTube Channel and the podcast Bawk Tawk.

I have a feeling that 2021 is going to be a great year. I aim to make it as chicken-y as possible for all the backyard chicken dreamers out there!

Do you know someone that needs to know about this upcoming course? Make sure to share this blog with them! 🙂

Preparing Your Chickens for Fall

I hate to be a Debbie Downer, but one thing you will not see me doing is shouting “Welcome, Fall!” while wrapping myself in an oversized cardigan and sipping a pumpkin spiced latte. I can’t help it, I LOVE summer. And while I can appreciate the unmatched beauty of this time of year, I’m not so keen on mud in the run, feathers everywhere, zero eggs, and the possible return of mites or lice on my chickens. Thank goodness for Halloween (it’s my favorite besides Christmas)!

Making the Most of It

In an effort to un-invite myself to the pity party, I recently decided to take out the Chickenlandia-mobile and head to Michael’s, where I bought some super cute Fall decorations for my chicken coop. I also visited my local farm store for some mud-busting pine pellets, along with a few other things. You can watch my adventures here:

Welome FALL!

These Chickens Need Rogaine (Not Really)

‘Tis the season for not only falling leaves, but falling feathers. While any feather loss your chickens might be experiencing right now is likely just their annual molt, you will want to make extra sure there isn’t another reason. Here’s a video all about feather loss and what it could mean in your flock:

Feathers, Feathers, Everywhere!

Bug Alert!

Guess what? Molting season is also MITE and LICE season! I know, I know, that’s not what you wanted to hear. I want you to be prepared with the knowledge of not only how to prevent these critters, but also how to treat them naturally should they infest your flock. Watch all about it here:

Creepy Crawlies SUCK! (literally)

If I’ve learned anything this year, it’s that it’s best to try and find the silver lining in things. With the change in the seasons comes a new opportunity for growth, togetherness, and transformation. As we move into the colder months, may you find warmth in your family, friends, and chickens. <3 I know I will!

Disclaimer Notice: The content of the Welcome to Chickenlandia YouTube Channel, website, blog, vlog, podcast, and all social media is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Dependence on any information appearing on the Welcome to Chickenlandia YouTube Channel, website, blog, vlog, podcast, and social media sites is entirely at your own risk. Please do your own research and make your own informed decisions regarding the health of your chickens.

Chickens and Wildfire Smoke: What I Learned This Year

This blog post contains some affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases through those links.

2020, amiright?? What a year. And it’s not over. As if a reflection of the smoldering turmoil beneath the surface of our country’s soul, for the last couple of weeks areas of the Western United States have been engulfed in flames and/or covered in a blanket of suffocating smoke. It’s been scary, depressing, and just…too much. Enough already. Can we get a break?

As I write this, I’m painfully aware that my family is fortunate. Really, really fortunate. My heart hurts for all those that have been severely affected by these fires. Many have experienced unimaginable loss, and I just want to acknowledge that before I go on. I’m not comparing my suffering to yours and I see you.

I’m sure many of you can relate to feeling pretty helpless when it comes to protecting chickens from the harmful effects of wildfire smoke. During the worst of it, I was receiving desperate messages and getting tagged in panicked posts on social media, all while trying to help my own chickens and honestly not really knowing what to do. The one reliable way to help them was not accessible to me. With asthma and allergies in the family and chicken-eating dogs in the house, I couldn’t bring my whole flock inside. But that was the advice I read over and over: bring them inside, bring them inside. The guilt was palpable. If I can’t protect them, should I even have chickens?

Kiki and I

The Action Plan

With yesterday’s clear day, I was finally able to come to terms with the fact that yes, of course, I should still have chickens. I was also able to sit down and put together a simple plan that includes some things my husband and I came up with as well as tidbits from my Holistic Vet Tech and our family’s licensed Homeopath. I know it’s too late for this year, but I’m hoping it can possibly help some of you in the future. So here goes:

Nutrition and Hydration

I’m always talking about how nutrition is important in avoiding a range of issues with your flock. The best course of action is to maintain good practices all year, which should include layer feed, healthy kitchen scraps (optional), a calcium supplement (oyster shell or crushed eggshells), and grit. You may also want to supplement some immune-boosting herbs, either from your own garden or a prepackaged brand.

Trying to entice Kiki to eat some herbs!

Clean, cool water is super important year-round, but its priority is highest during heat waves and smoky conditions. Most of the time, I would suggest adding a splash of apple cider vinegar to the water to boost immunity and ward off pathogens. During heat waves and smoky days, however, I will instead add an electrolyte blend to their water. This will ensure good hydration for them during such a stressful time. Electrolyte, Vitamin, and Probiotic blends are available at your local farm store or online, or you can even make your own.

Feed in the fermentation process

Fermenting or at least mixing in some water to their feed is a great idea during smokey days. Don’t add so much liquid that it becomes soupy (they don’t like that), but go for an oatmeal consistency. This is another way to keep them hydrated, and if you’re fermenting, it’s a good boost of nutrition.

Speaking of stress, I may also add a drop or two of Rescue Remedy to their water. Rescue Remedy is a homeopathic flower remedy that can help to take the edge off when needed. I always keep a bottle in my Chicken First Aid Kit. I also keep a bottle for myself!

Practical Actions

It’s a good idea to rinse your run down a few times a day during the peak of the smoky season. This will help to not only temporarily clear the air of smoke particles, but also dampen down the excess dust that can be harmful to your chickens’ lungs. My husband also suggested that I leave the hose on the “mist” setting in the run. I understand that this is expensive and not accessible to a lot of people, but I thought I would mention it. The mist helps to remove smoke particles from the air. It’s not a miracle but it did seem to improve the air in my run.

Natural Remedies

As most of you know, I’m a fan of natural remedies. This doesn’t mean I’m against standard medicine when needed, but when weighing the risks and benefits, I usually reach for holistic modalities first. I do have a few essential oils in my Chicken First Aid kit, and I did use them during the worst of the smoky nights and now while they are recovering. Eucalyptus, Peppermint, Lavender, and Thyme were my go-to oils. I don’t put essential oils on my chickens, but I will put several drops on a paper towel and hang it in the coop. I believe that it helped to freshen the air overnight and afterward when a few flock members were showing signs of mild respiratory problems.

Euphrasia 30c by Boiron

Now that the smoke has cleared, I’ve noticed that a few of my chickens sound a little raspy and congested. This is to be expected because it was a good seven days of very low-quality air. After a call to my homeopath, she suggested that some watery, cooked oatmeal mixed with yogurt would be a good temporary supplement for my flock. Oatmeal is not something that I recommend very often, as it can be hard on their digestive tract due to its binding properties. But in this acute situation, her reasoning was that both cooked oatmeal and yogurt are mucous-producing foods that can help moisten irritated mucous membranes. She also suggested the homeopathic Euphrasia, 30c potency. Euphrasia is a remedy often given to allergy sufferers with irritated eyes and sinus passages, so it makes sense in this case. It’s best to give it two to three times a day, just two pellets in their refreshed water. Give it for two days. If they aren’t showing any signs of sinus irritation, don’t give them the homeopathic.

Caring for Philippe during his respiratory illness.

If you have a chicken or chickens that are really just not doing well, please follow my support care protocol, the R.E.S.T. method (press the play button below for more information on that). You may also get some valuable information from this video about chicken respiratory illness. Of course, with any chicken ailment, the best course of action would be to seek the care of a licensed veterinarian.

I hope this smoke clears for you, both literally and figuratively. We can get through this, with our flocks, and with each other.

Disclaimer Notice: The content of the Welcome to Chickenlandia YouTube Channel, website, blog, vlog, podcast, and all social media is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Dependence on any information appearing on the Welcome to Chickenlandia YouTube Channel, website, blog, vlog, podcast, and social media sites is entirely at your own risk. Please do your own research and make your own informed decisions regarding the health of your chickens.

How to Sprout Grains and Seeds for Chickens!

I live in a subdivision a few blocks outside the city limits. When the neighborhood was built the plan was for it to be under the control of a Homeowner’s Association. Luckily for me, the HOA never developed. If it had, I likely would not be able to keep chickens on my small lot and Chickenlandia would only exist in a parallel universe. How sad would that be?

Monster Scully GIF by The X-Files - Find & Share on GIPHY

Being grateful.

I’m pretty grateful for what I have, but there are times when I get a twinge of envy toward those who’s chickens get to graze on large pieces of land. Are my chickens missing out nutritionally because they aren’t pasture-raised? Is my family missing out on the extra nutrition we know is present in pasture-raised eggs? Unfortunately, the answer is yes.

Studies have shown that pasture raised hens produce eggs with more nutrition than those laid in confined areas. Of course, I’m not running a factory farm here (eww) and my chickens do get lots of nutrition in their diet in comparison, but what if I could give them some of what they’re missing because they don’t have access to pasture? Enter sprouted grains and seeds.

Season 2 Netflix GIF by Gilmore Girls  - Find & Share on GIPHY

It’s so easy.

Let’s talk about how cluckin’ easy it is to grow sprouts. If you have a fairly small flock like mine, here’s all you need:

  1. A Jar
  2. A Lid with Mesh Insert or another lid with small holes
  3. Seeds or Grains
  4. Water

And that’s it!

The process is super easy, I promise. Another BIG PLUS is that it can save you some money on your feed bill. Check out these easy instructions:

nom nom nom

Do you think this is something you would like to do for your flock? Let me know in the comments!

© 2017 Welcome to Chickenlandia