Preparing Your Backyard Chickens for Winter: Everything You Need to Know!

Be grateful…

I have a confession: I am trying really hard to adjust my attitude in terms of the colder months. I confess that I complain A LOT about cold and snow, which has only amplified since I began my chicken keeping journey. If you’ve ever had chickens over the winter, you probably know what I mean.

Me being super cranky about snow LOL.

Recently, I made a promise to myself (and to the long-suffering First Man), to be more grateful for all things, including Old Man Winter. To achieve this, I’ve had to make some adjustments in the chicken yard to make life easier for me and the chooks. One of those things was adding electricity to Chickenlandia. This was, like, the best thing I ever did.

Best purchase ever, a heated waterer.

“Did you add power so that you can add heat?”, you might be asking. No, I actually don’t recommend heat in the chicken coop unless you REALLY cannot keep the moisture down. It’s moisture rather than cold that can really do a number on your flocks in the winter. Heat lamps can be a fire hazard, and chickens do best when they can acclimate to the changing seasons. If you absolutely must add heat, I recommend a radiant heater like this, or this.

Prepare their housing.

There are other things that you can do during the colder months regarding your chicken coop and run that can really help your winterizing efforts. In this first video, I talk about ventilation, insulation, and how to give your chickens enough space in the winter:

If you do find that you chicken coop is holding too much moisture, you are going to need to add some ventilation. To do so, you will need to find a place up high and not near where you chickens roost to place some ventilation holes. Cross ventilation is best, and make sure to cover any openings with hardwire mesh (to prevent critters from coming in to get warm). Watch this video on Chicken Coop Ventilation for more:

Keep them comfortable.

Winterizing your coop and adding good ventilation might not be enough, depending on your climate. You will also have to think about the changing nutritional needs of your chickens when they cannot access bugs and pasture. Check out this next informative video about keeping them happy and healthy in colder times:

Do you have anything special you do during the winter that helps your flock? Let me know in the comments!

Preventing Mites and Lice During the Colder Months

I feel like we didn’t even get a fall this year. Who’s with me? Wasn’t it just summer? And now here we are, with a frozen hose. I confess to being slightly cranky about it. I’m working on being more grateful (I mean, I’m writing this on Thanksgiving so I should really check myself LOL)

Community Dust Bath!

One season ends and another begins

We’re on the tale-end of molting and parasite season, but it’s not too late to do something a little extra to prevent mites and lice through the colder months. And what I’m about to show you really is something you can do all year. It has a ton of benefits regardless of the season.

Most of us are aware that our chickens need to dust bathe in order to stay clean and external parasite free. But what are we to do during the rainy and/or snowy seasons? It’s hard for a chicken to find a place to dustbathe during this time of year. They need dry, dusty dirt or sand. What’s a chicken to do?

Homemade Dusting Box?

Chicken parents know what’s up

Enter you: the chicken parent. You can provide them with a DIY dustbath, complete with dry dirt or sand, diatomaceous earth, wood ash, and even aromatic herbs. Want to know how to do it? Click the play button below:

And if you want to be REALLY extra, you can watch my update video where I show you a neat chicken coop HACK for a mess-free dust box:

What special things do you do for your chickens in the colder months? Let me know in the comments!

How to Deal with Mud in the Chicken Yard

Mud, glorious mud. What I would give to be at a swanky spa right now, covered in a mud mask. But walking knee deep in mud at 7am on a Monday morning, slipping, and having to see the chiropractor immediately because I broke my butt? Yeah, that’s not my idea of relaxing. It’s also not fun for chickens, who have a greater chance of getting sick in wet, muddy conditions. Why did I have to move to the Pacific Northwest? LOL *sigh*

Not a Spa Day

Last year in Chickenlandia! It was just awful.

To make matters worse, depending on where you live, muddy season might come at the same time as molting season. And molting season is also parasite season. Ugh… I love pumpkins but Autumn is not the easiest time for chicken keepers.

Chickens love pumpkins, too!

Easy as Pie!

It took me a long time to find a solution for my muddy chicken yard, but I’m proud to say that Chickenlandia is FINALLY mud free! How did I do it? Check out this video from my YouTube Channel to find out:

Do you have any nifty mud solutions? Let me know in the comments!

How and What to Feed Backyard Chickens

Whether you are just getting started on your backyard chicken journey or are you a seasoned chicken parent, there’s always something new to be learned about how and what to feed your chickens. Check out my video by clicking the play button below!

What do you feed your chickens? Let me know in the comments!

The 2019 Chickenlandia Halloween Special!

Making Videos is Hard…and FUN

When I started my YouTube Channel last summer, I had no idea the work it would involve. I also had no idea how much it would fulfill my life. Sometimes, making videos week after week can be overwhelming. But like most passions, the moments when it feels like work are fleeting.

Art by Sarah Hudock

When I was a kid, all I wanted was to be a super star. It didn’t really matter what kind. One day I wanted to be an actress, the next a rock star, the next a Great American Filmmaker. I just wanted to create, and for others to benefit from my creations. I also wanted to save the world. The latter hasn’t happened (yet) but with the creation of Chickenlandia, LLC, all my other dreams are coming true!

Book Dalia Monterroso for an event
Me and Gnoli during my TEDx Talk!

Holiday Special, Anyone?

I love educating people about chickens, which is why there is so much educational content on my YouTube channel and website. But you know what else I love? Entertaining! And filmmaking! That’s why every once in a while I just have to release a holiday special, or a mockumentary, or even a gag PSA. Last year, around this time, I released my first Chickenlandia Halloween Special. Check it out:

And this year, I’ve taken it up a notch. The 2019 Chickenlandia Halloween Special has Kiki being abducted by aliens, all coordinated by Pac-Man the Hen. Could this be the sequel to My Chickens Want to Raid Area 51? YOU DECIDE. Unless you’re chicken. LOL

Who did Kiki get so BIG?

What’s your passion? Let me know in the comments!

How to Rescue Backyard Chickens (and other things)

How many times in your life have you heard the phrase, “everything happens for a reason”? Honestly, after a tragedy, it can be kind of an annoying thing to hear. How could something that hurts so much be something that’s meant to be? Perhaps we need to come up with a new phrase. Maybe, “there’s a lesson in every experience” is better (but only say that to yourself, not to someone who is in the grieving or other difficult process).

I Wish I Could Rescue Them All

Two amazing rescues, Little Stinker and Kiki

In Chickenlandia, there are many animals who have a difficult past. I have some birds that were the only ones left after a predator attack, some that lived in a small cage until they arrived here, and some who’s personalities are so, how can I put this nicely, “assertive” that would likely have been dinner had they not come through these gates. All are welcome. I love them all.

Chickens and ducks are not the only rescues here. We also have a pack of tiny dogs that each have tragic beginnings. Two of them in line to be put down because their humans didn’t want them anymore. One was a stray, running through the streets of a rough California neighborhood. And one lived in a home with known drug activity.

My little flock of dogs!

Paying it Forward

But as someone who has dealt with hard times myself, I hold dear the belief that joy has a way of returning. In fact, maybe that’s the lesson of my experiences. It was important for me to lose joy and then find it again, so that I can help to bring it back in others.

To learn all about how to rescue backyard chickens, click the play button below! I also talk about things you can do to make the transition easier on them. Oh, and don’t forget there’s a little (and I mean he’s LITTLE) surprise at the end!

What about you? Do you believe joy can return after hardship? Let me know in the comments!

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.

Urban Chicken Keeping | How to Keep Chickens in the City!

Oh, how I love my chickens! But I also love those big city lights. Well, maybe not REALLY big city. Small town is more like it LOL.

Taylor Dock in Bellingham, Washington

I do think of Chickenlandia as being an urban flock, even though I actually live about a block outside of the city limits. But I live in a subdivision, so many of the issues I face are similar to those who keep chickens in urban areas. Close quarters mean extra consideration for your neighbors!

My flock enjoying each other’s company.

They Lurk Among Us

Many people think that since they live in the city, predator proofing their chicken coop and run isn’t as important. This is so not true! You definitely need to be mindful of the many critters that live in urban areas. Raccoons and domestic dogs are the worst offenders. As always, my recommendation is to make it impossible for them to get to your chickens, rather than getting angry at them for doing what’s in their nature. I have to keep my own dogs away from my chickens to keep everyone safe!

Welcome to Chickenlandia Dogs
Sofie the Chicken Chaser!

Be Proactive!

Keeping chickens in a small space means that if disease or parasites hit, you can’t just move the whole flock to a new area of pasture. This makes preventing illness and parasites even more important. I’ve gotten into the habit of offering immune boosting herbs, parasite repelling herbs, and sprouted grains, among other things. Stay tuned for more information on exactly what I do to keep them healthy and happy!

Kiki checking out a healthy, homemade treat!

Watch and Learn!

This week’s video is a detailed look at my urban coop and run, with some sound advice on how to make things super easy and fun for your city flock. Click the play button below to check it out!

Do you or are you thinking about having chickens in the city? Let me know in the comments!

Do Natural Remedies for Chickens Actually Work?

A real lifesaver…

I have long been someone who champions for natural remedies. My appreciation for them began when I was only twenty years old, and had hit rock bottom as far as my health and well-being were concerned. At a crucial moment, someone told me these words: “If you want to change your life, you should start with what you eat.” They then escorted me, crying and hungover, to my very first health food store, where I received my first lesson in holistic ideas. They don’t know it, but they likely saved my life that day.

Since then, a huge part of my mission has been to find the most natural and organic ways of dealing with health issues. When I get a cold, I search through my numerous homeopathic kits for a remedy that matches my symptoms. When my children get a bruise, I rub arnica gel on it. And when my six-pound dog Missy eats an entire chocolate protein bar (she did this a few days ago!), I call the vet in a total panic, then support her with something natural if they tell me she doesn’t have to come in.

It came naturally.

My chickens also receive the benefit of my holistic habits. They eat organic Scratch and Peck Feed and are mostly treated holistically when needed. My family has a licensed homeopath who is happy to advise me on my chickens. Even so, there have been a few times when I didn’t have a choice but to administer conventional medicine. There is certainly a time and place for it.

Picachu receiving a homeopathic mixed into her food.

So, why haven’t I talked more about natural alternatives on my website or YouTube Channel? Well, in case you haven’t noticed, natural remedies sometimes get kind of a bad rap. Due to advice that’s too general, hearsay, or expecting natural remedies to work in the same one-shot manner harsher chemicals do, many people have lost faith in their efficacy. This has created a bit of a riff in the chicken keeping community. It’s unfortunate, because in a world where there is already so much conflict, can’t we at least get along regarding chickens?

Making the decision to share.

Last winter, I had a respiratory illness sweep through my flock. Two chickens in particular were very bad off. Even though I had purchased antibiotics and was prepared to use them if necessary, I decided to first consult with my family’s homeopath. She suggested a remedy tailored for their symptoms. With a little patience and a lot of TLC, they fully recovered! I couldn’t help but make a video about it.

Until very recently, I haven’t felt like I had enough knowledge to really dive into some natural protocols for common chicken issues. That’s why I have decided to build a team of experts that can consult with Chickenlandia and bring more pointed information to you. I want to help you learn how you can raise your chickens naturally and confidently, without replacing veterinary advise, of course. It’s going to take a little time, but stay tuned…

In the meantime, check out my latest video about how I treated my sweet little rescue chicken Kiki naturally.

What do you think? Can chickens be raised naturally? Let me know in the comments!

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.

Renovate My Coop, Renovate My Life

This week was a busy one. I’ve got a contest going (if you haven’t heard, click here), the kids are having their first full day of school today, and Chickenlandia had a TOTAL COOP MAKEOVER. Yup, it happened. After so many years of wanting to paint the coop, it’s finally become a reality thanks to my friend Julie and her kiddo Anika.

Totally awesome people!

It all started in the wee hours of Sunday morning. At sunrise, I went outside to feed the chickens and let them stretch their legs. They were going to have to be in their pen for a while so I thought I’d give them a chance to walk around before wrangling them in.

It was actually pretty easy with grubs LOL.

My friend Julie arrived very early to help. When I say “help” I really mean she did most of it. As you may already know, I don’t do a lot of hard labor in the chicken yard. It’s not for lack of wanting… Some of it has to do with physical ability, some with insecurity. I have never felt like I’m in my element when I’m attempting to build or fix things on my own. In fact, in my Backyard Chicken classes, I make a point to tell my students that I really shouldn’t be trusted with a staple gun. But is all that about to change?

Look! I’m doing a thing!

I’ve always said that chickens can change lives, and once again, this has proven to be true. I started out worrying and sleepless on Saturday night because I was so concerned I wouldn’t be able to complete this project. But by Monday evening, when everything was done and the chickens were in their fancy new coop, I had earned a renewed faith in my abilities. Aren’t chickens magic?

My chickens enjoying their life.

So, do I consider myself a “better” chicken keeper now that I have some DIY skills under my belt? Not necessarily. Different chicken keepers come with different sets of skills, abilities, and priorities. They also come from varying economic statuses, cultures, and philosophies. In Chickenlandia, It’s ALL good. There is only one requirement: love chickens. And do your best to love yourself and other humans, too. <3

Check out the video series of my complete chicken coop makeover on YouTube! There’s even some cool aerial shots in the second video, taken by The First Man of Chickenlandia.

PART ONE
PART TWO

Thank you for watching! And remember: your coop is beautiful!

A Backyard Chicken Event!

Okay, so actually, it was an event for dogs and a fundraiser for the Whatcom Humane Society. But I went there representing my friends over at Scratch and Peck Feeds, and made the day about chickens! Check out the fun by clicking the play button below.

Do your chickens have any dog friends? Let me know in the comments!

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