Everything Your Chicken Coop Needs is RIGHT HERE

Friends, I have a confession. Maybe you already know my dark secret.

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Yep, it’s true. I cannot operate a staple gun or build ANYTHING myself. It’s only embarrassing because as a Backyard Chicken Educator, I feel that many people expect me to not only be a chicken-care-expert but also a master builder. Aren’t I supposed to be able to build a coop from an old fridge, two pallets, and a milk crate? It’s in my DNA!

I hate to break it to you, but it turns out that while I’m 100% that chicken lady, I have zero percent coop-builder in my ancestry chart. Perhaps it really is true that aliens built the pyramids (my family is Guatemalan).

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Wait, what?

But wait, I can STILL HELP

One thing you CAN count on me for is telling you what to look for in a coop. I know the attributes a coop needs to make your life easier. So whether your buying or building, you should check out this video to make sure your coop has all the right things:

Also, I know all the Cool People

I’m also excited to share that even though I don’t build, I have friends that do. I recently discovered a new YouTube channel Sonnie’s Place that has some easy DIY coop-building content I think you will love. Check out these two easy to follow videos for your coop-making research:

She’s got the SERIOUS SKILLZ
Even more skillz!

What about you? Are you a builder, a buyer, or a little bit of both? Let me know in the comments!

Homeopathics for Chickens

On this week’s Bawk Tawk live YouTube show and Podcast, I received a question regarding the top items I would suggest for new chicken keepers. Aside from the obvious (food, water, shelter), I also spoke about the importance of having a chicken first aid kit handy. Soon, I’ll be posting a video about my own Chicken First Aid Kit. But for now, I suggest doing a simple google search and checking out the top blogs for items to add to your kit (they are almost all the same).

Watch my simple Sick Chicken Action Plan here ^^

I did talk about something in my first aid kit that not many folks suggest. I’m a long time user of homeopathy for myself and my family, which includes my beloved chickens. While I am not a licensed homeopath (or a veterinarian, for that matter), I have been practicing homeopathy for twenty-five years, and I’ve seen it work too many times to deny it’s credibility.

Boy George in our bathroom stall, recovering from illness.

I have five homeopathic remedies that I would suggest for any beginner chicken keeper who is interested in this modality. I listed them in my live show and podcast, but in my nervousness (yep, it happens when I’m live LOL) I failed to mention what some of them are indicated for! Here they are WITH their indications listed:

Aconite Napellus, 30c: Use for sudden fear or shock, sudden chill, trauma, or when illness comes on suddenly.

Antimonium Crudum, 30c: Use for a chicken with obvious respiratory issues, specifically if there is rattling in the nasal passages or chest.

Arnica Montana, 30c: Use for shock, injury, bruising, swelling, pain.

Arsenicum Album, 30c: Use for ease in dying, especially if the chicken is in distress.

Carbo Vegetabilis, 30c: Use this as a last resort if your chicken appears to be extremely ill, toes curled, and near death. Can also be used for some respiratory issues.

Gelsemium, 30c: Use for a chicken who seems to have “given up”, is lethargic, won’t eat, and depressed.

I also want to mention something I didn’t include in my live show and podcast. It’s called PRID, and it’s a homeopathic drawing salve that I’ve heard from some reliable sources works great for bumblefoot. It’s a human-grade product that you can find on amazon and possibly your local Walmart.

IMPORTANT NOTE: You’ll notice that on the homeopathic vials, there will be other indications listed that may not match the ones I listed above. The companies that make homeopathics put a short list of indications on them, but any remedy has a number of uses, and it’s impossible to list them all on the vials.

Caring for Philippe during his respiratory illness.

As for dosing, I suggest placing one pellet into a small glass of water, then putting some of the water into a needle-less syringe. Give the chicken one dose by placing a few drops on the side of their beak and letting it drip into their mouth. Even if they are not actively drinking, if a drop gets into their mouth, that is a proper dose. Watch your chicken closely for improvement. You can dose again in a few hours and observe. If you see any change for the better, stop dosing and don’t dose again unless the chicken backslides. If the chicken gets worse or shows no improvement after a couple of doses, it’s probably not the right remedy. Stop dosing in that instance. <3

I know homeopathy isn’t for everyone, but I wanted to share what works for me. Is there something in your chicken first aid kit that you would like to share? Let me know in the comments!

Disclaimer Notice: The content of the Welcome to Chickenlandia YouTube Channel, website, blog, vlog, 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, 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.

Two Important Things to Know BEFORE You Get Chickens

How Many Chickens Should YOU Get?

There are two questions my students ask me when they are beginning their initial chicken research. The first is, “How many chickens should I get?” I always chuckle a little at this one, because I’m all too aware of the dangers of Chicken Math and how quickly it can take hold. That’s why I put together a video that breaks it down easily. Hopefully, you won’t make the same mistakes I did! I want your backyard chicken journey to be fun and not stressful. Especially when you’re just starting out. Click the play button below for more:

Now that you have an idea of how many chickens you should start out with, let me gently suggest that you create your chicken environment with MORE chickens in mind. Trust me on this one. You will very likely get more chickens than you originally thought. Chicken Math immunity is rare!

What Breeds are Best for Me?

You’ve probably spent the last six months drooling over all the beautiful breeds of chickens and wondering which ones would fit your needs. I have a very diverse flock, mainly since I do rescue. But if you’re just starting out, I have a few tried and true breeds to suggest for you. Click the play button for more:

So, there you go. Now you have some knowledge on where to start with backyard chicken keeping. One thing I know for sure is that you are about to embark on something surprisingly delightful! I couldn’t be happier for you. Let me know how it goes in the comments and definitely keep me update!

Can Chickens Change your Life?

My short answer is yes, but allow me to explain.

Many years ago, when my husband and I owned a farm store in Lynden, Washington, our business partner and I had to give a presentation to possible investors. My business partner started out by introducing himself as a life-long, hard-working farmer. He spoke admirably about his days spent with chores as a central theme, and how he has always focused on work ethic and responsibility. The room was impressed.

It soon became my turn to speak. I went into the meeting not really knowing what I was going to say, and I was even more unsure upon the realization that I would have to follow my business partner’s squeaky-clean intro. At the final moment, I did what I do best. I was brutally honest. To a fault, some may say.

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Me in highschool ^^

“I have been lazy all my life. In high school, I got bad grades and wasn’t motivated. I have really always liked to sleep in.” The room giggled. I was encouraged and went on.

“Then I got chickens and everything changed. Chickens make me get up early. They make me have to shovel poop. They force me to have a schedule and to be a more responsible person. And now, I want to work even harder by making our farm store the best it can be.” It was wide smiles and softened eyes all around. We didn’t get the investment money (probably a good thing in the long run), and we eventually had to let go of the store. But hey, at least I know I’m relatable. And I really did mean everything I said. Chickens made me grow up, and I will forever be grateful to them. For more, click here:

Chickens Made me a Better Person

Non-chicken-people often look puzzled when I tell them how chickens have changed my life for the better. But chicken-people always give me a knowing look, a nod, and sometimes even a teary-eyed affirmation. They know the surprising power chickens have to release burdens old and new. How have chickens made your life better? I’d love you to let me know in the comments.

Handling Respiratory Illness in Chickens

Oh boy. You just heard it. The dreaded “chicken sneeze”. Then you hear another and another. This isn’t just a one-time thing. Your chicken is sick. Sad face.

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Like any good chicken parent, you immediately go onto Facebook and create a panicked post about your chicken being sick. What you receive back is NOT HELPING.

“They are all infected now. It’s probably Marek’s.”

“Have you read that article about bird flu?” *posts article*

“You need to treat your whole flock with antibiotics, then bleach your yard.”

“When that happened to me, I culled my whole flock and started over!”

Just so we’re clear, I’m not a veterinarian, and nothing I’m about to say is meant to take the place of solid medical advice from a licensed professional. In fact, that’s always the best route to take if you can afford it. But there’s also something to be said for good old-fashioned common sense. Learning about at-home supportive care is really important, even if you seek veterinary care at some point.

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Poor Guy!

Remain Calm

The first thing I do when my chickens come down with something respiratory in nature is follow my Sick Chicken Action Plan, which is a quick and memorable guide to follow when you have a chicken that is under the weather. Check it out here:

For respiratory illness, I’ve added a few immune-boosting strategies to the action plan. They are for both your actively sick chickens and the rest of your flock. This podcast gives the most detailed instructions for what I do when my flock is hit with a respiratory bug. Here’s Season 1 Episode 17 of Bawk Tawk or find it on all your major podcast apps.

You might be wondering why I don’t immediately suggest antibiotics as part of my supportive care plan. Well, I actually DO think there’s a time and place for antibiotics, and I do have a bottle in my chicken medicine cabinet. But it’s not the first thing I reach for. Many chicken illnesses present with similar symptoms, and some of them cannot be treated with antibiotics. In my opinion, it’s wise not to use them unless you know for sure what you are dealing with. The overuse of antibiotics has had a negative impact on not only backyard chickens in general but humans and other animals as well. Unless I have been advised to do so by a veterinary professional, I am very hesitant to treat my chickens with antibiotics much less my whole flock (which you will see suggested often in chicken forums and social groups).

Prevention is Best

Dealing with illness in our flock is never easy, but it helps when it’s not made harder by unnecessary panic. Even better, let’s prevent illness by boosting wellness! To learn more about how you can boost your chickens’ immune systems naturally, click below!

What about you? Have you dealt with sneezing chickens before? Let me know in the comments!

Disclaimer Notice: The content of the Welcome to Chickenlandia YouTube Channel, website, blog, vlog, 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, 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.

Caring for Older Chickens in Winter

My first babies. <3

Almost a decade ago, I walked into a farm store and bought ten little fluffy chicks. One of them was especially cute. She had feathered feet, and I was told she was a bantam cochin. That little fluff ball has lived in Chickenlandia ever since, and has pecked and scratched her way into my heart. I named her Cinnamon, then Pumpkin, then Cinnamon again.

Cinnamon is on the right. <3 I think that’s Philippe on the left, looking like a cameraman LOL.

Over the years, Cinnamon has needed little care. She’s very hardy and has never been sick *knock on wood*. I confess that she really hasn’t gotten much attention from me. That is, until lately, when I realized how old she was. During the last cold snap, I brought her and two of her elderly sisters into the garage at night.

On their way inside!

It didn’t end there. I also had the experience of going into my coop and noticing something very strange about my little rooster Boy George. His comb was purple! Not just a little bit purple, a LOT purple. I realized that he was also getting older (7) and needed to convalesce inside the house.

All these old chickens! I suppose that’s what happens when you have what is basically a chicken retirement home. To see exactly what I did to care for my older chickens during our latest cold snap, click the play button below!

My best thumbnail so far LOL!

What about you? Do you bring your chickens inside when it’s cold? Let me know in the comments!

Merry Christmas from Chickenlandia!

It’s Christmas Eve! I hope you are having a wonderful day. Just wanted to take a moment to share with you this year’s Chickenlandia Christmas Special, Chicken Claus Saves Christmas! You won’t want to miss this one:

For even more Christmas spirit direct from Chickenlandia, watch last year’s Christmas Special, all about what Christmas means in Chickenlandia.

May you have a wonderful holiday, whatever you celebrate. And may there someday be peace on earth.

Love, Dalia

The President of Chickenlandia

How to Care for a Sick Chicken

The curse of the “Man Cold”.

I don’t know about you, but I’m literally the worst sick person. In our household, I’m the one who gets “Man Colds”, while The First Man will hide illnesses as well as any chicken I’ve ever known. In fact, one time when he told me he was feeling sick and that his back hurt, I confess that I secretly rolled my eyes thinking he was overreacting. That is, until he ended up in the hospital with a serious case of pneumonia! Oops. Sorry, sweetheart…

The Royals of Welcome to Chickenlandia
He’s a good First Man.

Not calm as a cucumber.

Let’s just say I don’t handle illness, or honestly any kind of emergency, very well. In the past, I’ve been known to panic, which really isn’t helpful in a moment where it’s crucial to be level headed. It’s for this reason that I totally understand when a student or fan messages me frantically, asking what to do about their chicken who has suddenly become ill. I’m happy to lay out some simple steps for them, while they decide if veterinary care is in order. If only I could stay so calm when it’s one of my own chickens!

Caring for Philippe during his respiratory illness.

Making it simple.

I started thinking… Wouldn’t it be great if there was a very simple word to remember when you find a sick chicken? A word that revealed an easy action plan so that panic didn’t take over? I brainstormed and came up with the acronym R.E.S.T. Each letter stands for an action you can take to make your chicken comfortable during a sudden illness. Click the play button below for the easy plan:

I wish chickens could tell us what is wrong when they don’t feel good. And I wish I handled illness better in general. Until then, I’ve got Chickenlandia’s Sick Chicken Action Plan to fall back on! And guess what? It works pretty well on humans, too. 😉

Do you have anything you like to do every time you care for a sick chicken? 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.

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!

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