Hen Hints

I’m dumping my accumulated store of wood ashes onto the dust-bathing sites preferred by the hens. This is supposed to be helpful in controlling mites, which always give me trouble in the warm parts of the year.

One of the problems I have with the pan-style waterers I use with the hens (Little Giant Pet Waterers)is that the hens don’t hesitate to poop in the waterer. I’m trying those conical wire tomato-cage thingies as a guard. We’ll see what happens.

The earlier and oftener you collect the eggs, the cleaner they’ll be. There will be more of them, too. The hens can’t break an egg or smear dirt on it if you’ve already collected it.

I’ve been having trouble with aerial predators picking off hens that insist on roosting on the roofs of the hen houses. I’m thinking about putting barrier wires around the roof, sticking up a foot or two above the roof line, and at a slant to keep the hens from roosting on them. Sorta like Rommel’s “asparagus” in Normandy. If anyone tries this before I get around to it, let me know.

If you use electric fence to protect your chickens, keep mowing the grass! Lush spring grass shorts out electric fences, no matter how powerful your fence charger. It’s hard to keep the voltage up to standard this time of year.

And in spite of high feed prices, don’t let your birds run out of feed. This is especially true of baby chicks. Never let them run out of feed, never let them run out of water, and (for chicks) never let them get cold. I like automatic waterers and large-capacity feeders. But you have to check both all the time, or you won’t notice when things go wrong. I find that I have to do a chore every day or I stop doing it entirely.

I Publish Books! Norton Creek Press

Thoughts? Questions? Comments?

I'm wondering what your thoughts are on this issue. Most of my posts are based on input from people like you, so leave a comment below!

Author: Robert Plamondon

Robert Plamondon has written three books, received over 30 U.S. patents, founded several businesses, is an expert on free-range chickens, and is a semi-struggling novelist. His publishing company, Norton Creek Press, is a treasure trove of the best poultry books of the last 100 years. In addition, he holds down a day job doing technical writing at Workspot.

3 thoughts on “Hen Hints”

  1. I note you are using your wood ashes for the hens to scratch around in – a quick comment here, I hope that your don’t burn any “trash” wood i.e. treated wood or plywood or painted wood or pressed wood etc as it all contains poisons that would be bad for your chickens and you!
    Next comment, I too had some of my chickens being picked off by hawks. My set up is probably different to yours as I only have about a dozen and a half hens and they stay in their ‘run’ most of the day. Their run is about 30 foot by 50 foot, in the afternoon, say after 3.00 I let them out to roam my garden, which is just 2 acres. I stopped the hawks by putting string accross the run (the fence around the run is about 7′ high – 8′ posts sunk in 1′) the string just criss crosses back and forth. I figure the haks can see it and are afraid of hitting it if they dive bomb the hens. I havn’t lost one since. I let them out to roam after 3.00 because by then they have laid in their nests in the hen house, I don’t want them to lay out in the bushes. They seem to be OK out in the garden – I assume they can spot the hawks and hide under the buses and trees of which there are plenty. Works for me anyway.
    Thanks for the articles I’m enjoying them.

    The Silver Fox (It’s OK I won’t bother your hens!)

  2. I was wondering just the other day “What happened to Plamondon – did he finally go broke farming, see the light and run screaming off into the bush?” Glad to see you are still alive and kicking, and still farming.
    This is going to be fun – I am not a good spectator and always have comments on anything anyone has to say. It was frustrating to just read and not be able to reply.

    Up here on Vancouver Island there is a derth of point-of-lay hens available this year so I am raising about 150 pullets that I got from Murray McMurray. (Sometime I will tell you about the six hour horror show of getting them across the border). I am just now putting them out to pasture. They are bringing $15 right now at 8 weeks and will go for $20 – $25 when they reach point-of-lay, if any of them reach that age here on my farm, they are going fast.

    I went solar powered electric mesh fencing, covered with the netting that they use in orchards and berry farms. Looks easy enough, I’ll let you know. Hey. Robert, can we send pictures to this blog?
    Enough for right now – have to go erect some fencing.
    Glad you are here.

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