“Chill Out!” – Summertime Safety for Backyard Poultry

Gretchen Suggs
Gretchen Suggs

Gretchen Suggs is the Owner of Sweetheart Silkies, Inc., a nonprofit organization formed to promote poultry health and provide education to backyard flock enthusiasts. She has been breeding and showing silkie bantams for 6 years.

For most of us, summertime is for vacations, sandy beaches, celebrations, and beautiful weather.

For the poultry enthusiast, we always have that lingering worry in the back of our mind about our chickens’ ability to endure the rising temperatures.

Chickens are no different than the rest of us in having their own ways of regulating their body temperature. However, in extreme heat (100 degrees Fahrenheit or higher), their bodies may not be able to compensate and cool themselves properly. Luckily, they have us to help them cool off during these hot summer months.

A chicken’s normal body temperature has a large range and you may be surprised to find it is quite high already (104-107 degrees Fahrenheit). Our backyard poultry can stay relatively comfortable in conditions where the ambient temperature is 90-98 degrees Fahrenheit. Unfortunately, this relatively high body temperature also makes our flock more susceptible to heat stress than any other species. Continue reading ““Chill Out!” – Summertime Safety for Backyard Poultry”

Lessons I’ve Learned From Owning and Showing Goats

HeartyPost written by Brittany Couch, Intern

I never really thought I would own and show goats like I do now.

A lot of individuals that have goats and show them start when they’re young or even in their early teen years.

Me? I didn’t begin until my Junior year of highschool and I’ve loved it ever since. My best friend, Mysti-Ane’, was the one who got me into it.

Most people who get into showing animals do it because their parents did it or they already live on a farm with livestock. That wasn’t the case for me. My parents, when I told them I wanted to show goats, were a bit shocked, but now they love it too.

Fast forward to today….I’ve now owned South African Boer goats for six years. Continue reading “Lessons I’ve Learned From Owning and Showing Goats”

5 Common Chicken Diseases Every Chicken Keeper Should Know About

Kassie KreisslerPost written by Kassie Kreissler, Marketing Specialist | Event Coordinator | Social Media Expert | Live Music Supporter | Rancher | Horse Trainer

Being a chicken owner means being well-versed in care for your flock.

Most tend to be easy keepers, but occasionally (just as we all do) when they get sick or are having issues, we must deal with it. Here are some of the most common health problems you might face with your flock: Continue reading “5 Common Chicken Diseases Every Chicken Keeper Should Know About”

“Should we hatch chicks again this year?”

By Rick Mesz, Operations Manager

It’s that time of year again.  My wife says, “Should we hatch chicks again this year?”  This is an opportunity she discovered over 10 years ago when our oldest was still in preschool.  Now she’s in high school and driving.

But I have 4 daughters and the youngest has taken over the helm of the chick hatching project.  I respond, “I don’t care, but I don’t want anything to do with being responsible for any aspect of the chicks.”

So my wife, Debbie, confirms the girls are up for hatching again and fills out the paperwork to send it off to the University of Missouri extension office to be a participant. Continue reading ““Should we hatch chicks again this year?””

Chick Days: Springtime = Chick Time

Kassie KreisslerPost written by Kassie Kreissler, Marketing Specialist | Event Coordinator | Social Media Expert | Live Music Supporter | Rancher | Horse Trainer

Springtime means chick time, and it’s one of my favorite times of the year. Your nearby feed store is getting prepared for chick days and soon there will be lots of small chirping across the states.

When bringing home your new chicks, there are many things to consider on your chicken venture! Here are just a few:

Vaccinations are Key

Knowing the vaccine status of the new chicks is critical. Mixing your new chicks with current chickens could be exposing your current chickens to diseases/virus and vice versa.

It’s best to quarantine the new chicks for at least a few weeks. Typically, depending on the vaccine, most chicks are vaccinated within the first day-to-three days. The most common range of diseases for vaccination are: Continue reading “Chick Days: Springtime = Chick Time”

How to Prepare Your Chickens for Winter…By Kassie Kreissler

Kassie KreisslerPost written by Kassie Kreissler, Marketing Specialist | Event Coordinator | Social Media Expert | Live Music Supporter | Rancher | Horse Trainer

Winter can be a tough time of the year for those of us who raise chickens.

We’re faced with dark and cold mornings, continual temperature drops, and decreased egg production.

The good news? Winter doesn’t have to be detrimental to us or our chickens. We can several steps to prepare the coop and hens for winter just like we do everything else around the farm.  Continue reading “How to Prepare Your Chickens for Winter…By Kassie Kreissler”

The Molt is Coming! The Molt is Coming!…By Kassie Kreissler

Kassie KreisslerPost written by Kassie Kreissler, Marketing Specialist | Event Coordinator | Social Media Expert | Live Music Supporter | Rancher | Horse Trainer

Have your hens started losing their feathers? Is the coop filled with feathers?

Cooler weather and shorter days mean the molt is coming and your chickens are going to look rather naked.

But there’s nothing to worry about…this is natural! They must do this in the Fall to prepare for the cold temperatures ahead in the winter months. Continue reading “The Molt is Coming! The Molt is Coming!…By Kassie Kreissler”