How to ferment chicken grain
Chicken Coach Blog
by Elise McNamara
2M ago
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How to create the ultimate backyard environment for your chickens
Chicken Coach Blog
by Elise McNamara
8M ago
I say this time and time again in my workshops and courses, but reducing flock stress and excellent husbandry are the best ways to keep your hens healthy and happy.  Like all animals, chickens have basic needs that need to be met in order to be healthy and live a stress-free and happy life. Get these fundamentals right, and you'll be on your way to chicken success!  Modern backyard chickens haven't lost their foraging instincts. They love nothing more than to scratch and peck and hunt for bugs, or socialise together while dust bathing (more on this later). A safe, functional, pr ..read more
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Why your backyard chickens are losing their feathers
Chicken Coach Blog
by Elise McNamara
8M ago
Updated: 11 March 2022   Have you noticed your ladies are looking a little lacklustre in the feather department?  Are there fewer eggs in the chicken coop? Or does your yard look like this? If so, don't panic! Shorter autumn days signal backyard chickens that it’s time to shed their feathers, so they head into winter with a lovely, thick, warm plumage.  This process is called moulting.  Why do chickens moult? Backyard chickens moulting is a perfectly natural cycle that all chooks go through in late summer to autumn each year. You may notice the following changes: In pluma ..read more
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Marek's Disease: Are Your Backyard Chickens at Risk?
Chicken Coach Blog
by Elise McNamara
8M ago
Poultry keepers must be aware of the risk of their flock contracting Marek’s Disease, particularly in growing and point of lay pullets. In our guide, we’ll answer the most frequently asked questions—how it’s transmitted, what symptoms to look for and how to prevent it. What is Marek’s Disease? Marek's Disease is a herpes virus infection that can cause tumours in chickens, and while there's a vaccination available, there is no cure.  Unfortunately, Marek’s Disease is prevalent worldwide. The good news is that only a small percentage of chickens infected with the virus actually b ..read more
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Choosing the best backyard chicken breeds: The ultimate guide
Chicken Coach Blog
by Elise McNamara
8M ago
Updated: 2 December 2022  With so many breeds of fowl in Australia and around the world, choosing the best chicken breeds as pets​ and layers can seem like one of the biggest problems with backyard chickens.  Panic not, hens, we have heard your cries and answered your question: “What are the best backyard chicken breeds in Australia?” Take a breath, and have a sticky beak at our ultimate guide.  We’ll talk about the best egg-layers, raising backyard chickens for beginners and the most kid-friendly chooks. Let’s dive in. What are the best egg laying chickens? One o ..read more
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A guide to chicken diseases and what to do with sick chickens
Chicken Coach Blog
by Elise McNamara
8M ago
Updated: 13 March 2023 It’s important to know what a sick chook looks like, so you can try to help your feathered friends feel better ASAP. Hours can matter when it comes to sick poultry. There are sure signs that will tell you if your lovely ladies are feeling under the weather. So let’s look at what’s normal and what’s not. What does a healthy backyard chicken look like? A healthy chicken is alert and busy. She knows what the other chickens in the backyard are doing. She’s pecking at the ground, scratching the dirt, and fighting for that tasty morsel.  When you first open your backyard ..read more
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7 easy steps to help backyard chickens survive a heatwave
Chicken Coach Blog
by Elise McNamara
8M ago
Updated: 6 January 2022 Summer is a critical time for your feathered friends, especially in Australia, where the weather can quickly soar above 40°C for days on end. A heatwave is the last thing we need for our chickens. Here are some practical tips to help your chickens through the summer months.  How to detect signs of heat stress in chickens Are chickens ok in hot weather? They can be if you take the proper precautions when the temps spike. Chickens under heat stress will show signs of: Beak parted Panting Wings away from the body Are your chickens overweight? Chickens that are olde ..read more
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Chicken Dictionary: Common Chicken Terms
Chicken Coach Blog
by Elise McNamara
8M ago
BANTAM: a miniature variety of a standard breed of chicken. A bantam is not a breed. For example, Leghorn and Leghorn Bantam.  BLOODLINE: also known as strains; a bird’s pedigree or ancestors, resulting in desired characteristics BROODY; BROODINESS: or ‘clucky’ — a broody hen stops laying and sits on her nest all day to hatch eggs, even if there are no eggs under her CHOOK: Australian term for chicken CLUCKY: See Broody; Broodiness CROP: An expandable pouch near the chicken’s throat in which food is pre-digested and ground up. A bird should have a full crop, bulging but soft, at dusk. Th ..read more
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Are Australorps the best layers?
Chicken Coach Blog
by Elise McNamara
8M ago
Updated: 2 December 2022 If you're thinking about getting Australorps because you've heard they're great layers, please read on! In my experience, bloodlines are far more important than the breed when it comes to egg-laying potential. A lot of my clients stress that their purebred hens are not laying, or not laying as expected. There are many possible reasons for this. Sometimes it's simply because it's autumn (or fall) and they're moulting. But some people expect eggs every day! This is not normal for any hen. Yes, commercial layers such as ISA Browns will lay up to 300 first-c ..read more
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What to do after chicks hatch under the hen?
Chicken Coach Blog
by Elise McNamara
8M ago
Following on from part one of our guide to hatching eggs under a broody hen is learning how to care for your hen and her chicks. So. Your hen has made it through the incubation period - yay! Now it's time for the exciting part - the chicks are hatching! Whether you are hatching under a broody hen or in an incubator, the incubation time doesn’t change. So you can expect your chicks to hatch on day 21, or sometimes a day or two earlier for smaller chicken breeds.  One of the things I love about hatching under a clucky chook is that she will cluck and "talk" to the chicks inside the egg ..read more
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