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  1. MadChickensVT

    Nature Education Site

    I recently finished rebuilding this site and thought some of you with kids might find it interesting http://www.exploringnature.org/
  2. MadChickensVT

    What did they do for calcium in the old days?

    My goal is to have my chickens be self-sustaining at least in the warmer months. They can find plenty to eat around my place, but this spring I quickly discovered they need supplemental calcium or they stop laying. Yes, I could stockpile bags of calcium chips, but that's not my goal. What did...
  3. MadChickensVT

    Stopping broody behavior with wire bottom cages, but what about the cold?

    I'm about to build some cages with wire bottoms to stop our two broody hens from being broody. I'm concerned that they will get too cold because our temps are still going below freezing. Will putting 2x4s on their sides in the cages to give them something to roost on be enough to keep them warm...
  4. MadChickensVT

    Will chickens use wider roost if their feet are cold on narrow roost?

    My coop has multiple roosts. One is a two-by-four on it's side, 8ft long. Another is a piece of pine about 2inches wide, and approx 6ft long. The other roosting spot is the 1" boards keeping the wood chips from falling out the door, they're in a u-shape around the doorway. We're about to have...
  5. MadChickensVT

    Any suggestions for what to plant to help feed the chickens?

    We have 17 birds and are expecting to increase a bit this summer When they were free-ranging they only ate 1lb or so of pellets per day, but now with the cold weather they're going through 5lbs a day. The seed catalogs are coming in the mail and we're starting to think about what to grow next...
  6. MadChickensVT

    Feeding egg shells

    I'm considering feeding my chickens their egg shells. There's usually some egg white/yolk still clinging to the eggs. Do I risk them turning into egg eaters? I've noticed some people bake their shells before feeding, is that to prevent egg eating? Thanks for any info
  7. MadChickensVT

    Looking for Timer with Dimmer

    I'd like to give my birds a more gradual transition to darkness. I'd just run the light in the early-AM, but I find that running it in the evening helps remind them to go back to their coop instead of our porch Does anybody know of some good light timers that dim instead of abruptly cutting...
  8. MadChickensVT

    Eggs waaayyy under porch. Will they stink?

    We finally spotted the eggs that one of our Americaunas has been laying under the porch. We were suspicious because we'd hear her doing the egg song and then emerge. I can see at least three, but there's likely more. We'll be fencing to keep her and others from under there. But it'll take some...
  9. MadChickensVT

    Our first hawk attack

    Today we had the first hawk attack that I know of. We got our birds in the spring and have been free-ranging them for at least a few months. This afternoon my wife and I were getting ready to go for a walk in the beautiful sunny warm day with our baby girl and GSD. I heard a commotion in the...
  10. MadChickensVT

    Winter Ventilation

    I know about the 1sf per bird ventilation rule, but does that also apply when it's below freezing? What about below zero Fahrenheit? I'm trying to finalize the ventilation in the new coop, and I need to know how many square feet of always open ventilation I need. I'm planning on ventilating...
  11. MadChickensVT

    Breakfast with our own eggs for the very first time!

    We had a hen start laying 8 days ago. We're still not sure who it is. We have a suspicion it's one of our Black Austrolorpes because I saw her in the pen in the garage shortly before I found one of the eggs. They'll be out in their new coop soon. She's been laying one per day except for skipping...
  12. MadChickensVT

    Are worms as much of a problem in northern areas?

    I'm in Vermont and have my first flock of 16 chickens. They're about 5 months old. I was just reading a thread about worms. It seems like most of the posts are from people on southern states. Are worms as much of a problem up north? The first feed we gave them was medicated, but other than that...
  13. MadChickensVT

    Questions about introducing a hen to our flock

    We have 15 hens and a rooster that we got as chicks this past spring. The breeds are listed in my sig. They get along well. Some friends of ours had 4 hens but recently lost all but one to a fox. She's either a Barred Rock or Auracana and is 3 or 4 years old. They're worried that she's lonely...
  14. MadChickensVT

    Vermont Chicken Coop Build Log

    I finally started building our coop today after many, many hours of research. Over the last week I've made a clearing on the edge of our lawn. The coop will face southwest. I brought some lumber over to figure out exactly where the coop should go. I realized that one of the stumps was in the...
  15. MadChickensVT

    Northern coop plans - comments wanted, especially on ventilation

    I'm building a coop here in Vermont to house our 15 hens and 1 rooster. All are supposedly cold-hardy breeds. See my sig line for the list. We get fairly cold weather here, and usually have a week or two of -20 at night and 0 during the day. It's somewhat windy at our location. I ordered the...
  16. MadChickensVT

    What are folks up north doing for nest boxes?

    What are folks up north doing for nest boxes? Internal or External? Insulation? Community or divided? How big? External access would be nice and we have the skills to make it tight..... Thanks for any info
  17. MadChickensVT

    Our chickens with their Shepherd

    Our 2yo male GSD is doing great with the chickens we got this spring. They free range during the day and he keeps them safe.
  18. MadChickensVT

    Has anybody used a heated bucket with nipples?

    Seems like hanging a heated bucket with nipples on the bottom would be a nice setup. Has anybody done it? How many watts? How many nipples should I have for 16 chickens? Thanks
  19. MadChickensVT

    Square feet per bird in cold climate

    I've seen lots of folks mention that birds need more than the usual 4sf each when they're going to be in the coop a lot due to cold weather. Does anyone care to give some input here? Any suggestions for keeping them happy in the winter in the coop, like shelf areas to give them a sense of more...
  20. MadChickensVT

    Screen or hardware cloth in floor of raised coop?

    We're building our coop a couple feet off the ground. A friend of my wife's had a weasel burrow through the wood floor of her coop and kill all her birds. Has anybody else had that problem? Would screen be enough to prevent that, or would I need 1/2" hardware cloth? Thanks
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