Live Meal Worms for Chickens

Why should you feed your chickens mealworms? 
There is a myth that chickens are vegetarians. Have you seen the egg cartons at the grocery store that say "Eggs produced by organic, anti-biotic free, vegetarian fed chickens??"
Why do we think chickens should only be fed grains? This is totally unnatural, and common sense should tell us that, chickens are not vegetarians, they are omnivores, meaning they will eat just about anything. This does not mean that they should eat everything though. (For a list of things you should never give your chickens, click here.)
 Don't you remember watching cartoons and seeing the chickens chasing worms and bugs? This is the natural diet for chickens. Free-range chickens will feast on worms, crickets, and any type of bug that crosses its path, in addition to weeds, grass, herbs, plants, seeds, etc.

Mealworms are the larval stage of a beetle.
Photo Courtesy: Wikipedia
If left in warm temperatures with moisture and feed such as oatmeal, these worms will continue to mature until the reach the beetle stage. The chickens will also gladly eat this beetle.

They are an excellent source of protein!

Live Mealworms 
Protein: 20%
Fat: 13%
Fiber: 2%
Water: 62%

Dried Mealworms
Protein: 53%
Fat: 28%
Fiber: 6%
Water: 5%

Not only does protein help a chicken recover from a molt quicker, but it also helps fulfill a nutritional need that may decrease instances of pecking within your flock.
Another great reason to give mealworms as treats to your flock, is that you can train them with the mealworms. Our flock will actually return to the coop when they see me approaching with a container of mealworms. Yes, they know and recognize the container on sight. This is a great trick to have up your sleeve if you are allowing your hens to free-range and you need to get them back to safety quickly.

I have found a couple places that I like to purchase mealworms from recently, and I have had great success with both. Personally, I buy these items in bulk, but I have given links to both the large bulk quantities, and the smaller sizes also.
For dried mealworms, I prefer the brand: Chubby Mealworms
For live mealworms, I prefer the brand: Rainbow Mealworms

~Here are the links that I use to purchase mealworms~

Our Bumble Foot Experience

Recently, we have been dealing with a case of Bumblefoot in one of our hens.
Bumblefoot is an infection in the foot that can be caused by any number of things from a cut on their foot, to any simple damage they might get from scratching the ground or even jumping from the roost. This damage, left untreated, can eventually lead to death in the chicken. The good thing is that Bumblefoot is east to spot if you are doing checks on your hens every few weeks. It is very easy to treat if caught early enough, but this case, unfortunately didn't respond to the easy methods of treatment. Normally, simply removing the black scab, treating with Vetericyn, Green Goo, and wrapping it can cure the very early stages of Bumblefoot.

As you can see in the photo, the swelling in between her toes was significant.  I do not have individual photos of the surgery we did on her poor foot, but I though I could show you the few photos I have, along with an explanation of what we did. 

I began by soaking her foot in epsom salts to clean it really well and soften the skin. 
Then, I removed the black scab from the bottom of her foot with tweezers and used surgical scissors to cut a small section around the area. 

Then pressing on the foot, I mashed out the infection, and was able to get to the kernel. This kernel was what was causing the swollen area between the toes, and refused to allow the wound to heal. 

Next, we soaked the open wound in Betadine, dried it off, and sprayed it in Vetericyn to help kill off any lingering infection. I then coated the wound in Green Goo, and wrapped it in gauze.

 Next, we sliced the 3 inch vet wrap into small strips, and we wrapped this around the foot, and in between the toes, so that she can still perch on the roost. 

I finished it off with a a few thin strips of medical tape to ensure that her incessant pecking at the wrap will not result in her getting out of the bandage.

It is always a good idea to have the necessary products on hand to treat many different things that could happen to your flock. It is bad when something happens, and you have to order or drive around looking for the products you need to treat it. 

 I have a favorite article written by Fresh Eggs Daily called:

~Here are the products that we suggested above~

Old Fashioned Dixie Recipes~ Raisin Sauce

We love collecting antiques, and one thing in particular that
Penny has collected through the years are these wonderful wooden cookbooks.
We have tried some of the recipes from them several times, and they have become
our favorites. This raisin sauce, for example, has become a staple for Christmas Eve and Easter.
We absolutely love the way it tastes on ham, and it is so simple to make.
1 Cup Raisins
1 Cup Water
5 Cloves
3/4 Cup Brown Sugar
1 Teaspoon Cornstarch
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
Pinch of Pepper
1 Tablespoon Butter
1 Tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar
1/4 Teaspoon Worcestershire

Cover raisins with water, add cloves, bring to boil, then let simmer for 10 minutes.
Mix together sugar, cornstarch, salt, and pepper in bowl, then add this to raisins/water.
Stir till thickened (you may need to heat it up again to get it thickened), then add the butter, vinegar, and worcestershire. I actually transfer it to a gravy boat, and set it out to pour on the ham. So good-watch out for those 5 cloves (remove them if you can see them)!


~Want a copy of your very own?~

Fresh Water Even in Winter

During the winter, it is not easy to keep fresh water in the coop. Every morning, we clean the water containers, and put fresh water out for the chickens! We have one heated water container in the main run, but the other one usually freezes during the night, and occasionally during the day also. The chickens still need access to unlimited fresh water in the winter also. 
This morning, I was refilling their containers, and I noticed, that even though it was 29 degrees outside, they were wanting the ice cold water directly from the hose pipe! Keep this in mind, it may take a little longer during the winter months, but your chickens can still get dehydrated if their water containers are constantly frozen.

One thing we leaned the hard way about out water spigot is how easily it freezes up, we were carrying 3 water containers to the house for a couple of days for refills until we figured out a solution. We  make sure to remove the hose after each use, and we have wrapped the main pipe in pipe insulation and zip tied it all the way to the ground, so far, it hasn't frozen up again. 

(photo credit and affiliate link to Amazon)
Here is a link to the heated water container that we currently use.

10 Things You Didn't Know About Us

10 Things You Didn't Know About Us!

~Let's Play A Game~
Here are 10 random facts. You tell us who they belong to: 
Brittany (left) or Penny (right) or Bella (middle)

1. Has A Master's Degree (Brittany)
2. Has a Black Belt in Isshin-Ryu Karate (Brittany & Penny)
3. Worked in a florist. (Penny)
4. Lived in Texas (Penny)
5. Raised Siberian Huskies (Penny)
6. Certified scuba diver (Penny)
7. Was homeschooled (Brittany)
8. Is a nurse (Penny)
9. Can walk on Stilts (Brittany)
10. Overcame physical disabilities from traumatic 
injuries immediately after birth. (Bella)

Let's see who can get them all right!
Make your guesses in the comments!

A Christmas Tea~for Lunch

 It has been cold and rainy the last few days leading up to Christmas. We have had a few extra chores to do at the coop every day this week, so I headed to the house prepared to spend my lunch hour working at the coop. It was a nice surprise to come to Happy-Days-Farm today and find this lovely meal waiting.  A simple meal of broccoli and cheese soup and an egg salad sandwich, paired with a wonderful cup of hot Harney & Sons rose tea, became extremely special when it was placed on Christmas dishes and a simple piece of holly placed beside it. Meals do not have to be elaborate in order to be special. Here is the recipe for our Egg Salad, which was made into a sandwich and toasted for this meal. If possible, take time today to slow down for a few minutes, even if it is just for one cup of tea. The holiday season will be over in just a couple days, make sure to enjoy it and not allow the hectic pace to overtake the day.  
Merry Christmas~ Happy-Days-Farm