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Sunday, October 15, 2017

What Things Can You Do To Raise Healthy Happy Chickens? Here Is What Blue Star Ranch Does To Promote The Happiest and Healthiest Chickens In Texas

Today's Blog 
Here's The "Egg Roll"


Nesting boxes and laying eggs are both important. One main question that I get asked often
is "when will my chickens lay eggs?" There are a LOT of factors. First, if your chicken is young
and healthy they WILL lay eggs. Really! Also, weather is a real important factor.

Keep in mind that if you have "natural" chickens (raised without any artificial light source) then your chickens will lay eggs based on their "natural" cycle.
If there is a light source installed in your coop from electric or solar lights then chickens will be more likely
to lay eggs during the cold, cloudy winter seasons.
Many chicken breeds are genetically changed by the breeders to lay more and faster (the commercial variety) and have become "non sitters" they will not become broody nor want to hatch eggs themselves.
So if you are raising natural chickens then be aware that there is a large range of expected age that your hen can lay eggs. MOST new hens will start laying at 5.5 to 7 months old BUT some will lay eggs a bit younger or as old as 8 months of age is also NORMAL and this does not mean that there is anything wrong. Chickens are living animals and subject to the rules of nature. (Mother Nature rules the roost here!) Many people today want instant gratification and want eggs NOW. But let nature let chickens be chickens.
If you have concerns about the raising and care of your chickens, give us a call at Blue Star Ranch for "eggspert" help with your chickens and coop.


Chickens are NOT Bubbles (quick video this makes sense!) 
So am I starting "chick-coin?" or "chick-currency" Nope! this is not going to happen. 

 Most of us know that the economy is CHANGING- But technology has not replaced the chicken nor the egg... not even close. This is another reason that I'm raising poultry. Chickens are self replicating little food factories! They are sustainable and cannot be replaced by technology. Plus, the lowly chicken is INCOMING PRODUCING AND RETAINS ITS VALUE! (Then there is the fun and cuteness factor!)  

Seriously, chickens are a VALUABLE commodity  -

Chickens are not for everyone and each family cannot actually keep a flock of chickens in the backyard BUT there are a few ways that you can still benefit from this market.

First and foremost, anyone that is aware of the world around them knows that the almighty dollar is having serious problems. How much longer can the markets and the perceived value of fiat money still continue in our everyday lives?  Our world is changing every day faster and faster.....

For the last several years I've been promoting the "community coop" plan for people that otherwise cannot have nor care for chickens. 

This community coop day will be needed to help communities in a
neighborhood near you. Basically friends, neighbors or people in one neighborhood  choose one member to house chickens and the other members put in time in the "co-op" to share responsibilities caring for chickens. This allows them to all share in the eggs and meat, fertilizer that chickens can produce. 

Should, (if and or when) our economy crashes the folks that will be able to sustain themselves are people that planned ahead and can feed themselves. Its just that simple. In the depression on the 1930's
everyone know that the simple farmers that were able to grow and produce food for the family's and used the bartering system fared much better than the "city folks" that could not find work. This time, in the next depression,  its going to be MUCH worse.

Today there are many young folks in their 20's and 30's that feel that they "have" to work" and they many of them are "entitled" for just about everything. ( So if they work if at all) about 20 hours a week, and play video games, watch and they involve themselves with social media and these young people "feel violated" if any one offends them.....these
people grew up living on the Internet and getting everything that they wanted in an instant. Most people today this age would not be able to work a 12 hour day and still be able to run a farm and household. Like my Grandparents did. This is why the next depression will be hard on people that do not know what  real "work" even is! 

So back to why chickens are REALLY valuable: 

Chickens are VALUABLE they do NOT decline in value they actually are self producing "little food factories" 

1) chickens provide fertilizer in the form of nitrogen that we can add to compost

2) chickens of course provide eggs and meat

3) chickens can provide good bug protection as they eat many bugs around your garden

4) chickens can provide you a STEADY stream of income from eggs, meat plus you can BARTER with live chickens, eggs and meat! 

If YOU want chickens and cannot have them call me to discuss putting a "community" coop in your area with maybe a local club, charity, food bank where you volunteer, or church member maybe will allow chickens to be raised on their property. This is how it starts. 

Or, consider being part of our 
Blue Star Farm Co-Op 

You KNOW you want fresh eggs but can't keep chickens? well now you CAN have both! Buy a "share" of Blue Star Ranch and own your own farmers cooperative. You can own a piece of the farm! Our chickens are fed ONLY Non GMO feeds and raised naturally in open pens not cages. 

So yes overall, chicken people, hobbyists, farmers will do well, survive until better days, if and when the economy changes for the worse. At least I'll be ready! 



Very Popular Chart For Selecting Breeds

There are SO may gorgeous chicken breeds out there and I too want every one of them! The TRUTH is that many fancy ornamental breeds have weaker immune systems and need to be raised INDOORS. We DO have a way to assist you in getting these very fancy chickens. We offer our "FIND IT" SERVICE

To get you the special and delicate or rare breeds that we do not carry.

Some breeds of chickens are very delicate (ornamental chickens) this is why its best to start out your chicken "eggidcition" with hardy strong common breeds. Be aware that the Polish, Silkie and Frizzle (and other) fragile chicken breeds are a lot more delicate and can be harder to raise. They do require special care and many of these breeds are "inbred" for certain feather or color traits. Remember, there is a learning curve to raising these breeds. Especially if you are new to chickens.Consider choosing 50% to 75% of your chicken flock made up of strong and hearty breeds more suited to Texas constant and unpredictable weather in your backyard coop.


Establishing Flocks & Adding Chickens

Here are my thoughts and observations when adding chickens to an existing flock or just getting a new batch of chickens all together.

My customers are concerned when the new chicken in the flocks get chased by the existing chickens. Unless your chickens are in REAL tiny coops its not really a concern. Just do not let them get penned in the corners. IF there are any small bleeding picked sores: Use a product called "pick no more" on the wound to keep the other chickens from continuing to pick the scab. In most cases new chickens will NOT even draw blood. In the rare case that they do... use that product.

Here is a quick example: its a dogs natural behavior to growl at another dog that he meets. It does not mean that your pet dog will kill the neighbor dog. They just growl and sniff each other... its natural. Just as natural as your new chickens being chased by the old chickens. Do not really worry about it... but do keep the new chickens in your view for a few days until things settle down.

1) in most cases it takes a few hours to a day for chickens to settle down together
2) consider placing the new chickens in the coop at night when your current flock goes to roost
3)  use "neutral" territory approach. Bring ALL chickens to a new location outside of their normal surroundings. (like a temporary fence or barn area) This makes ALL chickens the new chickens and NO ONE chicken is the "boss"  Keep all chickens in the "neutral" coop location for about one day or at least a few hours.....
4) then move ALL chickens back to your main coop (the newest chickens first)
5) you should have little or no problems establishing your flocks at this point they will all settle down. 

Make sure that the chickens have room to run around and flap their wings. this is NATURAL behavior 

All chickens have a "pecking order" its natural to see chickens fluffing feathers, picking at each others necks, or chasing a coop mate away from the feed bowl. This is NATURAL- In a few days your dominate hen will "rule the roost" and soon after the hens will start to lay eggs.

Its important to NOT let your new chickens out to roam for the 1st week, your new hens have to "bond" with their surroundings so that they know where to roost at night. Keep them in their coop for at least 5 to 7 days.

If you need coop consultation call me! we are here to help! 


Your chicken died. You are in "shock" what happened? why? what do you do now? Many questions will be raising through your head and you try to figure out what is wrong and how to prevent it from happening again.

#1) Do NOT blame yourself. When you are raising a flock of chickens sooner or later it will likely happen.

#2) Was this from illness or predator?

Your FIRST step is to look for openings in the wire of your coop as well as any holes dug into the floor of the run or coop. Repair all openings is your first concern. If predators got a chicken dinner last night, they will be back again tomorrow. Also, begin by looking for tracks in the soil to determine what kind of predators got into your coop.

#3) Look at the dead chicken or chickens first to gather your clues. 

a) Where did they did they die?
if a chicken died on the ground on side or laying on breast in tack and no blood or any injuries its very likely that this chicken died from an illness or infection

b) When did they die? 

If this chicken is covered in bugs or worms and eaten out its likely this chicken died several days ago. If this chicken is "stiff" (rigor mortis) depending on the weather this chicken died less than 3 to 4 hours ago. If this chicken is limp but not decaying its been about 24 to 30 hours since death.

c) How did they die?

Look for feathers around the coop. Look at the corners of the top of the walls for openings. Even an opening as small as your fist can allow a predator to enter and exit UNNOTICED!

Over the years I have learned to become a "self proclaimed" Chicken Forensics "eggspert" because I have helped so many people try to get through the trauma of losing a precious pet. In all seriousness, its IMPORTANT to learn what happened to prevent this from happening again. 

Call me at anytime 281-627-8009 and we can help you resolve this issue in your coop from loss of chickens


Choosing the BEST breeds for your new flock

Here are a few of my thoughts as a farmer that REALLY raises chickens all year long. Each week I get calls "which" breed is best for new chicken owners. Be aware of this fact: MOST chickens are really of the SAME personality. There are no "better" breeds for a 3 year old child nor one particular breed that will "love" you more!
Barnyard egg layers are fun and wonderful to look at. Appreciate the beauty and the fun that they give you. So choose the chicken breed that is right for you. My suggestion: start with about 75% of the chickens that you want to raise as the hearty and strong breeds. 
(If you want 10 chickens purchase  about 7 or 8 hens as the stronger commercial breeds and later add 2 or 3 more "fancy chickens" to your flock.) as you become accustomed how to care for chickens.

There are several ways to go about this: 

1) start with baby chicks
2) start with medium pullets
3) purchase nearly laying hens

When selecting chickens and the breed that you want many new chicken enthusiast want to have the most beautiful and prettiest chicken on their block. You may want to consider to begin with an easier breed to raise that is super strong and likely will not need much care at all (except proper feeding and water) 

Listed Here Are My Favorite Breeds Overall- These Three Commercial "Starter" Chicken Breeds Are The Easiest To Care For-  The More "Fancy" Breeds May Have A Lack Of Immunity To Sudden Weather Changes Or Bacteria

Blue Star Ranch Keeps Different Breeds Each Season. Most Seasons We keep  Rhode Island Reds, White Leghorns, Plymouth Barred Rock, Sex Links Gold, Black, Red, or Brown, Buff Orpingtons, Black Australorp, and Easter Eggers "Americanas" Plus, Other Breeds Vary Each Season


Did you know that you can order chickens online from many companies across the nation? Did you know that they charge up to $100 - $150 PER EACH CHICKEN for delivery. Major poultry companies charge outrageous fees because they will likely be delivering you a sick or dead chicken and have to replace it. Some companies do NOT care for chickens. Free advice: pick up your new chickens or have a friend/family pick them up for you. Getting your chickens delivered in the mail is CRUEL! Please don't do it! 

(of course day old chicks generally can be OK delivered if handled properly, any chicken a few days old has a much harder time for survival) 

We at Blue Star Ranch are now delivering pet chickens/ hens and Non GMO Feed in several cities and we deliver live healthy chickens! 281-627-8009

YIKES! (but relax! the cost of the hens are only $15 each!) This is how USPS (US Postal Service) may deliver your precious pet chickens! After being in a crate and the heat or cold for several days before these new chickens get to your home they may be delivered to your porch like this 1 minute video: 


The science of healthy chickens! Look what we do at Blue Star Ranch! (plus I have a few more health secrets up my sleeve)

I add small amounts of natural 20 Mule Team Borax. (Its a natural mineral) to either the chickens feed or a mix in clean drinking water for the BEST in chickens health and to prevent MG (mycroplasma) illness in chickens and to promote great health naturally!

Blue Star Ranch feeds non GMO Feeds, provides the BEST of care for cage free chickens and we deliver healthy hens, chicks and feed too! Our chickens are de-wormed each season, we use natural DE (diatomaceous earth food quality, garlic in the drinking water, and we add organic probiotics to the soil to boost proper bacterial growth. As well as proper ventilation for chickens too! Do not think of Borax as a "soap" its actually a mineral in its most natural form.

A healthy chicken is a happy productive chicken. Read More

Over the years I have raised my thousands of chicks. From fertile eggs to laying hens and chickens have a simple life cycle. Chickens are easy to raise and care for if you provide the basic needs of safety and proper quality feeds.

I could be a MILLIONAIRE if someone paid me a nickle for every time I hear from shoppers "which breeds are the nicest" "which breeds like children" "If I get a baby chick will it love me more than a full grown hen?  and similar statements.

The basic FACTS: Chickens are motivated by
  1) sight 2) sound 3) smell 4) hearing

Your pet chicken is not running to you because it loves you. It instinctively knows that there is food in the bag that you carry, she sees you heading her way! she smell the feed, hear the bag and see you walking to the coop. Your chicken remembers that when this actions occur she will be fed. Then she runs to the coop door and you are pleased that she loves you!  (it does not mean that chickens cannot be affectionate it just means that you need to look at the facts too!) 

People are always shopping for more and more information about chickens and there is sure a lot of information about "backyard chickens" out there. Trouble is most of it is false or maybe partly true. here is why:

Someone posts on a forum or blog "Hey this chicken breed is very DANGEROUS and attacks people. Do not buy the breed "fill in the blank" So lets all stop purchasing the "fill in the blank breed" because they are dangerous. 

So here is how coop rumors get started.

1) A Mother lets a toddler play unsupervised with chickens (not a good idea!)
2) The small toddler with wiggly fingers is nearly eye level to the chicken
3) The chicken sees movement of the small child's fingers
4) The chicken jumps to peck instinctively at the "food" (instinct not aggression)
5) The child is startled and cries
6) The mother soothes the child and begins to write about want a dangerous breed that her chicken has become on chicken forums

New Chicken Rumor Started!

This is how rumors get started. People do not understand chickens behavior.

Bottom line MOST chickens have had real aggression bred out of them over the years. Domesticated backyard birds are not aggressive by nature, Although a broody hen or game fowl can become aggressive but that is by natures design and their instincts primarily. 

So choose freely on the breeds that you want for your backyard flock. Its best to start with basic chicken breeds that are strong and hearty with a good immune system. 


Friday, October 13, 2017

Important! Sudden Weather Changes WILL Affect Your Chickens Health!

I have learned over the years that sudden weather changes causes bacteria in the soil to go from dormant to active and this is what can get chickens to become ill.

Chickens can get sick from standing in wet puddles. sometimes rain just happens. But be prepared and know that a dry area is where you need to move the chickens as soon as possible.

When weather changes and the ground changes from "wet to dry" or the temperature changes form 90 degrees and drops to 30 degrees (it happens in Texas a lot of the time) this sudden shift in temperatures changes the way bacteria act in the soil. Bacteria goes from "dormant to active" and this in part is what causes sudden chicken illnesses.   

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