Looking for Good Egg Layers? Here's a Top Ten List to Get You Started

It's safe to say that most folks keep a flock of chickens for their eggs. They may use the eggs for their family and friends or may go into the business of selling eggs. But, whatever the motive, it's important to pick the right chicken breeds to get the maximum amount of eggs. In this regard, not all breeds are created equal. So if your motive is to get eggs, check out this top ten list of productive breeds in my article for Backyard Poultry magazine. You'll soon find these breeds will be the backbone of your backyard flock.

1. Australorp
2. Leghorn
3. Sussex
4. Rhode Island Red
5. Ameraucana
6. Easter Egger
7. Olive Egger
8. Wyandotte
9. Marans
10. Orpington

speckled-sussex-breed-of-chicken
Meet Peepers, my Speckled Sussex. She's a great egg layer and has a friendly personality.

http://countrysidenetwork.com/daily/poultry/chickens-101/top-10-best-chickens-eggs/

How to Use Prebiotics and Probiotics for a Healthy Flock

We hear about prebiotics and probiotics through commercials for yogurts and other foods. We know they're good for us, but are they good for our chickens? Yes!

What are probiotics? They are live organisms that live in your digestive tract and promote regularity and cleansing.

What are prebiotics? Simply put, they're non-digestible plant fibers that feed the probiotics.

Since probiotics and prebiotics help with healthy digestion, giving them to your chickens can have some awesome benefits.

One, if you've got a chicken(s) with diarrhea and a rear-end that's covered in feces, try adding some probiotics to their feed. The probiotics can help clear things up. Clean butts equal fewer flies around the coop and that's always a good thing!



Two, chickens that have a healthy digestive tract are healthier themselves so they're able to maintain a good weight and maintain good egg production.

And three, chickens that regularly consume probiotics and prebiotics can have poop that's less smelly and contains less ammonia. This means your coop will be a nicer place to hang out.

While many commercial feeds do contain prebiotics and probiotics, if you're giving your chickens treats, you may want to consider some of the sources below. Just remember that dairy should be kept to a small amount. While chickens can digest milk and it does have good health benefits, they can't digest large quantities.

Sources of Probiotics for Chickens  

Dairy Products
Yogurt
Goat Milk
Whey
Sauerkraut
Apple Cider Vinegar


Sources of Prebiotics for Chickens

Barley
Bananas (Do not feed the peel.)
Berries
Dandelion Greens
Flax Seed
Garlic
Honey
Lentils
Wheat Bran
Yams

For more on this, please visit my post at Countryside Network.

Backyard Chicken Video Favorites

Enjoy these video favorites from the last few weeks. You'll see my flock jockeying for position as treats are served and eaten. You'll also see the hens free ranging in the woods. While my flock free ranges every day, they are in a very large fenced area. When I'm in the yard working or outside a lot, I'll open the gates and give them access to our wooded acreage. It's obvious they love it!

video

video







Over the Fence - A Week in Farm Photos

This week at Elm Ridge Farm (2/19 - 2/25) was full of good and bad. 

The good first. We had a week of temperatures over 60 degrees with a record-breaker on Friday at 78 degrees. It was fun to get outside without a jacket! We all met the goat below at our local feed shop. He was quite the character. In fact, he butted his way onto the straw bale he's standing on, just to meet us. Spring flowers started to bloom this week and the chickens loved being outside in the comfortable weather. Peepers, our Speckled Sussex, found some creative ways to get out of the backyard but stood still long enough to pose for the Fluffy Butt Friday photo below. 

The bad. We had to put our 15-year-old cat, Maggie to sleep on Thursday. She was diagnosed with lymphoma and within a week, she was so bad that we had to put her out of her misery. Her picture is below with Middie, the bunny. Middie died suddenly in September and was beloved. So, it's been a rough few months with losses here in our household. We all hope that Maggie and Middie find each other in heaven so they can play together again. 

Enjoy my week in farm photos!





Over the Fence - A Week in Farm Photos

This week (February 11th - 18th) has been busy here at Elm Ridge Farm. I've been editing the upcoming issue of Backyard Poultry magazine. I'm proud to say it's looking great!

It's been a week of wild weather, from cold to warm. Now it looks like we're going into a long stretch of 60-degree weather in mid-February. Amazing! We may even break some records. My only concern is that the plants are starting to wake up. If that happens and we go back into cold weather, that could ruin the spring bloom. But, no sense in worrying about things you can't control! I'm just planning to enjoy the weather. No snow equals no snow shoveling, and that's a good thing!

Enjoy the photos and video below from my week!

VIDEO 

For Valentines' Day, I treated the flock to leftovers from a crab leg lunch. They loved picking out all the leftover meat and happily munched on the shells too. Leftover seafood can be a great source of protein and calcium.

video

FOX SQUIRREL

This Fox Squirrel visited the tree outside my office and didn't like our cat below. He's too big for a cat, so he really had no worries. But he spent a lot of time yelling about the cat. Lol!


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