Author Archives: Gail Damerow

12 Chicken Breeds with the Best Laying Hens

12 Chicken Breeds with the Best Laying Hens

All female chickens lay eggs, and all hens lay best in their first year of production. But some chicken breeds lay better than others. Hens that lay best are of breeds that have been selectively bred for egg production, rather than for fast growth or exhibition qualities.   Layers of Eggs with Brown Shells Chicken… Read More »

How to Control Ammonia in the Chicken Coop

How to Control Ammonia in the Chicken Coop

Ammonia is a pungent-smelling gas constantly released by bacteria that decompose chicken droppings. Not only does ammonia smell bad, it’s also a health hazard for you and your chickens. High levels of ammonia in the coop’s air can discourage chickens from eating—affecting the growth rate of young birds and the production of laying hens—and can… Read More »

What is Grit and Why Do Chickens Need It?

What is Grit and Why Do Chickens Need It?

Natural grit consists of a collection of coarse sand, pebbles, and similar small, hard objects chickens eat while pecking on the ground. The grit lodges in the bird’s gizzard, where muscular action grinds the grit together with feedstuffs to break them down for digestion. Over time each piece of grit gets ground up, along with… Read More »

Chicken Feed — Whole Grains, Mash, Pellets, or Crumbles?

Chicken Feed — Whole Grains, Mash, Pellets, or Crumbles?

Commercially formulated rations are developed to maximize nutritional benefit based on a flock’s age, beginning with chick starter, then moving up to grower, developer, and lay ration as chickens mature. Meat birds have their own formulas for starter/grower rations and finisher ration intended to induce rapid growth. Aside from different formulas for different age groups,… Read More »

What’s the Difference Between a Barred Rock and a Dominique?

What’s the Difference Between a Barred Rock and a Dominique?

A lot of chicken keepers who are unfamiliar with both barred Rocks and Dominiques have trouble telling the difference between them. Once you’ve seen both, though, you’ll have no trouble readily identifying which is which.   First let’s get one thing straight: “Barred Rock” is not a breed. The breed is Plymouth Rock. The original… Read More »