Providing forage when forage is scarce

Chickens are natural foragers. They love to peck around for tasty greens, and their eggs are higher in nutrients when they do. But what can you do for your flock when access to forage is limited, like when they’re cooped up, or in winter? You can grow foraging greens yourself, easily!

Sprouted seeds provide easy-to-digest energy, allow your flock access to fresh greens year ’round, and provide essential minerals, vitamins, and increased protein. All Henny+Roo subscribers received our new Omega-3 Poultry Forage Seeds in their October boxes, along with a screened lid that can be used with any standard mason jar (we’ll get to why those are handy in a minute). The seeds are certified organic, GMO-free, and selected for their high Omega-3 content.

Forage Seeds
Henny+Roo subscribers received our new Omega-3 Poultry Forage Seeds in their October box. Learn more about our subscriptions for monthly deliveries of chicken keeping supplies and gifts.

The Henny+Roo flock enjoys sprouted seeds when the weather in the Chicago area gets cold and bugs and fresh greens are in short supply. While eating the seeds straight out of the bag is a nutritious and tasty treat, sprouting the seeds allows for easier digestion and absorption of nutrients – about 5-6 times the nutrients they’d receive if eating the whole seed.

We selected plants with a high Omega-3 content (rye seeds, flax seeds, red clover seeds, and alfalfa seeds) certified organic by Oregon Tilth. When your flock eats high Omega-3 plants, this essential nutrient is deposited into the yolks of their eggs. A diet rich in Omega 3 fatty acids helps your health by lowering triglycerides, lessening stiffness and joint pain, and lowering depression and inflammation (Reference).

How to sprout forage seeds indoors or out
Henny+Roo Poultry Forage Seeds can be used to grow nutrient rich plants in your yard, or sprouted indoors for a healthy treat.

Outdoors
IMG_4471If growing outdoors, plant after danger of frost by sprinkling seeds over soil and raking in. Keep the area moist until germination (5-10 days), then water regularly. Keep your chickens away from the newly seeded area until the plants are 2-5″ tall, because they will devour them! Allow chickens to eat the plants about halfway down. If you have horses, keep them away from this area, because flax can form prussic acid when exposed to frost, and horses shouldn’t graze on it.

Indoors, in a jar
The first step, when sprouting seeds indoors, is to make sure your hands, the jar and screed lid you’ll use, and seeds are as clean as possible. Sanitizing the jar and screen lid will help prevent mold and fungus issues.

Rinse the seeds and place a few tablespoons of seeds in the jar (make sure they don’t take up more than a quarter of the jar; they will expand a great deal) and cover with a few inches of water, Screw the mesh lid onto the jar and soak for 8 to 12 hours at room temperature.sprouts-jar.jpg.653x0_q80_crop-smart

Drain the seeds and rinse them, then drain again. Find an area out of direct sunlight and place the jars upside-down, but at an angle to allow drainage and air-circulation through the mesh. You can use a dish rack or just a bowl to keep the jar inverted.

Rinse and drain the seeds between two and four times a day, making sure that they never dry out completely.

After about 5 to 10 days the sprouts can be harvested and served to your flock. You can also grow a larger quantity at once by using a flat tray or dish and more seeds. The seeds should not take up more than 1/4 of whatever container you choose.

Untitled design (18) - EditedThe Henny+Roo October Box
Henny+Roo subscribers – we hope you’re enjoying your October box! If you’re not a subscriber, you can order an October box without a subscription from our Shop while supplies last.

Happy sprouting! 🌱

Big News Announced on Podcast

Chicken-y Goodies for SaleHey, Henny+Roo fans, if you missed our big announcement on the Drink + Farm podcast, you can listen here (scroll down to Minisode #3). And if you’d like some company while taking care of your chicken keeping chores, subscribe to We Drink and We Farm Things on iTunes. You’ll love hearing about Sam and Bev’s adventures with chickens, goats, and more!

 

July box shipped! Here’s what’s inside:

 
Henny + Roo July boxSubscribers, we hope you are enjoying your July box! We were blown away by this month’s partners, who were so great to work with. The July box featured the all-natural Poultry First Aid Kit from Green Goo, a cute chicken Popsocket from The Teal Chicken, LLC, Sami-Care bedding sample from Espoma Naturals, Organic 3-Grain Scratch from Scratch and Peck Feeds, Henny+Roo Bird Scare Tape, a drink koozie promoting our partnership with We Drink and We Farm Things, and a blingy chicken leg band from Chicken Scratch Poultry.
 
Please, friends, visit all of these companies and follow their pages – they’ve got some great content in addition to awesome poultry products.
 
And thank you to @ellieandherchickens, who will get her August box for free in appreciation of her posting a photo on Instagram. 💜

Get 10% off First Saturday Lime

Our friends at First Saturday Lime have a special offer for you! Order now and use code HENNYANDROO at checkout, and you’ll save 10%. Spend more than $25, and you’ll also get free shipping!

Here at the Henny+Roo coop, we sprinkle First Saturday Lime into the bedding, and it helps dry things out and repel insects. We love it because it’s strong enough to keep critters away, but gentle enough that it won’t burn your flock’s feet. It’s crushed limestone, so if they eat it, it won’t harm them, and will even strengthen egg shells.

Every first Saturday of the month, we sprinkle it around the perimeter of the house and haven’t had any issues with ants this year.

We love First Saturday Lime, and think you will too. Give it a try and don’t forget to use code HENNYANDROO when you order at firstsaturdaylime.com

Your June Henny+Roo Box

Hey subscribers! We LOVED putting the June box together for you, and the vendors for this box were awesome.

The June boxes featured Farmers’ Helper Golden Egg Nugget Treats, our Henny+Roo Exclusive “Love me, Love my chickens” unbreakable enamel camp cup, Sani-Care Odor Control for the coop from Espoma Naturals, a packet of dry cider vinegar from Best Veterinary Solutions, our exclusive solid perfume fragrance from Orglamic Cosmetics, the latest issue of Backyard Poultry Magazine and for your first aid kit: a bottle of hydrogen peroxide and a set of tweezers with magnifier to clean out debris.

We pack all of our boxes with a nesting pad for reusing in the coop.

We truly hope you loved this month’s box, and we look forward to bringing you more good things for you and your flock in July! Need more of anything in the June box? Visit our Shop or click on any of the partner links above to order.

Inside the May 2018 Box

Subscribers, what did you think of your May box? We LOVED working with our product partners on this one, and sharing each item with you. Your May box has a retail price of $55 and features 8 items including:

– Sunflower Delight treats from Chick-O-Rama

– Encore Poultry Grit Plus by FM Brown’s Premium Food for Birds & Small Animals

– Ropadiar Liquid Oregano Supplement from Ropapharm

– Handmade Chicken Decoration from The Teal Chicken, LLC

– SummerHawk Ranch Egg Wipes

– Peace, Love, Chicken bracelet, a Henny+Roo exclusive

– Durvet, Inc. Vitamin Supplement packet

– 10mL syringe to measure Ropadiar and for general first aid use.

Did you miss out on our May box? We’ve got a few left in our Shop at: hennyandroo.com

Inside your April 2018 box

April box

Subscribers, we hope you’re enjoying your April box! We were honored to work with our April partners on the contents of this month’s box:
 
– Hand-printed tote from The City Girl Farm
– The April/May issue of Backyard Poultry Magazine
– An 8 oz. bag of Chubby Mealworms
Hentastic Treats Mealworm and Oregano Treats
Garden Maker Naturals Coop Companion Fertilizer
– Triple Antibiotic Ointment for your poultry first aid kit
– I ♥️ Chickens vinyl decal (clear background with white chicken shape and black text)
Henny & Roo Vanilla Scented Air Freshener (repels insects in coop)
 
Didn’t get our April box? We’ve got just a few left in our Shop!

Feeding Eggs to Your Chickens

While a complete layer feed is best for your laying hens, feeding eggs back to your chickens is a healthy treat that they’ll love. And we’re going to show you how to easily boost your flock’s calcium intake at the same time.

Eggs are an excellent source of protein, Vitamins A and E, and beta carotene. That’s one of the reasons many of us raise chickens!

The ancestors of the chickens we raise today were Asian jungle fowl that typically would lay about 12 eggs a year. Over the last couple of hundred years, we’ve developed breeds that lay about 300 eggs a year, and sometimes more. This makes it important to ensure that the nutrients a hen loses through eggs production are replenished. And doesn’t it make sense to give her back those same exact nutrients?

That’s where cooked eggs come in. You don’t want to feed your chicken raw eggs, as that could encourage them to eat their own eggs before you have a chance to collect them. Cooking the eggs makes them look and taste different enough that your flock won’t associate them with the eggs they lay.

If your eggs have shells that are thin or soft, your flock likely needs more calcium. You can make crushed oyster shells available, or you can feed them eggshells. You may have seen different methods for drying and crushing eggshells, but we have a way to feed your chickens the eggs they love with the extra boost of calcium that their shells provide.

Place whole eggs in your blender. You don’t even have to break them, just drop them in. We use about one egg per chicken.

Place the cover on and blend for 10 seconds or so. Have your pan ready, because you’ll want to pour the mixture in before the eggshells settle to the bottom of the pitcher. You may wish to use cooking spray to prevent the eggs from sticking to the pan.

Start scramblin’! Break up any chunks of eggshells as you go. When they’re done, be sure the eggs are cool before serving.

As healthy as eggs are, they should be used as an occasional treat, like any other treats you give your flock. Their commercial feed gives them all of the nutrients they need, and shouldn’t be replaced by too many treats, scratch, or table scraps. Chicks and growing hens should receive treats even more sparingly if at all. Too much calcium can cause kidney damage in a non-laying hen, so adding eggshells to their scrambled eggs is not necessary.

More more information on nutrition for laying hens, read “Feeding Chickens for Egg Production,” by Dr. Jacquie Jacob, University of Kentucky.

Henny & Roo Subscriber Survey

In March, 2018, we surveyed our subscribers so that we could get a better understanding of who our customers are, so that we can select products to include in our boxes that best fit your needs and interests. Here’s what we found.

Experience Levelimg_9290
Henny & Roo subscribers have varying degrees of chicken keeping experience, with over a third having 2-3 years of experience.
0-1 years: 27%
2-3 years: 38%
4-5 years: 17%
More than 5 years: 18%

Pets, or Livestock?
It stands to reason that most of our subscribers view their chickens as pets with benefits (eggs!). I mean, we spoil them with treats and sprinkle their nesting boxes with dried herbs! Of all respondents, 59% indicated their flocks are pets, while almost all the rest replied their chickens are both pets and livestock.

Growing the Flock
To gain knowledge about how often our subscribers would be in need of products intended for chicks, we asked how often they add chicks to their flocks. The majority (41%) raise chicks annually. Other responses were “more than once a year” (16%), “approximately every two years” (19%), and “approximately every 3 years or less frequently” (19%).

Roosters
Vendors often ask us to consider adding products for roosters, like no-crow collars, or products to protect their hens from aggressive roosters. We asked if our subscribers typically include a rooster in their flock, and more than half do not (53%). The rest of respondents (47%) keep one or more rooster.

Other Animals
Most of our subscribers (85%) care for more than just chickens. The other animals our subscribers are buying for include:

Dogs83%
Cats63%
Other* 28%
Other birds (geese, pheasants, guineas, etc.)14%
Rabbits13%
Ducks13%
Horses13%
Goats9%
Bees6%
Cows6%
Pigs6%
Sheep3%
*Other pets indicated by our subscribers included reptiles, guinea pigs, fish, and donkeys.

Where We Shop
While Henny & Roo subscribers are very loyal, they also obtain their chicken keeping supplies from multiple other sources. 77% reported shopping at large chain retailers (Tractor Supply, Farm & Fleet, etc.), 61% use small local retailer, and 38% purchase chicken keeping supplies online.

Why Henny & Roo?
Here are the top reasons why our subscribers start and continue their monthly deliveries of chicken keeping supplies with Henny & Roo:

  1. “To try poultry products that I cant find in my local feed store” (72%)
  2. “To receive surprise gifts for myself” (70%)
  3. Other: “Because it’s fun!” (54%)
  4. “For the convenience of having supplies on hand without having to shop” (28%)
  5. “Because I receive the items at a lower cost than purchasing them individually (13%)

To all of you who replied to this survey, we thank you for helping us get to know you better! Your replies will help us to select products that fit your chicken keeping lifestyle. We thank you for your subscription and look forward to providing you with hard-to-find goodies for you and your flock!

Not a Henny & Roo subscriber? Try us out, and get your first subscription for 10% off with code SPRING18 at: hennyandroo.com