Chickens love eating plants! Grass, leaves, flowers – they’ll eat everything leaving your yard bare if they like what you have growing.
A rule of thumb that we go by when selecting plants for our yard is to select those that are deer-resistant. We have lots of deer in our area, but also have a fully landscaped yard that the chickens don’t bother because they’re all deer-resistant. We are in gardening zone 5, and are currently enjoy pachysandra, vinca, bluebells, bleeding hearts, pulmonaria, forget-me-nots, geranium, daffodils and various Spring ephemerals.
Your plant nursery or online source for plants will usually indicate if a plant is deer-resistant. You can also Google “deer-resistant plants for zone [your zone] or [your state].”
While chickens might eat anything if they’re hungry or bored enough, selecting plants that deer won’t eat may be your solution to keeping chickens and a beautiful garden.
Subscribers, take a look inside your May box! Your April box is in transit, and while you await its arrival, we are putting the finishing touches on your May box. First, your chickens will come running for the @exoticnutrition Chicken Treat Variety Pack. And you’ll be able to welcome guests with our cute Henny+Roo exclusive farmhouse-style garden flag!
The April box sold out, and we fully expect the May box to sell out too. Because of the limited supply, the May box will not be available on our website as a non-subscription purchase. You have to be a current subscriber to get it, so it’s a great time to start or reactivate your subscription!
Is it time to take your chicken coop to the next level?
When it comes to creating the perfect home for your new flock, you may have something special in mind.
But if you’re not familiar with planning a construction project, you might be looking for a little inspiration and guidance.
So we’ve put together this list of ideas that will help get those wheels turning.
Find Chicken Coop Plans on Instagram
Instagram is one of the most visual social platforms around. And if you follow some favorite chicken-loving accounts, you know there’s usually something beautiful to ogle over.
Whether it’s pretty little eggs all in rainbow rows or a new chicken coop plan created al la Chip and Joanne from Fixer Upper, all you have to do is hit the right hashtags to get an eyeful of chicken fix-for-the-day.
Type in some of the following to bring up some fantastic chicken coop ideas to spark your imagination:
And of course, don’t forget to follow us for your daily dose of poultry eye candy.
Find Chicken Coop Ideas on Pinterest
We’ll admit, one of our first places to dig up inspiration is usually Pinterest. And that’s because it’s one of the most visual search engines on the planet with millions of contributors, just like us.
In fact, we’ve got a board set up specifically for new chicken owners looking for coop-building inspiration.
So go check it out, we’ll wait.
Oh and here’s a special tip: if you search for free chicken coop plans, a bunch of freebies will pop up for you to print out and work off of.
Our advice? Find a predator-proof plan, use what you’ve got, and then snaz it up once it’s complete.
Some of the most straightforward designs turn out to be the most beautiful.
In fact, we’ve seen some pretty impressive coop designs out there (some are jaw-droppingly gorgeous, like this one).
Just remember, the most important thing is safety and functionality, beauty can come later!
Facebook Groups of Chicken Fanatics
Facebook can be like the wild wild west, at times. Everyone seems to have the all the answers.
And, in truth, there’s plenty of good advice from experienced chicken owners on Facebook.
But instead of falling down the rabbit hole, here’s what we suggest:
Join a handful of chicken groups and search for the term “chicken coop plans” or “chicken coop design” rather than asking questions or endlessly scrolling the feed.
Who’s got time for that? Not us! We’d rather be with our chickens.
By searching, you’ll avoid the know-it-alls and still get the inspiration you’re looking for when planning your first chicken coop design.
Pre-made chicken coops come ready to snap together, and in most cases, all the designing and safety considerations are all done for you.
With that being said, it’s still a good idea to review the materials the coop is made from. That way, you can ensure that it will hold up during bad weather and cold conditions (if that’s where you’re located). You may have to fortify premade coops by adding a 2×4 base frame, hardware cloth on any openings, a stronger door locking mechanism, and/or a protective wood finish to lengthen the life and protectiveness of the coop.
Also watch for treated wood and materials that might be toxic to chickens.
An excellent way to ensure you’re purchasing a quality coop is to read through the reviews of what previous buyers have said about the chicken coop.
We wish you the best in creating a safe and happy home for your flock!
The February boxes are being prepared to ship this week, so let’s talk about March!
Our monthly subscription boxes for chicken keepers are intended to be surprise boxes. We love hearing about the feeling you get when you open a box of goodies just for you and your flock!
The Henny+Roo March 2021 Box features our exclusive Spring Hen Pouch! At 9″x6″, it’s perfect for carrying all of your essentials. You’ll get a jump on spring decorating with the distressed silver sitting hen figurine – it’s made of resin and hand painted (4.5″ h x 6″ w). And for the flock, a big 1.5 lb. bag of Henny+Roo Pecktacular Grains and mealworms. Plus, 5 other items to care for your flock, The items in this box retail at over $60.
Not a subscriber? Sign up now or order without a subscription from our Shop.
If you’ve been hoping to start a backyard flock, 2021 might be the perfect year to start your first flock of chickens.
And if you’ve already made the decision to start your flock this year, you’re in luck, because we’ve put together this list of things you can do now so you’re ready to bring your chickens home when the weather is better!
What to Do Now To Prepare for Your Chickens
Thinking ahead puts you in a position to have a smooth beginning to your journey as a proud flock owner.
One of the best things you can do right now, while you wait out the winter, is to read…like, a lot!
While chickens aren’t a complicated animal to care for, they do have their quirks and special considerations.
For example, did you know that chickens need grit to digest their food?
Yup… it’s because chickens don’t have teeth like we do, so they need stones to grind up their dinners.
You can learn all about a chicken’s dietary needs along with other essential things you’ll need to know to raise a healthy, happy, flock in books like:
Now is the time to think about what you’re willing, and able, to spend on a flock of chickens.
Because, well, you can’t just have one chicken.
And yes, they are like potato chips, and you’ll almost always want more chickens.
But in reality, chickens need each other. So wanting more than one is perfectly acceptable.
At a minimum, you’ll want at least three chickens in the coop so they keep each other company and so they can cuddle up and keep each other warm during winter.
You might be surprised at how close a couple of chooks can become. Some will appear to be attached at the hip.
So when determining your chicken budget, think about things like feed costs, bedding, nesting and coop supplies, feeders, and waterers. Then factor in how many chickens you’ll have so you don’t fall short on supplies.
Oh, and don’t forget the grit!
How Many Chickens Can You Have
How many chickens you want to have and how many you can physically keep are two very different things.
We completely understand how you feel…we’d have all-the-chickens if we could.
But before you place a massive order with your hatchery, other things you need to consider are:
Your physical space
The buildings you already have and how you might use them to house your chickens
How much time you have to care for your chickens
Your other pets that may interact with your chickens
These things are important because they directly affect your ability to care for a happy, healthy flock.
But one of the most important things to look into before you bring a single chicken home is ordinances.
Yup, each city, town, county, and state may have laws regarding keeping chickens.
Some cities allow chickens, while others prohibit them, for example.
So make sure you look into the local laws where you live to ensure you can have the ginormous flock you’ve been dreaming of.
What Kind of Chickens You’ll Keep
There are many different breeds of chickens to choose from. And the kind you decide to raise depends on things like:
Where you live: If you’re in a cold climate, you’ll need to think about choosing breeds that are cold hardy.
Your purpose: Are you mostly interested in layers, or would you rather have a dual-purpose breed and raise your chickens for both meat and eggs.
Your personal preferences: Do you like ornamental chickens or are you a fan of solid-colored birds?
Availability: Are the chickens you’ve chosen available to you either locally or through a hatchery?
Don’t forget to think about the future home of your flock!
Will you buy coops online, at your local farm supply store, or will you DIY a coop castle, for example.
Think about the kind of space you have available and how much of that space you’re willing to gift to your hens.
Remember, chickens love to forage, and if you’re planning on keeping them in confinement, make sure you’re willing to part with the lawn you’ll be keeping them on.
Or, better yet, consider free-ranging your chickens if you have a safe space to do so.
And, of course, think about what you want your coop to look like…will it be simple, repurposed, or will it be grand and decorative?
Some are really creative when it comes to their chicken coops, and while you wait for spring to arrive, maybe you can spend some time designing the coop of your dreams!
Buy Ahead of Time
Of course, the last item on your list of to-do’s before the spring showers bring flowers is to purchase your chickens.
While you should make sure not to have chicks shipped to you during the cold months, many hatcheries will allow you to place your orders ahead of time.
Doing so ensures you’ll get the breeds you have your heart set on.
So once you know what you can handle, go ahead, and start chicken shopping!
Henny+Roo is the first and only subscription box supporting new and experienced chicken keepers with monthly deliveries of supplies for your flock, and items to make you smile. Visit us at hennyandroo.com to learn about our monthly plans or purchase past boxes.
An interview with Raoul Benavides, owner of Iowa Blue Farm
We were proud to feature Black Soldier Fly larvae from Iowa Blue Farm in our December box, and thought you’d like to get to know the owner, Raoul Benavides. We hope you enjoy learning about him and his business as much as we did! -Your friends at Henny+Roo
Hi Raoul! How did you get started in this business and why are you passionate about BSF larvae?
I come from a long lineage of entrepreneurs. I am always searching for new ways to challenge myself. I wanted to do something tactile that was environmentally responsible. I think like a farmer and really love working on process based projects. Black Soldier Flies were a natural fit. (Learn more about Iowa Blue Farm here.)
What is your role at Iowa Blue Farm and how does your family support that?
I am the owner/operator. I wear all the hats. Of course, family and friends provided incredible amounts of support labor and feedback. I have had some really dear friends supporting me at the beginning. I did lots of experiments getting the flies to breed early on. I went from my basement to a 1000 square foot space and we are in the process of moving into a 10,000 square foot operation this month. From artists to designers to engineers, my team helped create the specialized gear needed to breed, feed, harvest, dry and package these very unique creatures.
Do you have any pets?
I have had a number of urban hens through out my life. Right now, I only have a lovely grouchy cat named Diego.
What’s your favorite part about your work?
It’s incredibly rewarding. I get to manage and fine tune a whole life cycle of this beautiful insect and along the way lower the carbon footprint, provide jobs and feed chickens.
What’s surprised you about your business that you didn’t expect when you started?
At first, I didn’t really see the scale. This thing can be massive in cultural impact. I am hoping to open an indoor shrimp farm soon that runs entirely on Black Soldier Fly Larvae pellets. My dream is to turn the dried black soldier fly larvae into a small cookie that we can giveaway globally in order to end world hunger.
Big thanks to Raoul for sharing his work with us, and for providing his products, which we’re sure your flock will love, for our December boxes. Didn’t get one? We have just a few left in our Shop at hennyandroo.com, and for a limited time, you can save 10% sitewide with code CHICKENLOVE.