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Friday, July 27, 2012

A to Z with The Chicken Encyclopedia by Gail Damerow & a Giveaway!

Enjoy these interesting facts compiled by Yvette from the pages of The Chicken Encyclopedia ...


Axial Feather
Chickens have an AXIAL FEATHER on each wing. It is the single short feather growing between and separating their primary (longer) & secondary (shorter) feathers. When you spread out a chickens wing, the AXIAL feather is roughly in the middle. If you trim your hens feathers, this is a great way to identify the primary feathers.

Brood Patch
A large defeathered bare area on a setting hen's breast is known as BROOD PATCH. A broody hen is known to pull her breast feathers out allowing her body warmth to get closer to her eggs. This also helps to keep the eggs from drying out too fast by lending moisture from her body to the eggs. 

Crop
Chickens have an expandable pouch at the base of their neck called the CROP.  It bulges after the chicken has eaten. This is the area where digestive juices begin softening the food before it moves into the stomach.  In the AM, their crops should be empty since they have not eaten during the night time.

Dust baths
When chickens thrash around in loose sand or soil, they cover themselves in DUST which helps keep them and their feathers clean and free of parasites. It's natural for them and baby chicks to do. When done, they stand and shake it all off - leaving a big dust cloud around them! To enhance parasite control, some choose to add wood ashes or food grade Diatomaceous Earth to the bathing areas. 

Eyelids
Did you know that chickens have three EYELIDS? Their upper and lower eyelids are alot like humans except that the lower eyelid moves more freely than the upper. The 3rd eyelid, called the nictitating membrane lies between the chickens eye & the other two eyelids. It has its own lubricating duct similar to our tear ducts. It's transparent, so the chicken can see even with this eyelid closed. It's purpose, as it moves horizontally from front to rear, is to clean & moisten the eye and it's also used for protection, such as when a hen's chick tries to peck her eye !

Feather Picking
There are several reasons FEATHER PICKING can occur within your flock.
Conditions that trigger it include:
1) Over crowding
2) Too few feeders / waterers
3) Diet too low of protein
4) Too-warm housing temperature
5) Inadequate ventilation
6) Insufficient opportunities to engage in normal chicken behavior, such as scratching & pecking the ground. 


Grit 
GRIT lodges itself in a chickens gizzard and helps in breaking down tough substances they have eaten.  Chickens that eat only processed feed such as layer pellets or chick feed don't need it as the saliva alone dissolves the feed, but chickens that eat other unprocessed feed will need it to make it digestible. Having grit such as oyster shell or mineral grit available - free choice - is recommended. If your chickens free range, they will generally pick up the grit needed to help digest the food they've eaten.

Hypnotize
Did you know you can HYPNOTIZE a chicken? 
Although, I can't imagine doing it to one of my hens - some people do it to help calm a nervous chicken down. It's stated that it's not harmful to them - it just slightly reduces the heart & respiration rate.
There are several ways it can be done although sometimes it may need to be repeated a time or two to be effective. The book lists 7 ways of doing this but I'll just share a couple of them ~
1) Turn the chicken on it's back, hold it with one hand, and with the other hand gently stroke it's throat.
2) With the chicken standing, repeatedly draw your finger along the ground straight out from under it's beak to about 6 inches in front of the chicken.
Whichever way - after being let go, the chicken will usually not move for several seconds, sometimes as much as a minute. 

Impaction
 IMPACTION is a blockage of a body passage. 

1) Eating something the chicken cannot digest (crop impaction)
2) Blockage of the cloaca resulting in a stuck egg (eggbound)

Either one 'can' be treatable if noticed and handled immediately. Be aware of your hens normal actions and if you notice something out of the ordinary - take note of the symptoms then take action if needed.

Japanese Bantam
The JAPANESE BANTAM is an ancient breed of true bantam developed in Japan. 
They are little birds with short legs that are capable fliers and come in several color varieties. They are brown egg layers that make excellent broodies. They have a large tail in proportion to their size and they carry their tail so far forward that the roosters tail feathers nearly touch the back of his head.

Kelp Meal
 By drying and grinding up brown, cold water seaweeds, KELP can be used as a feed supplement (Kelp meal). It has many rich vitamins, amino acids and especially trace minerals. It's used as a free-choice supplement for layers to help strengthen eggshells and darken the yolks. For breeders, it helps to increase fertility and vitality; and for show chickens - it improves their condition and helps to enhance immunity.

Lice
LICE is a small, wingless, parasitic insect that live on the skin of chickens. They will chew on the chicken causing irritation which will result in your bird picking at itself. Infested chickens don't lay well and can have reduced fertility.  They can be seen looking like straw-colored pests scurring around on a chickens skin leaving scabby, dirty areas usually around the vent and tail area. The eggs of lice (nits) can be found clumped in masses around the feather shafts of your birds. 

Mating Ratio
The number of hens per rooster is called the MATING RATIO. 
On average, the optimal ratio is:
Heavy breeds = 8 hens per rooster (up to 12)
Lightweight breeds = 12 hens per rooster (up to 20)
Bantam breeds = 18 hens per rooster (up to 25)
If too many roosters are present, fertility will be low because the roosters will spend too much time fighting among themselves.
If too few roosters, fertility will be low because the rooster can't get around to all the hens.

Neck
The NECK of the chicken connecting the head to the rest of the body is typically made up of 14 upper vertebrae? A lot, compared to humans that only have 7. This gives the chickens great flexibility in movement, allowing them to turn their heads in all directions. Also allowing them to preen all parts of their body.

Ovaphobia
Did you know that there really is a phobia of eggs? It's called OVAPHOBIA. It's a rare condition of being irrationally afraid of eggs. The most famous person to truly suffer from this was the horror-film maker Alfred Hitchcock. 

Pecking Order
The PECKING ORDER is the social hierarchy that develops among a population of chickens? It determines such things as who eats first or who roosts on the highest perch.  Chicks start establishing their place in the pecking order at about 6 weeks of age. When both sexes are present, the order develops at 3 levels - Among all the males, among all the females, and between the males and females. If any new chickens are introduced to an existing flock, they also will need to be established in the pecking order but not necessarily starting at the bottom.

Quill
The QUILL part of a feather is the stiff, hollow and transparent base of a feather shaft where the feather attaches to the chickens body.  Quills were the everyday writing tools from the Medieval era through the beginning of the Industrial Age, when they were gradually replaced by more durable metal pen nibs, and then by fountain pens, ballpoint pens, and rollerball pens.

Respiration Rate
Did you know that a hen at rest breathes 31 to 37 times per minute? This is known as the RESPIRATION RATE. A rooster breathes 18 to 21 times per minute. By comparison - the normal rate of an adult human at rest, ranges between 12 and 20.

Sebright
 The old breed of true bantam, the SEBRIGHT was developed in England by Sir John Sebright and named after him. They are very unique, have a rose comb and come in two laced varieties - golden and silver. (Silver rooster pictured) Their eggs tend to be low in fertility, as is common among breeds bearing a rose comb. The hens are poor layers of white shelled eggs and seldom go broody. 

Treading
Did you know that when a rooster is attempting to mate with a hen, he will make short, quick movements with his feet to keep himself from sliding off her back. This is known as TREADING. Over time, treading results in the loss of feathers on a hens back. Without these feathers, she has little protection during future matings and may be seriously wounded by a roosters sharp claws or spurs. 
To help prevent injury, roosters toenails should be properly trimmed / filed down or as a temporary measure, dress each hen in a hen saddle for protection.

Urine
A healthy chicken doesn't excrete much liquid URINE but expels it in the form of semisolid urates..?? Urates appear as a white, pasty cap on the top of a chickens droppings. Occasionally a chicken will expel only the urates, which is perfectly normal. 


Vinegar
Not only is VINEGAR a good sanitizer for cleaning feeders, waterers and other equipment - but when diluted, it also is a great benefit for your chickens too!! By adding 1TB to a gallon of water, a couple times a week - it helps to keep their digestive system in line and lowers the pH range. (Bad bacteria can form if the pH range is too high).  Chickens actually like the taste of vinegar too. If you have a chicken under stress due to an injury or illness; they may be disinclined to drink causing their gut flora to become unbalanced. By adding a small splash of vinegar to thier drinking water, this may help to encourage drinking.

Wattles
The 2 flaps of flesh under a chickens beak are called the WATTLES. The wattles are usually red, but can differ depending on the type of breed you have. Some breeds have none at all. A roosters wattles are usually much larger than a hen's.  One of the functions of the wattles is to help keep a chicken cool in hot weather. If given water that has depth, a hot chicken may even splash some onto it's comb & wattles to help cool down through evaporation. Also, a chicken that may be suffering from heat stress may be revived by you applying cold water to it's wattles.

Xanthopyhll
Did you know that XANTHOPHYLL is the yellow/orange pigment derived from plants of a large group known as carotenoids? In a hen's diet, it is deposited in the yolks of her eggs giving them their rich yellow color. This same pigment colors the skin and shanks of yellow-skin hens.
Sources include marigold petals, green grass and other leafy greens, including yellow corn. 


Yokohama
A longtail breed of chicken that originated in Japan is called the YOKOHAMA.  It shares it's history with the Phoenix and is similar in size. They are either all white or red shouldered. Other varieties have also been developed in both large and bantam versions. With a high protein diet, the roosters saddle feathers can grow as long as 3 feet.  The hens are poor layers of eggs, they may go broody and are protective mothers. 

Zoning
Did you know that there are ZONING laws regulating or restricting the use of land for a particular purpose, such as raising chickens? Regulations restricting how many chcikens may be kept, how far they must be from the property line, and whether or not roosters are allowed. Information on local zoning ordinances may be obtained from your town or county zoning board. 


We hope you enjoyed this quick trip through the pages of The Chicken Encyclopedia written by Gail Damerow and published by Storey Publishing. These and more great tips, facts and trivia are included in the book.

Compiled by Yvette C. from the pages of The Chicken Encyclopedia written by Gail Damerow and published by Story Publishing.   Some images courtesy Google Search.


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143 comments:

  1. The biggest surprise to me has been how different the different breed are- beyond just their looks. Please enter me in this giveaway.

    Also, I have a giveaway on my blog. There has been a different item each day of the week, so scroll back and see. www.everydayruralty.com

    Patrice
    patrice@everydayruralty.com

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  2. I thought the difference in the respiratory rate between the sexes was the most interesting and had no knowledge of.

    I'm learning a lot from reading your blog.

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  3. I found it interesting the Alfred Hitchcock was afraid of eggs. That is crazy with everything he did.

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  4. Ovaphobia? Really??
    jayne_rouisse@yahoo.com

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  5. I was most surprised to read that chickens have 3 eyelids! I love your blog and am learning so much from it! I am quickly becoming a crazy chicken lady.

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  6. I love the tip about adding vinegar to their water, and also the Seabright breed- they're gorgeous!

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  7. The biggest surprise since raising "my girls" is how interactive they are! As soon as they lay eyes on me they talk up a storm!! Of course I can't resist going right over to pet and talk to them. What personalities they have! I love my girls!

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  8. I loved reading about the egg phobia. There are some strange occurences in this world!

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  9. Love this blog!

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  10. I had not heard of treading before! Interesting! I knew that the rooster was causing the feather loss on my hens but didn't know he makes it even worse by doing that!

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  11. THis is great. I think the biggest surprise has been how different their personalities are. Most are quiet but one of them is loud and demanding. I think a bit spoiled. I would love to get a copy of this book. I need to do that soon. Thanks for the chance.

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  12. I did not know that a chicken has 3 eyelids. I enjoy reading your blog. I purchased 10 chicks in April. I never knew I could become so addicted to chickens in such a short period of time.

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  13. I did not know that a chicken has 3 eyelids. I enjoy reading your blog. I purchased 10 chicks in April. I never knew I could become so addicted to chickens in such a short period of time.

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  14. I didn't know that the wattle could help cool the chicken! Great info!

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  15. I didn't realize how much their diet effects the color of the egg yoke. I try to give the girls as much free range time as I can and supplement their food with lots of greens and marigold petals! They love their time in the yard and come running when they see I have a hand full of weeds!
    Coleen1964@yahoo.com

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  16. There were many facts listed that were surprising to me! As a new crazy chicken lady, I learn something new every day. :D Most surprising to me regarding raising backyard chickens, though, is how much personality they have and how much joy and entertainment they bring to my life.

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  17. I always enjoy reading the information, when I was a child we always had chickens and more, I am now 62, my husband and I live on main street and we have a coupe out back, 13 hens and 2 roosters, We always called the crop their craw..

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  18. I did not know about Xanthophyll. That was very interesting to me. Thanks for the opportunity to enter. Love your blog!!

    Brenda
    bkd154@aol.com

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  19. I did not know that about "ovaphobia", very interesting!

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  20. love the facts ....3 eye lids was interesting I'd love to read the whole book...thanks for sharing fun facts...

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  21. I had heard of giving vinegar to chickens, but didn't know why. I think I may have to try it.

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    1. bullyk9r1972@att.net

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  22. Growing up my dad was always joking around. We had chickens, one day he looks down at me and asked "you know what that white stuff in chicken poop is? " I said, "no, what? " he said,"chicken poop! ". Silly story I know, Lol. But I do appreciate all the helpful information you post. And any questions I posted were answered lightning fast, I'm a huge fan!

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  23. I found the chicken hypnotizing to be the most useful! I have one hen that HATES being picked up and handled. I have to clip her wings soon, so I will try the tricks and see if dcan't get her calmed down.d

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  24. My grandmother (now 103 years young) used to talk about hypnotizing her chickens. What a surprise to see the information on how to do this here - and know that it has been included in this book! Very cool!
    lil_red_xlr8r(at)hotmail.com

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  25. I love to read things I can learn from. I enjoy your blogs very much.
    Would like the opportunity to add the encyclopedia to my book collection. Have chickens and pet Indian Runner duck. Thanks, and GOOD LUCK everyone. loneflower1@yahoo.com

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  26. I find it fascinating the Hitchcock was afraid of eggs!

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  27. Impaction scares me. I'm happy though that I have lots of peeps online who can help if any of my chickens ends up in trouble.

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  28. So glad i finally learned aout dust baths. i thought my chickens were having fits! ha ha

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  29. I found the most unusual item to be the phobia of eggs. How does someone develop that, I wonder? LOVE the site..keep up the awesome work!!

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  30. Ovaphobia - I had no idea. I know there is a phobia of chickens themselves, but I didn't know people were also afraid of eggs. Makes sense. I even put that on my Facebook for today's little interesting tid bit.

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  31. Ovaphobia is the most surprising thing to me that I read about here! And some one like Alfred Hitchcock who wrote horror stories is afraid of lil' ole eggs?! I actually laughed out loud!
    Y'all have a great blog here! I'm sure to be back to learn more! Thanks for sharing your knowledge! :)

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  32. Very interesting facts, I learned alot just from this post, I need the book!
    www.friedgreen-tomatoesandsweet-tea.com
    garnette89@gmail.com

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  33. Wow! I have learned quite a bit just from reading these facts, but the most surprising was the three eyelids.
    Betsy@lazyaranch@centurytel.net

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  34. The most interesting was that you can hypnotize chickens. But the most surprising was that Alfred Hitchcock, a horror filmmaker, was afraid of eggs! Bahahahaha, whoda thunk? And thanks for all the fun postings & quality information : D

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    1. angelflyerjdl@yahoo.com

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    2. Very interesting. Chickens really have 3 eyes. Thank you for the interesting facts.
      debrahankins@comcast.net

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  35. The ovaphobia fact was a surprise, but hypnotizing a chicken is the one that really surprised me. Guess that explains the time when my dad picked up my Buff Orpington, craddled her in his arms on her back, pet her, sang the lullaby go to sleep little chicken, and she she actually fell asleep!

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  36. I never even thought about a mating ratio, but I did plan on breeding. Thanks for the tip!

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  37. A wealth of good information..Loved it. Already knew about the third eyelid from my grandaughter..But the egg phobia was a shocker..what did the EGG ever do to anybody??

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  38. I'm new to chickens. We just got some a month ago so almost everything in the article above was new and interesting to me. What I have enjoyed about my chickens so far is that they are there own little community. I love to watch them and see their personalities come out. As they communicate and play with each other. I love to watch them in the evenings before they roost.
    trishalogan@yahoo.com

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  39. The most curious fact to me was the three eyelids, I think.
    I'd love to win a free copy. Thank you for holding this contest and good luck to everyone!

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  40. hi! I had never heard of ovaphobia before! I couldn't believe it! Thanks for the post!

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  41. I had a hen that was afraid of chickens. She was raised an only and didn't see another chicken until grown.

    One day I fed the flock leftover mac & cheese, Cheep was on the outskirts a few feet away when the rooster noticed her. He got a beakfull of food, brought it to her then put it on the ground in front of her. If I hadn't seen this for myself I never would have believed it possible.

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  42. I am a new chicken mom and found the info on cooling heat stressed chickens by watering their wattles very useful. Great info to have in the South!!!! whip119@hotmail.com

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  43. Ovaphobia, I've now heard it all *lol*

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  44. July 27,2012 4:20pm...

    I'm a "newbie' as they say on Backyard Chickens...and everyday I learn more and more about these fascinating creatures. Everything from the heat lamp when they are babies to how excited they get when I bring them watermelon....I have enjoyed what I've read so far on this blog. The one surprising thing I learned from this excerpt is about hypnotizing the chickens....that will really come in handy when I'm inspecting them for mites and trying to spray their wings to prevent them. ...My "AH HA" moment was learning that the white cap on their poop is from the urine. I was getting worried because it only seems to come from my Rhode Island Red. Here's one for you.....my chickens love to listen to opera!! We sit by the coop in the evenings with a glass of wine and I play them selections from Pandora....my Silkies particularly like it.....no I'm not crazy....it seems like a perfect ending to their day too.

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  45. I did not know thee wee 3 levels of the pecking order. I need to learn more because i want to introduce some new chickens but want to be sure i do it right.

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  46. This would be a great book to own!

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  47. Did you know that a hen at rest breathes 31 to 37 times per minute?
    No I did not I was wondering about that recently too. Thanks for the great information.

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  48. This is great! You gals always do such a great job!

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  49. I wondered whether a chicken urinates. Now I know the answer. Urates! That also explains those white-capped mounds! Thanks.

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  50. I'm new to the chicken world, so every day I learn something new, from the ladies, or from all the wonderful sites I've been finding, especially on facebook!!!
    Count me in, for the give away, please!!!

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  51. I am planning to build a coop and get my 3 ladies next summer--so excited I can hardly wait. Why does everyone keep asking me if I'm going to eat them (non-chicken folks--rolls eyes). :) Love FED and all the great info. (P.S. Not that you can't or shouldn't eat them....but if I only got 3, and gave them each a name, it might be rather hard to do so...)

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  52. Thanks for all the great information, as a newbie to chickens I can use all the help I can get:)

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  53. I was super-interested in the entry on pecking order since my 9 new girls and 2 older girls are in the process of working out the new order of things right now! Their roosting arrangements make a lot more sense.

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  54. So much great information for we newbies!!! We use apple cider vinegar too and it's the greatest thing EVER! This is my favorite hobby EVER! I have 6 chickens, one Polish (we think hen) 2 golden laced wyandottes, an easter egger and a black laced wyandotte. They are all SO friendly and sit on my shoulder like parrots. They also love to sit on my lap. I adore them! They are about 15 weeks old now.
    Love this blog!!! and your FB page too.

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  55. I had no idea there was an 'egg phobia'! OVAPHOBIA! And one of my favorite movie producers "Alfred Hitchcock" had it! Ha! Live and learn!

    Thanks! I really enjoy your sites!

    Joy in Montana

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  56. I'm a huge fan of fowl. Their colorful plumage is great to incorporate into art work.
    I was unaware that they made brood patches on themselves, but it makes perfect sense.

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    1. I've enjoyed following your Facebook series of these posts. I'd love the book too!

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  57. I did find the difference in breathing rates being so different. I have a chicken that really notices what I am wearing. I do historical reenacting and have a costume that is red and black. The first time I wore it she looked it up and down several times - I didn't think she would notice it and react so strongly.

    Pauline
    fiberlooney@yahoo.com

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  58. The vinegar tip was pretty helpful to me..I did not know that.

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  59. I would love to have a chicken encyclopedia,And you guys are GREAT and I love your facebook page and you always have good info about chickens and have helped me out many times with my chickens....Thanks.

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  60. I was surprised = "heat stress may be revived by you applying cold water to it's wattles" Good to know!
    sadiebeery at hotmail dot com

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  61. Ohh, I hope I win! I would love to have a copy

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  62. My kids are running outside to try and hypnotize the chickens right now! We can't wait to learn some of the other ways to try this!

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  63. We are just starting to raise chickens, so I find any knowledge I can obtain is good. Loved reading the facts and tips you posted and would love a copy to look through all of it!

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  64. I was most surprised by what the wattles are for. Never knew they cooled down the bird in hot weather.... pretty neat! I thought it was just for looks :) Thanks for all the information!

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  65. Definitely most surprised about the ovaphobia and Alfred Hitchcock. But that would make sense, with his film -the Birds. Maybe he would have felt differently if his name were Hitchhen?? Sorry, I could not resist.

    And we know about the zoning restrictions in our town, since we have the first permit to keep chickens under their newly passed chicken zoning law.

    Your site is amazing, by the way. So helpful, indeed!

    Michelle

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  66. Wow! You can hypnotize a chicken?! I learned something today!

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  67. Please enter me for the giveaway. Thanks!

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  68. This book looks awesome! The most surprising thing listed to me was adding the vinegar to the water.

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  69. I have the Storey's Guide to Raisng Chuckens. I'm sure this is another fabulous resource.

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  70. I just love all the blogs on this site. When I think I have learned everything there is to know you come up with more. Thank you!

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  71. Regina McCormickJuly 27, 2012 at 8:10 PM

    We recently dealt with some (what we thought) were crop issues. Little did we know the chicken just had not digested yet. We were ready to induce vomiting! LOL Ahhhh, the life of a rookie backyard chicken farmer!

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  72. I was surprised to read that rose combed chickens tend to have lower fertility. I just hatched two eggs from rose combed chickens.
    I still have many things to learn, this book would be a great read.

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  73. I love the vinegar tip. We are new to raising chickens too. The biggest surprise I had so far was hearing a roo learning to crow one morning when I thought I had all hens! oops.

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  74. I am new to chicken life, and I am so very excited to learn so much! I am grateful to have the land and zoning to do this!

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  75. New vocabulary word: Ovaphobia. Crazy!

    Rosecomb chickens and fertility...need to ask hubby WHY we have ONLY rosecomb Rhode Island Reds in our breeding program. LOL

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  76. Afraid of EGGS??? Really??? Wow. I guess OVAPHOBIA is the one that surprised me the most! Never knew there was such a thing. But I guess it takes all kinds to make this wonderful world go 'round, huh!? =D

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  77. My biggest surprise is my girls' different personalities! One is outgoing and very chatty-while the other is reserved and calm. I love my hens.

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  78. Great info! We have had a bit of a heat wave and I've been concerned about my two big girls, one of which has had heat stroke symptoms. They hate my bath and spray bottle routine so next time I'll try a cool compress on their waddles. That's right! I can now use 'waddles' in a sentence. Thanks again!

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  79. I have never heard of a egg phobia before!! Lol that's very funny! I can't imagine why someone would be afraid of eggs.
    This book has been on my wish list for awhile and it would be great to have as I am still fairly new at raising chickens.
    w.punga@hotmail.com

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  80. I have learned so much from reading your posts on Facebook.

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  81. Thank you for the chance to win this book!! The most interesting bit of information... There were a few however Ovaphobia takes the cake! Since acquiring our chickens the biggest surprise has been how much personality they have and how individual each chicken is! sashell_wayne@hotmail.com

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  82. I'm new to chickens, 2 of my 5 just started laying. I never thought I would be so crazy for my girls. I love to just sit and watch. As a newbie, I have lots to learn and your blog has been fantastic.

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  83. I am a newbie here & with having chickens. I would love this book to help me understand more of what to do with my babies. Thank you for all your fabulous give-always & information!

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  84. thank you. I love my chickens and I love your blog

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  85. Great information. Thanks and keep on keepin on!

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  86. I love reading about chickens and I LOVE new info. Thanks!

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  87. I'm not sure about what surprised me, but I found the information about the lice and grit interesting and new to me.
    Please enter me in the contest. I'd love this book!

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  88. Loved the urine info. I will now be watching my chickens poo!!! Love the site. Please enter me in this contest. willow_whisperwood2@yahoo.com

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  89. I have my very first chickens and find that I am really enjoying them. I just saw some hens today with the missing feathers on their backs, so it is great to read about treading here. I have a lot to learn so could really use this book!

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  90. I certainly didn't know that you could hypnotize a chicken, I may need to try that on one of mine. Love your blog, it's so helpful to us beginners. Please enter me in your contest. lidester@tds.net...Thanks

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  91. Ovaphobia was the most shocking and then even more weird was finding Alfred Hitchcock suffered from it

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  92. Thanks for the information. There is so much more I can learn about my girls!

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  93. I worry about my 'Ladies' so much since the city made me get rid of my rooster. I have 6 Americauna hens. They are about 3 years old now and only 3 of the 6 is laying. They seemed so much happier with a rooster. And of course I wanted one to 'go broody.' I can't add new chickens to my small flock. So how long should I keep them before butchering and starting over?

    ddank@cableone.net

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    1. Well wrong person to ask because our chickens are pets, just like our cat and dog, and even once they stop laying we will continue to keep them as pets as a thank you for all their years of supplying us with eggs. Older hens DO make better broodies. You can always buy fertile hatching eggs, either locally from Craigs List or a farm or on ebay or elsewhere online.

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    2. An old trick for forcing a hen to go broody is to put a milk crate or something similar over her while on eggs. After a day she will usually stay. Because a broody hen only gets off a nest once a day to eat, drink and poop this won't hurt her. If you need to do it for more than one day be sure to let her out to do this.

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  94. I still haven't gotten my husband convinced that I NEED chickens, but this looks like a book worth having. Hope I win!

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  95. I cant believe how many uses apple cider vinegar has.

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  96. Well, now my kids and I will have to try hypnotizing our chickens! I love Gail Damerow's books - I used one when we first got our flock and it was super helpful.

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  97. Brenda I didnt realize there was a short feather in the middle of the wing feathers. That tidbit will come in handy for wing trimming time.
    Brenda (b_davalos@sbcglobal.net)

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  98. It makes me wonder why chickens like the taste of vinegar. Like do many other things about chickens, they just seem to know what is and isn't good for them.

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  99. The biggest surprise for me, was falling in love with a chicken! Never would have guessed they'd have personalities and so different from each other. Bought them just for the eggs, and have gotten so much more :) Dcthomasten@yahoo.com

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  100. Thanks for the info about reviving an overheated chicken by wetting it's wattles with cool water. That may be really handy info n our hot summers!
    Please enter me in the drawing for the book.

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  101. I am very excited about having some chickens in a few weeks as my husband is finally finished with my chicken coop. Would love to win this book to have more knowledge about chickens !

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  103. I didn't know the little tidbits about hypnotizing a chicken, I may have to try it with my roo and have a little subliminal chat with him. Thanks for a great blog! :)

    clayne317@gmail.com

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  104. Cool! Thanks for the interesting tidbits here! I did not know there was a phobia of eggs and odd that Alfred Hitchcock suffered from it! Thanks for sharing.

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  105. I have been raising chickens all my life and have learned a lot from your posts.Thanks so much for the informative pieces you do on your facebook page. You have helped me a lot. I actually have 28 in the incubator right now. Due to hatch in a couple days and raising 3 due to a bobcat killing their momma. This book would be of great help, thanks.

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    1. jr41568@yahoo.com I dont have a twitter account sorry.

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  106. Most surprising? Ovaphobia and that Hitchcock of all people was afraid of something as unscarey as eggs! Would love to read the book. Storey books are always full of great info.

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  107. wow, I grew up on a farm and never heard about treading. Some good info here.

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  108. Hitchcock was an ovaphobe? Hahahaha

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  109. Please enter me! I'd love to have one.

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  110. Whoops...most surprising... Ovaphobia! Of course, in America now-a-days I guess nothing like that should surprise me!

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  111. The respiration rate is what I found interesting, the rooster has a similar rate as a human as the hen is a lot faster...
    Please enter me into the give away, I'm a beginner and would love to have this kind of information.
    Thank You

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  112. I didn't know that vinegar was good for their intestinal track. Please enter me.. I have 3 hens and 1 rooster and I hope that they hatch a brood next year.

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  113. Good information about having water with depth available for wattles to keep the chickens cool. We had switched to using chicken nipple waters so they stayed clean longer. However, I had noticed the girls love to drink out the tray after it rains. With this in mind, I'll keep the tray filled daily. Also - remember to put a frozen bottle of water in the waterer to keep their water cool during these hot days

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  114. The "w" fact about wattles. I never knew what they were for let alone a cooling aid for the chickens. Thank you for everything you do. As a new chicken owner, I've learned so much from you and I look forward to all of your Facebook updates as well! tdmom777 at gmail dot com

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  115. I found the information about the crop very interesting. I had no idea but I'm still a newbie. :)
    shop@grizzlywyoming.com

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  116. I have ducks, not chickens, and the most surprising thing to me is how they just poop at will. They don't even seem to notice they are doing it. I put out big bowls of water so they can bathe and cool off, and within a minute, someone has pooped in the nice frsh, cool water! I put out other water bowls that are too small for them to sit in, so they don't get poopy. But they still drink the gross poopy bathing water. Eeew!

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  117. Treading seemed to be the fact that I was most taken by, since I have often seen our rooster, Perchik, doing it and never have known what it is.... Your posts on facebook from this encyclopedia have been, not only entertaining, but informative... Thanks!

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  118. Cool giveaway! I had the Chicken Encyclopedia on my list to buy! Thank you for posting all the awesome facts. My favorite was about the brood patch. Recently I had a broody hen and I watched her pluck feathers from her breast to line the nest. I read many helpful ways to try and break her of her broodiness: Thanks :)

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  119. I enjoyed all of the facts and will be adding vinegar to my water tomorrow for sure!!

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    1. My email address is: mom3coop@gmail.com

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  120. Bartini Lee BollingerJuly 28, 2012 at 10:39 PM

    Thank you so much for sharing all the useful chicken info with us! I have definitely learned a few new things in the short time since I discovered your blog. :)

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  121. Wow which fact should I pick? The tid bit about Alfred Hitchcock was cool.

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  122. Enter me in giveaway ! The most interesting fact to me , was lice on chickens . I had heard of mites but never lice so that was new for me . Glad you shared info and photo . I went & looked over all of my chickens to make sure they didn't have any . Thanks for all the information .

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  123. The biggest surprise since raising "my kids" is how interactive they are! As soon as they lay eyes on me they talk up a storm, and they follow me all over!! Of course I can't resist going right over and talk to them. What personalities they have! I love my kids! Amd I love your new chicken coop pictures, I am also working on a new coop!

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  124. I find that my chickens pecking order is the most surprising but interesting thing about my flock....Watching who eats, who gets to perch,even who gets near me when I feed. Thet are very interesting to watch & raise .

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  125. I was surprised to read about mating ratios. Who knew? :)

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  126. Most surprising? That I'm afraid of roosters. The mean ones, anyway. How do they get the momentum to attack you feet-first??

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  127. I've been surprised by the fact that they need protein and are actually excited by snails. Not expected. I figured they were vegetarians. Hah!

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  128. Chickens are so fun! But sad to imagine that someone might have Ovaphobia!! Eggs are my favorite part! Thanks for the giveaway opp.

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  129. The A, axial feather, was the most informative for me. Thanks!

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  130. CYZ July 29, 2012 I Love this blog & learn something from you daily. The biggest surprise was Alfred Hitchcock being afraid of eggs. I could really use this encyclopedia to read and help answer so many questions I have, thank you for this opportunity! cyz@wildblue.net

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  131. Thank you all for entering our contest and thank you to Storey Publishing for donating the books to us. Congratulations to Kim Royal, Holly Joy and Wan Chi Punga who were chosen as winners !

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  132. We have had a terrible run on feather picking with our chickens. We have tried the 'Blue Kote', natural sprays etc. One of the chickens recently pecked away all the feathers off the breast and continued until it pecked away and opened up its chest. Why are they doing this???

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    1. They could be bored or have a protein deficiency. They could be overcrowded. Try giving them mealworms, sunflower seeds, or some meat scraps. Things to keep them busy and not pecking at each other.

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Lisa of Fresh Eggs Daily
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