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  • We will not be shipping Chicks For 2014

    We are sorry but we will not be filling any chick orders for 2014.

    We apologize for any inconvenience that this may cause but I think you will be very excited when you see what we have.

    Ubtil we get things up and going again I want to recommend that you checck out a great friend of mine by the name of Brian. Brian offers the top of the line chickens as well and I have always gotten nothing but first rate quality from him. He is also based here in Michigan and ships chicks or hatching eggs to the breeds he has available.

    I love his Black Copper Marans, and Birchin Marans and hi lemon Cuckoo Orpingtons Lavender Ameraucanas,
    Jubilee Orpingtons

    You can find him at BJ’s Poultry Farm Just tell him Jeff sent you.

    Click on this link to go check out what Brian has.  BJ’s Poultry Farm

    Thank you

    Jeff Wellman

    Dark Brown Egg layers.


  • Worming Chickens, Pumpkins The Natural Wormer

    Worming chickens that are laying eggs so you do not have to discard the eggs is one of the questions asked very frequently here at Dark Eggs Daily. One of the best answers I can give is Pumpkins.

    Yes your left over Halloween pumpkins, especially the seeds.

    Our good friends over at The Backyard Chicken Coop wrote a very good article on using Pumpkins as a natural organic wormer for your chickens

    Read the article here.

    http://www.thebackyardchickencoop.com/chickens-and-pumpkins-from-the-garden-after-halloween/

    It is that time of year to grab all of the pumpkins you can find. Most of the roadside stands and markets will gladly let you load up on all of the left over Halloween pumpkins that are left.


  • Artificial Light For Better Egg Production!

    Chickens stopped laying? It maybe time to turn on the lights for the Chickens. It is a well known fact that as the daylight hours get shorter in the fall and winter months adding artificial lighting can keep your chickens laying. As the days get shorter you will notice a considerable drop in your egg production from your flock of chickens. As an example you will notice that your hens that are only kept under natural daylight hours will lay the majority of their eggs during the spring and summer months. Most pure breeds will stop laying during the winter months.

    If you raise the hybrid or sex link strains of chicken you may notice that your chickens will continue to lay fairly well but at a lower rate.

    Adding artificial light in the hen house for your chickens is nothing more than tricking their bodies into laying on a ore continuous basis as they have been doing throughout the spring and summer months. Your hens have a gland inside their eye called a pituitary gland. By stimulating the pituitary gland with light there will be a hormone produced that will be carried via the bloodstream to the ovary of the chicken, which sets egg production in motion.

    It is therefore possible to give some artificial light to laying birds to ‘trick’ their bodies into continuing to lay into the darker months.

    Adding Artificial Light for your Laying hens

    A good sufficient amount of daylight for your hens to continue laying at a fair rate is right around 15 hours.

    I like to use a timer myself when adding light in the hen house for my laying hens. I will make sure the light comes on at an early morning time that is giving the laying hens 15 hours of daylight before dark of night sets back in. I have the timer turn the light on just before daylight instead of leaving it on all night or right before they go to bed. I want the day to be as normal as possible for the chickens so adding the light in the mornings instead of at night before they are ready to roost, ensures that my chickens aren’t suddenly caught out in the dark when the timer switches the light off. this leaves the chickens out in the dark not having gone through the natural roosting process. I really feel the natural roosting process allowing the hens to get a good natural rest is key and very important to this whole process.

    Something you really need to remember is; If you add the light after the daylight hours were already shortened and you get your hens are laying well once again, the light hours. Make sure you keep the lighting added to their mornings to keep their daylight hours constant to prevent your chickens from going into moult, or a decrease in production once again.

    Amount Of Light To Use In The Hen House!

    You do not need to use a bright bulb inside the chicken coop for illumination. If you open the door at night when the light is on and can just clearly see the hens feed when standing over the feeder, you should be good to go. I usually just use a soft white or soft yellow 25 to 60 watt bulb. I find this is sufficient for good continuous laying of eggs.


  • Day Old Speckled Sussex Chicks-Tilly’s Baby

    Day Old Speckled Sussex Chicks just hatched out of the incubator.  

    If you remember in one of the last post we talked about Tilly the old Speckled Sussex chicken that died right after laying her last egg. She had not laid an egg all year and on her last day she blessed us with one more egg. I added this egg tot he incubator in hopes that it would be fertile and supply us with one more generation. Sept 19 we were blessed with a little baby chick coming forth from her egg as you will see in the video below.

    Baby Speckled Sussex chicks vary greatly in color from a creamy buff to dark chestnut and some also have alternate dark and light stripes lengthwise on the back.

    The speckled Sussex is a good layer of light brown medium to large brown eggs.  It is a very friendly and sociable chicken. Their curious nature will often end up with them following you around the yard if they think they can beg a treat from you.  Its plumage color is a delight to the eye being of rich mahogany base color with individual feathers ending in a white tip separated from the rest of the feathers by a black bar.  The feather pattern allows them to be camouflaged from many predators from the air such as the hawk.  This variety combines beauty with utility, and is very nice to raise for showing.


  • Breeds of Chickens, Which one is Best?

    Which breed of chicken is the best?  Ask any proud Chicken owner and you will get a multitude of different responses.  Most will ask you a question in return to help them answer your question.  They will ask you what you want the chicken to do for you.

    When it comes to chickens there are many breeds to choose from.  Here at Dark Eggs Daily we love the French Marans such as the Black Copper Marans, Wheaten Marans, the various cuckoo Marans, etc.  We love the dark brown chocolate gourmet eggs they lay. They are also very winter hardy for our cold Michigan winters, very disease resist, and and docile chickens.

    We also like the Large Fowl Cochins.  Cochins are known to be good pets for the backyard flock owner, as they are very easily tamed and regarded as one of the most ‘friendly’ chicken breeds that their is. Cochins are a very quiet chicken.

    Like I said, “there are many breeds of chickens to choose from.”

    You have chickens that lay dark brown eggs like our French Marans breeds, chickens that lay lighter brown eggs like the Sussex breeds and the old standard Rhode Island Reds, and Barred Rocks, chickens that lay white eggs like the Ancona and the more commercial leghorn breeds.  You also have chickens that lay blue and green eggs like the Ameraucana, and Araucana.

    You have chickens that come in all different colors; some have feathers on their legs and feet and some don’t, some have a crown of feathers on their head such as the polish chickens and others have a crown of fine hair like fuzz like the silkies.  You also will find chickens with many different styles of combs on their head from the standard single comb to the bowl like comb of the buttercups.

    Chickens come in different classifications such as commercial layers like the leghorns, and heritage breeds such as the old timers, Rhode Island Red, Barred Plymouth Rock, Buff Orpingtons, Speckled Sussex, etc.

    You also have the LF or large fowl birds and then their is the Bantam varieties that offer you a small chicken if space is an issue.  Bantams breeds of chickens have become increasingly popular as pets for many backyard chicken fanciers, as well as for show purposes because they are smaller and have more varied and exotic colors and feather patterns than the large fowl or standard breeds of chickens.

    Some chickens make excellent pets and do well around children and other breeds of chickens and others should only be kept in with their own breeds.  Some rooster of different breeds will do well with other roosters and some will fight to the death if another rooster is introduced to the flock.

    So as you can see there are many things that should be taken into consideration before getting your first chickens to start up your backyard flock.  One thing I know about chicken fanciers or Chicken Junkies as a couple of my friends from West Virginia call them, is that we like to share our thoughts and opinions about the different breeds of chickens we like to raise and why.

    If you are keeping a flock of chickens in your backyard or on a small acreage, tell us which breeds you have come to admire and why, in the comments section below.  So it is a two part question…

    What is your very favorite breed of chicken?

    What are the special or unique characteristics of that breed that make it your favorite?

    An example would be like I started this post with, “Here at Dark Eggs Daily we love the French Marans such as the Black Copper Marans, Wheaten Marans, the various cuckoo Marans, etc.  We love the dark brown chocolate gourmet eggs they lay. They are also very winter hardy for our cold Michigan winters, very disease resist, and and docile chickens.”


  • Raising Chickens As a Hobby, Raising Chickens As A Business!

    Raising Backyard Poultry For Fun or A Business

    Raising chickens in your backyard is a great experience. One of our customers Jeff Wellman of The Backyard Chicken Coop put together a short video of some of the chickens he raises for fun and as a Hobby business.

    Jeff started buying his baby chicks from Dark Eggs Daily this year after we introduced him to the Dark Brown Egg Laying breeds of chickens, the French Marans. He expresses how we take extra precautions to ensure our flock is free of diseases so that he will have healthy baby chicks when they arrive to his home.

    Jeff has been ordering the French Marans breeds that lay the dark brown chocolate eggs such as the Wheaten Marans and the Black and black copper Marans. Jeff also has purchased the Speckled Sussex breed of chickens form Dark Eggs Daily. The speckled Sussex like the Marans are a very nice cold hardy breed of chickens that are pleasant to raise and they get along well with each other and other breeds.

    Enjoy the video Jeff has put together and then check out our French Marans breeds of chickens for your Dark Eggs Daily


  • How to Raise Chickens, Choosing The Best chickens To Raise

    How to Raise Chickens – The 4 Essentials For Success

    So you think your ready to start raising chickens.  In my opinion that is a very good choice.  But are you really prepared?

    Many reasons can be applied for the yearning to start raising your own chickens.  It really doesn’t matter what your reasons are for learning how to raise chickens, as long as they are well thought out and your final decision is based on in depth research.

    One reason you are making the choice to raise chickens is because you might feel the necessity to stretch your food budget by having your own chicken meat and eggs readily at hand.  Becoming self sufficient is a wise choice but can cost more than what you are spending now.  But knowing where the meat and eggs are coming from and what the chickens were fed really outweighs the cost of raising your won chickens at home.

    The idea of raising enough chickens and eggs to not only feed your own family, but to sell the surplus in hopes of increasing your family income may have come to mind.   Or, it may be a life long dream to quit your “real” job (or maybe you’ve lost your job) and start your own egg or poultry business.  Make sure that you really do your research and look into feed costs compared to your return on investment that you will get for your eggs or meat you are selling.

    Regardless of the nature of your chicken raising venture, there are four essentials for success: (1) good breeding, (2) sound management, (3) careful sanitation, and (4) wise feeding.

    Good Breeding: Often many young chicks will die even with the best of care. Poor chicks, usually, are responsible for such losses. Chicks must be free from disease; they must be bred to live. And the ability to lay eggs is an inherited characteristic.

    These are reasons why breeding is the first essential for success. It pays to buy only the best chicks available, even if they cost a few more pennies than mediocre stock.  At dark Eggs Daily we really care about our chickens health and do our very best to provide our customers with top quality healthy baby chicks.

    We know how devastating it can be to get your baby chicks only to find out that they were sick from the start.

    Many diseases are passed on through the embryo during the incubation process.  This leaves you with a baby chick that is prone to diseases right from the start.

    We apply top notch practices to ensure our flock is healthy in order to supply us with the best eggs for hatching.

    Sound Management: Management involves proper care of the chickens and the equipment. There is an old saying in Scotland to the effect that the eye of the master fattens his cattle. This expression—emphasizing personal care and attention—applies aptly to poultry keeping.

    Equipment need not be expensive, but it must provide comfort, or the enterprise will fail.

    Planning, too, is a part of management. While not so important to the home-flock owner as to the commercial poultry business, it will affect costs and returns in every flock.

    For example, it costs no more to maintain a laying flock in the fall and winter than at other seasons, but during these months eggs normally reach peak prices. Therefore, if pullets and hens in the home flock are laying while eggs are relatively high, money is saved in food purchases, or money may be made by selling surplus eggs.

    Providing meat and eggs at peak prices is the result of planning. And the very fact that abnormally high prices prevail during certain seasons of the year is evidence that the majority of flock owners do not plan.

    Careful Sanitation: Lack of sanitation is the rock upon which many poultry enterprises are wrecked. Every time a chick or hen dies, costs are increased.

    This is an important cost item, shown by the fact that a 15-per cent mortality rate is representative of the losses sustained by the poultry industry as a whole. Chickens are attacked by parasites; they are susceptible to disease. Yet these menaces to profitable and satisfactory production can be controlled.

    Personally we feel that a 15% mortality rate is to high and you should not be experiencing more than a 5-10% loss if you follow careful practices.

    Prevention, not cure, is the keynote of success. The flock must be kept in a healthy condition.

    The beginner—and especially the back-yard flock—has a distinct advantage over the commercial producer. If the home-flock owner starts with disease-free chicks like provided by Dark Eggs Daily Hatchery, and clean ground and equipment, there is no reason to fear parasites and diseases.

    Wise Feeding: Poultry feeds must contain all the nutrients for growth and development and all the raw materials from which eggs are manufactured.

    Since most home flocks are grown and maintained in confinement, you will have the responsibility of providing everything your chickens need for  development and production through the feed.

    Make sure you are starting your chicks out on the right feeds with the right amounts of nutrients and protein values is very important to your success.

    The feed quality is important all the way through, from birth to growing your chickens to adulthood if you are going to have success in raising chickens.

    Also, chickens must be feed all they can eat. The more they eat, the bigger the chickens and the better the eggs. Chickens cannot eat too much.

    To increase feed consumption, hoppers must be kept full and within easy access for  the birds 24 hours a day. Commercial poultry companies place electric lights in laying houses to increase the length of the eating day. After all, high-laying strains of hens perform a colossal task; they lay many times their own weight in eggs each year.

    Learning how to raise chickens is easy, if you do the research and follow basic guidelines that experienced poultry experts are willing to share.  Planning and commitment to a flock is your first step to the joys of growing your own food supply, or even just raising a few chickens for pets.

     


  • Raising Chickens As Pets

    How to raise chickens properly to become great pets.

    I am writing this post as a guess blogger for Dark Eggs Daily.  I am also writing it in honor of Tilly one of  my favorite Speckled Sussex Hen (pictured below) who probably laid her last egg today and is ready to say her final good-by.  I am making one last attempt to prolong her stay here with us but it is not looking good.  She has been a very faithful friend and companion for almost 7 years now.  She has been a faithful layer of good quality brown eggs and has wandered the yard busily chattering to those who would listen.

    When I got her as a young day old Chick there was something special about her.  She would always come running up to see if I had a treat for her that visit to the chicken house.

    Speckled Sussex Chicken (Tilly)

    Speckled Sussex Chicken (Tilly)

    She would let me pick her up and then she would start her quiet chatter expecting me to know exactly what she was saying.  She will be missed by the entire family.  I have placed her final egg in the incubator in hopes that it will be fertile, and develop into a nice little chick to takes it Mamas place in the family.

    All of my years growing up I have raised chickens.  Except for my 4 year tour in the Marine Corps.  They probably would have frowned on the idea of chickens.

    My Dad would take me every year to the local feed mill to get my 25 free baby chicks (usually Rhode Island Reds) with the purchase of 50 lbs of chick start.

    I would raise them up and sadly watch about 50% of them end up in the freezer as they were roosters.  You can usually count on at least 50% of your straight run chicks being roosters.  If you are raising chickens as pets and have young children you need to buy with the knowledge that you will have to either sell or butcher some of your pets.  This may be a hard thing to go through for some kids.  But there is not a lot of need for to many roosters running around.

    Out of the Roosters I would usually get to keep one of the best looking roosters just to hear him crow night and day around the farm. Out of the hens I usually would pick my favorite out and give her a name and begin the taming process.

    If looking to make pets out of your chickens it is wise to start with a nice quiet breed.  Many of the breeds at Dark Eggs Daily such as the Dark Egg Laying Marans, The gentle giant Cochin breed, and our brown egg layers the Speckled Sussex and Coronation Sussex are very well suited as pets as they have quiet dispositions unlike the Rhode Island red hens I used to raise.  Of course much of your chickens’ suitability as pets will depend on how they are raised and handled by their owner. Frequency of handling is also a very big part of making chickens great pets.

    Basically, the more regular gentle handling they get the better!

    It is generally best to start Them Young.  There is absolutely nothing that can take the place of raising them from day old chickens.

    Hand feeding your chicks and handle them daily is the best way to make them awesome family pets. One thing to remember is that you need to take caution when you are allowing the little people play with them unsupervised. You will find that most Chicks are surprisingly tough, but are no match for a rough and tough toddler!

    Make sure that if you decide to raise chicks that you go through the proper steps of educating yourself in order to teach your children, and the children that may visit how to properly and gently hold and feed your chicks

    It is an awesome idea to involve your children in the daily care of the chicks.  This will allow your children to bond with the chickens and also to teach them the responsibility of taking care of a pet. Kids and chickens can be a great combination when done right.

    Chickens do not need to be pets only when they are small chicks.  They have a wonderful personality and are very fun and also educating to watch. If you want a pet that will give you several years of not only great fresh eggs, but many years of enjoyment chickens are a great choice if you have the room.  Keep up the hand feeding and handling all through your birds’ lives.

    Dark Eggs Daily is a great place to start at when looking for a special chicken to raise as a pet.  Take a look around the site and see which breed may be best suited for you.

    Raising Chickens as Pets can be a very fun and rewarding experience when done right.


  • Chicken Predators – Protect Your Poultry From Predators!

    Protecting Your Flock From Birds of Prey!

    Protecting your flock of Chickens from hawks and other large birds of prey can be rather difficult.

    Recently  I have lost a couple chickens to a Red Tailed Hawk and he is rather persistent in thinking he will keep coming back for more.   I have decided it is my job to do my very best to discourage Mr. Hawk by making it very difficult for him to take any of my stock.

    Protecting Flock From Hawks

    Protecting Flock From Hawks

    Many like to follow the old farming rule of Shoot, Shovel, and shut up.  But I have to warn you that this can get you into some very serious trouble as hawks are illegal to shoot. All hawks and owls are federally protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (16 USC, 703-711). These laws strictly prohibit the capture, killing, or possession of hawks or owls without special permit. The fine for killing any of them or even having their feathers in your possession is very stiff.

    One way to discourage the hawk is by changing the routine up a little bit every day so when he does a fly by he does not see the chickens below and goes else where to look for lunch.  I normally let the chickens out to free range early in the morning and lock them up at night.  Now that the hawk has been visiting I let them out later in the day and only for small amounts of time and then lock them back up again for the rest of the day.  You need to do your very best to make sure that the hawk does not do a fly by and see the chickens out and about.

    I was doing very well until I felt like the danger was past and I let them out early and forgot about them.  Sure enough I looked out the window and there was a hawk enjoying his meal of a fresh killed,  half grown Buff Brahma chick in the drive way.

    My best recommendation for protecting your chickens from hawks and other birds of prey would be to cover the top of the chicken pen with wire or netting. I have used the bird netting which you can get pretty inexpensively from Home Depot and many other places online. Many chicken runs are very large and if this is your case, the netting is the best way to protect the birds from hawks and to also keep your ladies from wandering off and hiding their eggs around your yard. Very large runs may require support posts in the center to help keep the netting up off the ground.  By far I would say that the garden netting for keeping birds off fruit trees and berry bushes is a very good choice for a covering for your chicken run, as it is light weight and won’t rust.

    Put up a life size plastic owl on the hen house.  The birds of prey are somewhat territorial. If they see the fake owl, they might move on.  This is not a guaranteed method at all but it does seem to work for some time.  You need to keep moving the fake owl around so that the hawk does not get used to seeing it in one place all of the time.  I move it every week to another fence post around the outside of the chicken run.

    Another possibility is to tie bright metallic objects around the pen to confuse and startle the hawks. Objects such as aluminum pie plates seem to work the best.  You can also use shiny pieces of tin foil, and reflective tape that you can get at your local hardware will all help to keep hawks away. Of course none of these methods are foolproof.  You have to always stay on top of your game and one step ahead of the hawk.  The moment you let your guard down and another chicken becomes a meal for the Hawk.

    One of the best protections against hawk attacks is to give the chickens plenty of cover to hide under.  The bushes are very good Hawk protection. This works very well for the run or pen that is too large to have a top. Plant several trees and bushes and have covered areas in the pen for the birds to hide under. Allow the weeds that the chickens do not find as edible to grow for the cover they can provide for your chickens. Hawks generally like to catch things out in the open. This thick brush and weeds will also help the hens feel safer. I red that a very good tree for growing in a chicken yard is mulberry tree or bush as it will provide good cover and an added bonus treat of summer berries for the chickens as well.

    Another big help to the flock is having a rooster or two in the flock.  A rooster will help to sound an alarm when a hawk is around, but while they will fight a hawk, they will often be killed themselves and another rooster will have to be purchased.  The roosters are very keen to movement from the air and will sound an alarm to it’s hens whenever it sees a shadow of a bird from the air.

    Chicks right from birth seem to recognize the alarm from the rooster and will take cover with their mother very quickly.

    Protecting your flock of Chickens from hawks and other large birds of prey can be rather difficult as stated at the beginning of this article.

    My best advice is to keep your chickens penned up in an enclosed run if your birds are valuable breed stock.  If you have free range poultry just for eggs you should always consider the benefits that these birds of prey provide before removing them from an area; their ecological importance, aesthetic value, and contributions as indicators of environmental health may outweigh the economic damage they cause.


  • Making A Chicken Dust Bath

    How to Make a Chicken Dust Bath

    Chicken Dust Bath With Diatomaceous Earth

    Chicken Dust Bath For Your Chickens Health!

    Chickens don’t bath their bodies with water the way humans do, or the way we clean our pooches off. They use soil to clean their plumage (feathers) instead and this form of bathing is very vital to their health.  Chickens really enjoy taking a dust bath to clean their feathers and help with mites and other parasites that like to feast on your chicken and sap the energy out of your chicken.

    How to Make a Chicken Dust Bath

    Chicken Dust Bath With Wood Ash

    Other important factors for supplying your chicken with a dust bath are: They help remove excess oil from the chickens feathers. Dusting is also a method chickens use to cool off when it’s hot out.Making a dust bath for your chickens dose not have to be anything hard, and is actually an easy project that you can make with items you may have on hand already, or for very little expense.

    To make a chicken dust bath you can use things such as; Scrap Wood, old blocks or rocks, old tire, kids swimming pool, large cat litter box, etc… Just about anything will do that will allow the chicken to get in and get a good dusting.

    Once your dust bath is finished fill it up with soil. Only fill to about three-quarters of the box height.

    Place it at the opposite end to the food. This will prevent the chickens from kicking dust into their food when they clean themselves.

    After chickens spend a lot of time in a chicken run usually the chickens will end up making a dust bath all by themselves.  If your chicken run is in an area that is free of grass and rocks, your chickens will begin digging a shallow hole and fluffing around in the dirt or soil.

    Make sure you check the chicken dust bath regularly to clean out bird feces, particles, etc. and to top up the soil as needed. Other than that, stand back and let them enjoy it!

    If you are having a problem with mites and lice in your chickens already you may want to do what I do and fill your chicken dust bath with Diatomaceous Earth.  Make sure you get a good food grade that will be OK if it gets into the drinking water or the chickens feed. I actually add a small handful to the drinking water and the feed whenever I clean out the dust bath.

    Another good source to use in your chickens dust bath to help control lice and mites is wood ash from your fireplace or outside campfire pit.

    Wood charcoal can very beneficial and an important supplement for your poultry. Charcoal has the capabilities to absorb toxins and is capable of absorbing up to two hundred times its own weight.  Extensive research suggests that animals consume it for its medicinal, toxin-binding properties. The charcoal is also a laxative and so then can work twofold and move the impurities it absorbs out of the body. If worms or worm ova are present, it can to some degree help move them out of the body as well.

    My chickens also from time to time are seen eating the wood ash as well as charcoal. Wood ash is highly soluble in vitamin K, followed by calcium and magnesium. Vitamin K is useful for blood clotting in poultry.  Wood ash has a very nice texture to aid in dust bathing and adding it to your chickens dust bath to eat and dust in will give your poultry a double-benefit!

    Happy Dust Bathing to your Chickens!



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