This is Jennifer's coop. Meh, I've seen better on Pinterest. ~
She can go to her celebrity friends for advice. Ellen Pompeo, Reese Witherspoon and Martha Stewart are all old hands at back yard chicken farming. I still want to put my two cents in before the girl gets in over her head.
She's obviously in the honeymoon stage of chicken keeping when she says,
"They're very social animals and they like it when you visit them with a cup of coffee in your hand. According to my groundskeeper, they love pasta."
That's exactly what my groundskeeper said! Oh wait, I'm the groundskeeper and I was talking to myself. My chickens have never shown the slightest interest in anything that was in my hands that wasn't food for them. It must take a California chicken to appreciate a fine coffee. Anyway, Jen, (I call her that now that we are close) you have to be ready for some nasty moments in the coop. Let's say a new chick moves in and the rooster gets all enamoured of her. They start hatching eggs a mile a minute and the old favourite gets all crazy and starts pecking the new hen to death. Oh wait, you already know how to handle that one!
Okay, here's some real chicken advice that comes straight from a vet and has made a big difference to my feathered girls. They still live in a converted garden shed and don't get any celebrity visitors, but they are super healthy and laying great eggs. The vet said that heritage chicken breeds automatically shut down egg production when they become calcium deficient. Modern breeds keep right on laying until their bones look like Swiss cheese and the birds are weak and sickly. The first sign of calcium deficiency is uneven, weak or missing shells on the eggs. Adding oyster shell to the feed helps but it isn't nearly enough calcium for the birds.
I gathered the foods he said my girls needed. ~
I'm not such a devoted chicken keeper that I measure this all out, so this will give you an idea of proportions. ~
Pour some water on and pop it in the microwave for one minute. Stir and heat for another minute. ~
You have to cook the rolled oats. Anything like that, fed uncooked, to chickens will swell in their stomachs and kill them. Ekes! Make sure you let the mixture cool down before feeding it to the hens. It's not that chickens are stupid; they just don't have any common sense and will burn themselves gobbling it down. Don't we all have a friend that we know is smart but they do the dumbest things ever? Now, all my friends are wondering if I'm talking about them. Or, am I the smart friend with no common sense? Hmmmm I'm talking to myself again and that really has to stop!
Have the official food sniffer, Maeve, check the concoction out to see if it's fit for the chickens. ~
When it's done, it looks like this. ~
Now, my girls are mighty picky about food. If they don't like it, nothing on earth will convince them to eat it.
Do you like it Gertie? Are you kidding, Human Slave? Look how much I've stuffed in my gob! ~
Up until now, their favourite veggie was corn niblets but they are positively wild for edemames!
Seriously, Jen, feed this to your chickens once a day and toss them some sunflower seeds for scratch and you won't have a single shell less, weak shelled or bumpy egg. Your chickens will have bright red combs and they will be the picture of health!
Oh, and one other piece of advice Jen, if you paint your toenails (and who doesn't in Hollywood?) and wear open toed shoes in the coop, the chickens will peck your toes, non stop, thinking they are berries.
I'm available for celebrity consultations daily, Monday through Fridays. On the weekends I'm tied up being a secret rock star!