One of the best projects for spring is growing healthy homemade treats for your chickens. You can try growing a number of herbs in pots covered with chicken wire and see which the ladies enjoy the most.
In this post and video, we demonstrate growing rosemary as a homemade treat for chickens in a pot and adding it right outside the coop in an area where our birds free-range.
We also provide our flocks with Scratch and Peck Feeds’ Cluckin’ Good Organic Herbs, which we add to the chickens’ layer feed each morning. Growing herbs is a fun way to ensure the flock is getting a large variety of “treats” that are healthy and have a ton of benefits. However, supplements like this product should be used regularly in layer feed and in addition to whatever you grow in the coop. Better safe than sorry! Not everything grows perfectly and you want to make sure those herbs are added daily!
Here are some common benefits associated with these Scratch and Peck herbs!
Nettle: Calcium, bone strengthening
Ginger: Anti-inflammatory, antioxidant
Garlic: Immune support
Basil: Adaptogen, anti-inflammatory
Thyme: Respiratory health
Calendula: Contains xanthophylls, which deepens egg yolk color
Oregano: Antioxidant for immune support
Parsley: Good source for vitamin K, D, and A, folate, and iron
Try parsley, sage, lavender, bee balm (which is also a flower), basil, rosemary, oregano (a natural antibiotic as well as a great culinary herb).
“Rosemary is great at assisting with pain relief and enhancing respiratory health in your girls. It’s also a great natural insecticide, so will help repel any pesky insects that hang around your coop. To harness all of this goodness try planting a rosemary plant in (or near) your chicken run, this way it will ward off pests and your girls can peck at the leaves until their heart’s content. You could also place freshly cut rosemary leaves in their nesting boxes and scattered around the coop.”
Materials to make a Self-Serve Herb Pot for Your Chickens:
Staple gun and wire cutters
One rosemary herb starter (or chicken-appropriate herb of your choice)
A pot that’s big enough so the rosemary will grow up through the wire
DIY projects almost always take some trial and error, so watch your birds! They may love the lavender but never touch the oregano.
Plant the rosemary and see what happens. I promise the ladies will take an interest.
Put the chicken wire over the pot so the plant sticks straight through the top. Use a staple gun to attach the wire to the outside of the pot to keep the wire in place. If you haven’t used chicken wire before, note that it’s hard to unroll and even harder to cut straight edges! It doesn’t have to be perfect. The most important thing is to make sure the wire prongs aren’t sticking out where the birds can catch their feathers on it. Expect your birds to stand on the edge of the pot and nibble on the herbs!
Here are some more resources on how to grow your own homemade treats for chickens:
Gardening with Chickens: Plans and Plants for You and Your Hens by Lisa Steele of Fresh Eggs Daily
It’s time to start prepping the soil for your raised beds and gardens. How many of you are already buying potatoes, dahlias, and herbs? Our staff has been busy fielding questions from customers and the most popular one yet is what’s important when purchasing soil and fertilizer? Where do I start? Here are some topsoil and fertilizer tips to get you started.
“The composition of your soil’s organic matter is a combination of living, decaying, and dead plants and animals. Living organisms include bacteria, worms, fungi, plant roots, etc…As these elements decay, they eventually become humus—the nutrient-rich matter that nourishes the soil.”
Remember that soils with poor drainage can leave the area saturated. Make sure where you’re planting and adding soil is in a good location! Some folks will also check the pH of their soil so consider investing in a pH ‘test’ kit as some plants require certain ranges to grow well.
We’ve compiled a list of the top tips for getting started:
Three topsoil and fertilizer tips for anyone with a green thumb this spring!
Cut existing grass at your mower’s lowest setting.
To smother roots, spread a layer of newspaper about 12 sheets thick. You can use cardboard or newspapers to help keep grass and weeds from growing back. The staff will give you some if you need it!
Spread eight to twelve inches of organic matter (well-rotted manure, compost or a mix of compost and shredded leaves) over the layers of newspaper. Or use triple mix — a mixture of loam, manure, and peat — Rake level. Start tilling it all in!
We use slow-release fertilizers. They are a safe and easy way to feed your plants. “The slow release coating means the nutrients are broken down over time so the plant won’t get burned. This type of fertilizer works because the granules only break down with water and heat. As you water and as your garden soil warms up, your garden plants grow faster, just in time to absorb the fertilizer as it’s released into the soil.”
Avoid prepping soil when it’s too wet! if you clump it together in your hands and moisture pours out it’s too wet. Aim to work when there is some moisture in the soil but it still crumbles in your hand.
Here in the Pacific Northwest, we’ll have some idea days for prep but you may have to wait until some of the moisture drys out!
The pet food industry continues to follow the latest trends and hopes to influence pet parents to buy certain brands. There have been so many food recalls over the past few years it’s now more important than ever to stay on top of what your dogs eat!
What about raw diets for dogs?
The staff here at Fang! Pet & Garden Supply did some research on the benefits of raw diets for dogs. This diet is still controversial and many vets aren’t yet on board but a lot of pet parents are big fans and our staff recommends raw diets to many of our customers.
Some things you should look for? Research the brand, ingredients, AAFCO statement and the guaranteed analysis. Whole Dog Journal talks more about this in their article about freeze-dried raw diets. Our staff always researches the sourcing (where are they getting the meat from) to make sure it’s biologically appropriate and that’s it’s completely balanced before choosing a brand.
Determine how your dog’s digestion is generally speaking before transitioning to a raw diet. Do you know if they have any allergies that should be avoided or proteins your dog does better on? Speak to your vet as well and always transition to a raw diet from kibble by mixing it with the regular food and increasing it over time (5-10 days). Your dog should be able to make a gradual transition without any digestive issues. Also, watch your animal’s stools to determine if they’re loose or if your pet is uncomfortable.
A raw diet typically consists of organ meats, muscle meat, whole or ground bone, raw eggs, fresh fruits and vegetables, and some dairy, such as yogurt.
Here are four benefits based on research and personal experience.
1. Shinier coats
Shiny healthy coats is a major benefit of feeding raw diets. Thanks to those omega fatty acids!
Raw diets are known to help strengthen the immune system. So nutrition plays a big part in healthier skin and coats. These omega fatty acids help keep inflammation down which keeps itchy skin from occurring.
2. Improved dental health
Feeding a raw diet to your dog prevents dental disease which is the cause of everything else (e.g. heart disease).
3. Increased energy
Some experts say their dogs have better concentration with commands and less hyperactive yet more energy. This is a reason many breeds benefit from this diet. Mealtime is the best time of the day!
4. Smaller, firmer stools
Smaller stools are not a myth. You’ll be stunned after feeding raw at how small the stool was after a few days. And in addition to smaller stools, they are less pungent smelling and typically much firmer than stools you’ll see on a kibble based diet.
Should you add supplements?
Yes! Ask our staff about raw goats milk or Kifer, Konagen along Green Juju and bone broth.
Konagen- Locally-made collagen broth that can ease the joint pain/inflammation and increase mobility in senior pets! Cats too.
Juju – Staff often match this supplement to folks reporting that their dogs love to snack on fresh green grass. A healthy way to fill the tummy at meal time or between meals for extra hungry dogs.
Goats milk – This is digestion support for all! Also a great way to add some calories for underweight fur friends.
Always come and talk to us about your dog’s nutritional needs so we can help you decide which raw food diet and protein makes the most sense for your dog. Nothing is more important than your dog’s health!
Disclaimer: Please consult your vet before making any drastic dietary changes to your pet’s diet. Our staff are not vets or holistic vets.
Herbs can be fed directly into the feed or free choice like you do with other types of supplements (e.g. Oyster Shell). You can also add herbs to the dust bath.
Herbs are important for a variety of health issues
Below are the specific reasons my husband and I like to use herbs with the ladies. As a chicken keeper, a lot of the “first aid” you learn in the beginning includes wound care and respiratory issues. Some issues you can tackle proactively as herbs make a big difference when you just want to keep your flock healthy! (Avoid any wheezing and coughing).
More about each of these and how the flock will benefit. Our staff looks to Lisa Steele, chicken expert and author of Fresh Eggs Daily, for advice and learned the following:
Calendula: great insect repellant and makes yolks orange (who doesn’t love orange yolks!)
We also recommend growing Lavender, which repels flies and insects, and Mint, which repels rodents and bugs. You can add these as dried herbs directly in the chicken coops.
Chicken first aid kit: medicinal herbs!
We recommend keeping some dried herbs in your chicken first aid kit. Plants were the original pharmacy for humans and animals and cultures around the world developed remedies that remain in use today. That applies to chickens too!
In addition to Cluckin’ Good Organic Herbs, many chicken keepers keep satchels of other medicinal dried herbs in their first aid kits.
Basil: Used for thousands of years as a culinary and medicinal herb. It acts principally on the digestive and nervous systems, easing flatulence, stomach cramps, colic and indigestion.
Wormwood: A very bitter plant with a long history of use as a medicinal herb. It is valued especially for its tonic effect on the liver, gallbladder and digestive system, and for its vermicidal activity. It is an extremely useful medicine for those with weak and under-active digestion. Be VERY careful that your birds don’t nibble on Wormwood but instead use this in their coop to repel mites. A small satchel attached to the top of the coop away from the roost bars so they cannot nibble on it works well. Wormwood can be toxic!
Ginger and Dandelion: Commonly used for digestion issues. You can add these as dried herbs directly into feed or free choice.
Using herbs directly in the feed works best
There are so many ways to administer herbs but for chickens using them directly into the feed works best. You can also create a wash and rinse for skin injuries if someone gets pecked! This can be therapeutic for a hen. Remember to put them in your “hospital” wing until they’re all healed up! Questions or comments? Please leave them below.
Spring is around the corner! We sell starts of fresh mint and lavender in our garden center opening on March 9th for folks interested in growing your own herbs for your chicken coops.
Medical disclaimer: The staff here are not vets so please check with your vet or holistic vet when you start looking to add herbs for various health conditions. While we do believe in herbs as they have many health benefits, they are not FDA approved so please use these at your discretion.
For the 6th year in a row, you can donate dog supplies at Fang! Pet & Garden Supply (and our sister stores) for seniors. The store is a donation site for Jake n’ Max’s Boxes of Love and the decorated boxes are filling up!
This event is a tribute to the unwavering love of two beloved senior dogs and the drive collects donations of everything from cozy comforts for seniors, supplements for older guys, toys and any item that can brighten the lives of sweet adoptable animals at Animal Aid that need a little extra help and love. Animal Aid’s heartstring animals are featured in this campaign.
The campaign runs through Feb. 14 and you can donate dog supplies anytime! In year’s past, we’ve delivered nearly a carload from each store with donations of beds, food, treats, and supplies thanks to our generous customers!
This is also a very special event as we’re remembering our friend and colleague Vonnie Harris, the mastermind, behind Jake n’ Max’s Boxes. Vonnie passed away in 2018 and we miss her. A tribute was written last October.
“Vonnie Harris and her sister Viki created Jake ‘n Max’s Boxes of Love as a tribute to their beloved Labs, Jake and Max. The pair worked tirelessly to help “oldsters” by collecting gear and goods for senior pets each year. The project required finding partner businesses to serve as donation sites, decorating large boxes to contain donations (in later years the pair invited local seniors to participate in this), collecting and finally delivering donated goods to the beneficiaries — rescues serving senior pets.
We carry on Jake ‘n Max’s Boxes of Love out of gratitude for Vonnie and Viki’s care and service, and to honor Vonnie, who passed peacefully October 29.
For the love of senior pets . . . for the love of uplifting others . . . for the love of Vonnie.”
All three stores offered an opportunity to have memorable pet photos taken with Santa in December and the donations benefitted The Pongo Fund. We want to update folks on our donation!
Thank you all for coming out. Thanks to you, we’ve raised over $6,000 for The Pongo Fund. Here at Fang! Pet & Garden Supply we raised $2,662. Overall across all three stores, we snapped pics with 140 animals including a few cats and a chicken.
Thank you also to all our vendors that donated product for our wonderful goodie bags that we sent home with all those that participated.
“First off we would like to thank our friends at Ginger Beds for once again donating 3 of their beds to our raffle. Ginger Bed’s are locally made and we loving having them at our stores.”
As a reminder, The Pongo Fund is Oregon’s only full-time charity focused on fighting animal hunger. They work tirelessly to reduce shelter populations and keep families together by providing emergency pet food assistance to anyone in honest need.
The donations went to help The Pongo Fund’s Mobile Animal Hospital that provides free lifesaving care for hundreds of animals each year thanks to a network of dedicated veterinarians and medical professionals. And of course, the donations will also help the community overall.
Go behind the scenes with us! This is from our Salty’s Pet Supply shoot.
Please leave a comment about the reaction you got when you posted your cute pic! Thank you for coming out!
Just getting our pictures w/Santa event kicked off! Please join us and Santa!
Master gardeners will tell you that as your houseplant grows larger and the roots begin to grow through the drainage holes, repotting the plant into a larger pot will become necessary.
In addition, pests (gross!), diseases, and mold often infiltrate the soil of a potted plant. To prevent further damage or a recurrence of the problem, get rid of the old soil!
This post is another Q&A with one of ourexperts and nursery department head. if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to stop in and ask our staff about up-potting!
A Q&A with Granville Goff, Nursery Department Head, Fang! Pet & Garden Supply
What is Up Potting?
Up potting is what we do when a plant has become root-bound in its current home. This means that the plant has cycled through several growth periods and has “outgrown” its current home.
Indications: When you water, it runs immediately through (not enough soil for retention). Yellowing leaves that don’t respond to adjusted watering or fertilization,Visually if you can see the roots coiling (worth popping the plant out of the current pot to examine), If the plant looks too big for the size pot it is in(remember everything you see above the soil has relatively equal mass below the soil [roots]).
You will need a new pot, fresh potting soil (an appropriate blend for the type of plant), a watering can (with a narrow spout), materials for drainage if the pot has no drainage holes, a rubber mallet for jostling loose especially stuck plants.
Important stepsfor repotting a plant
In many cases, you can simply take the pot and tap it against a work surface in along the circumference and the root mass will “let go” of the pot walls.
Other times you may need to cut a plant free from a plastic stock pot or tap the bottom and sides of a pot with a rubber mallet to loosen the plant.
I would not recommend placing a coffee filter in the bottom of a pot since it is designed to absorb water and will begin to decompose increasing bacterial growth in the root zone which is a recipe for root rot and ultimately plant death.
Combining pullets and chicks with full-grown chickens is a challenge. Because pecking order is a serious matter, it can be dangerous and risky no matter the circumstances. Having a mixed chicken flock keeps things lively though! There is no question that we were entertained throughout the process, and perhaps even some of the adult chickens were too.
Sadly, we did lose a chick to what we believe was wry neck. One day she just wasn’t herself and passed away quickly. Even if you want it to be, chicken keeping isn’t always rainbows and unicorns.
Existing dynamics are a consideration in mixed chicken flocks
Our chicken flock already has a well-established mama hen and two pullets, so that was another dynamic to be considered before adding eight new pullets into the mix. These pullets we’re incorporating were raised separately by my neighbor.
Before beginning, we made some coop adjustments (more hardware cloth please!) and a transition plan that we closely followed. From a few hiccups, most days are going smoothly overall.
Fresh Eggs Daily has an entire post and recommendation for a transition playpen or fenced off area in the coop (or next to it) when mixing chicken flocks, which was super helpful. We did that for a week before making an actual introduction.
Here’s my top ten list for your toolkit before you try a mixed chicken flock in your coop!
1. Space … and Perhaps Even a Little More Space: You do need a considerable amount of space and places for them to roost and rest (and escape other birds) throughout the day. We have tons of ladders, two sawhorses, and a smaller roosting ladder so they can chill without being bothered all the time for those lower in the pecking order.
2. Lots of Feeding Stations: Have More Than One – We Have Four!
3. Someone To Do Multiple Drive-by’s Throughout The Day: Outside of the bird we lost to wry neck, I also noticed one of the birds that happen to be tiny has a wound that scabbed over on her chest. She gets around fine, but I do check her out each day to make sure it’s healing. More eyes on the flock mean more folks to run interference if the chickens get pushy with each other.
4. Clean Water…A Must: All the chickens seem to be scratching near the water stations, so it feels like their water dishes get dirty quickly. Always make sure they have fresh water.
5. Mixed Flock = Lots More Chicken Manure. Clean up the poop under the roosting bars.
6. When to Transition From Starter to Grower? Feed based on the youngest member of the flock, and supplement as needed for the older birds (such as additional calcium sources for laying hens). A feed formulated for laying hens isn’t good for little chicks who don’t need that extra calcium yet. When I say we have a mixed flock, even our pullets are different ages within their little “gang.” RULE: At eight weeks it’s ok to transition to Grower feed. Scratch and Peck has a great post about this, and that is what we’ve been feeding since day one.
Our youngest hen is now eight weeks old, so we are ready for Grower feed.
RULE: When feeding a mixed chicken flock, feed according to the youngest members of the flock and supplement as needed for the older birds. That’s the foundation of feeding mixed flocks.
7. Supplements Are Key: Grower Grit is Key During This Transition
8. Transition Playpens Do Make a Difference: I mentioned this above briefly, but the concept of using a playpen to transition our pullets into the coop was brilliant. We kept them in this exact playpen for a week with food and water of course – all the big girls got to know them with the safety of netting between the pullets and the sharp beaks of the ladies!
9.Combat Boredom with Ways to Enrich Hens
To decrease any “Mean Girl” behavior in the coop (fall and winter often mean less time outside, after all) it’s nice to bring in some distractions. I recently gave two huge sliced up spaghetti squashes to the flock for them to peck at throughout the day.
10.Spread Some Love and Stick to a Routine
Chickens, like many animals, like a routine. It eases stress in their day to day life and helps them understand that their human caretakers are going to feed them and provide essentials every day. When we leave, we keep the chickens in the mobile coop for the day. They’re not able to free range, and I notice a lot of chatting coming from my fave RIR hen! The sounds and noises are very specific!
Chicken keepers need to consider a lot including the suggestions above. Having a plan makes this transition less stressful for the birds and humans. I wrote a post about chickens being complicated earlier this fall, and they are! When adding pullets to your existing flock, make sure you review this list and please comment below if you have any questions!
According to the ASPCA, “approximately 3.3 million dogs enter shelters every year. When these abandoned and often abused animals find their way to a shelter, each one needs a forever home and their potential is limitless. Some of the benefits of adoption are often hidden. Human and canine both enjoy the increased activity and social interaction through daily walks. Humans develop patience as they learn the ways of their new four-legged companion. Dogs explore the many scents of the human lifestyle, usually discovering shoes are off limits.”
There are only a few days left in October so we still have time to get the word out about four adorable adoptable animals that you can meet at the Pixie Project.
Here are some pics and short excerpts from their profiles! More in the links below about each animal.
So while you’re looking for a last minute costume and candy, help us find forever homes for these four animals!
Come one and come all! Step right up and see the most famous dynamic duo on the planet: It’s C.J. and Touche! We are a couple of 9-year-old adorable Pug/Terrier mixes both weighing in at around 14lbs. We have been together all our lives and never go anywhere without the other, so suffice to say we are indeed bonded. We, unfortunately, lost our mom who recently passed away in hospice care. But we are very social with other people and would be oh so happy to be apart of a family again. In this 3 ringed circus known as life, we have met a lot of other dogs and people in our travels, but we would much prefer to retire in a quiet adult only owned home as the only pets.
Hi everyone! My name is Frances, but you can call me Franny for short! I am an adorable 10-year-old Chihuahua mix weighing in at only about 8 lbs. Though I am small, I have a big heart with a lot of love to share with you. I am a confident but sensitive lady who enjoys hanging with my adult only human pals. I enjoying going for my daily walks and love rolling around in the grass. When I am out on these adventures, everyone seems to want to wink at me. It took me forever to realize that they thought I was winking first-HA! You might notice I have one eye that is quite smaller than the other. I was just born this way and there are no medical concerns regarding it, and overall I have adapted to it just fine! Besides being outside in the sun, I really enjoy being next to my people getting lots of cuddles and snuggles on your lap.
One small yummy hot fudge Sundae coming right up! And the cherry on top of it all, well that’s me! Hello everyone. You can call me Sundae and I am a 6-year-old Chihuahua mix sweet enough to curb any sugar craving! At 8 lbs, I am a small gal with a big heart. I come from a very rural place in California, so I am a little bit nervous at first, but I tend to shake it off quickly and am actually highly social! Outside, the busy traffic is still new to me but I am always happy to see new people or other doggies on the street. In fact, I get so excited when Pixie staff come to see me that I do a little cooing howl to let them know that I am ready to play!
All hail the King! Just kidding. I am still more of “king in training”. After all, I am only about a 1.5 old! I came in rough shape at Pixie, but they got me all patched up and ready to go! I am even officially all cleared to start running around with my doggy pals and human friends over 8, and I am so very excited to do so! I just love being active and would be a great little hiker. My foster mom says I still like to have my down time and would happily snuggle up on the couch with you after a day of puppy antics.
Adoption fee is $350
If you have any questions about these animals, please contact the Pixie Project!
My hens and rooster love their feed. When the chicks were introduced to the grown-up chickens about six weeks ago, we changed from layer feed to Scratch and Peck’s organic starter feed since the chicks needed to stay on that until about eight weeks. That’s when we’ll put them on grower feed. As I’ve mentioned previously, we always have out a bowl of oyster shell and grit as supplements. But recently I also learned about fermenting chicken feed and now we’re doing this for the ladies! Many farmers do this as part of their daily routine so there is no reason a chicken keeper with a small flock cannot do this!
And at Fang! Pet and Garden Supply we sell all the Scratch and Peck Organic Livestock Feeds. We also talk about fermenting feed with our customers frequently. All Scratch and Peck feed can be fermented – with that in mind, all chicken feeds (except pellet feeds) can be fermented. This post shows their layer feed fermented in the pics below.
This is SO EASY. We decided to use a fermenting kit provided by Scratch and Kit. As a newbie fermenter, it has all the elements needed which made me less nervous. Note for everyone: sprouting is not fermenting. You can sprout whole grains but this post is about fermenting feed. I didn’t know the difference and I actually started “fermenting” grains and then had to start over again. Oops!
THIS is the kit showing feed that can and should be fermented.
Day 4: Ready for the ladies
Fermenting chicken feed make nutrients more readily available in, feed requirements lessen, and there is also less waste since the chickens love it.
The nutritional benefits of fermenting chicken feed are great:
It increases beneficial bacteria in their guts
It also decreases pathogens in your hens’ digestive systems
Makes protein more available
Requires less feed per serving (one of my fave reasons)
Decreases coop odor (yes!)
Increases water intake as water is consumed with the feed
Improves digestibility of feed and nutrient absorption
Ok, How Do you Ferment Chicken Feed?
(I’ve included the daily steps below)
First, you submerge the feed under water for 24-48 hours. This can be done in a bucket. Expert Maat Van Uitert wrote a great book, “Naturally Raising A Sustainable Flock” which is my go-to guide for chicken advice.
There is a section on fermenting chicken feed that talks a little about the process. “It’s very, very important to make sure the feed remains under water, which creates the environment that allows the good bacteria to grow,” explains Maat. She likes to leave an inch or two of water above the feed as it ferments.
Note: If it looks moldy at all toss it. But it should smell like sourdough bread! By day two my mason jar absolutely smelled this way and I knew we were getting close (see below).
These easy steps are from Scratch and Peck and please don’t hesitate to ask any of our staff at Fang! if you have questions about how this works:
Place feed in a clean container (see my mason jar in the pics) with a loose-fitting lid. The size of the container will depend on the size of your flock. For a flock of just a few birds, a 32 oz mason jar will suffice. A 5-gallon bucket works for larger flocks. Start small, though, and work your way up if needed.. Leave room in the container for the fermented chicken feed to expand. Pour non-chlorinated water over the feed and mix. (we have a well so our water doesn’t have chlorine in it but if your water does follow these tips).
I tried two parts water to one part feed. And just like Maat says in her book – make sure the water is covering the feed completely. Let sit at room temperature at least a day. And stir it once a day. Bubbles will start to form when the ferment is ready and there will be a slightly sour smell. Pea soup is the consistency you’re looking for.
Day Two Steps:
You can see that it’s starting to bubble on day two. Keep watching as this process can take up to 4 days depending on the temperature.
Day Three Steps:
How does it smell? Make sure to mix it once more on day three. Do you have mash that’s ready to feed your hens?
We’re eating! *note that the mash should be slightly wet and not soupy, so I drained some of the liquid when mixing a new batch! Remember – pea soup!
Fermenting chicken feed was an entirely new concept to me. But the yellow chicken approves. If you have questions, come visit us at Fang! And we can help you!