We partnered with Scratch and Peck for this post as we sell their Cluckin’ Good Organic Herbs for chicken keepers. The ingredients include organic garlic, ginger, parsley, thyme, basil, oregano, nettle and my fave herb, calendula. These herbs go directly into the feed and the hens gobble them up!
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:
Herbs to Feed Chickens & their actions:
These herbs are all in Scratch and Peck’s Cluckin’ Good Organic Herbs.
- Garlic: laying stimulant
- Ginger: high in vitamins, parasite control
- Parsley: laying stimulant
- Thyme: helps with respiratory health
- Basil: antibacterial
- Oregano: boosts immunity, combats coccidia
- Nettle: Increases egg production
- 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.
Longtime Spot Magazine editor, Jennifer Mccammon, tells us,
“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.”
Why Do People Ferment Chicken Feed?
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!
Note that these are grains! And you want to ferment feed. 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!
Meet Bowie – our March Customer of the Month!
We love Bowie! Why was Bowie nominated for March? “It’s so much fun to see how much he’s grown since the first time he visited us at Fang! He had to be a Spotlight because he stole our hearts,” according to Fang and Feather’s owner, Nancy Fedelem. We asked Anna (pet parent) to tell us a little about Bowie.
- What is your name? Bowie
- What is the name of your pet? Anna Heston
- What breed is your pet? Boston Terrier
- How old is your pet? 4 months
- What do they do that makes you laugh? He snores like a pig
- What is their favorite treat? Beef Trachea
- What activity do you enjoy the most with your pet? Playing with Bowie
- What silly name do you call your pet when no one is around? Bo Bo
- What has your pet taught you? That dogs are babies
- Where does your pet sleep? Pup bed in living room, cuz he snores
- Lastly, what is most precious about your relationship? That I’m a dog mom too
Our 2018 calendar
Any pets featured as a Customer of the Month will be automatically added to a new calendar we’re debuting THIS year. If you would like to be featured, any of the staff at Fang & Feather can connect you with the form to fill out or please email our store manager at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks to our more advanced veterinary care, there’s a good chance you’ll have your pet with you quite a while. Whether you’ve had your pet throughout their life or recently adopted a senior animal, caring for older pets can be a challenge. You want to make sure they’re comfortable and enjoying life, but it can be hard to make sure you’re covering all of your bases, especially since elderly pets aren’t always able to tell you exactly what they need. Here are some basic guidelines for caring for your older fur kids.
- Up your annual vet visit to a semi-annual trip
You’ve likely been keeping your pet’s annual visit to the vet on the schedule for years, but older pets can benefit from going twice a year. These extra visits can help your care provider catch early warning signs of disease before they get out of control. The extra time with the doctor will also provide you time to ask questions about caring for your aging pet.
- Understand geriatric health risks
Elderly pets face a myriad of diseases. It’s important to know what these are so that you can keep an eye out for symptoms in between vet appointments. Depending on the animal, these diseases could include cancer, arthritis, heart disease, diabetes, loss of eyesight, and liver disease. Check with your vet about early warnings signs you should be looking for.
Just like us, aging animals may need to tweak their diet. They often need easily digestible food the older they get. Check with your vet about recommendations. You can also ask the Salty’s staff and the folks at Fang for some ideas.
- Maintain their mental health
The need for mental stimulation increases as your pet gets older. Take your dog for regular walks, provide toys that offer mental stimulation, and invest in quality time with them while they play. Keeping their mind young can help your pets stay with you longer, and enjoy a high quality of life while they’re here.
- Choose an end-of-life plan before you need one
It’s devastating to consider euthanizing your pet, and it’s understandable to not want to think about it. However, it’s much easier to consider what you will do when the worst happens well before that moment actually arrives. Many vets can provide you with a quality of life scale, to help you understand when your pet may be suffering. You can also plan with your vet what the day will look like if you have to euthanize your pet. It will be comforting to you that if the moment comes that you have to make this difficult choice, you will know what to expect and will know that your friend will comfortable and loved.
The “dog people vs. cat people” debate is a long running one. Many people do love both types of animals and even have both in their home, but plenty of people prefer one over the other. Some of those who don’t consider themselves “cat people” have misconceptions about what cats are like, and what kind of pets they are. These misconceptions often extend to people who do like cats and haven’t owned one yet. Cats can offer a life of fun and enjoyment for their owners and make great companions. Here’s some of the top misunderstandings about owning a cat.
Cats are stand-offish
Those who don’t like cats often say they’re grouchy, mean-spirited animals. While there are definitely grumpy cats (and dogs!) out there, cats are can be loving, loyal pets. Cats do prefer to do their own thing sometimes and like to nap frequently, but they also like snuggle, lay in your lap, and sleep close you at night. Many cats are very people friendly, and get along well with anyone willing to give them under the chin scratches.
Cats take care of themselves
It’s true that cats don’t need the daily walks dogs require. They spend stretches of their day with no attention from you. However, this doesn’t mean it’s a great idea to leave them alone for the weekend, even with a very full food dish. Any number of accidents can happen while you’re away. Just because a cat doesn’t require as much daily attention as a dog, that doesn’t mean they’re totally safe alone for stretches of a few days. It’s important to still have someone checking in on them or place them at a boarding facility while you’re away.
Cats are not playful
Dogs are known for their lovable, playful attitudes, but cats can be the same way! Cats love to play with ribbons, catnip toys, boxes, and anything else they can get their paws on. Interacting with them during playtime can strengthen the bond with your cat. It also helps them get the brain activity they need to stay healthy. We all know dogs can be big goofs, but cats are also silly! Any cat owner can tell you of midnight “goblin hunts” featuring their cat running around the house at full speed and attacking shadows in the middle of the night.
Cats are quiet animals
Cats don’t often use noise to communicate with each other, but they will vocalize to talk with their owners. This is most often to get their attention at dinner time, but cats have also been known to sit and “converse” with their owners. They also have special chirps for the birds they see out the window, and loving purrs during snuggle time.