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Chickens are a lively addition to any homestead. But it’s not all fun and games when you welcome a group of hens to your yard. Some flocks fall prey to pecking spells, where chickens begin attacking each other. Hen pecking can be an annoying problem at best, and devastating to the health of your flock at worst. Follow these best practices to keep the peace with your egg layers.

Manage stress levels

Chickens are just like people: they act out when they’re stressed. Pecking is often a symptom of a much larger problem with your hens. Address the source of the stress and your pecking problem will end.

Unfortunately, chickens aren’t able to tell us what’s going on. You’ll have to do a little detective work to spot the source of your hens’ woes. Do your chickens have at least four square feet per bird? Do they have mites or lice? Are they too hot or too cold? Are they hungry? Did a fox move into the area?

Whatever the reason for their pecking, aim to please your hens to stop pecking at the source.

Peck deterrents

Addressing underlying stress is the best way to combat pecking long term. But how do you protect your hens while getting to the root of the problem? Try store-bought peck deterrents like Pick No More. It will minimize the chances of pecking while you try to cure the hens’ anxiety.

Dust baths

Chickens will often peck when they feel dirty. Prevent pecking by giving your chickens baths. Not normal baths, of course: give your chickens access to dust baths. Your hens may have dug holes where they give themselves dust baths. If they don’t give themselves dust baths, or if digging has been discouraged, create your own dust bath. Mix sand, soil, and wood ash together in a sturdy 2’ x 2’ box.

Pecking alternatives

Remember, chickens are just like people. Chickens can get bored, and sometimes they start pecking when bored. Life on the farm doesn’t have to be boring for your hens. Provide DIY toys that let chickens use their natural instincts. Give them plenty of free range time, as well as toys like branches, string, or chicken swings.

Pecking is an irritating habit that wreaks havoc on the homestead. Instead of opting for inhumane alternatives like beak-cutting, target the source of your chickens’ stress to combat pecking.

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Treating Common Foot Issues: Dry/Cracked Skin

Dry skin is uncomfortable and unsightly. The issue gets especially bad in winter, but some people are prone to dryness all year ‘round. The truth is, many of us simply don’t moisturize our feet enough – we neglect that part of our body because it’s not as visible as, say, our hands. But our feet are especially prone to dryness!

To treat this problem, you need to do a couple simple things. First, remove the dead, dry skin from your feet. Then moisturize away until they’re soft.

Removing dry skin.

There are lots of products designed especially for this, such as exfoliating socks and foot peels. With these products, you can literally watch the dry skin peel away from your feet over the course of a few days. Gross, but satisfying. You don’t want to use those products all the time, now – over-exfoliation is never a good idea – but do it on an occasional basis, when your feet look like they need it.

Then, on a more regular basis, rub your feet with a pumice stone when you take a shower or use a foot scrub. These steps are important for maintenance and keeping dead skin at bay.

Deep moisture overnight.

Did you know that there are masks for your feet? Yes, there are. You can also just apply a thick moisturizing cream, apply socks, and leave them overnight. Your feet will be incredibly soft by morning, and you won’t have to worry about slipping and sliding all over the house.

If you’re experiencing cracked heels, apply petroleum jelly to the affected area and follow the same step – put on socks, and leave it overnight.

Apply foot cream daily.

To maintain soft skin, moisturize your feet every single day. Slather it on if you must! While you might not want to apply lotion or cream right before you put on your shoes, it can actually be a good idea if you’re prone to dry skin – the heat helps the moisture penetrate your skin, and it soaks in by the time you’re back home.

Up Next:

Treating Common Foot Issues: Blisters


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