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Coop Dreams Teaching Tuesday Interview ft Brad from Coop Dreams TV

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Show Notes

This week on Backyard Bounty podcast we bring you something a little different as Nicole joins Brad from Coop Dreams TV for their Teaching Tuesday FaceBook live event

What You’ll Learn

  • Guinea Fowl and things to things to consider before you get started
  • Fermenting feed why you should do it
  • How Nicole got started with Heritage Acres Market
  • What to keep on your chicken first aid kit

Our Guest

Brad is the host of Coop Dreams a TV series for anyone that ever chased a dream. Or wanted backyard chickens…or goats…or bees…or a garden!

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Announcer: 0:01

Welcome to the Backyard Bounty Podcast from, where each week you'll be hearing inspiring stories and educational interviews with extra guests to help your hobby farm thrive. And now, here's your host, Nicole.

Nicole 0:17

Hello, everyone. And thank you so much for joining me for another episode of Backyard Bounty. I'm your host, Nicole. And today I just wanted to share with you something a little different. I was recently interviewed on the Hoop Dreams TV, Facebook Live for their teaching Tuesday, and I was honored to be on their show, and do some education and answer some questions about raising backyard chickens. And so I just wanted to share this interview with you for this week's episode. I hope that you like it, I know that it's a little something different. So I'd love to hear from you. Please, either send me a message or send me a text to be the contact information in the description. I'd love to hear what you think. So I hope you enjoyed this episode and find it valuable if you either have backyard chickens or you're thinking about getting some. And as always, thank you so much for joining me and I will see you again next week.

Brad 1:13

Hey, hey, hey, it's Tuesday. Class is in session. This is class number 17. excited about this one. I've been talking to Nicole for a while from Heritage Acres Market. Got some fun stuff. What I want to do right now is introduce you to Nicole get data from Heritage Acres Market. Unbelievable. I think I'm busy. She's crazy, crazy busy. So listen to this. So an author, she got a blog, just a podcast, "Backyard Bounty" podcast, has a newsletter runs a website, is the North American distributor for poultry nipples out of Europe, and then has the time to come and spend with us. So Master Gardener?Correct.

Nicole 1:58


Brad 2:00

Master beekeeper, and lifelong chicken keeper?

Nicole 2:06

For the vast majority anyways, I consider it lifelong.

Brad 2:09

So when did you start with chickens?

Nicole 2:12

When I was a kid, I was lucky enough that my dad brought chickens into our lives as a kid. And that was kind of the beginning of the end?

Brad 2:24

Well, you've moved around a little bit. So he and also I forgot you used to be a firefighter almost a decade as a firefighter. So were you able to with the hours because firefighters they're often in fire stations for a couple days. Were you able to keep chickens during that period?

Nicole 2:41

Yeah, actually, with the exception of a small period of time that I lived in Wyoming, I've pretty much had chickens for really most of my life. But I've been able to kind of devise a system that really worked well, because I would work for potentially 48 hours was a regular shift with the potential rather to work up to 60 hours. And then when you come home, your dog tired. So I was able to set my coop up and my feeders in my waters in a way that really about once a week or twice a week, just top everything often made vacationing a lot easier to so they were pretty self sufficient.

Brad 3:19

Did you have one of those auto doors?

Nicole 3:21

Everything was connected. So I had a nice size run connected to a really good sized coop, that was all predator safe and everything and so everybody could just be on their own.

Brad 3:32

Okay, I rattled through a few of the things that you do, but I probably only scratched the surface. Tell us about Heritage Acres Market, what you do, how it got started, and what drives this passion for you?

Nicole 3:43

Sure. So I started Heritage Acres five years ago, January of 2016. I guess that would be five years ago. And I started it To be honest, because I was a little bored at the fire department, I was able to move into a fire station that was a little bit less busy. As a senior medic, they put me there and not running as many calls I got a little bit bored. So I started this website. I've always had a passion for learning and for teaching others and I wanted to be able to teach other people about chickens and kind of what was going on in my life. I kind of saw a lot of misinformation that was out there. I do also have some background in bird health, I volunteered at a Raptor Center, which is really a rehabilitation facility for injured birds of prey. So I really like medicine if you can't tell, although I'm not, you know, a vet. But so I saw a lot of misinformation. So I wanted to be able to put good information out there started the website. Through a series of events, I was able to then become the distributor of the poultry nipples that you mentioned the original ones out of Europe, not the Chinese ones.

Brad 4:50

What is special about these drinking nipples?

Nicole 4:52

So the biggest thing is they're made in Europe and they're made with premium quality materials. So they're actually made for mink farmers. So you know, mink being a rodent, they're really aggressive and they can chew and really damage things. So the materials that these are made out of is a premium quality, BPA free plastic premium quality stainless steel, really good quality rubber O rings. And the Chinese ones, unfortunately, don't use the same quality material. So they have a tendency to leak, they tend to break, they have lots of issues. And in fact, I trust the quality of them so much that I even offer a lifetime leak free guarantee, and I've never had to warranty one. They are really incredible.

Brad 5:37

Okay, so you're are a firefighter in Colorado. How do you secure the North American rights to this European drinking nipple? You have to go over there was it online?

Nicole 5:52

No, I didn't, I would actually like to go over there was something I was hoping to do last year. And then obviously go it happened. But it was just kind of a series of events. Truth be told, I'm not the first person that that discovered them. It was another gal. And she ended up changing careers. And so I think her career focus kind of took her away from being able to invest the time in in selling them. And then I was one of the distributors along with one other person at the time. And then when the Chinese ones came out, the two other folks that were selling them said, You know what, this is just too much the Chinese ones, it's, it's not worth it for us. So they stepped out. And I kind of took it on full force. And I really have tried to share with people the difference. And I've been able to work out a relationship with the gentleman that owns the company, owns Columbus Aqua, great guy. And we've been able to work out a partnership so that I'm the exclusive distributor for the US and Canada.

Brad 6:54

Okay. Unbelievable. How you can get that done with all the other stuff you've got going on. So you start Heritage Acres Market five years ago?

Nicole 7:02

Yes sir.

Brad 7:03

And now and I go on the site, I like the Garden Planner. That's something that we can all use. As you look at where you're at now. And where you thought you'd be when you started. Are you on track? Have you added more than you thought you do? Is it as big as you want it? Is it too big?

Nicole 7:22

Yes to all of those questions. To be honest, when I started it, it was really just intended to be a hobby. Just I like to teach it was a platform to share information with people. Unfortunately, I sustained a career ending on the job injury. So I'm no longer with the fire department. I ended up basically destroying the tendons and things in my shoulder, and even after surgery, it wasn't to the point that I could go back to work. So in 2019, early 2019 I separated from the fire department. And so that kind of definitely motivated things here a little bit. I still do have a part time job. But I have the the motivation and the passion for this. And I love this. I love doing this, the podcast and everything. And so when I started, I didn't plan on taking this little website and turning it into something bigger than it is. But it's growing and I love it. And I'm pretty happy with things. I'm going to be working on adding video content this year. I'm always looking to grow and you'll stay current and stay with the current social media and stuff so I don't really know where the end is. But I love it. So let's keep doing it until I don't love it anymore, I guess.

Brad 8:38

Having a passion is awesome. I did see somebody made a comment that Kyle's gonna lose some gold stars. is Kyle acting up already? Do we need to have a timeout? For I know and usually he's good on Tuesday night so and actually the first topic is it's kind of weird because Kyle is constantly talking about guineas. I think he's from Dallas and he's got some guineas or he watches his neighbor's guineas or something. But we've been thinking about it. And we're interested in it. So I get my first two questions are one I hear they're crazy and noisy. And then the second question is how do you get started, people say you don't need a coop with them?

Nicole 9:19

So I'll try to keep things as condensed as I can and just kind of hit the key points because this is definitely something I could talk for the entire hour about. So guinea fowl are crazy wild chickens. Basically they're, they're not as tame as chickens are. They do need food, they need water and they do need shelter of some kind. So I don't live in an area that has a lot of trees and even if you did, trees are it's really safe from things like owls so if you can coop train them that's ideal. I really suggest anybody starting with guinea fowl start with keats which is which is what they call the chicks. They just they're called keats instead of chicks. Because if you get In older bird, they might be more prone to wander where if you get a younger bird and raise them up on your property, they're more likely to stay home, they tend to wander about a five acre area. So if you have neighbors, that could be an issue. So I have a couple tricks for that, too. But when you start out with the young keats, I would suggest starting out with at least six, and I would suggest getting two to four more kids than you plan on having in the long run. Unfortunately, the kids are more delicate than chicks and guineas are not very bright, and they find very unique ways to die. And unfortunately, you more than likely will lose a few in the long run. So if you want 12, I would buy at least 15 and go from there.

Brad 10:51

So when you say you recommend starting with six, why what's the, what's the thought behind six?

Nicole 10:57

So they're a very flock oriented bird. So if you're adding them in with chickens, which I actually recommend, that helps, but they don't like to be alone. They're very community flock oriented. So the more that you have, the happier they'll be. And then because you are likely to unfortunately lose a few predators or dumb deaths, I call them "Silly Ways to Die".

Brad 11:22

What's an example of, and I certainly don't mean to be morbid, but what's a silly way to die? You know, and when I look at our chickens, it's either predator or something. But it's something that you know, right?

Nicole 11:37

I always I say, guineas are the only bird that can get lost in the corner of a round pen, and they are really dim, dim witted. And so they have that kind of horn on top of their head. And I've seen them on more than one occasion get their heads stuck in wire, because they get tangled up with that horn. And so then you have to go in and untangle them, I think they just get excited. And then they I had like a pile of you how we all have like a pile of yard like wire or wood or you know, like project material. They have I found them still alive, fortunately, but caught in piles of debris, just weird places, they get themselves stuck in very weird places, and they can't always get themselves out. So always, always count them at the end of the day and go looking.

Brad 12:27

And so you say that get more than you want, because you're going to lose them to whatever, when you go to count at night. Like I'm an optimist, I expect all of my chickens to be there. When you go to count at night, are you expecting a guinea to be missing? And do you have to go look for it.

Nicole 12:44

So I would expect them all to be there. If there's one missing then either one is stuck somewhere. Or one could potentially be broody, they they won't brood in their confinement, they'll typically go brood out in the middle of the field. So if it's that time of year, then there might be one missing because of that. Otherwise, it's you know, potentially predators. So I would expect them all to come in at night. That's one of the reasons that I recommend keeping them with chickens or at least one chicken. You know, chickens don't like to wander, they like to stay close to home and they go home at night go into the coop. guinea fowl don't always do that. But they don't like to leave anybody behind. So if you put them with chickens, or a chicken and that chicken goes home for the night, everybody will follow. If you just have a flock of guinea fowl by themselves, they might decide to go sleep on the roof of your house or the neighbor's tree or God only knows where.

Brad 13:41

So that's part of when you talk about getting them as keats versus adults. You're raising them you're you're you know, you have a brooder I would imagine just like with chickens, and then when they're old enough you put them out but by this time you're kind of navigating their whole process so they know where their home is. Whereas an adult bird that you rehome or relocate isn't quite as comfortable with that and you add the chicken because the chicken may show the guinea how to roost store where the house is at night.

Nicole 14:12

A couple of things on that, the brooder process is totally the same, but I would recommend keeping them on large flake pine shavings not the small stuff. When I first got guineas I had a problem with them eating the smaller pine shavings and it was impacting their crop and killing them. They like to be a touch warmer than chickens just a few degrees. That process is the same and then when you transition them outside, they should stay locked up in their coop or run if possible for 10 weeks. It takes a little bit longer for them to home or to realize that that coop is where they need to go at night and then they don't like going into a dark coop so the coop should have like solar light. I don't recommend running electricity and actual lights. Send to your coop for fire safety reasons. But like those little solar lights you can get from Amazon that way there's light in there for when they go in at night.

Brad 15:09

So if it's dark it is it that they can't find their way in or they're scared of the dark. Both. You set a horn it got its horn stuck in a fence. That is an actual horn? Or what is it called?

Nicole 15:22

Yeah, I don't know what it's actually made of probably, I don't know if it's keratin or I don't actually to be honest with you know if it's part of their skull, but it's a hard thing and it I call a horn because it to me they're like little rhinoceros but yeah, it's it's an actual hard thing. It's not soft, like a like a chickens comb.

Brad 15:40

So because they all the guineas that I've seen seem skittish and jumpy. You don't really like our chickens that are skittish and jumpy. We don't really get a really good relationship with them, because they're not cuddly and cute. So have you ever had that relationship with a guinea?

Nicole 15:59

So going back to that working a lot thing, I actually unfortunately have never, with the exception of one chicken never really had that relationship with my birds, just because I don't, I'm not around often. And I don't have the time to really sit there with them a lot and give them treats and work on picking them up and things. I have seen some folks online, that have been able to really tame their guinea fowl to the point that they can just go pick them up. And you know, they follow him around and sit on their shoulder. But unfortunately, I've never personally had that experience.

Brad 16:31

So they're not warm, fuzzy. They're not long term. It doesn't seem like they make it to a natural life, why do people get guineas?

Nicole 16:43

Because they're incredibly entertaining. They're great watchdogs. They're fantastic for pest control, and they don't damage your garden. I actually sell about 1000 a year here to the local cannabis farmers.

Brad 16:57


Nicole 16:57

Yeah, they there's a huge demand for them. Not only because watch dog capabilities of them, but they are really good for organic pest control. So the cannabis farmers will let them go out in their fields, because they do some open outdoor grows here. And they'll just go through and they eat the grasshoppers and whatever other bugs are out there. But they don't dig like chickens do. So they don't dig at the roots of the plants. So they really they work great for a situation like that.

Brad 17:26

So that's great pest management, I imagine it's good cost wise to do. But if they wander off, or if they get stuck and they perish, aren't you just constantly having to replace your organic Pest Control workforce?

Nicole 17:39

I have a lot of repeat customers.

Brad 17:43

Okay, so those are those are good reasons. When you say watch dog, watch bird kind of thing, where we would keep them and I based on the conversation, I don't imagine they'll stay in there unless they get stuck in there. But from where they are, the driveways 150 yards away, would they see somebody coming up? And would they make noise because they saw something?

Nicole 18:04

So they kind of have a constant chatter, but they'll really sound an alarm. Sometimes benign things like the wind blew the wrong direction, and they were offended by it. I don't really know. But they they are very observant. And they'll watch that area. So if something is out of place, or even a vehicle that they don't recognize, our guinea fowl, so we keep them with our chickens. So they're all together. And I don't free range them everyday because we do have a predator issue. But when I do free range them or even when they're locked in their pin, they are very observant. And most of the time, they're the ones that tell me that something's going on. We had a coyote in our yard one time when I was out in the garden. I had no idea because we have a couple acres but the guinea fowl were out losing their mind and come to find out there was a coyote. So they're great because they watch the air and the land. So they'll see a hawk from forever away. They're really good at keeping track of really all predators.

Brad 19:00

So they recognize your car, they know your car versus somebody else coming in.

Nicole 19:04


Brad 19:05

Why does everybody say that they're dumb? They sound like they're really smart, good birds.

Nicole 19:10

They are observant, but they they get, they get stuck in weird places and that they're not that bright. They kind of panic, you know, and they don't really seem to have a very logical thought process of doves.

Brad 19:24

I can relate. I might be part of Guinea.

Nicole 19:26

Oh, no.

Brad 19:28

That is going to add here in the next year. So I'm excited about that. But another thing that we had talked about was fermenting feed. And I've heard that like we had an injured chicken that didn't it was stuck for a while and so it wasn't able to get normal grit and everything and we kind of had to build it back up. So we wanted to ferment the feed so it was softer until we could get the gizzard and the grit and everything. What are the reasons so that the two questions or what are the reasons that you would ferment a feed? And how do you ferment defeat?

Nicole 20:05

Sure. And just real quick touching on the guinea fowl if you get them and you don't like them, they're a really good dark meat that tastes great roasted, they're related to pheasants. So if you don't like them, there's that option.

Brad 20:16

Well, they seem to kill themselves pretty frequently. So imagine if somebody doesn't like them, it's not a long term problem.

Nicole 20:23

No, no, typically, maybe, maybe you're but some people you know, have had better luck. So fermenting feed is a really probiotic rich, easily digestible, more nutritious, and, and food saving method of feeding your flock, because the food so you know, when you ferment it, you're adding water to it. And I'll touch more on that in a minute. But it expands, so it takes less food for the chickens to be full. So you know, let's just say they ate a cup of dry food a day. And once you add the water to it and expands to about a cup and a half, it's just going to take less food for them to fill up their crop.

Brad 21:07

So, are they as messy with fermented feed as they are with dry feed because it would seem like it might clump together a little bit? Maybe it saves feed that way.

Nicole 21:16

So with fermented feed, because it is live probiotics, you know, just like yogurt or something that it's in there, you should only feed them what they can eat and a half an hour, and you should put it in a dish, you don't really want to put it on the ground, that those good bacteria in those good cultures start dying pretty much right away. Once it's they're exposed to the air. So they really don't waste their food, because you're only giving them what they'll eat in a short period of time. So they they eat it all up because it's wet. You know, they don't really fling it around. And it's in a bowl so they don't really scratch at it.

Brad 21:51

Angelina Black says the reason you should ferment feed is to make it last longer. But there's also a nutritional benefit. You talked about probiotic, it does that naturally come out when you add the water is that something you add in while you ferment it.

Nicole 22:05

So the probiotics are just a naturally occurring thing from fermentation. Just like if you were to ferment, you know other foods, it's it's just something that naturally occurs. But not only do you have the probiotics, but soaking it in water breaks down those seed coatings, which are hard for chickens to digest. So because those seed coatings are broken down, they're able to absorb more nutrients from the food. Because typically those those seed coatings are meant to protect the birds so they are able to absorb as much nutrients from it. It protects that seed so that hopefully, you know the chickens can pass it through and then it's a viable seed to sprout. So so there's that, but the other probiotics are naturally occurring. And once you start fermenting the feed, it generally takes three days to be ready to feed and then you need to feed it because it will it will expire. It'll go after a while it'll kind of sour and go bad on you.

Brad 23:02

Oh, I did not know that. So it's that you just don't add water to the feed and put it out there. It takes three days to do you have to have it at a certain temperature while you're fermenting it.

Nicole 23:13

I'm sure there's a certain temperature but but warmish. So when I was doing fermenting feed on sort of a larger scale and kind of experimenting with it. I would have a couple three buckets, like five gallon buckets and I kept them in my guest bathroom in the bathtub, because it does expand and there is those live cultures. So sometimes it kind of bubbles over.

Brad 23:39

Five gallon buckets for how many birds?

Nicole 23:43

I don't know. More than 50. More than 50 between all of my pens. I have the chickens, guinea fowl, turkeys, pheasants, pigeons, quail, and I probably forgot somebody in that list.

Brad 23:56

Holy smokes. Oh. Oh, right. Okay. So when you're fermenting, we were given the instruction to ferment due to the injury that we were rehabbing. What are some other reasons why you would choose to ferment feed?

Nicole 24:13

So one of the surprising benefits of it is that it makes their poop less smelly. So if you're in an urban area, or you don't want to have to deal with that smell, that's a benefit of it. But you know, it really just increases their their gut microbiome. And healthier guts means less illnesses. So you know, just makes for a healthier chicken all around. And I think you know, we all want to have healthy birds because they are our pets.

Brad 24:42

Now, you say it lasts for only a certain time. And you've got to either put out just enough that they'll eat it because you don't want to waste it. How do you keep the rest of it? Or can you keep the rest of it? Do you have to whenever you're making Do you have to use it when you use it? Or can you refrigerate it and use it sparingly?

Nicole 25:00

So it's sort of a, when it's ready, you need to use it within 24 hours. So that's why I had a three bucket system. And it takes a while honestly, to figure out how big of a container how much food, how much water, because everybody has a different size flock, and then the food that you use, it's not really just this much food to this much water weight this many days because some foods will expand and absorb more water, depending on your temperature, it might take longer or quicker to ferment. So it's just kind of a process. So once you kind of figure out how much you need, then you can kind of tweak your process into I have this many birds, they eat this much food, I want to feed it either as a tree or as a daily food replacement, so I need this much.

Brad 25:48

I'm assuming with fermentation, it eventually turns into alcohol. How do you if you're going to do this daily? How do you stop your birds from becoming alcoholics?

Nicole 25:57

You give it to them before it gets alcohol. So think yogurt, you know, yogurt doesn't have an alcohol content. But I imagine if you let yogurt sit too long in the fridge, it would turn into something funky, I don't really know what it would turn into. But you know, it could potentially mold or or the alcohol or just gross you know, that sourness.

Brad 26:16

So how long do you have typically before like they didn't finish it, you have to go get it before it starts getting salary or they start getting liquored up?

Nicole 26:27

So like after you feed them in the morning, or..?

Brad 26:31

So you put the fermented feed in, in the morning, how long of a window do you have? And I imagine it probably is temperature responsive. But how long do you typically have before you got to go check it and say, "Okay, I gotta get it out of there before it molds or something"?

Nicole 26:46

So when you give them their daily ration, that's not so much the issue, it's leaving it in the bucket, for lack of better terms for too long, that's where it will start to go bad. But you should feed them what they'll eat in a 30 minute period. Because as those active cultures are exposed to air, they'll die over a period of time. So if you can give them what they'll eat within 30 minutes, that's ideal. If you left it out there all day and they didn't eat all of it, it's not going to be an issue because that dish or whatever, you gave them the ball in the morning for the food, that itself won't go bad. It's if you left your fermentation bucket for longer than three days. Let's say you went on vacation, you came back two weeks later, you know, that's not going to be usable, that's going to be bad.

Brad 27:32

Right? Right. So do you ever have a bird that is on fermented feed only forever, like their whole life or it stumped me just do occasionally.

Nicole 27:41

Um, so I was experimenting with it for a while to see if it was something that I wanted to do to use as their primary food source, I was looking at the possibility of using some higher quality feed and then fermenting it. It just didn't work out between my busy life. And sometimes I'd get called into work in my husband wasn't thrilled about doing it the bathroom. So now I just do it on occasion as a treat. So it's something like let's say they are molting, or somebody was sick, or if they got, you know, had worms and I had to treat them for worms or something like that anytime that they're stressed, or ill. It's a good time to do that. Otherwise, you know, it makes it to a treat as well.

Brad 28:28

Gotcha. couple questions that came in. If anybody does have questions on anything we've talked about, put them in the comments, and I'll try to make sure that we get them all talking about one one question that Mary has is are we talking about grain feed only?

Nicole 28:42

So you confirm into any kind of feed, whether it's pellets or crumbles or organic powder crumbles or mash, or, you know, kind of that whole grain feed. You can ferment anything, it can even be scratch.

Brad 28:56

Merrily had a question about fermenting, would you do this more in the wintertime or in cold weather?

Nicole 29:03

It doesn't matter. Just know that if you're fermenting it, of course, you're fermenting it inside. So it might take longer depending on how warm your houses are where you keep this fermentation. You could do it something as small as a half gallon jar on your counter if you're just going to give them a little bit of day. But if you're wanting to use it as a big replacement of their regular food, then you're going to need bigger containers and more space. So that can be a challenge because it does need to be I don't know an exact number but I'm just going to guess it should probably be between probably 70 to 75 ish degrees, I'm going to I'm going to ballpark it. So that can be a challenge.

Brad 29:49

So with the nutritional value of fermenting, all of those nutrients are in the feed already. The fermenting, just brings it out, makes it more digestible?

Nicole 30:03

So those those natural cultures, it's kind of like starting sourdough. I don't know what sort of natural magic happens, but you can mix effectively flour and water. And it becomes sourdough. There's that natural yeast that that just kind of shows up and adds the cultures. Unfortunately, that the more scientific background behind it, I don't I don't know. But the process is sort of similar. You mix the food in with the water, and then it will naturally develop those good bacteria.

Brad 30:34

Gotcha. Probiotics, Sienna had a question, is there a breaking in period since hens are often nervous about new things?

Nicole 30:44

I don't have that problem, I guess. So I use a the same dish for any sort of treats that I give them because you really shouldn't put their food on the ground. That's how they can get worms and other bad diseases and things. So I have one of those black rubber food bowl things. And so when they see that they don't really care what's in it, they're pretty excited about it.

Brad 31:05

They know what's coming.

Nicole 31:07


Brad 31:08

Um, Mary had a question on, does the food get watery when you ferment it? Or are you looking to add a certain amount, so it all gets absorbed?

Nicole 31:17

So kind of just the quick overview on fermenting, so what you would want to do is take your container and fill it between 1/3 and one half with food. And then you'll top that off with water. So you want the food to be submerged in water with at least one inch. And then you'll want to check it every 12 hours because it does expand. So if you need to add more water, and that needs to be de chlorinated water. So if you don't have like a Berkey, or something else, you can let water sit for 24 hours and whatever chlorinated Berkey is a water filter, like those big stainless steel water filters.

Brad 31:57

So is the water coming out of our sink chlorinated?

Nicole 32:01

Yeah, unless you're on a well, if you are on city water, it'll be chlorinated. That's a health thing.

Brad 32:07

If it's chlorinated water that kills the bacteria or that defeats the fermenting process,

Nicole 32:13

Right. So unless you have like a built in reverse osmosis system or something that chlorine, chlorine is bad for the good bacteria. So you'll want to either de chlorinate it or let it sit for 24 hours. That's one reason you should probably drink filtered waters because you have good bacteria in your gut. But that's another topic for another day.

Brad 32:33

So I should have been told that when I was instructed to feed fermented feed, because all the benefits, then I think I just used water from the sink, I probably didn't do any benefit.

Nicole 32:44

So it might not even ferment because of that, the chlorine. So as far as the, the watery feeds, so you'll, you'll add the food and water, make sure it stays covered with water all the time, check it every 12 hours, add more water as needed, if it starts to overflow, you're gonna have to take some food out, I've made that mistake many times. And then when it's time to feed, you'll want to strain off that water. So what you end up having is just kind of like oatmeal, you know, like mushy, mushy feed, and then save that water and that water will kind of jumpstart your next batch so it doesn't get it wouldn't be watery, because you're straining it.

Brad 33:26

So that's kind of like the mother in vinegar is that you kind of just keep that right process using that again, okay. Lots there, I probably need to digest it and hopefully we can get you back on at some point. So that's all the questions that I'll think of as soon as we're done I can ask those to talk is one of the things that we all battle in your in Colorado, so you battle it as well is water and waters. And you know, this time of year, it seems like if you don't have a good heated water or a heated bass that you're changing it about every hour, hour and a half then you got the challenge of algae and you've got constantly cleaning and keeping fresh water. So talk us through kind of your experiences with both the best kind of waterers what you found success with?

Nicole 34:13

Sure. So when I started keeping chickens back in the day, you know up until pretty recently I did just like everybody else does I I would assume or I actually just did a backyard chickens survey I can say most people have a year that traditional water watering found like plastic or galvanized the cylinder with the ball on the bottom. And those are awful for a ton of reasons. I really struggle with those. You know the plastic ones for being outside in the sun, they end up cracking and breaking. It's very windy here so that dish of course fills up with dirt. They step in it so they get poopy feet in there. You know there's those are just awful. The galvanised ones, you can't use apple cider vinegar, if that's something that you want to use. Or if you want to use some sort of a water based medicine, if you need to do that, that has to be you have to be careful with that. And then of course they freeze out here in Colorado, even though I'm in a more mild part of Colorado, you know, you have to have some sort of a heat source, it does freeze at night. And those those bins are difficult or those dishes, they also evaporate in the summer in our hot summer temperatures. So when I was with chickens, and working these 48 hour shifts, I had to come up with a better watering system because I couldn't deal with water when I'm not here. I wasn't married at the time. So that was a challenge. My husband is very helpful now. But you know, I had to adapt with these different things. So that's how I stumbled across the poultry, nipple waters or chicken nipples. So I have a demonstration here today. So they're basically you know, these these horizontal waters that go on to a bucket or container. So what I have is those installed on a 55 gallon drum. And then I have a heater, submersible heater in that drum. So in the winter, when it's cold outside, I only have to fill up their water, maybe once a month. And it's delightful, because winter and wet is awful.

Brad 36:30

Where'd you get a 55 gallon drum and is it metal or plastic?

Nicole 36:34

Plastic, so they need to be installed on plastic. And I was able to find one a gentleman locally has a like a drum cleaning business, I don't know he gets them from different food manufacturing or food storage facilities and then cleans them out and sells them. So I think it was $10 for the 55 gallon drum.

Brad 36:57

So the the heater that you submerge is just like a livestock feed tank heater?

Brad 37:05


Brad 37:07

Do the metal pin in the nipple, that won't freeze up?

Nicole 37:11

So I'm going to unscrew one of these. So I can show you real quick. So the nipples themselves when they're properly installed being the emphasis on properly installed, they don't freeze. So here's the nipple, right, so you have the pin. And then I call this part the barrel. So what happens is when they push on the pin, it pushes that O ring back. I don't know if you can see that they're back. And then So water is released into the nipple. And if you look, if I can try and hold it straight on the screen, there's actually kind of a slant in the in the poultry nipple. So the barrels up here and then the little dishes right here. So it's it's slanted. So when they push on the pin, water comes out. And then when they let go, that O ring seals it. And this is self draining. So because of that can't that it has to the water drains out. So these don't hold water inside of here, like a lot of the nipples do. So these don't freeze. The pin won't freeze anything like that. So you have to keep the water thawed. Sometimes people get confused, I say these don't freeze but you know the water in your bucket will and you have to have a submersible heater because these are at the bottom of your bucket. So you need the water at the bottom of the barrel or the bucket or whatever you using by the poultry nipples to be thought. So as long as the water in the bucket is thawed, then then these work. And they work very well.

Brad 38:43

So see if I process this whole thing. First of all, are they very difficult to install?

Nicole 38:50

Nope. So I do have an installation tool if maybe you do have some challenges twisting or things like that, that goes into a drill, but with your container. So you just drill a hole and then you screw them in. And then you don't screw them in flush you leave them out so that about one or two threads are showing how come so these are designed not for installing and these thin plastic. So if you screw it in all the way, you would actually need a different size drill bit which just isn't made. These are used with either an 11/32 or three eight inch drill bit and there's just not something that's just a touch bigger, that would be the right size. And if you screw it in all the way then it would end up cracking potentially the container. Gotcha. So you just want to leave a few threads exposed so it's about 80% threaded and that's it, that's that's how.

Brad 39:46

To make sure I got it. When they hit the pin. It shoots it back out of the barrel. The O ring then breaks the seal the water goes into the water when they pull away from the Pin, the O ring seals that back up. It's at an angle. So water doesn't stay in that barrel, it drains itself out. So there's no freezing in the mechanical part of it. Correct?

Nicole 40:10

Correct. There is this little like lip here. But that only holds a very small amount of water. I had one gentleman that lived in, maybe Alaska, I'm not sure, but they were like negative 50 degrees Fahrenheit literally in the winter, and has some issues with freezing there. So what I told him was you can either cut that off or drill a hole in it so that there's nothing there. But in most cases, the amount of water that's that's in there is so minimal. And that's why I say they need to be installed properly. So it needs to be installed. So that your bucket sits level and that these are level so that they can drain. If they're installed on a on a surface that you know is like this, then these wouldn't be able to drain and then you could potentially have some issues.

Brad 41:01

Because the water would stay in the barrel at that point.

Brad 41:03


Brad 41:03

Maybe okay. And we people can get these we can get these on your website Heritage Acres

Nicole 41:10

Yes, sir. And I have a discount code for folks, "COOPDREAMS", one word, and you can get 15% off and I do ship internationally.

Brad 41:20

And that's everything in your store?

Nicole 41:22

Everything in the store. It's just 15% off your order.

Brad 41:25

Very kind of you, "COOPDREAMS" code for 15% off. Okay, the last thing I wanted to get to tonight is another burning question that we all have. What's in your first aid kit, you as a paramedic, and a chicken keeper have to have perfect chicken first aid kit, what is in yours?

Nicole 41:42

So mine might be a little over the top compared to to most people, it's kind of my thing, I kind of like it. But I have, I have a variety of things. So in my experience, I've had issues with respiratory illnesses and traumatic injuries. So those are kind of the two things that I try to have stuff on hand for. And then just the nature of my background, I try to have something for everything, which is really difficult and why I have way too much I have literally one of those like 27 gallon totes that's full to the brim of stuff, stuff. Hopefully, you know, you don't need it, but it's better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it. So I would say that for the average backyard chicken keeper, I have a kind of a list of things that I made here that are at a minimum, I do have a backyard poultry health guide, ebook and some blog posts if you want more information, or you can always reach out to me and I can give you the whole list. But I would definitely make sure that you have a kennel or some sort of an isolation crate in his or a rooster. I guess if a chicken is sick, the first thing that you want to do is isolate them, it doesn't matter if they have a traumatic injury, or if they're having some sort of a medical issue. You want to isolate them from the rest of the flock. So that's that's kind of a very important thing. For traumatic injuries. The vetericyn spray that you can get at your local farm store is amazing. It works really well. I love that stuff. Avoid Blue Coat. That used to be a really popular recommendation. But they came out and found that it's painful on on injuries and it can also potentially cause some damage. So avoid Blue Coat. Of course bandaging materials, you know, gauze that wrap tape, things like that. So if they have an issue, they can kind of cover them up. There's a product called Meta Honey, I am not affiliated with this. I just really find it amazing. I have used this so many times and I absolutely love it. The first time I used it was when a chicken got attacked by a coyote ripped her all the way around and I sutured her and put this stuff on and this stuff. It prevents infection and it encourages healing and it's amazing. You can find it on Amazon but you prefer not shop on Amazon. You can find it on wound care, like human wound care websites. I use it on myself all the time. It's amazing.

Brad 44:17

Is it an animal product or a human product?

Nicole 44:19

It's a human wound care product. It's meant for people that have like pressure ulcers, post surgery, things like that. I absolutely love it. So it's it's just manuka honey 100% active word. I can't pronounce honey. It's this stuff's amazing. I could talk...

Brad 44:37

That's that Manuka honey from New Zealand? That's special honey. I had some friends that went up there. They said it's incredible.

Nicole 44:43

Yeah. So this is the skin version or the wound version instead of the food version for consumption.

Brad 44:49

So my one question I was gonna ask you is what's your go to? What is the thing in your first aid kit that you seem to be using the most would that be it?

Nicole 44:58

Yeah. For for that I would say if it's an injury, you know, a traumatic injury, it's definitely I clean it with vetericyn. Please don't use hydrogen peroxide, clean it with vetericyn. slather this stuff on there and wrap it in gauze leave the bird in the crate for a couple days and, and it works fantastic. I did see a question that just popped up on the corner via her eye here for respiratory infections from Mary. Respiratory infections can be more challenging, but my go to for that, which is off label for laying hens. So this is going to be one of those personal choice things. There's a product called "Five In One", like the number five in the number one, it's generally sold on pigeon supply stores. And it's called five and one because it has the medications in it needed to treat coccidiosis, canker worms, and then it has electrolytes and probiotics. So if you have a sick chicken, and you're not really sure why she's sick, you could use my book, but you can also give her this five in one. And it will pretty much treat anything that's wrong with it. For the most part, as far as illnesses. That being said, there's some debate on whether or not the dewormer that's in there is should be used with laying hens. So again, that's something that I would encourage everybody to make their own personal decision on. It's not an FDA approved product for chickens. And that's why you buy it from the pigeon feed store.

Brad 46:35

So did I hear correctly after the coyote attack you stitched up your hen?

Nicole 46:41

Yeah, sure did.

Brad 46:45

Like for even even are really calm hens. If I'm going to even attempt to suture them up, They're going to go crazy. How do you do that? How do you calm them down or keep them still?

Nicole 46:57

Well, unfortunately, she was so stressed from the incident. I sutured her I had the stuff on hand. Better to have it and you know when you need it. So she was kind of not sedated, but she was I think just overwhelmed from the whole situation that she didn't have a whole lot of energy. She ran from a coyote got picked up by a coyote. The story is we were outside she was out there. The coyote came and picked her up the guinea fowl told us that there is there is the coyote my husband being the athletic man that he is went running after this coyote hurdle. The fence with no hands split rail, four foot fence leaped it went running after the coyote caught up to the coyote scared the coyote coyote dropped chicken coyote ran away so that we were able to get the chicken.

Brad 47:52

And that chicken survived? Hmm. They make movies about guys like that.

Nicole 47:57

Yeah, yeah.

Brad 48:01

Okay, a couple questions that popped in. Um, Margaret asked, "What do you use to prevent pecking"? If you've got an injured chicken, there's blood what what do you do there?

Nicole 48:11

Um, the best thing to do is to isolate that injured chicken. use something like this Meta honey or, you know, whatever you choose to use, wait till she's healed and then put her back.

Brad 48:24

Gotcha. Okay, another one was do use Tylan? First of all, what is Tylan?

Nicole 48:28

So Tylan is a antibiotic that you can use for respiratory infections. I do use Tylan. It's increasingly difficult to find the stuff that I have is older. I don't know that you can find it in the store anymore. I'm I'm not sure. But I do use Tylan. I've used it for my peafowl. She's had a respiratory infection a couple times. peafowl are kind of prone to it. I'm not really sure why it works great.

Brad 48:57

So on this, you know, Julie Masson says that you can get manuka honey at any store, it's not just manuka honey, in that thing is it?

Nicole 49:05

No, so, um, I don't know if it has an ingredient list. Probably, probably not. I'm sure it does on the packaging. But in addition to the 100%, leptospirium let's just go with it, honey it has. So there's, there's a gel and a paste and this is the gel, and I don't know if I can read on the fly here. But it's, it keeps the wound moist. So it has some sort of jelling it says jelling agents to act to maintain physical integrity and viscosity of the dressing. So fancy word for saying it just helps keep the wound wet because keeping wounds moist, like like with band aids and stuff, heal it better than dry wound.

Brad 49:50

I did not know that.

Nicole 49:54

Um, it helps with the skin growth and things like that. So keeping it clean, sterile environment. So using like your vetericyn to clean it, and then putting something like this on it and then changing the dressings daily. So once they take that stuff off, spray it again with the vetericyn put a new coat of this metal honey put another new layer of bandages on it and and it heals incredibly quick like three four days quick.

Brad 50:21

Nicole, you are absolutely incredible. This was awesome. What a great class. We can find you at

Nicole 50:32

Yes, sir.

Brad 50:33

And there, you've got links to your social media. People can get the blog, people can listen to the podcast, they can get the products, all that.

Nicole 50:40

And then so of course the website. And if you have any other questions, if I've said something that that you would like more information on, it's probably on the website. But you can also reach out to me, my email is "[email protected]". Or I do have a texting platform. And so you can shoot me a text the number there is 719-292-3207.

Brad 51:08

That is awesome. You really are This was absolutely a great class. I'm loving it. I'm going to go back and re watch it because I'm certain I missed a little bit. Hopefully, we can get you on again at some point. I'd love to and anybody that wants to pick up any of the products or check out Nicole's site, its and if you use the code "COOPDREMS", one word, you get 15% off. Thank you everybody for coming to class, Nicole, you're awesome. Thanks so much.

Nicole 51:37

Thank you

Announcer: 51:37

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