My Chicken Coop Is My “Nest Egg” A Million Dollar Chicken Coop!

Here is a quick story about wealth from Blue Star Ranch. What if you wanted to make money in this economy but can’t earn an income and its not due to any fault of your own? maybe its where you live, or your health, or current family situation….? What ever your reasons for making an income is up to you.

If you set out to do it correctly a small to medium poultry operation can make you rich.. or broke! I’ve made many mistakes raising chickens along the way I corrected my mistakes and now all my efforts are starting to pay off to my surprise. I came to a realization how “rich” I have become a few months back and hesitated sharing this information until now because I do not want my actions to be mistaken for greed. If you read to the end of this article, there is an “eggciting” ending waiting for you.

If you need to make an income and don’t have any job prospects, or you are limited to staying at home maybe a poultry business in your backyard is what you need. Let’s add to this YOU CAN HAVE A MILLION DOLLAR LIFESTYLE WITH CHICKENS IN YOUR BACKYARD!!! So now I will tell you how you can make MONEY with your chicken coop and a small, medium, or large poultry business.


First, get the image of large homes, boats, race cars and gold and diamonds out of your mind. This is not the kind of riches I’m talking about. BUT I am talking about a nice steady income that exceeds what a million dollars can earn for you in interest earned from your bank account.

REAL riches are much much more than material things, sadly many people are still not aware of this yet. The most important riches that I own is FREEDOM. Freedom from the daily grind of answering to a boss, society and a daily commute to a brick and mortar building and a J-O-B. These things I’ve had over the last 40 years. Finally I’m FREE….

My next treasure chest of riches is nature, solitude, fresh air, birds singing, gorgeous big blue sky and a fresh garden with organic food each year. THAT’S RICH –

Lets talk about the MONEY or material riches that I know you may be wishing I’d get around to eventually so I will do just that. I have put money LAST because this is where it belongs. LAST. Money is a tool. Nothing more or less. A tool to be used. Learn how to USE money and not let it use YOU.


How are some ways to make a living with your chicken enterprise?
There are eggs that can be sold, meat for food as well. You can sell live chickens or chicks, poultry manure or compost, or make a garden with the compost and sell the food. Lets talk more about STUFF….



Barter! Swap! Trade! With chickens for meat, eggs or live poultry you can trade for almost anything! In bartering chickens or eggs I have traded for items that we need. In fact I do not need to buy many new things at all. This is a page to my “trading post” I’ve traded for furniture, a nice watch for my husband, appliances for my daughters new home, clothes for my family, school supplies for grand kids, sports items, televisions, DVD players, movies, video games and systems, food frozen or fresh.. and the list just goes on…Most people nowadays have storage rooms and garages full of “stuff” which becomes worthless to them when hard times are hitting.

If fact as a side note, the cash and real value of a laying hen in 2014 that can produce $1,000 in eggs over a few years is going up exponentially. During the Great Depression many families depended on farm animals like chickens, pigs and cows for their very survival.

So chickens can be sold for cash, traded, used for meat, eggs, barter….chickens were actual MONEY to most families in the depression era. Newsflash! chickens are a valuable commodity in 2014 too.

Its very important if you want to have a poultry business that you do it right. There is so much information readily available on the Internet that some people think its easy to do a “Google search” on raising chickens for profit and put up a coop and you are in business….well, not “eggactly”….Visit the page link on our website “how to have a poultry business”


So where is the million dollar lifestyle? Why its in your chicken coop that’s where!

Your chicken coop full of healthy laying hens can provide your family:

1) eggs to eat 2) meat 3) cash from sales of chickens 4) sales from eggs 5) sales from meat 6) barter items galore 7) a sustainable food garden from compost

Add all of these ways to earn income up. Do they add up to $2,500 a month? If you are raising chickens correctly then you could easily have an income that is in this monthly range. $2,500 is not to hard to create if you are running your poultry business correctly.

So where is the million dollar income? Did you know if you have ONE MILLION DOLLARS IN THE BANK and the bank pays you 3% interest on your one million dollars that you will earn annually $30,000 on that account?

Now, divide $30,000 by twelve months $30,000 / 12 = $2,500 per month… a $2,500 income per month on average from all sources of your chickens/sales/food savings and barter is the same as having a MILLION DOLLARS IN THE BANK!

Its just perspective folks!

Now here is a quick perspective on “value” Who is really rich here? I have customers in all walks of life. My customers range from the poorest of poor to the richest of rich and all in between. Many of my customers arrive in cars and trucks that cost as much as a small house. They are all decked out in designer clothes and shoes wearing simply beautiful jewelry. (and all of these people are just as nice as can be! I can’t hold their “riches” against them, after all I’m rich too!)


What made me think of “riches” was one customers diamond ring…. Such a real sweet lady arrives in a very valuable Jaguar or Mercedes car..with her husband (I drive a 1988 Chevy pick up to haul feed!) She and her husband both are endearing and charming people. But yet these RICH people need my help! Me? someone that raises chickens.

As I’m loading chicken compost/manure into a feed bag for her coop. (its VERY important to have the right kind of bacteria, too clean of a coop can make your chickens SICK) I notice her beautiful diamond ring flashing in the sun as she is holding the feed bag, and I shovel the compost/manure into the bag…. perspective? Rich is just a state of mind. This “rich” lady needs ME!

My only concern is that she treat the chickens right and that they have a healthy safe place to stay in their new home. I did not feel poor, nor did I see her as rich, we are just two people that need each others help for a moment in time…

I go back to my chicken coop, she takes her chickens and goes back to her world… Being rich is just perspective.

So you decide what will your chicken coop bring you riches? happiness? fun and enjoyment? My chicken coop has brought me riches and a satisfying retirement “nest egg”

Until next time, happy clucking from “The Chicken Lady”

Raising Chickens For Sustainable Living

“I believe in the power of probiotics for my chickens health. No farm should be without these products.

Owner Blue Star Ranch 

Mary Ann Fordyce

There has been an “eggsplosion” of late in the poultry industry for backyard chicken owners, pet enthusiasts, small farmers as well as now sustainable poultry farming has increased in all areas of the country. Here at Blue Star Ranch, I strive in everyday teaching customers, readers and even just stray callers to our location the proper care of poultry.  

The sustainable growing and harvesting of poultry for both eggs and meat is on the rise just about everywhere, country, suburbs and sometimes city dwellers too. If you have ever raised meat poultry verses egg layers, then you know how very different these birds can be. Meat and egg poultry birds vary greatly, there are a few sustainable breeds that are both “duel purpose” and quality at that.

When processing meat birds its always a good idea to have concrete plans before harvest day. If egg layers are more your style, its a good idea to have a replacement plan for your chickens and replace (harvest and hatch or otherwise) 1/3 of your flock each six to twelve months to assure you a constant supply of eggs. Do not overlook the fact that eggs and meat are MONEY! Learn how to barter with your bounty. You will come out the better on each deal, almost every time you exchange eggs or meat for product or services. YOU are in demand. Don’t forget about that.

Raising chickens does not have to be intimidating, and most people new to chickens really just want to have a regular supply of fresh eggs and or meat, and sometimes pets too. When someone calls me and says they want to start a pen of chickens, the first thing I ask if is this thier first attempt at raising poultry. If it is, then I try to gather as many details from the person to determine the level of interest and knowledge in poultry. Some folks tell me “my grandparents had chickens when I was a kid, so I think I can handle it…”

(yikes! shudder and cringe!!!!) I know these people are in for a tough time of raising chickens based on what they learned from their grandparents farm collecting eggs as a child…which makes them qualified to raise chickens today and relying only on those childhood memories. But this is how people learn I suppose.

What have I learned from MY repeated mistakes over the years? What are the biggest obstacles I faced when raising flocks of chickens: I have narrowed all of my problems into two main types:

1) Predators (bacteria and varmints)

2) Weather (bacteria and wind, rain, heat, cold & sudden temperature changes

Hmmmmm lets think what do these two problems have in common? Bacteria. I have found that when the temperature’s drop or rise more than 40 degrees in a 24 hour period. (this is almost common in Texas!) that the bacteria in the soil will begin to breed and spread like wildfire. Causing illness, slow growth or even death to your flocks. This is why I use natural and organic probiotics and have a regular regimen in dispensing to the flocks. In fact, I CAN”T raise chickens effective without it.

Moreover Its very important to have a goal when starting a chicken pen. Make a plan for yourself and family, set goals… don’t just “wing it!” To just build a coop and put chickens in may result in failure.


Raising chickens is not as easy as it looks. But having a pen of chickens does not have to be  hard either… its all about balance.  Don’t believe everything you read or hear. Poultry owners from chicken “clubs” forums or poultry meetups may not really be your friends.. although they all do have a common interest in raising poultry and the enjoyment. they mean well…. but are they giving you the correct advice? Shopping to swap or buy chickens is ASKING to spread diseases in your coop! Mixing flocks from several chicken swap clubs is NOT a good idea…

(the “b word folks” bacteria!)

What I have learned in raising chickens is that… there is ALWAYS more to learn. No one knows it all. Experience is the best teacher. So is ADMITTING your mistakes.

If along the way while raising chickens you determine what you are doing is not working, make a chart of your activities in and around your coop. This easy chart can be of help, please share it!  

If you are more adventuresome and want to build your “nest egg” and start a business. PLEASE start here first.  I’ll be happy to share my knowledge to help you start a sustainable meat or egg farm. What have I learned? Preventing mistakes is much easier than making mistakes and correcting it later.

To all the readers: happy clucking and I’ll write again soon!

Your Chicken Died What Happened? How To Understand The Mystery

Owner Blue Star Ranch 
Mary Ann Fordyce
We have all been there. You go to the coop and find a dead chicken! Whats the 1st thing you think? Its likely you are asking yourself “what happened?” While there are  really natural accidents that can kill chickens, cannibalism (pecking order) or maybe an actual accident where the birds wing or legs were caught in wire could have resulted in a strangulation, most deaths care caused by simple mistakes or routine negligence ( did you ever for get to close the coop door? hint: put a timer on your cell phone!) The majority of poultry deaths are really caused by your WORST PREDATOR ….. and its invisible too. Bacteria! period. Bad pathogens build up in the soil and are “activated” during weather changes, sudden damp soil, and temperature changes…Its no “mystery” So, slowly, (or maybe faster than you like) your chickens start dying one by one, sometimes several in a few days.
When you find a dead chicken (s) you may go through the common emotional states: disbelief, anger, fear, rage, denial and acceptance. You PROMISE it will never happen again. Or will it?
If you think your chickens died from unknown causes, its most likely that BACTERIA is the problem. Most people because that can’t see bacteria do not realize how deadly it can be on your flock. So most folks chalk the death up to “its one of those things” or “she fell off of the roost” because you really don’t want to know WHY she died, its tough to blame the soil and air in the coop because after all you are doing all you can right?
Bad bacteria in poultry is spread though droppings, water and even the air!
Here is a link to  VERY important videos Australia Poultry Video and European Poultry Video  showing the positive uses for probiotics on poultry for commercial farms. These same products are available in the USA
I use these probiotics on my poultry farm. These products prevent MANY causes of “chicken mystery death” that most of you have faced. Please be SURE contact us at Blue Star Ranch for more information on your poultrys health and for your 25% discount on these products

Growing Chicken Food FREE With Automatic “Bug Feeder”

Growing Chicken Food FREE With Automatic “Bug Feeder” Really it works!


Here at Blue Star Ranch we have taken the “hen treats” to the next level! We make our own automatic “bug feeders” Here is how it works:

1) Go to pet stores to purchase LIVE “meal worms” usually 1000 to a package
2) let mealworms come to room temperature
3) add the meal worms from the package your container
4) mealworms reproduce from egg to bug in 14 weeks

You can make your own “auto bug feeder” and house it in a shady area of your chicken coop. I use a 50 gallon feed tub. But you can use plastic pots from your garden. We add a few pounds of uncooked oatmeal and a few pounds of baby carrots. This feeds mealworms for YEARS.

So on a SMALLER SCALE: Find an empty plastic tub (the kind you store things in) or large plastic pot plant container and cut small holes in the sides about 2 inches from the bottom. Place a few 2 to 3 inch holes around the side of the container. (The chickens put their head in here later to get worm treats!) Add some dried uncooked oatmeal and a few baby uncooked carrots to the bin. Then toss in a container of your mealworms. Place a lid with small holes on top of container. Keep this worm bin in a shaded cool area of your coop.

Every few weeks, open the lid and toss out the worms to the chickens. soon, the chickens will learn to hang out at the worm bin and start sticking their head in to help themselves to worms. As for the opened holes on the sides? IF any mature black beetles “escape” from the holes…. oh well how far can he walk in your chicken coop?

This is what makes this worm bin an “automatic bug feeder”

1) the bugs escape, chicken gets treat
2) chicken puts head inside of 3 inch hole to get their own worms

You may also feed your chickens from the feed store grains and chicken crumbles or pellets. They come in a variety: regular, organic and non GMO. It’s your choice what you feed your chickens. If you plant a garden of course you will have plenty of scraps and garden leftovers to feed your chickens. But what if you want to be sustainable and grow your own food apart from using processed feeds. You may want to be “natural” “organic” or just supplement your chickens diet with fresh greens. Chickens NEED fresh grasses, greens, plants its an important part of their daily diet.

We grow our own fodder trays too at Blue Star Ranch and feed mostly organic sprouts and grains.


Safely Raising New Baby Chicks In Large Volume

Spring time comes real early for chicken farms… So deep in winter…. When people are warm and snug in their homes not even THINKING about chickens, most farmers are planning ahead on next years spring sellers. I’m no “eggsception” to that rule.


When raising chicks in volume (600 to 800 or more per batch) some companies raise in the THOUSANDS. Depending on season and what is projected we have a large number of chicks in brooder at any time. It can take 8 weeks to get a baby egg laying breed into the juvenile sized of pullets ready for outdoors. (depending on weather) So to be ready for spring, this process must be started at the end of fall or in the cold of winter.

What have I learned about raising many baby chicks at once? 1st.. its not easy, its frustrating to get everything “just right” and irritating to have the “acceptable” losses of 2% to 3% losses per batch of young chicks up until the first week. Many chicks cannot process feed or water upon hatching and will die about 3/5 days from hatching. its just the law of large numbers and good old Mother Nature. Not all animals are born perfect. Sad but true.

Heat, heat and more heat and lots of it… this is what makes winter and fall chicks so difficult to raise. Adding hay, lights and HEATERS plus ventilation to keep the brooder room at 85 to 95 degrees is difficult to say the least with temperature drops. Texas weather can change from 85 degrees in the day to 28 at night…. so no amount of preparation is always perfect in these instances.

Lets talk about “poop mat” the poop that builds up in the brooder room over several days must be cleaned and removed properly. What is poop mat? its not only chick poop.. but its also includes “biofilm” of trillions of bacteria where germs live and thrive in the warm moist droppings. This is why its so important to have the proper bacterial growth on the area where baby chicks walk and eat.

See Our Organic Probiotic Healthy Farm Practices Video


Since I have used Chrisal probiotics in my chicken production. in ALL areas of production, I have noticed much lower losses, no odor and the chickens are bursting in health and vigor. All ages. The best way to raise chickens is in the healthy and safe way. natural organic probiotics have ensured Blue Star Ranch batch after batch of the healthiest chickens anywhere in Texas. But its important to continue safe health practices and KEEP your chickens in the best environment possible.

Baby chick mortality… again this happens in large batches from chicks pecking at each other, squishing and pressing together. Even with ample room, sometimes chickens get into a “swarm” and baby chicks can smother each other. ( a real aggravating loss! ggrrrr…) So again back to the proper temperature too. So if I find a section of room (usually if lights are close together) chicks “swarm” in these areas. I shut down a heat lamp and or add plastic buckets to that area to disperse the crowd of chicks.

If you think of raising chicks in large batches, please make out yourself a diagram of where your light and heat sources are coming from. Then start with a “test batch” of 25 chicks.. make sure your room and all light and heat sources are in order. DON’T make your first batch a huge batch…. start slow and add a few more each season. its not as easy as it looks.

Be sure to contact Blue Star Ranch if you have any questions. See you all next time.

Here Is An “Egg-celent” Idea For Community Fundraisers!

Start your own “Egg Co-op” and help YOUR community! Your chickens will pay for themselves, you can sell eggs for a fundraiser or feed the hungry AND have fun in the process! Lets ALL help each other. Today is the day.

Do you or your group organization need funds for your project? Consider an “egg carton fundraiser” Have people in your group to decorate EMPTY egg cartons with photos of coops, chickens or your school or church  or your club. Inside each egg carton place a “eggpon” (coupon)  for a FREE dozen eggs (or $2 off eggs)… when your chickens start laying, the customer gets the eggs.
SELL each egg carton to your members, parents, or people on your list. When your chickens lay eggs, the egg carton is returned  to you to get filled with fresh farm eggs. Sell decorated empty egg cartons with pre-paid coupons for $5 or $10 each!!!!! Its a GREAT way to spread information about your new community chicken coop! AND you get the funds you need today to raise your chickens and build your coop.
Call for FREE advice on starting your very own egg co-op just for fun and sharing or for regular year around fundraiser                                    profit! 281-627-8009
We will pledge our time, poultry and services to our community around us, or by phone anywhere in the USA. We will help you to successfully raise your flock, and to learn how harvest eggs or meat. This is a FREE service to companies, businesses, churches or community projects that want to offer eggs or meat chickens as a project to their group.Further, if possible Blue Star Ranch will also DONATE chickens to your legitimate business projects.
If you have skills in construction, building coops, driving, or if you can donate any supplies,(wood, wire, nails, tin)  (or call your local shelter, church or school where YOU live and help your neighbors in need where YOU live.)
Call or e-mail us Also, if you just want to volunteer time to your community contact us because we are building community lists now.
This “Chicken Lady” believes that ALL of us can make a difference. Even me. I just raise chickens and I want to help the less fortunate with poultry meat and eggs. There are a lot of us in America today that have financial issues. Many food pantries are stretched to the limit in towns and churches have reached breaking points for many are at the doors knocking for help….But more and more of Americans are turning to the “new old fashioned ways” We now have more gardens, can our own healthy food. Its time America! Please pass this story on to your friends and family. God bless you all.

Don’t Trust Texas Weather If You Have A Chicken Coop!

Well, if you are an owner of chickens in Texas you know about our sudden weather changes. Here we go again. Snakes! Unbelievable but SNAKES in my coop last week. Our weather went from a low of 15 degrees to a balmy humid nearly 78 degrees at night and this all happened in only 48 hours.


In our coops I have built “snake rooms” which are snake proof enclosures that will raise up to 2000 young juvenile chickens during warm weather. In the late spring, summer and fall each night chickens are put inside these rooms at dusk. ( rooms are about the size of a 4 car garage)

But this winter I was lax, here in January and forgot about snakes from out of the creek (Hey its JANUARY and 15 degrees!) To make this short and sweet, the temperature climbed to 78 degrees the other night and snakes went into the coop and made short work of some pullets in the corner. (ggrrrrr!!!!) Lesson learned, at anytime if the temperature at night reaches 50 to 55 degrees, ALL chickens will go in the closed rooms. That’s Texas weather folks.

Well, on a happier note, I did discover “wash tubs” for raising baby chicks. I purchased several 1 x 6 foot oval “sheep dip galvanized or wash tubs” from a hardware store as a temporary quick fix for a batch of young chicks in my brooder room. During  sudden heavy rains I have a small leak in the back roof drain which gets the floor wet. No amount of hay can keep the room dry in a 4 inch rain. So, I purchased these tubs with the intention to keep just hatched chicks away from the leaky hole in the roof.

I found several great benefits to using these instead of my bare wood floors and litter for chicks. These tubs retain heat. The metal stays warm under the 250 watt hanging heat lamps the side metal walls keep the heat inside and the chicks warm. The chicks do not wander too far apart in a large 24×12 foot room. As the chicks get older I turn the wash tubs on the sides and again the heat from the hanging lamps is retained by the metal sides and makes a small warm air pocket for the chicks to sleep in. I place sections of hay or piles of litter in the tubs to keep the chicks from piling up on top of each other.

As always before adding chickens to any room, I spray the floors and walls with a solution of organic probiotics that eliminates germs and bad bacteria. My chicks, pullets and hens all THRIVE is Texas sudden weather changes, In most poultry farms there are “acceptable losses” from some communicable diseases in poultry. Thankfully, this will not ever be an issue at Blue Star Ranch as I have the proper mix and balance of bacteria’s to keep my flocks healthy in all weather changes.

If you have a chicken coop where ever you live, be prepared with the items you need in ALL seasons of weather. Don’t wait until a storm or heat wave to come up with creative solutions for your chickens safety.

This is how you can help YOUR community with free eggs from you coop!

Consider starting your own neighborhood egg co-op. Each member in your group gets an “egg share allowance” from your coop per week. Great for friends, neighbors, churches, schools, and even fundraisers for your charity. Most people that have chickens enjoy the eggs (who doesn’t!) but lets look at what YOU can do to help your entire neighborhood.

Think about food pantries, homeless shelters, maybe even halfway houses that can always use extra food to share with the people inside the walls that depend on them for the next meal….      

We have all heard…..the quote  “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” Proverb quotes

What about chickens and eggs? That’s right. Ask your friends to pitch in with labor or supplies on a “community coop” your DREAM coop to be kept in your yard or perhaps the back of a church or food pantry. (be sure to check the regulations and zoning permits in your area)

Be sure to follow us at Blue Star Ranch for more details on raising chickens for your community.   I PERSONALLY will donate my time via telephone to help anyone with this project. Raising chickens is my passion. Somehow, I just want to pass along my joy to others.                          


Caring For Chickens Natural Organic Probiotics

“Watch how we use Probiotics on our farm every day in this video. I believe in the power of probiotics for my poultry farm. This is a multi use product and I highly recommend it to prevent illnesses in chickens. This product has been tested in Universities around the world and is being used in 30 countries. No farm should be without this.” Mary Ann Fordyce owner

Probiotics “The Power Of Nature”

What If You Find Your Chicken Died…How Do You Know How It Happened?

It can happen.. one day you walk to your coop and you will find that it can happen to ANYBODY… Your chicken (pet or farm animal) is lying there DEAD.

What went wrong? Aside from the obvious, someone left the coop door open, or your find your dog with feathers all over his dog house… what are the “tell-tale” signs on how your chicken died?

The first thing is to remove the dead bird and calm down. Now, how to find out the real reason. Look for signs around the coop first. The first thing to consider is the POSITION of the dead bird. Is she under a roost upside down? or is the bird chewed and mangled? Are there holes dug near the corners of the coop? These can be indicators of WHAT killed the bird.

In addition, in some cases you may find a “missing” bird. this is also indications of a predator in your coop. If you find a trail of feathers all over the coop or outside of your coop this was a predator attack.

If you see that the chicken was lying under the roost its likely that she was pushed off the perch by other chickens and maybe broke her neck.

There are other factors to consider as well. Sudden weather changes, drenching rains and has there been any ill chickens in your coop? If this is the case there is likely a bacterial infection in your flocks and you need to be prepared to medicate them properly.(organic or store-bought you need to take care of those birds)

Consider too, the proper way to dispose of the dead bird (funeral if it’s a pet? or proper disposal of farm waste hazards?)

In all cases the loss of chickens are sad. Devastation to some folks (pets) and an annoyance to other chicken owners. (egg producers, meat producers)

Losing a chicken to death is never pleasant, but it can happen.