The Henpecker® is a handmade seed cake that hangs from the top of your hen house. One Henpecker will last 4 to 5 days in a coop with two hens. So if you leave for a long weekend you know your girls will have enough to eat.

But the Henpecker isn't just about nutrition. It's also a source of entertainment.

Your hens will never be bored with a Henpecker hanging around. When it makes an appearance it's party time! Hens are simply fascinated with the Henpecker. And watching them go after it is a blast.

Developed by a former NASA scientist, the Henpecker is a complete and balanced diet. So you won't have to worry that your hens are getting all they need to stay healthy.

I don't program satellites for NASA anymore. I feed my chickens. And hope to feed yours as well.

When I retired after 25 years at the Goddard Space Flight Center I became obsessed with raising hens. Not just any hens. But hens that lay blue eggs. A chance conversation with a neighbor triggered my quest. To have blue eggs for breakfast every day of my life.

Of course if you're reading this you're already a chicken aficionado. You know that the Araucana and Ameraucana lay blue eggs. At the time I didn't know the difference between a Langshan and a Leghorn.

But I did my homework. Then raised my chicks. And when they laid their first eggs I was ecstatic. They were a delightful shade of blue! Samantha and Autumn have been making me breakfast ever since.

To reciprocate I began making food for them. But only the best would do for my girls. All my NASA skills were brought to bear on the subject of chicken nutrition. The result was the formula for Henpeckers.

Friends and neighbors noticed how much enjoyment Sam and Autumn were getting from their Henpecker. And they began asking me to make them for their hens as well. When I found myself spending several hours a day fulfilling these requests I decided to start making them on a larger scale. And thus Henpeckers.com was hatched.

My girls are happier and healthier thanks to the Henpecker. Yours will be too.

Your hens will be happier

Chickens get bored and this can lead to misbehaving. When a Henpecker appears, boredom disappears. And the party begins. Happier hens. That's the point.

You can leave for long weekends without worry

One Henpecker will last for 4 to five days in a coop of two hens. For more hens add more Henpeckers and relax. Your girls will be well fed.

Henpeckers will keep your hens healthy

Designed by a former NASA scientist, each Henpecker is a complete and balanced diet for layers. It is handmade from all natural ingredients and contains 16% protein.

Henpeckers will make you happy

It will do your heart good to see the enjoyment your girls get from their Henpecker. It's really fun to watch.

Eleven secrets your chickens are keeping from you

The following are excerpted from an interview with Betty Barnevelder, spokeschicken for Henpeckers.com:

I'm smarter than you think

I don't know when the term "birdbrain" became derogatory. But let's put it to rest right now. They say it's not braggin' if it's true. According to leading animal experts, chickens are curious and interesting animals. Our cognitive abilities may be above those of small children. In experiments we have proven our ability to anticipate future events and demonstrate self-control. We understand that objects still exist even when they are not visible. We understand cause and effect relationships. That's huge on the cognitive scale! When not living in a chicken factory, we develop a complex social structure known as the "pecking order." And as all of you backyard chicken farmers know, chickens have a wide range of personalities. But we backyard chickens are the lucky ones. Life is good for us. Thank you. Life ain't so great on the chicken farm. So do us a favor. Get the word out. And look for the certified humane label on the chicken you buy to eat. You can find out more about who is certified here.

I don't need a guy around

Look, don't take this the wrong way. I like some roosters. Some of my sisters like having one in the barnyard for company. But here's the thing. I don't need a guy to produce eggs. I'll lay eggs regardless whether or not a guy is around. Of course I'm not laying fertilized eggs. So if you want chicks bring on the bantam! One other thing. You know roosters do their whole cock-a-doodle-do thing in the morning. Me, I got no problem with that. But my owners and their neighbors? Different story. Think about it.

I'm easily bored

It's not like I need a plasma TV or an Xbox in the hen house. But if you want to put in a TV I won't object. I could watch Foghorn Leghorn cartoons all day! Now there's a rooster you gotta love. But back to my point. I do get bored. And when chickens get bored we can get nasty with our housemates. Although I've never done it myself I've heard that boredom can lead to hen-pecking. That's where we pull the feathers out of our companions. And if we draw blood it can get very intense. Never seen it but I've heard reports of cannibalism (shudder). So do your chickens a favor. Let them out of the coop every day if you can. And if predators or a lack of space make that impossible put some variety into their routine. You see, while we are easily bored we are also easily amused. Give us some toys. Vary our diet. We want to party! For one of my all-time favorite henhouse distractions click here.

I don't know the first thing about eating right

You humans have your food pyramid, Dr. Oz, and Jenny Craig. So you know what's good for you and sometimes you act accordingly. We chickens are like children. Given the choice we will fill up on the chicken equivalent of ice cream, candy, and cookies. And that of course does not lead to high productivity in the egg-laying department. So make sure we eat right. For an overview of what's good for us check out the National Research Council's "Nutrient Requirements of Poultry" at www.nap.edu/openbook.php?isbn+0309048923. And when buying feed make sure it's labeled complete and balanced. Did I mention that the Henpecker is complete and balanced? Well it is. And it's fun to eat.

I'm easily led astray

Remember what I said earlier? That boredom can lead to hen-pecking? Well boredom can also lead to something almost as bad. One of my sisters picked up this bad habit a couple of months ago. One night out of boredom she started pecking at her own eggs. She liked the taste. And she couldn't stop. It went on day after day. Our owners finally broke her of the habit. How? They drained an egg and filled it with mustard. Then they put it back in the coop. And when Autumn pecked into that egg she got the surprise of her life! And a beak full of mustard. She never pecked another egg. This whole kerfuffle could've been avoided. If only our owners had taken the eggs out of the hen house every day. We can resist anything but temptation.

I won't lay eggs forever

The average chicken will lay eggs for about 2 to 3 years. We don't like to talk about it. But at the end of our egg laying career somebody's gonna hafta make a decision. Just sayin'.

I'm always thirsty

Okay so I'm not always thirsty. But don't try to figure out how much water I need every day. The plain truth is that I need access to water all day every day. My water supply should never be restricted. Limit my water and I won't grow as fast or lay as many eggs. And I prefer cool water. Keep my water containers out of the sun. This probably goes without saying but dirty water doesn't cut it in your world or the chicken universe. So clean out those water containers regularly. And if you're looking for a rule of thumb I'll drink maybe a pint a day. However, I'll drink more water when temperatures are over 77°. And speaking of temperatures, make sure our water supply doesn't freeze over in the winter. You may want to invest in a water heater for those months. Oh, and if you're using one of those nipple systems? Check it regularly to make sure it's working. Take this tip from a savvy chick: if your flock seems to be eating less, the first thing you should do is check the water supply. 'Cause if we ain't drinkin' we ain't eatin'.

I won't eat at night

That's right. No late night snacks for me. Unless somebody leaves the lights on. On average I'm gonna put away around 112 grams of feed a day. That's about a quarter pound for those of you who are metrically challenged. But listen. That's just me. Every breed is different. But we all eat more in the winter when it's cold than in the summer. Fact: It takes about 4 pounds of food to produce a dozen eggs. So if we're not eatin' we ain't layin'. So what to do if you're leaving town for a long weekend? Consider hanging a few Henpeckers in the coop before you leave.

I get lonely

It's not like we ruminate a lot, get depressed and need Prozac or anything. But we are social animals. We need interaction with our coop mates. So if you're thinking about getting just one chick forget about it. The minimum flock number is two. And if one of them passes on, get a replacement. But be careful here. Any time you introduce a "stranger" to the flock they probably won't like it at first. Why? Because the new hen or hens don't know the pecking order! The best way to introduce a new hen to the group is to place her in the hen house after dark when all the other chickens have assumed their regular positions. This way the new hen won't be in anyone's favorite spot. Keep an eye on the flock the next couple of days. If you see any signs of hostility fence off a portion of your pen for the new arrival. Place her there for the first few days. Eventually the other members of the flock will acclimate to the new arrival and you can stop the solitary treatment. And if you're wondering what breed to add to your flock click here. A great summary of the major breeds and our behavioral quirks!

Pet peeves

Some are obvious. Lack of enough water, food, and room to move are numbers one, two, and three on the list. Number four is security. When you put us to bed at night make sure all the gates and doors are closed. Predators are a major concern for us. And should be for you. Beyond that our pet peeves are few. But since we're on the subject none of us like the "chicken dance". The music is boring and so are the steps. We find it demeaning. And speaking of demeaning will the "what came first the chicken or the egg" debate ever go away? Look, the chicken came first. Got it? And please don't get me started on "why the chicken crossed the road."

What got me here won't get me there

Seems like just yesterday I was a little chick running around the barnyard. Now I'm a full-fledged egg layer producing over 250 eggs a year. My latest rite of passage was two months ago. My first molt. So here's the thing. I got where I am today, happy and healthy, because my owners fed me the right stuff. I won't get into heavy details here but as a chick my diet was 20% protein. At about 15 weeks my owners dropped the protein content to 16%. I began laying eggs at around 22 weeks old. At that point my owners bumped up the calcium and minerals in my feed keeping the protein between 16 and 18%. The most difficult time in my life was my first molt. Man, I lost a lot of plumage! But once again my owners smoothed this transition by bumping up the protein in my feed to 22%. So the feeding of us chickens ain't a "one size fits all". For more information on the right stuff click here. And you'll find some interesting threads on www.backyardchickens.com.

What makes a Henpecker unique?

Henpeckers provide more than just nutrition. Henpeckers are entertainment for your birds. One of our customers described the Henpecker as an Xbox for chickens.

Are Henpeckers regular rations or a treat?

Henpeckers are nutritionally complete. So in fact they could serve as regular rations. However, most backyard chicken farmers use a combination of Henpeckers and regular feed.

Are Henpeckers organic?

Henpeckers are made predominantly from organic ingredients. We'll let you know when we get our USDA "organic" certification.

How long will a Henpecker last in my henhouse?

Our tests suggest that one Henpecker will last three to five days in a coop with two hens.

Do Henpeckers need to be refrigerated?

Henpeckers do not need refrigeration but it's a good idea because refrigeration will extend their shelf life.

What's in a Henpecker?

Henpeckers are handcrafted from healthy, organic ingredients, including:

  • Cracked corn
  • Red lentils
  • Green lentils
  • Brown lentils
  • Millet
  • Barley
  • Buckwheat
  • Oat groats
  • Soft white wheat
  • Kelp
  • Whole grain quinoa
  • Flax seed
  • Honey
  • Agave syrup
  • Corn starch
  • Karaya gum
  • Peanuts
  • Cranberries
  • Are Henpeckers appropriate for chicks?

    No. Chicks require a different diet than layers. Henpeckers are formulated for laying hens.

    Are Henpeckers designed for layers or broilers or both?

    Henpeckers have been formulated for laying hens. Broilers require a diet higher in protein. However a broiler's diet can be supplemented with a Henpecker. And broilers will enjoy the same diversionary pleasure of a Henpecker.

    Are Henpeckers made in the U.S.?

    Yes.

    What is the shelf life of a Henpecker?

    The shelf life of a Henpecker is three months. The shelf life may be extended if the Henpecker is refrigerated.

    Will you post pictures of my hens?

    Absolutely. Please send us pictures of your girls. And look for them to be posted in the "chick pics" section.

    Will a Henpecker keep my hens from getting hungry if I leave for a long weekend?

    Yes. Make sure to hang one Henpecker for every two birds in your henhouse.

    Why do Henpeckers contain cranberries?

    Not only do hens love cranberries, their antimicrobial qualities support your birds' health.

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