Month : October 2011

Chickens Coop Care Health Issues

Heating the Chicken Coop

heating the chicken coop
Winter 2010

Chicken owners that live in cold climates often have to make some decisions when it comes to colder Fall and Winter weather.  One such dilemma is whether you should be heating the chicken coop.  We live on Cape Cod,  where we have windy winters and temperatures that occasionally dip below zero. The Cape is a man-made island surrounded entirely by the ocean. The ocean greatly affects our weather and causes us to experience small temperature fluctuations between day and night.  Snow fall varies from year to year.  Some years we have very light snowfall and others deliver a wallop of 2 feet or more.

Chickens Stories from Our Nest

Love and Patience

Feathers is so patient.
Memorable Moment
June 9, 2011
Our yard~Osterville, MA
Our daughter was newly three years old when we first got our chickens.  From day one, she has loved to hold them, especially the Silkies!  She is incredibly gentle and loves to have her photo taken with the girls.  I help her to get a nice comfortable hold on a girl.  Then, as she is posing for the camera, the little chicken slowly slips down…down…..down.  I smile just thinking about rescuing the chickens from her tiny loving arms.  Our daughter will turn five next year.   I’ll miss her holding the girls this way.  The girls on the other hand, maybe not so much.
Photo Credit:  Tilly’s Nest

Eggs Main Dishes Recipes

Feta and Spinach Quiche

I was inspired last night to bake a quiche that had many flavors familiar with Mediterranean and Greek cooking.  Quiche are so incredibly versatile. Anyone can easily create their own.  The pie crust, eggs and milk are all necessary, the rest can be up to you.  Here is what my creativity blossomed into last night.  It was so good, I even had a slice for breakfast!


1 ready made pie crust (I only use Pillsbury.)
6 large eggs
1/2 cup of milk
2/3 cup of feta cheese with Mediterranean herbs (I use the Trader Joes variety.)
2/3 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese
2 tablespoons fresh basil
1/4 cup diced kalamata olives
1 1/2 cups frozen chopped spinach
1 medium tomato-diced
1 tablespoon spicy brown mustard (I used Guldens.)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Salt to taste


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Measure out a cup and a half of frozen spinach and defrost it in the microwave.  Once defrosted,  in the palm of your hand take small amounts of the spinach and squeeze out all the excess water.  This is necessary to prevent a watery quiche.

Line a pie plate with your pie crust.

In a medium size mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs and the milk.  Next add the spinach, cheeses, tomatoes, olives, basil and mustard.  Whisk until all are well incorporated and then pour into the pie crust.

Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 40 minutes, until quiche begins to brown slightly and an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Hungry for more recipes? Click here.

Photo Credit:  Tilly’s Nest

hugachicken (1)
Chickens Stories from Our Nest

Hug a Chicken Day™

hugachicken (1)
Earlier this month, the world celebrated World Egg Day.  This got me to thinking. Why aren’t we celebrating the chicken?  So easily overlooked by many, it seems fitting to draw attention to these amazing animals.  Chickens not only deliver fresh delicious eggs to our door, but they also make fantastic pets.  They are capable of emotions and bring much joy to my family on so many levels.  I felt that there ought to be a day celebrating the backyard chicken.

During the entire day on November 5th, Hug a Chicken Day™,  people across the globe will be hugging and posting their pictures to this Facebook event.  On this day, please take the time to honor your chickens for all that they provide to your family and the world.  I hope to be joined by fellow chicken keepers in saying thank you.  All are welcome to attend and celebrate.  Last, but not least, mark your calendars.  I think this one might just set some sort of world record.

Please visit this link to Hug a Chicken Day™ on Backyard Chickens.  Feel free to post on here too.

Photo Credit:  4JPhotography

Chickens Stories from Our Nest

Inner Beauty

This week I had noticed some larger buff colored feathers in the run.  I did not notice anyone losing many feathers until today, when I noticed Oyster Cracker.  My most beautiful Buff Orpington, overnight lost most of her feathers!  The best part is, she doesn’t even seem to notice.  Still loving the camera, her curiosity could not stop her from posing.  She is midway through her molt and it she will probably become worse before her new feathers arrive.  It can take up to 9 weeks for her body to create new feathers.  Even mid-molt, I still think she is gorgeous.   Her spirit is infectious and her spunk can brighten any dreary day.  Today her inner beauty sparkled with less feathers eclipsing her brilliance.

Photo Credit:  Tilly’s Nest

Chickens Stories from Our Nest

Sleep Walking

I had a meeting this evening and my husband locked up the girls.  We are expecting rain tomorrow, so I double checked the coop’s windows.  I also wanted to be sure that no one was sleeping in the nesting boxes. Under the cover of darkness, I approached the coop.

Checking the nesting boxes for sleeping chickens seems to be a regular habit.  Yet when I checked the last three nights, I found the nesting boxes had been empty.  Last night, I had even noticed that the sleeping arrangements had changed on the roosts.  Instead of eight girls cramming themselves onto a 4′ roost, yes unbelievably that is what they preferred, they are now evenly distributed between roosts.  Two larger girls and two Silkies now sleep comfortably with room to breathe on their own roost.

I was not surprised when I checked in the boxes this evening.  I found a Buff Orpington egg in the right box and Dolly in the far left.  I scooped up the egg and then I scooped up Dolly.  She was fast asleep.  I first placed her on the pine shavings outside of the box.  I needed to reposition myself to place her on the perch.  After turning my body, I gently lifted her up and guided her feet to the roost. Still sound asleep, her body slowly sank like a rag doll off the back of the roost.  I picked her up again, using two hands this time, and ensured her feathered feet were properly placed on the roost.  She settled in next to Autumn.

I closed up the coop and whispered my good nights.  I know that chickens cannot see in the dark.  Therefore, they typically stay in one place once darkness falls.  I wonder if they realize when they wake up that they are  in a different place from where they started?  Its times like this when I wish we could communicate better.  I’d love to tell them that I am responsible for their sleep walking.

Chickens Coop Tours

Now You Show Us Yours

Fall Perennial Garden

I had been talking to a fellow blogger about my ideas about the future of Tilly’s Nest.  We shared ideas with one another, provided feedback and support.  Well the time has come to introduce an idea that I shared with her.  She loved it and I think you will too.

Our run

As you know, chicken coops and chickens can be addictive to say the least!  People love to see and share their coop, flock and technique that make their life easier in keeping a small backyard flock.  So, from now until the end of December, you can link up stories about your flock, pictures of you coops, share your ideas and so much more.  As long as we are talking about backyard chickens, feel free to share away!  I can’t wait to meet and greet you and your chickens.

Coop and Run
3 nesting boxes, small feeder and roosts
Hanging waterer

So tell us about your coop now in the comments!

Photo Credit:  Tilly’s Nest


Chickens Stories from Our Nest

Full Circle

This past weekend, we went on a road trip.  This was the first time that I brought my children back to see the house that I first lived in.  It had been over 22 years since I had visited rural New Jersey; a lot had changed.  My best friend’s dairy farm was long gone and the corn fields that we would run through were now filled with large homes.  We took a drive up to see my old house.  It looked so different.  I expected it would, as so much time had passed.  Small trees were now giants.  Memories came flooding back.  As we continued up the road, there was an organic farm with a  farm stand.  Somethings had changed for the worse and some for the better.
I felt on this trip that I came full circle.  I had forgotten a lot about my early childhood years after living in Los Angeles for almost 15 years.  As I returned to the car after snapping up these photos, my husband said to me, “I can understand now, why you wanted to raise chickens.”  I thought about it for a minute.  He was right.  I suddenly had a better understanding too.  Farming experiences from my early childhood must have made a stronger impression on my character than I had ever realized.  Coming “home” suddenly made sense.


Photo Credit:  Tilly’s Nest

Chickens Stories from Our Nest

You Can Do It!

Playing with the babies

Yesterday, I had to have the internet connection inspected by the cable company.  For some reason, the cable was dropping out intermittently, causing me major grief.  Amazingly, the technician showed up on time and closer to the beginning of the appointment window than the end.  I was impressed.  I was also very happy that he was able to correct the problem.

Like most visitors, he noticed the chickens.  He was interested, so I went into my quick “chicken infomercial” mode and we spent time talking about the girls.  We talked about what they eat, housing and predators.  We discussed the ease of keeping chickens and he was thrilled about the possibility of having a flock of his own.

Keeping chickens is not difficult.  Some say that they had never thought of keeping chickens as pets.   Their upkeep exists somewhere between keeping a cat and a dog.  For the most part, given food and shelter, they are pretty self sufficient.  A couple of times during the day, you will need to check for eggs.  They are incredibly social animals.  They make for wonderful learning opportunities with children and are fabulous conversation starters. You can do it.  It’s easy and here is a great place to start.  The rest can be found here.

Photo Credit:  Tilly’s Nest

Chickens Stories from Our Nest

Hancock Shaker Village


Memorable Moment
April 28,2008
Hancock Shaker Village

Pittsfield, MassachusettsEvery Spring we make an annual trip to Hancock Shaker Village to see the baby farm animals.  There are flocks of chickens and turkeys that free range during the day and intermingle among the guests.  These were two hens that we met on that day.  This was the first day that I thought it could be possible to keep a flock of our own.  When did you realize that keeping a backyard flock could be a reality for you?

Photo Credit:  Tilly’s Nest