One of the biggest questions that I get when I am traveling around the country meeting fellow chicken keepers like you is, how do I keep my flock healthy and the eggs a-plenty? It’s actually not complicated and it starts by providing your flock with a healthy, well-balanced diet. We are at our best when we eat healthy and take care of ourselves. Chickens are no different. This is why chicken nutrition matters.
Earlier this spring, I was invited by P. Allen Smith to attend the Garden 2 Grow retreat at his Moss Mountain Farm located in the beautiful hills just outside of Little Rock, Arkansas. One of the highlights of the retreat was the invitation by P. Allen himself to tour Poultryville. A poultry enthusiast since 10 years of age, P. Allen Smith has made it one of his life’s missions to preserve rare and threatened poultry breeds. He created the Heritage Poultry Conservancy with that in mind and is incredibly dedicated to this cause. His knowledge of poultry is amazing and his passion is palpable.
Have you thought about gardening with chickens but just don’t know where to start? Today, I’m sharing with you some terrific tips to get started and also a fun DIY gardening project to recycle your flock’s eggshells into seedling starters.
Sometimes I compare my backyard to an oasis. My kids spend hours playing in the grass and the garden provides fresh vegetables for my family. It’s a place where I go to clear my head, a place where all my worries drift away. Because my family and I love my lawn and garden so much, I have given a lot of thought into keeping the backyard healthy. One of the best helpers I’ve found? My flock of backyard chickens – and, in turn, the feed they eat. I feed my chickens in the morning, let them free-range and forage throughout the day and then bring them into their coop at night. Not only does this keep the chickens happy, it also helps my plants keep growing! The chickens eat insects, aerate the lawn, love eating weeds and even produce fertilizer!
Ready to add chickens to your backyard? Here are four steps to get started!
People often ask me how I have clean chicken eggs when I harvest them. Today I’m sharing my secrets to picking clean eggs from the nesting boxes. As the egg is laid, the hen puts a protective clear wet coating on the egg called a bloom. The bloom seals the outer shell of the egg keeping air out, along with other harmful bacteria, viruses, and fungi. When eggs are washed the bloom is removed. That ultimately decreases the “shelf-life” of the egg. Harvesting clean eggs, allows you to keep the bloom intact and there is no need to wash your eggs. Here are my secrets to clean chicken eggs naturally.
I turned everything off today. The television, social media and unplugged. I decided to take the kids and get a breath of fresh air and visit the neighbors. With eggs in tow, we decided to slow down and visit with the neighbors. We decided to spread joy.
She’s been this way for a few weeks now. At first, I thought she was just enjoying lingering in the nesting boxes perched upon the bounty of beautiful colorful orbs each day. Yet soon enough it was clear. She had morphed into a dinosaur-like shrieking pancake that simply did not want me lifting her off the nesting box. She was definitely broody. So each day it has gone on, I pry her from the box, give her a good scratch, a wing rub and send her on her way to poo, eat and drink. However, what happened the other day left me speechless.
Last month, I noticed that Oyster Cracker was not herself. She seemed to be under the weather and not herself. She was almost 6 years old and has had bad days since Sunshine passed almost 6 months ago. The first clue that something was wrong was that she did not roost with the others in her usual spot. She tried to sleep in the nesting box. The next night she ended up on the lower roost where no one sleeps. She was just off. By the next morning, I decided that I needed to do some detective work. So, I set out to figure out just what was wrong. As a chicken keeper, there are lots of things that you can do to help determine what might be wrong with your chicken. I also realized that writing a post on how to examine a chicken might be useful for others.
I knew that the day would eventually come.
I buried her underneath a beautiful hosta that still has not emerged from its winter slumber yet.
A few weeks ago, I said goodbye to my last original chicken, Oyster Cracker. It was one of the most difficult things that I had ever done. I guess it is why it took so long for me to write this post.
Last week, I was off to the Country Living Fair Nashville. I had a blast speaking about backyard chickens and beekeeping. I got to meet lots of peeps and sign a bunch of my books too! I just adore going to these fairs because to me, it is like a little slice of heaven. The people at the Country Living Fairs are sweet and kind and make you feel good about the world we are in. It is country living for sure, just like the pages of the magazine come to life.
When the baby chicks were little, I could not believe the amount of dust that they generated. I had no idea why and initially chalked it up to the brooder’s bedding. However, I noticed that as they grew in size so did the dust. I was still using the same amount of pine shavings in the brooder for bedding, so why more dust? It surely could not be solely from the pine shavings and I was right. It was from the chickens themselves. The majority of the dust was coming from them.