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.
Keeping a flock of backyard chickens while raising children is, in my opinion, one of the most wonderful things that you can do as a family. Kids and chickens go hand in hand. From the fresh eggs to life’s lessons, I don’t think that you can chose a better pet. Did I mention that they also make you breakfast? Today, I thought I ‘d share some tips for those of you getting started with a family flock. Keeping chickens with kids is an amazing adventure.
A few weeks ago, I was in Texas speaking at the Mother Earth News Fair in Belton, Texas. When I finally looked at the map, I realized that Waco was less than an hour away. I was going to have to make a trip to Chip and Joanna Gaine’s Magnolia Market silos. As a big fan of Fixer Upper, I too was curious to see what the silos were all about. I actually caught the episode where Joanna first shared her silo dreams with Chip, and it was surreal to be so close to their latest endeavor.
Scientists have shown that speaking to plants can be a good thing. Plants respond positively to music, engaging them in conversation, and even touch. A few years ago, an article came out that discussed plant intelligence. I was fascinated. But even if you aren’t a plant scientist, there is something to be learned even by the person who, dare I say has a brown thumb. You see to me, plants speak volumes. You just have to know how to “listen”.
Ever since I was a little girl, I have been fascinated with the beauty of feathers. Often a rare find from walks in the woods, I always considered finding them good luck and a gift from the world of feathered friends. Over the years, I have collected hawk feathers, turkey feathers, backyard bird feathers and since keeping chickens, their feathers too. Today, I’m sharing how to create these gold feathers.
A few years ago, I think I shocked, surprised and even led some people to deem me a bit of a crazy chicken lady, when I decided to share that I could indeed understand and speak “chicken”. When I first wrote about it in 2011, it caused quite a bit of interest. NPR came to visit and even recorded me speaking to my flock. Over the years, I have gone on to continue sharing my non-scientific findings from an uncontrolled environment on my blog and in my first book. I dedicated pages to the art of speaking chicken in an effort to teach kids that listening is just as important as speaking. I also offered translations into what might be their first attempts at understanding “chicken”. I have discovered how chickens say goodnight, interpreted sounds from the brooder, discovered greetings, warning calls and rooster vocalizations. I guess you could say that since 2010 I have been listening, but apparently not closely enough. A few weeks ago, before I left to Washington, D.C., I realized that my flock has given me a chicken name.
A few days ago, a chicken with pinless peepers popped up in my newsfeed. Pinless peepers are these chicken-like glasses that block them from seeing directly what is in front of them. Chickens with these pinless peepers can still see to eat and drink. For the most part, they have had blinders put on them because of bad behavior. Some chicken keepers put these on those troublemaker hens. Usually it is as last ditch effort to prevent them from bullying or pecking at other flock members. Sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t. After watching these chickens with pinless peepers, you realize that sometimes life becomes a whole lot more interesting when you live with blinders on.