I spent half of 2015 and most of 2016 writing, How to Speak Chicken. It was a labor of love and something that I felt needed to reach the backyard chicken community. During my research, one of the many scientists that impressed me was psychology professor, Dr. Evans. A leading poultry researcher, he dedicated his life to decoding chickens. Like me, he too wanted to know exactly it was that made them tick and he made some pretty amazing discoveries. Sadly, Dr. Evans passed away in 2011 quite prematurely, from what I understand was a motor neuron disease. A man who had dedicated his life to communication lost his ability to speak due to the progression of his disease.
Last weekend, I made the annual trek, about two and half hours from home, to the Northeast Poultry Congress. I absolutely love to go to this event held each January. Last year, I was allowed to have a table to sell books and this year, I was able to bring my new book How to Speak Chicken and share it with fellow poultry lovers. If you haven’t been to a poultry show, I must share that you should put it on your list of things to do. Poultry shows are family-friendly and allow you to see new breeds and meet people who are passionate about their birds.
Good morning friends! I hope you have had a fabulous week! I’m having fun doing interviews for my new book, How to Speak Chicken. It’s been super fun and awesome to connect with so many people around the country. This week, two of those interviews went online. I had the privilege of chatting about the chickens with Mindy Todd from my local NPR radio station. She came to the house and even got to meet the girls.
Backyard chickens are exciting, super fun and entertaining. We have loved having chickens in our backyard for almost the past decade. Over the years, we have gone through a few chicken coops. Does that surprise you? Sadly, this happens to quite a few folks due to things like chicken math, wish lists, what’s working, what’s not working and quality of the construction. It’s kind of the norm for most chicken keepers, but it doesn’t have to be. When it comes to keeping chickens, the chicken coop is the most costly part of the hobby. From building your own chicken coop to purchasing one ready to assemble or even assembled online, here are some tips and common pitfalls to avoid and help you to get your design right the first time.
Fall has arrived at Tilly’s Nest. We never really had a moment to warm up after spring. Cape Cod had a cool and wet summer. We were all waiting for beach weather and it really didn’t show up. This happened a few years ago too. I guess things are cyclical. This past week cooler temperatures have ushered in. It seems to be the circle of life. We said goodbye to a dear Uncle who was battling an illness for a long time and now the leaves are keeping us occupied on the weekends. It’s a labor of love. I seem to have a love-hate relationship with the beauty of fall and the daunting amount of leaves that seem to return as soon as they are raked up from the gardens.
Chickens love to be outside. They get a thrill from free-ranging in the yard and garden. They love to explore, scratch in the grass and hide under large plantings for afternoon naps. However, sometimes it is not feasible for the chicken to be allowed to roam freely where they want to go. The reasons are many, including when you are not home or on vacation, poor weather conditions, and nearby predators. It is always a good idea to have a safe run enclosure for the chickens attached to their chicken coop even if they don’t use it very often. When considering design, one of the most important things that you want to think about is how to predator proof the run. Here are some of the things I did when I designed my chicken coop and run.
This past weekend, I had a wonderful time traveling to the Country Living Fair in Columbus, Ohio. I had the pleasure of finally meeting a fabulous friend of Tilly’s Nest. She is a very active follower of Tilly’s Nest and I have had the pleasure of engaging with her on social media for a few years now. It was so much fun to share chicken stories, a hug and talk about one another’s adventures together in person. Our in-person connection was instant. It was awesome! However, one thing has been on my mind during traveling these past few days. I’ve had lots of time to think, as my plane rides were delayed both getting there and back. The ride home was delayed for almost 4 hours due to heavy fog in Boston. I did a lot of people watching and a lot of thinking about my family, my flock and life in general. One of the biggest things for me, was really getting out of my little niche on Cape Cod and really seeing a big part of the world and how it is continually changing. I admit, I have a love hate kinda relationship with this thing called social media, but I wonder it it is making our society anti-social.
This week I really felt obligated to write this post. If you are like me, you want the very best for your chickens. We hate when our chickens are ailing or have something wrong, like a mite or lice infestation and always like to fix things asap. Like you, I certainly don’t like problems to linger or affect my flock or cause harm. However, sometimes in trying to do good and help our chickens, we can actually end up doing harm. Sometimes we can’t even see the harm that we are doing. Sometimes we can even be potentially harming ourselves without even realizing it. This is what is potentially happening in your flock when you use Frontline. Here’s why.
We’ve all been there, enticed to take a peek into the peeping bins and tubs of day old chicks at the feed stores. They are so irresistible and sweet. Watching them is so entertaining and fun. I could spend hours observing their antics and interactions. One of the toughest decisions that I usually have is how do I chose which ones to take home? Selecting chicks can sometimes be an overwhelming process. Picking the healthiest and strong chicks is not difficult if you know what to ask and what to look for.
This past spring, one of my newest sponsors, Omlet, sent me one of their chicken fencing kits. Having moved to a new place with more predators and more areas for the girls to get into trouble, they quickly realized that they had a solution to one of my very essential problems. Despite supervising their free-ranging, I was yearning for a way to keep my girls contained in a single area while I could continue to work in the yard nearby. My problem was solved when their fencing arrived on my doorstep.