It is in the news again and I suspect that as the popularity of keeping backyard chickens continues to rise, so will the cases of salmonella. I haven’t really chimed in on this topic, so I think it is time. I also think that it is very important not to leave our common sense at the door, when reading the articles that are filling up the headlines. As I write this, it is chick days. New chicken keepers are going to be embarking on this amazing adventures and others will be adding to their flocks, because chicken keeping is so much fun! Here’s what you want to know.
This week I was down with the flu. I guess I kind of knew that it would only be a matter of time. It seems so inevitable working among ill patients. I’ve spent the greater part of the past 2 weeks in bed. At first, lying there wishing that this would all just go away and then simply too weak to care for the chickens, the dog and even the family. Still now as I type this I still feel weak. Yet, time is marching on, the first few signs of spring are arriving and I’ve got some exciting happenings.
Have you ever seen this? Do your chickens seem to lay all their eggs in one nesting box? Well, my chickens certainly do. My flock has this strange habit but it turns out that I am not alone. Other chicken keeper’s chickens do this as well.
This week I’m traveling on the road again for the next two weeks. I’m headed to the Country Living Fair in Columbus, Ohio, a ribbon cutting ceremony, and then off to the Mother Earth News Fair in Seven Springs, Pennsylvania. Before we left, I received a very special package from one of my favorite companies, Fluffy Layers. The owner, Tara, is so thoughtful and a Mom like me. She sent me something that she knew Maddy and I would just adore, these matching Mommy and Me Farm Aprons.
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.
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.
One of the ways that my family has traditionally shown and shared love is through food. This is especially true for my step-father. To him, food is love. For the past twenty-five years, he has nursed broken hearts with sundaes, healed sicknesses with soups, and celebrated special times with feasts. Love is always abundant when we’re gathered around the table. I believe the same goes for my chickens. Every time I feed the girls, I am showing them love. After all, they give the love back to me with the eggs they produce. Because food is such a strong statement of love in my family, I’ve given a lot of thought into which feed to give the girls.
I am thrilled to share with you this fantastic egg carton giveaway from my newest sponsor, EggCartons.com. EggCartons.com is a small business located in Massachusetts, but don’t let that fool you! They have everything you need to raise happy and healthy chickens. What I love about most about them is their AMAZING collection of egg cartons for sale.
Every year the kids and I decorate eggs for Easter. Some years, we use the traditional dyeing kits. They’re always great fun and I love the way my kids wriggle up their noses at the colorful dishes filled with white vinegar. In years past, we have also tried our hand at using sharpies, decorating with pysansky techniques and even making natural ones like these. I made these beautiful eggs with ordinary ingredients from my kitchen pantry. Using white shelled eggs as my base, I was able to dye eggs naturally with herbs and spices. I love the way they turned out.
One of the greatest joys as a chicken keeper is heading out to the coop to collect fresh eggs from the hens. There is nothing like it in the world to remove freshly laid, still warm beautiful eggs from the nesting boxes. Most times I bring with me an egg basket but since Fluffy Layers sent me this egg collecting apron, I have been hooked!