Have you ever wondered what it is like to speak chicken and understand your flock? I am so thrilled to share with you what I have been working on for the past 7 years. With a background in science, I set out on my journey to learn all about chickens and how I could connect with my flock. I wanted to see their world through their eyes.
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.
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.
Getting bees this year? Here are my top 10 tips for those thinking of starting beekeeping.
|Plant containers full of edibles. This container is filled with lettuce, pansies and sugar snap peas.|
One of my favorite things in the world is watching my chickens explore their surroundings when they are out during supervised free-ranging. Chickens left unsupervised can devastate gardens and landscaping in mere minutes, especially gardens with new tender plantings. I’ve picked up many tips over the years and today I’d like to share them with you that have made life much easier with the girls and their appetite for exploration and delicious goodies. Gardening with chickens when done correctly, is a wonderful experience.
|We rarely see honeybees in our gardens, only the large bumblebees.|
So as many of you know, I am starting out on my newest adventure, beekeeping. Finally the weather warmed up literally overnight and it was time this week to kick things into high gear. The bees are scheduled to come in May and I had so much yet to do. I had to finish building the hives, paint them and find a suitable place in the yard following the guidelines. The hives also needed time to “air out” after their painting. So, I have been busy as a bee these past few days. Proper placement of beehives is key to success as a beekeeper.
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.
So, how do I go about this, you ask? Well if you’re like me you read everything you can get your hands on, check the internet and dive head first into something figuring you’ll just troubleshoot along the way. However, there is some planning to optimize your chicken experiences that will make life easier. So, lets start at the beginning. How do I get the chickens?