Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Soft Shelled or "Rubber" Eggs - Causes and Prevention

The longer you raise chickens, the more chance that eventually you'll collect some odd-looking eggs on occasion. Most times, they are nothing to worry about - just a glitch in production. One of the more common 'glitches' is a soft-shelled or 'rubber' egg, basically an egg laid without a shell or with a very soft shell.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Easy DIY Painted Easter Egg Pail

Hard to believe Easter is next Sunday. But there's still plenty of time to make this cute Easter Egg Pail from any old metal bucket you have lying around.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

A Week in Farm Photos April 6th - 12th

This week marked not only my birthday (no, I'm not telling which one!) but also my wedding anniversary (our 13th in case you're wondering). My husband appeared on Monday after work bearing a dozen red roses, two lobsters for dinner and a fruit tart for dessert. You really can't ask for more than that! 

The weather has turned nice here in Virginia and everything is green and blooming. We have chicks in the coop and a broody hen sitting on another dozen eggs due to hatch in two weeks. 

I'm keeping busy working on book number two, as well as continuing to write for various magazines - and I have a few surprises up my sleeve for the rest of 2014. 

Life is good. No, I take that back, life is great.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Five Ways to Encourage a Hen to go Broody

Letting a hen sit on a nest of eggs to hatch them is far easier than using an incubator. The broody hen IS the incubator, turning the eggs and keeping them warm and at the correct humidity level. After the eggs hatch, she acts as the brooder box as well, needing no electricity to keep the chicks warm and safe. No more messy, dusty brooder in your laundry room or garage, no worries about heat lamps.

The mother hen also shows the chicks how to find bugs and which weeds are safe to eat, and she will introduce them to the rest of the flock when she feels it's time. But for this you need  broody hen. So how do you know when a hen is broody and how do you 'make' a hen go broody?

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Preventing and Treating Wry Neck in Chicks and Ducklings

Wry Neck (sometimes called Crock Neck or Stargazing) is a condition that causes a chick or duckling (or sometimes a grown hen whose diet is nutritionally insufficient) to be unable to hold its head up on its own. The affliction can progress to the point that the little one walks backwards or tumbles over on its back, unable to walk at all. It can be fatal if not treated, as the chick or duckling risks becoming dehydrated and malnourished quickly if unable to eat or drink by itself.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

A Week in Farm Photos March 30th - April 5th

Egg production is in full swing. The Bonbons are two and a half weeks old, which is hard to believe! They grow so fast and they're already spending nice days outside in the grow-out pen with mom Truffle.

The mud is finally drying up and our fruit trees are blooming. I got my herb garden cleaned up, took stock of the perennial herbs that have returned and got some new herbs planted this week. We have beets, carrots, peas and spinach already sprouting in the garden, as well as the garlic I planted last fall. It's a great time to live in the country in Virginia! Enjoy this peek at our week!

Friday, April 4, 2014

GIVEAWAY: Five-Plant Gardens by Nancy Ondra

I have long been a 'weekend' flower gardener, concentrating more on herbs and vegetables, but when Storey Publishing asked if I would like to review Nancy Ondra's new book Five-Plant Gardens: 52 Ways to Grow a Perennial Garden with Just Five Plants , I jumped at the chance. Let's face it, flowers are so pretty, the bees love them, and this five plant idea (especially using 'plant 'em once and they keep coming back' perennials) sounded simple enough. 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

8 Brooder Box Boredom Busters for Baby Chicks

Living within the confines of a plastic tote or cardboard box can get boring for baby chicks. Boredom lead to bullying, pecking and all sorts of other problems. Help keep your brooder babies from getting bored with these easy to implement Brooder Box Boredom Busters.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

A Week in Farm Photos March 23rd - 29th

Spring has sprung! We have daffodils and hyacinths blooming, baby chicks in the coop, egg production is booming and everything is turning green. Life is good. Everything always seems so rosy, like anything is possible each spring. Farm living just can't be beat and I am truly blessed to be able to be doing something I love and to have met such wonderful people along the way. It seems that each week brings new and exciting opportunities. It's impossible to be anything but deliriously happy in the spring on a farm. Enjoy these photos from our week.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Repurposed Metal Chicken Feeder into an Herb Planter

Stop! Don't throw out that old rusted metal chicken feeder! Turn it into a cute herb planter in no time -perfect for growing some thyme, sage, mint, basil and other healthy herbs for your flock!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The 2014 Chicken Keepers Heirloom Seed Collections

We are excited to announce - brand new for 2014 - our Chicken Keepers Heirloom Seed Collections! Partnering with Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, we have put together nine unique non-GMO heirloom seed collections, each specifically chosen for a different purpose to aid you in your backyard chicken keeping.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Understanding Chicken Behavior: Interpreting The Egg Song

It's a common misconception that roosters are the loud mouths of the barnyard. But you can't raise laying hens for long before you will start to hear an awful screeching and cackling coming from the direction of the coop each morning. What you're hearing is the hen's 'egg song'.