8 Potentially Harmful or Toxic Herbs to Avoid in Chicken Keeping

Most herbs have wonderful health benefits for both humans and animals and have been used down through the ages to treat, prevent and cure all kinds of ailments, but not all herbs are safe. I do use lots of herbs with my chickens, both in their environment and diet, but I am careful to stick to the common, culinary herbs which are safe and perfectly edible, because some herbs are toxic to chickens (and people).

Do you Hear What I Hear? All about Chicken Hearing

Chickens hear very much like human beings do. They have two ears, one on either side of their head. They have eardrums, and an outer ear, middle ear and inner ear, just like we do. They are able to harness sound waves and send them to the inner ear. 

A Week in Farm Photos Sept 11th to 17th

Brrrrr....there's a definite chill in the air as the temperatures start to dip down into the 40's at night. The leaves are beginning to change and we're looking to a glorious fall season here in Maine. All that's left in the garden now are some herbs, pumpkins and the corn. I'll be drying the herbs and harvesting the pumpkins and corn, then arranging them on the front porch for a bit of seasonal decor.  Take a peek at our week.

10 Healthy Sources of Added Protein for Molting Chickens

The first time your chickens go through a molt, dropping their feathers all over the coop and run, you'll likely do a quick headcount, sure some predator got in. While it seems that some chickens lose their feathers all at once, while others barely show any signs of molting, the first molt will be triggered by the shorter days in the fall, when your chickens are about 18 months old. And there's no need to worry, it's perfectly normal and in fact gets the chickens ready for winter.

A Week in Farm Photos - September 4th - 10th

As the summer winds down, I'm busily harvesting the last of the tomatoes and watching our pumpkin patch excitedly.  The leaves are already starting to turn on the sugar maples and there's a chill in the air each morning. I headed down to Portland earlier this week to preview the pilot of my new TV show Fresh Eggs Daily with Lisa Steele which will air on Monday (I'll share the link on Facebook so everyone can watch it streaming online!) and am excited to hear what you all think of the newest 'chicken lifestyle' show to hit the airwaves. I hope that each episode will bring my Facebook page and blog to life for you all - in the meantime, enjoy this peek at our week.

Choosing the Right Fencing for your Chicken Coop, Run or Garden

Keeping your flock safe from predators is something important to consider if you are new to chicken keeping, or building or buying a new coop, chicken tractor or run. Keeping your garden veggies safe from marauding bunnies, deer and wild birds is always a struggle. Not all fencing options are created equal - and using the wrong type of fencing can lead to heartbreaking losses.

A Week in Farm Photos - August 29th to Sept 3rd

What a fun week! We've been picking tomatoes and eggplant from the garden and eagerly watching the progress of our corn and pumpkins. And one of our spring chicks started laying this week! We made a trip to Tractor Supply Co. which is always fun, but seeing my book on the shelf was the icing on the cake. Speaking of dessert....I baked a pie using some rhubarb a neighbor shared with us. 

I sat down earlier in the week for an interview for a magazine article that will come out next spring and yesterday we (finally) picked out our new counter top, so we are ready to start a much-needed mini kitchen makeover. Oh, and I got some good news from my editor about book #4, so stay tuned for more details on that in the coming months. All in all, it was a good week here on the farm. Want to take a peek?

Talking about Raising Backyard Chickens on NPR

Everyone's bucket list* is made up of different dreams and goals. I was excited to be able to cross one item off my bucket list last week when I was invited to be on the NPR radio show Maine Calling on a panel chatting about Raising Backyard Chickens. Yes, appearing on NPR was on my bucket list! (So is seeing a moose and mastering macaroons...as I said, everyone's list is a bit different...)

A Week in Farm Photos August 21st - 27th

It's hard to believe that August is almost over. But despite the continuing warm, sunny days, there has been a bit of a chill in the air first thing in the morning lately. I've seen a few fallen leaves that have already changed color, so the glorious New England fall foliage season will be upon us in no time. We've got pumpkins turning orange, the corn is almost ready to eat and we're picking tomatoes by the basket full. The chickens and ducks are molting - already growing in new feathers for the winter, which is predicted to be cold and snowy. Even by Maine standards.

This week was busy, as usual. We welcomed a renowned freelance photographer (her last gig was for Bon Appetit magazine!) to our farm early in the week to shoot photos for a magazine article, and then I headed to Portland to tape a live show on the Maine Public Broadcasting Network.  That was a lot of fun and I have to admit something that had been on my bucket list forever. Enjoy this peek at our week!

Quiz: What Kind of Chicken Keeper Are You?

There are as many kinds of chicken keepers as there are breeds of chickens. And often the breeds you choose to keep can be a clue as to the type of chicken keeper you are. Read these fun, tongue-in-cheek profiles to figure out which kind of chicken keeper you are. Or maybe you already know....

A Week in Farm Photos - Shooting a TV Show Pilot August 14th-20th

Our farm was a flurry of excitement this week as we welcomed the film crew from WPXT/WPME-TV to shoot the pilot for a new television show I will be hosting. The 30-minute lifestyle show will bring to life my Facebook page and blog, encompassing chicken keeping, gardening and cooking with fresh eggs from the coop and fresh produce from the garden.  The chickens did great hitting their marks, but I think the ducks ultimately stole the show. Winston even got to star in one scene and got it perfect on the first take - I, on the other hand, needed two more tries until I got it right. Enjoy this behind-the-scenes peek at our week as I got a crash course in voice-overs and B roll.

A Week in Farm Photos - August 7th-13th

According to the locals up here in Maine, this is the hottest, driest summer they can remember. I'ts been hot and dry around most of the country, so I'm sure you're all busy watering yours gardens and refilling your chickens' water several times a day. Despite the heat and lack of moisture though, our garden and flock are both thriving and life is good up here in the woods of Maine. Enjoy this peek at our week...which did end with a few nice rain showers and the arrival of advance copies of the new Farmers Almanac to which I was asked to contribute an article!

Why I Don't Keep a Rooster in My Backyard Chicken Flock

While roosters historically have played an extremely critical role in every flock of chickens, they have become largely obsolete in today's modern backyard flock. Many areas don't allow roosters, and even those who can have roosters are often opting to raise a hens-only flock. I am one of those people and I'll tell you why.

A Week in Farm Photos - July 31st - August 6th

The summer keeps marching along. The Littles are growing up and we have tomatoes ripening in the garden. We build a raised bed garden this week next to the chicken coop, and also started work on a wading pool down by the brook for Winston our corgi. We're thoroughly enjoying our first summer in Maine. Enjoy this peek at our week.

Introducing the Urban Coop Company Round Top Duck House

The story behind the new Round Top Duck House from Urban Coop Company begins many months ago. Montie Twining, the owner of the company, had been brainstorming - which if you know Montie, is no surprise! Anyway, their family raises ducks as well as chickens and he wanted to design a house just for the ducks. He reached out to me knowing that I also raise ducks, and asked if I would like to be involved in designing a new duck house for his coop line.

A Week in Farm Photos - July 24th - 30th

In about three weeks, we'll be celebrating the anniversary of our arrival in Maine. This past year has been one of transition - having my husband retired from the Navy and home all day took some getting used to! - and lots of changes. It's been exciting to see the flower gardens we inherited come to life and bloom with various native flowers and plants month after month. We've hiked in the woods and marveled at the local flora and fauna. We watch wild turkeys and deer in the field, and have seen our first fisher cat and heard coyotes howling after dark. Maine is a beautiful, wild, wonderful state and we look forward to many more years enjoying all it has to offer. Enjoy this peek at our week.

Chicken Coop Decor for the Posh Flock

Of course, the main purpose of a chicken coop is to keep your flock safe at night from predators, cool in the summer and warm in the winter, but adding a little "cute" factor never hurts. I've been having fun decorating our coop and wanted to share some of the coop decor elements, as well as explain why they're functional, as well as decorative, in many cases.

A Week in Farm Photos - July 17th - 23rd

As a blanket of heat continues to hover over nearly the entire nation, we're still thankful we are here in Maine where it's at least a bit cooler than other parts of the country. Everyone is doing well, our gardens are thriving, the Littles are growing up ... and  I'm working on some new and exciting projects for the fall and beyond. I'll share more details in the coming weeks hopefully. Because when I say exciting ... I mean really exciting! In the meantime, enjoy this peek at our week, keep your waterers full of cold water and stay cool!