What is the Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD) and What Does it Mean for You, the Backyard Chicken Keeper?


Big changes are coming on January 1, 2017 regarding how certain medications are going to be dispensed for chickens. Basically, the Veterinary Feed Directive will put a stop to over-the-counter sales of many of the antibiotics used for poultry and other livestock. In order to purchase medications that are currently on your feed store shelves, you will now need a prescription from a licensed veterinarian. That's it in a nutshell, but there's lots more information here on the USDA site.

A Week in Farm Photos - November 20th - 26th


Lots to be thankful for this holiday season. Everyone's healthy and happy, and we've even seen a bit of snow! The coop got a bit of new decor to keep the girls busy since they're spending more time inside than they do in the warmer months.

This week brought some exciting news that I'll be sharing soon (hint: it has to do with Martha Stewart!). I was also honored to be interviewed by Time magazine for an article.  Yup, that Time magazine! No, not Woman of the Year! But still, pretty exciting nonetheless. I was also asked to contribute to Farmers Almanac again for next year's issue, which I eagerly agreed to, and one of my photos is going to be featured in a kids science magazine. 

I've started work on my new book and will be turning in the outline and first chapter to my editor next week. All great news for backyard chicken keeping. It's really gone mainstream, which is a "good thing" as Martha would say!

Easy DIY Duck or Chicken Teepee

Over the years raising ducks, I've learned that the cold rarely bothers them, but they're not really big fans of wind. I've also noticed that they love to hunker down in the shade of the evergreens that grace our property to nap, safe from aerial predators.

A Week in Farm Photos - November 13th - 19th

With the Thanksgiving holiday almost upon us, and Christmas coming fast on its heels, I'm grateful that two of our four new spring chicks (pullets now!) have started laying eggs and the ducks are almost done molting, so we should have plenty of fresh eggs for holiday baking. I just can't bring myself to buy store bought eggs. Haven't for nearly 8 years and never plan to, ever again. 
I've been busy promoting my new book Gardening with Chickens and doing lots of press and interviews for that - and I've already started some early work on my next book! Still polishing up my outline and some small details, but hopefully I'll have good news and more information for you on that soon. In the meantime, we're hoping for some snow soon to kick off the holidays here in Maine, but no one is complaining about these spring-like temperatures we've been enjoying lately. So, enjoy this peek at our week!

Adding Thyme to Chicken Feed for a Natural Immune System Boost


I think we can all agree that one of the reasons we raise our own chickens is to afford them a happy life, spent frolicking in the grass, chasing bugs and eating good-quality feed supplemented with healthy treats. We hardly want to emulate the large, commercial chickens farms...or do we?

A Week in Farm Photos - November 6th - 12th


It snowed! Just for a second and the flakes melted as soon as they hit the porch, but we have officially gotten our first snowfall here in Maine. This week brought continued slow egg production, lots of pretty pictures from around the farm, and I spent the later part of the week signing copies of my third book and getting them in the mail. Enjoy this peek at our week.

Gardening with Chickens: Fall Cleanup and Fertilizing


Fall is the perfect time to let your chickens wander freely in your garden. Once you have harvested your crops, you can let your chickens in to clean up the remaining stalks, vines, and stems. They'll help by breaking up all the organic matter and incorporating it into the soil where it will continue to break down.

A Week in Farm Photos - October 30th - November 5th

No snow yet, but it's regularly dipping below freezing at night now. With a fresh layer of straw in the coop and yummy afternoon treats, the girls are just fine. This week we celebrated the release of my third book Gardening with Chickens and I'm excited to announce that my fourth book (that I'll start working on this winter) will likely be coming out in the spring of 2018. Seems like a long way away, but time flies when you're having fun, right? Enjoy this peek at our week.

Announcing my New Book Gardening with Chickens


I'm very excited to finally announce that my brand new book Gardening with Chickens: Plans and Plants for you and your Hens (Voyageur Press, 2016) is being released this week! Over a year in the making, the writing of this book was truly a labor of love which allowed me to combine two of my most favorite pastimes - gardening and chicken keeping!

A Week in Farm Photos - October 23 -29th

As we march towards winter, the days are getting shorter, the girls are still molting and the temperatures are hovering very close to freezing at night. No snow yet, but soon... Egg production is still pretty pitiful since our spring layers haven't all started laying yet. But it's a gorgeous time of year here in Maine, so we're loving each and every day. Last weekend I wrapped up my last trip of the year, speaking and signing books at the Mother Earth News fair in Topeka, Kansas. Now I'm looking forward to staying home for a few months and working on my next book this winter. Take a peek at our week.

Traditional Boston Brown Bread


My mother is a fabulous cook and baker, and one of my favorite childhood food memories is when she would bake brown bread - right in a tin can!  Delicious and moist, and studded with raisins, it was the perfect accompaniment to a plate of baked beans. Having grown up in Massachusetts, to me this was the quintessential fall dinner, so when I ran across this recipe recently, I decided to try my hand at baking this time-honored favorite.

My Top 5 Winter Tips for Keeping your Chickens Warm


Keeping your chickens warm in the winter can seem daunting, especially if you live in the far north, but  in reality it's not difficult nor expensive to do. I was asked by the folks over at Lehman's® to share my top five tips that I use to keep my chickens comfortable during our long Maine winters. Curious as to what they are?

Read my Top 5 Tips to Keep Your Chickens Warm this Winter



Disclaimer: I was compensated for this article by Lehman's® , but all opinions are my own.

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A Week in Farm Photos October 16 - 22nd


This week brought more foliage, more molting, our first clam bake and a bit of fall decor to our coop. This weekend I'm in Kansas at the Mother Earth News fair and hopefully next week I'll get some good news about my next book! There's always something going on here on the farm. Stay tuned for more news about my new television show too in the coming weeks...and in the meantime, take a peek at my week!

Chicken-Friendly Backyard Landscaping - Safe and Dangerous Trees, Bushes, Shrubs and Flowers


Lots of you raise backyard chickens that are allowed to roam your backyard, either supervised or unsupervised, and might wonder if your existing landscaping is okay if your chickens happen to nibble on it (which they are prone to do!). I'm frequently asked what kinds of plants, bushes and trees are safe to plant around chickens.

A Week in Farm Photos - October 9th - 15th

With nights dipping into the high 20's, the cold weather is really setting in. The garden has been turned over and mulched with the straw bedding from the coop that I raked out last week, and most of the herbs have been picked and are drying in the barn. The chickens are almost done molting, thankfully, in preparing for winter. The fall foliage here in Maine has already peaked and the leaves are starting to fall in earnest. Here's a peek at our week!
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