This week was a roller coaster weather-wise. We endured temperatures over 90 degrees around mid-week, but then by Saturday night, it dipped down close to freezing. Regardless, it's a beautiful time of year. The lilacs are just beginning to bloom, and we've got radishes and some lettuce peeking out of the garden soil already!
Having electolytes on hand in your chicken first aid kit is a good idea. Administered in cases of heat exhaustion, stress or dehydration, they could be the difference between life and death for an ailing hen or baby chick.
Hard to believe we've only lived in Maine now for just under two years. I feel like I've lived here forever! There's still so much I want to do (and we need to do!), but I'm happy with our progress, especially outside. Right away we planted some strawberries, plus raspberry and blueberry bushes, and I divided the gorgeous lilac bush that stands to one side of our front porch. I'm excited that all the cuttings seem to be doing great, so we should have lilacs and berries everywhere in a few years!
When you have a broody hen sitting on eggs that will never hatch (i.e. you don't have a rooster, or don't want more chicks so you're collecting all the eggs daily) it's best to break her of her broodiness - for her own good as well as for the good of the flock.
Spring might take it's sweet time coming to Maine, but when it arrives, it arrives with a vengeance! There are flowers and blossoms and new growth and green everywhere! We have eggs overflowing out of bowls and baskets. I was off jet-setting again the beginning of the week, but got home late Wednesday night and have really enjoyed spending the last few days at home!
Even chickens fed the best-quality layer feed will benefit from being offered a calcium supplement to ensure strong shells on the eggs they lay. Crushing eggshells and feeding them back to your chickens is the easiest, most economical way to give your girls some extra calcium.
This was the first week in a long time that I've been home all week. It was nice to wake up in my own bed, wander downstairs for a cup of (good!) coffee and then head outside to feed the chickens and let them out. Signs of spring are everywhere! We spent some time cleaning up the yard and gardens this week, but had plenty of time to just put our feet up and enjoy the warm -almost shorts and tee-shirt - weather here in Maine!
Have you ever wondered whether or not your chickens recognize each other? Or recognize you? Could, say, pick you out of a lineup? Or wondered if - treats notwithstanding - they are actually happy to see you when you come home from work? Well it turns out that not only do your chickens recognize YOU, they can also recognize up to 100 other flock members - as well as the family dog.
This week was a bit of a mixed bag. I was home for the beginning of the week, enjoying muddy spring in Maine and then headed off to a top secret location for a few days to work on a brand new project that I'm really excited about! I can't share any details yet, but be sure to subscribe to my newsletter so you'll be the first to hear about it! I think you'll really love it. Very, very exciting the future of backyard chicken keeping. But that's all I can say right now. In the meantime, here's a peek at my week.
It's so true that there's no place like home. As much as I LOVED being on the road for Chick Days, it was so nice to spend a few days at home this week - especially because spring has finally arrived to Maine! This is where I belong. Out in the country on our farm, collecting eggs and cleaning the coop, watching the chickens during free range time. Tossing sticks for our dogs, hiking through the woods, canoeing on the lake, watching beavers built their dam and spying wild turkeys at the edge of the tree line.
Fairy eggs, also called "wind", "witch", "cock" or the fairly crass "fart" eggs, are merely a glitch in the laying process that is fairly common in backyard flocks. Smaller than regular eggs, usually rounder and containing no yolk, these eggs generally occur either very early in a hen's productive life before her hormones and reproductive cycle are fully formed and working properly - or sometimes very late in a hen's laying life as her hormone production is winding down. They can also be the result of stress or a disruption of routine.
I just barely had time to unpack from my trip last week, get some laundry done and catch up with my family before it was time to head to Vermont. But in the few days I was home, I enjoyed a late spring snowfall, suspect we have a possible broody hen (c'mon Charlotte, if you hang in there - I promise to give you some fertile eggs to sit on when I get back!) and celebrated an early birthday/wedding anniversary with my husband and a few close friends.
In Zone 5b, where I live in Maine, typically the last frost date is around May 15th, and the first average frost date in the fall is around October 15th, leaving me just 150 days – give or take – to get seeds planted, sprouted, grown, and harvested.
I'll be heading home to Maine tomorrow with mixed feelings. I've been gone for almost two weeks, visiting Tractor Supply Co. and Blue Seal Feed stores from Michigan to Connecticut and sponsored by Manna Pro, and while I've had such a blast meeting so many of my fans and readers, signing books, hanging out with baby chicks and meeting all sorts of other animals, I'm really eager to get back home!