My husband and I love Maine. We would move there in a heartbeat if he could find a job there. We love the cold snowy winters and the crisp fall days with the beautiful foliage. We love the warm summer days and cool summer nights. We also love blueberries, lobster and maple syrup. This easy recipe combines blueberries and maple syrup...and uses lots of eggs.
As many of you know, Yvette lost her beloved hen Lily to sour crop this past January. Even with the help of her vet, she was not able to save Lily.
Chickens and gardening go hand in hand. It's all part of being more self-sufficient and sustaining your family from what you can produce with your own hands on your own land. I had been growing vegetables and herbs for years before I started keeping chickens, but it wasn't until we got the chickens that I felt the circle was truly complete. Gardening with chickens is now a way of life for us.
|~Next time I wouldn't even bother with the nesting box since they don't use it anyway~|
When we had only two ducks, they happily slept in the chicken coop with the chickens in a wooden box on the floor. But when we got 5 more ducklings last spring, I decided it was time for the ducks to have their own house. Fortunately there was an old wooden doghouse at the edge of our property that had been sitting empty since we bought our house. I swept out the squirrel and mice nests and all the cobwebs, dragged it down to the run and set about converting it into a duck house.
Congratulations! So you have decided to raise some ducklings! If you have brooded chicks before, you will find that it's basically the same. In fact, my very first batch of chicks included two ducklings that we raised in the brooder box along with the chicks and all thrived and grew up to be happy and healthy. But in addition to the fact that ducklings grow much faster than chicks, there are also a few other differences between brooding ducklings and chicks.
If you have five dollars (or less if you can repurpose things you already have) and about five minutes, you can make a cute hanging treat feeder for your chickens to help beat the winter blahs. Fill it with scratch, seeds, cereal, grains (even their regular feed) and they will have a ball trying to grab a bite.
Boredom can cause pecking, feather eating and other behavioral issues in your flock, and winter is the prime time for boredom due to a lack of grass, weeds and bugs for your chickens to find. A hanging feeder like this will keep them amused - trust me - and it's very amusing to watch.
Here's what you will need:
A wooden embroidery hoop (any size will work)
A piece of old window screen (just a bit larger than the hoop)
Four feet of chain
Three small eyehooks
A metal ring (like a key ring)
Wire or string (optional)
Cut the screen into a circle 1/2" larger than the hoop
Sandwich the screen in between the two hoops, trim any excess and tighten the screw to secure
Twist the three eyehooks in between the two hoops, equidistant apart from each other
Cut the chain into three pieces - two 12" lengths and one 24" length. Open an end link on each length with the needle-nosed pliers and then attach one to each eyehook.
Open the opposite ends of the two shorter lengths and attach to the middle of the longer piece of chain to make three equal-length 'legs', leaving a 12" length at the top.
Using the keyring and carabiner, hang the feeder from the top of your run (using string or wire for additional length if you need to), so the feeder hangs about 6-8" off the ground. Fill with scratch, seeds, cereal, grain or another dry treat, stand back and watch the fun.
~idea adapted from the Kid-Friendly Bird Feeder featured in Birds & Blooms Magazine~
Several years ago when we decided to start raising chickens, I knew that our six chicks would eventually grow out of their brooder box and need a coop. I starting looking at pre-made coops, coop kits and coop plans, but couldn't find exactly what I wanted. I researched the different elements that good coop designs encompassed and I decided to design and build my own, using the different aspects from a few different coops.
This is the coop I ended up with and I love it. It's perfect inside our completely enclosed run. It has a hinged roof for easy cleaning, three nesting boxes with an exterior hinged lid and tons of vents that can be opened or closed depending on the weather. It was the perfect size for our six original chickens - with room for more as we expanded our flock (or so I thought at the time).
When we first decided to try raising chickens, the breeds we chose were based solely on what the feed store had. We said 'we'll take two of whatever you have' and ended up coming home with two Buff Orpingtons, two Silver Laced Wyandottes and two Rhode Island Reds.
Cute chicks, beautiful chickens, wonderful layers...and they all laid brown eggs. Which was fine with me.
Like anything else relating to raising backyard chickens, there seem to be lots of different opinions about feeding eggshells back your chickens. But what everyone does agree on is that laying chickens need a lot of calcium to ensure strong eggshells. If they do not have enough calcium to create the shell, it will result in very thin-shelled eggs and calcium will start being leached from the hen's bones. You can buy commercially packaged crushed oyster shell, or you can save money by processing your eggshells to feed back to your hens.
I used to wonder where all the old farm sayings came from, "Wait 'til the cows come home", "Hold your horses", "Madder than a wet hen".....well, since having a horse and the chickens and ducks, I wonder no more.