Welcome to the world little ones!
We have had five Saxony duck eggs incubating in our incubator for the last 28 days. (Follow along with our daily updates to The Great Eggscape HERE.) Today was Hatch Day and this little one didn't disappoint. Arrived right on schedule.
|The calm before the storm|
It seems that the weather is getting more extreme year to year, and hurricanes and tornadoes are popping up all over the place. We hear storm warnings all the time and they usually turn out to be nothing, but last summer we got hit with Hurricane Irene and I realized just how unprepared I was to handle severe weather when it came to protecting our backyard flock.
~Pink eggs are hens, blue eggs are roosters? Unfortunately it's not that easy!~
One question we get asked fairly often on our Facebook page is 'Is this a hen or a rooster?' with an accompanying photo of a chick. Generally, that's not an easy question to answer.
I am usually careful to close the gate to the run behind me, but invariably going in and out with my hands full - of treats, water or feed going in, or eggs coming out - the gate gets left ajar. And those darn chickens don't need but a second to jump on the opportunity to escape and get some free range time.
~repurposed utility cart using only stuff I found in our garage~
You know you have one of these in your garage. Everyone does. The old, cheap (maybe you bought it from Ikea or Target ten years ago ) cart or end table from your first apartment after you graduated from college that you just can't bring yourself to take to the dump because there's really nothing wrong with it....it's just really, really ugly. So it's been sitting forgotten in your garage.
Imagine one of your hens is acting funny. She is fluffed up, her eyes are closed and she is lethargic. You notice her sitting on the ground and maybe dragging her wings. Her tail is down and most likely she is straining or pumping her backside. Upon closer examination you may notice that liquid is dripping from her vent and you may feel an egg-shaped lump. All signs of an egg bound hen.
Some days are better than others. Today I have already been stung by a yellow jacket, chased our horse around the pasture trying to catch him for our farrier, cleaned up puppy puke - on OUR bed, no less, and discovered that a bunny has not only eaten all our spinach but also all our beet tops....and it's only 3 o'clock in the afternoon. All in all, I've had better days.
Lately I have been looking for recipes to make my own natural homemade cleaning products. I'm sure you all have seen the orange peel vinegar cleaning spray all over pinterest. In fact, if you google 'homemade orange peel cleaner' 4.4 million hits appear. 4.4 million. So this idea certainly isn't original. But it seems effective and won't harm the environment, our lungs or our pets. I whipped up a batch using the instructions from one of the 4.4 million links and set it aside to 'age'.
If your husband is anything like mine, he claims to not like quiche. However, he absolutely will clean his plate every time I make my Roasted Broccoli Bacon Cheddar Breakfast Pie. Sometimes it's just a matter of semantics.
One of the nice things about raising your own chickens is knowing what they are eating and what is going into the eggs they lay. Another nice thing is knowing that your eggs are fresh.
Plain, functional full aprons were de rigueur in the 30's, 40's and 50's for housewives. Before the days of washing machines, women found it a lot easier to hand wash just an apron instead of their whole dress.
The aprons were usually white - and would be reversed when they got soiled and only washed when both sides were dirty.
~image courtesy Catholic Home and Garden~
My great grandmother was born in the late 1800's and lived to be almost 100 years old. I don't think she wore a pair of pants a day in her life; not to butcher chickens, or chase off rabid raccoons, or split wood, or even to milk her goats. I can't picture her in anything but a cotton dress with an apron over it.
By the 1960's, women were going into the workforce and not staying home all day anymore carrying eggs from the barn, collecting apples for a pie or wiping their hands after working in the garden or washing dishes, so full aprons sort of lost some of their appeal, but the half apron emerged around that time - more as a 'hostess' apron than anything.
Aprons actually originated with bakers and butchers, mostly men, centuries earlier. Again, to protect clothing, full aprons were worn in industry. Purely functional, through history aprons have played a key role in the working wardrobes of both men and women. But they haven't generally been thought of as a fashion statement.
~a refreshing batch of frozen mint ice cube treats~
Fresh clean water is the most important thing you can provide your flock - especially in the summer. Eggs contain mostly water and keeping your chickens hydrated not only is crucial to their health but assures good egg production. But why not get creative and make some ice cube treats for your flock?
I tried a few different ways to repel the flies, but this DIY Fly Catcher is easy to make, effective and an inexpensive way to rid your chicken run of flies.