It happens time and time again, but it is heartbreaking to me every time I hear it. Readers too often tell me that they brought home a new chicken from a swap or got a few pullets from a friend or neighbor to add to their existing flock and now all their chickens are sick and/or dying. They always say 'but the new ones LOOKED so healthy.'
When it's hot outside the last thing I feel like doing it turning on the oven...or even the stove honestly. But we get tired of sandwiches and salads for dinner every night in the summer, so I often make this quick, easy stove top pasta dinner that really showcases our fresh eggs.
It only uses a few ingredients that I always have on hand anyway, so it has become our go-to 'I can't eat another piece of lettuce or I'll turn into a rabbit' meal. Vegetarians can easily leave out the bacon and still end up with a yummy dinner.
1 pound box of spaghetti
8 slices of bacon, coarsely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
4 large fresh eggs
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
(*note: the eggs are not technically 'cooked' except for tossing them in the hot pasta, so I would recommend using only your own eggs in this recipe to reduce the chance of contracting salmonella)
Cook spaghetti according to box instructions. Meanwhile, saute bacon in a frying pan until crisp. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate and discard all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat in the frying pan. Add garlic and saute until it just starts to brown, maybe a minute or so. Remove from heat and set aside.
Whisk eggs, cream and cheese until combined. Drain pasta and return to pot. Pour sauce over the pasta and toss quickly. Add the bacon and garlic, season with salt and pepper, and serve immediately, passing additional Parmesan cheese to sprinkle on top and warm garlic bread.
We have never had such beautifully-colored eggs with nice strong shells or healthy-looking hens as we do now. All our chickens are beautiful and glossy with shiny feathers, bright eyes, and rosy combs and wattles. I know it's due to the custom feed mix I have developed for them. I call it the 'Breakfast of Champion Layers'.
When I worked in Manhattan I made a lot of trip to the dry cleaners. Wool skirt and pants, silk blouses, cashmere sweaters...all needed to be dry cleaned. I also bought a lot of pantyhose that needed to be handwashed. But doing actual laundry, in a washing machine, not so much. I got home so late from work each night, I often just changed out of my work clothes right into my pajamas. So the hamper didn't fill up very quickly.
It is generally good practice to spend time with your flock on a regular basis (as if you don't already!), apart from the regular feeding and cleaning, but really observing them, so that you know what is 'normal' and immediately notice any changes in appearance or behavior. The faster you can identify a health issue and treat it, the better. Chickens, being the ultimate prey animal, are masters at hiding symptoms and often by the time you notice something is wrong its too late.
My husband's birthday was this past Friday and I decided to make him Tiramisu instead of a birthday cake. It's one of his all-time favorites, so I knew he wouldn't miss a traditional cake.
Chicken keeping can be serious business: worrying if your new chicks are warm enough, if your coop is going to be big enough, if your hen is egg bound, how to break a broody hen, if your pullet is actually a rooster, how to get your chickens to like the new additions to your flock, if there is a predator lurking...the list goes on and on.
So sometimes it's fun to just kick back and relax and really enjoy chicken keeping while doing something special for them. This Rainbow Fruit and Veggie Ice Block did it for me.
Did you know that the effects of heat on chickens is cumulative and that a sudden increase in temperature is more dangerous than a gradual climb? Temperatures between 65-75F are optimal, anything higher starts to cause stress to their bodies. The added blood flow to their combs, wattles and skin reduces the flow to their vital organs.
Almost every culinary herb (plus spices and many common flowers such as roses, nasturtium, bee balm, etc.) has amazing health benefits for both humans and animals. I grow a wide assortment of herbs to use in cooking and also in conjunction with raising our chickens and ducks. Many are perennials, such as lavender, mint, thyme and pineapple sage, or reseed themselves like dill, parsley and cilantro, so I just add a few more annuals, such as basil, marjoram and sage each spring to achieve a varied selection of herbs.