Chicken poop attracts flies, chicken feed attracts flies, standing water attracts flies, meat scraps and cut up fruits and veggies (i.e. chicken treats) attract flies. In short, if you have chickens, you'll have flies. Spraying pesticide near your coop and run area isn't an option obviously, so I would like to offer some natural ways to control your fly population.
As you probably know, I incorporate herbs into my chicken keeping in various ways including offering our chickens fresh herbs as a treat, sprinkled in their nesting boxes and in the chicks' brooder, in the coop, as well as into our hens' diet by way of steeped tea, but I also dry and crush herbs during the summer to add to our chicken feed mix all through the winter as well. I often find that some herbs that they turn their noses (beaks?) up at fresh, they will readily eat when dried and crushed into their feed.
One afternoon last week I trudged back to the house, sweaty and grimy and in desperate need of a shower after cleaning the chicken coop and planting some seeds, to find a beautifully packaged box of goodies from our generous affiliate Mountain Rose Herbs. They had asked several days prior if I would like to try their facial wash, and of course I agreed because as you all know, country living can leave a girl in need of a good scrubbing!
Memorial Day parades often conclude at a cemetery where taps is played on a bugle and the poem 'In Flanders Field' is read to commemorate our nation's fallen war heroes. While we don't have poppies here on our farm in Virginia, I thought I would share some photos of the various flowers blooming on our property this spring. Have a safe holiday weekend.
|~apple blossoms bloom on one of our several apple trees~|
No matter how friendly your hens are, or how much you handle them and they love to sit in your lap, they seem to have a sixth sense, and as soon as you try to administer medication, they turn into squirming, wing-flapping dervishes. You might get away with sitting and holding your ailing hen, petting her and then quickly opening her mouth and dripping drops into her mouth once or twice, but by day three, good luck even catching her.
I've been playing around making my own fruit and edible flower syrups lately to use in homemade soda. I've made violet, blackberry and strawberry syrup/soda already (loved all three) and this week I tried using fresh pink rose petals. This would be a great 'girly' beverage to serve for a bridal or baby shower....
The last step in a chicken's egg laying process involves the application of a thin, nearly invisible film on the surface of the eggshell called the 'bloom'. This bloom helps to keep air and bacteria from penetrating the eggshell, thereby ensuring the egg's freshness and edibility.
Washing the egg removes the bloom, so optimally you don't want to wash the eggs from your backyard flock unless absolutely necessary. Once an egg is washed, it has to be refrigerated, but unwashed, an egg will last out on the counter at room temperature for several weeks, or refrigerated for several months, far longer than washed eggs.
With temperatures forecast into the 90's today, I thought it would be a good day to serve up this Confetti Ice Wreath to our chickens. It's not only an excellent way to help your chickens cool down in the summer, it's also a great way to use up leftover fruits and vegetables.
Several weeks ago, a young farmer named Forrest Pritchard contacted me and asked if I would be willing to review a book he had just written. He told me that he farms his family's land in the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia and sells meat and produce at the local farmers market. And that he had written a book chronicling how he saved his family's farm.
It's spring! Temperatures are holding steady in the 70s-80s by day and 50s by night. We are spending as much time as we can outside enjoying all our animals, the blooming flowers and the emerging berries and herbs. If only it could be spring year round!
Meet Annie. She's an Australorp, which means she has the tendency to go broody (sit on eggs until they hatch instead of laying her daily egg and hopping right back out of the nesting box). Australorps are known for their broody nature and Annie, true to her breed, goes broody quite often.
Herbs play a large part in our chicken-keeping as well as my home cooking. Over the years, I have been enlarging our herb garden and growing more varieties of culinary herbs to use fresh all summer and also dry for use over the winter.
This week our Australorp, Annie, hatched four chicks from eggs provided by Chicken Scratch Poultry. We have a new Coronation Sussex, a bantam Chocolate Orpington, and two Blue Ameraucanas plus an Olive Egger hatched from one of our eggs. It has been fascinating watching Annie care for the chicks with very little help from us. Barely a week old and she's already had them outside for their first outing. Enjoy some photos of Annie and the chicks.....