We all love spoiling our pets - and our backyard chickens are no different. But too many treats can make them fat, reduce egg laying performance and lead to other health problems. So how many treats are too many?
Yesterday we celebrated our very first Maine Christmas! It wasn't a white Christmas like we hoped, but regardless, we enjoyed the day immensely. Christmas Day dawned clear and warm. We exchanged gifts, opened presents from friends and family and made calls to those family members we wouldn't be seeing for the holiday. The balmy weather meant a walk in the woods with the dogs was in order after our meal and then back home to enjoy some eggnog, homemade cookies and delicious creme brulee. We hope you all enjoyed a day with family and friends and that everyone found what they wished for under their tree. We sure hope we get snow soon so my husband can try out his brand new snow shoes!
Shirred eggs, or "oeufs en cocotte", is the traditional French way of baking eggs in individual dishes or “cocottes”. The richness of the duck eggs is enhanced by the fresh butter and heavy cream in this recipe which, due to the ease of cooking and sophisticated presentation, is a wonderful way to prepare eggs for a large group for a holiday brunch just by doubling, tripling, or quadrupling the recipe.
This week passed in a whirlwind of pre-holiday activity, but cards have been mailed, gifts for out-of-state family and friends shipped, our tree is up and decorated, the baking has begun and I even fit in some time to knit! A white Christas is still a question mark, but we did get a nice dusting the other day. Enjoy this peek at our week!
|Squirrel-proof Edwardian bird feeder from Gardener's Supply|
I have a confession to make. I feed wild birds. Yes, I know that they could be carrying avian flu and pass it on to my chickens (which is why all our bird feeders are far from the coop and run area) and that wild birds are attracted to the run area by the chicken feed (which is why I don't leave feed out overnight and our run is made of 1/2" welded wire). But I just love watching the antics of the chickadees and titmice, seeing the brilliant colors of the cardinals and bluejays and marveling at the downy woodpeckers and other varieties who come to dine at our feeders. I even love having the fat gray squirrels come by from time to time.
Keeping your flock's water from freezing is one of the biggest challenges to raising chickens in the winter. If you have electricity to your coop, the easiest way is to just plug in a heated dog water bowl. They're easy to clean and refill, and keep the water safely warmed to just above freezing. If you don't have any electricity hooked up, then it's a bit more challenging, but I'll show you how to keep your chickens' water from freezing using just a rubber tub and old tire. Honest!
Our Thanksgiving snow 'storm' was short-lived and the grass reappeared this week. We used the continued warm weather to keep collecting kindling and cutting wood for the winter - and to finish up building our run. We also took lots of walks in the woods. Hard to believe it's December. In Maine. This time last year, they had already gotten more than two feet of snow! Enjoy this peek at our (snow-free) week!
Once Thanksgiving is over, I'm ready to start decorating for Christmas. This year I decided to make evergreen wreaths for my chicken coop and run since we have a near endless supply of pine trees here on our farm in Maine.