A broody hen (i.e. a chicken that wants to sit on eggs for three weeks to hatch them) is a God send if you are trying to hatch fertile eggs, but otherwise quite the annoyance. Unless you break her broodiness, she'll hog the nesting box, squawk and squeal and generally disrupt the calm in the coop. So how can you tell if you have a Broodzilla on your hands? Here are the top ten signs of a broody hen.
Dare I believe it's actually approaching shorts weather here in Maine? It's been in the mid-70s and believe it or not, the chickens have actually been panting a bit and holding their wings out! How fast they forget the near 100 degrees days on end they experienced in Virginia! I organized my new potting shed this week, and we planted raspberry and blackberry bushes plus a few more blueberry bushes, and we found a hidden rhubarb patch.
I have tomatoes and eggplant seedlings in the ground and planted some sunflower, lettuce, snap pea and green bean seeds. We had our first hummingbird of the season stop by to visit and we have both barn swallows and bluebirds nesting in our birdhouses. We have our first broody hen sitting on a nest of eggs..and the Littles are almost five weeks old. Enjoy this peek at our week.
As excited as we were to move to Maine last summer and set down roots in New England again, I was sorry to leave our farm in Virginia. There were so many nice features that had taken years to build/raise/grow/create and leaving them behind was tough. One in particular was our landscaped chicken run.
There's a spring in everyone's step this week. Literally. We all enjoyed gorgeous Maine weather - in the 70s by day and down to comfortable sleeping temperatures in the 40s at night. Flowers are popping up everywhere, which is exciting, since we only arrived here in August, so we have no idea what surprises the garden might hold. The Littles are almost a month old and doing great - and a second batch of hatching eggs just went into the incubator and are percolating away! Enjoy this peek at our week.
Scissor beak (sometimes also called cross beak or crossed beak), is a deformity that can occur in baby chicks. It happens when the top and bottom of the beak grow in opposite directions instead of aligning normally, making eating difficult. Not necessarily a death sentence for the baby chick, some accommodations do need to be made for it to survive and thrive.
April was a crazy month. I traveled to Asheville, North Carolina and Epcot in Orlando, Florida to speak and was so happy to meet so many of you in person at each stop. I also appeared at a few local Tractor Supply Chick Days events and spoke at the Bangor Flower Show here in Maine. Somehow I also fit in a trip to Dripping Springs, Texas to visit Urban Coop Company, tour their facility and help develop a new coop design with them. Super exciting!
During the short time I actually was at home, we did manage to plant some blueberry and rose bushes and I recorded a radio show and a few podcasts...oh and was interviewed for a Women in Ag article. I also put the final touches on my third book (yes, you read that right! I have a new book coming out at the end of this year!....more on that later this summer) But I was only actually home about half the month. I missed the first few days of our new chicks' lives, and missed the exact arrival of spring here to Maine. But spring is finally here and I'm looking forward to staying put for awhile and enjoying life on the farm.
As someone who does lots of public appearances and is photographed holding a chicken fairly often for promotional purposes and photo shoots, as well as someone who occasionally welcomes film crews to my home to record television programs, I need for my chickens to be friendly and be able to handle being picked up and held for sustained periods of time.
Now that you raise backyard chickens, you really owe it to yourself to start making homemade ice cream using eggs fresh from your chicken coop. This basic vanilla bean ice cream recipe is the perfect one to start with. It's quick and easy, and can become the base for a myriad of other ice cream flavors simply by stirring in some add-ins such as fresh or frozen fruit, nuts or chocolate pieces.