How Will the Eclipse Impact my Chickens and Ducks?


Never has a single event prompted so many questions from readers as the impending solar eclipse which will occur on Monday, August 21st, 2017. Mainly, chicken keepers have been worried about how the eclipse will affect their flock, concerned about their chickens possibly going blind from staring up at the sun, and to a lesser extent, curious about whether their chickens will not lay on that day or go to roost during the eclipse.

Take a Peek at my Week - August 13th - 19th


As some of you know, I spent last weekend in California doing a Fall Chick Days tour at Tractor Supply stores in Gilroy and Turlock which was sponsored by my friends at Manna Pro. It was a great trip - my first time in California! - but I was happy to come home. The garden is still producing tons of veggies (our tomatoes have finally started to ripen and no one loves sun-ripened tomato sandwich more than I do!), but egg production has ground to a virtual halt due to the shorter days and a few girls who already have started molting. 

Herbs for Hens: Basil


Basil is one of my favorite herbs to grow. Not only is it easy to start from seed, seedling or plant cutting, it smells so good when you brush past the plant! I love making homemade pesto and layering fresh basil leaves with slices of tomato picked from the garden and fresh mozzarella. A drizzle of balsamic vinegar and olive oil ....I could eat that for lunch every day all summer long! 

Take a Peek a our Week - August 6th to 12th


The summer is flying by! I can't believe that we already are seeing molting chickens and the leaves changing color! We've got all kinds of pumpkins and squash in the garden and even a little watermelon. We've harvested lots of potatoes and the girls are enjoying a daily ration of lettuce, spinach, kale and other leafy greens from the garden. 

How Do Chickens Eat with No Teeth?


You might have heard the saying "rarer than hen's teeth", which means extremely scarce or difficult to find. This is because, like other wild birds, chickens have no teeth. Oh sure, a baby chick grows an egg tooth which helps it break out of the shell when it hatches, but that sole tooth falls off a few days after hatching. So for all intents and purposes, chickens don't have teeth - instead they have beaks. So how do they chew their food?

Take a Peek at our Week - July 30th to August 5th


This week it was good to be home and have a chance to relax a bit. I spent the week catching up on some garden weeding (we're harvesting potatoes, beets, chard, carrots, mini pumpkins and zucchini now), watching the Littles (I can't believe they will be five weeks old on Monday!) and working on my next book which is coming out next fall. I also headed to Bangor for the day on Tuesday to help repaint the raised beds at the Housing Authority community gardens as part of my volunteer work for the Maine Master Gardener program. Take a peek at my week! 

Easy Fall Protein-Rich Apple Treat for Molting Chickens


The shorter days heading into fall bring on the molting season for backyard chickens. During this time, which can last weeks or even months, they drop their old feathers and regrow brand new feathers to help them stay warm through the winter.

The Time I Met Dr. Pol at the Las Vegas Superzoo Trade Show


One of the perks of my job is meeting all kinds of interesting people - and sometimes some famous people too! That was the case this week when I headed to Las Vegas to attend SuperZoo 2017, which is the country's largest trade show for pet retailers. I was attending the show at the invitation of Byron Parker - you may not recognize his name, but he invented Happy Hen Treats back in the day (yup, seriously!) - and the folks at Red River Commodities. They have a great new line of chicken scratch grains and mixed grain/seed/nut/insect treats coming out and I was honored to be asked to help man their booth and be their on-site 'chicken expert' for the various industry buyers who would be stopping by.

Sweet Potato Sausage Frittata with Farm Fresh Eggs


I love making frittatas for dinner in the summer because, unlike a quiche, a frittata doesn't have a crust, so it's super fast and easy to toss some garden veggies and leftover meat in with a dozen eggs and some cheese and throw it in the oven. Oh, and did I mention that this recipe requires a DOZEN eggs? It's the perfect way to use up eggs when your girls are in high gear in the egg production department.

Take a Peek at our Week - July 16th - 22nd


This week was a good week, albeit a hot one, at least by Maine standards. The temperatures got close to 90 degrees with higher humidity than we're used to up here. But the three- day heat wave, which featured lots of chilled watermelon, frozen treats and pool time for the ducks, is over and the temperatures are back to their normal 70s-80s by day and 50s-60s by night. The Littles are growing so fast. They'll be three weeks old on Monday, and we're enjoying loads of vegetables from the garden. Enjoy this peek at our week!

Tidbitting - What It Is and Why Chickens Do It


Have you ever noticed a mother hen cluck in a series of high-pitched notes while she's scratching in the dirt and then drop something onto the ground? She's doing what is known as "tidbitting".

Take a Peek at our Week - July 9th - 15th



This was a busy week for us! In between playing with our new baby chicks (see last week's post!), the film crew was out to our farm to shoot another episode for my TV show. Season two will start in September, so stay tuned for details about that. I also have been working on my new book that will be coming out next fall - and putting the final touches on my next book that will be out in January. To round out the week, Violet and I did a Skype interview with the Wall Street Journal yesterday which was a lot of fun. We've got peas, lettuce and garlic in the garden and flowers everywhere.

When Can I Move my Chicks to the Brooder from the Incubator?

After waiting patiently for three long weeks for your eggs to hatch, it's hard to wait a minute more to move your newly hatched chicks to the brooder you have set up for them, but it really is best for them to just leave them right where they are - in the incubator. There's really no rush to move them. 

Take a Peek at Our Week - July 2nd to 8th


Our gardens look gorgeous, the flowers out front are blooming, we're collecting eggs by the basketful and our dogs are their usual irresistible selves. But I know what you're waiting for....BABY CHICK PICS!!!! So without further ado, take a peek at our week. And welcome our brand new batch of eleven Littles - they're a fun combination of Blue/Black Splash Ameraucanas, Ameriflowers and Cuckoo Bluebars we hatched from hatching eggs from our friends at My Pet Chicken.

Take a Peek at our Week - June 25 - July 1st


Where in the world did June go? It seems like it just flew by. Hard to believe it's July already. Our garden is producing radishes faster than we can eat them (or feed them to the chickens!) and our tomatoes, peppers and potatoes have tiny blooms on them. The chickens and ducks are laying more eggs than we can eat or give away, and it's hard to remember back to last winter when I was dying for a fresh egg!

Water Belly or Ascites in Backyard Chicken Flocks

Ascites, or "water belly" as it's more commonly called, isn't a terribly frequent occurrence in backyard flocks, since it tends to be more prevalent in fast-growing broilers or meat birds, but if you notice your chicken's abdomen is swollen and distended, it's something to consider.

Take a Peek at my Week - June 18th - 24th


This week was a typical week here in Maine. A few thunderstorms and some rain, and then nice cool temps at night (great sleeping weather!). Our garden is growing like gangbusters, the chickens are happily laying eggs, and we've got eggs under a broody hen that should hatch next week. Enjoy this peek at our week!

My Trip to Texas A&M and a Crash Course in Black Soldier Fly Larvae

I have corresponded with faculty at the Texas A&M poultry science department in the past, but it was a bit of a surprise to be invited several weeks ago to travel to College Station, Texas, to meet with Jeff Tomberlin who is with the Entomology Department there. Dr. Tomberlin has a Ph.D. in Entomology and is an Associate Professor and Program Director of the University's Forensic and Investigative Sciences Program, which he helped to develop. 

Take a Peek at My Week - June 11th - 17th


It was nice to be home all week this week, despite the three-day heatwave that held Maine (and most of the rest of the country) in its grip. But everyone made it through - without air conditioning! - and life went on. It's amazing what a difference just a week makes in the garden. We're already enjoying our first radishes! 

The Five Best Summertime Treats for Chickens


Chickens struggle as the mercury rises, but with these cooling, water-laden treats, you can help them get through the hot weather more comfortably. Like most animals, they handle the cold far better than heat, and heat exhaustion is a very real thing in backyard flocks.

Take a Peek at my Week - June 4th to 10th


This week was all about enjoying all the green grass, flowers and shoots poking out from the garden, before I had to get packed and jumped on a plane, heading down to Texas to Texas A&M to visit the Poultry Science Department there (more about that later!).  I managed to get some landscaping done in the run and weeded the vegetable garden during the first part of the week. We also saw our first snake (just a harmless milk snake) ...so I guess that means it's not winter any longer here in Maine! Enjoy this peek at our week.

Controlling Aphids in the Garden Naturally


When we moved to Maine, we inherited a beautiful perennial flower bed full of lupine. I had never grown lupine before, so it was a bit of a surprise to me that first summer to find them completely inundated with aphids. The aphids ignored every other plant in the garden, but our lupine were just covered with them.

Take a Peek at my Week - May 28th to June 3rd


While it was nice to be home all week, I can't say I relaxed. We had a busy week filming a new episode of my TV show early in the week (you can catch season one here if you missed it!). Shooting with the film crew is so much fun, but it makes for a really long day and I'm wiped out by the time they pack their gear and head back to Portland. Not to mention all the prep work before they arrive, making sure everything is mowed and scrubbed and trimmed and all the props are assembled. 

7 Tips to Help You Sell Your Farm Fresh Eggs For More Money

The continuing trend of raising backyard chickens has had an unintended negative effect on those selling their extra eggs. Due to a steady supply of fresh eggs from backyard flocks and small local farms at markets, roadside stands and feed stores, egg prices are being kept artificially low. But there are some things you can do to help you sell your fresh eggs for a bit more money.

Take a Peek at my Week - May 21st to 27th

I feel like the tip of an iceberg. Just calmly floating along, but with so, so much underneath the surface that isn't visible. Or a duck. Yes, I feel like a duck, just floating along placidly on the pond, but underneath the surface my little legs are paddling as fast as they can!

How Long Does It Take a Chicken to Lay an Egg?


Many of you likely know that a hen lays an egg just about once every day. But how long does it actually take a chicken to lay an egg? 

Take a Peek at my Week - May 14th - 20th

This week was a roller coaster weather-wise. We endured temperatures over 90 degrees around mid-week, but then by Saturday night, it dipped down close to freezing.  Regardless, it's a beautiful time of year. The lilacs are just beginning to bloom, and we've got radishes and some lettuce peeking out of the garden soil already!

How to Make Homemade Electrolytes for Chickens


Having electolytes on hand in your chicken first aid kit is a good idea. Administered in cases of heat exhaustion, stress or dehydration, they could be the difference between life and death for an ailing hen or baby chick.

Take a Peek at my Week - May 7th - 13th

Hard to believe we've only lived in Maine now for just under two years. I feel like I've lived here forever! There's still so much I want to do (and we need to do!), but I'm happy with our progress, especially outside. Right away we planted some strawberries, plus raspberry and blueberry bushes, and I divided the gorgeous lilac bush that stands to one side of our front porch. I'm excited that all the cuttings seem to be doing great, so we should have lilacs and berries everywhere in a few years! 

9 Reasons to Break a Broody Hen


When you have a broody hen sitting on eggs that will never hatch (i.e. you don't have a rooster, or don't want more chicks so you're collecting all the eggs daily) it's best to break her of her broodiness - for her own good as well as for the good of the flock. 

Take a Peek at My Week April 30th - May 6th


Spring might take it's sweet time coming to Maine, but when it arrives, it arrives with a vengeance! There are flowers and blossoms and new growth and green everywhere! We have eggs overflowing out of bowls and baskets. I was off jet-setting again the beginning of the week, but got home late Wednesday night and have really enjoyed spending the last few days at home!

5 Easy Steps to Feeding your Chickens Crushed Eggshells


Even chickens fed the best-quality layer feed will benefit from being offered a calcium supplement to ensure strong shells on the eggs they lay. Crushing eggshells and feeding them back to your chickens is the easiest, most economical way to give your girls some extra calcium.

Take a Peek at Our Week - April 23rd to 29th


This was the first week in a long time that I've been home all week. It was nice to wake up in my own bed, wander downstairs for a cup of (good!) coffee and then head outside to feed the chickens and let them out. Signs of spring are everywhere! We spent some time cleaning up the yard and gardens this week, but had plenty of time to just put our feet up and enjoy the warm -almost shorts and tee-shirt - weather here in Maine! 

Can Chickens Recognize Each Other?

Have you ever wondered whether or not your chickens recognize each other? Or recognize you? Could, say, pick you out of a lineup? Or wondered if - treats notwithstanding - they are actually happy to see you when you come home from work? Well it turns out that not only do your chickens recognize YOU, they can also recognize up to 100 other flock members - as well as the family dog.

Take a Peek at My Week - April 16th to 22nd


This week was a bit of a mixed bag. I was home for the beginning of the week, enjoying muddy spring in Maine and then headed off to a top secret location for a few days to work on a brand new project that I'm really excited about! I can't share any details yet, but be sure to subscribe to my newsletter so you'll be the first to hear about it! I think you'll really love it. Very, very exciting the future of backyard chicken keeping. But that's all I can say right now. In the meantime, here's a peek at my week.

Why Does Perdue Feed Parsley, Oregano and Thyme to their Chickens?


When I wrote my first book Fresh Eggs Daily: Raising Happy, Healthy Chickens Naturally back in 2013 about using herbs in my chicken keeping, there weren't many scientific studies being done that proved the benefits of feeding herbs to chickens or that really focused on any homeopathic methods.

Take a Peek at our Week - April 9th to 15th


It's so true that there's no place like home. As much as I LOVED being on the road for Chick Days, it was so nice to spend a few days at home this week - especially because spring has finally arrived to Maine! This is where I belong. Out in the country on our farm, collecting eggs and cleaning the coop, watching the chickens during free range time.  Tossing sticks for our dogs, hiking through the woods, canoeing on the lake, watching beavers built their dam and spying wild turkeys at the edge of the tree line.

What is a Fairy Egg and Why Do Chickens Lay Them?

Fairy eggs, also called "wind", "witch", "cock" or the fairly crass "fart" eggs, are merely a glitch in the laying process that is fairly common in backyard flocks. Smaller than regular eggs, usually rounder and containing no yolk, these eggs generally occur either very early in a hen's productive life before her hormones and reproductive cycle are fully formed and working properly - or sometimes very late in a hen's laying life as her hormone production is winding down. They can also be the result of stress or a disruption of routine.

Take a Peek at my Week - April 2nd - 8th


I just barely had time to unpack from my trip last week, get some laundry done and catch up with my family before it was time to head to Vermont. But in the few days I was home, I enjoyed a late spring snowfall, suspect we have a possible broody hen (c'mon Charlotte, if you hang in there - I promise to give you some fertile eggs to sit on when I get back!) and celebrated an early birthday/wedding anniversary with my husband and a few close friends.

5 DIY Seed Starter Cup Ideas on a Budget


In Zone 5b, where I live in Maine, typically the last frost date is around May 15th, and the first average frost date in the fall is around October 15th, leaving me just 150 days – give or take – to get seeds planted, sprouted, grown, and harvested.

Take a Peek at My Week with Tractor Supply Co. and Blue Seal Feeds - March 26th - April 1st


I'll be heading home to Maine tomorrow with mixed feelings. I've been gone for almost two weeks, visiting Tractor Supply Co. and Blue Seal Feed stores from Michigan to Connecticut and sponsored by Manna Pro, and while I've had such a blast meeting so many of my fans and readers, signing books, hanging out with baby chicks and meeting all sorts of other animals, I'm really eager to get back home!

Plant a Natural Wormer Garden for your Chickens


Even healthy flocks likely are carrying a certain amount of internal parasites. The parasites are found in the ground, in earthworms and in infected wild birds and mice that expel them in their feces. Your chickens naturally come in contact them as they scratch in the dirt and eat bugs and worms. But a chicken in good condition with a strong immune system can handle a normal load and will be able to flush worms out of their systems without negative effects. I believe in lots of preventives to keep my chickens healthy, and protecting them from worms is a major concern. 

Take a Peek at My Week at Tractor Supply Co. Chick Days - March 19th-25th

This week I'm in Michigan. it's only my second time visiting this state, so I'm really enjoying doing some sightseeing and sampling some of the local cuisine.  But the real reason I'm here ... I was asked by Tractor Supply CompanyManna Pro and Blue Seal Feeds to help promote this years's Chick Days, so I'm visiting a bunch of stores in the Grand Rapids area this week and then next week I'll be heading to Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Connecticut to finish up my trip. 

I'm featured in the Special "Martha" Issue of Down East Magazine!

One day last summer I was contacted by Down East Magazine about being featured in their magazine. As a new subscriber to the magazine since we moved up here to Maine in August of 2015, I knew it to be an extremely well-respected, well-written regional publication that's very popular in the state.

Brooding Chicks on the Cheap - How to Get Started Raising a Flock For Less


Chickens, a coop, run, fencing, feed, supplements, waterers, feeders, first aid supplies ... the costs can add up when you're preparing for your backyard flock. But getting started with baby chicks doesn't have to cost you an arm and a leg. Here are a few clever hacks to help you get started for less...but you'll need to start stockpiling some things (if you don't already have them around the house) in advance of bringing your chicks home this spring.

Take a Peek at our Week - March 12th - 18th


You would never guess that spring is right around the corner. We got another foot of snow dumped on us earlier this week, along with most of you who live along the northern part of the Eastern seaboard. But that's why we moved to Maine, right? For the snow. We got the snow cleaned up and are now enjoying sunny, warm(er) days.

How to Make an Edible Infused Bouquet from Floret Farm's Cut Flower Garden + Enter to Win a Copy!

I've been an avid follower of Erin Benzakein's gorgeous floral-centric Instagram feed Floret Farm for quite some time now, so when I first heard that she had a book coming out, I was excited. I was even more excited to be asked to participate in the virtual book tour for Cut Flower Garden

Garlic-Infused Apple Cider Vinegar for Better Chicken Health


I've written a lot over the years about the benefits to chickens of adding apple cider vinegar and garlic to their water on a regular basis. From better respiratory, immune system and digestive health to increased calcium absorption, natural antibiotic properties and protection from parasites, both ACV and garlic are considered cornerstones of natural chicken keeping.

Take a Peek at my Week March 5th - 11th


It was soooo nice to be home this week and be able to take some time to relax and catch up with everyone. Despite continuing cold temperatures, things are bustling all over the farm. Egg production has begun again due to the slightly longer days, which is always so exciting! Bits of green are poking up through the dirt, heralding the arrival of the various perennial flowers, herbs and other plants we have around the house. 

Get Started Gardening Earlier with ShelterLogic Greenhouses


-This post is sponsored by ShelterLogic-

Here in Maine with such a short growing season, we try and do anything we can to extend the season on both ends. In the spring, starting seeds in the house is a great way to get a jump on planting, while keeping the seedlings safe from the unpredictable spring weather. It's not unknown for us to get snow right through April!

Take a Peek at my Week February 26th - March 4th


First of all, I want to apologize for not getting last weekend's blog post done. The last two weeks have been a whirlwind around here and I'm just now able to finally start to catch my breath, but I did want to share some photos of my recent trip with you. So here's my last two weeks packing into one really long post! 


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