4 Things Your Chickens Need This Winter...and 3 Things They Don't

October 17, 2017


While it seems natural to worry about your chickens in the winter, they're actually far more comfortable in the cold than you might imagine. Even here in Maine, our chickens do just fine when there's snow on the ground and it doesn't get above freezing for days on end. They do however, appreciate a little bit of TLC to get them through it.

Take a Peek at my Week - Oct 8th-14th

October 14, 2017


Busy week this week! We spent two days filming another episode of my TV show Fresh Eggs Daily with Lisa Steele. You can watch it on the CW in the Portland Maine viewing area( WPME/WPXT) or streaming online HERE. I always love days when the film crew is here. It's so much fun, but totally exhausting at the same time! 

Take a Peek at my Week - Oct 1st to 7th

October 7, 2017


This past week was a busy one here on the farm! We've already had a frost or two, so I've been busy harvesting any remaining herbs and getting them drying to use through the winter, as well as cleaning up the vegetable garden to get it ready so I can plant some garlic. 

Controlling Poultry Mites Herbally

October 4, 2017

As a longtime proponent of adding herbs to my chickens' diet and environment, I always get excited to read about new studies and research coming out about natural remedies and supplements. Unfortunately, not much study has been done on the specific benefits of herbs in chicken keeping, but since my first book Fresh Eggs Daily: Raising Happy, Healthy Chickens...Naturally came out in 2013, more and more is being learned about the value of herbs - and the exciting thing is that it seems to back up and validate the things that I've been doing for my chickens for years!

Take a Peek at my Week Sept 24th-30th

September 30, 2017

This week, the temperatures soared to near 90 degrees, and dropped to almost 40 degrees just a few nights later. But summer is definitely over here in Maine. We enjoyed a week at home, gathering the last of the produce from the garden, getting kindling ready for our wood stove this winter and even had time for a day trip to Freeport for lunch and some shopping. I baked an apple pie using some of the apples we picked a few weeks ago and it was delicious! I love fall. I really really do! Enjoy this peek at our week.

Can You Train Chickens to Play the Xylophone?

September 26, 2017


I'm sure some of you have seen the YouTube videos posted by Two Creative Chicks of their chickens playing the xylophone that have gone viral. Not only is it super cute, the chickens seem to enjoy it, and with our long winters here in Maine, I'm all for anything to help beat the winter "coop fever" that can sometimes set in. So I set out to find out just how easy it is to teach chickens to play.

Take a Peek at my Week - Sept 17th - 23rd

September 23, 2017

I missed posting my weekly photo roundup last Saturday night because I was traveling and completely forgot to put it together before I left! So this week actually encompasses two weeks of photos - minus Friday-Tuesday of last weekend since I was in Texas and shared those photos in a separate post last Tuesday. Anyway....

Take a Peek Inside Chip and Joanna Gaines' Magnolia Market at the Silos

September 19, 2017

It's been awhile since I've written, but I hope you'll forgive me when you read this post! Although there isn't a single chicken to be found anywhere, I think it's got a nice, farmhouse vibe going on nonetheless. And after all, there's more to life than chickens..not much, but a little, teeny bit more, right?

Take a Peek at our Week - Sept 3rd to 9th

September 9, 2017


This week we got a lot of rain (nothing compared to what the Southern part of the country already got and will be getting due to the hurricanes battering that area, but enough to keep us inside), which meant some home cooking in the shape of homemade marinara sauce and a delicious pizza. I also did some work on my next book since the deadline is edging ever closer, and got a few articles written that were due to the magazine editors I work with. 

Easy Homegrown Homemade Tomato Sauce

September 5, 2017


Let me preface this by saying that I'm not really a fan of tomato sauce. I'm much more apt to just drizzle a bowl of pasta with some olive oil, salt, pepper, and a sprinkle of freshly grated Parmesan cheese. But when tomato season arrives, and we have lush, green basil growing, along with fragrant thyme, plus onions and garlic recently harvested from our own garden, I can't help but cook up a batch of this easy tomato sauce.

Take a Peek at Our Week - Aug 27th to Sept 2nd

September 2, 2017

As the temperatures dip ever closer to the freezing mark, it's clear that summer is nearing an end, at least up here in Maine. While we might complain about the cold and snow at times, I'm thankful that wildfires, hurricanes and tornadoes aren't things that we are faced with - and our hearts go out to all those affected in any way by Hurricane Harvey.

Ducks Molt Too!

August 29, 2017


When you raise chickens, you become accustomed to a flock of molting chickens each fall. The shorter days signal to their bodies to drop their old, broken feathers and grow in a nice new set before winter arrives to help them stay warm. It's easy to spot a molting chicken. She will have bare spots starting at her head and neck and moving down her body, with sharp quills poking through. With ducks, its not as obvious, with your only sign often being a run full of feathers. But ducks molt too!

Take a Peek at our Week - Aug 20th - 26th

August 26, 2017

We've just started picking ripe tomatoes from the garden, but already I can tell that fall is in the air. The nights are cooling down to near 40 degrees, so I potted some of my smaller basil plants and brought them inside and clipped others and have them in water on the kitchen windowsill. My basil always is the first to succumb to the cold, and I'm not quite ready to give up my caprese salads for lunch yet!

How Will the Eclipse Impact my Chickens and Ducks?

August 20, 2017


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 our Week - Aug 13th - 19th

August 19, 2017



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

August 15, 2017


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 at our Week - August 6th to 12th

August 12, 2017


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?

August 8, 2017


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

August 5, 2017


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

August 1, 2017


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

July 29, 2017


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

July 25, 2017


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

July 22, 2017


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

July 18, 2017


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

July 15, 2017



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?

July 11, 2017

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

July 8, 2017


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

July 1, 2017


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

June 27, 2017

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

June 24, 2017


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!

A Crash Course in Black Soldier Fly Larvae from Texas A&M

June 20, 2017

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

June 17, 2017


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

June 13, 2017


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

June 10, 2017


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

June 6, 2017


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

June 3, 2017


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

May 30, 2017

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

May 27, 2017

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?

May 23, 2017


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

May 21, 2017

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

May 16, 2017


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

May 13, 2017

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

May 9, 2017


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

May 6, 2017


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!

Feeding your Chickens Crushed Eggshells

May 2, 2017


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

April 29, 2017


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?

April 25, 2017

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

April 22, 2017


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?

April 18, 2017


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

April 15, 2017


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.
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