The Great Duck Hatching Eggscape

February 28, 2013

This morning, I received a box of carefully packed fertile duck eggs from Julie Gauthier, an American Livestock Conservancy member who raises show-quality Saxony and Magpie ducks, and is also a board certified vet, the co-author of Chicken Health for Dummies and an incredibly nice person.  And so begins my second duckling hatch.

DIY Chicken Feed Supplement Canister Organization

February 25, 2013

Anyone who has been following our Facebook page or blog for awhile is familiar with the Breakfast of Champions layer feed mix that I concocted for our chickens to eat.  It's basically a base of a good quality layer feed with some supplements mixed in.  I mix it up 50 lbs. at a time and that involves scooping out portions of lots of different products, unscrewing tubs and opening bags, as well as storing the supplements so that rodents or insects won't get in. It was a bit haphazard to say the least - it was clear I needed a more organized method. 

A Week in Farm Photos February 17th - 23rd

February 23, 2013

We're still hovering  between winter and spring here in Virginia. One day it is snowing and the next I find our first daffodills blooming...enjoy these few shots of our week on the farm.

10 Winter Boredom Busters for Chickens

February 22, 2013

Bored chickens are not happy chickens. Bored chickens tend to start pecking at each other and themselves, resulting in feather loss or worse.  Once a flock sees blood, it can whip the chickens into a frenzy and they will sometimes literally kill flock mates.... purely out of boredom and pecking order clashes.

Boredom can also lead to egg eating.  Read more HERE about that nasty habit.  I've never read anything to prove this next one, but I also think that boredom can result in more broodies being broody longer. I mean, if there's nothing going on outside and no outdoor 'action' they feel left out of, why NOT just sit in a nesting  box all day long?

Easy DIY Chick Brooder Box Tutorial

February 19, 2013

I have tried brooding chicks in lots of things - plastic kiddie pools (they quickly learn to fly out) galvanized tubs (snakes can get in, don't ask!), cardboard boxes (they get wet and I worry about the fire hazard from the heat lamp) and finally settled on making my own brooder box out of a plastic storage tote. It's quick and easy to make, inexpensive, durable, 100% safe, easy to clean and reusable.  Here's how to make one:

A Week in Farm Photos February 10th - 16th

February 16, 2013

One day it's 70 degrees outside, sunny and warm, and the next day it's below freezing here in Virginia. Such is weather in the South. This past week the weather has been on the cusp of spring, but as I sit here typing, it's actually snowing.  The signs of spring are unmistakable however - lots of mud, flower buds emerging and the longer days heralding an increase in egg production.

Mites - Natural Prevention and Treatment for your Chickens

February 14, 2013

Chicken mites are tiny crawling external parasites that can become a problem for your chickens if they are given the opportunity move in to your coop and take up residence on your flock.

They are spread by bringing infected birds into your flock, by wild birds, rodents, or by carrying them in on your shoes or clothing.

 They are more prevalent and active in warm weather and during the summer, although some types do live in cold climates as well.

While their life cycle is only 5-7 days, each mite can lay more than 100,000 eggs during that time, so treatment must be repeated and ongoing to completely eradicate them.

Xanthophyll - It's What Makes Egg Yolks Orange

February 13, 2013

There is nothing more beautiful on a breakfast plate than a vibrant orange egg yolk, shimmering like a miniature sun. But does a bright orange yolk mean that the egg is more nutritious or tastier? Not necessarily.

Heart-shaped Hard-boiled Eggs

February 11, 2013

Sometimes it's fun to play with your food! With Valentine's Day just days away, I thought it would be fun to try making heart-shaped hard-boiled eggs.

Toxic Treats! What NOT to Feed your Chickens

February 7, 2013

To help clear up some of the confusion about what is toxic to chickens and what isn't, what not to feed chickens and what's okay, I've decided to sort through the various misconceptions running rampant, and use some reputable sources such as the Merck Veterinary Manual and other scientific studies to share the facts with you.

Bull's Eye! Lessons I Have Learned about Roosters from John Quincy

February 6, 2013

We have been keeping chickens for several years, but have always bought sexed chicks so we have never had any roosters.  Then this past spring, we hatched our own brood and out of 17 chicks, ten ended up being roosters.  We obviously couldn't keep them all - the neighbors would have organized a lynch mob to protest all the crowing and our hens would have had something to say about it too - but I fortunately was able to find good homes for all but an Olive Egger named John Quincy Adams.

Valentine Conversation Heart Hand Warmer DIY Tutorial

February 4, 2013

When you live on a farm and raise animals, as so many of you know, there's no sleeping in, no hibernating in the house all winter. You are outside year round - when it's 100 degrees and humid, as well as when it's 16 degrees and windy. In the winter my hands are always cold, and mittens or gloves don't work well for doing barn chores, so that leaves my fingers exposed....and they get cold.  It's so nice to be able to plunge my hands into my coat pockets to warm up with these cute valentine conversation heart hand warmers.

When Good Chickens Go Bad - This Week's Photos

February 2, 2013

Lately I've needed to pose for various photographs for a few projects I'm involved in.  Sometimes it's as easy as picking out my outfit, finding a spot with a great background and good lighting, and things go as planned.  A few shots and we've got one I can use. Other times....well, see for yourself!

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