Easy DIY Fresh Herb Chick Brooder Garland

April 29, 2014

Fresh herbs have numerous health benefits for baby chicks. Given the opportunity, they will nibble on herbs and weeds in the brooder. Make this simple garland to not only keep your chicks busy and occupied, but also allow them to munch on small pieces of various herbs to start to develop a taste for them.

A Week in Farm Photos April 20th - 26th

April 26, 2014

This week we welcomed six brand new baby chicks to our farm! This is the second batch we've hatched this spring. Hard to believe that it's been six years since we brought home our first chicks from the feed store. Of course chickens were a part of my life years and years ago growing up across the street from my grandparents' chicken farm and raising chickens as a child. Enjoy a quick look back and also some photos of our newest additions.

Broccoli and Cabbage and Kale....Oh My! BRASSICAS by Laura B. Russell

April 25, 2014

I've long known the health benefits of brassicas (which includes broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale and collards), and in fact plant them each spring for our chickens and ducks because they are so nutritious for people and animals alike. But it wasn't until recently that I decided to add more of them to our family's diet for the same health reasons. Unfortunately, food has to taste good for me to eat it and a big steamed plate of broccoli just wasn't appealing.

My Top Five Favorite Herbs for Chicken Keepers

April 21, 2014

I've been raising chickens as an adult since 2009 (I basically grew up around chickens and had them as a kid too, but for now let's just talk about the last few years since I've actually been in charge of their care)

Since the beginning, I knew I wanted to raise them naturally, so it made sense to incorporate some herbal remedies and health benefits into their diet. I already had a small herb garden that I used for cooking, so I just expanded that a bit and now grow enough to share with the chickens. I am often asked what my favorite herbs are, or if I had to pick just a few to grow, which would I choose. So here are my Top Five Favorite Herbs for Chicken Keepers.

A Week in Farm Photos April 13th - 19th

April 19, 2014

This week leading up to Easter has been a roller coaster weather-wise here in Virginia. We went from sipping mint lemonade in shorts on the back patio on Sunday to scrambling to cover the garden Tuesday night because snow was predicted!  Mother Nature just can't make up her mind this year. 

Natural Easter Egg Dyes

April 18, 2014

Of course you can raise chickens who will lay you beautiful eggs in shades of blue, green, pink, cream, brown and white...or you can try some of these easy, fun natural ways to dye your eggs.

Soft Shelled or "Rubber" Eggs - Causes and Prevention

April 15, 2014

The longer you raise chickens, the more chance that eventually you'll collect some odd-looking eggs on occasion. Most times, they are nothing to worry about - just a glitch in production. One of the more common 'glitches' is a soft-shelled or 'rubber' egg, basically an egg laid without a shell or with a very soft shell.

Easy DIY Painted Easter Egg Pail

April 13, 2014

Hard to believe Easter is next Sunday. But there's still plenty of time to make this cute Easter Egg Pail from any old metal bucket you have lying around.

A Week in Farm Photos April 6th - 12th

April 12, 2014

This week marked not only my birthday (no, I'm not telling which one!) but also my wedding anniversary (our 13th in case you're wondering). My husband appeared on Monday after work bearing a dozen red roses, two lobsters for dinner and a fruit tart for dessert. You really can't ask for more than that! 

The weather has turned nice here in Virginia and everything is green and blooming. We have chicks in the coop and a broody hen sitting on another dozen eggs due to hatch in two weeks. 

I'm keeping busy working on book number two, as well as continuing to write for various magazines - and I have a few surprises up my sleeve for the rest of 2014. 

Life is good. No, I take that back, life is great.

Five Ways to Encourage a Hen to go Broody

April 10, 2014

Letting a hen sit on a nest of eggs to hatch them is far easier than using an incubator. The broody hen IS the incubator, turning the eggs and keeping them warm and at the correct humidity level. After the eggs hatch, she acts as the brooder box as well, needing no electricity to keep the chicks warm and safe. No more messy, dusty brooder in your laundry room or garage, no worries about heat lamps.

The mother hen also shows the chicks how to find bugs and which weeds are safe to eat, and she will introduce them to the rest of the flock when she feels it's time. But for this you need  broody hen. So how do you know when a hen is broody and how do you 'make' a hen go broody?

Preventing and Treating Wry Neck in Chicks and Ducklings

April 8, 2014

Wry Neck (sometimes called Crook Neck or Stargazing) is a condition that causes a chick or duckling (or sometimes a grown hen whose diet is nutritionally insufficient) to be unable to hold its head up on its own. The affliction can progress to the point that the little one walks backwards or tumbles over on its back, unable to walk at all. It can be fatal if not treated, as the chick or duckling risks becoming dehydrated and malnourished quickly if unable to eat or drink by itself.

A Week in Farm Photos March 30th - April 5th

April 5, 2014

Egg production is in full swing. The Bonbons are two and a half weeks old, which is hard to believe! They grow so fast and they're already spending nice days outside in the grow-out pen with mom Truffle.

The mud is finally drying up and our fruit trees are blooming. I got my herb garden cleaned up, took stock of the perennial herbs that have returned and got some new herbs planted this week. We have beets, carrots, peas and spinach already sprouting in the garden, as well as the garlic I planted last fall. It's a great time to live in the country in Virginia! Enjoy this peek at our week!

8 Brooder Box Boredom Busters for Baby Chicks

April 2, 2014

Living within the confines of a plastic tote or cardboard box can get boring for baby chicks. Boredom lead to bullying, pecking and all sorts of other problems. Help keep your brooder babies from getting bored with these easy to implement Brooder Box Boredom Busters.

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