I am not a big fan of roosters, but Lieutenant Dan has been pretty nice. He is very good to the ladies, he ignores me, and he is extremely attractive. So I have been happy to keep him in the flock. One of the new hens this year turned out to be a rooster. Now, I have 25 hens, so I should be able to accommodate two roosters, so I have let Emeril Lagrasse stay. Today was the day he decided he was a man, and he got busy with Wendy. Lieutenant Dan was not happy with this, and
If you care enough to buy cage free eggs, care enough to do the right thing. If you care, ASK the person selling you eggs. I appreciate that chicken farmers are just trying to make a living like everyone else. But stop trying to fool the public. Unless you are buying your eggs from a farmer, you are probably not making the statement you are trying to make. This is what free range chickens look like - they roam freely during the day and come home to a secure coop at night:
You may recall that I am all about the hens, and the eggs. And if you hang around farmish egg people, you know that fresh eggs can be extremely difficult to peel when you hard boil them. This is because as eggs age, the white starts to shrink, the egg becomes more acidic, and just, ewwwww. Trying to peel fresh eggs means you lose most of the white and end up with just the yolk. But most people don't know this, because they are getting their eggs from the grocery store, wh
Well, we have solved the mystery of why the Welsummer hens were not laying. I particularly wanted this breed because they lay such beautiful dark eggs. But, I was not getting very many of them. Today we went to move some hay bales and discovered a secret nest. We have not had one this big for a while. Can't eat the eggs, because we have no idea how long they have been there, so the dogs have a major score for dinner!!! Just one of the challenges of free ranging. #Chicken
(for those of you who care: Tobias, Skyler, Ada, and Will) I really love my sheep - in so many ways. I knew I would, but I never expected them to be so good at clearing brush. I mean, that's what people get goats or tractors for. But a couple of years ago, I expanded the sheep pasture to include a wooded area which was completely impassable due to an invasive shrub. I had tried cutting it back to no avail. Turns out, the sheep love the stuff, ate every speck of greenery
It occurred to me today that in the event of an emergency, I would save my chickens before most people. I really love and admire my hens (I tolerate the rooster). Someone asked me today why I had such a big hen house, and why I cleaned it so often. I didn't have an answer, but I figured it out after work today: I came home tired and cold, and in a good bit of pain from the old knees. I limped out to the hen house, opened the door, and sank gracefully to the floor (well, t
The slacker hens have been on my list this summer. I am between flocks - the older hens are slowing down, the little hens were not old enough to lay. Between that and the incredible heat, our egg production slowed to 1 or 2 per day - from 27 hens!!!! That is a lot of dead weight, so to speak, and I was getting kind of grumpy about it. Good thing I adore those ladies. But the little hens have kicked into gear and egg production is up to 10-12 a day. I am happy, my hens ar
We've had chickens for quite a few years now. And there are two things that have never, ever gotten old: New Layers - when young hens first start to lay, they produce little bitty eggs. I find them adorable, and prefer eating them over any other egg. Some kind of weird pride over their accomplishment, coupled with how dang cute the little things are. The current babies are not supposed to start laying until next month - but at least three of them are ahead of schedule. T
A little over a year ago, Thorin Oakenshield was attacked by a hawk and badly injured. She lost the sight in one eye, half her wattle, and partial use of one wing. But to my amazement, she recovered. Today i found her laying on the ground in the rain. As far as I can tell, she was attacked by the other hens (or to be precise, I think it was Keesha - the Sea Witch). Her wing may be broken, her head is lacerated. She does not seem to be able to move much, but she is eating
I went outside this evening to weed the garden. I was totally side-tracked by the chickens and realized, finally, after 55 years, what it is I want to do when I grow up: I would like to sit and watch chickens!! As I have noted, the Evil Hen (who I really should have named Ursula), has adopted two chicks, who are now named Cinder and Ella. Yes - it is the year of Disney!!! The reds are Attina, Alana, Adella, Arista, and Ariel. The Golden Comets are Jasmine, Esmerelda, Anna,
So there is a thing some chickens do. They think it is time to hatch their eggs, so they sit on the nest for weeks and weeks and weeks - it's called going broody. They don't lay their own eggs, but they steal the eggs the other hens lay. And it doesn't matter to them that they are not fertilized, by god, they are hatching some eggs! There are lots of mean things you can do to "bust a broody", but I have found the best way to handle it is to just get them some fertile eggs,
Our favorite hens have always been Buff Orpingtons, and we have always named all of them Ethel. My best hen ever (Ethel) used to stay out in the evening and wait for me to call her, and come running for me to pick her up and carry her to the coop. So now, when I have chicks old enough to move to the big coop, I spend time with them each day "Ethel-izing" them. This involves encouraging them to sit on my lap, cuddling them, feeding them - basically insuring they can never be
I just adore chickens - fussing about with them, building little things for them, insisting they cuddle even though they hate it. The babies arrived on March 19, and spent 3 weeks growing up in an extra large dog crate in my basement. Then they moved to a section of the chicken coop, segregated in a pen with heat lamps for a week. Then the pen was enlarged to half the hen house. Now I put up an outside playroom for them during the day and the heat lamps are gone - just lik
I love my chickens - don't tell the dogs, but they may be my favorite part of the farm. But, they do not have really long life spans, and it is time to get a few chicks to supplement the flock.
Some years, I have ordered specific breeds from a hatchery, because I can be a hen snob - and I just adore buff orpingtons and I can buy all hens.
Some years, I have bought day old chicks from a local breeder, who I love, but her chicks are straight run, which means I end up wit