Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Molting Season – Fewer Eggs and Fewer Feathers




Molting season is upon us, and with it comes a reduction in egg production and possibly some raggedy-looking chickens.

In the late summer and early fall, chickens that are about one year of age and older go through a seasonal cycle where they shed their old feathers and grow in new feathers to keep them warm through the coming winter. This can take a lot of a chicken’s energy. It can also lower a chicken’s immune system because resources from the food it eats are being redirected to growing all those new feathers.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

So Thankful for YOUR Support!

Yes - YOU. My readers and supporters.

I have received so many emails and messages of support, work ideas and even a few photography and portrait jobs! How can I ever thank you for helping me by sharing my post? I suppose this will have to do for now and I'll just have to keep sharing good chicken keeping information in an attempt to repay so many kindnesses! :-)

Of the many, many responses I got, 95% were so kind, caring and helpful! I feel so humbled by the outpouring of concern! You all are the best!!

And you know what I forgot to mention on my last post? I have something else to offer those who really do want to help my family! For those of you with young children or grand children, I have a brand new eBook out. It can be read on a Kindle Fire, on a smartphone (through the free Kindle application), on an iPad, tablet, laptop or desktop! It's called The Elephant's Tail and you can find it by clicking the title or the picture below for only $2.99:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00MLDFAKY/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B00MLDFAKY&linkCode=as2&tag=natuchickeep-20&linkId=CB2DFK6WQSIJROSI

Monday, August 25, 2014

Hard Choices for Hard Times - Please Read

Today my husband lost his job.

There - I said it. It will take a while for the sting to dissipate from those words. Of course this means I'll be looking for a job. He'll be looking for a job. We'll be scraping for a while.

As many of you know, we just bought a new micro-farm. Thankfully our monthly mortgage payment is pretty cheap, but with two special needs kids (autism and Down syndrome) we'll be faced with some challenges for a little bit. Jobs are not easy to come by in this economy.

I am personally not comfortable with the idea of asking for money, so I am not going to. If at all possible, I would like to EARN some money.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Preparing and Showing Your Chicken at a Poultry Show


Yesterday I tried something I have never done before. I took one of my Swedish Flower Hen pullets to a poultry show at a county fair. One of the neat things about keeping this blog is that it has pushed me to try things I might not have otherwise tried, like fermenting feed, raising my own meat birds and... entering a bird in a poultry show.


Monday, August 18, 2014

My Gingerbread House Chicken Coop - Another Upcycling Project


My family had been renting the century-old farmhouse on a beautiful horse farm (partially pictured in the header) since June of 2012. We were able to live there for a song because the place was on the market and we could be asked to move at any time. Sadly it sold in the winter of 2014 and we were given until spring to move.

After hunting high and low, and learning my husband was being transferred to a different part of the state for his job, we found a beautiful little property with a very well maintained 1973 single wide trailer on it. We bought it just for the sexy single wide! OK - not really, but we do have PLANS, my friend!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Life Hacks - 40+ Boredom Busters for Chickens and Chicks

We speak highly of free ranging on this blog. There are so many benefits for the chickens and for your feed bills, but the truth of the matter is that free ranging is not always possible for many flock owners. Whether one lives in a suburban setting or a rural setting with plentiful predators, there are many situations where flocks must be kept in limited spaces.


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Bird Shots - Portraits of Chickens

One thing that many non-chicken people don't know is that every chicken has its own personality. Right from the start that personality is evident. Not only that, but chickens are expressive! It is not hard to tell what mood your chickens are in just by watching their faces and body language.

Look at the expressions in each of the faces or in the body language of the chickens below. How do you think these birds are feeling? What are they thinking?

 shy?

Monday, July 21, 2014

Processing My Meat Birds (Heads are Going to Roll!)

Let me start by saying that if you are an animal rights activist or don't believe that animals should be killed for meat, this post is not for you. Further, if you fit into the above description and are here to leave harassing comments about MY choice to eat meat, the following articles will be considered Required Reading before you leave any comments...
Oh - and if you still choose to leave a hateful comment, I will delete it... because I am the Blog Goddess and I can do that.

And with that out of the way...
This blog is for anyone interested in raising and processing their own chickens for food. There are lots of different right ways of processing chickens, and the way I'm going to share is just one of them. I don't own any fancy processing equipment, and you don't need to either (though if you do, that's great).


Writing about killing and death is almost as difficult as writing about sex, so I'm going to do it my way and try to lighten it up for all of us with a bit of humor.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The Broody Bunch

Here's the story,
Of a lovely lady,
Who was sitting on 2 very lovely eggs.
both of them were Swedish Flower,
Like their mother,
Though they resembled tiny kegs.

Here's the story,
Of another lady,
Who was busy with two eggs of her own,
They were three chooks,
Living all together,
Yet they were all alone.

'Till this one day when this lady met this lady,
And they knew that it was much more than a hunch,
That this flock would somehow form a family...
And that's the way they all became the Broody Bunch!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Raising Ducklings and Chicks Together & Aspergillosis in Chickens

*** Warning - this blog post contains graphic materials. ***

Yesterday as my husband and I were working on a new run for our young flock of guinea fowl, my phone rang. It was my dear friend Linda. She was in tears and she needed me to walk her through her first necropsy over the phone. Over the next hour, Linda and I were able to solve a mystery and offer Linda some peace of mind for the health of the rest of her flock.

Let me start with some background...

Linda keeps her chickens and other livestock as organically as possible and recently decided that she should get some young chickens as her current flock is aging. Most of us might assume that Lida's birds might perhaps be 4 or 5 years old. Maybe even a little older. Well... Linda's oldest flock members are currently 13 years old! (No - that's not a typo.) And she even has the receipts from the purchase of those chickens to prove it!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Wry Neck - Using Turmeric to Treat Wry Neck in a Chicken



~ By: Christine Myers

Just last week, I was standing in my yard, looking at my favorite pullet, feeling sure I’d have to euthanize her. Hope (an Easter Egger) had suddenly developed a case of wry neck which had gotten progressively worse over the course of the day. I ended up treating her condition not with the recommended regimen of vitamins, but with a spice that is a medicinal powerhouse in the human world. Here is her story.

Day 1. I opened the main coop and stepped aside for the stampede of chickens to their morning rations. As always, Hope did her cute half-run, half-fly thing that often gets her to the food dishes first. She seemed fine. 

Monday, June 2, 2014

Just Chillin' (with) My Meat Birds

Just chillin' (with) my meat birds. 



So there's something you don't hear every day. In this day and age of factory farming we are more likely to hear the horror stories of the lives of meat birds warehoused in giant buildings with nothing to do but eat all day. But if you're a long-time follower of this blog, perhaps you have already read about Justine's adventure raising meat birds.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

The Dry Incubation Method for Hatching Difficult-to-Hatch Breeds



~ By Karen

I hatch a LOT of eggs – generally more than a thousand annually. Over the years I have had a great deal of luck with the Dry Incubation Method. I hatch a lot of Swedish Flower Hen eggs, and for whatever reason, this breed can be very difficult to hatch in an incubator – but even shipped Swedish Flower eggs seem to do well using this method.


Thursday, May 8, 2014

Bird Shots - April Showers Bring Swedish Flowers

While I haven't had time to get a good post put together, I couldn't resist rolling about in the grass with some of my favorite flock members today. All the birds below are Swedish Flower Hens (yup - even the rooster). The Swedish name is Skånsk Blommehöns.


Tuesday, April 29, 2014

What Goes Around – Natural Prevention of Common Poultry Diseases


(Disclaimer - There are varying opinions on the statements concerning culling flocks for MG/MS. Many state Agricultural Department veterinarians DO NOT suggest culling a flock as these diseases are currently very prevalent... up to 75% of ALL domestic flocks *may* already be carriers of MG/MS.) 

Recently an acquaintance of mine (who for privacy reasons we will call “X”) lost his/her entire flock of rare breed chickens to mycoplasma gallisepticum (MG). Due to the number of birds X had as well as the breeds involved, X’s monetary loss would be well into the thousands, though if you were to ask X I believe s/he would tell you that the emotional toll was far greater.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Been Gone Too Long!

Yes - I've been MIA for a while, but don't worry! I'll be posting more great articles soon.

Where have I been?


Thursday, March 6, 2014

I Donated a Chicken to Science - With Awesome Results!

Check out the complete Natural Chicken Keeping article at GRIT Magazine by clicking the picture below! And don't miss the video!!

http://www.grit.com/blogs/natural-chicken-keeping.aspx#axzz2peyKAK00

Friday, February 21, 2014

Doesn't Everybody Keep Chickens in their Laundry Room?

Funny thing about this chicken addiction. It all seems to start out so innocently, and a couple years later... BOOM! An out of control Crazy Chicken Lady/Man is walking around wearing your shoes, kissing your spouse and living your life.


I refer to my friend Karen as my enabler. Our rather co-dependent friendship was born when she hatched chicks for me. Now I find myself bootlegging eggs to her in bi-weekly runs to a town an hour away. I quietly drop them off with our "messenger" and that evening Karen lets me know if the goods made it to her safely.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Help ~ I Broke My Chicken! What to do for a Broken Leg

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Disclaimer:  Shattered bones, joint and soft-tissue issues may require different care than a cleanly broken bone and in some cases may not ever heal properly.



I have friendly chickens. Sometimes, though, their friendliness gets them (and me) into a bit of trouble. When I go out to feed, I tend to be swarmed by no less than 40 chickens, which can make it very difficult to walk. Two weeks ago the inevitable happened when I stepped on one of my younger flock members!