Found 98 hits.

Compost In The Chicken Run – FAQ – Housing

...scrapings, coffee grinds and desiccated oranges. Some of it the chickens eat (like tomato cores) and some they don’t (like banana peels.) If I toss it all to the hens, the entire run would soon be a mess of molding food. How to feed the chickens the worthwhile bits without sorting through these dregs? I don’t want to have two compost buckets on my kitchen counter. I have other stuff to compost, too, including weeds and damaged vegetables from the garden, and the muck and trampled on hay from the goat stall. There’s a lot of material from different sources,...

Chicken Manure Management – FAQ – Housing

Chickens poop. A lot. Each one of your hens will produce about a quarter pound of manure a day, which according to one source, is 1 cubic foot every six months (I haven’t measured it myself!) Birds don’t pee. Everything that they excrete comes out in one large plop. It’s big, bulky and smelly. It is also a potential carrier of disease and internal parasites, and is a medium that all sorts of unpleasant bugs, such as flies, want to live and breed in. Chicken manure is 75% water and is very high in nitrogen. As the nitrogen decomposes, it...

What To Feed Your Chickens – FAQ – Health and Behavior

What chickens eat and what chickens should eat are not always the same thing. Chickens are omnivores. That means they’ll snarf down just about anything, or at least try to! I’ve seen a hen catch and slurp down a snake like spaghetti. I’ve seen a chicken snatch a toad by it’s leg and all of the other hens go in a raucous chase after it, only, at the end to discover that a toad is not good eating. Chickens also eat less exciting foods, like vegetables, fruits, flowers and grass. They eat grains and seeds. They scratch the ground and...

Coop Dimensions And Design Criteria – FAQ – Housing

...air while sleeping. If possible, have roosts at varying heights because that helps with flock dynamics. A ladder-style roost is best, so that the heavy hens can hop up and down. There should be head room above the top run to allow for air flow. Windows: Sunlight is essential in a coop. Hens have very poor night vision. Even if it’s daylight outside, if it’s dark in the coop, your chickens won’t get moving, eating, or laying their eggs if they can’t see to hop off of the roost. Also, sunshine is a natural sanitizer. And, the hens appreciate a...

Introducing New Hens to an Existing Flock – FAQ – Health and Behavior

...for everyone by adding only as many hens as your coop can comfortably hold (design criteria in my FAQ.) Add an extra Auto Amazon Links: No products found. http_request_failed: A valid URL was not provided. URL: https://ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?SearchIndex=All&multipageStart=0&multipageCount=20&Operation=GetResults&Keywords=B000FJX82S&InstanceId=0&TemplateId=MobileSearchResults&ServiceVersion=20070822&MarketPlace=US Cache: AAL_61c54fa2bec426b801b57a79135fa256 and feeder in the outside run so there are no resource guarding issues. Supply outside roosts so that everyone has room to spread out, both out and up. Provide interesting foods that take a long time to eat, like pumpkin and big summer squash.     If there’s enough space, food and distractions, everyone should figure out how to get along....

Hot Weather Care for Chickens – FAQ – Housing

...Amazon Links: No products found. http_request_failed: A valid URL was not provided. URL: https://ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?SearchIndex=All&multipageStart=0&multipageCount=20&Operation=GetResults&Keywords=B001EJHTAA&InstanceId=0&TemplateId=MobileSearchResults&ServiceVersion=20070822&MarketPlace=US Cache: AAL_8b61a32f79bd492502e483b1789151aa for their chickens, and cool off their coops by spraying water on the roofs. I don’t have to do that where I live, but when it’s in the high 90s, I’ll hose down the dirt in the run, which brings some relief. Besides, the chickens are fascinated by running water! Your chickens must have shade. My hens hang out in the compost pile, which is shaded by the barn and trees, and where the dirt is moist and cool. If you can’t site your...

Cold Weather Care – FAQ – Housing

...at night. A few breeds are not cold-hardy. Silkies and frizzle-feathered birds can’t stay warm in a winter wind. Also, their feathers don’ t shed water and so it is lethal for them to get wet and damp in the winter. Standing in mud can kill them. It’s best to provide Silkies with spacious, dry, ventilated indoor housing for the winter. Also, some hens, and more often roosters, have big combs, prone to frostbite. Slather on some vaseline if you know the temperature is going to drop. Chickens appreciate a bright and sunny coop. Here’s my aged Eleanor, who has...

Setting Up Your Own Camera – FAQ

...most cameras support. One limitation is that network cameras allow only a small number of simultaneous users. The upstream bandwidth of your home Internet connection will also limit the number of viewers. Also look into one of the new cloud-based video services such as Dropcam. However these cams are generally designed for indoor use. Supporting many users If you want to allow many users to view your camera then consider a video hosting service that offers video streaming. Now your home Internet connection only has to upload a single stream from your camera up to the hosting service. The service...

Chicken Coop Bedding – FAQ – Housing

...good choice for most backyard flocks. I write about that here. Chicken Coop Bedding Options: Pine Shavings: Wood shavings are excellent bedding; bags of pine shavings are widely available at feed stores and are not too expensive. Shavings are absorbent, and it’s easy to use a fine-tined pitchfork to sift through them and clean up manure. Some people have access to the leavings from a friend’s woodworking shop. It’s great to get free material, but make sure that there are no metal bits (chickens will down anything sparkly), that it’s not dusty, and that it’s sized so that the bedding...

Introduction to Chicken Keeping – FAQ – Health and Behavior

...need access to sunshine and an outdoor run. They need a place to dust bathe (FAQ here) and protection from predators. Chickens enjoy free-ranging, and it’s the best life for them. However, it’s not always practical or safe. Chickens tear up plants, eat everything from flowers to tomatoes, and will quickly turn a small lawn into packed dirt. Where I live, there are hawks nesting in the trees in the woods behind my house, foxes that hunt day and night, and other predators. My hens stay in their spacious pens, except under my close supervision. When you have chickens you...

Automatic Chicken Coop Door – HenBlog – Tuesday, June 25, 2013

...and where did you buy it? Christine O. Ours is also battery operated and we got it from Wells Poultry in England. http://www.chicken-house.co.uk/acatalog/automatic-chicken-door-openers.html Jaye Some additional info tha tmay be helpful: Supplier in U.S. http://www.foyspigeonsupplies.com/rabbit-products/misc-products/2100-doorkeeper-outside-installation Manufacturer in Germany https://www.axt-electronic.org/eu_shop/en/shop/vsb/280/vsbb-elektronischer-pfoertner-mit-batterien?c=38 Customer review http://poultrykeeper.com/equipment-reviews/installing-vsb-door-keeper Lillian So I am a little confused. I have read so much about the health of the animals, chickens and rabbits, when they live together. We have 5 chickens, three pullets, two roos (they were all supposed to be girls) that are about three months old. Additionally, we have 5 chicks that are one month old (not sure...

Protecting the Hens From Predators – HenBlog – Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Predators are everywhere. In the city there are raccoons and opossums. Even rats. (Uggh!) Some southern states have snakes large enough to down a chicken. There are fox and coyotes, bobcats and fisher cats. There are loose dogs (the worst) who trot through your yard and grab a hen. I live across from 800 acres of forest, with a wildlife corridor that extends, not even a mile away, to a river that is a national wildlife refuge. I live on a street where people walk their dogs – sometime off-leash. Woodlands border my yard. These tall trees are perches for...

Maintaining The Chicken Run – HenBlog – Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Kim I thought there was something wrong with the run floor on the Hencam! Glad all is well for the old girls. I dig my run over regularly and scatter a handful of dried mealworms around. Keeps them busy and they love hunting for the worms. I poo pick it every day as well, especially in the hot weather, keeps the flies away :o) Sean Candy looks so well groomed! Is that something you do for her, or do rabbits "self-clean" like cats? Natalie, the Chickenblogger Our oldest hen, Betty, is four. We've wondered 'how old is an old hen?'...

Agatha’s (Mis)Adventure – HenBlog – Tuesday, September 13, 2011

...pretty. Maryann OMGosh ---- in the first pic, she looks like a hawk up there. Look at the girls milling about below saying, 'what the heck????...." So funny.....adventures in chicken keeping!!!! Your post continue to make us smile! Donna That sure sounds like a title for a book, Terry! She is so adorable! Scott_D My Phyllis, an Ameraucana/Easter Egger, is always trying to find new ways into places I don't want the chickens. Yesterday I found her in my herb garden. She seemed to know she isn't allow there and I watched how she got out. She had burrowed under...

Sand in the Coop Run – HenBlog – Friday, June 20, 2014

...to ground level. Each bag weighs 70 pounds. I can get them out of the car and into a wheelbarrow, but not out of the wheelbarrow and set down where I need them. This is why I’m grateful that I still have a teenage boy at home. Three hundred and fifty pounds of sand seems like a lot, but it doesn’t go far when you’re filling up pot-holes created by a flock of hens.   The Gems free-ranged while I worked.   Pearl, the fluffy cochin, spied what was going on. Sand, she says, provides for a true spa experience....

Ice Water for Chickens – HenBlog – Monday, August 17, 2015

...out in the sun, it can be near-boiling hot. They won’t drink that either. I prefer the Auto Amazon Links: No products found. http_request_failed: A valid URL was not provided. URL: https://ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?SearchIndex=All&multipageStart=0&multipageCount=20&Operation=GetResults&Keywords=B002P5CF0G&InstanceId=0&TemplateId=MobileSearchResults&ServiceVersion=20070822&MarketPlace=US Cache: AAL_b27c58f65289d366d7758b34bcd5f03f for their ease in filling, large capacity and sturdy construction. But, when the heat gets excessive, I pull out inexpensive Auto Amazon Links: No products found. http_request_failed: A valid URL was not provided. URL: https://ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?SearchIndex=All&multipageStart=0&multipageCount=20&Operation=GetResults&Keywords=B00EORGCXO&InstanceId=0&TemplateId=MobileSearchResults&ServiceVersion=20070822&MarketPlace=US Cache: AAL_b2e2237b0108d63d3dfd917eea1713f8 . They’ll need a cleaning after a year in storage.     I fill them halfway with water, then put into the freezer for a day.   Then I...

Coco Joins the Flock – HenBlog – Tuesday, November 11, 2008

It’s always a challenge introducing a pullet to an established flock. Because my chickens are different sizes, ages and breeds (and currently in different phases of molt), there’s a lot of jostling establishing pecking order. It’s not as easy as introducing the new hen and saying, “play nice girls.” I have two flocks that live separately, except for when they roam the lawn together, and even then they don’t mingle much. The hens in the big barn are more assertive. In my experience, Barred Rocks and Wyandottes do not tolerate bantams, and that observation rang true this week. I let...

Rabbits and Chickens – HenBlog – Monday, April 13, 2009

...gets lots of exercise and my vet says that she’s the happiest, healthiest bunny he knows. (One caveat- rabbits chew on everything! Keep all wires out of the way or in conduits. They love foam insulation. Put it behind plywood. Don’t leave your plastic buckets where the rabbit can shred it.) She doesn’t need much special care. I haven’t had to trim Candy’s nails, because she digs in the dirt. I do sometimes put ointment on her ears because they get dry and sunburned. Candy seems to enjoy the hens’ company. She’ll plop herself in the middle of them. Sometimes...

Compost IN the Chicken Run – HenBlog – Monday, March 12, 2012

...girls love it, they now get all excited when they see the shovel because they know whats coming. They get lots of juicy earth worms - one Bard Rock is always right there where the spade is going in, and is usually the first to get the worms. Fun to watch. lauren scheuer I followed your lead, and started piling compost in the back of the run. It's worked beautifully! Also followed your suggestion of putting sand in the muddy areas of coop and run. It has made ALL the difference. Terry Golson So pleased it works for you, Lauren!...

Chicken Waterers – HenBlog – Thursday, September 20, 2012

...you can't see her. She's too old for a long broody spell like this and is getting too skinny, so I'm going to have to break the broodiness this week. dfox I was told I was giving my Ladies to much treats, that will keep them from laying, I should be giving them only their layer ration, so we'll see. Dan in Los Angeles I also have the same set up...1 metal inside the coop and 2 plastic waterers out of the coop. To me it seems they drink more from the plastic versus the metal. Terry Golson Too much...

Chicken Run Maintenance – HenBlog – Monday, July 8, 2013

...the surface smooth. The sand adds drainage.   The pullets immediately began to scratch in the soft surface, seemingly delighted that they could.   Buffy made the best use of the new loose soil. It was cool. It was comfortable. It was the perfect place to wait out the heat wave.   If only it was that easy for me to cool off! By the time I was done, I was hot, drenched with sweat, and streaked with dirt. A shower and an iced coffee revived me. All of the effort was worth it. The animals clearly said Thank You....

Why I Don’t Use Deep Litter – HenBlog – Thursday, December 5, 2013

...of habit. My question is the outside area, thier run is deep composted shavings, straw leaves ect. Should I dig this out in the spring¿ There is no odor, its rock hard Terry Golson Unless the straw is chopped, don't use it. It doesn't absorb moisture and can mold. Long strands can also cause crop impaction. Chopped straw (1-inch or shorter) is good, though. If the pen has no odor, it's fine. But if it's rock hard and doesn't drain, that's bad. I've a number of posts about how I turn over my pen yearly and add sand for drainage....

Asparagus Bed – HenBlog – Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Several years ago I made the mistake of letting Candy into the vegetable garden in the fall. The chickens were scratching around in there, clearing the soil of grubs and cutworms, so I thought that the rabbit would like a hop-around. But, instead of playing, she was just as industrious as the chickens – which was good for her but disastrous for my garden. Candy dug a tunnel under the asparagus, about six inches down and all the way across the six-foot bed. She ate every root. Asparagus is a perennial vegetable that takes years to mature and establish. A...

Annual Chicken Pen Maintenance – HenBlog – Monday, October 19, 2015

...that teenager. (Note that the Auto Amazon Links: No products found. http_request_failed: A valid URL was not provided. URL: https://ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?SearchIndex=All&multipageStart=0&multipageCount=20&Operation=GetResults&Keywords=B000FJX878&InstanceId=0&TemplateId=MobileSearchResults&ServiceVersion=20070822&MarketPlace=US Cache: AAL_e4d94c7429655fadb2de80d33017e480 hanging on the right is filled with Manna Pro Crushed Oyster Shell Calcium Supplement For Laying Chickens - Poultry Treat - 5 lbs. – a calcium supplement. Offered like that, free choice, but up off of the ground, is tidy and prevents waste.) Three bags of sand in each chicken run are enough to aerate the soil. Right now everything is uneven and in big chunks. But the hens will set to work and smooth things out. Phoebe...

The Flocks Meet – HenBlog – Tuesday, March 15, 2011

...to each other! They've free-ranged together for years. Lulu is a crazy bird and Maizie is downright mean. No one else tussles. Ridiculous, really. Kit- Maizie isn't acting like a rooster. This is totally different aggression. It's dominance, pure and simple. In a normal situation, the chickens peck each other a bit, figure out who's boss, and that's that. Maizie doesn't stop. Combine that with crazy, huffy Lulu, and it's a bad combination! I'll be letting them near each other again, but this time, feeding treats. Whoever gets rude won't get to eat. That, and picking up the aggressor, helps....

Phoebe’s Choice – HenBlog – Tuesday, July 2, 2013

...the boxes. She is an independent girl who knows her mind, I guess. I have a 2-story rabbit hutch in my chicken coop that sits in the middle. If I have a hen that needs to be separated, I place her in there at night so she can still sleep with her sissies but not be bothered. Rabbit hutches are very versatile, aren't they? I am so glad we don't have mosquitoes here. jennifer bevins Phoebe is so pretty! Rebecca What a great way things turned out. Phoebe has chosen her own quarters, and it so good to see Buffy...

Everything’s Bigger In Texas – The Vintage Hen – Wednesday, April 3, 2013

...the one small community of Brimfield, Round Top actually takes place in several towns. There are miles of fields filled with tents, some with piles of junk, and others with antiques usually found only in tony shops. Even the taxidermy was bigger. There were big piles of wooden wheels. Reclaimed metal salvage is currently on trend. These banged up chicken feeders were being sold to be repurposed into pendant lamps and flower planters. This being Texas, even the rusty metal salvage was bigger. This corn crib sold the first day of the show. It will be a screen house on...

Compost – HenBlog – Friday, April 24, 2009

...weeds go into a section of the chicken run. You can see it here – this view is in the HenCam yard. It’s around the corner to the side of the coop and out of sight of the HenCam camera. Notice that there’s a piece of fencing in the yard. The materials to be composted get tossed behind it. The chickens can get in – there’s a foot opening on both sides, but because of the fence, despite the girls’ active scratching, the material stays in that corner. I don’t bother to chop up the stuff that goes into the...

Thanks, IT Guy! – HenBlog – Thursday, July 23, 2015

...now it's working!!...I can see both outside runs (nothing much happening as it's 3 am in the morning over there....I'm in Australia) but anyway it all seems to be working. If Steve can explain it all, I'd be very grateful....computers are a mystery to me! Tracy Terry, I know that you write about hens, koi, goaties, gardens, wild birds and many other topics. And I'm sure some folks come to your site to learn more about any or all of these subjects. But I suspect that the reason most of us visit and read your posts is to 'visit' with......

The Goat Exercise Plan – HenBlog – Wednesday, May 25, 2011

...legs, theoretically, should be easier to shove than a goat on all fours. Right? Meanwhile, my heart rate was well elevated. Who needs step training when one is trying to juggle chickens, goats and a dog? The new trend in workouts it to do short, intense twenty-minute sessions. Accomplished! Once the goats were put back in their paddock, the chickens shooed back into their run, and Lily rewarded for not turning goats or chickens into shredded toys, I took another look at the fencing. It appears that the goats figured out how to pull the tab that unlatches the chicken...

Dangerous Heat – HenBlog – Wednesday, July 7, 2010

...saw it coming and made a mad dash for cover. Not Wrongway, she waited about 30 seconds (an eternity when a hawk is sitting in the tree) then decided all the squwaking indicated a threat, took flight, the "wrongway" of course and nailed that tree. I'll never forget it as long as I live. I laughed after I knew she wasn't hurt. I still have Whichway. She always lays late in the evening and when I go to collect eggs I check under her. Well, she screams BLOODY MURDER and does so for several minutes. It's the scream of a...

Chickens Get Bored – HenBlog – Friday, June 28, 2013

...Auto Amazon Links: No products found. http_request_failed: A valid URL was not provided. URL: https://ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?SearchIndex=All&multipageStart=0&multipageCount=20&Operation=GetResults&Keywords=B00025H2PY&InstanceId=0&TemplateId=MobileSearchResults&ServiceVersion=20070822&MarketPlace=US Cache: AAL_9d645c1815a77e618bd3407f5841d88a will give them something to do.   Greens tucked into a Auto Amazon Links: No products found. http_request_failed: A valid URL was not provided. URL: https://ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?SearchIndex=All&multipageStart=0&multipageCount=20&Operation=GetResults&Keywords=B000795Y64&InstanceId=0&TemplateId=MobileSearchResults&ServiceVersion=20070822&MarketPlace=US Cache: AAL_22f386e3c3b15c5441439533c585dcf4 will also keep the chickens out of trouble.   And, of course, you can always set up a rousing game of cabbage tetherball.   It doesn’t take much to engage your chickens in activities that will keep everyone happy – including you, because, really, being a spectator to the antics is part of the fun....

The Three Nursing Home Hens – HenBlog – Thursday, June 26, 2014

...chatty, and that makes them entertaining for the nursing home residents and their families. Children, who would otherwise find visiting an elderly relative scary (as these institutions are, what with the smells, and the staff in uniforms, the equipment, and the people with dementia) are happy to spend time with a grandparent when there are chickens to distract everyone. The staff benefits. Lisa continues to spend her lunch hour with “my girls.” She lets them out on grass when she can. They follow her everywhere so she has no problem getting them back into their coop. Lisa collects the eggs,...

Winter Dust Baths – HenBlog – Thursday, March 3, 2011

Chickens require dust baths for health and happiness. But, right now it’s 20º colder than usual for early March, there’s 18 inches of snow under the bushes where they usually take late winter dust baths, and there’s several feet of snow in their run. There’s no dirt, let alone loose, warm earth to get under their feathers and next to their skin to kill parasites. So, I went to K-Mart and purchased two kitty litter pans, and filled them with sand, fireplace ashes (all hardwoods) and food-grade diatomaceous earth. There’s a spot of sun in the HenCam run, so I...

Why I Don’t Use Avian Vets – HenBlog – Monday, December 17, 2012

...Michael Phillips is one of my personal heroes. Terry, I used your Spa Treatment on a chicken I thought for sure was a goner and she is doing great! Tracy Byers Fabulous article and great comments! I always learn so much and have my own thoughts confirmed! This topic is a lengthy one in the "Backyards Chickens" class I teach, mainly because we are so trained to take our pets to the vet... Terry Golson Emily, I love hearing about such successes. sue noy Hi Terry, I really enjoyed reading this article. Here in UK I am very fortunate in...

Keeping the Girls Busy – HenBlog – Wednesday, June 6, 2012

...me the hens run for the honeysuckle and a tub of lard and mealworms can't get them to come out for an hour or so. Terry Golson As I watch over little Scooter! Terry Golson Candy lives in the other pen with the retired hens. Terry Golson It's what I had :) Bricks work, too, but the birch does break down and provide hidey holes for the bugs. Terry Golson Alas, although Lily chases hawks, she also chases chickens and I don't risk her being out at the same time as them. Terry Golson My hens are way too fat,...

Tools for the Coop – HenBlog – Thursday, January 30, 2014

...trimmed. JoAnn Very well said, as always with what you share Terry! A note about nail clippers, Quik Stop, is a great styptic powder is case a nail is trimmed a bit too short. A cordless nail grinder can be used also with a light gentle touch, also a simple emery board works. Being a pet stylist, ...... JoAnn in case* Lesley S The tool I wouldn`t be without is a children`s sized metal tonged rake. It is perfect for small spaces. I also love the sifter my son made me out of hardware cloth(it is aprox. 2ft by 2ft)....

Pecking Order – HenBlog – Thursday, July 19, 2012

...as a brick, but she's put an egg out every day since 4 & 1/2 months. She's sweet and very talkative. If she hears me talking in the house she'll run to get a close as she can and she'll start jabbering.... When she sees my daughter she runs up to her and squats down so she'll pick her up.... Funny girl! Terry Golson Tell me you named her for Col. Sanders wife?! Debi M I've noticed that there arent as many nesting boxes as you have hens. Dont the hens like to have their own box? Kristine A long...

Grape Arbor For The Hens (And Me) – HenBlog – Tuesday, April 3, 2012

...months. She seems to be on hold in mid molt, also for several months. Otherwise she seems healthy. Eats well, forages with the rest of the girls. She spends time in the nest box, but nothing happens. I have wormed them, given them garlic and buttermilk ever other week. Maybe she is just on an extended break? Any thoughts? Terry Golson Welcome to my site! I don't usually answer off-blog topic answers here, but I will today :) Some chickens are not good layers. Some chickens that were good layers get worn out and by the time they are three...

Feather Pecking Update – HenBlog – Wednesday, June 18, 2014

...is none, body is hen, not getting the tell tale roo legs. I doubt it's space. The 4 girls are the only birds in a coop with run with lots of grass and bugs. Once upon a time had 15 pullets with no issues so I don't think it's space. The other 3 spend all day running and chasing insects and she bites their butts while they play. I've tried blue kote to cover the red thinking she was going for pin feathers but that seemed to make it worse. I've tried toys, and she is consistently afraid of them....

There’s Always One in a Crowd – HenBlog – Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Betsey Forrence Lily sounds like my border collie, Maddy, who spends her spare time stalking the chickens. Fortunately for the chickens, they are separated by a wire fence! In the past, I've had free-range hens and the dogs never bothered them but Maddy caught and dispatched the first couple of Guineas that flew out of the run. So much for "Guineas in the Garden" (a delightful book). The survivors learned to stay inside the fence! Ângela Wow! As the chicks grew up! lauren scheuer Aw, Lily. I see the lust in your eyes. Laura B But Mom, they ARE Squeeky...

How To Make Your Hens Happy – HenBlog – Tuesday, August 25, 2015

...through it Jan Terry, Sorry to say but I think Twiggy needs one of your Spa baths. Just watched her come out of a nestbox and down the ramp, so got close look at her rear and she is very messy, I wondered if she has laid a broken egg, also she still has the runs. Jillian Raking leaves up into a tarp, and later emptying the tarp out into the pen for the hens to scratch at. They also enjoy special deliveries of anthills and some leftovers from the house. They are so used to their gifts, that now...

Old Feeder Reuse – HenBlog – Thursday, September 4, 2014

...rack. I spent several hours wandering the booths. I bought two eggs cups (of course!) and a vintage agriculture brochure. And then I went to Tractor Supply, where they have shiny feeders and waterers, which I didn’t need (remember all of that scrubbing in the mornings?) But, I did buy something new and made of metal. I bought a farm gate for the goat paddock, which to my mind is very beautiful, indeed. We’ll see if it is goat-proof as claimed. Pip and Caper love a challenge. You’ll get to see the new gate after I put my teenage son...

Wrongly Accused – HenBlog – Thursday, September 19, 2013

I’ve been concerned that one of the Ladies is eating her eggs. Once in awhile a pullet’s first eggs are thin-shelled or just a membrane. They’re easy to break, and no hen can resist eating runny yolks. Sometimes, a young hen doesn’t know how to settle into a nesting box, and breaks the eggs that are there. She quickly learns to stomp on purpose and eat the eggs. Sometimes a pullet lays an egg while out in the run, while on the run. The egg falls onto the hard ground and cracks. The other hens learn to look for eggs...

Recycling Christmas Trees – HenBlog – Monday, January 12, 2015

...post, just so cute. Suzanne It's an interesting debate, whether pine needles create a mulch that is more acidic than mulch from other materials. I'm interested in growing wintergreen, and I'd read that those do well in pine mulch...only problem is finding wintergreen for sale! Suzanne I particularly enjoyed the pictures of the hens gazing in awe into the tree! Such characters. I've always felt torn about Xmas trees- it's nice to have a beautiful, fragrant tree in the house for a while, but then, there's nothing sadder than an abandoned, dried Xmas tree. "My beer-drunk soul is sadder than...

Grapes for Chickens – HenBlog – Wednesday, July 16, 2014

In the early spring of 2013 I planted grapes. I ordered three varieties, all seedless, all of which were supposed to thrive in my growing zone. They have.   They came bare root. They looked like supple twigs. Optimistically, I had Steve build an arbor over half of the Gem’s run. (You can see in this photo from last year how the hens crowded into their small bit of shade.)   The idea was that the grapes would protect the hens from hawks*, as well as provide a shady and cooler spot to hang out. The grapes do all of...

Saving Clementine, Part 3 – HenBlog – Monday, March 31, 2014

...feather picking gone mean. Today she looks fabulous and she has been free ranging with the others (supervised). I suppose she really should rejoin her flock in a more normal sense. She has received some real jabs while free ranging which has held me back from having her rejoinin the flock. Maybe these jabs are to be expected as part of the process? Terry, Should I wait until I am home all day to reintroduce her or is this something I could do in an evening? Not sure if reintroducing her is diferent since she was pulled out as a...

Chicken Coop Dimensions and Design Criteria – HenBlog – Wednesday, March 6, 2013

...coops have them on the floor) or the exterior covered run space. Interior air space: Chickens need to roost at least 30 inches up off of the ground, and have head space to do that comfortably. Roosts: 6 inches per hen. I prefer rounded roosts. Hens have special ligaments in their legs that lock in place when they sleep. This is how they can sleep without falling off the perch. To do this, they need to be on a round roost. If possible, have roosts at varying heights because that helps with flock dynamics. Windows: Sunlight is essential in a...

An Improved HenCam – HenBlog – Saturday, July 13, 2013

...so, ahem, destructive, with cameras. Little stinkers. Phoebe looks even softer. Makes me want to reach through the camera and stroke her beautiful fur! I do, however, miss seeing the runway model Twiggy and determined Twinkydink using the bunny hutch (aka luxury high rise condo). It's been fun watching some of the girls jocky for the runway. Twiggy can be very, shall we say, "prosessive" of "her" runway/ramp. Most of the girls seem to like to rest under the hutch for shade, and now it's hard to see them since the hutch was moved. Wendy Scott This is the same...

Highflying Hen – HenBlog – Wednesday, December 11, 2013

...it again, guess grass wasnt greener on the other side. Terry Golson What great stories you've been sharing! I think the reason that we all like this topic is because not all hens fly the coop. It's the interesting, quirky, adventurous chicken that launches herself up and out. These stories show just how individualistic our hens (and roosters) are. Kit in CA Sure do! Couldn't figure out how to post it here so it's on FB Carol Caldwell My run is topped with a double layer of chicken wire and has a large bush and an apple tree inside. My...

It’s Cold In The Coop But… – HenBlog – Friday, December 13, 2013

...those windows, so I know that I have it under control. We’re expecting a major snowstorm tomorrow night, so this morning I’ve cleaned the coops and topped off the feeders and waterers. I’ll keep the pop-doors closed while the snow is blowing. After the storm passes, I’ll shovel out the run so they can get back outside (hens won’t walk in deep snow.) What I won’t do is worry if they’re warm enough. They’re dry. They’re clean. They’re out of the wind. 17 degrees is nothing to them. Meanwhile, Phoebe says, Bring on the snow!   For more about cold...

A Girl and Her Blow Torch – HenBlog – Friday, April 15, 2011

...whisk so vigorously that you get masses of air bubbles, but do whisk until smooth and the sugar dissolves. Whisk in the hot milk, starting with a tiny bit so that the eggs don’t curdle. Add slowly and whisk until all is smooth. Pour through a sieve and into the ceramic baking dish. The sieve is essential for a smooth texture! Carefully set the baking dish in the hot water bath. The water bath will insure that the custard bakes slowly, evenly and stays moist. Bake for about 50 minutes or until set. It’s delicious just like that, and it’s...

Lucky – HenBlog – Wednesday, July 11, 2007

...felt all over. I fully expected to find puncture wounds. Not a scratch. I don’t know why Perrie looked so sick yesterday morning. Perhaps it was indigestion? Did she eat a bug that didn’t agree with her? Perrie has a particularly fine, thick coat of feathers. When she looked ill, she fluffed up and appeared ready to molt, but luckily for her, she didn’t. Those feathers saved her. Lucky girl. PS Betsy Ross remains in isolation and she still has that prolapse. I tried an old folk remedy today – smearing honey on it. What we’ll do for our chickens....

Winter Care for Chickens – HenBlog – Tuesday, December 8, 2009

...you have to provide heat. Also, some hens, and often roosters, have big combs, prone to frostbite. Slather on some vaseline if you know the temperature is going to drop. Chickens appreciate a bright and sunny coop. Here’s my aged Eleanor, who has claimed a toasty place in a patch of sun. Chickens need to be high and dry. If your run gets muddy, add a few bags of sand, or put down wood chips, to give the hens a place to roam above the muck. Chickens have scaly, bare feet. They don’t like walking on snow or ice. They’ll...

Sick Hen – HenBlog – Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The best advice that I can give anyone is this: know your animals. You should be so acquainted with their quirks and vocalizations, their greetings and their eating habits, that as soon as something is off, you know it. This morning, when I went into the big barn to let the girls out for the morning, I noticed that Alma was still on the roost and not on the floor with the eager hens. I did my chores. I checked back. Alma had not rushed outside to get the corn. She looked hesitant to hop up and out the little...

In or Out? – HenBlog – Monday, January 28, 2008

...don’t think that’s it. They show no signs of stress. And Lily, my Rat Terrier/Border Collie mix who always lets me know when there’s an unwelcome animal in the backyard didn’t sniff the ground or put her hackles up, so I’m sure the hens slept well last night. I am hoping that the girls are indoors because they are thinking about laying eggs. Indoors is where the nesting boxes are. Maybe “thinking” is too strong a word. Maybe they just have a sense that they should be doing something in there. The eight hens in the HenCam barn are laying...

Lauren’s Coop – HenBlog – Monday, May 11, 2015

...built this chicken tractor to shelter her girls while out on the lawn. Note – this is NOT a coop. It’s for daytime use only. (Read my FAQ on Coop Criteria to learn why this is not suitable housing.)   The hawks are also why Lauren has a covered run, and also a play area with plants that the hens can run under for protection. These doted on hens are happy, indeed.   Like Lauren’s art? Take a look at her book, Auto Amazon Links: No products found. http_request_failed: A valid URL was not provided. URL: https://ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?SearchIndex=All&multipageStart=0&multipageCount=20&Operation=GetResults&Keywords=1451698704&InstanceId=0&TemplateId=MobileSearchResults&ServiceVersion=20070822&MarketPlace=US Cache: AAL_4236bfc2d77c45f4c2ecf2c3f3e53646 ....

Writer’s Procrastination – HenBlog – Thursday, April 14, 2011

...two o’clock! The goats say that it would be a good use of my time to give them scratches. They’re very itchy, shedding out their coats in this warm weather. But, first I have to pick my son up from school and take him to his music lesson. Lily never procrastinates. She’s already killed one garden vole today. Even when she’s resting, she’s on duty. Just like me. I got some writing done in my head today. I’m sure I’ll get it onto paper tomorrow. Unless this weather continues. If so, I’ve got a packet of peas to procrastinate with....

Roosting Outside – HenBlog – Tuesday, June 10, 2014

...to it quickly, but my third hen took a while longer. She no longer is afraid to step on the treadle to open the door and eat, but she still is frightened by the door clanging shut when she steps off the treadle. She squawks, flaps her wings, & runs. Poor thing! judy m. funny i looked in .last night saw nary a hen, one lone white chicken on the ladder. how funny Terry Golson I'm sorry to hear that your hen is so ill. Often respiratory disease doesn't show any signs of congestion like in humans - but eyes...

Brimfield Chickens – The Vintage Hen – Friday, September 7, 2012

Natalie, the Chickenblogger Okay... the cows, they're caroling, and suddenly I want it to be the week before Christmas! And the squirrel: He's NUTS! What fun. Thanks for bringing us shopping... I really needed to get out! Ken That one hen looks like she is ready to attack! wendy I do love that squirrel! And I rather like that furious hen - she reminds me of Gladys when she's in a temper, which is most of the time. I love a cow-creamer too... but they're very bad pourers. Suzanne There's something odd about a small ceramic cow that sits on...

Hot Chickens – HenBlog – Thursday, July 8, 2010

It’s 10 degrees cooler today than yesterday, but it’s still humid and in the high 80’s, which means that my hens remain in danger of getting heat stroke. The girls in the big barn have a shady spot with loose, cool dirt that they laze in during the day. Here’s Agnes, heading in. Mazie is in the back. Agnes looks fine. Her beak is closed, and her wings are held naturally at her side. On the other hand, Tina Turner and Siouxsie are being drama queens. They’re panting with open beaks. Their wings are held out from their sides and...

A Life Transformed – HenBlog – Tuesday, December 17, 2013

...stories... Sara What a wonderful story. Congratulations on your success! Bea Gibson With everyone running around for the holiday and not stopping to smell the roses they all might just get something out of your life's challenge. I have RA and never thought of my self as indifferent but angry sometimes, yes. No one can imagine what is going on with someone else unless they have their own challenge to work through. I so want some chickens this spring but everyone is telling me I can't handle the care they need. I am so happy for you and Tonka. He's...

Chicken Coop Bedding – HenBlog – Tuesday, January 21, 2014

...also keep the hens occupied. They need to scratch, and hard floors cannot satisfy this ingrained behavior. Bare earth doesn’t work either. It stays damp, and the hens will make big craters. Some people tout the use of a deep litter system for their coops, which certainly gives the chickens a thick layer of bedding to scratch in. However, for many reasons, this is not a good choice for most backyard flocks. I write about that here. Chicken Coop Bedding Options: Pine Shavings: Wood shavings are excellent bedding; bags of pine shavings are widely available at feed stores and are...

Nesting Boxes – HenBlog – Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Chickens lay eggs in nesting boxes. At least they should. Some hens lay eggs on the ground. Some, especially free-ranged birds, hide their eggs in all sorts of odd places, but most hens simply want a safe cubbyhole to lay their egg in, and then go back to their day’s work of eating, bathing, and scratching. Nesting boxes can be homemade or store-bought, made of sheet metal, plastic or wood. As a rule of thumb, you need a nesting box for every three hens. This is in theory. I have six nesting boxes for the seven hens that live in...

A Broken GoatCam – HenBlog – Wednesday, June 10, 2015

...of equipment. (Read this FAQ to learn more about how the cams work.)   Steve and I decided not to replace it. Now that it’s summer, the goats are usually out of view in the back meadow.   There’s delicious growing things to eat out there, although in this case it’s true that the grass is greener on the other side.   It’s a lovely day to be out in the sun with food at one’s feet.   You’ll still be able to get glimpses of the goats via the main HenCam. And I’ll be sure to post photos of...

Cookie Baking Tips – HenBlog – Monday, March 10, 2014

...the same size. The most essential step is follow is the one that says, “place the cookie sheet in the center rack of the oven.” It seems so time-consuming and wasteful to bake only one sheet at a time! We’ve all filled the oven up. This is what happens: The cookies on the middle rack cook perfectly. The surface crackles. They spread evenly. The two cookies to the back of this photo were baked on a sheet below the others. The top baking sheet blocked the flow of heat. They took longer to bake. They didn’t crackle. They taste fine,...

Dog in a Hat – The Vintage Hen – Tuesday, April 29, 2014

At first glance this is simply an old blurry photo of a couple of dogs on a farmhouse porch.   The big dog in front is a classic, basic mixed breed. He’s a good, practical, useful dog. His sidekick is another story. This pup has a toy dog’s smushed in nose and spaniel ears. He’s clearly a pet. (Does this remind you a bit of Lily and Scooter?) But, look again. The little dog is wearing a sweater. And a hat. Look again. It’s not just a hat, it’s a metal helmet with feathers decorating it. Notice, too, that despite...

Outside Chicken Waterer Season – HenBlog – Wednesday, May 6, 2015

...products found. http_request_failed: A valid URL was not provided. URL: https://ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?SearchIndex=All&multipageStart=0&multipageCount=20&Operation=GetResults&Keywords=B00EORGCXO&InstanceId=0&TemplateId=MobileSearchResults&ServiceVersion=20070822&MarketPlace=US Cache: AAL_b2e2237b0108d63d3dfd917eea1713f8 or Auto Amazon Links: No products found. http_request_failed: A valid URL was not provided. URL: https://ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?SearchIndex=All&multipageStart=0&multipageCount=20&Operation=GetResults&Keywords=B002P5CF0G&InstanceId=0&TemplateId=MobileSearchResults&ServiceVersion=20070822&MarketPlace=US Cache: AAL_b27c58f65289d366d7758b34bcd5f03f . The water is the same, but to the hens, it is not. I have no idea why my hens prefer drinking water outside, but I know that they do. I have a few theories. In the summer, the hens don’t like to cross the hot pen to go inside. They’d rather have their water in the shade where they are. But that doesn’t explain their preference now. Perhaps,even...

Egg Holders – HenBlog – Tuesday, May 18, 2010

...offer is for all teachers! Email me -mailto:terry@terrygolson.com. Terry Golson Two pet cows? Tell me more - what breed? To answer your questions: Caper is limping, but it does NOT affect his appetite, so I'm not worried. The lice is back in check and all of the girls are doing fine. Terry Golson Purple Podded Peas is a wonderful website. Everyone should check it out. http://purplepoddedpeas.blogspot.com/ Also take a look at Celia's art. She SAYS she's going to do some goat prints. I get first dibs! robyn my girl cow is a free martin, which means she was born sterile....

Chocolate and Caramel – HenBlog – Tuesday, February 9, 2010

I’m a member of Les Dames d’Escoffier, which means I get to hang out with some amazing, talented, accomplished women in the food world. Last night, my local chapter had a Chocolate and Caramel event. We met at Kelly Delaney’s Cakes for Occasions kitchen. Lee Napoli, one of the most inventive chocolatiers in Boston, showed us her truffle-making technique. It’s all about very good chocolate at the right temperature. Next, Denise Baron, of Burton’s Grill, made caramel. I’ve struggled for years to get caramel right. The step where you boil down the sugar is so tricky! It seizes up. It...

$1,000 Reward for Stolen Chicken – HenBlog – Monday, February 12, 2007

On January 14 a silkie hen was stolen. The crime occurred in the morning at the NEPC show in West Springfield, Ma. If you’ve never been to a poultry show, let me describe the scene: there are rows and rows of airy metal coops, stacked two high, and in each is a bird that someone has bred, trained, bathed, fluffed, and has high hopes for. Poultry fanciers walk the aisles, checking out the birds. A judge in a white lab coat reaches in and takes out a bird, looks it over, and puts it back in it’s cage. People are...

Waiting For Eggs – HenBlog – Monday, September 5, 2011

...won’t be laying eggs. One of the cochins in the chick order was weak from the start. She was half the size of the others and walked with a stiff gait, as if her feet or joints hurt, though an external examination showed nothing wrong. I named her Little Blue Sapphire. Her feathers were a gorgeous slate grey. She ate. She grew. But she never looked comfortable. She’d walk a few steps and sit down. I didn’t become too attached. A hen that’s not vigorous has something very wrong with her. Two days ago her legs were no longer able...

Hencam Technical Difficulties – HenBlog – Monday, April 16, 2007

When you have a Web Cam running from your chicken coop, figuring out technical glitches isn’t as easy as looking in a manual. We’ve been experiencing intermittent stoppages of the signal. This morning, my IT guy (and wonderful husband) Steve, went out to the coop in the middle of a blowing, raining, Nor’Easter to announce that he’s solved the problem. Well, at least figured it out. The problem is Candy. She found the only exposed wire in the entire backyard area and did what bunnies love to do – she chewed through it. The fix will require a bit of...

Prudence – HenBlog – Tuesday, July 24, 2007

...know that there will be deaths. Predators and disease take most. If you’re lucky, some will die of old age. Sometimes you don’t know what did your hen in. Whatever the cause, it’s always sad. It’s a cliche, but life goes on. Two days ago, Alma laid her first egg. It was small and dark brown. Several of the hens have started molting, which means that they will look scraggly for weeks until their new feathers grow in. Marge, who spends most of her days in the bottom nesting box, looks especially messy. Don’t worry about her – she’s fine....

HenCam Technical FAQ – HenBlog – Saturday, March 7, 2009

...all the wiring is safely inside electrical conduit. Ethernet cables run underground from the house basement out to the HenCam barn. Our server (an Apple Xserve) runs a custom PHP script that copies the image from the cameras. This script also automatically generates the nighttime “The chickens are in bed” message. (We added this message because early HenCam viewers were mystified when all they saw was a black screen at night.) Our web server is Apache running under Mac OS X Server. Finally a Java applet streams video out to viewers. (Someday we hope to switch to Adobe Flash for...

This and That Updates – HenBlog – Sunday, November 14, 2010

...more brace (slight reprieve) while waiting for the 2nd surgery to get scheduled. Then 6 weeks of SERIOUS immobility. And another 4 of just plain immobility...and then 4 more of limited mobility....but now he's allowed to do whatever he wants, and the finger in question is slowly regaining its use. Hard on 16 yr olds. I hope your boy's goes as well as mine's 2nd surgery. The good hospitals really are good! Terry Golson The sling is a dog hair magnet! Pancetta would be a perfect pairing. I ate the leftovers with crispy bacon and some feta. Terry Golson Yes!...

The Last Day In England – HenBlog – Wednesday, May 18, 2011

This morning I said good-bye to Celia’s handsome chickens and her beautiful 18th c. walled garden and headed over to Cambridge for a stroll. It’s a beautiful place. Here are the famous punts. There are gorgeous buildings, like this. Fortunately, Celia knows her Cambridge and medieval history, so I also got a sense of the stories behind this many-layered city. Celia’s husband graciously drove me to Heathrow Airport. I had my suitcase and prized possession – the bucket. I found this pail in Rye at an antique shop. It’s dirty and large, and I love it! It was probably handmade...

Bunnies, Wires and Barn Fires – HenBlog – Tuesday, April 19, 2011

...to cause consternation amongst the hens. A little white leghorn squeezes past, but the big hens, stuck indoors, hop up and own, peer at Candy, and squawk. I’m sure that Candy is laughing. It’s such fun to house Candy with the hens, but it’s not something to do without thought and some construction skills. We’ve gone to a lot of trouble to keep Candy safe outside. Candy needs protection from predators. That required burying the perimeter fence 8-inches below ground, so digging predators can’t get in (and Candy can’t burrow out.) There’s hawk netting stretched overhead. At night, Candy is...

How to Get Hens to Lay Where You Want Them To – HenBlog – Monday, April 11, 2011

...in. You might have seen agitated brown hens leaping at Candy’s house. I tried putting those hens in the nesting boxes in the coop. They wouldn’t stay put. One laid on the ground. One stopped laying, which isn’t a good thing at all. What was it about the hutch that they liked so much? It wasn’t Candy’s grumpy company. It was the soft and deep bedding. My hens had found the equivalent of Frette sheets. So, I filled the nesting boxes with hay, and the hens filled them with eggs. Sometimes you have to give the girls a little luxury....

Winter Settles In – HenBlog – Sunday, December 11, 2011

...the open water. Sometimes, in the middle of winter, the ice will be inches thick, and through it’s rippled lens I will see the fish, their fins slowly flipping back and forth, keeping them upright and balanced. This morning Candy’s water was frozen solid. I was prepared with a spare to swap in it’s place. I’ve also given her extra hay to nestle in. In the winter, outdoor bunnies need their waterers replaced several times a day. The narrow, metal spouts freeze quickly. But Candy has her own solution. She drinks from the heated chicken waterer in the coop. The...

My Lunch Box – The Vintage Hen – Thursday, July 5, 2012

When I was in grade school, my mother made my lunch every day. Tuna fish sandwiches on white bread. A pickle spear. Potato chips. A pink marshmallow covered cake (not homemade.) Sometimes it was bologna and pickle sandwiches. Sometimes meatloaf. With ketchup. You get the idea. These lunches were squishy and smelly. This was in the days before plastic zipper bags. The dill pickle was slipped into a wax paper bag that was, maybe if my mother remembered, twisted closed. The sandwiches, too,were wrapped in wax paper. Then it all went into a thin, inexpensive, small brown paper bag, which...

Repurposed – The Vintage Hen – Tuesday, February 24, 2015

...had an egg lady (Mrs. Kline) who delivered our eggs to us. I still remember the small market in town (grocery store) and they delivered our groceries to us. I grew up in small town in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Mary in Indiana My dad was a milkman! The neighborhood kids would gather around his truck in the summer for chips of ice he'd hand out. He was very popular! Carol Hmmm I wonder if Mary lived in my neighborhood. Our milkman gave out ice bits too. This was long before we had air conditioning in the home. Summers...

Storm Preparation for Chicken Coops – HenBlog – Friday, January 23, 2015

...be inside for at least a day, and I want to make sure that their coops are dry and fully stocked.   Water is more essential than food. We don’t have running water in the barns in the winter (the pipes would burst, and so they’re drained and turned off in November.) But, there is electricity. So, instead of hauling water out daily, I’ve installed a Auto Amazon Links: No products found. http_request_failed: A valid URL was not provided. URL: https://ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?SearchIndex=All&multipageStart=0&multipageCount=20&Operation=GetResults&Keywords=B000HHQ2YY&InstanceId=0&TemplateId=MobileSearchResults&ServiceVersion=20070822&MarketPlace=US Cache: AAL_87f82f0d9878a2d9f728e0ea29b4d1c4 for a water source. It’s so much more convenient to fill the waterers from this than to...

Safe Dust Baths – HenBlog – Friday, February 22, 2013

...fill it halfway with coarse sand and add a cup of food-grade diatomaceous earth. These two materials both desiccate and shred parasites, and my hens love the feel of them under their feathers. Sometimes I add fireplace ashes (wood only, not burned trash.) This is a bird in bliss. Recently, a reader brought to my attention that bags of builders sand had health warnings on them. This is because sand is crystalline silica, a basic component of rocks such as quartz, and sand on the beach, which are certainly not dangerous materials. However, on construction sites with jackhammers and blasters,...

Goat Minerals – HenBlog – Tuesday, June 16, 2015

...temps ? Robin Someone else's stuff is -always- better! Didn't you know that? Ha Ha :D In my house, the dog always wants the cat food/treats and the cats want the dog food/treats. And the hermit crabs will fight over one dandelion flower even though there are 10 in the dish! The sad thing is people are like that too. *sigh* Loved the pictures of your boys! Terry Golson I find the metal waterers to be the easiest to fill and use. It's in the shade, so the metal won't get too hot. Thanks for saying nice things about my...

How Many Hens? – HenBlog – Monday, July 30, 2012

...eggs your hens make depends on many factors, including their breeds, time of year, and their age. Still, let’s run through the numbers. My pen of Gems is typical of a backyard flock. There are a variety of breeds. Some are known for their egg laying ability, like the Rhode Island Reds, and others go broody (those Orpingtons!) or are mostly decorative, like Pearl, the Cochin. They are now one year old, and so in the prime of their laying lives. Summer, with it’s long sunny days and warm temperatures, is the peak laying season. In this almost-over month of...

The Comfort of Friendship in Old Age – HenBlog – Sunday, April 17, 2011

Most chickens live in mind-boggling massive flocks that number in the tens of thousands. The animals are genetically almost identical and in that sea of feathers and dust there is no individuality. Although the hens know who each other are – they recognize each other by their combs which are as distinctive as human fingerprints – there’s little interaction among the birds in the stressed commercial flocks. Besides, it takes time to form relationships, and meat chickens live to be only eight weeks, and laying hens less than two years. But, in my backyard the hens have the time to...

A Northern Coop – HenBlog – Monday, September 22, 2014

...like a long screened in area directly above the roost (on the shortest side of the coop) is that the high vent? If that's the high vent where does it exit on the coop? Thanks again Diana Plainville CT There was no shell all...reluctantly she sat on my lap and and it came out like she was urinating.....this morning she cackled (the cackle she makes before she lays) and ran up to the coop then back out in the yard with the others, back and forth...as for thin shells, my girls have oyster shells and I try to sneak them...

Church Basement Egg Coffee – The Vintage Hen – Monday, August 13, 2012

Swedish and Norwegian communities in the upper midwest are known for their deep nordic culinary roots and their food-focused church socials. In the days when inexpensive coffee was brewed up in big urns, the church ladies came up with a way to smooth the flavor, reduce the bitterness, and make sure that the grounds didn’t end up in the cup. What they did was to add raw eggs, ground up shells and all, to the pot. If you’ve ever clarified a consommé with egg, then you know that this makes sense. This egg coffee was also called Swedish Coffee, Hungarian...

An Icy Path – HenBlog – Wednesday, January 21, 2015

...keep from flying down the steep inclines at my house. http://www.amazon.com/Anti-slip-Cleats-Traction-Crampon-Walking/dp/B004TJEA8Q Sandy Lewis Icy.......yes, we throw out alittle wood ashes.......easy to walk on, good for grass and great for our apple trees!! A little messy on boots and shoes, so take off and keep out doors or in Lean-To.... Stay safe Sandy Sally S What happened to the temp that was always near the time stamp on web cams? Every day I check to see how cold it is at your place. Makes me feel good about living in Sunny Southern California. Donna Well..after the FREAK Southern California snowstorm of...

Where’s Candy? – HenBlog – Friday, February 4, 2011

...I see it is 43 degrees and sunny today ---- is that good enough to start the ice meltdown ? Terry Golson Yes, snow is melting - but temps still go below freezing at night. This causes "black ice" which is very dangerous on the roads. Also, as the snow melts on roofs, it turns to slush and ice, and then water backs up under the eaves causing "ice dams" and flooding inside of houses. We'd be okay if this were the end of winter, but more snow is expected this week. Thaws can cause more trouble than you think!...

Pie Party Before and After – HenBlog – Monday, November 29, 2010

lauren scheuer AAAhhh festive! Georgene Which pie was the favorite ? Terry Golson The savory butternut squash gallette topped with toasted walnuts and fresh pomagranate seeds superb. The Brown Sugar Pear pie was classic, perfect, and gone. The pies that were really complicated to make weren't the big hits. Every year I try extravagant recipes, and every year I conclude that they aren't worth the trouble! Ken The mess, that's why God made dishwashers ;-) Sean Looks so festive! What a beautiful setting. You've got a real flair for design, both in pies and decorations. What lucky guests and a...

Leftover Pie Crust Cookies – HenBlog – Monday, November 22, 2010

...crusts. I bake on the center rack, and yes, it can take all day (several days, really.) I DO use the self-clean option! Terry Golson The pie plates have accrued over the years. This year I did an inventory to make sure that I had the right plates for the planned pies. I still needed to buy two more ceramic (I ended up getting two Le Crueset in last years colors, at half price!) I use clear pyrex for the pies that require shells baked in advance. The glass makes for the most even browning, and I can see exactly...

My Money Making Scheme – HenBlog – Monday, October 11, 2010

...there, our cash-flow situation is tight. The hens aren’t laying enough to bring in egg money. What to do? Yesterday I was in a trendy Boston neighborhood, wandering around a crafts fair and farmers market. I also popped into an old warehouse that now hosts vintage sellers on the weekend. One of the vendors was selling this: The tag said claimed it is a “chicken feeder from Texas, cleaned and sealed.” The price? $175. !!! So, here’s my idea. I’ll get a few nesting boxes, let my chickens give them that authentic patina, and then sell them to decorators! Genius!...

Oriole – HenBlog – Sunday, August 7, 2011

...seems anxious and stays near the coop. I think she probably suffered and survived Marek's disease. It's hard to know what to do sometimes. Raising chickens is certainly an adventure. Lucy Suitor Holt Just wanted to say, you have an infestation of sparrows. At least a dozen were inside the coop right this minute, enjoying your girls' feed. Looked like a minature flock as they gathered around the feeder. Nasty infectious greedy things leaving their "exhaust" everywhere your girls live. Also wanted to say that I have another reliable item in my own medicine chest for the hens. Molasses. My...

Nothing Goes To Waste – HenBlog – Wednesday, December 12, 2012

One of the benefits of keeping hens is that nothing goes to waste. In fact, kitchen disasters get a joyful reception from the flock. I bought a new microwave. Same wattage as the 12-year old one, but more powerful, as I learned when the first batch of popcorn burnt. But, no matter! The Gems devoured it. No surprise that Beryl (she of the full crop) is photographed here being a glutton. The goats leapt up onto their stumps in anticipation of the treat. This is Caper’s popcorn face. He wants more. The old hens also enjoyed the popcorn, although they...

Coop Cleaning Routine – HenBlog – Monday, October 21, 2013

...goes in my chicken houses and other animals' pens are organic materials from my property. I don't have any problems with mites, ammonia smells, and I turn my 10 to 12 inches deep (for winter) bedding often. My bedding for winter is made up of shredded pine that's collected in my woods and run through the shredder and rye grass straw,. I thoroughly cleaned my chicken houses for winter this past weekend, and after they were completely empty, swept, and windows and screens cleaned, I then used white vinegar in spray bottles and sprayed everywhere. Then, I opened the windows...

A Peek Into My Kitchen – HenBlog – Monday, November 9, 2009

...in silver. It never tarnishes!) Carolyn P.S. Happy Birthday!! (loved the view this a.m. of Pip and Caper sunbathing on their jungle jim and picnic table. Too funny!) Terry Golson I'll leave it in it's "shabby chic" state. Somi 'Your fashion tips for animal owners', is quite the same as for people with toddlers. Very very practical. My 4 year old's behaviour is identical to a puppy's:) Terry Golson At least a dog's hair stays the same color - I remember those days of having toddler "decorations" all over. Smeared playdoh! Hard to plan an outfit to match that :)...