Graveyard Eggs from your Pet Chickens October 24, 2014 No Comments

One of the things I loved about living in China was the street food. There was delicious, delicious food available almost everywhere for next to nothing. (The same goes for New York, but it’s a lot more expensive!) I remember lucking into some delicious steamed red bean paste dumplings for about twelve and a half cents each. My other favorite were the Tea Eggs, which are eggs that have been hard cooked, and flavored with tea and spices. I call my take “Graveyard Eggs.”

Graveyard Eggs on an autumn morning

Graveyard Eggs are perfect for a cool, foggy October morning.

The 4 best things about Graveyard Eggs

  1. They’re easy to make.
  2. They look gorgeous.
  3. They taste wonderful.
  4. They are fun for Halloween.

If you follow our blog, you’ll know how much I love Halloween, so making Graveyard Eggs is something I love to do. When you make them with eggs laid by your own backyard hens like I do, they’re even better, because you know they’re so much more nutritious than store bought–PLUS, you know your own backyard hens are treated humanely (usually even spoiled!).

Most Tea Egg recipes I’ve seen call for boiling the eggs for Read the rest of this entry »

Day of the Dead Eggs October 17, 2014 1 Comment

I love Halloween. I love dressing up. I love decorating. And I love making fun Halloween treats. This year, I decided to make some Day of the Dead Eggs.

Day of Dead Eggs

Day of the Dead Eggs

Yes, I know! Day of the Dead is NOT the same as Halloween, of course. The Day of the Dead is observed chiefly on November 1st and 2nd, and is a celebration and remembrance of the lives of departed loved ones. However, because the holidays fall at the same time, some of the traditions are melding, to a certain extent. For instance, in some areas children will dress up in costume and knock on doors for treats, or calaveritas. So, please forgive my license! I think Day of the Dead Eggs are nice for either tradition. Personally, I’ll be eating freshly made Day of The Dead Eggs for breakfast the day after Halloween, but I wanted to share this with you now, in plenty of time for you to create your own Day of the Dead Eggs!

A traditional Day of the Dead decoration is the skull—often made in sugar. My version is painted on a hard-boiled egg: Day of the Dead Eggs. For my Day of the Dead Eggs, I used a white-shelled egg, but you could use any color. I loved the starkness of the black and white.

Directions for Day of the Dead Eggs

Hard cook your eggs. We’ve discussed the best way to cook hard boiled eggs before. When the eggs are cool and dry, you can decorate them.

Special note: Don’t use raw eggs. Would Read the rest of this entry »

Chicken Poop Cookies for Halloween October 10, 2014 2 Comments

Not long ago, I posted a recipe for Chicken Poop Dog Treats. In preparation for Halloween, and in the tradition of gross-looking Halloween food like Lady’s Finger cookies, Meat Heads, Monster Mouths and so on, I thought I’d share a recipe for Chicken Poop Cookies (for people). Chickens aren’t the only ones that enjoy treats at our house!

Don’t these look tasty?

chicken poop cookies

Not!

Chicken Poop Cookies

  • 1/2 c butter
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 1/2 c brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 c peanut butter
  • 1-1/2 c flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 c rolled oats (I used a combination of spent grain and oats)

Preheat oven to 400. Cream Read the rest of this entry »

Laverne, the Godzilla of Broody Hens October 8, 2014 2 Comments

This post was written by Joyce.

You have to admire the perseverance of a would-be mother hen.  I have a Salmon Favorelles named Laverne who would starve on the nest before she would give up being a broody hen, even when there are no eggs under her.  As a rule, when I’d like a broody hen to hatch some special eggs, I will put her in a separate pen where chicks would be safe upon hatching.  Usually a broody hen will quickly settle into the new nest full of precious eggs and happily go about hatching.  Not this one.  Laverne refuses to be relocated to a safer place. Read the rest of this entry »

Top 5 most cold hardy chicken breeds October 3, 2014 4 Comments

One of the most important things you can do when choosing which breeds you want for your flock is to choose breeds appropriate to your climate. With cold winter weather in the way for most of the US, let’s have a look at cold hardy chicken breeds. Our website makes it easy to choose from a list of cold hardy chicken breeds, but if you live in the bitter, bitter north, you may need the MOST cold hardy chicken breeds.

Here are the top five most cold hardy chicken breeds:

Read the rest of this entry »

Feather Sexing: Why it Won’t Work September 30, 2014 1 Comment

Going to the feed store with my daughter to see the chicks in the spring is a favorite past time with her. Occasionally, we see a new breeds we’re interested in taking home with us. The signage often contains vital information about the chicks that help us decide which to take home. To us these details hold familiarity, but for some people these terms can be confusing and bear some explaining.

8 Week Old Buff Brahma Cockerel.

8 Week Old Buff Brahma Cockerel. He was purchased as a Straight Run chick.

Here are the terms you’ll see when looking for your chicks and what they mean:

  • Pullets: Young females sexed by the hatchery, can be 1 day old to under 1 year to use this term.
  • Mixed Pullets: Females of different breeds, including hybrids sexed by the hatchery
  • Straight Run: Unsexed chicks including a mix of males and females. These were never sexed by a professional.
  • Cockerels: Young males sexed by the hatchery. Ages from 1 day old to under 1 year use this term.

Your local feed store will have chicks available to you based on these choices. They receive them from hatcheries around the country. Some shops will get it whatever is available at the time they order. Breeds and sexing choices can change on a week to week basis due to availability.

Last spring we were looking at a bin of straight run Wyandottes that just came in that morning. They were about 3 days old at the time. A farm retiree that liked to sit up there on warm mornings and chat with the customers started picking up chicks and looking at their wing feathers, then showing why he thought this one was a female or that one was male. He expounded about how he used to hatch thousands of chicks every year, and how he knew which ones were of value to him for their eggs and which ones he would later put into his freezer.

In the end I didn’t take home those chicks…. but I can fill you in about why you can’t rely on methods like these at the feed store.

Feed stores get their chicks Read the rest of this entry »

How Hildy the Blind Hen Died September 26, 2014 5 Comments

This will probably be my last Hildy story. If you haven’t read the stories about my blind hen Hildy, you may want to start at the beginning.

Read the other posts related to Hildy the blind hen:

  1. Introducing Hildy the blind hen
  2. Hildy the blind hen in the pecking order
  3. Hildy the blind hen and free ranging
  4. Hildy the blind hen learns to eat treats from a hand
  5. Hildy the blind hen figures out foraging

This is how she died–and it’s not much of a tale, really; it’s more of a just a close to her story.

Hildy the blind hen

Hildy the blind hen

About 2 days before Hildy died, Read the rest of this entry »

Top 3 ways to help your molting flock September 19, 2014 1 Comment

Molting, or shedding old feathers to grow in the new, is triggered in your flock by waning sunlight hours, and typically happens in late summer or fall. During this time, your flock will look pretty raggedy, and may slow down or temporarily stop laying while their feathers grow. So how can you help your molting flock?

Help your molting flock

This welsummer is going through a hard molt, her bare spots now covered with new, growing quills

Nutrition is especially important during this period, no matter which type of molt your birds are going through. During the molt, it’s always doubly important to provide sufficient protein in their diet. After all, they’re growing their feathers in for the next year, and if they are lacking in nutrition, their feathers could be brittle or dry–until the next molt. During this window, you need to take action.

Here are the top 3 ways you can help your molting flock:

1. SWITCH to a higher protein feed during the molt to help your molting flock.

Check your feed bag: how much protein is in your feed? Layer feed is usually Read the rest of this entry »

Be careful what you wish for: the Change.org petition that harms chickens September 13, 2014 273 Comments

We have recently been the target of a Change.org petition started by a vegan animal rights activist which denounces the shipping of baby chicks. It’s time to bring you all into the loop.  The following petition has received more than 71,000 signatures to date:

A post on Facebook today had me livid and I felt compelled to start a petition.

1-DAY-OLD CHICKS SHIPPED BY MAIL

Yesterday I was at the post office and heard the familiar sound of newly hatched chicks. They were calling out from inside a pair of cardboard boxes on the counter. No mama. No food. No water. Yes, the shipping of live, day-old baby chicks is a booming business in the States. Read the rest of this entry »

The #1 reason to raise chicks in the fall September 5, 2014 8 Comments

Why is spring the traditional time to begin raising baby chicks? The main reason is that, in the past, chickens simply laid fewer eggs than they do today—and their top laying season was in the spring, so more eggs were available then for hatching. However, since modern chicken breeds have been selected for higher production and near-year-round laying, we can now choose to raise chicks almost any time of year. Fall has some important advantages!

raise chicks in the fall - seven chicks

Raise chicks in the fall? You bet. You can start your laying flock as soon as NOW!

The number one reason to raise chicks in the fall is Read the rest of this entry »