Burns Night Scotch Eggs January 23, 2015 No Comments

Burns Night will be here soon–and we always celebrate at our house. Traditionally, you’d serve haggis at a Burns Supper… however, in the US you just can’t get real haggis (it’s an issue that some hilariously attribute to the obesity epidemic in the US. Instead, we serve one of my favorite stand-bys: Scotch Eggs. We have Burns Night Scotch Eggs, Burns Night Rumbledythumps, Burns Night Stovies, and Burns Night Bannocks. It’s a Scottish-y feast in celebration of Scottish poet Robert Burns.

I live in West Virginia, where a Scotch-Irish background is common. Myself, I’m Clan Douglass (with two Ses). My husband’s Clan Campbell. (I cannot blame him for the Campbell role in the tragedy at Glencoe! ;-)) So for us, Burns Night is typically just a reason to eat Scotch Eggs and  Rumbledythumps–rumbledythumps is more or less tatties (potatoes) mashed with cabbage and onions, and topped with cheese. Sometimes I like to mash in neeps (turnips), too.

Burns Night Scotch Eggs and Rumbledythumps

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But Burns Night Scotch Eggs? That’s what I’m getting to. Traditionally Scotch Eggs are hard-cooked eggs, wrapped with sausage, then breaded and fried. However, I find that if Read the rest of this entry »

5 top plants to grow when you keep pet chickens January 16, 2015 No Comments

It’s seed catalog time! If you garden, you’re probably already being tempted by all the things you can order… but you have to do extra thinking when deciding what plants to grow when you keep pet chickens.

Easy Does It rose: plants to grow when you keep pet chickens

My eyes drink these colors

There are some good steps to take to combine chickens and gardening–you definitely want to think ahead. Chickens want to eat your landscaping, and what they don’t eat, they will scratch up!  So, while you’re using our special trick to keep your chickens from scratching out and scattering your mulch, you’ll also want to plan what you’ll be growing in your beds.

I thought I’d share my top favorites. This is by no means an exhaustive list, so please share yours in the comments!

5 top plants to grow when you keep pet chickens

1. Roses.

Chickens are Read the rest of this entry »

3 simple cold weather treats for your flock January 9, 2015 3 Comments

When it’s cold outside, we stay huddled up by the fire. We have hot cocoa, or maybe a splash of Irish cream in the coffee. For dinner, we make a spicy pot of chili, or sometimes a delicious curry. But our chickens? They aren’t able to cook up their own treats (since I haven’t equipped the coop with a kitchen—yet). So I often cook up some cold weather chicken treats for them.

Yeah, I hear your chuckles and snickers! Some people would say it’s a little weird to cook for your chickens. But when your chickens are your pets, it’s no different than giving your dog or cat a special treat. Don’t judge me! ;-)

Prissy the Rhode Island Red begs: cold weather treats for your flock

Prissy, like my other girls, loves to be spoiled. You’ll enjoy making cold weather treats for your flock.

Want to make some cold weather treats for your flock? I’ll share three easy options right here.

3 simple cold weather treats for your flock

1. Porridge.

Something warm on a cold morning is a treat for us—and it’s a treat for your chickens, too. My chickens love oatmeal, grits, and cream of wheat—made without dairy or added sugar. (Too much sugar can cause diarrhea.) Dairy, aside from yogurt with active cultures, is best avoided when cooking for your flock, since chickens are not mammals, and can have some trouble digesting milk. Here’s the recipe I use: Read the rest of this entry »

Top 10 Hottest Chicken Trends of Spring 2015 January 2, 2015 17 Comments

Are you a watcher of chicken trends? Okay, maybe not. There aren’t many people who do that… but I’m one of the few. (Sometimes it does feel as if I’m a paparazzo hovering around the red carpet, just waiting to see which birds will go into the premier—the premier being, in this case, the New Year 2015.)  I love to see what breeds and varieties chickenistas are drawn to, particularly since I’m in a position to make recommendations from personal experience. Do people enjoy the same breeds I do? Is there a breed I should take a look at–but haven’t? What are the top 10 hottest chicken trends of Spring 2015?

Chicken trends: olive eggers

Hot chicken trend 2015: Olive Egger baby chicks

Determining which chicken breeds and varieties are trending certainly depends on how you measure it, though. By bare quantity sold, the chicken trends list will look different than it does when you’re look at which varieties sell out fastest. There are some rare breeds that are all reserved within just a day or two of our posting availability dates.  Since we have fewer of these rare breeds to begin with, if we go by quantity alone, it won’t really reflect which breeds are the most wanted. (To see the breeds listed below—and to see what is still available to reserve for the coming year, go to our home page in the menu above and click on “Day Old Chicks” on the left side of that page. And remember, you can still get “sold out” rare chicken breeds in a couple of ways!)

Cream Legbar

Cream Legbars are the 2nd trendiest chicken breed of Spring 2015

 

So, the list I composed takes both aspects into account. Read the rest of this entry »

Rescue hens: 5 special benefits December 19, 2014 1 Comment

This is the time of year chickenistas all begin dreaming about birds and breeds they’ll be adding to the flock for next year. It’s also the time of year to celebrate kindness and charity. A good way to combine the two would be to adopt rescue hens. Consider adopting battery farm survivors next year. Not only will you be helping the rescue hens, there are five special benefits to YOU.

baby chick in hand

You won’t be getting fancy breed baby chicks if you rescue hens; chances are they’ll be adult White Leghorns, Sex Links, or Rhode Island Reds.

 

When I was a child and my family adopted animals, they were always from the pound—or rescued from the street. Even now, aside from my flock (nearly all of which were hatched here at my home), all the animals we have are rescues.

Our cat Spider was rescued as a stray kitten from the street, where he was being poked with sticks by a group of children.

rescuespider

Spider is now about 18 years old

 

Our cat Spooky showed up at our farm a few years ago, skin and bones. What remained of his fur was full of burrs and briars, and he even had a broken tooth.

rescuespooky

Spooky now has a full, soft coat

 

We adopted our dog Reggie through a rescue organization, Cavalier Rescue USA, after he had been crated most of his life .

rescuereggie2

Reggie now has acres where he can run around, and plenty of love and affection

As those of you who follow our blog probably already know, conventional egg production in factory farms involves keeping hens caged for their entire lives, in an area slightly smaller than the size of a sheet of notebook paper. The birds can’t stretch their wings, have nowhere to nest privately for laying, cannot roost to sleep, dust bathe, forage or lay in the sun—all natural instincts of chickens that are frustrated by the unnatural and cruel conditions. Next year, consider rescue hens. Give some of these factory farm survivors a good home.

5 benefits of adopting rescue hens

1. Science says acts of kindness, such as adopting a rescue animal, make you healthier 

Read the rest of this entry »

6 Ways to Improve Your Chicken Photos December 15, 2014 No Comments

Who doesn’t love taking photos of their beautiful chickens? Be honest, if you’re reading this blog, most of the photos on your camera and social media are of your feathered friends, whether they are eating some treats or laying an egg. My Pet Chicken has shared some tips on getting good chicken photos before. Now I have some additional pointers… so if you’re interested in learning how to improve your chicken photos, it’s your lucky day!

Chicken photos - silver laced wyandotte Stormie

This photo of my Silver Laced Wyandotte hen, Stormie, was taken using Shutter Speed Mode.

6 Ways to Improve Your Chicken Photos

1. Use a fast shutter speed. If you’re using a camera with Read the rest of this entry »

Four Important Feather Foot Concerns December 12, 2014 8 Comments

Feather foot chickens: there’s just something about the magnificent feathered legs of breeds like cochins or silkies. Fancy feathered chickens in general—including those with crests, beards, tufts and/or muffs—can be fun to keep as pets, simply because they’re so showy and spectacular. Many people have never seen feather footed chickens before. Sometimes even the chickens themselves seem surprised.

Feather foot buff brahma rooster looking at his feathery feet

What in THE WORLD do I have on my feets?

But before you consider keeping feather foot chickens, there are a few issues to consider. Just as you’d want to know about any special issues with a prospective pet dog or cat breed (Long hair that needs frequent grooming? Pushed-in snout? Heavy shedder? Hard to house train?), you want to be aware of the issues associated with feather foot chickens before you acquire any, so you can be prepared.

4 main concerns when keeping feather foot chickens:

1. Leg mites

Chickens with feathered legs are generally more vulnerable to scaly leg mites than chickens without Read the rest of this entry »

15 great chicken stocking stuffers and gifts December 5, 2014 No Comments

Chicken stocking stuffers: this has a double meaning, if you keep pet chickens! Firstly, it refers to what chicken-related things go into your stocking. And it also refers to the things that go into your chickens’ stockings.

Yeah, you heard me. CHICKENS’ STOCKINGS. That’s how we roll around here.

We, er, chicken roll so hard that we made up a list of some great chicken themed gifts and chicken stocking stuffers. If you’re a chicken lover, you can use this list to get some ideas about what to put in your pet chickens’ stockings, and what you can make or bring to holiday parties for a kick. You can alsosend this blog post to your friends and family, or share this post on Facebook, to give them some ideas of what to get you. Oh, honey? HINT, HINT.

First we’ll take a look at some good stocking stuffers for the chicken lover.

Since they’re fairly inexpensive, these would also serve as great gifts for younger kids to buy their chicken-loving parent, too.

1.Chicken Poop Lip Balm

chicken stocking stuffer chicken poop

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No actual poop involved, of course. This is also a cute gift to give to kids who like gross-out humor, or as Read the rest of this entry »

Top 10 ways to prepare the flock for winter December 2, 2014 3 Comments

I like to prepare the flock for winter, and I like to do it early. I’ve always found being an early bird and preparing well in advance for new seasons, or even batches of chicks,  is a good idea for a few reasons. Firstly, by the time some seasonal items are really necessary, they can be sold out. But if you purchase your supplies a month or more in advance, not ony will you be prepared, but in some cases it can also save you some money. Secondly if you’re not properly prepared, for example, with a heated waterer, if freezing temperatures hit before expected, you’ll really regret not thinking ahead. You may have to scramble at changing and defrosting waterers like mad, rather than sitting back and letting the equipment do the work! But lastly, if you don’t prepare the flock for winter prior to winter’s arrival, you’ll find yourself pushing a wheelbarrow full of partially frozen chicken poop through a foot of snow to wherever your compost pile is… only to find that it, too, is covered in a foot of snow. Then you could be forced to look at a poop covered snow pile until next spring—ugh.

Now that I’ve made your aware of all the very unpleasant situations you could be in if you don’t prepare the flock for winter, please read my Top Ten list and make sure you know what you need to get so your flock will be ready for what comes.

First Snow For chickens and sheep 077

My chickens stick to the path in the snow!

Read the rest of this entry »

Top 7 Ways Mother Nature Decorates for Winter November 28, 2014 1 Comment

I loved seeing all the coop decorations from my colleagues for the Coop Giveaway with Fresh Eggs Daily. I didn’t submit a coop photo, though. I confess that while I go a little mad with inside winter decorations, I don’t decorate outside for winter. For other seasons, I do! For fall, I like mums, and pumpkins, and hay bales. (Also Halloween eggs.)For spring, I’m all over the daffodils, crocuses, hyacinths and forsythia.  My fruit trees are covered in blossoms. (And colored eggs, of course.) For summer, it’s roses, marigolds, mullein, spider flower… and fruit from the trees, veggies from the garden (which was fertilized by the chickens). Even beyond our own feathered flock, our trees are filled with all sorts of colorful birds like indigo buntings and orioles. Of course there are cardinals–this is West Virginia, after all. But as I was considering why I didn’t really decorate for winter–is it just because I don’t spend as much time outside?—I realized that I do decorate. Or someone does, anyway. I realized that Mother Nature decorates for me, just like she does in other seasons.

The flowers, the fruit, the pumpkins and berries and veggies: clearly, I take my inspiration from nature. So, while I don’t want to pretend that my coop is decorated for the holidays in the same way as the lovely coops of my colleagues, I thought I’d share some photos of the way Mother Nature decorates our coop, and our home. I have a feeling some of you may enjoy the raw beauty of the season the same way I do.

Seven Ways Mother Nature Decorates for Winter:

1. Icicles

Mother nature decorates with icicles

Here is a row of real icicles decorating our coop roof.

2. Reflected light Read the rest of this entry »