Lesson 1144 – Goblins and witches and crazy people, oh my

When the kids were younger, I’d make sure they all had costumes for Halloween.

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I never did anything scary, not like this lady I found participating in a zombie walk

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Or this zombie bride on her iPhone (which is scary on so many levels.)

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As our family grew, so did our costume collection.

Emma is hiding in my tummy and wouldn't show for about 2 more months.

Emma is hiding in my tummy and wouldn’t show for about 2 more months.

These days, only a few of the kids get dressed up for Halloween (others only want to stay indoors and play video games online.)

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As for me, oh I’ll still put on something to greet the neighborhood kids as they come around to knock on our door,

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but as soon as that porch light turns out, I’ll be in my jammies reading one of the several good books I have going, secure in the knowledge that all my chicks know enough to keep safe when goblins, witches, and various other scary people in our town abound.

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Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com

Also, join me on Facebook to find out more about the flock (children and chickens) and see some pretty funny chicken jokes, photos of tiny houses, and even a recipe or two.

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Lesson 1144 – Where oh where could those little eggs be?

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We have been letting our chickens free range all spring, summer and now fall. It worked out well, the older hens got some exercise and the youngsters got to explore (and boy did they explore.) The problem is, however, that because they are free ranging, now we can’t find their eggs.

With the older crew I had set up nest boxes outside that they used without fail, but nope, no one is using them now. This could be for several reasons:

  • The older ones are too old and the younger ones are too young. Although I think that this is a general trend with our flock, I find it hard to believe that NOT ONE chicken is laying. Not one. Some of my older hens are only a few years old, they still have it in them. And my youngsters are at right at the point where they should begin laying (in fact, a few weeks back I had found some smaller eggs which I assumed were starter eggs from the kids.)
  • Predators, those darn predators. Marc and I have carefully inspected the coop. We can’t find any place where the chicken wire has failed or where anything has tried to burrow under. Based on a Facebook photo I had once seen, I still scan the entire of the coop for large black, hulking snakes (and I have my phone set to dial 911 if I ever find one, not for them to take care of the snake, but rather for them to take care of me after I’ve had the heart attack I’ll have if I ever see a large, black, hulking snake.)
  • Just the wrong time of year. It takes roughly 16 hours of daylight for a chicken to lay an egg. We all know that their egg production slows down when the days get shorter. But all 27 birds have just stopped? For a few weeks? I don’t buy it.

My last guess (and this is the one I’m putting my money on) is that somewhere in the back woods of our house is a large cache of eggs. I think that our birds have found their own private nest boxes and are using them.

Marc and I walked the property looking for a clutch, or at the very least broken egg shells, but we’ve found nothing (it’s sort of like an adult Easter egg hunt without the jellybeans.) It doesn’t mean that those eggs are not out there, it simply means that if I’m right, we just haven’t found them yet.

So for now, the flock is on house arrest. We’re keeping them cooped in the coop for a few days to see if they are laying and to perhaps retrain them to use an indoor nesting box. Our flock hates the snow and stays in the coop and enclosed hen yard all winter so nest box training will be coming soon anyway, but for now, we need to find those eggs.

I’m missing my scrambled with bacon in the morning.

 

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Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com

Also, join me on Facebook to find out more about the flock (children and chickens) and see some pretty funny chicken jokes, photos of tiny houses, and even a recipe or two.

Like what you read here? Consider subscribing to this blog so that you’ll never miss a post. And feel free to share with those who may need a little chicken love.

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Lesson 1143 – Radio in the coop? I think not.

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The other evening when I was giving my second chicken workshop (the first covers from chick to coop – the second covers from coop to soup) one of the participants asked me a question that was a first.

Should you leave a radio on in your coop?

I stopped and thought. I know that leaving the radio on for cats and dogs is fairly common practice but for birds? She then told me that she had two parrots and would leave the radio on for them during the day.

It sounded logical for her situation – parrots are verbal birds, but, and with utmost respect to my flock, chickens are not parrots.

My initial response was no. Chickens do not need a radio – whether it be talk radio or music – and here’s my reasoning.

Chickens do not have the greatest of eyesight. Not only that, but the eyes are on either side of their head which is why they keep moving their heads back and forth to see you (and why it’s so darn hard to get a good facial shot.) It makes sense that if an animal were given poor eyesight, it would be compensated in other areas.

Besides being given lovely personalities, I’m willing to bet that chickens have been blessed with very good hearing. I know that they can hear me inside the house in the morning – all you have to do is look at the coop to see that they’re all ready at the coop door when they hear me up and about.

So if they have good hearing, it might stand to reason that they would really enjoy a good Brahm’s or even an occasional Brittney, but because they rely on their hearing for safety, I would think that having constant background music would eventually stress them out. Chickens constantly listen for activity around them, it’s how they survive – that little chipmunk over there is fine, the dog passing through the yard, however, is not. They can hear the difference (and if you have a rooster, he’s going to crow when he hears sounds of danger.)

If chickens cannot constantly audibly scan their environment, then they don’t know where danger comes from and if they get used to not exercising this skill, when they are released they just might not remember to pay attention.

So my answer is no. No matter how bored you think you chickens might be when you are at away, they do not need a radio or music to cheer them up. Besides, they’re happy enough, if you have a flock then you already have a few birds who are ready to talk with each other, peck, challenge, and simply interact with each other at all times.

My non-musical answer, however, will not be stopping me from singing an occasional “You Are My Sunshine” to my flock on a sunny, warm day when we are all playing in the backyard.

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Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com

Also, join me on Facebook to find out more about the flock (children and chickens) and see some pretty funny chicken jokes, photos of tiny houses, and even a recipe or two.

Like what you read here? Consider subscribing to this blog so that you’ll never miss a post. And feel free to share with those who may need a little chicken love.

Leave a comment

Filed under All things chickens, Backyard Chickens, chicken care, Personal

Lesson 1142 – Quotable Chicks

Friday’s Quotes for the Chicks

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Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart.” Winnie the Pooh

 

Last night, chick number four participated in the new member induction ceremony for the National Honor Society. New members get to light their candles of knowledge while existing members get to hand out roses to the people who have helped them along their academic journey. Continue reading

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Lesson 1141 – Pictures from around

This morning I was going through my photos and thought I’d share a few of my favorite pics.
I know that Stephen Hawking can be a little obtuse, but filed under Foreign Language? Really?

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Sometimes, all it takes is a little effort to bring beauty into your life. Continue reading

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Lesson 1140 – Keto diet and backyard chickens

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It turns out that a Keto diet is a *very* good diet to be on if you have chickens (and want to make a thrifty dish or two. This one crustless quiche recipe uses 12 eggs (although to be fair it makes 12 servings so that’s really only one egg per serving.) Once made, I froze the leftovers and in the mornings I take one serving out, sprinkle more cheese on it and then heat it in the microwave.I think this is a terrific breakfast recipe for anyone, especially older kids who sometimes are so rushed they forget to eat something for breakfast.Here is the original recipe from I breathe I’m hungry.

It’s a low carb and gluten free breakfast casserole recipe that is hearty and easy to make!

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Lesson 1139 – A matter of time

 I finally caught up with our neighbors on the *other* side of our property. As the juveniles (delinquents) get braver and braver, they roam further and further from home, right into, you’ve guessed it, our neighbor’s property where they’ve found a wide open grass lawn just ready for yummy insect picking.I’ve tried. I’ve really tried to keep these hoodlums from their property but just like human teens, as soon as you designate something as forbidden, the kids will test you on it. Say no and they are on top of it – see you later.

Sure enough, my young flock has passed the natural boundary of the woods and is fully into the green, green grasslands on the other side.

I apologized. “I’m so sorry,” I told our neighbor. “We shoo the birds back whenever we see them nearing your property.”

“No problem at all,” she told me. “Your chickens can eat all the bugs and ticks from our lawn that they want.” This is another neighbor that has not seen a tick on any of her outdoor cats this summer. She enjoys our chickens and looks forward to seeing them scratching in her yard.

Do you know what a difference it makes when your neighbors accept your flock? (and yes, our neighbors will be getting eggs as soon as the brats start laying)

She did warn me about the large female falcon she has seen in her yard (and which she blames for the death of one of her cats.) I’ve seen the falcon twice in our yard, and my flock (even the obnoxious juveniles) knows to take heed (they all rush to hide under bushes or low hanging areas.) Our neighbor also warned me about a large fox that she has seen pacing our property line.

I know it’s just a matter of time. As I tell people in my chicken classes, if you make the decision to free-range your chickens, you make the decision to lose a few to predators. As long as you understand that, all is well.

Because I’m one who likes to have her cake and eat it too, I physically get up from my desk and check on the chickens several times a day, thinking that maybe I can keep them from harm. But I’m also a bit of a realist. Roving chickens are targets.

And I know it’s just a matter of time.

Continue reading

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