Author Archives: Wendy Thomas

About Wendy Thomas

Wendy is a journalist, writer, blogger and teaches writing at Nashua Community College.

Lesson 1236 – Using red with chicks

As we all start thinking about baby chicks (and I know some people have already gotten theirs and oh, do I have chick envy) I want to remind you of this very important bit of information.

Chickens like the color red. It’s in their DNA to investigate and peck at anything that is red. For this reason, most feeders and waterers have red bases.

red base

The chicks see red, they investigate and soon they learn that’s where the food and water is.

Sometimes though, you can get smaller chicks who may not be able to reach the top of the standard red bases. When this is the case in our house, I use red marbles in a jar lid or shallow dish filled with feed or water.

red marbles

The chicks see red, they investigate and soon they learn that’s where the food and water is. All is good.

Within a few days, the chicks are usually large enough to reach the standard feeders and I then remove the lids and marbles. Such an easy solution, everyone who gets chicks should have a few red marbles in their chicken care box.

When chicks get older though, their love for red doesn’t diminish. It’s why when we unearthed a nest of tiny pink mice, the chickens immediately pounced on them. It’s in their DNA.

It’s also the reason I no longer wear these earrings near my chickens.

red earrings

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

***

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.

2 Comments

Filed under All things chickens, chicken care, Chicks

Lesson 1235 – A Kid’s Guide to Keeping Chickens by Melissa Caughey – Book Review

kids guideThere are a few of us chicken bloggers/writers who met years ago and have become the “chicken-ladies of the Northeast.” We keep in touch and each year we meet at the Northeastern Poultry Congress to give hugs and catch up on all things chicken. I adore these friends.

One of these chicken ladies is Melissa Caughey of the popular blog Tilly’s Nest. Melissa has just come out with her first chicken book: A Kid’s Guide to Keeping Chickens and it’s a winner. In it she offers advice on how to choose chickens for your flock, how to take care of those little chicks for the first six weeks, building a coop, feeding your flock, eggs, how to take care of sick chickens, playing with chickens, and the final chapters cover chicken crafts and cooking with eggs. Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Lesson 1234 – Chick season

Thank you all for your wonderful and supportive comments regarding my father, each one has touched me. The funeral will be this weekend and while it will be sad, all of my brothers and sisters will be there, along with my mother. I’m sure we’ll all have some big smiles as we remember our Dad.

***

As it is spring in New Hampshire (at least on the calendar – we ended up getting some snow on the first day of spring) people’s thoughts are turning to chicks. I gave a chickens 101 presentation to a women’s group who were interested in either getting chicks or continuing to maintain their current flock. They had lots of great questions, backyard chickens are still gaining in popularity.

We got 12 new chicks last spring (only 1 ended up dying) and don’t really need any new members of our flock (in a few weeks, we are going to be flush with eggs) but knowing that the peregrine falcons have discovered our backyard take-out restaurant, I’m going to be getting 4 new chicks just in case.

This time, I’ve decided to get 2 Columbian Rock Cross and 2 more New Hampshire Reds. Of last year’s batch, it was the New Hampshire Reds that ended up being the friendliest and most willing to interact with the rest of the family. They are a sturdy, red/brown, consistent egg laying bird bred specifically for our climate. For us, that’s a win-win-win situation.

As far as the Columbian Rocks, although they look similar to Light Brahma’s (of which we have had 2) there is enough of a difference for me to give them a try. As you have probably figured out, we like a flock filled with diversity.
If you are going to branch out and try different birds this season, go for it, but here’s some good advice I was given by a trusted chicken breeder – the old saying “birds of a feather, flock together” is an old saying for a reason. When you get new chicks either get at least 2 of each kind (so they have similar buddies) or try to keep them all to the same relative size. Try not to introduce all or a single bantam into a flock of standard-sized chickens. That just sets up the perfect condition for serious pecking. Continue reading

3 Comments

Filed under All things chickens, chicken care, Chicks

Lesson 1233 – Fair winds, Dad

Last night my father died. It’s what we were all praying for – a peaceful, quick, and painless release.

But it still leaves a gaping, ragged hole in my heart.

My father was a good man. He served our country during WWII when at the age of 17 he became a tail gunner in the United States Navy. His job was to shoot down other planes, while at the same time the enemy tail gunners had the job of shooting him down.

That’s some courage.

He was widowed with 2 children when he married my widowed mother who had 4 children. He went on his honeymoon knowing that when he came home, he would be the father of 6  young children (and then a 7th was soon added.)

That’s some courage. Continue reading

13 Comments

Filed under Personal, Recipes, Teaching kids, The Family

Lesson 1232 – Sending out prayers

Sending out prayers of peace, no pain, and release for my dad.

pink heart

The flock is sad today.

***

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.

1 Comment

Filed under Personal, Recipes, Teaching kids, The Family

Lesson 1231 – Oisin and the leprechaun

Many years ago, when our youngest was only a baby, I was sent to Ireland in March by one of my clients to do some Instructional Design work. For ten days I stayed in Dublin and worked with engineers on their software and although I did get to see some local sights, there just wasn’t time to see much of the rest of Ireland. I saw the city, but I never got to see the poetic rolling grassy hills and little cottages that are always featured in movies.

One night I wandered down to the hotel bar for a Guinness (of course, when in Ireland…) and I started talking to the young man, Oisin, who was tending bar. St. Patrick’s day was coming up and I was starting to miss my children.

“My kids are jealous of me coming over here, because they wanted to see a real Leprechaun,” I told Oisin.  I explained how I tried to keep magic and wonder alive in our house and as a result Leprechauns visited on St. Patrick’s day to raise a little mischief and leave some treats for the household. Continue reading

2 Comments

Filed under Personal, Recipes, Teaching kids, The Family

Lesson 1230 – And you thought the Wicked Witch was scary

Saturday I was drawn to the window by the constant crying of a small bird. Much like when you’re a mother and a baby cries, when you own chickens, you can always pick put a cry of distress.

I followed the noise to the kitchen window and I saw a smallish-brown-with-horizontal-stripes bird tearing away at a (poor little) blue jay. Absolutely ripping and tearing – that bird was vicious.

As the jay was still faintly crying out, I tried to go out back to “shoo” away the invader, but as soon as I opened the door, the bird took the jay in its feet and flew deeper into the woods. A vicious little bird with lots of strength.

What on earth had that been? Continue reading

3 Comments

Filed under All things chickens, Backyard Chickens, chicken care, Chicken fun, Life Lessons, Mama Hen, Personal, Teaching kids, The Family