All the chicks are home. Marc and I typically take the week off between Christmas and New Years in order to spend time with our delightful brood. When the kids were younger, this meant we’d pack them up and go places like Chuckie Cheese and even a movie or two.
Now that the kids are older, they are more interested in sleeping the day away than they are in spending time with the (old) folks.
Which is why we have to work at it a little harder these days.
The other morning, we packed up the kids (in two cars, we no longer have a car (beast) in which everyone fits) and we first went to a local breakfast place where we ate our fill of crepes, hash browns, eggs, and poutine. After we were done we headed over to a local museum – The Currier in Manchester, NH.
Where we got to see masterpieces by artists like, oh Picasso, Rembrandt, and Monet. We also got to see a gorgeous Tiffany lamp, along with pieces of hand carved furniture that are simply impossibilities (seriously how can any artist get wood to look like fur hairs?) Continue reading
My flock remains spooked by the recent falcon attack. Even though they are free to roam about the yard, (especially because even at this late date in December, we have no snow on the ground) more often than not, I find them huddled under the hen house overhang.
It’s dark there. It’s safe. No one knows where you are. It’s a place where you can lick your wounds. I get it.
But there’s also no fresh grass there – no yummy bugs. There’s no space to stretch your wings. The dirt is an uncomfortable place to lay your eggs and in such close proximity even your best tolerated flock mates have a tendency to get on your nerves.
Fear from tragedy is a terrible repressor.
And it’s no way to live your life. Continue reading
Looks like I’m not the only one with misbehaving chickens. Take a look at these “bad boys” whose photos have been sent by readers.
My usually angry BO starting to really abuse the other BO who went broody. I was leaving for a long weekend and couldn’t risk she’d kill the other hen before I returned and couldn’t separate the broody so I put a set of peepers on Ginger to get her to chill till I returned.
And I wasn’t happy with her behavior and wanted the other hens to know it.
Tricky Chick Continue reading
There is an internet trend called “pet shaming” where owners of cats and dogs have their pets confess their bad behavior to the rest of the world using placards – examples of the bad behavior being reported are things like, “I peed on my mom’s favorite slippers” and “I locked my mom and dada out of the truck.”
I thought to myself, why is it that only cats and dogs get to admit their past indiscretions? There are so many other pets that occasionally deserve credit for their spectacular misbehavior.
And so, I submit to you, the first ever (and probably not the last) “Chicken Shaming.”
And you want to know the sad thing? When Marc replaced the keyboard, Charlie went and did it again. Continue reading
It’s President’s Day.
Happy day to all! I guess.
What I mean is I’m not sure how we’re supposed to celebrate the day.
Unlike other years, the kids are in school today. Marc has the day off from work but there’s no special way to spend it (other than going to Tractor Supply on a non-weekend day – which, for him, is pretty exciting.)
For me, it’s like any other day. I’ve got my butt in the chair and I’m writing articles that have deadlines (one blog post I got out this morning is over here.) Continue reading
Meat for the chickens
For some reason, when I first got chickens I had assumed they were vegetarian. After all, they ate the grass and leaves from their coop yard which was augmented by grain feed. An occasional bug? Well that hardly counted as meat, right?
I have since come to learn that chickens love meat. In fact, I’ve seen them go crazy for it.
I first started looking into this when a woman in one of my chicken workshops once told me the story of how her chickens seemed to adore ham. When she would put her scraps in the coop, the chickens would pounce on them. Of course, this discussion gave rise to the question that perhaps the story of Green Eggs and Ham wasn’t so farfetched after all? Continue reading
When we had that recent discussion about providing water to chickens in the winter, I was asked a question from a friend whose galvanized steel waterer had become discolored and rusty over the summer.
Could she still use it? She wondered.
I knew that her chicks were all new this year and was surprised to hear that her equipment was showing so much wear after one season. As it turns out, she regularly adds Apple Cider Vinegar to the chickens’ water supply. Acid wears down a surface thus creating “pitting handles” which are ideal for the rusting process. Rust is formed when oxygen comes into sustained contact with iron in a process called oxidation. Oxygen is delivered to the metal from water, either from liquid water or water vapor. And once rust starts, “nooks and crannies” are created, further contact is then made and more rust is created. Once it starts, it’s a tough cycle to break.
My advice was to cut way back on the Apple Cider Vinegar (an acid strong enough that it can take the enamel off your teeth) and to replace any waterer that had rust.
I used to be a clinical microbiologist for a few years after I graduated from college and in responding to her I made a glib remark about “I know what can grow in rust.”
Someone asked me for more details on bacteria and rust, so here you go. Continue reading