Why Chickens?

My photo
NH, United States
Last year, I bought a chicken coop that was made by someone that I love dearly and decided to raise some chickens. Well... we'll see how this quest develops as Spring fades into Summer and the chicks arrive in early June! Check out my YouTube channel www.youtube.com/fbideas for the most recent videos I've posted!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Oh oh, sprinkler people are coming!

Got the call from our lawn sprinkler company last week scheduling the start of the seasonal turning on of the water! Oops, guess I needed to get more aggressive in asking my husband about planting that Hen House somewhere!

Easter Sunday, we staked out where we want the house to go, and how big a run I think they'll need. House is approximately 8 ft. By 8 ft. And we have staked out the run at 12x16. So, we're ready for them to come and start the system and pray that when we rent the post hole auger we don't hit any of the lines! Now that the outline is there, Anrik Irrigation will be able to adjust the sprinkler heads so I don't end up with a mud hole and damp chickens.

Bob is starting to work with me on this idea. He's still not crazy about it, but at least he's planning on digging holes this coming weekend, and we've identified how many potential days we have to work on getting ready! It's going to be close, but I think we can do it.

I continue to get encouragement from friends who think getting fresh eggs from us is a great idea, and others are starting to save egg cartons for me. When I went into work today, there was one sitting on my desk from a "carton angel"!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Jonathan Greene Corn Gluten

Been busy this month with getting the perennial gardens raked and thatching the lawn with the lawn tractor. Getting this past winter's grass mold stirred up in the wind got my allergies off to a good start . I went to the local Agway and picked up the milky spore so I can put that down in May for the grubs, and found an organic solution to the crabgrass and fertilizer kickoff program. Did you know that corn gluten will stop weed seeds (and grass seeds) from germinating? So, put down what I'm hoping is enough of a layer to retard the weed growth come warm weather. My dog LOVED it!! He thinks I put a snack ALL OVER THE LAWN for him! Lick lick lick, he likes corn! Likely we've had a few days of rain in a row, so it's turned into a liquid and is now feeding the roots instead of the dog. WHO KNEW!! I have to thank Paul from the Paul Parent Garden Club for telling me about the product on Palm Sunday! He did warn me to make sure I got it on BEFORE the chickens came, otherwise they would have the same reaction as the dog!

Friday, April 8, 2011

To weed and feed or not....That is the question!

So here's the thing.. I have over an acre of lush green grass that I mow religiously every 7-10 days during the growing season. Up until now, I've had a lawn care company fertilize and apply weed control to keep it that way and it's the envy of the neighborhood, heck maybe even the town!

Now what? I'm raising chickens for food/eggs and I don't want them eating anything that's going to transfer to me or my loved ones. Is chemical fertilizer safe? I'm thinking that if I stretch logic MAYBE the fertilizer could cut it, but DEFINITELY not the weed control. I know I have grubs (and so do the skunks in the neighborhood) and they're killing my grass from the bottom up!

So, enter the research on MILKY SPORE and DIATENACIOUS EARTH! I'm going to apply milky spore to the lawn and gardens to kill the Japanese beetle grubs for the long term since it takes a few years to kick into gear and will work for 15-20 years. The DE will work more quickly as the grubs will eat it in the soil and be destroyed in the process.

The other good thing is that I can use the DE as part of the treatment for mites, ticks, flea control for the chickens in their coop and dust baths. Pretty amazing stuff! You just have to make sure you use FOOD GRADE DE, not the stuff they use for treating swimming pools. It'll also cut down on odors when put in the bedding and shavings.

So, the grass is going to go through transition this year as I get the grubs under control. In may have more crabgrass and dandelions, but I'll gain healthy chickens and ultimately a healthier lawn.

Jerry Baker has some unique blends of household detergents and other items like mouth wash and tobacco tea that will green my lawn and gardens so even though they are more labor intensive than calling the lawn care company, they may be better for my plants.

Worth a try. What do you think? Have you already been where I am and what do you use?

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Silver Cuckoo Maran Chickens

Silver Cuckoo Maran's are also known simply as "Cuckoo Marans" and are considered "chocolate eggers," meaning their eggs can range from medium brown to a deep chocolate brown.

They are an ideal beginner's bird which is a gardener's friend.  They are a large, heavy, soft feather bird. 

They are busy, active, hardy birds who will eat all my garden pests (if I'm brave enough to let them free range!

Prince Charles of England owns them, and they produce up to 200 eggs per year on average.

Since I'm getting 2 of them, that means 400 chocolate eggs!

Hmmmm, I can feel the need to have someone buy my extra eggs coming on!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Golden Laced Wyandotte - I've ALWAYS loved Gold

Each feather is golden edged in beetle black!  The hens look as if they're starlets dressed in sequined gowns, ready for the red carpet and paparrazzi!

I like the subtle contrast between the gold and the black on these chickens.  They are, like their other sister Wyandottes dependable, energetic and faithful layers.

What more could a beginner want from a flock?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Silver Laced Wyandotte - An Original Variety

Silver Laced Wyandottes are the original Wyandotte variety, and a wonderful example of American breeding.

Wyandottes have an easy going nature with a heavy body and energetic and faithful layers.

Each feather is silvery white edged in beetle black.  The hens look as if they're ladies dressed for a fancy ball.

Until I saw this variety when I started looking at chickens, I never thought about how small or long each feather could be.  The black edging shows off each feather, one by one!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Easter Egger - I've GOT to have Pastel Eggs!

Isn't she cute?
They are friendly, great layers of large blue and green eggs, and (rarely) while, creamy brown or even pinkish eggs.

Their smaller body size makes them good in the heat, and their small pea comb means they do well in cold, too, because they're not susceptible to frostbite.  "Easter Eggers" are hybrids that carry the blue-egg gene of the true Araucana breed.

Because this is a hybrid variety, supposedly even if you have a whole flock of them, you can often tell them apart because they come in so many different colors.

There is no knowing what color egg my hen will give, although the egg color will not change from one egg being laid to another.  Each hen will give ONE egg color. So, if she lays a green egg, then I can't expect the next one to be pink or blue!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Columbian Wyandotte - 2 more for the Coop

Are all chickens this cute when they're sleeping?

The Columbian variety is a more uncommon variety of the Wyandotte, and a wonderful example of American breeding.  These birds are beautiful AND productive.

The Columbian markings are striking: they are clean white birds with black tails and black dotted hackles.  The hens look as if they're garbed in a stole of heraldic ermine, with a black chemise peeking out from beneath their argent gowns!

The hens are hardy, energetic and faithful layers.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Buff Chantecler Chicks - Canadian x 2

Chanteclers are the first-ever Canadian breed, and were developed for good egg and meat production and hardiness even in the coldest of winters.  Toward that end, they're on the chunky side with extra-small combs and wattles.

The way these two chicks are huddled together, it looks like it was cold when they had their photo's taken!

Since my ancestry is from Canada, I couldn't resist seeing how these chicks will  grow up!  I wonder if they'll chirp or converse in French?  Could get interesting around the chicken coop.

Friday, April 1, 2011