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New Life

April 29th, 2014

Miss Broody finally has a few babies. Last Friday morning I noticed a little chick in the nesting box when I checked on her. Sadly, there was one that hadn’t made it through the hatching process as well.
broody hen and chicks 1
I checked on her on Saturday morning and there were a few more chicks and a couple more in the process of hatching out. Monday morning I moved them from the tiny nesting box into a small brooder in the chicken coop with food, water and a small heat lamp.
broody hen and chicks 2
It will be interesting to watch these little ones grow up to see what they look like. Some of them should be Wyandottes, some of the will be barnyard mixes, no doubt they’ll all be just as great as their parents!
broody hen and chicks 3
Miss Broody went right to work showing her babies how to scratch around in the litter, drink from their water bowl and eat the food I provided for them. I wanted to put them outside but it was very cold and rather windy. If they could easily navigate in and out of the coop I would have let her simply take them wherever she wanted, but our coop is not accessible to little birdies, that’s something we’re hoping to work on. There are also lots of layers of chicken wire installed by the previous owner and it is kind of a land mine for little ones.
broody hen and chicks 4
In the future we hope to have a new coop with a dedicated brooding area for mama birds to hatch out their young and it will have a dedicate run area attached to it for safe outdoor fun for little babies. Until then, we’ll make do with what we have, which probably means carrying them outside into a fenced in area and then carrying them back in at night. It will be well worth the effort in the health benefits it will provide for the little ones.

Any wonderful things happening in your house/garden/coop?

Slowly But Surely

March 29th, 2014

We’re still not quite finished painting the one bedroom, crazy I know. I was telling Mr Chiots that we added two bedrooms, a sitting room and a bathroom in our old house way less time than it’s taken us to simply paint one room here.
Painting bedroom
painting brick 1
I just finished painting the chimney in this room, which was tedious to say the least. The worst part was that one side of it was only three inches away from another wall. I ended up taking the top off of one of my big artist brushes, it took a while.
painting brick 2
Hopefully this weekend I start prepping another room for painting!

Any home improvement projects on your weekend to-do list?

Herbed Chicken – Not the Cooked Kind

October 9th, 2013

Yesterday, I spent some time gathering fresh herbs for the nesting boxes. Soon enough the herbs will be gone and the snow will be flying. I’ve been harvesting herbs all summer long and drying them in the attic of the garage for this purpose, but when I have them fresh I use them that way.  In the winter I use dried herbs for the same purpose.  In this bucket is a mix of: calendula flowers, marigold flowers & leaves, peppermint, thyme, sweet annie, oregano, and lime basil. A handful was placed in each nesting box and now the coop smells amazing.
Chicken Herbs
I think the chickens rather like the herbs, if I only put herbs in one nesting box they seem to choose that one over the others. These herbs are supposed to help keep away parasites, lice, fleas, mites, ticks and other little creepy crawlies. You can also add other herbs like lavender, bay leaves, eucalyptus, catnip and catmint. Next year I plan on growing a few more herbs in the garden just for my feathered ladies.  Even if they didn’t help with little crawlies I’m pretty sure I’d still do it, the coop smells great and the chickens are happy.

What’s your favorite herb for scent instead of eating? 

Crazy Chickens

September 25th, 2013

Our broiler flock is CRAZY. This coming week we’ll be butchering all the roosters (we’ve already butchered a few). There are five lucky ladies that will be integrated into our laying flock, a few of them are already laying eggs.
chickens in apple tree 4
chickens in apple tree 3
chickens in apple tree 5
These chickens decided long ago that roosting in the old apple tree was much more fun than roosting in the portable coop we built them, go figure. I don’t worry much because they’re surrounded by an electric fence to keep them safe from predators. They love roosting in the tree so much, that the other day I found an egg perched perfectly on one of the branches.
egg on tree branch 2
egg on tree branch
Chickens are crazy animals, but entertaining as well. Hopefully when the ladies are moved to our new flock they’ll decide roosting in the coop is much nicer, we shall see. At least our main laying flock coops up nicely every night.

Do your pets every do anything crazy?

Keet, Keet, Keet

July 9th, 2013

It’s been a busy weekend as far as baby animals are concerned. First the ducklings hatched out late last week, then the guinea eggs started hatching too. Because of the location of the guinea nest we started taking the keets when we noticed them wandering around outside of the safe zone. A few we had to detangle from the chicken wire fence around the run.
keets 1
The first one was found late one night when we arrived home. I heard it squeaking up by the coop. Upon further investigation I found it outside the run away from it’s nest. We grabbed it and put it in a brooder we had just in case. We’ve heard rumors about how terrible guineas are when it comes to mothering their young. The next day we noticed a few more and kept our eyes on them. One was found stuck inside a cinderblock and yet another one was found stuck in the fence. After this we took all the keets as we found them.
keets 2
Yesterday, when the guineas were off the nest I checked and found two smothered keets in it and a few others milling around. We grabbed those and put them in the brooder.  Then the guineas abandoned their nest, so I grabbed a few of the remaining eggs that I could tell were close to hatching. I put them under a heat lamp and covered them with a damp towel. Amazingly, as of writing this, two hatched out and a few more are starting to crack the shells.
keets 3
These little guys are fighters that’s for sure. So far we have 12 keets, two of which are injured from being stuck in the fence. We think one has a broken leg and the other one we’re not sure. We’ll give them time and space to heal and see what happens.

Did anything exciting happen at your place this weekend?

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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