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All Grown Up (well, mostly)

October 17th, 2018

The tiny little chickies that I got from Murray McMurray back at the end of August are pretty much all grown up. Typically I let one of my broody hens hatch out little ones, but I’ve been wanting to add a wide variety of colorful eggs to my egg cartons. The folks that buy the eggs get all excited about the colorful batches. For a while I had a nice selection of olive and blue eggs, but those chickens have all gotten too old to lay or have been nabbed by predators.

Since chickens don’t start laying eggs until they’re 3-4 months old, I decided to get chicks in the fall so they can start laying straight away next spring. Most chickens don’t lay very well during the winter months when light levels fall below 12 hours of daylight.

These little nuggets hatched on August 26th, they’re just over 6 weeks old, still months away from laying, but they should be just maturing to kick off late winter laying in style.



For my selection, I ordered: Whiting True Blue (blue eggs), Whiting True Green (green eggs), Black Star (brown eggs), Single Comb Brown Leghorns (white eggs), and Black Andalusians (white eggs). I will still add a few red production hens to the mix next year, they are great layers of brown eggs and lay better through the winter than many of these other breeds. It’s always a challenge to try to have hens producing eggs throughout the year in the quantities needed for the egg customers and for our household.

Do you purchase eggs from a local source? Any colored ones in the batches?

Knock, Knock, Knock

February 21st, 2018

We’ve been having fairly warm weather, which means the snow has melted off leaving some bare ground. I think this time of year is rather ugly, but the birds get really excited. They spend their days scratching around on any thawed portion of earth they can find. Once they’re done with that they come hang out on the stoop waiting for me to give them some food.

I’d rather they not do this, as they leave little gifts all over the front walkways. This weekend I plan on putting up a few electric fences to not only keep them contained, but to protect them from the foxes that will start trying to nab them here soon.

What’s happening on your front porch this week?

Quote of the Day: Tamar Adler

September 17th, 2017

“Eggs should be laid by chickens that have as much say in it as any of us about our egg laying does. Their yolks should, depending on the time of year, range from buttercup yellow to marigold. They should come from as nearby as possible. WE don’t all live near cattle ranches, but most of us live surprisingly close to someone raising chickens for eggs. If you find lively eggs from local chickens, buy them. They will be a good deal more than edible.”

Tamar Adler in An Everlasting Meal


Before we had our own chickens, we purchased chicken from a local farm. Eggs from happy chickens are really much more flavorful than those from the factory farms.

We now have our own flock, which range quite happily on a fairly large plot behind a few hundred feet of electric net fencing (not technically “free” ranging, as the foxes nab them if they do, but close enough). There are between 15-30 of them laying between half to two dozen eggs a day, depending on the time of year and the age of the flock. Eggs are on the breakfast menu daily, usually with a side of some sort of vegetable from the garden or a piece of bread from the oven. Sometimes they’re made into omelets to use up small bits of leftover dinner that aren’t enough to make another entire meal in itself. Pot roast with vegetables makes a surprisingly good omelet, especially with some fresh parsley on top.

In the summer, when we are flush with eggs, I sell them to a few friends. These friends claim they are “the best eggs they’ve ever had” and some won’t even give my name out to their friends in fear that they won’t be able to get eggs if they do. My belief is that the eggs are good because the chickens are happy and enjoying very chickeny lives (the homemade fermented feed is also a big part of it as well). I’m happy that my little flock produces enough eggs for us and for a few friends. Good eggs are worth sourcing wherever you live.

Do you have your own egg layers or do you have a good source for good eggs?

Littles

May 18th, 2015

Big Ginger has been sitting on a nest of eggs for the past three weeks. I’ve been watching her for the past few days, wondering when she was going to come out with her little. Yesterday morning, when I went outside, I heard little chicken nuggets up in the duck room chirping their little hearts out.
chicken nuggets
chicken nuggets (1)
I love having mamas and littles running around the yard. Watching a mama brood her little is one of the most wonderful parts of tending chickens. There’s nothing better than watching a mama hen teach her little ones how to scratch, peck, and search for food.

Have you ever seen a mother hen and her babies running around free ranging?

Happy as Clams

April 2nd, 2015

All of the birds are happy as clams. As the snow recedes they immediately go to the fresh ground and start scratching away. No doubt there will be a few bare spots in the lawn where they have congregated for the past few weeks.
chickens in spring 1
Thankfully, more and more area are opening up so they can spread out a bit and kick through leaves, which they prefer to grass. They linger much longer outside now that the days are getting warmer, sunnier, and longer. I can’t close up the coop until it’s dark, even then there are often chickens outside the door trying to enjoy the last bit of daylight.
chickens in spring 2
With the spring will also come foxes and other predators. As soon as the snow melts it will be time to put up the electric fences and get them going once again. Until then the chickens will enjoy being 100% free range.
chickens in spring 3
I notice the wild birds are also out and about more. As I gather sap during the day I hear more and more birdsong. It’s a beautiful thing to hear and see animals and birds string in the wild once again.

Are you noticing more birds and wildlife as spring comes?

Reading & Watching
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About

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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