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25 Piece Nugget

August 29th, 2018

If you’ve been reading here for a while, you know I have chickens (ducks & turkeys as well). We keep a nice flock of layers and I sell or barter the extra eggs to help cover the cost of keeping birds. Our chicken flock has been ravaged by foxes this year, we lost 10 over the course of the summer (some were taken by an owl). They are all old and reaching the end of their lives, they no longer lay many eggs. Typically, I let a couple chickens hatch clutches each year, this year we lost our rooster early in the spring and didn’t have any fertilized eggs.

That led me to order chicks from McMurray Hatchery (which came highly recommended by many friends). I ordered 25 chicks: Andalusians, Rose Comb Brown Leghorns, Black Star, Whiting True Green, and Whiting True Blue. These should give me a nice mix of colored eggs, which all my egg customers LOVE (and I do as well).

Hopefully these little cuties will be full grown and laying eggs next spring.

What fun things are happening in your house/garden this week?


May 5th, 2014

It’s been a week now since the nuggets appeared in the coop. For the first day or two I kept them in a brooder in the coop to make sure Broody Hen was going to stick with them. Since she did a fine job, I put them outside in a small enclosure for a day.
nuggets 1
After that I set them free, no fences or anything to keep them safe. Broody hen is doing a fantastic job of keeping them all in line and safe from predators and the guineas, other chickens and she even fought off a wild turkey hen that was trying to sneak into the coop for a free meal. She’s a champ.
nuggets 2
There is a greater risk of something happening to one of the chicks if I let them run freely, but I’m OK with that. They will be healthier and better chickens if I let their mom show them what it means to be a chicken.  They will also be much happier for it!
nuggets 3
I love that she’s doing such a great job, brooding little birds is one of my least favorite things to do. Since I like to have them outside on grass as soon as possible, it gets tedious carrying them out and bringing them in again in the evenings. I’m happy knowing there’s a great hen doing what she was born to do!

Have you spotted any babies in your garden yet?

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?

Chick Update

June 1st, 2013

The chicks are doing really well, they are now outside 100% of the time. Dailon built a movable chicken coop, following the instructions in the back of Harvery Ussery’s The Small-Scale Poultry Flock. So far we like it, there roosts inside and nesting boxes with outside access. We don’t really need to worry about eggs any time soon, these chickies are just about 5 weeks old.
chicks roosting on old swingset
I love that they’re roosting and acting like little tiny chickens. They scratch, dust bathe, chase insects and they are even establishing a pecking order. It is nice to have them be fully outside and more or less taking care of themselves.
chicks roosting
It has been fun to watch these little guys/gals grow up, we’re looking forward to the upcoming months to watch their transformation into teenage chickens.

What’s your favorite animal to watch grow up?

The Maiden Voyage

May 7th, 2013

Yesterday, the chicks spent the afternoon outside running around in the green grass and soaking up a little sunshine.  They were happy as clams, scratching and digging, dust bathing, finding bugs, chasing each other around, and trying to learn how to fly. They’re all a little over a week old and it’s time for them to start spending as much time outside as possible.
Chicks on pasture 1
I believe animals should be outside honing their natural instincts. These chicks will need to learn to peck and scratch so they can forage for some of their own food, no freeloading animals here (except the indoor cats).  Of course the ducks had to come over and see what all the fuss was about, I wonder if they remember being inside this pen?  The lady duck was very interested in the little chickies.  Hopefully she’ll start laying eggs soon and hatch her own little ones.
Chicks on pasture 2
It’s been fun watching these little lovelies grow up, it’s so amazing how quickly their wing feathers start to come in (they’re already starting to fly a bit).  I feel like I know exactly what these little chickies are feeling, in spring I’m so excited to get outside and to enjoy the weather, no doubt they’ll be looking forward to their trip out each day.

Have you been able to spend time outside soaking up the sun and feeling grass under your feet?

Reading & Watching

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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.