Thursday, August 28, 2014

Raising Chickens is Like Raising Children

As a stay-at-home mother of two young girls, I had a bit of anxiety about taking on backyard chickens. The chickens would mainly be my responsibility and I was wondering if I was taking on too much. We have had our chickens for almost 7 months now and much to my relief I am finding that caring for the chickens is somewhat similar to caring for my young children. 



I must feed and water my children and chickens every day.


They are messy and I am constantly cleaning up after them.


The older one picks on the younger one.


They get anxious when they don't get out to stretch their legs.



I constantly worry about their health and safety.



My children and chickens aren't very fond of the dark.



They get up early every morning.


At times they can be very loud and obnoxious.



And finally... 
My children and chickens are growing up too quickly.


Of course we all know that taking care of children is much more complex than chickens, but if you are considering backyard chickens please do your research as there is much to learn about chickens and they are a commitment. I am so glad I took a leap of faith and decided to raise backyard chickens along with raising my children because caring for them all has been such a joy. 







Monday, August 25, 2014

Tips from Our Junior Blogger: Plymouth Barred Rock Chicken


Tip From Our Junior Blogger
Chicken tending tips straight from the mouth of a Kindergartener!



Plymouth Barred Rock Chicken

She is a black and white chicken that lays brown eggs.  She has a big comb, big wattles and big ears. Her legs are yellowish/brownish.  She likes to "bawk" a lot when we go outside. She is loud before and after she lays an egg. When one of the other chickens are in a nesting box she "bawks" loud at them because she wants to lay her egg in that box. She lays lots of eggs.

We had to get rid of Agnes awhile ago because she was getting too noisy and we didn't want our neighbors to get mad about our chickens.  I miss her a lot but am happy because we will be getting more chicks!

Agnes posing for her portrait.

Thanks for reading!  Stay tuned next week to learn from our Junior Blogger about another chicken breed.


Thursday, August 21, 2014

Top 10 Things I Didn't Expect When Owning Backyard Chickens


When preparing for chickens I read the how-to books and scoured the internet extensively.  I felt pretty prepared when we embarked on this adventure over 6 months ago, but have come across some surprises along the way. 

Top 10 Things I Didn't Expect When Owning Backyard Chickens:

1.  Parts of our backyard look like the surface of the moon.


2.  Our chickens allow people to carry them around like house cats.


3.  Our chickens love to relax on the patio furniture.



4.  Our chickens attempt to enter the house daily and have succeeded once.  



5.  Our Labrador loves to eat chicken poop, therefore, the patio is always clean.



  6.  Our Labrador also loves to eat chicken feed.


7.  We find chicken feathers in the most random places.


8.  We give our overheated chickens cool foot baths. 


9.  We put golf balls in nesting boxes.


10.  We have a fake owl in the backyard.



Owning backyard chickens has been full of wacky surprises and my family and I wouldn't trade it for anything.  The smiles that these feathered ladies have brought to our faces are priceless.

Life is good!

Thanks for reading!

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Monday, August 18, 2014

5-Year-Old Junior Blogger: Tips for Panting Chickens

Tuesday's Tip From Our Junior Blogger
Chicken tending tips straight from the mouth of a 5-year-old!

By Little Chicken Tender

Tips for when your chickens are panting:
When your chickens are panting it means that they are hot.  Give them frozen berries and frozen vegetables.  They also love cold cucumber. Don't hold them a lot because they will get hotter. Don't chase them around the yard when they are panting because they will get hotter.  Don't spray them with water balloons because they will run away and get hotter.


Thanks for reading!  Stay tuned next week for another tip from our junior blogger.  Any requests?

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

5-Year-Old Junior Blogger Tip: Protecting your Dog from Sassy Chickens

Our Goldhen Girls bully our dog, Kramer.  Whenever he gets too close to them they give him a quick peck. Fortunately, it doesn't seem to bother him much, but I still feel bad for him.  I decided to ask our 5-year-old junior blogger for some tips to help our poor, old boy.

Tuesday's Tip From Our Junior Blogger
Chicken tending tips straight from the mouth of a 5-year-old!

How to Protect your Dog from Sassy Chickens*


Put armor on your dog and give him a shield.  Or put up a wall in your yard so they stay separated.  Or you could put a muzzle on the chickens' beaks.


*Little Chicken Tender giggled the entire time she gave her tips this week.


Well, junior blogger, I give you an A on your creativity! Poor Kramer.  It looks like he is going to have to keep his distance from those sassy ladies.


Thanks for reading!  Stay tuned next week for more tips from our junior blogger.  Any requests?

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Meet Edna, our Ameraucana...or so we thought.

I will admit that when we first embarked on this chicken journey I thought a chicken was a chicken. Once we started doing research we were amazed at all the breeds and their differences.  My family and I quickly came to the conclusion that we needed an Ameraucana because it laid blue eggs and had a beard!  

Meet Edna, our Ameraucana...or so we thought.



When Edna laid her first egg we didn't think much about the fact that it was actually more of a mint green than blue, but as time went on we began to wonder about her breed because her glorious beard wasn't coming in. Recently I came across an article written by Lisa Steele with Fresh Eggs Daily called  Ameraucana vs. Araucana vs. Easter Eggers - The Blue Egg Layers and this is what I learned: 


Ameraucana
Pure breed chicken, originating from South America, recognized by the APA since 1984

blue eggs
pea comb
muff and beard
red earlobes
tail
blue legs
light foot bottoms


Easter Egger
Mixed breed chicken, not recognized by the APA

blue, green, tan, pink or yellow eggs
any kind of comb
muff, beards, ear tufts or none
any color ear lobes
tail or tail-less
any color eggs
any color foot bottoms



According to these descriptions, it appears our local feed store sold us an Easter Egger, not an Ameraucana.  Why the mix up? According to The Chicken Chick, "...[Ameraucanas] are only available through reputable breeders, regardless of advertisements by hatcheries, and other large scale distributions sources."  The Chicken Chick warns that if you see "Americana" being advertised, the misspelling is usually intended to imply that they are selling Easter Eggers.  

In the end, Ameraucana or not, we love our Edna!  Our biggest disappointment in our findings is the fact that she isn't going to have a beard. 



Thanks for reading!








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Tuesday, August 5, 2014

A Kindergartener's Chicken Diagram

This past week our 5-year-old junior blogger learned the proper terminology for the parts of a chicken.  She decided that for her tip this week she would like to share what she discovered.  

Diagram of Chicken Parts
by Little Chicken Tender




Little Chicken Tender has always loved a chicken's fluffy booty and got a kick out of the fact that the fluffy feathers on their booty is actually called fluff!  One important note about the diagram: It is from the perspective of a 5-year-old, therefore, a lot of other important chicken parts were excluded.  For a more thorough diagram please refer to BackYardChickens.com.  

Thanks for reading!  We hope you learned something this week. Stay tuned next week for another tip from our junior blogger!