Home & Garden

Chicken Flock Integration - Part 1

Chicken Flock Integration - Part 1

It's time to start thinking about integrating my little chicken family of mother hen and four children into my other flock of four laying hens.  In fact it is from this flock that the mother hen originally came but she has been gone from that flock for 2 months and as a result has sort of lost her "status".  Chickens have a complex social order that must be worked out every time a group of hens get together and live in a group.  This is called a "pecking order" and we use that term regularly in our day to day conversation to describe essentially the same idea among people, co-workers, family etc.  So as soon as our broody left the coop to rear her young the four remaining ladies had to work out their pecking order.  Now that they've done that we're about to upset that pecking order by not only bringing back broody but also her four chicks!  This is a pretty big deal socially to a chicken and I had to to a lot of research before I plunged in here. 

Broody hen sheltering her chicks.

Broody hen sheltering her chicks.

This is just so incredibly endearing to watch!  Every now and then our broody hen sits down outside the small coop and "broods" (sits on) her chicks.  They come racing up and work their way under her one by one!  It's just so cute I had to share!

Big Garden Prep!

Big Garden Prep!

We are planning our biggest garden yet this year!  We are taking the two large grain plots and preparing them for ALL vegetables!  This is an important part of crop rotation.  I have already planted grasses here twice, first corn and then wheat/barley.  Now the land must have somthing else planted on it for a season or it won't be healthy in the long run.  We will be planting a few new crops this year, turnips, different varieties of potato, shell beans and sweet corn along with the traditional crops of lettuce, tomato squash etc.  The chickens are still in this area at the moment.  Their coop is inside the deer fence.  As we weed and dig the soil they come along afterward and show great interest in the holes we leave behind!  They're looking for bugs and anything else of interest.  As I get closer to planting I will have to move the chickens and their coop out of this area because they will eat every plant in sight if they're allowe

Jane's Garden Part 2

Jane's Garden Part 2

Jane put peas in the ground this weekend!  She did a very good job.  We used a little wood ash from our wood stove in order to add valuable potash to the soil.  She seemed to have a really good time!

Gardening with your children.

Gardening with your children.

We've been enjoying this freakish stretch of warm weather and just couldn't resisit getting out into the garden this weekend.  We have decided to give our youngest daughter, Jane her own vegetable plot to plant her very own garden in.   This is a great way to help your children feel invested in their own food production.  We asked her what she wanted to plant and then ordered seeds for her.  It is a little early to put plants in the ground but frost tolerant vegies such as peas can be direct sowed as soon as the ground is workable.  We also noticed that the garlic bulbs we planted last fall are sending up green shoots in all this warmth!  See this LINK for the video we did on that!  Enjoy the warm weather!

Chicken Hatch Part 6

Chicken Hatch Part 6

We have moved our chicken family from the box in the garage to a coop outside.  This is a big move for them since it is a little cooler out there but they are handling it quite well.  I made this move because the chicks are now out of danger and Mama needed to get OUT!  She was back on her feet in a few days and was digging and scratching in the litter and making a bit of a mess!  I made them a little coop that is very secure at night and then placed this coop right in front of the entrance to the meat bird coop.  This gives them a protected yard or run in which to excercise!  It is such a pleasure to see the chicks out on grass, pecking, exploring and following Mama around!  They pretty much do whatever she does.  If she shows interest in something so do they!   At night they all go in the coop and the chicks go back under Mama to stay warm.  I check on them and close them up so they are safe!