What Do Chickens Do In The Winter?

I know, your all wondering… how are the girls? Are they cold? What are they doing?

I’m asked this so often, I thought that today would be the perfect day to talk about it.

It’s this cold out today! seriously cold…

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Win and I took a walk down to check on the chickens. They were right there, greeting us like they always do.

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I didn’t have a treat handy, but I’ll find something to take down later. This is their hopeful scramble… Dad is much better at remembering to take them things. Actually, he probably would have taken them homemade oatmeal or something…

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Oreo didn’t care if I was there, she was staying inside. She’s one of our original hens. I think she arrived in 2007, our first chicken year.

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There’s a heater.

DSC01473 along with the oatmeal… I sense a pattern here.  It’s said that they don’t need heat, and I don’t think they do, but we feel better with just a little bit of heat to take the edge off.

Here’s their friend Zoe. She has a very nice hutch but she lives in the coop when it’s super cold out

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They still lay eggs, at a slower rate, but it happens.  We do put a light on for a little while at night to prolong their day time just a bit. The production slows down but it doesn’t quite stop completely.

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They also take turns sitting in this chair.

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and enjoying the view.

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sounds good to me  🙂

Stay warm today!

Michele

What’s Happening in the Garden–September 26

I’m a little bit behind on my What’s Happening update.  Soccer, dance and golf (and school) are our main focus right now. Garden time is precious, as is blogging time.   Blogging makes me motivated to get things done out there. Right now I’m wishing I’d gotten fall veggies in. I missed the window, but this is life with a large busy family. I really try to take one thing at a time and enjoy it all!

Anyway, out to the garden we go!!

Bye-bye Black-eyed Susan! These will need to be cut back soon. If anyone who lives nearby would like some please let me know. They need to be divided.

We are still enjoying the zinnias! and that poor window box needs some attention. It gets lots of sun so if we miss a watering it suffers  a lot. 

There are still some peppers coming along. Just a few every few days, but we enjoy them.

Mesclun! Love, love, love this!

And the tomatoes are still producing too. I’m watching the frost predictions, we should be okay for a few more weeks. I guess I could bring them in but I don’t really have room and I like when they ripen on the vine.

Hello chickens! This one is cute but she’s a little bit aggressive for a buff orphington.

They really love the dust bath?

I don’t get it, but it’s fun to watch.

I would prefer this nice soft nest if I were them.

Lupines for next year! My neighbors Becky and Mags brought these over and I plopped them in. I’m looking forward to blooms next June. They are gorgeous over in their yard.

And this whole area needs to be dug out and reconfigured. Michael and I keep talking about it. This side of the yard makes me edgy because every time I set foot in here I find a snake. I hate snakes. For some reason I think I won’t see them just across the yard in the fenced in “garden”.. That chrysanthemum really popped out when the tree that used to be to it’s left was taken out in the spring.  Good light means everything.

This Japanese Maple tree came from Mrs Landi’s yard. Mrs Landi is a very dear friend of my Mom’s. I’ve had it in this pot for several years because I can’t decide where to plant it. It’s looking a bit weather worn right now but it actually does very well like this. When it gets colder we’ll put it in the garage for the winter and just water it a little bit. Next spring it will be back and beautiful again. Someday I may plant it but I like to move it around and I enjoy it so much in the pot.

This is a stream of consciousness post if ever there was one!

Please leave me a comment so I know you were here. I keep seeing all the views and wondering who is actually reading this..

Off to clean, cook and take kids places!

Thanks for stopping by! Love,  Michele

The Mystery of the Missing Eggs

So, we have fifteen chickens and we’re suddenly only getting an egg or two a day. I think their hiding them somewhere. I’ve looked high and low, in every nook and cranny. I can’t find the eggs anywhere! We  let them free range later in the day, but it’s too late for all of them to be waiting to lay eggs out there. What do you think? Have any of you chicken raisers had your whole flock suddenly stop laying for no apparent reason? Help please! Leave a comment if you have any thoughts or ideas!

Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy day to consider my dilemma! We eat a lot of eggs here… I’m going to have to go buy some soon!

Love you lots!

Michele

 

 

5:17 am Chicken Call

Is that not an early hour to be woken up by squawking chickens?

Michael went down there to check on them and they were upset because a small part of their shelf had fallen down…

He fixed it, gave them some birdseed (have I mentioned that their a little bit pampered) and went back to bed.

I was up and awake…

The good thing about that was it gave me a few minutes to wander around the garden and enjoy the early morning.

I got to see this…

and this

and say good morning to the ladies

I could do all of  that at 5:45 tomorrow though, or even 6:17 if I’m really lucky?

It’s going to be in the 90’s and humid here in New England today. Stay cool out there!

Michele

What’s Happening in the Garden — July 14th

July is kind of a funny month in the garden. It’s in-between in terms of blooming and beauty but it’s so hard at work!

I love watching things grow and change at this time of year.

Our potatoes are flowering! I didn’t know that potato flowers were this pretty.

I have to apologize for the less than clear shot, my camera focus has a mind of its own and this is what it was doing for potatoes this morning.

The Black-eyed Susan are ready to pop!

This is Scarlet Runner Bean climbing on the trellis. It’s ornamental and so pretty.

If you live locally give me a shout if you’d like some seeds for next year.

We have peppers!  There are lots of buds… I hope they make it! I’d better reign that cucumber vine in if I want that to happen.

The dill is ready for pickles. 

Here come some Kentucky Pole beans that I planted as the  peas were winding down.

I hope they make the little leap over to the fence/trellis and start climbing.

This Rosemary plant wintered over. We covered it with a bucket on the coldest days. I usually pot Rosemary up in November and bring it in. It makes it until the middle of January, then I forget to water it just once and it dies immediately.  I had the great pleasure of hearing Adelma Simms speak about herb gardening at Caprilands many years ago. I still remember her saying “a dry rosemary is a dead rosemary”.  I find that to be true almost every winter.

In the coop, the younger side of the chicken flock is still favoring the corner.

They do come forward to eat and drink and their all interacting a little bit more every day. It just takes time.

The tomatoes look happy!

Balloon flower is blooming… such a fun plant!

Kids really enjoy it.

The Liatris bulbs that I planted in June popped up.

They went in kind of late but I think we’ll see some blooms.

As I looked through these photos I saw one common denominator… can you guess what it was? Here’s a hint, there’s some weeding to do  🙂

Thanks for stopping in! Have a great weekend!

Michele

Early Morning Helpers

Early Sunday morning I went out to find my little guy taking care of the chickens. He’s heading over to tend to the babies, poop scraper in hand!

Here he is hard at work, but if you look closely to the left you’ll notice an escape is underway.

Uh oh! We have church soon and they can’t be left to wander safely yet.

Winnie the Wonderdog wants to help!

This photo doesn’t exactly fit in to the story but my son enhanced it himself, and it’s a cute shot, so here it is!  I think he did a great job!

Getting back to what was happening… here’s little sister to the rescue!

She’ll help round them up again!

“Where should we go? How do we get back in there?”

“I’ll save you!”

She’s a great little chicken handler!

On to the big girls… it’s a tough life for these urban chicken kids!

Enjoy Everything!

Chickens 101

Good Morning!

I thought that I’d share a little bit about our life with our chickens today. I sometimes take a few in to visit the first grade classes at our elementary school when their studying the life-cycle. First graders always have great questions.  So do our visitors!  Here are some of our most asked questions:

How many chickens do you have?  We currently have nine adults and six twelve week old pullets.

Where do they live?

The older girls live here in their coop:

The younger flock  lives in our chicken tractor. In a few weeks they should be about ready to join the older ladies out in the coop. This photo of the tractor was taken a few years ago.  Notice how new and shiny it is, along with the fence and the coop before siding was added.

How old do they get? Chickens often live for five to eight years but  I’ve heard of some living longer. This is one of our very first chickens. She’s named Chip, after the friend who brought her to us. She is still laying eggs and  recovered from a bad bout of “bumble foot” last year. Chip is one amazing chicken!

Do the boys lay eggs? No, they don’t. This is always very hard to explain to the first graders.

Do you have roosters? No, we tried to keep some small Banty Roosters last year but they were way too noisy for our neighborhood. Our hens are quite happy without a rooster around  🙂

Do they  poop a lot?  Yes!!

Do you have a favorite chicken? We all have our favorites. This one is mine.  I call her the little red hen. She’s a Speckled Sussex chicken and she is so cute and sweet!

Can we hold them? Sure you can, but we might need to help you.

Are they friendly? Some are friendlier than others but our chickens are raised by hand from when their one day old so most are very used to humans.  Several of them like to sit in our laps.

Do they all have names? Not really, the older ones do. I call this one Sheba because she thinks she’s the queen. She tends to wander away from the flock. We’ve had neighbors come over and ask us to come get her. I don’t know why she’s standing on one foot in this photo? I think she’s planning her escape.

Is there a pecking order? Yes, most definitely.  The social structure of the flock is very interesting to watch. This little Banty Cochin is actually kind of in charge these days. She rules the roost and she can be really mean!

How often do they lay eggs? About one every day and a half in the warmer months when there’s lots of daylight. Egg production slows way down in the winter.

What do the eggs look like?  Just like this…their all different shapes and colors. It depends on the chicken.

Do you eat them? No, we don’t eat our pets.

Is it easy to take photos of chickens?  No! Their always moving around and running away.

But we love them, their wonderful pets, the fresh eggs are great and they keep us connected with our food source and with each other~

Questions? Leave them in the comments section and I’ll try to answer them. Thanks for stopping by!

What a Rainy Monday!

We are in the middle of a Nor’easter here this morning. For those who don’t live in New England, A Nor’easter is a storm that comes in off of the ocean from the northeast. Nor’easters often bring damage to homes, roads and of course, gardens. Salem is under a flood warning today as the tide is expected to be unusually high. Many of our roads here flood when this happens because water going out to the ocean through the storm drains backs up and has no place to go. There can also be damage to homes on the water when the ocean gets higher and closer than we’d like it to. Let’s hope and pray that everyone is okay and the beautiful homes on the coast and in town don’t sustain too much damage.

I’m a little bit of a  planner so here’s an overview of what  may happen this week at the The Salem Garden if all goes well. Of course we  know that in a household with this many people anything could happen but we’ll hope for the best!

Some of my  kids and I will be planting something together… look familiar? I’m excited about this project!

I hope to show you something else about Salem. It won’t be the Friendship because the ship is away for repairs.  She should be back very soon and we’ll be visiting then.

Things are growing in the garden! We’ll be sure to take a look.

I think we’ll be visiting our chickens too. Here’s one of our babies about eight weeks ago. Just like my human babies, they grow so quickly!

Sounds busy!  Let’s get going!  A little rain is nothing!