Our Rosie Chica, in her own nest~ from our Rancho days, 2003
Would you like a chance to win a free copy of "Chickens in Five Minutes A Day?" McMurray Hatchery is offering their new book to one lucky Chickenblog reader! Leave a comment here, at Chickenblog, and your name will be tossed into The Fez! Link to us on your Facebook page, and we'll give you two chances to win this book. Do it, for yourself, or a friend, or your school library. Chickens are hip, and cool, and this is your chance to get the scoop on some of the fun! We will draw a name on the first day of May.
It's spring and many bloggers are posting about their new chicks! They all look so dear, and seeing them makes me eager to bring some little ones into our small flock. We're waiting for our new chicken run and coop to be complete, so we can enjoy our hens, and new chicks, while they are safe and comfortable. It pays to be patient, I've learned!
As long as I was quiet, Rosie would let me stand by while she was laying.
I was asked about how much time I spend devoted to the chickens, each week. That's a good question! I think having a proper set up is what makes taking care of a small flock of chickens easy, and minimally time consuming. Things like automatic waterers, and a coop that opens into an enclosed run can add a great deal of convenience and safety for your hens. Clean water, secure living space, fresh food, an interesting space to scratch and dust bathe, and a clean coop make a flock happy and healthy. And a happy, healthy flock can take less time to tend. However! If you are thinking only of eggs, or if you are looking for a pet to mind it's own business... well, you'll be missing out. Chickens are fun, and engaging, and time in their company rarely feels like a chore.
That is a fresh egg!
Observing hens, sitting with them, following them around the garden... not only are these pleasant and rewarding ways to pass the time, but they can alert you to health issues, and other concerns. Some days are full, and it's enough to feed them, check their water, and toss in some fresh straw, but when time permits, I am very happy to be in their company. Actually, they follow me when I am in the garden. They know if I am pulling weeds there will be good finds in the loosened soil. And they always appreciate the bugs stirred up when I putter around, or the bits of veggie scraps I share with them.
Gracie Chica, my dear Ameraucana.
She liked to sit in my lap, and have her neck scratched. She would nod off contentedly in my arms.
My Grandmother Eunice with Gracie Chica
All three of our first hens were mild and tame, completely at ease roaming our two acre farm. They always came running when we called them. At the time, with our grandparents living with us, we were a family of seven, and our three hens gave us plenty of eggs through the week. You really can enjoy fresh eggs with a small flock, and it makes it easier to feel connected and familiar with your hens, when there isn't a mob of them!
And last, but not least ~ our lovely Luna Chica. What a dear lady hen she was.
Chickens really are a pleasure to keep. With thoughtful planning, and a few dedicated minutes a day, with some extra time for maintenance, they can be safe and happy hens. Though, no doubt you won't be counting the minutes when you are enjoying their company!
I feel like an old timer to this Backyard Chicken phenomenon! You've probably heard: small flocks of chickens, suburban farming... it's big! Everyone's doing it. But when we brought home our first little chicks, eleven years ago, we felt like genuine pioneers! And were we ever green. We even called ourselves the Jolly Green Ranchers. I really was winging it, which as it turns out was okay, but if I had to do it all over again, I would have been happy to pick up a helpful guide, like the one coming out from McMurray Hatchery, Chickens in Five Minutes A Day.
Look! It's our dear Lady Betty Orpington! Can you believe she will be five years old next month?
I've had a chance to take a sneak peek at this straightforward and practical guide to raising chicks, and keeping small, backyard flocks. The book has personal stories, the history and experiences of a family and hatchery raising chicks since 1917. They've asked me to share my thoughts on this new book... it ships May 14th. My first impression: I like it! All the basics are covered, and for extra reading and interest they include illustrations, examples of coop styles, different breeds, and the points of view of different McMurray employees, in sections they call "Hints From The Hatchery." If you've ever wondered about ordering chicks through the mail, you'll enjoy a little backstory from one of the oldest and most trusted hatcheries around.
Raising chicks and keeping chickens has been one of the most gratifying experiences of my life. And. It really can be easy. Don't leap into it the way I did, like a headless chica!Chickens in Five Minutes A Day can guide you, and set you in the right direction, so that your own chickens will not only be easy to enjoy, they will be safe, healthy, and happy in your backyard.
Spring is chick time! Pre-order your book today, if you are thinking of starting a backyard flock, or if you simply want to refresh your knowledge about the joys of chicken care. Would you like a chance to win a free copy of Chickens in Five Minutes A Day?McMurray Hatchery is offering their new book to one lucky Chickenblog reader!Leave a comment here, at Chickenblog, and your name will be tossed into The Fez! Link to us on your Facebook page, and we'll give you two chances to win this book. Do it, for yourself, or a friend, or your school library. Chickens are hip, and cool, and this is your chance to get the scoop on some of the fun! We will draw a name on the first day of May.
These were some of our first eggs, from our first trio of sweet hens.
I still love finding fresh eggs from our backyard flock!
Frogs, and promises, and long, detailed, rambling blog posts. Hello, Monday.
Honestly, I was only going to post these pictures, and share that we have a small tank full of tadpoles, some rocks, sand, plants, tiny swimmmy things. Neat and simple. Then I remembered that this moment is more significant, that it marks the fulfillment of a promise I made to Max. Then I realized that we have a long frog-love history with Alex and Max. So, I found myself in a Chickenblog archive search, nostalgically revisiting some frog & toad moments from our past.
Last we year we made a few trips to our favorite creek, but we were either too early, or too late, and never found any tadpoles.
This time we got it right, which was a happy thing, and also a relief. We know that frogs are essential to a healthy natural environment, and their absence is an indicator of an environment in danger. The hundreds of healthy Pacific Tree Frog tadpoles we found in the quiet eddy at the creek's edge, made us smile.
We brought home plenty of water, local plants, and sand... everything, including zooplankton for our tadpoles to thrive.
Another happy visit to our favorite creek, this time successfully finding tadpoles. It was nice... for the excursion, the picnic, the little adventure among the oaks, and for the promise fulfilled. We'll be returning to the nature center, too, where we can take more notes, and confer with the docents there.
It took a few years to do this... but it feels good taking the time to do it right.