“Hard Boiled” Eggs

Ever tried to hard boil fresh eggs only to find they are impossible to peel? steamingEggsWell, you’re not alone. There’s nothing more frustrating than chipping away at the peel and getting nowhere. Farm fresh eggs won’t peel easily if you boil them. But there is a way… steam, baby, steam!

Place fresh eggs in a double boiler for 10-15 minutes, and viola! The shells practically fall off on their own when you peel them. It’s super easy!

So, gather up some farm fresh eggs and steam them for yummy, easy-to-peel “hard boiled” eggs. Enjoy!

Chicken Drama

Who knew that there could be so much drama in keeping chickens? I sure didn’t. Between the two new little ones, the regular chicken duties, and now one –maybe two– chickens going broody, I have my hands full!

GeorgianaGoesBroodyGeorgiana has decided she wants to hatch out non-fertile eggs. Silly chicken, I’ve told her this will not work. But, she insists on hogging the nesting box, making noises I honestly didn’t think a chicken could make, and just acting like a psycho chicken! I finally put her in a large dog kennel, hoping it would help break her of her broodiness. But so far, all she does it walk frantically back and forth, screeching, trying to find a way out. She has her own food, water and perch. The others are quite jealous, in fact. But she’s not happy. I’m hoping with time that will change.

Cora is acting mildly broody. I only have two nesting boxes, so you can see where this will be a problem. I’ve found eggs in the corner of the coop, in a “nest like” indent in the litter. The other girls are very confused as to where they should lay. Production has dropped (or maybe there is another hiding place?) Thus the need to separate Georgiana.

Almost all of the girls seem a bit on edge lately. Not sure if it’s just spring fever or broody chicken induced. Ah, chicken drama… who knew!?

Everyone please hold the good thought that this madness will soon end and we can go back to the calm chicken life we once knew…

Hand Drawn Chicken Note Cards

My girls inspired me to dust off the colored pencils and start sketching again… I’d forgotten how much fun it is! It’s a great way to get up close and personal with my girls (and see how they derived from dinosaurs). I really enjoy paying attention to the little details. So much fun!4cards

I had four of my drawings printed into note cards:

  • Elsa, Partridge Plymouth Rock
  • Cora, Partridge Plymouth Rock
  • Nellie, Barred Plymouth Rock
  • Gwennie, Silver Laced Wyandotte

The cards are 5″ x 7″ folded, blank inside, with a short description about the featured chicken on the back.

I started an etsy shop under the name The Hen Song to sell the cards, and it’s been a great success. If these continue to sell, I’d love to print some new sketches I’ve been working on.

etsy4cards4sale

Fun times with chickens — They are fun in so many ways!

Chickens & Predators

An unpleasant subject, but one I’ve been hearing a lot about, lately: Chickens being killed by free roaming dogs.

First, let me say I am very sorry for anyone’s loss of chickens to dogs or other predators. But, the fact is dogs are the number one killer (after people, of course) of chickens. Here in Alaska we have to worry about dogs, fox, mink, ermine, owls, eagles, bears, and other wild animals (not to mention people).

AreYourChickensSafe

The reality is an animal is either a predator or prey. By keeping chickens, you are choosing to keep prey animals outdoors surrounded by various predators. It can be a challenge. Are you up for that?

I hear folks getting so upset at the dog owner who lets their Fido run loose. While I agree that irresponsible pet owners are the lowest life form on this planet (ask me how I really feel), you cannot change human nature. There will always be irresponsible people nearby, no matter where you live. You can beat your head against the wall trying to change them, or you can outsmart them.

Dogs have always been—and always will be—the number one predator of chickens. You aren’t going to change that, no matter how much you complain or how many loose dogs you shoot. More will just come. So, you have two choices:

1. Accept there will be losses, and live with it.

or

2. Construct a home for your outdoor prey animals which a dog (or other predator) cannot get in to. Depending upon your individual situation, this might mean electric fencing or netting surrounding dog-impermeable fences. You may need motion sensors activating light or noise. You may need to rethink whether it is safe to let your chickens free range where a dog (or other predator) could get at them, or accept the risk you are taking by letting them do so.

As a dog owner, myself, I have come in contact with ill-manored dogs who encouraged very negative thoughts within me. And I blamed the dog, though we all know there is an irresponsible person behind that dog who deserves the blame. The fact remains there are as many different dogs out there as there are people. Once you accept that they aren’t going to go away, you’ve won half the battle. The other half is devising a way to protect your prey animals that you choose to keep outside. Prevention is key.

Our chickens bring us such joy—they deserve preventative measures to ensure their safety. Happy chicken keeping to one and all!