~Life With Chickens~

We’ve had chickens for a little over 2 years now and I never tire of watching them.  They are fascinating creatures.  Their brains may not be very big but, on some things, they are pretty smart.  For example, it did not take them long to figure out that when the back door opens it means we’re coming outside and we MAY have some yummy scraps for them to scarf down.  So, they hang out close to the house – just in case. 

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They have also figured out that if we’re heading toward the side of the coop, we MAY give them some scratch, so they stay right under your feet – just in case you decide that you DO want to give them some scratch even if they’ve already had some for the day.  They might be able to sucker you into giving them just a bit more.  Silly birds.

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They will even follow you into the building just in case there is something in there for them, which there never is. But, you never know!

I think that you’ve always got one that stands out above the rest.  One that is almost always first and always has to check out everything, regardless.  Yes, I do have one of these.  

Meet Ms. Rosey – Nosey Rosey, to be precise. 

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Ms. Rosey really is special to me.  She meets me at the door almost every time I go out.  She loves to follow me down to the clothesline and “chats” with me almost the entire time.  Too bad I can’t understand “chicken” and she can’t understand “human” or I’m sure we would have some REALLY interesting conversations.  She follows me into the building to be nosey and to chat.   When I do throw scratch out, she stands at my feet and waits for a little special pile all her own.   She even walks up to me a lot of the times just wanting to be picked up, carried, and petted.  She loves to be petted and talked to.  She’s just about as bad as a little kid sometimes!  But I love it. 

The latest thing that she has started doing is running up and hopping into the vehicles whenever we get ready to go somewhere.  It’s the funniest thing. 

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Even this morning, as Brian was getting ready to go to work, she politely ran up and hopped right in like she’d been doing it every day!   Brian laughs and teases me that when she does die, I’ll have her stuffed and put on wheels so that I can take her with me everywhere.  While it’s true that I do love having her around and I’ll be very sad if something ever does happen to her, I will not be paying to stuff her.  However, she will be one of the few that will live out her life (no matter how long) here with us.  She’s a sweetheart and has earned the right to live out her life happy, content, and spoiled. 

As Brian says, “Welcome To The Funny Farm”!  It may not be much, but it’s home and I wouldn’t have it any other way!

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~Baby Chicks Are Here!~

Our baby chicks are here! Well, they’ve actually been here for a week now, but I was unable to get pictures before today.  Out of the 12 eggs we set, we ended up with 6 cute lil’ baby chicks!  Three of the eggs never developed, 1 disappeared, and 2 were fully developed but didn’t hatch.  The chicks that had already hatched kept pushing them out from under mom and they got too cold.  So, without further ado, here are our latest additions! 
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I love watching mom teaching her babies how to scratch and look for yummy bugs to eat!  They are just too cute trying to copy her!
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Check back often!  I’ll be posting pics as they grown and change!

Spring Is Definitely In The Air! – Baby Chick Time!!

 

I love all things spring!  Yes, I know it’s allergy season with all the high pollen counts, but it’s still spring and the weather is warming up nicely.  I love being able to open up my windows and doors and enjoy the nice spring breezes that blow through.  An added bonus is the lower electric bills that brings.  That’s always nice. 

Another thing I love about spring is all the baby animals being born.  Everywhere I look, I’ve seen baby calves.  They are so cute running around , kicking up their heels without a care in the world! 

It also means baby chick time at our house!  And this year,I actually have a broody hen that decided to set for me! 

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(Look how mean she looks!  LOL – She really does mean business and does not like me messing with her or her eggs AT ALL!)

She started out with 12 eggs but is now down to 9.  After candling them on day 10, 3 eggs had gone absolutely nowhere, so I pulled them out so that she could concentrate on the ones that were growing and thriving.  By next weekend, April 24th, we should start seeing some babies hatching!  I can’t wait!

I’ve got another hen that’s thinking about it.  If she does, I’ll give her some eggs of her own. I’d love to be able to add some fresh layers to my flock this year. 

Katie is going to raise chicks again this year for 4-H and we’ve already gotten them. If we do as well this year and we did last year, we’ll probably sell them to recoup some of the expense of raising them. 

Hopefully, this next week, we’ll finally get the garden in the ground.  It’s been such a crazy couple of weeks that we’ve not been able to, but I’m making it a priority next week because I want lots of fresh garden veggies this year!  I’ll keep you posted on how that goes! 

Hope you all are having a great spring!  I know I am!

And the winners of the 4-h poultry show are………

 

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my girls!!  They won Grand Champion AND Champion AND they both received blue ribbons!  

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All of their hard work and dedication (and some fussing from mom & dad) really paid off!

This took place back on August 19th during our county fair.    I was so proud of my girls!  In fact, they’re chickens were by far the favorite of all the spectators and we had sold the rest of them before the show even began.  We had several come up to us right before and during the show wanting to buy them but we had to turn them away.  Too bad I didn’t any more to sale! 

Here  are the judges looking over the girls’ chickens. 

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They did a thorough job and came back to the girls’ cages several times comparing them to the others.  The girls’ chickens were at least double the size of the others.  You could tell theirs were very well fed and loved!  

Will we do this again next year?  We’ll just have to wait and see.  I don’t mind but I don’t know if the girls will want to or not.    Michael is still too young, but we got to put a few of his over in the barnyard nursery which he was happy with. 

~~Crock Pot Chicken & Noodles~~

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I found the original recipe on Frugal Families, but I adapted it to our tastes and to feed my family. It’s super simple and quick to throw together.

Crock Pot Chicken & Noodles

  • 6 frozen leg quarters (can use 3-4 boneless/skinless chicken breasts)
  • 1 package egg noodles
  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • 2 cans cream of chicken soup
  • 1 can evaporated milk
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 Tbs pre-minced garlic
  • 2 tsp Thyme
  • 1 Tbs Rosemary
  • 4 cups chicken broth or 4 cups boiling water + 4 chicken bullion cubes, dissolved

Place chicken in Crock Pot. Mix together soups & milk. Add sour cream and mix well.

Add rosemary, thyme, garlic, salt & pepper, mixing well.

Add chicken broth & butter, mixing well again.

Pour mixture over chicken and cook on low 6 to 8 hours.

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Remove chicken and shred. Add noodles to sauce while shredding chicken. Add shredded chicken back to the Crock Pot and cook an additional 30 minutes or until noodles reach desired tenderness.

This goes really well with mashed potatoes & hot rolls/biscuits.

I’ll come back and add pics of the finished product. In the mean time, check out Dining With Debbie for more great Crock Pot recipes this week!

My how time flies!

It’s hard to believe that it’s been almost 12 weeks since my visit with my friend Tammy and her family, and these guys and gals hatched!  We had such a wonderful time watching them hatch and cheering them on as they entered the world.  What a great learning experience for all of our kids to get to experience!  I was so glad that the timing worked out to where they were hatching whey they were here. 
Here they are now:
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Where has the time gone?  I miss Tammy terribly, but we talk almost daily, and we’re planning a trip up there next year.  I can’t wait! 
Back to the chicks.  Right now, they are in their own separate area (but not completely cut off from the rest of the flock), but soon, they will be joining the rest of the flock.  They have approximately another 8 weeks before the girls start laying, but we’ll have to separate the young males before then.  Unfortunately, we cannot keep them all, but I might keep one or two.  The rest will go into my freezer at around 20 weeks of age.  We’ll just have to wait and see how my flock’s doing at that time. 
We also finally got part of a garden planted.  Not what I had originally planned, but it’ll do.  We planted 5 rows of corn, 2 rows of beans, and 1 row of potatoes.  So far, I do have corn and beans coming up which is great!  I’m praying that they will continue to do well and that I’ll have something to put into my freezer to last us through the winter. 
Well, there you have it – an update to our farm life.  We stay pretty busy, but I love it!  I’m so very thankful for all that God has blessed us with.  I’m more blessed than I could ever put into words.  

Fresh Eggs

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I LOVE FRESH EGGS! There is nothing better than a fresh egg.

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Before we started raising chickens last spring, I had never had a fresh egg, but I was really looking forward to it! I waited impatiently patiently for the time when my young pullets would start laying for me. When they did finally start, we were in the middle of moving them from a small coop to a much larger coop and was pleasantly surprised to find 2 little eggs in the far corner of the little coop the day before we actually moved them!

I waited until I had enough eggs for the whole family to have some and then I scrambled up some fresh eggs first, and then I scrambled up some store bought eggs. Just the color was completely different. The store bought eggs were almost white compared to the bright orange yolks of the fresh eggs. And the taste! Oh my! There really is no comparing the two! Store bought has NO taste when comparing them to the fresh eggs. My family has gotten to the point that, on the rare occasion we do go out to eat for breakfast (or to Cracker Barrel were you can get breakfast all day) we do not eat the eggs. They are so lacking in flavor that they taste terrible. This is mostly due in part to the fact that we free range our chickens. They do get layer feed, as well as some scratch and scraps of food (no meat), but the majority of their diet comes from what they find themselves.

Right now, I’m getting an average of 14 eggs per day, but I get as many as 17. The Lord has been so good to us and provided us with just enough people wanting to buy my eggs that it covers the cost of their feed. That is all I prayed for, and He provided. I’m not in this for the money, but it does get expensive even with them free ranging, so this really helps out and makes it more affordable. My girls (and guys) are well loved and very spoiled. They get lots of treats (i.e. veggie & fruit scraps, oatmeal, etc.) and think they should have them any time someone comes out the back door.

If you have never tried fresh eggs, please do! They are so much better for you! It has been proven that fresh eggs from chickens that are free-ranged are much better for you than any store bought eggs. According to Mother Earth News here are the nutritional values of fresh eggs from free-ranged chickens:

  • 4 to 6 times more vitamin-D
  • 1/3 less cholesterol
  • 1/4 less saturated fat
  • 2/3 more vitamin A
  • 2 times more omega-3 fatty acids
  • 3 times more vitamin E
  • 7 times more beta carotene

WOW! Eggs really are good for you! Who knew that you could find so much nutrition in such a small package? All I can say is “YUM!”!!

Don’t forget to check out The Diaper Diaries to see what everyone else has to say about “Things I Love Thursday”!