Those Naughty Hens

We thought we had foiled the chickens’ attempts to lay eggs outside their box by clearing out the nest they had made and blocking the entrance to it, but Eleanor stubbornly refused to give up and made herself a new nest under the berry vines, where the tangle of thorns almost prevented us from finding it.  All four hens have been lectured sternly and sent to bed.   I have no idea what’s gotten into them. ...

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Our Naughty Chickens

We had noticed that we weren’t getting as many eggs from Eleanor, and we thought it was awfully odd that we got no eggs at all yesterday, but we didn’t think much of it until Scott found an egg in the compost pile today.  What was it doing there?  Then he noticed that Eleanor was going off by herself and was hard to find.  That’s unusual, because usually when they’re free-ranging in the backyard, they stick...

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Eleanor–by popular demand!

8 x 10, oil on gessoed board.  Click to bid. The other day I was thinking about blogs, and how difficult it would have been to start a blog without digital photography.  In other words, what if all this internet stuff had happened, but somehow no one had thought to invent digital photography along the way and we were all still using film cameras, getting pictures developed, scanning them, etc?  It would be impossible for me to run...

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The Girls!

Lots of people write to me and ask for more chicken posts.  So here, by popular demand, are some pictures of the girls.  There’s not a great deal of news to report–they are all healthy and happy, and they spend almost all day free-ranging in the backyard now.  Dolley had an impacted crop for a while, and then it got very swollen and seemed like it was no longer able to expand and contract the way it needs to in order...

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Gardening With Hens

My good friend Michele over at Sign of the Shovel and GardenRant asked me how on earth I keep the chickens from destroying the garden.  I thought this was a blog-worthy topic, so here you go: Forget about annuals.  Anything that self-sows is history.  The girls love to scratch in the dirt, and when they do that, they uproot tiny seedlings and probably even eat some seeds.  The bright side?  They do the same thing to...

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We Interrupt Our Regularly-Scheduled Programming for This Important Chicken News

Dolley’s moulting!  Look at this scraggly girl.  For those of you who aren’t chicken owners–and why not, may I ask?–hens go through a moult in the winter where they lose their feathers in patches and grow them back.  Here you can see quills coming back in to cover a bare patch on her breast.  I sure wish they wouldn’t lose all their feathers just as the cold weather sets in, but that’s...

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A Damn Fine Chicken Coop

Spotted in the English countryside:  just about the smartest little chicken house a flock could ever want.  (Sorry for the fence in the foreground; there was no getting around that.) On the left, a nice wooden coop with nesting boxes sticking out the side, making it easy to collect eggs from the outside.  Windows that can be shuttered up on the coldest winter nights.  A nice big run, screened on top, with board along the...

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Yet Another Reason to Raise Your Own Chickens

That’s right, advertisements for TV shows. On your eggs. I am not making this up. I’ve written before about EggFusion, a company that has developed a laser etching technology that allows eggshells to be engraved with, say, an expiration date or other information. But then it occurred to the execs at CBS that there was a moment in our day that was not already dominated by television and advertising:  that moment that we spend...

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The Fotis and Their Chickens

I’ve been a fan of the Foti Family blog for a while now, but somehow I didn’t get it that they were part of the Edible Estates project until I saw the NYT story today.  Read more about all of this over at GardenRant, but meanwhile, I point you to the Fotifarm Egg Production Chart, which put me to some shame, as we have slacked off considerably in our own tracking of egg production.  Then I realized that the Fotis, too,...

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