Friday, November 18, 2011

Little One-The Leghorn Silkie

This is Little One- the big white Leghorn (A.K.A Leggern) with the largest, brightest red comb in the flock.  She came to us early this summer after being hatched at a nearby elementary school.  She was the sole survivor and needed a place to stay, so we took her in.

Anyone who has raised chickens knows how hard it can be to integrate new chickens into an existing flock, especially ONE bright white chicken in a sea of dark feathered friends or maybe I should say, enemies.

We decided our Silkies would probably accept her without trying to kill her, so that's where she went.  For the first couple of weeks, we kept her alone and then put her in with the Silkies and separated them by wire so they could get acquainted.  Once the wire was removed, all was well in the world.

We built a separate coop for our Silkies after learning the hard way that our big girls would attempt to eat them if we put them all together...theirs is the little one on the left.

We often open the doors and let all the girls, big and small, outside to roam around.  So far, they all get along when allowed to roam together.  They do keep to their own territory though; it reminds me of tween boys and girls-all the Silkies on one side and the Big Girls on the other!

Little One did manage to make her way into the Big Girls' coop one afternoon and a beastly Ameraucana decided to attack her beautiful red comb.  She was probably jealous-women can be so difficult.  Thankfully, Travis was outside and was able to rescue her.  He brought her inside, I washed up her comb, put some antibiotic ointment on it and off she went.

Needless to say, she has never entered the Big Girls' coop again & the incident confirmed that she'd never be able to be housed with the big girls as I had hoped maybe she'd be able to do one day.  At this point, I'm sure if I were to show her her own reflection in a mirror, she'd swear it wasn't so.  I'm certain she thinks she looks just like her coop mates.  We'll just let her go on believing.


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Chicken Poop Lip Junk!

My sister-in-law & brother-in-law brought me one of these the other day at our monthly Wiedenhoeft Sunday lunch, or dinner, as lunch is often called out in the country.  Then what is dinner, you ask?  Well, supper, of course!  I digress.

Back to the star of this show, Free Range Chicken Poop Lip Junk!  The primitive style package is cute and sure to please any chicken lover.  In fact, I haven't had the heart to open it yet.  I may just hang it on my wall in the kitchen for character or for that moment of dry lip desperation that's sure to hit once the balmy days of Wisconsin winter set in.

This gift also made me realize that I've sealed my seat in our family as that person; you know, the crazy chicken lady.  Once people start buying you random gifts related to your obsession and passing them around secretively before giving them to you-giggling all the while, I think it's a sign.  Thank you Brad & Jenny for making it official.  I digress again.  
Grandpa says: 
If ya' got dry lips
put chicken poop on 'em 
so ya' won't lick 'em.

Simone Chickenbone Natural Put-Ons, the creators of this fine chicken poo product, point out that there isn't really chicken poo or poo of any kind contained in this lip junk.  Actually, the ingredients include avocado oil, jojoba, sweet orange, lavender essential oil, bees wax & vitamin E.  Sounds yummy.  All of their products are made with natural ingredients & are earth-friendly too...bonus!  

As the winter rolls by and my lips start to crack, I'll let y'all know if this junk really works!  

By the way, I've missed y'all and promise to pay more attention to you.  I swear.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Bug Control

Wow, where has the time gone?  While I've been making mental notations for future posts almost daily, it's been over a month since I've checked in!  I'm hoping y'all have been as busy and I have this spring/summer and haven't noticed my lengthy hiatus.  Since I've been gone so long, I figured I had better bring some stupendous information your way to keep you coming back!

My seasoned chicken keepers out there are probably familiar with Diatomaceous Earth (DE), but I've come across so many folks who haven't heard of it that I reckon it doesn't hurt to touch on this incredible creation that needs to be a part of any chicken lovers arsenal.  Gardeners, listen up, 'cause it's also proven to be a wonderful addition to any garden shed!    First things first, how the heck is diatomaceous pronounced?  Click here, thanks to Merriam-Webster, you'll never have to wonder again.

Diatomaceous Earth (DE) is 100% natural, safe & non-toxic.  It's a fine, white powder derived from the fossilized remains of diatoms, a type of algae.  Food grade DE can be used to prevent mites & lice in your flock as well as internal parasites.  Add DE to nest & dust boxes, coop bedding, the run, sprinkle around the coop as a barrier, or apply directly to birds (under wings & around vent) if you're experiencing an infestation. Add 1 pound of DE to 50 pounds of feed to help prevent internal parasites.  You can also mix DE with water to form a slurry paint that can be brushed on roosts and other surfaces.  Gardeners, use a shaker can to sprinkle throughout your garden to help control the bugs that enjoy annihilating your fruits & veggies!

How does it work, you ask?  DE has microscopic, razor sharp edges that are harmless to humans & other large animals (chickens, dogs, cats, etc...) but are deadly to small insects.  The sharp edges cut through the insect's protective covering, drying them out and ultimately sending them to bug heaven.  If ingested, it shreds their insides.  DE is an incredible alternative to some of the synthetic insecticides on the market that kill by attacking the nervous system and require more precaution when being applied.  Will you get the same control you would get using a synthetic? Probably not, but many synthetics are no longer labeled for use around animals and food.

The best place to purchase DE is from a local feed mill, farm cooperative or garden center.  I've seen 5LB bags online for more than what a 40LB bag costs at the farm co-op.  If you live in my  neck of the woods, I just happen to work at a farm co-op and can order 40LB bags that retail for $23!  One bag goes a long way, so start with one & see how it works for you and your 2-legged friends!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Butter & Chickens!

I love Paula Deen, she's butter fearless AND loves chickens.  Check out her coop, I thought our chickens were spoiled!  The best part, she rescued her girls and they all look healthy and happy!  I wish she was my neighbor.

Paula's Chicken Coop from Paula Deen on Vimeo.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Strawberry Pickin'

Last year at this time, I had already posted about our strawberry pickin' trip to Jelli's Market in Helenville, WI. 

We're eagerly anticipating another trip to the strawberry fields this year; however, spring arrived later than last and optimal picking times will begin in about a week.  Unless, of course, you don't mind the hunt for the berries that have ripened early, but with TWO toddlers to keep from eating themselves sick as we pick, I'd rather know there will be plenty of ripe strawberries in our row to grab and go!

This year, since I love ya', I thought I'd list some of the best pick-your-own farms in southeast Wisconsin, so you all know just where to go.  Most of these farms have a strawberry hotline that you can call for current crop information.  Sometimes it's necessary to close for ripening if there's been alot of picking goin' on.  Strawberry season usually begins around mid-June and runs to the 4th of July, however, as with any crop, Mother Nature determines when we get to reap what the farmer has sown!

Go out and enjoy the sunshine and lucious, vine-ripe strawberries that are out there just waiting to be picked.  Listen for the suction cup POP! the strawberry makes as you pull it from its vine, that's my favorite part!  Well, that... and, the part where it enters my mouth, slides down my throat and lands in my belly!

Jelli's Market-Hellenville, WI
Zastrow's Strawberries-Mayville, WI
Basse's Taste of Country-Colgate, WI
Kirschbaum's Strawberry Acres-Beaver Dam, WI
Apple Barn Orchard & Winery-Elkhorn, WI
Berryville Farm-Racine, WI
Thompson Strawberry Farm-Bristol, WI
Berry Basket & Greenhouse-Milton, WI
Hazeltines Century Farm-Janesville, WI
Skelly's Farm Market-Janesville, WI
The Fideler Farm-Kewaskum, WI

If you've got a favorite pickin' place, please tell us all about it in the comment section of this post.

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Dairy Breakfast

Not too long ago, I would have never known what a dairy breakfast was.  Working in agriculture and being married to a farm boy has its perks, let me tell you! 

During the month of June, which is Dairy Month, farmers all across Wisconsin open their farms to the public for a special dairy breakfast. It's a unique opportunity to see the workings of a real dairy farm and, in addition to a great farm tour, you get a delicious breakfast to boot!  The breakfast usually includes eggs, pancakes, bacon, sausage, cheese, milk (white & chocolate, of course), orange juice, coffee, and ICE CREAM!  The kids love it and it puts the break in breakfast for those Moms & Dads who won't have to cook!

Find a Wisconsin dairy breakfast near you, here.  If you live in our neck of the woods, the Watertown Agribusiness Club Dairy Breakfast is THIS weekend, June 18th & 19th at Dettman Dairy Farms in Johnson Creek.  We'll be there bright and early Sunday morning.

Here are a few photos from our trip to Dettman Dairy Farms last year!

Scramblin' Eggs!

Tractor rides from the hay field parking lot to the breakfast!

If a tractor ride isn't your thing, you can bring a wagon to put the kids in
and make like a cow and hoof it!

Now, that's the way to make some pancakes!

Quite the turn-out! 

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Layena Plus Omega-3 Video

Learn more about the Purina 60 Day See The Difference Challenge & sign up for coupons here

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

New Grub

Today I was reading up on chicken rations and found some info about flaxseed and how it aids in increasing the presence of Omega-3 fatty acids in eggs.  

Omega-3 fatty acids are necessary for our health, however, our bodies can't make them.  We have to get them from our food or from supplements. Omega-3's are found in some plants, nut oils, and fish, such as salmon, tuna, and halibut. Omega-3 fatty acids play an important role in brain function and normal growth & development.

The materials I came across also indicated that flax is beneficial to the health of the hens in addition to providing enhanced nutrients in their eggs.  I then began to wonder if it would be best to supplement flax in our scratch mix or to find a layer ration that has flax in it.  After discussing it with our Lifestyles Feed Specialist, Lynette, it turns out that whole flax is hard for any animal to digest so it would be more beneficial to the animal if it were ground into the feed.  Our discussion proved to have an added bonus because she turned me on to Purina's Layena Plus Omega3 layer feed.  Needless to say, I ordered some to stock at our store for myself and for others who may be interested in a feed that offers more than the current feed they are using.  The cost is only going to be about $1.50 more per bag and I feel it's well worth it! 

Here are just a few of the features and benefits of this product taken from Purina's website:
Formulated to produce 200mg Omega-3 per large egg providing 300% more Omega-3 than a typical egg!

Natural vegetarian formula without added antibiotics or hormones

Peace-of-mind – feed your birds like you feed your family

Superior Nutrition for strong healthy birds that lay plenty of wholesome eggs

Select level of marigold extract for rich golden yolks

Key levels of calcium and manganese for strong shells with fewer cracks
Optimized level of Vitamin E to support a healthy immune system

Has anyone out there tried this feed already?  If so, what are your thoughts?  If you haven't tried this feed, have you tried flax in your feed rations?  What has your experience been?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Hosta Time!

Turns out, our girls fancy hostas!  They continue to enjoy their time in the yard these days.  On a side note, I've realized, once again, that flip flops are not an option when visiting with the girls during the spring and summer months.  I think this may be a lesson I learn on an annual basis!  I should have read Backyard Tip #1 before the weather improved to remind myself!  I took some pictures while out visiting the girls today.  The weather is wonderful and all the trees and flowers are starting to bloom...finally.  Enjoy!

Girls snacking on hostas in the rear while a nosey, molting Welsummer and an Ameraucana check out the camera!

Poor hostas...

Flowering crabapple tree...the prettiest tree in our yard.  It reminds me of Trav's grandma Rose who passed away recently.  It's nice to have something so beautiful to remember her by.

Munching on leftover sweet corn from last night's dinner!  Who needs a garbage disposal?!?!?

This Ameraucana is enjoying a warm sun bath!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

RIP Gimpy

Sadly, Gimpy's condition worsened over the last week and Travis had to put her down yesterday.  I know some of you were wondering about her.  I always cry when we lose a chicken.  Although some may find that strange, they are like our pets.  She wasn't eating anymore and she was getting worse daily.  While we were never able to figure out what exactly was wrong, we decided it was best to relieve her of any pain/suffering she had been enduring. 

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Serendipity Farm-Waterford, WI

Today was a great day to be living in the country & in Wisconsin!  There aren't many things in life that can beat a road trip on a gorgeous day like today out in rural country...bright sun, blue skies, fields of green, barns and cows scattered across the countryside, and a fresh, cool breeze singing as it blows through the trees.  Today, however, our destination actually trumped the ride. 

Early this morning, I loaded the kids and my Mother-in-law in the grocery-getter and hit the road.  Destination, Serendipity Farm in Waterford, WI.  I found out about Serendipity Farm after watching an episode of American Pickers featuring Hippie Tom.  Not only was his property and stuff unique, he seemed even more unique than the rest!  I became very curious about him and when I heard he was in Wisconsin, I went straight to Google to track him down.  I was hoping he was close enough to visit and, sure enough, he was only 45 minutes away!  He opens his property a couple of times/year to the public.  This weekend was the Mother's Day Tent Sale weekend and I've had it penciled on the calendar for quite awhile-actually, markered on the calendar because the only thing that would have stopped me from going was the death of a loved one-although, if they were dead, would they care if I went to see Hippie Tom instead?  You get my point.

After 45 minutes of "are we there yets", we arrived!  Tom was there along with a few others, but we got there before the main crowd arrived.  It was a remarkable place.  As we walked through the farm in amazement, we were greeted by Tom.  I brought a dozen eggs for him (seriously, how could I not).  He was grateful, sweet & kind.  As the day progressed, I had a few more encounters with him and it was clear that the remarkable thing about this place, was Tom.  Afterall, a work of art is only as remarkable as its creator.  I snapped some photographs to share with you because words just don't do it justice.

I've always sworn that I'd never be one of those crazy, groupie types that must get their photograph taken with those they adore while fawning and drooling all over, I broke my own rule.

 Looks like the Easter Bunny won't be coming next year...

If we had a trailer with us, my Mother-in-law may have had us load this outhouse up.  She loved it!

Everyone needs one of these, right?!  For some reason, I loved this concrete lady-head on a post... 

The bird cage, another one of the MIL's favorites!

The bowling ball graveyard.  My MIL has a bowling ball in one of her flower beds.  She even commented after seeing this that she knew she was on to something!

Dust pan, anyone?

Welcome to Mushroom Land.  This was the most creative use of an old bed frame and box spring I've ever seen!

The hardware store has nothing on Tom when it comes to shovels!

Mary enjoyed herself-even said she'd like to live here.

Bicycles hanging from trees-A new spin on the classic wind chime...very whimsical!

I believe Tom actually relocated many of these buildings to his property. 

Thankfully, I can now say I went to church today.

I wonder how many bottoms have taken a load off in this chair over the years?

We came, we saw, we drank all the wine.

Another favorite outhouse.

My picks for the day-While the insides of the buildings were closed to the public, I just knew that Tom MUST have had a shutter/window stash somewhere.  I couldn't possibly leave without asking.  When I asked, he was kind enough to take me to his stash to find just what I was looking for...I was in heaven & have vowed to return for more!  I'm going to use the shutters and window for wall decor in our house and the cast iron piece to adorn the top of a door.

Connor even tried his hand at pickin'...he wouldn't let us leave without these bowling pins.  He even asked Tom how much he had to get for them!

If I hadn't been so busy looking at everthing, chatting it up with the locals, and chasing the kids, I could have taken a thousand pictures.  When we were ready to leave, Tom escorted us to the van and helped carry our loot!  I can't wait for the chance to return; next time, without the kids.  All that was missing today was my husband, a truck & trailer, and a lotto win to pay for all the stuff I could fill that trailer with!  Tom & his wife plan to open the farm up again this fall.  If you're in the area, be sure to stop out.  Bring a fat pocket full of cash so you can take home some of your favorite treasures.  It's definitely a place you won't soon forget.