Chicken proofing the garden

Recently my girls decided to eat my potato plant growing in the backyard. I have read that chickens tend to avoid plants that are poisonous to them, apparently mine are not that smart. The leaves and stems on potatoes are poisonous to us and them. Luckily they survived their consumption of the plant. Here it is after it bounced back from them. 20130508-193425.jpg

After this and planting more of my spring garden I decided fencing was desperately needed. So Lindsey and I set out on this mission! 20130508-194454.jpg

You can see the old fencing on the right that I was using, the chickens went right through it. 20130508-193946.jpg20130508-194717.jpg

We used 2×4’s as posts. We built every other section into a 3ft x 3ft frame of 2×2 wood so it will open. Then we chicken wired everything.
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The next day we built the smaller one where my lettuce is now for them summer. 20130508-195433.jpg20130508-195446.jpg

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After both areas were done I decided to add 1×2 to the top of all the sections that don’t open to add stability. ( since we didn’t cement the posts in)

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Also check out:

Echo’s Friends’ Cookies Website and Facebook Page!

Filmmaking & Cookiebaking’s Instagram

Sister site: Craft Making and Drag Racing

Lindsey’s Jewelry: Hard Wear by Lindsey (Awesome stuff)

Rustified.com – Lifestyle Inspirations from a Renaissance Man (I love his blog- 365 page book for this year, recipes, & daily inspirations)

Rusty J’s Music Site

A little more Rambling

Yesterday while I was working at Bones I found a couple foods I really want to make. Of course I immediately texted them to Lindsey! I found this zucchini gratin on Instagram 20130404-004732.jpg20130404-004739.jpg20130404-004744.jpg

Then these awesome little muffins 20130404-004838.jpg20130404-004901.jpg20130404-004906.jpg

And for 2nd meal….(the meal we have about 12 hours into work). We had these amazing braised Short Ribs with some mashed potatoes and corn. They were so good I decided I REALLY need to try making them! So I found this recipe online http://m.foodandwine.com/recipes/braised-short-ribs
I will let you know when I try them! Have you made short ribs? What tips would you give me

That’s all for now, but as I write this its 1:15am I just got home from work and for some reason my chickens are awake. They always put themselves to bed at sunset and I just close the door from the coop into the run when I get home. But tonight they are all up and wandering around. I have no idea why…. Maybe they think its morning since some days they get up with me before dawn (when I work early). It’s time to skedaddle them into their coop so I can go to bed. Since its night time I’m not taking any chicken pics but here’s some from last weekend when Starla decided to push her luck with the house boundaries, lol.

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I waited to see if she’d actually do it then shoooed her out

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Crazy chickens…

Also check out:

Filmmaking & Cookiebaking’s Instagram

Sister site: Craft Making and Drag Racing

Lindsey’s Jewelry: Hard Wear by Lindsey (Awesome stuff)

Rustified.com – Lifestyle Inspirations from a Renaissance Man (I love his blog- 365 page book for this year, recipes, & daily inspirations)

Rusty J’s Music Site

Keeping a Lawn with Chickens

We moved the chicken coop a bit ago and ever since I have been fighting to get my grass back where the coop used to be. Here it is right when we moved it: 20130302-195013.jpg

And this is now, not much has changed aside from some leveling.

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I can see the little bits of grass coming up through the dirt and mess but between the dog and the chickens the poor little blades of grass have no hope! I has seen a solution about a year ago but i had completely forgotten about it until The Homestead Survival posted them on their site today!

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These grazing frames are awesome! They let the chickens graze on all the green grass they love so much without tearing the roots up. Definitely a good solution.

In the next week I will find time to get 10 ft of 2in. X 2in. untreated wood to build the frames. Luckily I already have tons of the 1/2in hardware mesh to screen it with. Lindsey found a big bundle recently and gave it to me, she rocks!

Have any of you ever tried this solution? What other solutions have you used or would you recommend?

Also check out:

Filmmaking & Cookiebaking’s Instagram

Sister site: Craft Making and Drag Racing

Lindsey’s Jewelry: Hard Wear by Lindsey (Awesome stuff)

Rustified.com – Lifestyle Inspirations from a Renaissance Man (I love his blog- 365 page book for this year, recipes, & daily inspirations)

Rusty J’s Music Site

Weekend Rambling

Here’s to another nice weekend.

Saturday included working on a book I’m starting to write with a friend….

Then what turned into redneck style backyard target practice with a tiny BB gun. (My roommate dreamt this up since I wouldn’t let him shoot bb’s in the yard without a way to catch them all)- (yes it’s PVC and a fitted sheet… It worked surprisingly well.)

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Rocharin for our weekly Thai food (of course)…

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While we were there Jack, the awesome owner showed us this new thing Kuapay, so we tried it!

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Hoohkah (where Lindsey and I go to chill and blog), and crazy roommates.

I also sent my rough cut of Rusty J‘s music video to him!! I cannot wait to hear his thoughts and see the tweaks he’s going to make.

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Sunday included church…

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More book writing… then group car washing with Riley and my favorite neighbor James…

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Echo was “helping” with the car wash.

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Then Korean BBQ with Riley and Hannah! (Thank you for dinner Hannah!)

And of course like everyday a little time spent checking on the girls & collecting eggs.

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Also check out:

Filmmaking & Cookiebaking’s Instagram

Sister site: Craft Making and Drag Racing

Lindsey’s Jewelry: Hard Wear by Lindsey (Awesome stuff)

Rustified.com – Lifestyle Inspirations from a Renaissance Man (I love his blog- 365 page book for this year, recipes, & daily inspirations)

Rusty J’s Music Site

Differences in Chicken feeds

This morning I’m headed to my favorite feed store to stock up on chicken feed, for my three girls every time I go I get 80 Lbs worth, they eat a lot!
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This is where I go to get my favorite chicken feed, they rock! Feed Barn in Costa Mesa, CA

Here’s what I buy my girls, Soy Free Layer Feed from Scratch and Peck Feeds. Feed barn is the only place within 50 miles of me that carries this great feed from Washington state.

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Soy Free Layer Feed (This is from their website about the feed.)

Description: Soy Free Layer is the complete diet for your laying hens. This is the final product in our poultry series intended to follow our Soy Free or Naturally Free Grower and Naturally Free Starter Feeds. This is a whole grain mash feed made with our specially formulated nutrient mix and contains No Soy . It does contain Non-GMO Verified Corn for an added boost of energy which is especially helpful in winter months.
Product Features:

No Soy
No GMOs
Fish Meal for extra protein to promote growth
All necessary Vitamins and Minerals for optimal health
Locally-sourced, Unprocessed Whole Grains!
Available in 25lb and 40lb bags. *Shipping limited to 25lb bag.
Ingredients: See feed label for complete list of ingredients. Scratch and Peck grains are Verified Non-GMO by the Non-GMO Project and come directly from local farmers in the Pacific Northwest.

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They also have this layer feed, it is their Naturally Free Layer Feed, Corn & Soy Free.

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Another popular feed is from Modesto Milling. This feed is used by friends of mine that are in the process of getting Certified Organic Eggs.

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They also have an Organic Soy Free layer feed. (I didn’t know they had this until just now! I may try a bag soon)

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Both feeds are great, I prefer my girls only have soy free because soy isn’t exactly a normal part of a chickens diet plus I try to avoid soy myself, it’s in so many of our foods now! (You cant even find chocolate chips without soy anymore!)
My mother is completely soy free so my eggs are the only ones she can eat, as commercially chickens are feed normal chicken feeds that contain soy. Here is an article about soy, I have looked into It much further than this but there’s a quick look.

The reason I have sought out Scratch and Peck Feeds is that they keep the ingredient count lower and purer plus they are whole grain!! I love this about their feed and after researching tons of local(ish) feed company’s this is what ultimately won me over.

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What do you feed your hens? Do you get pellets, crumbles, whole grain? Do you choose regular or organic? So you search out specialty feeds?

Please note! I am only discussing Layer feeds today, not chick starter, Grower, or Broiler feeds. As far as I know both company’s carry those as well, plus feeds for other animals but today I am only sharing Layer feeds.

***Also PLEASE NOTE, this is all my personal opinion and information from their websites i found. ‘Scratch and Peck Feeds’ and ‘Modesto Milling’ are not compensating me nor do they even know who I am. This is NOT a sponsored post.

Also check out:
Sister site: Craft Making and Drag Racing

Lindsey’s Jewelry: Hard Wear by Lindsey (Awesome stuff)

Rustified.com – Lifestyle Inspirations from a Renaissance Man (I love his blog- 365 page book for this year, recipes, & daily inspirations)

Rusty J’s Music Site

Weekend ramblings…

This weekend was full of friends and cleaning.

Saturday Nicolle came over and we got started editing Rusty J’s next music video!!

20130211-234315.jpg ( I can’t tell you anymore about that, I’ve been sworn to secrecy, shh this is between us 😉

Sunday after church, Riley (my roommate) and I deep cleaned our floors, the kitchen got the most TLC, it looks so nice now!
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Saturday – Thai with Lindsey and Riley!
Since I am trying to track calories more lately, I decided to try their incredible Garlic Salmon with sautéed spinach, yum! 20130211-233253.jpg Ooh but when you try this place you should try this…20130211-233445.jpg Ice cream surrounded by cake batter and coconut, then fried, it’s incredible! (I was good this weekend, Riley ate it)

Then I had the silly puppy that thinks my face should be her pillow…. 20130211-233716.jpg

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Baking the Snickerdoodles posted yesterday!

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Plus there’s always silly little chickens around

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What did you do this weekend ? Was it nice and relaxing, or busy busy? I’d love to hear!

Also check out:
Sister site: Craft Making and Drag Racing

Lindsey’s Jewelry: Hard Wear by Lindsey (Awesome stuff)

Rustified.com – Lifestyle Inspirations from a Renaissance Man (I love his blog- 365 page book for this year, recipes, & daily inspirations)

Rusty J’s Music Site

Chickens: How to stop egg breaking

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Earlier this week my girls started breaking and eating their eggs! Totally gross and very frustrating as I am so glad to finally be getting 3 eggs a day!

I started looking on Backyard Chickens and Wikihow

I cleaned them up right away, then decided to start trying some of the solutions I found.

• My girls tend to pull all their straw out of their boxes so I put more since as you see above there was none.
This helped a lot! I got all three eggs this morning!

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• It could also be a lack of calcium, even though they have access to oyster shell. So I have given them more yogurt which they love and spread some oyster shell around where they scratch.

• I’ve had golf balls in the nesting boxes like recommended (I had put them in a while back to teach them where to lay)
Since the golf balls are so different from their eggs they don’t peck at them like they do their eggs, I had to come up with a more realistic fake egg. So that when they peck they are detoured by the hardness.
Lindsey found these awesome wooden eggs at Joann’s and she painted them the light peach/tan that is perfect!!
I am going to add these to the coop as soon as they’re dry!

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• My last resort is one thing off Wikihow – to put mustard in an egg, they recommend in one they ate but I got plastic Easter eggs and if needed will put the mustard in there! Then if they peck enough to get it open they will get mustard and hopefully will hate it enough to stop for good!

Also check out:
Sister site: Craft Making and Drag Racing

Lindsey’s Jewelry: Hard Wear by Lindsey (Awesome stuff)

Rustified.com – Lifestyle Inspirations from a Renaissance Man (I love his blog- 365 page book for this year, recipes, & daily inspirations)

Rusty J’s Music Site

Chickens helping in the garden

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Yesterday the I let the girls out in the garden with me for a while, they scratched up my garden beds all over the yard. Luckily this was a good thing for me as I have really been needing to do this! I saw them doing all this and it prompted me to finally clean out the dead pumpkin vines all over.

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Now this planter is all prepared for spring veggies I’m starting seed for!

We also moved their coop today at my friends prompting. It really needed to be done, they had mounded everything so bad they were running out of space!

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We put them up in the coop to do this since Echo was in the yard, I don’t think they were very pleased until they came out and saw their new space that still has some grass in it 🙂

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After all this I flattened out the mess and tried to spread it around since its hopefully going to be great fertilizer.

How do you handle the mess from your coop? Do you spread it around the yard, compost it, or throw it away?

That’s all for today but I will leave you with a few other photos from their roaming today.

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Also check out:
Sister site: Craft Making and Drag Racing

Lindsey’s Jewelry: Hard Wear by Lindsey (Awesome stuff)

Rustified.com – Lifestyle Inspirations from a Renaissance Man (I love his blog- 365 page book for this year, recipes, & daily inspirations)

Rusty J’s Music Site

Facts about fertile and infertile chicken eggs

Hi all!!

Here is a wonderful informative blog by The Chicken Chick . One of the many awesome blogs I try to keep up with! This is something I know very little about as I don’t have a rooster and I am still learning this whole chicken keeping thing!

Check out her post:
Facts and Myths about Fertile Eggs

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And as always please visit-
Sister site: Craft Making and Drag Racing

Lindsey’s Jewelry: Hard Wear by Lindsey (Awesome stuff)

Rustified.com – Lifestyle Inspirations from a Renaissance Man (I love his blog- 365 page book for this year, recipes, & daily inspirations)

Rusty J’s Music Site

Eggs!

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First off I apologize for the state of my coop in these pictures, (I’m cleaning it out today)

Last night I was showing a friend my chickens and their coop via a cell phone flashlight and found 5 eggs!

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I really should have been checking the nesting boxes! The first week Starla was laying she laid on the coop floor or in the run (even though I have golf balls in the boxes). Everyday since I’ve checked twice a day and collected at least 1 egg everyday. So I was a bit shocked to find 5 eggs that appear to be from one of the my Red girls.

Counting these new 5, my girls have laid 20 eggs in 2 weeks! I’m so excited to finally be able to share them with friends and family 🙂

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I marked the found 5 with an X since I will need to check them before they are eaten. Since they were not collected promptly they definitely need to be water tested. I will post this when I do it. It cannot be done until we are ready to eat them as doing this will disrupt the cuticle and ultimately let bacteria into the egg

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What is your egg production difference from winter to summer? Is it minimal or extreme? How many eggs do you get per hen a day in the summer/winter?

Also check out:
Sister site: Craft Making and Drag Racing

Lindsey’s Jewelry: Hard Wear by Lindsey (Awesome stuff)

Rustified.com – Lifestyle Inspirations from a Renaissance Man (I love his blog- 365 page book for this year, recipes, & daily inspirations)

Rusty J’s Music Site