Chickens, Rural life

Helping your chickens survive the summer heat

Summer has made its arrival here in Nebraska with the heat index bringing us into triple digits. This can be deadly for chickens who can’t sweat to cool off. We’ve lost one broiler chick and the rest of our flock hangs out in the shade, wings lifted away from their bodies and panting. As the heat increases, chickens slow down.…

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Chickens, Gardening

Free chicken treats, or Organic June bug control

I left the children’s water table under a porch light the other night and woke to my walkway carpeted with June bugs. I thought what any chicken owner would think: FREE FOOD! My chickens were delighted. So the next night I made sure the water table was parked there and placed a bucket under our other porch light. Suddenly I’m…

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Chickens, Rural life

On slaughtering our first chickens

Well, we finally did it. We slaughtered four of our five Cornish Crosses in the front yard under a crab apple tree. Yes, along with the bathtub and refrigerator sitting on the porch, we make great neighbors. Fortunately for our neighbors, they all live too far away to care. Fortunately for you, perhaps, I do not have a working camera…

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Chickens, Rural life

Getting started with chickens

Getting started with chickens is actually quite easy, and not at all expensive. At least it doesn’t have to be. What happens to you next, when you decide to sell your house in the suburbs and move to five acres in the country so your chickens have room to roam and your property has room for a few dozen more…well,…

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Chickens, Rural life, Uncategorized

Why chickens?

Discussing our new chicks on Twitter, I was asked the same question over and over. “Why? Why chickens?” Some had chickens and were curious about how our family got started, some were sort of kind of entertaining the idea, some seemed to think I (and everyone going on about chickens) were a little unhinged and one wanted to bring her…

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Chickens, Rural life

The great chicken experiment

I trudge out to the mailbox, slopping through mud in my husband’s snow boots thinking I really need to buy myself some shoes suited to our new life. Hunter greets the mailman’s jeep with barking and prancing, ready for the race to the treeline where he always stops, satisfied that he has yet again driven off the intruder. A bill,…

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Rural life

Adjusting to a new life rhythm

One of the most thought-provoking things I have read in a long time comes from young Sam Gribley of My Side of the Mountain.  Surviving in the Catskill Mountains by hunting and gathering, he muses about how you don’t really notice the weather until you live in it.  Even then, long before this move, before our chickens, before my first…

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Chickens, Rural life

The joy of morning chores

The sun is barely breaking over the trees in the east and I’m standing in front of the coop, just watching. Watching the sun rise. Watching the dogs wrestle. Watching the chickens dart back and forth, eating our leftovers from the night before. They never just sit still and eat what is in front of them. Their little heads bob,…

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