January 14th, 2008

Chicken Q&A

My disclaimer: I am not a poultry farming expert. The information I share here is based solely upon my own experience with our own backyard flock.

Q: Aren’t chickens very messy? Or stinky?

A: I don’t think so at all. I think chickens are actually quite ladylike compared to many other animals. Of course they are animals, so there is going to be some … manure to deal with. My husband built us a great little coop, though, with nice roosts, nesting boxes, and a wire floor. Most of the waste falls down through the the wiring. We cover the floors beneath the roosts and keep the nest boxes filled with fresh cedar shavings, and the coop only requires a major scoop-out and clean-up about twice a year.

We do have ten acres here, though, and so the coop is a good distance from our house. If it were directly outside my kitchen window, I might feel differently about the mess or the smell. I can tell you, however, that pigs are an awful lot stinkier. We used to raise a couple of pigs each year and you did not want to be downwind of those creatures. Especially when pregnant. Trust me.

Q: How much of the work are your kids able to do?

A: All of it. In the beginning, I did my fair share of hauling waterers and feeding the old biddies in sub-zero temperatures, but these days the chicken chores belong entirely to my oldest daughter Kateri who is almost 13. She handles feeding, watering, wing-clipping, cleaning, and gathering the eggs. It’s a labor of love. She’s crazy about those silly birds and they love her back. Even before she took on all the chores, Kateri was a big help with the flock, though. I would say that, with supervision, even kids as young as 7 are capable of handling many chicken chores by themselves.

Q: How are fresh eggs different from ones you might buy at the store? How do you store them? What do you do with excess eggs?

A: They taste tons better. When we first started eating fresh eggs, I did not notice much of a difference. But sometimes our flock’s production gets a little low and I resort to buying (*gasp*) eggs at the store. The first time I did this after having had the fresh eggs for an extended period of time, I really noticed the difference. Everything from their color to their texture is just … off. Though I buy eggs labeled hormone and antibiotic free, some of the kids still call them “sweatshop eggs” and refuse to eat them.

We store them in the fridge in egg cartons that we save and that friends have given us. They keep for a very long time that way. If we have any excess, we give them away or sell them for about $1 a dozen.

Q: Where do you get your chickens?

A: In the mail. Really. We order through this hatchery where we can get baby chicks of pretty much any breed we like. They ship overnight and I get a phone call from the post office bright and early in the morning where I can hear loud peeping in the background. “Mrs. Bean!” the postal worker shouts above the din. “You’ve got chickens!”


Rex models a camouflage bandana — he’s the talk of the coop

Q; Do you raise them for show at fairs and the like?

A: Oh yes. And we had three proud prize winners this year. Eamon’s rooster is not pictured in that link, because we sold him. He was a fine bird and he won the blue ribbon in his class, but wow he was a meanie. Good riddance, Muchacho!

Which brings us to the next question:

Q: Do any of the chickens hurt the children?

A: It’s been our experience that roosters are territorial and naturally aggressive. Through time and exposure, though, they can learn to see the children as “one of their own.” Because she handles them daily, Kateri’s roosters would never hurt her, but they would gladly eat me alive — and have tried. We don’t let small kids in or around the coop without supervision.

Q: Do you have a particular chicken book you recommend to a beginner?

A: This book has everything you could ever want to know. It’s my Chicken Bible.

Q: Those chickens are just too cute. They aren’t the kind of chickens a person would, well, you know, put on the dinner table, right?

A: Right. These days our chickens are pets. A few years back, I did a little experiment with raising meat birds. I got a dozen Jumbo Cornish X Rocks to raise for meat. Dan was skeptical, but he built yet another coop to house them. Let me tell you, all these things did was sit and eat. We fed them a high protein diet and they sat around packing on the pounds. By eight weeks, they were … um, quite ready.

Now I have never been a squeamish type. I liked dissection projects in high school anatomy class. Besides, I had promised Dan that if he let me do my little project, I would see it through to the end and it was time to make good.

I read up on all the details and had my dad (who dabbles in metal work) make me one of these contraptions. Dan attached it to a tree in the field and so I was ready. Supposedly. But oh, how I dreaded the task that lay ahead!

Dan was betting I wouldn’t follow through, so of course I had to. I got up early in the morning (I couldn’t have kids around!) and headed to the meat bird coop. I chose a lucky bird and grabbed hold of it (they were a bit on the “mean” side — no cuteness here), and made my way across the field to The Spot.

I will spare you the gory details, except to tell you that I did it. I did it! I killed a chicken, gutted it, plucked it, and bagged it for the freezer. Ugh. And there were only eleven more to go.

I spread the work out over the course of about five early mornings and I was so relieved when it was done. I won’t be doing the meat bird thing again, but in retrospect I can see that it was a good experience for me. It opened my eyes to the fact that I do indeed live a cushy life, with a ready supply of fresh, nutritious food ready and waiting for me at my local supermarket. It also made me realize just how far removed from our food so many of us are. We eat chicken without having any idea what it was fed or where it was raised, or in what manner it was killed it, gutted, plucked, and bagged for our convenience.

Anyway, my meat bird experiment was technically a success and I had a freezer full of organically raised roasters to show for it. They tell me the meat was good. I don’t know. I couldn’t bring myself to eat any of it.

Q: What sort of hair products does Rex use? Our rooster would like to know.

A: Tell your rooster that Kateri treats Rex with lavender baby bath. He also gets a “fluffing” with the blow dryer at fair time.

Comments open. Because I just love to talk about chickens, darn it.

48 comments to Chicken Q&A

  • And now we know the true secret to having a trim figure. Kill your own meat, have salad for dinner.

    My mom has a great story about her mother offering a quarter to her young son (my uncle) for every chicken he whacked. She expected she’d get one or two. I think he did a dozen before she told him to stop. Guess Grandma wasn’t terribly eager to do it herself. My mom had to do all the plucking.

    I am very grateful for modern conveniences.

  • Barbara

    I’m glad you like to talk chicken because what you’ve said is very interesting, thought-provoking and inspiring (as usual), and I can add one thing. I had neighborhood friends who raised a couple of chickens in their backyard, and this was in town. Very do-able with the right coop, etc.
    The only problem they had was a hungry hawk that took off with one of the birds in the middle of the night. After that they kept the remaining bird in the coop at night.

  • Gingsma

    One time my grandma took three of her seven kids to Kansas to visit cousins.
    Their aunt sent her oldest boy outside to kill a chicken for supper. The old cat, Tom, was used to the routine, and he was always quick to grab the chicken’s head immediately after it was whacked off! But on this occasion, my dad’s cousin came back into the house in tears after his assignment. Woefully he reported, "Mom, when I went to chop off the chicken’s head, Tom came after it too soon, and the axe cut off Tom’s head!!!"

  • Dee

    My mother may have been the Danielle prototype circa 1948 – we had chickens!! One fine looking hen, who was really rather sweet natured, was being prepared for the local Poultry Show. The evening before the show she was bathed, fluffed and powdered to perfection. Even her feet and scaly legs were pampered and nails buffed. I didn’t like chickens, but even I had to admit that she was a thing of beauty [for a chicken]. My sister and I had been instructed to go out to the coop early so that any dirt or dust that had accumulated overnight,could be removed. Our beauty pageant hopeful was the first one out of the pen, and my sister let out a wail of despair at the sight of her. She had been plucked during the night by her roost companions !! A few tail feathers survived, plus the long wing quills leaving only patches of fluff around her face. Other than that she was bald. Guess her sisters didn’t like the smell of clean

  • Liz

    My mother raised both meat birds and layers when I was growing up. When I was in high school and we had just moved to our dairy farm the egg money was the grocery money (times were really tough!). My parents used to slaughter dozens of birds at a time. I helped gut occasionally, but mostly was relegated to picking pin feathers.

    We’ve raised meat birds a couple of times and it’s my husband who doesn’t want to do it again. He hates the mess of slaughtering them. We keep trying to convince him that the taste difference and the organic difference is worth it, but somehow no one else wants to replace him as the chief slaughterer. Kudos to you, Danielle, for being willing to do it yourself. I think if we ever get back into chickens we’re going to have to hire the local slaughter guy to do the job for us.

    BTW Annie’s Cage Free Eggs taste just about as good as the ones from our neighbor’s chickens. I won’t buy true sweatshop eggs unless I have no other choice. At the moment I don’t have any friends selling eggs, so I’m reduced to the supermarket version. Got to get to the farmer’s market early to get eggs.

  • GO to this blog everyone, my friends are having a chickens’ discussion over there too!

    http://devinrose.heroicvirtuecreations.com/blog/

  • without the space between o and s

  • mom210

    We too raise chickens. Our 12 year old daughter does most of the work with the chickens and dad helps when the coop needs to be cleaned. We used the same hatchery…very pretty and healthy chicks. Chickens are very easy. We raise them in a small backyard in suburban NJ..Along with 10 children and homeschooling our neighbors think we are nuts! A work of advise.. the chickens do not smell but you must keep their food dry. Wet food really smells and that will attract rodents.

  • Marie M

    In the neighborhood where I used to live some of our (Christian) friends used to raise chickens in the field behind our houses. They formed a neighborhood association for raising chickens (only for eggs!) and called it CLUCK (Chickens Living Under Christ’s Kingdom)!!!!!! I used to love hearing the roosters wake me up in the morning! So Kateri, next time you take your chicks to the fair, sprinkle them with a little holy water from Church, (I don’t think that would be a sacrilege would it?) display the CLUCK logo on their cage, and they’ll be sure to catch the judge’s eye!!

    Boy, with the price of eggs ($2.20/dozen around here) it sure is tempting! We live on about 1/2 acre. Do we have to get permission to do something like this?

    mom210 — how small is your backyard?

  • Amanda

    PHEW. I am so glad these cuties aren’t meat birds.
    I do, however, totally admire you and am in total awe of the meat-bird-raising that you did!
    This post has been so interesting and informative. I just love hearing about these chickens! 🙂

  • Henrietta

    I really never paid much attention to chickens until I read this post. Rex is incredibly handsome! I also think it’s fabulous that Kateri has such a love for animals. She should start her own blogging web site for kids who love animals and creatures too, with pictures tips and stories. what a great idea! A few more questions though.

    breeding? have you bred many chicks other than the few you posted last year? how do you know which eggs are fertilized? Do you have to keep the boys and girls separated? I have no idea. Always wondered.

  • Question: I don’t imagine this is a problem on a ten acre lot, but I understand that chickens (Roosters especially) can be very loud, especially around sun up. Should people considering raising chickens factor their neighbors?

    Also, I am grateful for all of the chicken posts and photos. My 3 year old loves sitting on my lap and looking at pictures of chickens that I find on google and I often simply come to this site. I once made the mistake of googling "cute chicks." I know! Even naive me should have known better than to do that, but the point is that I am glad the Beans posted their own newly hatched chicks a few months ago because they were precisely what I was looking for.

  • My question didn’t come out right. I am sure that everyone considers their neighbors first, but has chicken noise been a problem for people who have neighbors 10 ft. away?

  • Elizabeth

    I wanted to point out that many towns allow you to have a small flock (of hens only) in your backyard…even on a very small lot. I’m talking maybe 2-4 hens. There is even a very expensive device you can buy at http://www.omlet.us for a small backyard flock. Quite frankly, I may be calling our city office soon to see if this is one of those towns that allows a small flock.

  • stephanie

    I love it. We are looking forward to doing this when the kids are old enough for 4-H on our 3 acres. With the cost of eggs, I’d like to start this year!

    He and a friend – 3 miles north – have been talking about raising some chickens for meat on his property (they have a coop) this year. They both grew up on acreages and have experience raising and processing chickens.

  • Jennifer

    Yes, please consider your neighbors. Roosters can be very loud and not just in the morning as some people tend to think, alllllll day long.

    Thank you Danielle for covering this topic. I miss my chickens (we had about 100+), though I do not miss the "processing". It was not a pleasant thing to do, though there were a few roosters that I didn’t mind disposing of. I had one that I had to keep a stick with me at all times, he would always attack my purse when I was coming and going from the house. The funniest thing was to see them in the trees.

    Also keep in mind that raccoons and other critters will help themselves to chickens if possible. We had a 14+ pound rooster (beautiful bird) that was tragically killed even while in the coop. Apparently, the critters got hold of him and held on until they could get him through the fence, piece by piece (sorry for the gorry details).

    It was a wonderful experience and I can’t wait until our house is done so we can start again. Happy chickening!

  • Nikki

    Oh my goodness, Danielle, I am so humbled by your chicken post. Tonight, we will be dining on an organic, store bought roaster. Last night, I had my husband remove the innards because I just can’t bring myself to grab onto the organs. You are one impressive lady!

  • ck

    We are homeschooling 4h family of a goat, pony, rabbits and chickens-both the egg laying and meat variety. We love it! It has been such a wonderful experience. All 5 children (minus disabled child) do the morning chores before school and after dinner. They have learned much about animals and responsibility. Their 4H projects make wonderful science lessons.

    As far as the chickens go we have had a chicken butchering and defeathering party with our neighbors. We processed several chickens at a time and enjoyed a chicken barbecue the next day. Our kids took part in the whole process. A couple were squemish. An alternative was to take the chickens to an Amish family that will do it all for $1 a bird.

    As far as roosters, we’ve had mean ones and I am very much bothered by the roosters crowing (sometimes as early as 4am). We no longer do roosters.

    It is such a busy, sometimes crazy lifestyle but we love it. The kids are having a blast!

  • ck

    One comment about the predators of chickens-hawks, weasels, raccoons, fox. We have had so much success with installing an electric fence. It has made all the difference and been well worth it.

  • mom210

    Our backyard is about 80ft x 50ft. We have 6 chickens in a coop made by dad and kids…lovely paint job! Anyhow we are able to keep chickens, I checked with the town first but no roosters because of the noise ordinance. When we discovered some of the chickens are males we bring them to the 4H society and they take them to a farm. We are very lucky that they help us in this way. Sue B, this is Maureen and we will be incubating eggs some time next week. You have 21 days to arrange and visit before they hatch and the kids can hold or at least run with our chickens whenever you wish!

  • I have to ask and I am sorry if my grandpa is disappointed but… how can you keep chickens who still lay eggs with no roosters? Is there something I am missing?

  • Matilda – hens will lay eggs without a rooster in their midst…they just are not fertile eggs.

  • Sarah L.

    Does your family ever travel and, if so, who cares for the chickens?

  • I love your chicken post, Danielle! I grew up on a mini farm with milk goats, domestic rabbits, chickens, and a large organic garden. I would love to have a small chicken coop with the Araucana chickens as I love the egg colors….one day…just not in my current backyard. 🙁

  • My oh my

    I have to say that this is quite the intersting blog forum you have here.
    I find it informative but very gross.
    I am ready to move on to more mom stuff says this pregnant mom of #6

  • Danielle,

    I am sooo impressed that you processed your own chickens! You amaze me! Way to go!

  • Awesome. I have a friend that started raising chickens, and she tells an hysterical story about her first butchering….neither she nor her husband had done this before, and they were out back, her husband holding a book (she still has the blood splattered book) while she was trying to kill and clean the darned things, while yelling at her 7 kids to stay in the house.

  • Not only does Melanie have a funny post, but her blogspot name is so hilarious!

    Living on gov’t land and in privatized housing on said land, means no dang chics for now . . . We’ll keep Galadriel (our cat) and we’re getting a Yorkie pup (Holly) next week. This blog has defnitely created quite an interest in hen keeping (for eggs and fun for the kids). Perhaps we’ll get ourselved a smaller home on a larger lot when we retire from the USN.

    Danielle, great post!

  • We also ordered from the same hatchery but due to a poor coop and not really being prepared we had to give our birds away, they found a good home at the Domans though and our rooster is still proudly there taking care of their beautiful flock!

  • Danielle, I’m usually a lurker here, but, dagnabit, I just love this kind of thing. We have sheep, and they’re a meat breed. The thing is, we don’t eat them. We show them. Correction: my sister-in-law and her husband own the sheep and show them and do all the hard stuff. I take pictures and fawn and pretend (until my kiddos are just a wee bit older, that is!).

    All that…and not really a point to any of it. Just me, fawning over your chickens…never thought I’d be interested in chickens but you make them look so fun (and you don’t have to shear or trim hooves…hmm)

  • Tina

    I never really considered myself a city girl until now. Am I the only one not at all interested in raising chickens? That said, I’m very glad there are those out there who are! And I’m very grateful for farmers and all the hard work they do. I’m also reminded of a conversation I had with my 3-year-old a few weeks ago. While eating some ham, she asked what sound ham made. Confused, I said none; it just sits there I guess. Then she said, "Turkey says gobble gobble; what does ham say?" Oohhhh. So I said ham came from pigs, which say oink oink (she knows what all the animals say). I didn’t know how to explain further. Should I just sit and read or watch Charlotte’s Web with her? How do you explain where the chicken and ham we eat comes from?

  • Monica

    Sigh. I would love to raise chickens and have fresh eggs…but my oldest is allergic to eggs, and I’m supposed to avoid them while pregnant or breastfeeding (and I’m hoping to have many years ahead of one of the two 🙂 ), so no chickens for us. I think my husband is secretly glad. 🙂

  • Betsy

    Home grown chickens taste so much better than those purchased at the store. If you think you want to try it again, I would look around and see if there is a meat processor nearby. I live in the country and there are many to choose from here.

    Anyone who wants to learn more about chickens, check out http://www.backyardchickens.com A lot of people have chickens in their city backyards.

  • Helen

    As a woman raised in the Bronx (New York City), I know absolutely nothing about chickens other than the ones we bought at the A&P.

    I thought you were brave to stand up to the AP folks last week, but this takes the cake! My hat’s off to you. Any woman who has the guts (no pun intended) to slaughter her own chicken is one tough chick ;)! I get squeamish killing a spider!

    Anyway, this whole post makes me think of this Gunnar Madsen song that our kids love, called Chicken Road. You can find it here:

    http://www.gunnarspot.com/mhfolder/chickenrd.html

    God Bless.

  • Helen

    I don’t why that space got added, let’s try again.

    http://www.gunnarspot.com/mhfolder/chickenrd.html

  • Joan

    This "chicken" post reminds me of the days when our neighbors across the street had a rooster. It used to wake us up every morning. However, when it got old, it must have gotten senile because it would crow at all hours of the day and night. Now unfortuanately there are 8 houses standing where that farm house used to be. I was told that years ago it used to be a petting zoo. Up until about 5 years ago the people there also used to keep horses in barns. I dont’ miss that smell though LOL! Nice memories of chickens and roosters today.

  • Joan

    One more comment from me. This time about eggs. I ONLY buy the free range organic eggs for consumption in our house. They are so much better than the "sweat house" eggs. To me there is no comparison. The price is dear here. The cheapest I have seen them is $3.79 a dozen. To me it is well worth the price. Whenever I eat "regualar" eggs I always get a headache. Danielle, maybe I’ll come up for a visit and taste yours!!

  • Grandma Elaine

    I grew up on a farm. One year my mother talked us into a 4-H demonstration on cleaning chickens. (I realize now it was the practice she was after and got many cleaned!!!!!) We received a blue ribbon, but the judge thought it was too "Gory" to take on to the state fair.

  • Julie

    My mom raised 25 meat birds one year when I was young. My Grandfather took them to the slaughter house to have them killed but to save .25 per bird he told them my mother, who grew up on a turkey farm, could clean them. He was quite proud to have a daughter-in-law who knew how to do it. I still remember my mom sitting in the kitchen surrounded by buckets of chickens waiting to be cleaned.

    Kudos to the Bean children for taking such good care of their birds!

  • My DH went through a time where he was interested in the possibility of someday raising some chickens (assuming we moved out of the city limits, of course) but he tends to be a bit concerned about germs and such.

    One day my oldest DD, then about five, heard us talking about it and drew a picture of her dad on a chicken farm. I could clearly see the barn, the chickens in the yard, some eggs, and even an upside-down chicken "Dad" was holding–but I couldn’t quite tell what "Dad" was doing with the chicken.

    "What’s Daddy doing here, honey?" I asked.

    "Oh," my daughter answered brightly, "He’s Lysol-ing the chickens."

    We still live in the city. 🙂

  • Alison

    A great gal at our parish (who also homeschools) gave me 5 chicks this spring. She ordered hers from the same hatchery as yours. I love them!

    We live in the town so no roosters (though I hear them even in the real expensive neighborhoods!) We have a fenced in backyard with high fences- we haven’t had to clip wings, but sometimes one will get out. They have a small coop, which I do have to clean often… but it goes to the compost so that is so worth it!

    I do not feel guilty anymore when dinner is a flop "the girls" will gratefully eat it (makes me feel better after listening to all the whining 😉 They come when called, they like to hang out with us and don’t mind being petted.

    The best thing is they don’t need much from me- food, water, de-wormer, and a clean coop- for all this they tell me they love me by giving me eggs!!! How cool is that?

    The chickens are sometimes um *volunteered* for entertainment. The children love to catch them and make them perch in all sorts of places. My husband and his friends once played "Bocce Chicken". They would gently toss the girls toward the sandbox, tring to get them to land in it- much harder than one would think, they can fly a bit!
    PS no chickens were harmed in these ummmm "games"

  • Thanks, Danielle. We are starting our chicken adventure this year and I am so excited I can hardly stand it as I wrote here: http://plainsongschool.typepad.com/plain_song_school/2008/01/cure-for-cabin.html
    I love your chicken posts and what you wrote this last Faith & Fam. We might have to get a Speckled Sussex.

  • Millie

    I am older than most of you who are commenting and I was raised on a large farm that used the chickens, cows and pigs, for their milk, meat and eggs. Gory stories never entered our minds when we processed the animals. So in saying that, we helped with the processing of each of these for our food.
    Now, that I still live rural I am so squeamish that I could never do those things again. And sometimes I cannot even think about what happens to meat before it comes to my table. (The neighbors still slaughter their raised cattle in perfect view of us.)And some of the raw meat smells bring back those memories very vividly. Chickens were the mildest and every single one of us 8 children had to learn to de-head, pluck, clean and prepare those hundreds of chicken we did yearly. There were no favorites in who did the work, whoever was capable did the chores. We gathered the eggs, milked the cows, (mostly electrically, did all the feeding and gleaned their food also from the fields. Do I sound Amish – no I am an Indiana farm girl and that’s all I knew growing up since the ratio of girls to boys was 2 boys and six girls. Now I am far more citified and yes, the produce does taste much, much better directly from the farm source. But our daughters experience of raising chickens and the time she had to spend doing so sent the chickens back to Grandma’s farm before they began to produce eggs. She did hang in there and clean the coop when they left but scooping poop from the coop was never one I treasured from a younster on. On a farm (working farm) everyone works equally to accomplish the needed chores and to sustain the family.
    Raising chickens is also probably one of the great ways of teaching children responsibility. We did not raise chickens for the fair yet I am fascinated by the chickens at the state fair. Some of their colors are just awesome. Nothing beats holding those tiny fuzzy warm chicks in one’s hand. Thanks for sharing your stories – it makes for interesting reading. Life experiences are the best stories. Keep posting & sharing your stories.

  • We have a flock of about 36. A large portion of those are Aracuanas b/c of the cute blue eggs. However, in cold weather (and I’m in GA), those Aracuanas don’t lay at all. I haven’t had a blue egg in two months. They eat and eat, but no eggs.

    That’s why I love my Rhode Island Reds and my Cuckoo Marans. The egg numbers are lower, but they do still take turns giving me a few jewels each day. We also bought chicks from McMurray and were very happy with our purchase.

    I’ll add that our hens are in mobile pens with access to grass, bugs, and the like. We cover the pens with thick plastic on two sides and part of the top, so they do have protection from the elements. But they aren’t "housed".

    Danielle: I’ve always wanted to ask you: do you mill your own wheat berries for the flour you use for bread? Or do you avail yourself of the King Arthur product native to NH? I appreciate your recipes and have used several over the years. Good stuff. Thanks for sharing.

  • Oh Mrs. Burns, you flatter me with your question! I have never milled my own flour and I am not inclined to try. There might have been a time in my life where I entertained the idea, but these days I look for ways to skip steps in bread baking — not add! I am sure you know what I mean.

    About your reluctant layers — do you light your coop? Chickens will stop laying when they don’t get enough sunlight during the winter months. We added a light in our coop and make sure they get at least 12 hours of light each day. Now all the hens lay year round — even our Aracaunas.

  • LydiaC

    Wow…this is so cool. You actually make raising chickens sound possible for "non-farm" people.

    I am a city girl whose former hippie/avant garde parents were wise enough to always spend as much time as possible taking day trips to farms and farmer’s markets when I was little. I think that, plus tales from Peter Rabbit, plus a week long vacation at a Mennonite farm when I was five, is responsible for this city girl’s desire to raise animals (on a small scale, and probably no slaughtering).

    Right now my husband (who is a country boy) and I live in a highrise in Washington, DC. But, with baby number one on the way and a job hunt on, maybe we’ll have the space to think about a few chickens sometime soon.

  • Danielle:
    We don’t light our coop. I have friends who light their coop and if I need to buy eggs, I buy from them instead of the store. Our pens are too far from the house right now for me to run an extension cord with a bulb.

    But wouldn’t you know it? I go bad-mouthing the Aracuanas on the internet, and I got a blue egg today! Hmm…a new strategy for me to follow…

    On the milling thing: I’ve started milling wheat lately. It is a major draw for the boys. They hover over the top, watching all the little berries slide into the chute. But you are right: it’s another step and it’s much different from baking with white flour. Adjustment for the baker!