Healthy Chickens……

Are my girls healthy?? Are yours??  Good question……..

and the answer?????  I hope so, I think so, they look good to me, they’re acting good, so they’re good.  I hope.  Hummmm.

No, they didn't use it, they did drink from it though

No, they didn’t use the pool, they did drink from it though

Well, I’m assuming for the time being they are, they’re eating, they’re sleeping, they’re laying eggs, their hatching chicks, the roosters are that a word??? well, it is now! and their poop looks normal.  Yeah, their poop.  If you’ve been reading the backyard chicken blogs and Facebook pages like I have, you know its important to keep an eye on what their poop looks like.  If you haven’t been reading much, here’s a couple blogs I read most that you might want to read, Tilly’s Nest  & The Natural Poultry Farming Guide and then whatever I find of interest I pinterest it on my Backyard Chickens Pinterest Board.  Here’s a couple articles you can check out and get some of the scoop on poop:  The Chicken-Chics Scoop on Poop, the Digestive Tract Examined and Tilly’s Nest: Buzz off: Preventing Fly Strike.  I learned more than I wanted to learn, but good stuff to know.

With it being so hot this summer here on the East Coast in Southern New Jersey, its easy to get flies when you have chicken poop around.  So, I know there’s the pennies in the baggie ‘o water trick, that folks say works, but I haven’t tried, but what we did do, we added an osculating fan.  Worked like a charm!  Plus, it does double duty, not only does it keep the flies out, it cools the girls and that’s what its all about.  Keeping the girls cool and comfy.

Speaking of comfy, now that we have 2 farm kittens, they came with little pests of their own, they have/had fleas.  Well, don’t want my girls to get fleas, we’ve not had any problems since we’ve had our flock and don’t want any now.  But since the kitties are hanging out with the flock, which we want them to do, we have to get rid of and PREVENT any future fleas.  Well, today they kittens went to get spayed and while there they treated them for fleas, yes, I know, its a poison, I don’t like it any more than you do, but, I need them dead NOW!  Okay, that aside, on to natural stuff, I’m researching, kittens and cats are ‘allergic’ to citrus, citrus is good for fleas, so no go there, but herbs, herbs are good for a multitude of things including a fresh smelling hen house! Here’s one article that I’ve found by googling: Natural ways to get rid of cat fleas.

I’m all for a fresh smelling hen house, aren’t you??  Anyway, our hen house is dry, which is good, you don’t want a damp hen house, thats bad.  I have an herb garden…..well, I do have some herbs.

If you been following my blog you would know that last years gardening was a bust do to health issues, this year….. not much better.  We did some traveling during the month of June (yes, I’m going to post the photos, you’ll love them) but, May & June are good gardening months for me, not this year….once again….but theres always next year and this year isn’t over yet, better late then never, they say, so do I!  Anyway, if you check out the photos on my I Can’t Believe I’m Doing This blog you’ll get the idea of what I’m trying to say.   I’ll update here so you can compare, and right now, it needs work, I’m a tad behind….again.

Anyway, what I’m trying to say is:  I HAVE HERBS! Herbs are good nesting material and the chickens are suppose to like them and they smell good and they keep away pests.  I was planning on planting mint all around the hen house anyway, because earlier we had a little problem with a couple rats and rats and mice and other things don’t like mint.  In case your wondering, we FINALLY caught the rats in live traps with hotdogs, thats after everything else didn’t work and we’re not putting poison out.  And yes, they are now in rat heaven.

Here are some articles to get you started if your not already:  These too are on my  Backyard Chickens Pinterest Board, and there might be more there, Fresh Eggs Daily – Nesting Box Herbs – Chicken Aromatherapy, The Chicken Chicks – Herbal Pest Control: Spruce the Coop Herbal Fusion, Frugally Sustainable – Herbs for Chicken Health: How to Make an Herbal Feed Supplement for Backyard Chickens and Grit – Nesting Box Herbs – Chicken Aromatherapy.  So,  I went herb cutting in my yard and made a aromatherapy mix for my girls.  As you can see from the photos of my container herb garden, I really don’t have allot to sustain my kitchen and my coop (these photos we’re taken a while back and I do have more herbs than what you see here).  Yes, I’m going shopping.  I will be putting in way more herbs, possibly pulling out some of the other flowers and make my yard more ‘useable/eatable’ and lucky for me, one of our neighbors is farming the field in back of our house and guess what they farm??? Yup, herbs!  So tonight I went a peppermint cutting with their permission of course and cut more herbs here in our yard and the hen house smells real purdy!

So, are your girls healthy?? How does your hen house smell?? Do you have flies?? Any other pests?? What are you doing to control things??  Come on, share, we all need ideas, the more ideas the better.  What works for one, doesn’t always work for others, so the more we share, the more options we have.

Proverbs 27: 23-27 (New International Version)
23 Be sure you know the condition of your flocks,
give careful attention to your herds;
24 for riches do not endure forever,
and a crown is not secure for all generations.
25 When the hay is removed and new growth appears
and the grass from the hills is gathered in,
26 the lambs will provide you with clothing,
and the goats with the price of a field.
27 You will have plenty of goats’ milk to feed your family
and to nourish your female servants.

Frogs, Flowers & Photo Fun!

TreeFrogtree frogsTree FrogDSC09241Strawberry ShrubChinese Dogwood
Chinese DogwoodClematisPeonyWhite PeonyWhite PeonyCoral Iris
Peach IrisPink IrisPink PeonyPink PeonyMini IrisGarden by the patio
IrisIrisFlowering FernWolfbaneStella d'oro LilyNew Container Garden

My Flowers, a set on Flickr.

Today is day 2 of temps in the 90’s here in South Jersey and I’m no way complaining! I’ve been waiting for warm weather for sometime! So, happy its finally here!
If you’ve read my previous blog: Gardening With Buddy’s Flock you’ll know what challenges I’m up against and already know that my hubby took me to Lowes yesterday to get some flowers. It’s been cool here in NJ and I’ve been waiting for the warm weather to finally get here to get busy gardening. Well, its here! Yeah!
So, today when I went to get my garden caddy out of the garden shed 2 tree frogs popped out at the top of the doors. They were there last year, guess they’re there this year too! That’s fine let them eat the bugs! Well, what ever bugs the chickens don’t get. There were some spider in there, so I left the doors open and the girls happily jumped in to clean house. They love spiders!
I took some photos of whats currently blooming, my Irises are starting to bloom, Irises are one of my favorites. The Peonies are in bloom, also blooming are the Strawberry Shrubs, Chinese Dogwood, Clematis, the Flowering Ferns, the Wolfbane (but I’m not sure that’s what it is, if you know, let me know please) and the Stella D’Oros are just starting.
What’s blooming in your yard? And if you have backyard chickens how do you maintain peace in the garden??

Gardening with Buddy’s Flock

BuddyHen in my potContainer GardeningBuddy sideviewShowoffSassie
RIR MamaLilieFuzzieDanny BoyPool for the girlsDrinkin by the Waterfall

The Flock, a set on Flickr.

Well, I finally got a chance to be outside and start working in my gardens. My hubby took me to Lowes yesterday and he got me some plants. He got me a beautiful potted garden with a Banana tree and beautiful Mandevilla and some fern, which we brought home and replanted in our huge metal planter. I put a bird house in there along with my ceramic cherub. We also stuck rock around to hopefully deter the girls from getting in there and scratching. I generally plant inpatients in there every year, but last summer being our first true summer with the flock, the inpatients lost out.

Allot of my gardens lost out, my Hostas look like locusts have landed, last year was awful, this year, they don’t look quite as bad, but their bad!

Buddy is coming along nicely healing from his battle wounds with Reds. Reds has since been re-homed, and the flock is going great. Sassie is no longer Buddy’s favorite and her feathers are growing back. She’s still sassy though and I will never, ever, name another chicken Sassie! Danny Boy is coming up in the wings, and is doing quite well at being a young roo. His crow is coming along and he looks more like his father everyday, except for his comb!

Today was day 2 of weather in the 90’s here in South Jersey. Less then a week ago we had our heater on, now we have the air conditioner on. Strange and unusual weather this year, but now that its warm I’m a happy gardener! Yes, even though we jump right into hot weather, I’m a happy gardener! I much rather the heat than the cold. But, the flock isn’t so happy, so this year I pulled the baby pool out of the shed and put some water in it. See if they decide to get in. I’ve seen those photos on the internet of some chickens swimming, I don’t know about that, but mine do stand in their water dishes, so we’ll se how it goes. We will also be putting a fan in the hen house this year, its awful warm in there even with the window up and the door open. I don’t like to see my girls pant.

We have a new garden area by our back door where we are going to put a bubble fountain sometime this summer, but in the meantime I just planted Vinca’s around the edge to spruce it up a tad, well, before the girls come a scratching I put paper cups around the Vinca’s to try to give them a good start, we’ll see how that goes.

New Garden

Above is the new garden area, just created this past fall, below is what it looks like right now.  Bear in mind this is far from done.

New garden

I also put in a container garden just across the walkway from the new garden. The flock is always dusting there and the sidewalk get very dirty and my plants get ruined. So, container gardening it is and rocks placed in the containers to try and keep the girls out. They’re just so nosy!

In the photos below, this first photo is how my herb garden looked after my chickens changed it into a dusting arena, the next photo is where we put in the containers yesterday with some herbs, the last photo you see Miss Wuzzie dusting between the pots…. so far… so good. (you can click on the photos to have a good look)

Herb Garden
    New Container Garden Container Gardening

How ’bout you? How do you keep your flock cool?? How do you garden with your chickens?

Working on the Ponds, Day 1

Well today we decided to work on the ponds, well my hubby worked and I took pictures.  He drained the bottom pond, which is the one we’re going to do away with, he hand caught most of the fish that was in there and tossed them up to the next pond, which is going to be expanded on.  The next pond up is connect to the front pond (see photos & blog “I Can’t Believe I’m Doing This!” ) will be drained and cleaned, but we will cap the connecting pipe so the upper pond isn’t drained.  We haven’t done a major cleaning on these ponds like this in many many years.

We managed to disrupt 2 of our local garter snakes, my hubby took a minute to catch one.  They kept an eye on him, probably trying to figure out what he was doing to their ponds.

Anyway, we’re suppose to get some horrible storms tonight, so he’s done for the day.  That will give the fish and snakes a chance to settle.

I can’t believe I’m doing this!

Well, here I am, about to show the world what my gardens, my yard, looks like….. NAKED!  Yeah, really, its almost like its naked.  Only a few flowers are blooming, beds still need to be raked and cleaned, of course the weeds are moving in already to take up housekeeping, could they be any faster??? Geez!

Anyway, today I strolled around the yard, with camera in hand and took photos.  Photos of what, to me, is a rebirth.  I believe every year, every spring is a rebirth.  I love it.  Spring IS my favorite season.

What you are about to see, is my yard as is.  Remember (If you read my ‘Hello Everyone’ blog you’d know), last year I had medical problems, so my yard took a hit, it also was our first true summer with Buddy’s Flock, free ranging all over the place.  So now, this year, I’ve decided that there are some areas (of course, right by my back door) where the flock takes their dust bath and I know that if I attempt to replant that area, it will be a loosing battle, so I’ll have to work around them.  No since in fighting a loosing battle, I have too much other stuff to do.

The sidewalks are new, we put in a woodstove last fall and had to put a cement footing in for where it was going to go, so of course, cement is cheaper if you buy more yardage, so, I was in need of sidewalks, and the timing was perfect.  Needless to say with the construction, my gardens got trampled, luckily it was fall and I was out of commission to even be bothered.  Now, I will see what will come back.

In the photos below you will see 3 ponds, the one under the pergola and the one on the other side of the side walk are connected under the sidewalk, the fish swim freely back and forth.  What fish we have left.  The blue heron(s) were here last year and took a toll on our fish, luckily they had babies and we have a rather large group still this year, but we’ve already had 4! count ’em 4! blue heron’s in the yard already, doesn’t look promising this year, but we’ll keep the faith.  The 2nd pond when the pump is running has a little water fall that goes into the bottom pond.  These ponds are 20 years old, I dug them by hand, I can’t believe that I did that, but I did.  This year, the plan is to remove pond #3 and restructure pond #2.  It gets hard in the heat of the summer to keep the water levels up, I didn’t make the bottom pond (#3) large enough to compensate for the additional water needed to keep the upper 2 water level where it needed to be, so we are constantly adding water.

So, this year, the plan is to focus on the front of the house and the back door area, where we plan to put in some sort of bubble fountain.   That should be interested with the chickens, they’ll probably think its a cool new water fountain just for them.

So, here you have it, the before photos….. I can’t believe I did this…. I’m so embarressed!  Thank goodness Spring has sprung and my annuals will be coming up and filling in soon.  With the weather we’ve had these past 3 days, shouldn’t take long.  Was almost 90 today, but short lived, we’re going down to ‘normal’ temps tomorrow.