A Fiber Farm Blog

Posts tagged ‘Hens’

Stress in the Henhouse!

It has been a stressful few days in and around the chicken coop!  I have enjoyed having my hens (and all those fresh eggs) so much that I wanted more…….both chickens and eggs that is.  Right around the 1st of March, I purchased 8 new chicks (hopefully all hens) to bring home to the farm. 

Tired Little Chicks

I have been keeping them warm and safe in a big stock tank in the garage and they have grown like little weeds!  It has been somewhat of a challenge this spring as our weather has been cold and wet.  The chicks survived one big snow storm, a short power outage and many freezing nights but are doing well.  So well, in fact, that I had to get them out of that stock tank!  They were just getting too big.  So last Saturday they were put in the coop with Mr. Puffycheeks and the hens.  I’m not sure now that this was the best way to introduce them to each other, but at the time it seemed like the best option. 

We have been letting the hens and Mr. Puffycheeks, our rooster, forage around the yard all day for some time now.  They all go back into the coop at night where they are content, sheltered and safe.  On Saturday, when we added the new chicks, we kept the coop enclosure shut.  I didn’t want the new chicks running around too much until they knew where there home was. 

On Saturday, the chicks hid in a corner of the chicken coop and rarely if ever came out.  The hens and Mr. Puffycheeks were a little mean to the new chicks, especially that first day.  I can tell you, none of my feathered friends were happy on Saturday.



Hiding in the coop_edited-1

On Sunday, we opened the coop door.  The hens and Mr. Puffycheeks came right out and enjoyed their day.  Sunday morning the chicks were again hiding in the corner.  But by the afternoon they were out in the chicken coop, eating, drinking and trying out the roosting bars.  They seemed to be fine as long as the hens were out in the yard.  I don’t believe that any of the chicks made their way out of the coop at all on Sunday.  Things did seem a little less stressful once they were all in the coop and settled down for the night.

Chickens in Coop 1

Chickens in Coop 2

Chickens in Coop 3

Ethel was not very happy that I was invading her privacy during one of my visits to check on the new chicks!

Ethyl Requests Privacy_edited-1

It wasn’t until Thursday that the new chicks began to venture out of the coop.  They are still very careful around Mr. Puffy Cheeks and the hens but it is getting a little better every day.  I can’t wait till they are all one happy family!



Look what we got today!!!

Our first colored egg!  I had been waiting and waiting and had almost given up.  What a nice surprise!

Colored Ege

Egg Noodles & Perfectionism

I have been thinking lately that I would like to make homemade noodles.  My Grandma Anthony used to make these all the time.  Jeff’s mom still makes them for Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Making homemade noodles has been on my mind ever since my hens starting laying eggs.  The only way, I think, you can make homemade noodles better, would be to use eggs that have been laid by your own spoiled hens!

Now, I have never made homemade noodles in my life.  I watched my grandmother do it many times and the recipe seemed easy enough…..there’s only a few ingredients for goodness sake.  So I opened up my old Betty Crocker cookbook and went to work.

Egg Noodles Dough

I combined the egg, milk, salt and flour and let it sit for 10 minutes.

Egg Noodles Rolled

I put it out on a floured surface and rolled it into a very thin, 12 x 18 rectangle.  You can see that my 12 x 18 rectangle isn’t really a rectangle at all, but that is how I managed to get it rolled out.

Noodles Rolled

Noodles Cut

I loosely rolled up the dough and cut it into ¼ inch wide pieces.  Now this is the point that I was starting to get worried.  I could tell that the little rolls were going to be awfully difficult to unroll.  And they were!  I don’t know if I didn’t use enough flour when I mixed them, when I rolled them out, or maybe it was the odd shape of my rectangle that did me in.  But I couldn’t get those noodles unrolled nicely for the life of me. 

Drying Noodles

Noodles Closeup

Here is what my noodles looked like when I finally set them out to dry.  This is not how my grandma’s homemade noodles looked, I can tell you that.

Now at this point, I should tell you that I almost didn’t post this.  You see, my noodles did not turn out like I had planned, certainly not like my grandmothers or mother-in-laws do, in fact they looked quite awful!  And since I am a perfectionist in many things I do (I really should get help for this) I didn’t want to post anything that wasn’t perfect.  But then I realized, this isn’t how I want my blog to be.  I want my blog to be about trying new things, learning from our mistakes and realizing that sometimes we have no idea what “perfect” really even is.

Chicken n Noodles

When all was said and done, even though my noodles looked, well a little odd, my Chicken with Homemade Noodles tasted amazing!  Perfection!


Chickens’ Day Out

Sunday was a beautiful day here in Missouri, especially for February.  It was unusually mild, mid-50s and just a nice day to be outside.  So it was the day I decided to let the chickens out of their coop.  As the weather gets nicer I plan to let them out most of the day so that they can forage around and enjoy more space.  It was a little nerve wracking, letting them out of their safe space. I wondered if I would be able to get them back in the coop.  I was also worried about how our dogs Balto and Shadow would do and if they would bother them.  Balto is our new LGD and judging by the calm, protective way he had acted around all our other animals, I felt he woul be fine.  But I had no idea how Shadow, our black lab, would react.  But the time came when we were ready to let the chickens explore more of their world.  Chicks Day Out 1

We opened their door……

Chicks Day Out 2

And it didn’t take long at all for them to venture out…..

Chicks Day Out 3

Balto took a good, up close (and rather personal) look to make sure all was well…..

Chicks Day Out 9

Then while the chickens were exploring the new world outside, Balto was curious about their world inside…..

Chicks Day Out 5

Shadow was perfect around the chickens…..didn’t scare them or bother them in any way.  Everyone got along beautifully.

Chicks Day Out 7

Chicks Day Out 8

The chickens wandered a little further than I though they would, but when I went out around 5:00 to get them inside and safe for the night, they were already settled down back in their coop.  The chickens first day out went really well. 

Chicks Day Out 10

Afraid of the Egg?

It has been really exciting around the farm this week because our hens are laying their first eggs.  From our 5 hens, we got 14 eggs last week!  Unfortunately 6 of the eggs we ended up throwing out as we weren’t sure how long they had been sitting around before we found them.  But now that we are in an egg gathering routine (and have hopefully found all their hiding places) we will not waste any of our eggs.  So this morning I had 8 of my hen’s eggs that I was ready to scramble.

Egg 1

But, all of the sudden it occured to me that I had never had an egg like this before.  In all of my 50+ years, as far as I know, I have always had eggs bought at the grocery store.  Now I know this isn’t a good thing.  I have heard all about how bad store bought eggs can be and the deplorable conditions that laying hens are subject to, just so I can go to the grocery store and purchase eggs.  That is one of the reasons I moved to the farm, purchased my chicks and have read book after book on how to raise them so that I will know what I am eating.  But when it came time to actually use my first farm raised hen’s egg, I will admit it felt a little strange.  I don’t know what I was afraid I would see when I cracked open that first egg, but this is what I got……..

Egg 2

Beautiful looking eggs!  So I whipped them up, added some milk like my family likes and prepared them for the stove.

Egg 4

I scrambled them  up……….

Egg 5

and put them on a plate.

Egg 6

They were delicious and I can now say with confidence, I am no longer afraid of the egg!  I am proud that we are raising our hens humanely (they are actually quite spoiled I think).  They have room to grow, a safe place to nest, and have healthy food and plenty of fresh water at all times.   And now, they are producing delicious and healthy eggs!


Eggciting Day!

We had an unusually warm January day today, so I thought I would take advantage of it and work in the chicken coop a bit.  Nothing seemed unusual or amiss when I went out.  Larry was crowing as he so often does, just to annoy me it seems (he is supposed to be a hen afterall!).  But otherwise everything looked normal, the chickens were spending the afternoon outside, waiting to see if I had brought out any special treats for them.

Typical Day

But when I went inside the coop, I found them.  Three beautiful brown eggs! 


I was shocked that I have eggs this early, I was really thinking it might be several weeks away.  What a nice surprise!

Oh Happy Day!

The chicken coop is now complete and this weekend the chickens were put in their new home.  They had the best time exploring and pecking around. 

There are still things that I want to do, but for now, the chickens have plenty of room and a safe place to spend the winter.  Next spring, we will work on replacing some of the rotted boards, paint the coop, stain the wood, and work on the windows so that they are comfortable when it gets warm next summer.   I am also reading a book called Chicken Gardens by Jessi Bloom in hopes that by next spring I can do some landscaping in and around the coop that will add beauty to the coop but be healthy for the chickens as well. 

I couldn’t wait to get in with the chicks and take pictures since I finally had some room and plenty of good light.  But do you know how hard it is to get a good picture of a chicken when it is running around, pecking at anything and everything?  Plenty hard!  I picked out some of the best so you could enjoy seeing the chickens as they explore their new home.


Chicken Coop Renovation Update

Hi, thought I would do a quick coop renovation update.  We pretty much have the outdoor area framed in.  Not too bad for a couple of non-woodworking type people!  We also tried to use as much reclaimed lumber as possible.  That presented a few challenges but all in all I think we did a great job.  We still need to finish around the bottom, put in the door and put up all the screening.  We are well on our way and it’s a good thing too.  Our chickens are getting bigger and bigger and if the weather doesn’t get too cold too fast, are more than ready to get outside where they have more space.  Keep you posted.


Chickens Day Out (And Coop Renovation Update)

The new chicks are 3 weeks old now and just full of fluff and feathers. They are growing like weeds and already seem to have their own personalities.  It was nice enough today to have a “chicks day out”.  I put them in one of our large dog crates where they could get some fresh air and still be safe.

They had a great day, pecking at the ground, and watching the big world outside.

And, they even practiced roosting for the first time.

And best of all, they got a special treat, tomatoes, parsley and bread crumbs.

While the chicks were enjoying their day, Jeff and my nephew Myles were working on the coop renovations.  Jeff had pulled all the warped and rotting floorboards up, filled in the hole underneath and sealed up the cracks in the foundation.  He and Myles worked to lay down the new flooring in the coop.

There is much more work that I want to eventually get done, but for now we are trying to do just what is necessary.  The chicks are growing like crazy and I want to make sure that they have a good, safe home when they are ready to move out to the coop. 

And….as usual……we had our alpaca supervisors watching over the coop remodel.  Today, it was Renegade, Frisco, Weston and The Dash.

Watch for my next post on the chicks and our progress on their coop.


What’s New at Parsons’ Prairie Farm!

We have new chicks at Parsons’ Prairie Farm.  They are less than a week old and just the cutest things I have ever seen!  It seems like they grow a little bit every day.  Right now, we are keeping them in their own little tub in the garage where they are safe and warm.   Watch for more updates as they grow.