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Backyard hen’s breaking eggs??? Try golf balls…

I have never claimed to be a chicken expert and I’m not going to claim to be one now. However, I have always claimed to love my chickens and I will continue to do that, even when they make things difficult :)

Meet E.C. (short for extra crispy, hahaha) she is a black australorp who recently aquired a taste for raw eggs. Not only did she want to eat the eggs the other hen’s were laying, she did. I looked it up in several places and most people tell you that this is a problem that cannot be fixed and once the chickens want to eat the eggs they will. You can imagine that those same posts and articles were riddled with the never ending suggestion to either get rid of the chicken or “get rid” of the chicken if you know what I mean.

This was not an option I wanted to explore, so continue searching is what I did instead. In a blog I can’t find anymore at the very bottom I found an idea I was more than happy to try. Golf Balls!! Yes, old beat up golf balls. Turns out that if you put them in the coop where your ladies lay eggs it can deter them from going after the eggs. I guess they will only peck at a hard golf ball so many times before they give up (and people say chickens are stupid). Chickens don’t have much of a “stick to it” kind of attitude so if it’s not easy they move along, and move along she has.

Unlike most chickens my ladies don’t use their nesting boxes and they probably never will. They sleep in the nesting boxes, but they lay their eggs on the floor. I checked the coop when I got home yesterday, and even though the girls were locked up all day all eggs were present and accounted for. Again today I found all of the eggs unbroken and in their “nests”. Typically I let my chickens roam the yard during the day, but I need to get a fence around my garden before they can do that again.

I simply make sure to keep golf balls in all of their typical laying spots and my darling little egg breaker seems to be uninterested for now.


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Spilled Turnip Seeds




I have been starting as many of my veggies as possible from seed this year. I have never tried turnips before and to be honest I can only remember eating turnips one time in my life, but I found the seeds on sale so I decided to give them a try. After spilling  my seeds into the seed starter, which has created quite an adorable little bush I looked up a little about the turnip and it turns out I probably should have been eating them all along. Turnips are healthy and versatile, for instance check out the nutrition facts for one small turnip:

Calories 17
Total Fat 0.1 g
Saturated Fat 0 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 0 mg
Sodium 41 mg
Total Carbs 4 g
Dietary Fiber 1 g
Sugars 2 g
Protein 1 g
Vitamin C 13 mg
Calcium 18 mg
Iron 0.2 mg

That’s not bad for a tiny little vegetable that I just happened to plant because the seeds were on sale. I also found a few recipes that use turnips that I know my family will actually eat. I’ll give you that my family is a little more accepting than most, but I was pretty excited about these. Here’s hoping that I haven’t trashed my seeds by planting them as a bush :)


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Where oh where have my eggs gone??

Last week I gave away two dozen eggs (because I had so many), but this week I have gotten barely a dozen. Keeping in mind that I have eight hens in the back yard, I’m a little stumped. I have recently discovered that my hound has a taste for raw eggs, but she is typically on her chain when she’s outside (she likes to jump the fence and take herself for a walk). That being said the ladies almost always lay their eggs in the coop and the hound can’t get into the coop. The same thing happened the same time last year and I have decided this year to choose research over frustration.  So I googled my particular and apparently very common problem and I have come up with a few possible fixes.
  1. Water- I have always made sure that my girls have water, but maybe it hasn’t been fresh enough. Since I’m awake at five in the morning most days I will try changing the water every day instead of every other day for a while.
  2. Treats :) From what I understand giving my ladies fresh corn almost daily, may actually be a problem. While I’m not going to cut them off entirely, I do think I’ll cut them back to once per week.
  3. Age: Sorry for this one I have nothing, I love the ladies wether they’re old or not. I have two different age groups out there so I don’t think that’s my problem. Three of my hens are barely a year old.
  4. Disease: Same problem two years in a row??? I’m not thinking this is my problem, but if the slump continues I’ll look into it of course.
  5. Molting: Could they really be molting this time of year? My Buff Orpingtion is looking a little less fluffy then normal.
We will have to see if feeding, watering and treats are the answer. Until then I’ll just continue to enjoy the adorable way they all come sprinting across the yard when they see me come out the back door.


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The amazing feeling you get when something just works.

Within the past two weeks I have tried two different “projects” for growing vegetables in a different way.

The first was my potatoes which I planted in reusable shopping bags instead of buying expensive grow pots.


Day one right after they were planted (4/29/12)



Ten days later, it’s hard to see but they’re sprouting.
Small sprout, but a sprout none the less :)








































The original idea for the potatoes came from the link below.

The second was my up cycled seed starters in which I used something that would have been garbage if it wasn’t for me. As you can see after just a few days they were doing remarkably well. I posted the original blog about the seed starters on May 6th. 

Pretty happy living  by my kitchen window 5/09/12).


Now at almost one week later, you can see that these containers are going to by a very effective way of starting seeds for the future (Good thing I grabbed a bunch) :)
May 12, 2012 Six days after I planted them.


I find it hard to explain the excitement when I found both of these projects to be turning out very successful. I have had a garden every year for the last little while, and it was new for me to jump into this the way I did this year. I wanted to grow more, but do it in a way that I found to be sustainable and less wasteful. Well, I’m on my way and so excited with the small but measurable results so far.


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Upcycled seed starters

Recently the obscene amount of garbage that people create has been bothering me a little more than normal for some reason. There was no big epiphany involved, it just started bothering me one day. Since then I have been trying to reuse things that I may not have reused before, and it’s been interesting to say the very least.

About six weeks ago the pharmacy in the hospital where I work purchased new organizing bins for their cabinets, and guess what they were going to do with the old ones. EXACTLY!! They were throwing them away. Now I understand that they had no reason to keep them but that was a lot of plastic being thrown into the garbage. I took a few, even though at the time I had no idea what I would do with them. At this point I was also bringing home pallets that were going to be thrown away so the little blue bins just got thrown into the mess.

Fast forward to three weeks ago when I decided I would use them to start my corn seeds. I wasn’t exactly sure how at the time, but the decision was made. Of course when you live in Utah you know not to planet anything to early so I only started them today to plant in the ground in about two weeks.

Here is the step by step with pictures:

1. Drilled holes for drainage.

2. I used “Organic Jiffy Seed Starter mix, but let’s face it you can use just about any “dirt” you like.  Please ignore my shadow I had bad sun positioning for pictures :)
3. My containers were wide enough that I put two sets of seeds in each spot. I always use two seeds for corn and then if you get two plants from one spot you keep the stronger of the two. 
4. After I buried the seeds I soaked it with water and let it sit in the sun for a few minute. Since it was being relocated to the kitchen I preferred it not be dripping wet. After it was dry enough I marked the different sides for the seeds I had planted in them. 
5. After everything was all done I covered it with plastic wrap to create a green house effect. Seemed to work, if you look at the picture you can already see it’s starting to fog up a bit.
So there it is my first project. We’ll see how it goes, but I’m pretty optimistic. Most seeds should sprout in a few days and that’s when I’ll know if it worked. 


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My sweet ladies :)

I will be the first to admit that when I first got my chickens it was only because they were just too darn adorable to leave at the store. Approximately two weeks into raising baby chicks in the house I said I would never do that again (fast forward two years and I changed my mind). Since then I have learned a lot about chickens, both from the chickens and from reading about them. I will admit I was surprised the first time I tried one of the eggs from my very own backyard, I didn’t expect there to be that big of a difference. I had always heard that fresh is better, but this was my first step into learning that the rule applies to almost everything. The only down side to fresh eggs is that you can’t boil them, but boiled eggs smell funny anyway :) However, if you just love boiled eggs wait two weeks and you’re good to go.


I am asked questions constantly about my little friends in my backyard, and while most people only partially listen I answer them anyway. So, here are a few of my common questions and the answers.

The head hen. Not her best pic, but she’s still awesome
1. Are you going to eat them??? NO, they lay eggs and live in my yard. They have names and I love them. I am not just fattening them up for the kill. Sorry to disappoint, but I cannot eat something I have named.
2. Are chickens hard to take care of??? Well, that depends. How lazy are you? Chickens are no more difficult than a dog or cat, but it’s different. Everyone has their own definition of difficult and I am no different, but really after they are grown enough to move outside they are pretty low maintenance. As the proud owner of three dogs and the disgruntled owner of one cat I can say with some certainty that chickens are not difficult.
3. Are they noisy??? Yes they can be, but so are my kids and I haven’t gotten rid of them yet :) Like any animal including humans, chickens communicate. They will not wake the neighborhood, but they have moments when I wish there was a mute button on them.
4. Do they stink??? (Please refer to question #2) If you don’t take care of them, then yes they can stink. That being said if I don’t take care of my hound dog she smells like feet, so how is that any different… You must clean the coop and surrounding area, but all in all they do not stink just for the fun of it.
The pretty eggs we get
5. How do the eggs tastes? I think they taste better, but that may be a matter of bias. There have been articles and studies published as to the benefit of organic free-range eggs but as far as taste goes, I think the difference is how fresh they are. Almost anything taste better fresh and eggs are without a doubt not exception.
Those are a few of my least favorite questions, but I’ve answered them with a smile before and I’ll do it again I’m sure.

This was my cheater post. I started with something I know about. Next time I want to post about something new that I’m just trying. This took me over three hours, so who knows how long it will take me to write about something new….
My problem child Nuggett :) She sure loves me.
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