How happy I am to start blogging and about country life, raising chickens and the power of the written word to encourage and warm our souls. Welcome to my blog .. whether you're in the town or the country, I hope you will find some of my thoughts inspiring and light hearted. Being close to nature and enjoying life outdoors is healthy for the mind, body and soul. ~
When we first moved to the country, after reading many Harrowsmith magazines, our first thoughts were to get some chickens! The thought of gathering our own eggs, actually creating a food source, and having a new interest was eggciting! We started our little venture with a rooster, a hen and her chicks ... bantam (banty chickens) to be exact. Naturally, we named our new 'pets': Rusty (the rooster), Henny Penny and her chicks. Little did we know that was the start of a 30 year and counting life with chickens! See how addictive it is :)
Oh the joy of seeing your farm friends strutting around the land, picking at grass and insects ... basking in the sun, taking a dustbath. What a nice feeling knowing that this will also make for some awesome, tasty, bright yellow yolk eggs.
No wellies for me, but must keep running so I don't get stuck in the mud! Life is like that too - keep busy and active and make the most of each day. Seize the moment. There will be a rainbow and sunshine around the corner.
After a wet summer in Grey County, the Fall months have been good to us. The warm temperatures and extra sunshine has given us a longer growing season - wildlife and farm animals and people have all benefitted ... including our hens who have been foraging longer and have not had to endure cold nighttime temperatures just yet!
Free range hens are happiest going for a stroll and picking up bugs and berries and other nutritious goodies to supplement their diet, along with the many miles they walk! Morning and night are still great times for their owners to give them a crust of bread along with their healthy grains. Fresh clean water is always important, too.
It might be snowing and blowing outside in a Grey County winter, but tucked up in the workshop there is lots to do. Lumber cut and dried is now ready for planing and cutting / sanding, and building homes for future little creatures. It's a satisfying process from start to finish. And always nice to see the buildings going to satisfied customers who are eager to join this fun hobby and healthy, foody interest!
It's never too late to learn something new and to engage in a new activity. Winter months are ideal for reading and studying, and there is plenty of good info out there on the world of 'keeping chickens'. Yes, taking care of a few hens is easy to do and they're a lot of fun to be around. Chickens can be a good start to hobby farming and in recent years is a growing interest for urban backyards also - in towns / cities that have bylaws that approve of keeping a few hens. No roosters! If you've ever heard young roosters learning to 'speak' it is very comical.
Hot peppers, onions
During the darker, colder winter months, we often turn to peering into our seed catalogs for 'hope'. We dream of new flowers and new veggies and new fruits we want to grow, and starting plants from seed. We dream about the beauty and taste and pride of watching them grow - the miracles of nature. And it feels so good to nurture and tend, and to enjoy the fruits of ones' labour. Happy dreaming!
Wow - once you get started learning about all the different breeds of chickens - it's fun, interesting, and really cool to see the colours, the colours of the eggs too, and the roosters are beautiful. There are small bantam chickens and fancy silkies and excellent egg layer varieties; the list is endless!
For those of us who live in the colder parts of Ontario, it is beneficial to have the chicken breeds that are hardier and can survive the cold better.
Some examples are Rhode Island Reds, Plymouth Rocks, Australorps, Wyandottes, Buff Orpingtons, Plymouth Rocks, Easter Eggers. Cool names, eh! And there are more. Some are better in confinement than others, but of course all chickens like to free range given choice :) Just not necessarily in the winter with snow!
Although a sunny winter's day - yes.
A bit of research and it will be fair for your chickens
and for you.
For newcomers, the idea of keeping a few hens might be overwhelming; however they are very easy to take care of. Think about the size of your coop and outside space, and making them comfortable in hot and cold temperatures.
It is an exciting time for a family to plan their adventures of keeping their own chickens - loving them, taking care of them, collecting healthy eggs. This is an ideal time to think about if owning a few hens would fit into your lifestyle. There are lots of things to consider as with any pets. Planning their housing and where your coop would go, who will feed them, keeping them safe from predators, how to keep them happy and healthy, and the rewards they will bring you, too!
What is free ranging?
It is giving your chickens free range to roam where they would like. They are not confined to an enclosed pen. This is a personal decision and it comes with its' rewards and risks.
When given choice of where to scratch around and look for natural food sources, being in the open fresh air and enjoying sunlight, whether in an enclosed space or free ranging, this is important for the health and happiness of your hens. Take good care of their needs to keep them active and physically and emotionally happy and they will be a pleasure to be around. Their funny antics and personalities will make your backyard chicken adventures fun and memorable!