Category Archives: Family stories

Squirrels in the corn feed

I love my chickens and everything about caring for them, collecting the eggs, hatching out the eggs, and so much more.  They are very entertaining at times and I even have a two person swing next to the chicken yard.

Additionally, their food attracts other hungry animals.  I love watching the birds and squirrels run around snitching the chicken feed.  The squirrels have even figured out ways to get into the containers that hold all that delicious corn.  They have chewed holes into the rims of the barrel that holds the corn.  But, the most creative thing they have done is chew around the edge of the lid and put their little paws between the top and bottom edge and actually push the lid off of the bucket.

At first, I thought I was just leaving the lid off the bucket which I found hard to believe, but, no one is perfect.  I was really irritated because it drizzled rain and the top layer of the corn was slightly wet.  I fussed at myself and vowed to not do that again.

But two more times, the same thing happened.  The lid was off when I came to feed the chickens in the morning.  Dang.  I took my fingernail and easily lifted the lid and I knew the squirrels had to open the lid.

Another time, the squirrels swiped all the plum seeds out of the jiffy pots that I had planted and set out on my porch.  I had planted some in the yard, too and they never grew so I know why now.

So when I had a hand full of pecans I wanted to attempt to plant, I knew I had to figure out a ways to keep those pesky squirrels from digging them up.  So, I planted them in plastic pots but covered the pots with netting draped over the edges.  Well, much to my dismay, the squirrels broke into the sides of the pots and pulled the pecans out in all five of the pots.  I just hope the squirrels forget where they buried the pecans and I end up with some trees randomly growing on our two acres.

There are two stray cats that often find their way into my yard and I thought they were after my chickens but they are really after the squirrels.  I am not a fan of cats period.  I wouldn’t hurt one but I would be very happy if they disappeared.

I was having a discussion with my daughter and told her I didn’t want the cats to eat my squirrels because if the whole economy crashes, EMP, end of the , zombie attack, etc. scenerio happens, i may need to eat those squirrels.  lol  My sister-in-law says squirrels taste good.  I hope I never have to find out.

Getting back in the chicken business

Very excited that we are going back to Florida by the end of the month.  My daughter has four Silkie hens for us and she just hatched out 9 Silkie chicks that we will also be taking home with us once they get a little bigger and we get our chicken houses and yards in order.

Still debating on what larger breed chicken we are going to breed and raise.  I will check to see if  my family and friends are going to want fresh eggs before I decide on the size of my flock.  My daughter sold a lot of eggs to her fellow co-workers but has quit her job and follow other dreams so now she has to find others wanting fresh eggs.  She had many dozens of eggs in her refrigerator last time I was at her house.  I got four myself and was so happy.  I can barely stand store bought eggs.

Well, I hope all my fellow chicken lovers are enjoying the benefits of the raising chickens.  I can’t believe how much I have missed chickens for these past two years.

Leg Mites and Vegetable Oil

I had a terrible time last year with my chickens getting those mites that get on their legs and feet and burrow in and they actually lose toes.  So I noticed I had two Silkie chickens that seemed to be walking funny.  Like they had a sore foot.  That’s how it started last year.  Darn it.

Well, I got the Seven dust in a round container that I bought at the Feed Store…though they do sell it at Walmart cheaper.  I was already there getting feed so driving extra miles didn’t make sense to save a dollar.

I raked the chicken houses real good and put the dust down and put fresh hay on the floor.  Then I took the Seven dust (not granules because the chickens can eat those) and sprinkled in the laying nests, too.

I had read that you put vaseline on the chickens feet and legs and it will smother the mites and I tried that last year.  Vaseline (petroleum jelly) is such a pain in the butt to get off your hands and then you pick the next chicken up and you the jelly on the chicken feathers.  It is definitely a two person job that way.

Well, I also read that you can use vegetable oil and dip the chickens feet in it.  I had some leftover oil from making homemade french fries and I poured it into a big margarine tub.   I caught one chicken and dunked it’s feet and legs into the oil and held it there for about two minutes and swished it around some, too.  I wanted to make sure it was getting up in between the toes.  I did this to three chickens since they were the ones that looked like they were walking with sore feet.

It has been a couple days now and I am astonished how much better the chickens are walking.  I am assuming the oil smothered the mites.  Then putting down the Seven dust didn’t hurt either.

Hope this helps if you have that problem.  If you notice a barnacle look on your chicken’s feet or they are walking funny, try the dipping in oil.  My husband teased me that the chickens will think you want to fry them in oil next.  I don’t eat my chickens EVER.   We killed some roosters on our farm in Missouri (different husband) and that was a horrible experience and I will never do that again.  Odor was awful, too.

UPDATE:  Chickens appear to be walking funny again.  It has been about a week so maybe you have to dip the chicken feet/legs more than once.  Will try again tomorrow.

Grand daughter enjoyed chickens

In July, my 11 year old grand daughter came for a visit without her mom and dad.  I thoroughly enjoyed her visit.  The chickens helped make the visit special for her, too.

Maddy lives in a big city so she so this is a new experience for her.  I made sure I had some baby chicks hatched out in time for her visit.  She enjoyed feeding the chickens and playing with “Bernie”.   On a previous visit, she named a Silkie hen “Pex” but I sold her.

We went to the beach and used the metal detector and went to a mine looking for pretty stones in NC as well as went to the movie, polished nails and stayed up late watching tv.   It was a great visit to me.

I just want to add, the baby chick “Bernie” certainly made the visit memorable for Maddy.  I told her I have some more eggs hatching out and I will send her a video of the baby chicks.  I think she really likes those chicks.



Chicken Swap Friends and Their Chicken Set-Up

I am enjoying the Chicken Swap site.  The information goes directly to my email address when something new is posted.  Some people might find that annoying with so many posts but I quickly delete anything that doesn’t appeal to me so no big deal.   I like to see what is for sale and what the prices are because I know I will be wanting some Maran chickens before too much longer.

Jimmy on Chicken Swap offered to show his set up to a Newbie in the chicken raising world and I asked if I could come, too.  I LOVE going to see what ideas I might pick up from others.

Jimmy’s family certainly showed “southern hospitality” by having tea and brownies for our visit.  So nice.  He has a very friendly family and I was especially impressed with his son’s knowledge and love of the chickens.

Jimmy’s set up was very impressive and I left with a bunch of ideas of future projects for our chicken yards and houses.  I hope we can duplicate his water system for his chickens because he doesn’t have to clean containers and boy would that save me some time.  Calvin and I will be doing some plumbing projects down the road.

He also have a storage building converted into a chicken house with some great ideas for the nests and perches that close up and lift up for easy cleaning underneath.   He has a run attached to it so his chickens get outside and have that much needed sunlight.  Plus, he had room for his chicken supplies in the storage building so everything was handy and so neat and clean.

Boy, my poor husband is going to have some heavy duty “honey-do lists” when he retires.  I just want to incorporate all Jimmy’s ideas into our future projects.

I was thinking about building more chicken houses with the 4×8 sheets of wood but I really like the way Jimmy and James, his son, made the back wall (of one chicken house) with vertical boards leaving a gap between each one of probably 1/2 inch for ventilation.  My chicken houses always seem hot during the summer and in my one yard, it is the only shade they have until my trees grow bigger.

And to top it all, James gave me a dozen guinea eggs.  I had guineas when I had a dairy farm in Missouri and I enjoyed seeing them running around and hearing the “buckwheat” sound the males (?) made.

I have said it before and I will say it again, chicken people are just nice and helpful people.