RicelandMeadows


Cooped Up
October 24, 2018, 4:54 pm
Filed under: October 2018 | Tags: , , ,

coop1

October 24, 2018

I don’t think there is much better food than farm fresh eggs for breakfast! These ladies keep us supplied. They have the run of their fenced yard along with a spacious coop. The coop I designed myself to look like a “monitor style” horse barn. I built it this way to allow for great ventilation and lots of natural light. It turned out great. It has been in service for many years now. It functions well in all seasons.

coop2

The little bump out shown here on the front is where the hens lay their eggs. The eggs can be gathered from the outside without entering the coop. Windows let in light and a nice cross breeze through the screens.

coop3

I bed the house with pine shavings. The screen under the feeder catches the feed the hens knock out. I get a second chance to feed the spilled grain. The chickens foul the coop most under their roost. It can be easily cleaned, making best use of the pine shavings.

coop4

Gathering eggs is easy and a great reward for keeping a few hens, safe and happy!



On The Boardwalk
May 17, 2016, 5:29 pm
Filed under: May 2016 | Tags: , , ,

boardwalk

May 17, 2016

I had a piece of lumber left after making Abby’s harness cabinet. I decided to make the hens a ramp for their house. We have been using this coop for over two years, but I never built them a ramp. They hated the little door, because the step out was a long one!

I barely got the  ramp in place and the hens were playing on it like a teeter-totter. I had to wait my turn to take this picture. I don’t know what took me so long to make it. It only took me about thirty minutes to make it once the tools were all out. I guess it just hadn’t made it to the top of the priority list until today.

I don’t know if they really need the stair treads, but they look good. The hens seem to use them, so I will chalk it up as a success. Closing the  small door that leads to the ramp at night, will keep our girls much safer. I wasn’t always good about closing the man door. The risk is the same for small predators, but the weather changes will have much less impact on the small door.

As for being on the boardwalk, our second episode of the horses and farm aired on RFD-TV today. They did another great job, but it is sure weird to see yourself on TV! Although it is great inspiration for dieting!



Cider Time!
September 19, 2015, 6:08 am
Filed under: September 2015 | Tags: , , , , ,
Little apple tree...loaded

Little apple tree…loaded

September 19, 2015

We planted a small orchard three years ago. It still needs lots of growing time, a few replacements and some care. This little tree, however, doesn’t know just how good it is! In this crazy hot summer void of rain, she still made this awesome crop. I asked a friend to mix some apples with these and to please make me some cider. He is somewhat of a cider “king”, so I know that I am in good hands 😮

I want this orchard just for cider, some apples to eat and of course PIE. It will all come in time, but for this year cider only… well okay, I did eat one of these sweet Jonagold apples and it was great. I am hoping for a lifetime supply and if this little tree has anything to do with it, we are well on our way!

Growing fruit trees and edibles in your landscape is a great idea. You get the joy of watching them grow along with the joy of eating the fruits of your labor. We are going to plant two more of these semi dwarf trees in the chicken yard. The trees will provide some shade in time, more apples and the hens can clean up the dropped apples. I think it is a simple way to provide food for us, shade for the hens and a quaint look to the yard.

Think about your own place. Is there room for a raspberry hedge? Or perhaps a couple of apple trees in a forgotten corner or border planting? I don’t spray these trees. I only trim them just a little. They are not much work. They look neat to me and hey, Who doesn’t like sweet cider?



Safe and Sound
June 20, 2015, 9:37 pm
Filed under: June 2015 | Tags: , , , , , ,
Our hens inside their portable shelter

Our hens inside their portable shelter

June 20, 2015

Our hens are really enjoying this portable shelter. It has very secure sides made from welded wire and conduit. It has a white canvas top to protect them from the sun and rain alike. It has wheels that lift it up when moving is desired and it looks good from all directions. The hens are safe from wildlife and the wayward neighbor dog intent on having a chicken dinner 😮

The white canvass top reflects the sunlight and makes a nice shady cool place for them to graze, rest and run about. They pick weeds and grass, deposit their manure and get fresh air all in the safety of this pen. I move it when the grass gets short or about every 3 days. We only have eight hens, so it takes them a while to glean the pen area.

I am liking this very much. I know the girls are safe and sound from every harmful thing. I can go about my routine without worrying about them. They were about to start into a molt, but the new grass and whatever else they want, seems to have helped them to pick up egg production again. Our birds usually free-range, but I have planted their three acre pasture to speltz. The foxes can sneak in very close in the high grain, so our girls are now incarcerated …but they are happy about it!



Eggs Actly
August 27, 2014, 9:54 pm
Filed under: August 2014 | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Pullet Egg

Pullet Egg


August 27, 2014

This little egg is from one of our pullets. These little girls are just starting to lay. They take their job seriously. They give all they have and I am thankful. After all, who could ask for more than that?

The little ladies are getting used to their coop. They seem to be happy. Today we got ten eggs from ten hens. I ask you is that 100% or 1000% ? All I know is that it is a grand slam! A hen lays one egg a day when everything is perfect…. so, I’d say they like it here 😮

We have been almost six weeks without hens. This is one of the longest stretches in my life, for buying grocery store eggs. I hope it is a very long time before I have to do it again. In my opinion, there is nothing better than farm fresh, free-range eggs… and brown ones to boot!

Some will say that I am crazy, white or brown makes no difference. Perhaps they are correct, but for me, brown are best. The freshness is only a problem when you boil them. The shell sticks to the egg white, because a “gas layer” has not had time to form inside the shell. I’m okay with that… I’ll eat mine fresh , thank you very much.

Eggs bought in the local store, have been around awhile. Sure they are safe to eat, have a “sell by date” and are pretty good to most folks. I say however, if those same folks tried fresh eggs from happy, free range hens…they might want a change too.

If beer is best when “brewed from a mountain stream”, perhaps that is why eggs taste so good from hens who drink fresh water, eat grass and bugs along with choice grains, in a life free from stress. Agree or not its up to you, but I say , “That is “eggs actly” why they taste so good!