Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Don't Forget The Nite Guard Giveway!

We just want to remind you all that today is the last full day to get your name in for the Nite Guard giveaway.  Our friends at Nite Guard have generously offered to give one of our readers a Two Light Nite Guard Solar System, and a roll of Nite Guard Repellent Tape. 

We will choose a winner tomorrow, April 16 at 12:00 pm.  To enter you must:

1. Be a follower here on the Chicken Scratch Poultry Blog.  To do this scroll down on the blog page looking to the left and put your E-mail in the box where it says, follow us by e-mail.  
2.  Head over to Nite Guard's Facebook page and like them.  This link:https://www.facebook.com/niteguardllc will take you there.
3.  Like Chicken Scratch Poultry's Facebook page.  This link:https://www.facebook.com/pages/Chicken-Scratch-Poultry/341258592560021 will take you there.
4.  Last, leave us a comment and tell us what kind of livestock you plan to protect with the Nite Guard Solar 2 Light System and the Nite Guard Repellent Tape.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Adventures In Bee Keeping

Last year Larry and I decided we would embark on the adventure of Apiculture.  No we're not going to be keeping apes, just Honey Bees.  We've read books, watched videos, talked with other bee keepers, ordered bees and all the supplies that should help get the bees off to a good start. Now we just need to get Larry a fresh Epipen since he's allergic to bees, sounds crazy I know but we always live on the edge around here.
Most everything we read about starting out, it's best to begin with two hives, if one hive should not survive then you still have one.  Which made it sound to us that it can be very difficult to establish a hive, so we took the advise we read and will be starting with two.  However if both hives survive we will have more honey than we will know what to do with.   You can expect 100 pounds of honey from a healthy hive, wow that's a lot of honey.  From what I read people start keeping bees because of the bees but quit because of the honey.  My hope is that while taking on this new project I totally enjoy the whole process.  Honey Bees are dying off at an alarming rate and it's important for people to take an interest, without the bees nothing survives.

While researching it seems like the most important thing right from the beginning is to give your bees the best possible start.  So to begin we purchased bees wax, melted it and applied it to the foundations.  Foundations are what the bees are going to attache their wax to and fill with brood. This will give the bees the wax to work with right from the beginning, that way they won't need to work so hard producing wax and can work on producing and growing the hive.  Foundations do come with a small amount of wax already applied but it seems like a good idea to give them more.
  It smelled so good in the kitchen as we melted the wax and painted it on the foundations.
This is a stack of frames with foundations waxed and ready to go back in the bee boxes.
Frames are back in the box and ready to go.  The Yellow cups in the box are feeders, this is another way to help get your bees off to a good start.  Once the bees are in the box we will need to feed them sugar water every day until we think they are well established.
Larry moving the hives up to the apiary, or the bee yard.  We don't have the bees yet, we should get them on April 17.  
Your hives should be set up off of the ground to keep them dry and away from skunks.  Apparently skunks like to eat bees.  We might need to raise them a little higher, not sure about that yet.  We have so much to learn.
 Now we just need bees.  We have more boxes ready to go to add on top as the bees begin to produce.  Now let's just hope we can be a success with honey bees.  
If you have some good advise for first time bee keepers we would love to hear from you.
Have a great day!

Proverbs 25:16  If you find honey, eat just enough-- too much of it, and you will vomit.
(Sounds like good advice if your going to have 100 pounds of honey...)

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Keep your Flock Safe: Nite Guard Solar and Nite Guard Repellent Tape Giveaway!

With spring comes the arrival of new and vulnerable chicks.  After all of the time, money, and love put into raising baby chicks it is no wonder we are always looking for ways to protect them.  This week we are excited to team up with Nite Guard, to educate you on a great way to keep your flock or other live stock safe.

The family owned Nite Guard company has studied predators and their instincts, using that information to create Nite Guard Solar.  The Nite Guard Solar unit uses the flash of a light to fool the predator into thinking that a bigger and more ferocious predator may be lurking.  By using multiple Nite Guard Solar units one can better protect their entire coop or livestock pen.  Thus preventing predators from even attacking your flock.
3 Easy steps to keeping your coop safe!

Since Nite Guard Solar is only effective during the night time hours, the company has also created a solution for keeping daytime predators at bay.  Nite Guard Repellent Tape is durable holographic tape that uses light and noise to keep away predators from ground and air.  The extra wide iridescent tape works very well for keeping hawks away.  It is noisier, brighter, and last longer than other repellent tapes.

It is so very tragic to loose livestock to predators.  Nite Guard has done a great job of coming up with effective and economical ways to protect against devastating attacks.

We are excited to announce that our friends at Nite Guard are going to give away a Two Light Nite Guard Solar System and a roll of Nite Guard Repellent Tape to one of you!  

You will have one week to get your name in for the giveaway. It starts today, April 9 and will end April 16 at 12:00 pm.  

To enter you need:

1. Be a follower here on the Chicken Scratch Poultry Blog.  To do this scroll down on the blog page looking to the left and put your E-mail in the box where it says, follow us by e-mail.  
2.  Head over to Nite Guard's Facebook page and like them.  This link: https://www.facebook.com/niteguardllc will take you there.
3.  Like Chicken Scratch Poultry's Facebook page.  This link: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Chicken-Scratch-Poultry/341258592560021 will take you there.
4.  Last, leave us a comment and tell us what kind of livestock you plan to protect with the Nite Guard Solar 2 Light System and the Nite Guard Repellent Tape.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

April Showers... Bring May Flowers

If April showers bring May flowers, then we should be all set for some beautiful flowers come May. While the recent rain we got may have been a bit much, I know that everything looking green and alive again follows.  I am looking so forward to color in our world!  Nothing screams out spring to me like a vibrant green wheat field or the neon green haze that surrounds trees just getting their leaves.  This is what spring is looking like around our farm, comment and let us know what it looks like around yours.

Perennials peaking through the ground.

Meeting of the minds.

Who needs plastic Easter eggs?

Flooding rain brings the crawdads out to play.


Happy Spring!!!

God Bless,

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Homemade Mayonnaise

Last week I was rummaging through the pantry trying to find some mayonnaise,
with no luck.  It seems I rarely find the time to make it to the grocery store these days.  I figured, I have eggs I'll just make some.  
Now that spring has sprung, well kind of...you should be see an increase in egg production in your coops.  With that increase in eggs lets make something quick, easy and yummy.

Ingredients Needed

2 Eggs yolks
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon powdered mustard
1/8 teaspoon sugar
pinch cayenne pepper
4 to 5 teaspoons vinegar
1-1/2 cups salad oil
4 teaspoons warm water

Begin by separating 2 farm fresh egg yolks, you can use store bought eggs but you might as well pick up a jar of mayo, just kidding.   Combine egg yolks, salt, mustard, sugar, pepper, and 1 teaspoon vinegar, beat on medium speed with a mixer until very thick and pale yellow.  Add about 1/4 cup oil very slowly while mixing.   Add in 1 teaspoon of vinegar and 1 teaspoon of water.  Drizzle in another 1/4 cup oil while vigorously mixing and another teaspoon of vinegar and water.  Add in 1/2 cup oil in a very fine steady stream mixing constantly, then add in remaining vinegar and water.

The farm fresh eggs make a pretty yellow mayonnaise and tasty too.  You can spice it up with dill, Thyme or turn up the heat with the cayenne pepper.
Do not keep longer than 1 week.


Friday, March 28, 2014

Coronation Sussex - Is This The Breed For You

This will be my final breed to cover here on the blog, I'm out of breeds until we decide to expand and bring in more.  I would need new barn to do that and really hate the thought of building again.
So let's talk out the majestic Coronation Sussex. This breed was imported by Greenfire Farms about 4 years ago, I watched on the internet as the first pair of Coronations to be offered to the public here in the US sold for $5000.00 a pair. I was totally amazed!  I kept this bird in the back of my mind and watch and waited as the prices began to drop to a point where a small farm like ours could consider obtaining this breed.  About 3 years ago I purchased my first pair of Coronations and you would have thought the Royal couple themselves had arrived to the farm.  When I opened that box and seen those two beautiful fluff balls that resembled cotton candy, I fell in love!  We kept those two birds locked away so tight they hardly seen the light of day.  My mother convinced me that they needed some day light.   She said, "Angie they look a little pale they need some sun light" I said "mom, you don't understand this is his Majesty and her Highness, I can't just let them run around the yard." I finally did allow them to see day light, I just didn't take my eyes off of them.
It wasn't the cost of the bird that amazed me so much as it was the bird it's self.   The size, color and disposition. The Coronation Sussex are a gentle giant.  This breed is so large that they will not roost up high like most poultry. They are happy to sleep in the coop on a pile of straw.   This big bird can be kept confined with a fence no taller than 18 inches, they are so large and lazy they would never consider jumping up high to roost or jumping over a small fence.  They do need a large nesting box on the ground also.

The Coronation Sussex originated in England where it was created for King George. Although the Coronation are rare in the US, it is even more rare in England where it is believed that only 50 birds of this variety remain.
The Coronation is our top bird recommended for butchering, it was created for the King's table so what more proof do you need.  They are fast growing and require plenty of room. The chick pictured to your right is about 10 weeks old and just beginning to get the lavender coloring on the neck.  Even at this age they are a good sized bird.

The Coronation Sussex are very sweet bird and make great pet's and do well with kids.  They are good layers of a cream colored egg, we have several hens that lay a double yolk.  They have pearl white feathering with a lavender mane and lavender tail.  The hens and roosters are both very docile, friendly and curious birds.   The hens will become broody and want to raise chicks.  I don't recommend this breed for people who live in really hot climates.  We do have very hot summers here in IL and the Coronation require a fan during those times. They will just stand in front of the fan all day with wings spread.  You need to be willing to provide a fan.  They seem to be fare weather fowl.  They will only come outside on perfect days, not to hot, not to cold, not to windy.  They do a lot of looking out the barn door wondering if it's nice enough to go outside today.  Although the Royal family can do as they please.
This must have been a perfect evening, not to sunny, not to cloudy, not to windy, as the royal family decides to take an evening stroll.
I really enjoy this breed, the hens have a playful disposition that just make me laugh to watch them.  So funny to see these fat girls run with wings out spread as they attempt to catch grasshoppers.
Wishing you a wonderful weekend!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Light Sussex - Is This The Breed For You

The Light Sussex can be traced back thousands of years and believed to have been brought to England by Roman invaders.  In 2007 Greenfire farms imported this beautiful bird to the US along with the Coronation Sussex and caused quit a stir in the poultry industry and their popularity continues to grow with each passing year as more and more people become aware of this rare bird.
The Light Sussex is a dual purpose breed, meaning that it can be used for eggs and also a great meat bird.  It didn't take us long here on the farm to find out which birds are the best for dual purpose. I know that thought can be offensive to some people who only keep chickens as pets but the truth is, we live on a farm and we grow a lot of chicken one of which is half roosters, most customers don't want a rooster, so what do you do with all of those unwanted roosters?  Well, they go to good use.  All of our poultry are raised humanly and those that are used for food are killed humanly.

The Light Sussex is a very striking white bird with black tail, lacy black collar and pearlescent legs. They are good layers of a pinkish cream egg.  They will go broody, we have had several Sussex hens raise chicks here on the farm and they make great mothers.  Nothing better than watching a hen with chicks.

They are an extremely friendly, curious, docile bird. Even from the first week of life this is the breed that will run up to your hand in the brooder box while the other breeds are running away.   I'm sure these are the attributes that have kept this breed around for hundreds of years. Who doesn't want a bird that is both a good utility bird and friendly. If you happen to need a quite hen this is the bird for you, the rooster on the other hand is not, if you need a good alarm clock he's the guy for you.  The roosters are also very friendly and docile, one of my favorites on the farm to photograph, they will get up close, look right into the camera and pose for me with absolutely no fear.  If your looking for the perfect chicken pet for the back yard, that will also be good with kids look no farther than the Light Sussex.

Love those fat bottom girls!!
Have a great weekend.