Monday, September 30, 2013

Farewell Summer - Photos

What a beautiful summer we had in Illinois.  Now as it draws to a close I feel just a little sad to see it go.  Hope you enjoy the photos, this is just a few taken over the summer months.
The hustle and bustle of summer is almost over and I'm looking forward to the beautiful season of Fall! 
Have a great day!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Winner of the Free Trial of Gro2Max

Congratulations to Linda Prater and Marci, they are the two lucky winners of a free trial of Gro2Max.  Thank you to all who participated in the drawing also thanks to Gro2Max for offering the free trial for our friends. 
Have a Great Weekend!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Gro2Max Free giveaway

The Chicken Scratch Poultry Farm just finished a 30 day trail of Gro2Max probiotics.  We experienced our chick mortality rate cut in half while using this product.  We hatch hundreds of chicks every week, so this has been very beneficial for our business.  Gro2Max can also be used in your laying flock and promotes good health.  You still have time to get your name in for the free giveaway of Gro2Max probiotics.  Gro2Max is offering a free trial of their product for two lucky people.  To enter for the free product just follow the steps below.
1. Like Gro-2-Max Facebook page
2.  Become a follower of our blog.
3.  Leave a comment below letting us know you would like to try Gro-2-Max.
We will be announcing the winner on Friday September 27.
Good Luck and have a Great Day!
You can check out the Gro2Max website at

Monday, September 23, 2013

Product Review > Gro-2-Max

The great folks at Gro-2-Max emailed me a month ago and asked  if the Chicken Scratch Poultry Farm would be interested in reviewing their product.  After much research and asking lots of questions we agreed to a 30 day trial of Gro-2-Max an all natural probiotic.   Within just a couple of days a box arrived with everything we needed to begin our review. 

Gro-2-Max is an all natural probiotic or beneficial bacteria for use in poultry.  Did you know that 60-70% of the immune system is in the intestines?  Probiotic supplements are used to improve the health and performance of poultry.  It's on the same scale as humans eating Yogurt for good intestinal health.  Studies show that hens who are fed probiotics have thicker egg shells, thicker egg whites and larger egg weight.  The Gro-2-Max probiotics can be given to chicks as well as adult chickens.  It can be administered 2 different ways, it can be added to drinking water or feed.
Larry and I chose to do our trial on our chicks.  We have a full brooder house of chicks at all times.  Day old chicks occasionally have a hard time getting their little intestines working properly which can cause high chick mortality rate or pasty bottoms that you battle for weeks on end.  A few chicks are lost from each hatch every week.  Gro-2-Max claims to lower the mortality rate in chicks, we knew if we would see a difference it would be in our chicks.
We chose to dispense the probiotics in the feed rather than water.  Our brooders have an automatic water system so water was not an option for us.  The Gro -2- Max is very simple to mix up, it takes very little time and you can mix up 3 days worth of feed but no more than 3 days.

Gro -2- Max comes in a powder form, to mix it in the feed you use 1 tsp. per 10 lbs. feed.

Mix 10 pounds of feed at a time so you are sure to mix the probiotics into the feed properly.  Only mix up enough that can be fed and used up within 3 days.  If you decide to use the water method.  Mix 1 1/2 tsp. per gallon of water or 2 1/2 tsp. per 5 gallons of water.

Farmer Larry does most of the feeding here, I do some not a lot, I do the egg gathering.  I asked Larry about 2 weeks into our trial if he had noticed any difference?  He said the first thing he noticed was drop in chick death and a slight reduction in feed consumption.  The reduced  feed consumption is not a great deal but is noticeable.  The drop in feed consumption may have been more noticeable if we were using this on our breeding flock.  By the end of the trial we have seen our chick mortality rate cut by half.  I think that's a huge difference!
Gro-2-Max comes in a 3.5 oz. (100g) package, one package will treat approximately 290 pounds of feed.  We have found it to be a very economical way to have a healthier flock.  We've been very pleased with the results.   We've found the product to do what it claims to do.
I would especially recommend having this product on hand if your administering antibiotics to your flock.   This will help get the digestive system back on track.
I also recommend having this product on hand if you're expecting a delivery of chicks in the mail.  This will insure they get off to the right start.  Chicks that travel in the mail become stressed and have a hard time getting the digestive system working well.
I think you also could benefit from Gro-2-Max, check out their website to find out more information and give it a try.
We will be choosing two lucky followers to receive a free trial of Gro-2-Max. 
Steps to be considered for the free trial of Gro-2-Max
1. Like Gro-2-Max Facebook page.
2.  Become a follower of our blog.
3.  Leave a comment below letting us know you would like to try Gro-2-Max.
2 Lucky followers will be announced on Friday September 27. 
Have a Blessed Day!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Zucchini Basil Muffins

Are you sick of zucchinis yet?  I thought I was until I found this recipe on Facebook a couple of weeks ago and decided to give it a try.  I made changes to it because the recipe called for to many things I didn't have on hand at the time.  They still turned out great, so here's what I used. 
2 Large Chicken Scratch Poultry Eggs (if you don't have these use what you have on hand)
3/4 cup milk
2/3 cup Olive oil (vegetable oil will also work)
2 1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp. salt
1 Tbs. baking powder
2 cups grated zucchini
2 Tbs.. fresh finely chopped basil (dry will probably work also)
1/2 cup parmesan cheese 
Preheat oven to 425 degree.  Grease muffin tins.  Combine eggs, milk and oil in a large bowl.  Combine flour, sugar, salt and baking powder in another bowl and add the liquid mixture in batches, stirring to blend, don't over blend.  Add the zucchini and basil last and stir to blend.  Fill each muffin cup about 1/2 full.  Bake for about 20 - 25 minutes for regular size muffins, 15- 20 minutes for mini muffins.
I severed the muffins with fried fish and they complemented the meal quite well.  I think they would really be great this winter with a hot bowl of soup!
Have a Blessed Day!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner!!

Congratulations Matt Williams!  

You will soon be the proud owner of a Nite Guard Solar unit.  Our hope is that this unit will keep your chickens from being a predators dinner.

Thanks to all who took the time to enter, we enjoyed reading all of your comments!   We would also like to thank the kind people over at Nite Guard Solar for making this giveaway possible.  If you didn't win but are interested in their product head over to their website

Thanks again for your participation and support!

Angie and Melissa

Nite Guard Solar - Free Givaway

There's still a little time to get your name in to win the Nite Guard Solar unit.   We'll be choosing a winner today after 12:00 noon central time.  If your not sure what this unit will do for you, head over to the Nite Guard website at  This is a family owned and operated company right here in the USA and those are the kind of businesses we all need to support.  Even if you don't win today, Christmas is just around the corner, so head on over and place an order for that hard to buy for person in your family.

2.  Like Chicken Scratch Poultry page on Facebook.
3.  Become a follower of the Chicken Scratch Poultry Blog 
4.  Leave us a comment telling us why you would like to win the Nite Guard, be sure to include an email address.
Check out Nite Guard!  Your flock will thank you! 

Good Luck To All
Angie & Melissa

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Good Clean Fun - Let's Make Soap

Over the last couple of years we started making our own soap here on the farm.  We've decided we like it so much better than the skin drying, over perfumed junk you buy in the store.  I once thought that homemade soap must be harsh since it's made with lye, until I finally tried it out for myself.  I have very dry sensitive skin and it may sound crazy, but homemade soap doesn't dry out your skin.  I know you'll never believe it until you just try it for yourself.  Do you even know what's in that store bought soap?
 Soap doesn't have to be difficult to make.  When your looking over the internet for a recipe, all the instructions seem so intimidating and difficult.  It doesn't have to be difficult. I'm no soap making expert by any means, but what I have done has worked and I like it.
The first time I made soap was with my great aunt Freda Baker.  It was exciting and frightening all at the same time.  When she put on the rubber gloves and goggles and told us not to breath the toxic fumes I was fascinated.  She looked like a mad scientists.  We had saved back our bacon grease for months on end before we made the trip to Aunt Freda's to make homemade soap.  Freda's house sat in the Pope county hills of the Shawnee Forest and I absolutely loved to go and visit her.  It was like traveling back in time when you walked in her house.  She always washed her cloths with a wringer washer. She heated her water on the stove because she had no warm water in her house.   She grew all of her own food, was a hard working farm wife and lived a simple life.  Some folks maybe thought she did without a lot of stuff, but I think she lived with exactly what she wanted.  Freda and her husband lived in the most beautiful place I've ever seen.  I use to wondered as a child when we would come in to wash our hands to get ready to eat, why Freda's soap was always a funny shape and had no scent to it.  I would think to myself why does she make soap when it's so much easier to go buy it.  Well I finally figured it out.

There's no need for fancy molds, I have a few molds, they're fun and will make cute soap for gifts.  The possibilities are endless when making soap.
The ingredients I used for this batch of soap
3 cups water
17 ounces lye
6 pounds oils
2 cups lemon juice
1 can goat milk
essential oil for fragrance (you don't need this)
You don't need the goat milk or the essential oil. It's just what I decided to put in.  I used Nutmeg essential oil, it smells great!  You can use any essential oil scents that you like or none at all.
Tools needed:
plastic or glass measuring cups
wooden spoon
scales (digital or whatever you have)
I used a stick mixer it's not necessary but does make it easier
1 stainless steel pot (I used this black kettle)
Rubber gloves
Eye protection 
  box lined with plastic wrap, if you don't have molds   
My aunt Freda used this kettle for soap making probably 50 years.  All directions I read say never to use anything like this, always use stainless steel.  I've used the kettle myself 3 times and it works great just like aunt Freda's soap. 
Have all ingredients measured ready to go and box ready to pour soap into.

Put your 3 cups of water into your pot, measure out 17 ounces of lye, always pour your lye into the water, never pour water into lye.  Do not breath in the fumes and pour slowly not to splash.  Stir until dissolved.  You should wear your rubber gloves and eye protection at this point.  If you splash the lye water on your skin, apply vinegar to stop the burning.
Add your oils to the lye and water mixture.  The water mixture will be hot and melt your oils.  It takes 6 pounds of oil.  You can use whatever oils you want, vegetable, Olive oil, Coconut oil, lard.  I used 2 pounds coconut oil and 4 pounds vegetable shortening.  You can use whatever combination you like.  As long as you use 6 pounds of oil for this recipe. 

  Stir until all shortening is melted.
 Once all the shortening is melted add in your 2 cups of lemon juice.  Next you can add in any little goodies you can think of, goat milk, honey, oatmeal, herbs, essential oil, coconut milk, vitamin E oil, the possibilities are endless.

I'm adding my essential oil in this photo.  Also this photo shows an important part of the soap making.  Do you see the swirl marks left by my wooden spoon, this is called trace.  When your spoon leaves this mark in the soap that means it is ready to pour into your box or molds.  I got to the trace point really fast with this soap and I think it is because I used the stick mixer.  This is the first time I had used one.  When I stir by hand with a wooden spoon it takes awhile to get to the point of trace.

If your pouring your soap into a mold it's a good idea to apply mineral oil to the mold so the soap comes out easily.  If your pouring into a box lined with plastic wrap you don't need to do this.  I've heard you can pour it into a Pringles can and then when the soap is ready to cut, just cut it like a log of no bake cookies.  You'll have nice little round bars.

Pour soap into your box or molds.  Cover with old towels or dishcloths, this is the point where saponification happens.  I'm not a chemist so all I know is that the soap is making soap at this point and you need to cover it while this happens, it needs to retain it's heat as long as possible.  Let the soap sit undisturbed for a couple of hours.  Once it has cooled and begins to harden some, it will  be the consistency of fudge.  At this point you can cut the soap into the size of bars you want.  Leave it in the box while you cut it.  Leave it in the box for a couple of days.  Once the soap is hard enough, remove it from the box.  You now need to let your soap sit for 4 to 6 weeks, this is the curing process.  After that your soap is ready to use.  You now have enough soap to last a good 6 months or more.
Soap is fun to make, get together with your girlfriends, sisters, or your family and have some good clean fun!

I've made these cute chicken soaps, they're great for your guest bathroom or make a cute gift for a chicken lover.  I also have some with a goat and some that say Homemade.  If you'd like to place an order for a cute bar of soap you can email me at or leave me a comment below letting me know your interested in placing an order.  The bars of chicken or goat soap are $2.00 per bar plus shipping, the bars that just say Homemade are $1.50 plus shipping.

Get that goat loving friend a bar of goat milk soap.  Hope to hear from you. 

Monday, September 16, 2013

Nite-Guard Free Giveaway> Still time to enter to win.

One lucky winner will be announced on Wednesday September 18 to receive one free Nite-Guard Solar unit.  This product is great for keeping your flock and livestock safe from predators.

 Even if you don't have livestock or chickens you can benefit from Nite-Guard Solar.  If I'd had one of these units my house dog wouldn't be smelling  like a skunk right now.  Larry and I also planted 6 fruit trees last spring, by fall the deer came through the yard and antler raked 3 of the trees and killed them.  We could have prevented this from happening if we had the Nite-Guard Solar.  I think I know what Larry's getting for Christmas shhhh don't tell him. 
It's not to early to start thinking about Christmas, do you have that person who's hard to buy for, could they use something like this protecting their yard?  Head on over to the Nite-Guard Solar Website and take a look around, you'll be glad you did.

2.  Like Chicken Scratch Poultry page on Facebook.
3.  Become a follower of the Chicken Scratch Poultry Blog 
4.  Leave us a comment telling us why you would like to win the Nite Guard, be sure to include an email address.
Check out Nite Guard!  Your flock will thank you! 

Good Luck To All
Angie & Melissa

Friday, September 13, 2013

Shipping season on the farm draws to a close

What a busy wonderful season Chicken Scratch Poultry farm had this year.  We have a handful of chick orders yet to fill but I just want to take a minute and thank all of our great customers who ordered chicks, hatching eggs or pullets.  Thank you for putting your trust in us, you're always quick to pay and patient to wait as we work through many orders.  Thanks for all the pictures and story's about our birds that you share with us.  I love it when you send me your first egg pictures, you couldn't be more proud if you had laid the egg yourself.  You all are great!!

We've put hundreds of eggs in the incubator every Monday night  since way back in February, in hopes of great hatches every Monday night.
We hatched hundreds of chicks  and shipped them all over the US ever Tuesday.  Without your trust in us we could not make this happen.  It's been hectic but so much fun.
It's a lot of work but a labor of love.  Plus when your working with cute little fuzzy butts how bad can that be!
We still have some sweet young pullets for sale and will be shipping those through November.  Some breeds we're sold out of, we have all of that information on the Website.
Once again, thank you from the bottom of our hearts for doing business with us.  We've enjoyed meeting and chatting with so many of you who came to the farm to pickup your birds or placed orders through emails and phone calls.
Thank you!
Larry & Angie

Just a reminder to sign up for the Nite Guard giveaway, we will be announcing the lucky winner on September 18.  Even if you don't have livestock this product would come in handy.  It will keep your landscape safe from deer, skunks away from your house, raccoons out of your sweet corn.   Check out the Nite Guard Solar website to find out more information on this interesting product.  It's a family owned business right here in the USA.   Here's a link to the blog with all the information on signing up for the giveaway.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Nite Guard Solar - Free Giveaway

Nite Guard Solar - Giveaway
Stop in to Enter
Not sure about all of our readers, but we are constantly thinking of ways to keep our chickens safe.  In just one night a flock can be totally destroyed if a predator gets into your coop.  Nite Guard Solar is a great way to help keep your chickens safe from all varieties of predators.  

Nite Guard is a unit that uses a predator's instincts and fear of larger night animals to keep them away.  The solar powered unit puts out automatic flashing light from dusk until dawn to keep predators away.  When a predator approaches and see's the flashing lights, it is fooled into thinking a larger and more dangerous predator could be lurking.  Your chickens are protected because the predator never even reaches them.  

Nite Guard's website is full of information about the unit and how to use it.  Not only can it protect livestock, it can also be used to keep deer and coons from destroying gardens and landscaping.  The units are cost effective and maintenance free.  I encourage you to head over to the website and take a look around.

The family owned and operated Nite Gaurd Solar will be sending one of their units to one of our readers.  Just complete the steps below to enter in the drawing.  The winner will be announced September 18.

2.  Like Chicken Scratch Poultry page on Facebook.
3.  Become a follower of the Chicken Scratch Poultry Blog 
4.  Leave us a comment telling us why you would like to win the Nite Guard, be sure to include an email address.
Check out Nite Guard!  Your flock will thank you! 

Good Luck To All
Angie & Melissa

Friday, September 6, 2013

Easy Refrigerator Pickles - Bread and Butter pickles

If you happen to still be getting a few cucumbers from your garden at this time. 
Here's a very easy pickle recipe.   This pickle I'm making today is more of a bread and butter type pickle.  It's quick and easy, if you have an extra refrigerator in your garage like we do, you can always stick a couple gallon jars in there and they will last all winter long.

4 Qt. sliced cucumbers
4 cups sugar
4 cups apple cider vinegar
1tsp. mustard seed
1tsp. celery seed
1tsp. turmeric
1/2 tsp. alum
1/3 cup salt
3 or 4 cloves garlic ( I used minced garlic) 

Wash and slice cucumbers into a gallon jar or you can use quart jars. I fill my jar as full as possible, once you pour the hot mixture over them they shrink down.   Mix sugar, vinegar, mustard seed, celery seed, turmeric, alum, salt and garlic.  Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes.  Pour over cucumbers.  Do not seal.  Let cool and place in refrigerator.  They are ready to sample by the following day.

Hope you enjoy!

This is my sea of cucumbers.  I always get a little carried away while putting seeds in the ground.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Our Day at the Chicken Scratch Farm

A couple weeks ago our family took a week of vacation.  Since my husband is a pastor we don't often get to visit the church our families go to, and we do not get to participate in Sunday dinner with my family as often as we would like.  This gave us a chance to go to Ten Mile Church where we both grew up and go eat Sunday dinner with my family, which was being held at Aunt Angie's.  It was so nice to spend the afternoon with family!  The day was beautiful, my girls had so much fun checking out all of the chickens, playing in the sand box, and picking some veggies from their garden.  I had not realized how much I miss getting to do those familiar things with family.  It was a wonderful day!

I thought you all might enjoy a few snap shots of the day.  The Chicken Scratch Farm is just as pretty and pleasant in person as it is in the pictures we post.  I cannot say that it is a slow moving place because there seems to be lots to do, but it is relaxing in its own way.  Hope you enjoy a little peek into our visit to the Chicken Scratch Farm.

Grandma B and the girls feeding the chickens. 

Ella and her cousin Kinsley sharing some chicken food.

Here chick chick chick...

"What a nice stick you have there."

"YAY CHICKENS!"  This girl really likes the chickens!

Emma doing a little work!
When we arrived Aunt Angie had a pretty good crop of strawberries.  I don't think she had quite so many after we left!
Ella picking some peppers.

Hope you have a great week!