Thursday, December 29, 2016

New Breed On The Farm - Maline

We have another new breed at the Chicken Scratch Poultry Farm.  The Malines were created in Belgium back in the 1800's as a meat bird.  This is a heavy breed, roosters can weigh over 12 lbs.  We have a couple that are topping the scales at 14 lbs.  Although the roosters are huge, they are gentle giants.  There are many color varieties of the Maline but the black herringbone pattern is the most common.  That black and white pattern goes from the top of their head to the tip of their toes.  Absolutely stunning!

The hens are also a very heavy bird but gentle, they lay a cream colored egg that is large and also lay a large number of eggs.

The Maline is somewhat of an auto sexing bird but the visual clues are not easily recognized at hatch but days or a week after hatch the clues are noticeable.  We will only sell the day old chicks as straight run.

If you are looking for beautiful, sweet tempered,  easy to handle, physically impressive birds for your backyard flock, the Maline should be at the top of your list. 

We traveled to Greenfire Farms in the spring 2016 to pick up our breeders and also took a farm tour.  During our tour as we walked past the Maline pen I was so impressed with the way their little faces were pressed up against the fence, I knew instantly I had to have this bird.  They beg for your attention, I LOVE it!!
Have a Great Day!

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Chicken Scratch Poultry Farm Store - Etsy

We're happy to announce we've opened an etsy farm store.  We'll be offering products created right here on the farm like our home grown honey, homemade soap, dried berries, flowers, vines, wreaths, baskets and much more.  Not only will there be hand made products but we'll be offering antiques with rustic shabby charm.  I love rusty, dusty, junk, I hope you do too. 
Please come by and favorite Our Store and check out what we have.  We're adding to it daily so check back often.  There just might be some treasure you can't live without.
Keep in mind honey and cute chicken soaps make great Christmas gifts....

Friday, November 18, 2016

New Breed On The Farm - Crested Cream Legbar

One of our new breeds on the Chicken Scratch Poultry Farm for spring 2017 will be the Crested Cream Legbar.  I can honestly say I've grown to love this breed and I feel confident you'll enjoy it as much as we have.  

This remarkable bird has all  the attributes most poultry enthusiast are looking for.   
Cream Legbar are a medium sized bird, auto sexing, good foragers, sweet temperament and great  producers of beautiful pastel sky blue to light green eggs.   They produce large numbers of eggs and are rarely broody.  The hens produce a rather large egg for the size of bird. 

The Cream Legbar are really good foragers and do well free ranging.  They are nicely camouflaged with the beautiful charcoal grey and tan feathering.   The roosters are also protective of the hens and always have an eye on the sky.

Egg color is one of the most difficult things to photograph. Different lighting can make the eggs look completely different. The two top eggs in the carton are my Ameraucana eggs, they always lay a sky blue egg. The other 6 eggs are the Cream Legbar, they range from pastel blue to turquoise blue/green.  The color is bold, rich and makes for a lovely egg basket. 
In 1952 a  study was conducted in England with seven Cream Legbar hens for one year, on average they each laid 260 eggs. That alone makes them a great hen to have in the coop.

Cream Legbars are an auto sexing breed which we find so appealing as I'm sure our customers will also enjoy.  It's very difficult to find a bird that produces a pastel colored egg that can also be easily sexed.
We will be offering this breed as sexed day old chicks or you can order as started young pullets and roosters. 
Look forward to hearing from you.
Angie & Larry

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Pullets Available For Shipping

We have a nice selection and range of ages in our started young pullets so I though it would be a good time to share a few photos.  Fall is a great time for shipping poultry, with the cooler weather they ship very well.  Some of the pullets that we have right now will be laying eggs very soon and will continue to lay through the winter months.  We have some 4 to 5 month old Light Sussex hens that will be laying within the next month.  I also have young ones if you want something a little younger.   They're a very friendly breed that love to interact with you if your looking for more of a pet.  They are also great for egg production.  We can always give you advice over the phone if your unsure of what age group you need for your existing flock.

We have a few Ayam Cemani pullets.  I've been very surprised at egg production of this breed. They lay a nice large egg and lots of eggs!  They tend to be a shy bird but if worked with for a very short time become very friendly and easy to handle.  They're absolutely stunning to watch forage around the yard.

I only have a very few of the Beautiful, big butted Black Orpington left.  You can't go wrong with this amazing bird.  Not only are they gorgeous, but they're friendly and huge.  I'm talking wide load....

The Olive Egger, our top seller for several years now.  The breed that we created over 10 years ago that now all of the hatcheries have copied (but they still can't get the egg color that we do.) We will have a few available soon.  Don't wait to long to place your order, they'll be gone in a flash!

I will have just a couple of Splash Marans very soon.  They will be a nice dark egg layer.  The Splash Marans are a more friendly bird than the Black Copper Marans.

The Chocolate Orpington.  This is a borrowed photo from one our happy customers.  As you can see they are very interactive, friendly and not to mention cute as can be!
These sweet little birds are round like a volley ball, with the shortest little legs.  Their little brown toes just peeking out of the feathers.

Lavender Orpingtons, I have several pullets around 10 weeks of age.  Talk about beauties!
The great thing about getting a bird this age, they will be laying by spring and they're already feathered out for winter.  I also have young roosters in this breed is you would like a breeding pair.

This amazing blue bird to your right is the Rumpless Araucana.  You can't find a TRUE Aruacana anywhere because there isn't a hatchery in the USA that even truly understands or knows what this breed is.  Don't even try to get this breed from a hatchery, you can only find a true Rumpless Araucana from a breeder.

I have two Rumpless Araucana hens ready to go, they are 3 months old.  I have the blue one (above) and the black on to your left.  I will have more at a later date.  This breed is very difficult to sex and takes several months of growth before mother nature reveals her secrets.

For more information head over to The Website.  Your also welcome to give me a call at

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Freezing Fresh Green Beans - No Blanching Method

My Green beans are still producing here late into October and I thought it would be a good time to share an easy way to freeze them without all the work of the blanching process.  Blanching is suppose to help vegetables keep their vibrant colors and flavors.  I've never liked blanched green beans, they always taste watery and I've found that it is unnecessary.  Your welcome to keep blanching if you think they need it.  I know all women over 60 are gasping and say you must blanch!

Simply pick, snap the stems off, snap the beans into small pieces (that really isn't necessary either) and wash the beans.  Lay them out  on clean dish towels and let them dry a little or pat dry with a towel.

Then stick them into freezer bags, push out all the air, seal and freeze.  I use a food saver, they are worth every penny.

Here are my frozen green beans from one year ago, they still look great and taste wonderful.  Thanks Judy Webb for teaching me the no blanch method.
Go ahead girls, throw in the towel, no more blanching your beans into a tasteless, mushy, green mess, just because someone said "you must blanch!"

Have a great day and say NO to Blanch!

Monday, October 10, 2016

Easy Goat Milk Ice Cream

This is the easiest ice-cream recipe ever.  If you don't have goat milk or just refuse to try it, you can sub in boring ole cow's milk.  The recipe is at the bottom of the page but first read a little information about the LaMancha breed.  

Over this past summer we have been trading eggs for goat milk form a local lady named Bethany Waier.  She has an interesting breed of goat called the LaMancha.  They are known for their lack of ears or what is called gopher ears.  The LaMancha are a good dairy goat that produce high butterfat in the milk.  They are very calm, quiet and have a gentle temperament.

Did you happen to know that most people if given the opportunity to try goat milk would never try it simply for the fear it might taste different.  When I tried the milk for the first time that Bethany brought us, if I had a glass of cows milk next to it I probably would have chosen the goat milk over the cow's milk because it tasted much better.  I always buy 2% cow's milk and it is a bit bland.
The goat milk does need to be used up quickly or it will begin to taste goaty.  Other than that it is great and better for you than cow's milk by far!

This is Bethany's Buck, Hugh.  Don't you just love his curly bangs!
I asked Bethany how much milk she gets per day and she said that each of her doe's can produce a little over a half gallon a day.  That's a lot of milk.
Hey you locals contact Bethany and buy some milk from her, this is one of the reasons I call this recipe Easy Goat Milk Ice-cream, because you don't have to milk the goat, or feed the goat, you just buy the milk...
I made homemade ice cream for my grand daughters birth day party this past summer and there was about 20 or more people attending. They lapped up every drop of that ice-cream and never knew that it was made with goat milk and didn't they believe me when I told them.

This makes a small batch in your kitchen aid freezer or any ice-cream freezer
(I love my kitchen aid ice-cream attachment)

4 Cups goat milk
1 can sweeten condensed milk
2 teaspoons vanilla

If your using a kitchen aid attachment, refrigerate all ingredients before you begin.  Mix them all together, turn on mixer and slowly pour in.   

Thursday, September 22, 2016

White Cushaw Spuash - Heirloom Seed

The White Cushaw, which is one of the more rare varieties of Cushaw, is a monstrous sized squash that has been grown in my family for as long as I can remember and even much longer than that.  It's a very versatile squash with a mild sweet nutty flavor that can be used instead of pumpkin for pies, breads, cakes, soups and much more.   It is considered a winter squash due to the fact that it can be stored for up to four or five months.  They are easy to grow, tolerate heat, pest resistant and a great source of vitamin C.

 My grandfather who was born in 1925 has told us of the Cushaws importance as a food source growing up in a large family in the late 20's.   His mother always kept a crock full of cooked squash on hand.  He tells how she would dip it from the crock and fry it in butter to serve with each evening meal.  The squash were kept in a cool dry place and would keep well all winter long.  Grandpa said that orange pumpkins were grown for animal feed and the Cushaw was for their family to eat, that gives you a little bit of an idea as to which is the tastier of the two.
My grandpa who is now 94 has kept this heirloom seed all of his life and has passed it down to his family with the stories of the importance of being self sufficient  and working hard.
The White Cushaw does require a good amount of space to grow because it puts on long runners but he taught me the best way to handle that also.  Plant your Cushaw in your sweet corn patch, the two grow well together.  My grandpa is the best gardener I've ever known.  I just wish I would have paid a little better attention when he was giving his gardening advice.
To your right is my 91 year old grandfather, my newest grand baby and me.

My sister grew this Cushaw with my grandfathers seed.  They can grow to enormous sizes!  This one probably weighed 30 lbs.

One of my favorite ways to fix the white Cushaw is to slice the neck in hunks, heap on some brown sugar, butter, sprikle with cinnamon and bake for about 45 min. at 350 degrees.  Yumm

 This is just half of the neck of the squash, one Cushaw makes enormous amounts of squash to use in pies just like you would use pumpkin.  It makes a lighter color of pie but delicious!  Just boil in water, drain, smash and freeze for later use.
Next year when your planning your garden, search out some heirloom seeds, you won't be disappointed.
Have a Great Day!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Farm Happenings / Young Pullets Available

Hard to believe it is already August, time really slips by when your busy.  We're caught up on our chick orders at this time but we are still accepting chick orders.  So if you are interested in getting just one more shipment of chicks before cold weather sets in this is a great time to be thinking about doing that.  We have a list of breeds that can be shipped quickly on the Website if your interested in that. We usually keep hatching and shipping the day old chicks right up to the end of September.  It's actually a good time to get chicks because they will start laying just in time for spring.  It's also a good idea to have two different age groups of hens so that when the older group of hens is taking a break from laying your younger hens will begin laying.

This is also  a good time to think about placing your orders for young pullets for fall shipment, we also have some pullets that are ready to ship now.  Head on over to the website at Chicken Scratch Poultry and see what all we have available for shipment now.  Your always welcome to give me a call and I can let you know exactly what we have ready to go 618-643-5602.  I'm always happy to explain our shipping polices and tell you all about the little peeps that are ready to be shipped to your loving home :)
It always amazes me how there is a fall rush for pullets just like the spring rush for chicks.
So don't miss out!  I talked to so many of you last fall that said "if I had only known you had pullets in the fall".  All right here's your warning, I will have pullets in fall.
Some of the breeds I will have in the young started pullets will be the Lavender Orpington.  This breed has been the top seller for the past two years, don't wait too long to place an order because they sell fast!  I'll also have the French Black Copper Marans, Blue Copper Marans, Splash Marans, Light Sussex, Chocolate Orpington, Black Orpington and probably a few Olive Eggers.
I know some of you that ordered the Ameraucanas are still patiently waiting on your pullet orders.  Never fear I will get them to you.  The Ameraucana hens took a break on laying during our busiest time of the year, silly girls what were they thinking??  They did finally pick up the pace on production and we do have brooders full of Ameraucanas but now we are waiting to guess who is going to be a hen.  What a guessing game that is...

We're also working on our very own line of  Mottled Orpington, they will be a black bird with white spots, we're just in the beginning stages with this breed but if you would like to be the first to have one of those I have a few young pullets now, give me a call, there will only be a very few of these available.  They will be a very large beautiful bird.  Keep in mind this is our project bird and does take time to perfect.  If you like a super friendly, extra large, fluffy butted hen, this bird is for you!  I like big butts on my girls!
Hope you all are having a wonderful summer!
Hope to hear from you soon.
Birds of a feather flock together!

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Ayam Cemani / Black Chicken

Come on over to the dark'll be glad that you did.  We have a new breed on the farm, It's the Ayam Cemani.  We've actually had it for well over a year now.  Early this past spring we also traveled to Greenfire farms and picked up some started young birds of this breed to work with on our breeding project of the Ayam Cemani.

Absolutely mesmerizing sums up the description of this magnificent bird.  The Ayam Cemani is one of the rarest breeds of poultry in the US.  This ink black bird originates from the jungles of Indonesia where it's black meat is thought to have mystical and medicinal powers.  Yes I said black meat.  The comb is black, the skin is black, the bones are black and the meat is black.

 The Ayam Cemani are very hardy, easy to handle and low maintenance. The chicks are very strong, active, sturdy little guys.   This breed is very easily tamed to be a friendly back yard chicken.  The Ayam Cemani are  great free rangers and absolutely stunning to see roaming around your yard.  The roosters dance and strut from the moment you let them out of the coop until you shut them back up.

The hens are good layers, I was actually very surprised at what good layers they are.  They lay a cream colored egg, not a black egg, darn it. Our hens laid all winter long, which was also a nice surprise.  They also lay a rather large egg for the size of this bird.
The Ayam Cemani breed is for the true poultry enthusiasts, if you like eye candy in your yard this is the bird for you. 

The hens are just as stunning as the Roosters. If you love the challenge of breeding poultry, this breed is absolutely a bird you will love! Please do your homework before purchasing the Cemani, this is not a get rich quick breed. You need an understanding of the Fibro gene.
Our farm has proof of origin for our breeders, if a farm cannot provide that, buyer beware! 

 Yes they truly are black from the inside out.  Whether they have mystical or medicinal powers, I'll leave that for you to decide...

Have a great day.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Growing Elm Oyster Mushrooms - Monkey Mushrooms Garden Kit

Each spring Larry and I enjoy hunting wild mushrooms, we mostly look for Morels but have recently discovered that Oyster mushrooms are also very easy to identify.   We thought it might be fun this year to try growing our own Oyster mushrooms.  I began doing some research on growing mushrooms, inoculating logs with mushroom spores, and many other ways to begin growing mushrooms.  Then I came across this kit, they had a do it yourself YouTube video and several good reviews.   The name of the Company is 100th Monkey Mushroom Farm.  Larry is always looking for a new adventure, so when the mushroom farm showed up in the mail he could hardly wait to get his shrooms growing!

      Keep your box in the refrigerator until your ready to plant. 
The best time to plant is when your outdoor temps are consistently between 50 and 80 degrees.  There are many different options for planting your mushrooms.  You can inoculate logs, plant in a bucket, container or a garden bed.  We decided to plant in a garden bed.

As you can see he always gets ahead of me and my photos but the first step he laid down cardboard and wet it really well.  Then he added a layer of straw.  It says straw, dry grass or wood chips work well.

Remove your spawn from the box and bag.

Begin breaking up the spawn into small granules.

It has an interesting fermented smell, not a bad smell.  Now that it is all crumbled up it's time to spread.

Sprinkle the spawn on the first layer of straw.

Spray with water.  Isn't he doing a good job!

Apply another layer of straw, and sprinkle with mushroom spawn again and spray with water.  Top it off with another layer of straw and water again.

Once you have all your mushroom spawn layered into the straw and water well.  Cover with black plastic and water it once a week.  If it's raining uncover and let it get a good rain shower.  Leave the plastic on until you see growth.

When you begin to see this white webby looking stuff you know your close to getting mushrooms.  I'm sure there is a name for this growth...

About four weeks after we began this project we begin to see shroom growth, we were so excited because you know we checked it daily up until now.  Once you start seeing growth remove your plastic and water it 1 to 2 times a day until they are ready to pick.

I pick a handful of mushrooms everyday right now.  I pick them when they are small, our temps are getting pretty hot during the day and if I try and let them get very big they turn to mush fast, so I pick them small.  Cooler climates probably grow bigger mushrooms. 
 If your interested in growing your own mushrooms I recommend the 100th Monkey Mushroom farm.
Pretty tasty too!
Have a great day.