Tag Archives: Chickens

Chicken Pen In The Garden Is Best Of Both Worlds!

by Tammy Taylor~

Last year RancherMan & I decided that housing our free-range hens in the coop of our 1880’s barn just wasn’t protecting them.  Oh they were safe in the coop overnight, but when we let them out to free range each morning, predators were taking the entire flock time & time again.  We needed a modified free-range setup.  So we decided we’d amend our garden to include the chickens.  But our fenced garden offered some layout challenges.  I recently wrote a piece for Mother Earth News, come see how we were able to successfully incorporate the chickens into our garden area.  We have been able to protect the chickens from predators as well as the garden from the chickens.

Combining chicken pen w/veggie garden in a modified free-range setup protects chickens from predators & the garden from the chickens #TaylorMadeHomestead

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6 Easy Ways To Get Chicken Food For FREE!

by Tammy Taylor~

I found I really enjoy our chickens.  We don’t like to over-winter them because like my dad says of predator pressures, “You can’t blame them.  Heck, everyone loves a chicken dinner!”.  LOL  So we buy a couple of pullets in the spring and keep them through fall, when we sell them as young layers.  We repeat the process again in the spring & this has worked really well for us.  We enjoy those fresh eggs most of the year, I will Freeze Fresh Eggs when they’re coming in faster than we can eat them.  We’ll have plenty to use during the winter months and we start the process fresh-laying process over in the spring.  When we bought our first chickens I was amazed at how expensive it was to keep them fed.  Heck these are the most expensive eggs I’ve ever eaten!  But over the years I’ve learned a thing or two about feeding our hens…

I've learned how to make our hens work for their food & I found many easy ways to get lots of chicken food FREE for them! #TaylorMadeHomestead

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Homestead Hack: Keep Wild Birds Away From Chicken Feed

by Tammy Taylor~

Y’all already know we split the garden area this year. About 40% of that area became the chicken ranging area and the other 60% remained my veggie garden, but more efficiently arranged.  I love the symbiotic relationship of chickens/garden – the chickens will keep grass scratched away from the adjoining garden area to help me win the fight against Bermuda grass and they will also eat all the bugs & grasshoppers coming toward my garden from their area.  I can toss over grubs or produce that didn’t make it, and the hens provide me with fresh eggs.  Win/Win!  I recently shared with you a low-waste chicken feeder RancherMan whipped up for me and while I love how much it reduces the chicken’s slinging it to the ground and wasting it, the wild birds were also loving the free open buffet.  We’re feeding organic laying pellets, I certainly didn’t want to be feeding that to the birds! But oh we’ve discovered a secret – check out today’s Homestead Hack.

Check out this Homestead Hack - Sometimes it's true you can use low-tech methods to successfully address a problem. Love it! #TaylorMadeHomestead

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Stop Wasting Chicken Feed! MYO Easy, Cheap PVC Chicken Feeder

by Tammy Taylor~

One thing I noticed when we first bought chickens several years ago was how wasteful they were.  They use their beaks & sweep their feed from side to side which ends up slinging their food out of the feeder, and all that feed is wasted.  The first time I cleaned out the coop I started to sweep out the hay bedding and found it was heavy with wasted feed & grain and I was so frustrated.  Hey, we’re feeding these girls organic layer pellets and that’s not chicken feed ya know…  Oh, maybe it *is* chicken feed, but it’s too expensive to be wasteful & sweep it out of the coop & onto the ground!  I’ve tried various ways to make our own lower-waste chicken feeder and although it helped reduce the waste, way too much feed was still being wasted.  Dang girls, were you raised in a barn?  (Oh, yeah right, strike that…)

A low-cost solution for a low-waste chicken feeder is a simple PVC construction that takes only minutes to assemble! #TaylorMadeHomestead

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December Garden Chores – Planning For Spring

by Tammy Taylor

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Even though it’s now winter RancherMan & I are taking steps now to assure a productive garden next spring.  As you know my garden this year was a complete bust with the record rains this past spring that drowned my newly-planted veggie seedlings, followed by yet another gripping drought during the hot summer months.   In a desperate last-ditch effort to at least harvest SOMETHING I transplanted some of the scrappy veggie plant survivors into containers but the hordes of grasshoppers gleefully dashed those chances as well.   It’s now time to put the garden to bed for the winter and one of the blessings of living in NE Texas is that we’re often able to enjoy lovely temperate weather well into December – this year is no exception.  Even mid December we’re still enjoying cool days with highs in the mid to upper 60’s, even the mid to upper 70’s some days.  Gotta love it!  So now that the garden is officially done for the season RancherMan & I are taking advantage of this warm weather streak to prepare the garden for war next year.

Even though it's now winter I'm taking steps now to assure a productive garden next spring, come see the important end-of-season garden tasks #TaylorMadeHomestead

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Peeling Boiled Eggs Like A BOSS!

by Tammy Taylor

 

RancherMan & I have several free-range hens and they provide us with an ample supply of fresh healthy eggs.  I like to boil up a whole pot of them at a time and keep ’em in the fridge for a high-protein snack for him to grab-n-eat when he’s hungry.  But he really likes the convenience of having them already peeled when he reaches for them.  Hey, I’m a happy girl that he’s eating something provided right here from our ranch instead of reaching for sugary or salty snacks so I’m very willing to make it as convenient as possible for him.  Luckily there’s an easy way for me to keep peeled hard boiled eggs in the fridge at all times.

We like the convenience of having already-peeled boiled eggs in the fridge. There's an easy way to peel eggs using just water and a jar! #TaylorMadeHomestead

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Breaking The Moody Broody Hen

by Tammy Taylor

We raised chickens for the very first time last year and they were an absolute blast to raise.  We sold them all in late fall as I was afraid that free ranging hens in the winter months would just make them easy prey for predators since food gets more scarce in the wintertime. But the entire time we had them it was so much fun to watch their antics and of course enjoy those free range eggs.  There’s absolutely nothing like the taste of a free range egg, you chicken raisers know what I mean!  So we were pretty excited to raise chickens again this year.  We contacted a local breeder and purchased 4 hens from her and we were back in the chicken business.  But one of the hens quit laying eggs & became broody several weeks after we purchased her – we’d never dealt with broody hens before and with no rooster in our flock it wasn’t helping anyone, her or us.

A broody hen won't lay the eggs we count on - See what we did to successfully & quickly break the Moody Broody Hen! #TaylorMadeHomestead
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Murder In The Barnyard: Chicken Predators

by Tammy Taylor

Last year we raised chickens for the very first time.  Although someone did come onto our property and steal our two roosters, we only lost one chicken to natural predators – she was taken in the coop overnight and after RancherMan & I shored up the area that was breached we never had any other predator troubles.  Now because we live in the country there are all manor of predator dangers present such as coyotes, bobcats, feral cats, foxes, skunks & more but with a secured coop and by locking them safely inside each night we were spared any other deaths.  It was loads of fun raising those hens so this year we decided to give chicken-raising another go.  We purchased four young hens early this spring and soon they were into the free-range routine and providing plenty of eggs for us.  Then one night when we went to lock them up we noticed the black hen was nowhere to be found.  Although we hated it, we understood that there are predators out here and that it was just one of those things.  We never found her.  Then a week later we noticed the white one was missing, but this time we knew exactly what happened to her.

We decided to try raising chickens this year but mysterious daytime predators have been taking our hens. Offer advice if you can. #TaylorMadeHomestead

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Teaching Free-Range Chickens To Come HOME

by Tammy Taylor

Last year we tried our hand at raising chickens for the very first time.  We bought day-old chicks and raised all that fuzzy cuteness into adult chickens/roosters.  We ended up with four hens and two beautiful roosters but someone STOLE both of our roosters!  Can you even believe that??!  Aaaanyway not wanting to overwinter the hens due to predator issues we sold them last fall after I had preserved many of the excess eggs by freezing  them.  I used those frozen eggs all winter and about the time my freezer started running low on my supply we decided it was time to raise chickens again this year!

How do you get your new chickens to free range during the day yet come back to the coop each night to be locked securely from predators? Read On! #TaylorMadeHomestead

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What I’ve Learned About Free-Range Eggs

by Tammy Taylor

RancherMan & I are slowly learning what veteran chicken-raisers have known all along about raising chickens and about fresh free-range eggs. Last year we raised our very first batch of chickens from day-old chicks.  It was lots of fun seeing them turn from fuzzy peepers to a full grown egg-producing chicken.  I learned that it took them 21 weeks to grow enough to produce their first egg and I also learned that chickens don’t just lay eggs in the morning.  In fact their egg-laying time isn’t even a balanced 24-hour time span.  (or maybe they just like to sleep in from time to time – who knows?? LOL)  But I learned even more about the eggs themselves. For instance I didn’t know:

What I've Learned About Free-Range Eggs.  Fascinating!  #TaylorMadeRanch

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