Friday, December 17, 2010

Q&A: Decorating the Hen House

Ms. Lizzy gives the final "Okay"


Ms. LiZzY - 
You are so incredibly smart! I really look forward to your column and wish that you would write more often. Tell me, do you have the hen house decorated for the holidays??
Signed: Khris-Kringle 
  

Dear Ms. Kringle-
oooooOOOOOOOOoooooooo!  Ms. Lizzy thanks you for your compliments!  How SWEET!   Right now it is all one can do to manage the Girls excitement over this Christmas season.  They've been gearing up since Thanksgiving (after EGG-spressing relief that they weren't 'the guest of HONOR' on the table), and were ready to kick it in high gear.  Ms. Lizzy exorcises RESTRAINT - as I'm sure you can imagine her horror at seeing the over-kill with light displays on the human's abodes!  Blinking Santas, Chaser Lights, Flamingos pulling sleighs - The Girls were ALL for these types of displays, but Ms. Lizzy demanded a toned-down version (utility rates are jacked up this time of year, you know), and so she had to avoid the disdainful glances of the flock as they dutifully hung up their stockings last week in lieu of Chaser Lights.  Here are photos.

Wishing a Great Weekend to All!
Signed, Ms. Lizzy

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Q&A: Dear Ms. Lizzy

Dear Ms. Lizzy,
I have a question for you...I see many of my blog buddies putting hay in their chicken run. We've never done that. Do you recommend it and if so why?
Thank you :) 

Signed:
HaySeed in Hicksville
Dear HaySeed,
ooOOOoooo!  This question is LoADed with several pros/cons, and Ms. Lizzy perceives you might be trying to TrIcK her!  oooOOOoooo!
  There are some that say putting hay in the runs for the chickens might be a good idea.  For extra warmth (in bales to block snow), or for extra traction/to prevent mud and mucky footing (spread around the yards), or for something for the hens to kick and scatter about, preventing boredom.  Ms. Lizzy suggests CAUTION, whatever the reason for putting down hay or straw.  The reason is a NAASTY 4-letter word.  M-O-L-D!
  MOLD can cause illness in your flock.  If you have decided to scatter hay or straw around the chicken run, rake it up and replace with fresh in a day or two.  Yes, us girls love to shift and scatter it, looking for bugs and seeds and what not.  Breathing in molds is just BEGGING for respiratory diseases, so RAKE RAKE RAKE!  RePlaCe, rEpLaCe, rEpLacE!  (Another warning Ms. Lizzy will advise to heed - - us hens may ingest long tough pieces of dried grass and stems, and that will sit in a craw for many a day, causing SOUR CROP!  Nasty Nasty Nasty, and has caused many deaths, as it can go easily undetected!!!)
  Some folks opt for a winter coop-keeping program known as Deep Litter Bedding.  Again, Ms. Lizzy advises: Proceed with CAUTION!  The Deep Litter System has also been suggested for horses and other livestock, to cut down on winter chores for the keeper, and if done PROPERLY, should pose little problem.  If done without consideration for the animals in their care, and some steps are skipped, this can cause ammonia build-up, M-O-L-D, respiratory illness, and compromised health in any animal kept in such a situation.  Instead of the Deep Litter System, Ms. Lizzy would advise spending a few minutes a day or perhaps 30 minutes a week to keeping those coops and nest boxes Spik n' Span and  clean and tidy for your working girls!  They do SO much for you, so give a little time back, keeping them in good health and cheer!
  As always, thank you for your questions!
Chicken Pecks and Hugs,
Ms. Lizzy

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Q&A: Entertainment for Chickens?!?

Dear  Lizzy,
I have a flock of 15 chickens, and in winter there isn't much for them to do.  They are confined to a pen this time of year because I don't want some hungry coyote eating them for a snack. Normally, they free-range the garden plots in summer, but I feel bad because they seem to need an activity to keep them from being bored.  Do you have any suggestions to keep them entertained?
Signed,
Hen Lover in Ohio
Dear "Lover",
   ooooOOOOOooooo!  Ms. Lizzy appreciates a thoughtful keeper of the flock!  Not many folks out there are as in-tuned with their chickens as you seem to be!  You get a 5 Star Rating from Ms. Lizzy!  oooOOOOOooooo!
   Extra sprinkles of cracked corn are a favorite  around here.  It's good for adding some fat to the diet - and assists in fueling the internal combustion chamber to warm us girly-birds!  Some owners will attach a nice cabbage to a rope, and the gang can keep busy playing with that large green orb, swinging it back and forth as they try to snag a bite here and there.  It's a great game, trust me - sort of like your Volleyball game, without a net! Another favorite snack is the meal-worm.  You can raise them indoors in a box quite easily - they require little care - and are a tasty treat.  Meal-worms can be bought at your local bait shop, too.  Sprinkled around in the litter, the worms will attract hens by their movement, and once we realize they're available, some serious hunting will commence!
  Another idea you may not have considered is the wood ash dust baths.  50% sifted wood ash to 50% fine sand makes a good bath for hens.  Placed in an open litter pan, this offering will attract all of us girls, and helps rid us of mites and lice too!  In addition, if you collect some of the cooled wood coals from your woodstove, you can attach them to a sturdy plant with zip ties, and there are vitamins in that coal which enhance the health and vitality of the chickens as they peck and ingest it!  Wire cages filled with suet blocks give the girls something to do out of doors as well.  Use your imagination, and perhaps you can comment with some suggestions that Ms. Lizzy has not listed here!
Love 'em and Don't Leave 'em bored,
Ms. Lizzy

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Tuesdays' Show & Tail - Beloved Hen of Christmas Past

I'm joining in West Virginia Treasures for Tuesdays' Show & Tail - according to her guidelines, I've featured her lovely peacock image, and am linking back to her blog, where you can either find the other features for today, or link in yourself to tell your animal or pet stories!  Follow the Peacock!!!
 This is Valentina.  She joined our lives one Valentines' Day - as a gift for my hubby!  Well, actually, I found her on a busy stretch of highway on Valentines' Day, in the snow, with frost bitten toes and a broken wing.  I brought her home and put her in a large box stall in the barn, and made a huge banner with Happy Valentines' Day to My Hubby to hang on the stall door!  You can imagine, this was the most surprising (and astounding) gift that man had ever received!  I mean, who would THINK of a hen as a gift?!?!? Tee hee!
Tina was the best hen - she knew her name and came when called.  She learned to play the piano, retrieve items, and could fly up from the ground to snatch treats from my grandkids' hands!  She loved to be held!  And as a reward for bringing her back to health, she would lay a sage green egg each morning for several years!
Here she is, enjoying a Maxwell House Moment!  She was truly loved!  Tina's the REASON I got more hens - because thanks to her, we realized the great taste of fresh eggs vs store bought varieties.  And thanks to Tina we realized hens make fun and entertaining pets!  She passed away at the grand old age of 6, due to an unknown cause.  These photos were taken 3 days before she died - just after Christmas 2008.  I still miss her and we talk of her often - she was a remarkable pet!

the ChickenWrangler 



Friday, November 26, 2010

Winner Winner! Chicken Dinner!

Oops - I should not have used that for the title of this post - Sorry, Lizzy....!  But, indeed I was a winner in a drawing at Jean's blog, a Romantic Country Home!  Stop by and visit her blog- and be sure to tell her I sent you!

Here is a picture of what I won (excluding the dog statue - she is there to help display the vintage rose pin included in my "stash"!)  Click on the picture to enlarge for better viewing!
Everything so pleasingly pink, so lacy and enticing!  The crochet doily is So darling, the teacup SO dainty - and the entire package makes a darling display!  I just love it! 
Thanks so much for a great giveaway, Jean! 

the ChickenWrangler

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Q&A: Cloudy Whites

Dear Lizzy,
My son's bantam hen has been laying eggs since the end of July.  About once a week she will lay an egg that is scrambled (for lack of a better word) inside.  They smell fine but look a bit cloudy...and maybe that is because of the "scrambling"  We have not been eating them.  Why is this happening?
Signed:
Cloudy in Michigan
Dear Cloudy,
ooooOOOOOooooo!  Ms. Lizzy sees cloudiness as a sign that your farm-fresh eggs are VERY fresh!  The "clouds" are caused by carbon dioxide dissolved in the whites, and after while, the gas escapes through the shell wall as the egg 'ages'.  If the white of the egg is greenish, that usually means there is too much riboflavin in their vittles.  If you feed a good brand of layer mash or pellet, your Ladies will be getting a balanced diet for their egg laying needs. Eating acorns (HEAVEN FORBID that Ms. Lizzy would munch on ACORNS!  Pttuie!) or certain types of weeds can cause that greenish tinge,  or means that there is too much riboflavin in your Girl's diet.  Whites can take on a pinkish hue as well, and that is caused by high amounts of cottonseed meal.  These eggs are not harmful to eat, but again, be sure that the Ladies have access to good layer mash if they are free range hens.
  Since you did not send a picture of the 'scrambled appearance' of the Egg In Question, Ms. Lizzy can only surmise that perhaps what you were seeing was a large string, or lumpy thickness inside the egg.  This attachment is called the Chalaza, and it anchors the yolk to the center of the egg.  This is a sign of a fresh quality egg!
Cluck Cluck!  Thanks for typing!
Ms. Lizzy

Q&A: Dear Lizzy:

 Dear Lizzy:
I have a question for you...any suggestions on how to get a hen to stop pecking the head of her rooster to death? I have two polish and he is truly hen-pecked. His poor little head sometimes bleeds. I need help Lizzie!! 
Signed,
Anxious

Dear Anxious,
The beautiful Polish Breed is one of the most picked on of all breeds of chickens.  Most probably because the other hens are so jealous of the fancy top hats they display - so amazing!  (And that's where the HUMAN saying "hen pecked" comes from, don'tchaknow?!)  Chickens tend to pick on other chickens for such reasons as age differences (getting rid of the younger competition!) or because one breed is a different color than what the main flock is used to being with...or, a different and intriguing style of head-dress, such as your Polish Rooster.  I will try to address this concern to others who may have Chicken troubles with large flocks as well.  Read on.
  Ms. Lizzy's advice here would be to remove the Roo from that offending Hen (or flock, as the case may be) for a time, and treat his wounds with Scarlet Oil, found at local feed mills or perhaps your Tractor Supply Store (Click HERE for information of the product and where to find the TSC nearest you!).  You can also apply a medium coating of Petroleum Jelly on the injury with good results, but Scarlet Oil is something Ms.Lizzy highly recommends...it covers the scent of blood and helps disguise it from the flock once the bird is returned to the group after about a week, depending on the depth of damage.  Chickens cannot resist the smell of blood and will often continue pecking to the death of the injured bird.  The mere thought makes Lizzy SHUDDER!!!
  You do not state the age or size of your Roo - that makes a difference in the PECKING ORDER of the flock.  Mature Girls perfer a Mature Roo, or one that is the same size or a tad bit smaller than the rest of the flock.  BEWARE!  Any bird too young should not be introduced to a mature group of chickens - that could be a cause of many a life lost!
  Are there other Roos picking on him as well?  One Roo to a flock of 10 Girls, please!  Otherwise fights may ensue for breeding rights!  And one parting note:  Ms. Lizzy will offer that there could be a chance your Roo may never be able to be turned loose with the rest of the gang for long periods of time without strict supervision.  For his own safety, he may have to be kept in a Bachelor Pad away from the Girls, unless you desire baby chicks, then allow him access to only the most docile of the Group for courtship!
Hoping this Helps -
Ms. Lizzy 

Monday, November 15, 2010

Its HIGH TIME for HIGH STYLE!

Last weekend Lizzy flew the Coop! - she went to check out some pink foot fashions at Country Wings in Phoenix!  She couldn't quite make up her mind which pair she liked the best so she was going to order them online later this week.  Come to find out, once Lizzy returned home she discovered Miss Mamie was wearing one of Lizzy's FAVORITES!  as you can see from her eggspression as she focuses on Miss Mamie's feet, Lizzy is NOT HAPPY!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Wrangling a HORSE, of Course!

This morning I thought I'd enjoy a cuppa coffee after doing chores wearing my pj's in this warm November weather - Indian Summer, they call it.  Nice to run outdoors in pj's to do chores - and pretty soon I'll have to be bundled up with a heavy winter coat and boots for doing quick and easy things outside.  I shudder to think of it!
All the creatures were fed, including the old gentle mare who stays in the yard even after eating her grain outside of the horse pen.  I went in the house and phoned mom, sipping my steaming coffee, laughing with her about some stupid things that happened the day before.  It's the way I love to spend my first waking hours, talking with her....when suddenly the dogs began barking.  I ignored them at first.  But then....I looked out the window, and I saw brown and white spots disappearing behind the neighbor's garage deep in the woods.  With leaves fallen, it's easier to see that far away, and I realized Candy had decided to forage for grass somewhere else besides our yard.  Good grief!
    No choices, I had to hurry out the door, grabbing a coffee can of grain to rattle, hoping to get her attention and call her back to the house quickly.  The woods goes back a long way, and I sure didn't want to have to hunt for hours trying to find her before I had to head off for work at 11am!  Thankfully, I was able to "wrangle" her and get her back to the horse pen, but not before the neighbor's curtains parted...and I'm sure they got a view of me in my Agility Dog Mom tee shirt with leopard print bottoms!  What a sight to behold, with leaves, burs, and stick-tights all over me, brambles grabbing at my pant legs, and hair sticking up all over my head!
   Whew!  Chickens are easier to wrangle!!!  Coffee, anyone? 
signed -
the ChickenWrangler

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Techno-Chicken!


This YOU-TUBE link was sent to me by a fan - I SOOOOOooooOOOOO Loved it and now wish to share it with you!  Enjoy!

Monday, November 1, 2010

November - a Month to Remember...

"Chick-a-Treating" is finished - the girls went out in their frightful best, and each came home with a crop filled with cracked corn!  No candy corn for them - it's a bit too sticky.  We didn't want to run the risk of 'sour crop' on such a night as that!  Many of you loved Lizzy's costume for Chick-a-treating - she may have scared her suitor, "Roo-Roo", away for good!  I heard no report from her yet!
Yesterday evening while the girls were enjoying their booty of cracked corn, Hubby finished up the last of our kitchen renovation.  New paint, cabinet doors, and hardware were put in place this past spring.  The sink/faucet arrived in summer.  And finally Autumn - tile work, window ledge, and above the sink lighting, and nick-nack shelves!  I was so delighted - last night I kept sneaking a peak from the living room while watching warewolf shows!  I'll be enjoying our new kitchen this November - and so THANKFUL for a Hubby who truly shines in every aspect of husband-hood in each task he undertakes!

the ChickenWrangler

Friday, October 29, 2010

Mr. Roo-Roo - is he in for a Fright Night Sight?!?

Cock-a-doodle-DOOOO...
Excuse me Queen Chick..where is Miss Lizzy? Is she going chicka-treating? If so make sure she checks out the corn kernels..I would hate for her to get a stomach ache.  I will be dressed as a peacock. What is she going to wear? Tell her I will be keeping my eyes peeled for her.

Mr. Roo-Roo 


Dear Mr. Roo-Roo,
Be on the lookout for Lizzy.  (Below is a picture of her trying on her costume last week.)  She thought she'd surprise everyone for FRIGHT NIGHT and Chicka-Treating - so don't look for her usual glamorous self! 

- Signed - the ChickenWrangler

Q&A for ME???

 I'm so excited this morning - Finally a Q&A for ME - instead of LIZZY!!!  Read on:

A Question for YOU, Chicken Wrangler -
Do you get the penicillin from your vet and keep it or are you able to get that at the farm store?
Signed,
Wondering in Wonderland

Dear Wondering:
I purchased my new bottle of Penicillin at Family Farm and Home, but Tractor Supply generally has it with the vaccines in the refrigerator with animal care items.  Procaine Penicillin G is generally what the label reads, but the cautionary wording on the label also says not to use it in animals intended for food purposes because there is a "withdrawal" - this means once the treatment is completed, the animal cannot be used for meat (or eggs) for a prescribed amount of time.  This time limit is usually included on the label as well, but to be sure, ask your vet. 
Thank you for the question - it brightened my day!

It's a GOLDEN DAY -
the ChickenWrangler

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Chicken Health Report

I'm glad to report that Robyn is feeling better after her round of Penicillin injections!  Her tail is up, she's got interest in all treats brought to the girls - Robyn is on the mend! 

Signs of illness in chickens: 
  • pale and shriveled comb, wattles, and ears (should be plump, and bright red, but color is dependent on breed)
  • bird keeps to itself, for the most part
  • little interest in feed/water
  • tail held low or tucked under the body nearly all the time
  • prominent breast bone (signifies extreme weight loss)
If you see any of these symptoms, or notice any watering of the eyes, cough, wheezing, foul breath (yes, foul, not FOWL - bad breath in hens denotes "sour crop" and should be treated immediately), abnormal feces, loss of balance, - anything visually unusual - these things bear looking into and your vet should be consulted! 

Tricks or Treats (hens prefer TREATS!)
the ChickenWrangler

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Q&A: Injection How - To's

Dear Lizzy:
In the previous post I read how one of your flock members was ill and needed a shot.  Just HOW do you give a chicken a shot, and how does a person know what the correct dosage of medicine would be for a hen?
Frightened of Shots

Dear Frightened:
You think YOU'RE frightened of shots - try being poor ROBYN!!!  She was totally unprepared for what was coming up the first time around!  But, to answer your question, Penicillin is injected under the skin, in a thick muscle, such as the upper leg or thigh on a chicken.  Robyn is way too thin to take an injection into her breast - she's lost a lot of weight in a short amount of time, and there's no "meat" there to put the needle into.  The first thing you have to do is CATCH the hen!  (No problem with Robyn - she is ill and easily tricked.)  Next, pick up the bird and place it carefully onto its back, stroking her from neck to breast for a few moments to relax her.  The last step is to hold a leg out from the body, and after locating a meaty area, part the feathers down to the skin, push the needle in, aspirate it back (to be sure there's no blood in the needle), and if all is well, release the medicine into the leg muscle.  Easy Peasy!  The first time or two it might be easiest to have an assistant.
  As for dosage, the Chicken Wrangler phoned the vet.  1/4 cc was the amount he recommended, 2 to 3 times a day for 5 - 7 days.  We are hoping it works its magic for Robyn this week.  Thanks for all of the well wishes - Robyn was happy to hear of your concerns for her well-being.
Signed -
Lizzy

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Sick Chick

One of my hens is ill.  She showed signs of distress just before I went out of town for job training, and she looked worse upon my return on Thursday evening.  I phoned our vet, but of course they don't treat chickens, but they DO have a liquid to treat coccidiosis, which we determined my hen does NOT have.
Robyn, preening her feathers, before becoming ill last week.
  I had several options which could be costly, but the first to try as far as I was concerned, is twice a day Penicillin injections.  The recommended dosage for a laying hen is 1/4 cc....and so, I caught Robyn quite easily and was able to administer the dosage into her thigh muscle with little trouble.  The vet said that bacterial infections are easily cured within a few days with help of Penicillin.  I hope this does the trick!

Shooting UP!
the ChickenWrangler

Friday, October 15, 2010

Letters to Lizzy - A Nest Box Craze

Dear Lizzy,
You have mentioned that you and your entire flock of girls prefer ONE certain nest box. 
Lizzy, PLEASE tell us what is so special about that one particular nest box!
Signed,
Alice in Wonderland
Dear Alice,
Most hens, when choosing a place to pop out an egg, will be looking for that special spot - the HOT SEAT, if you will - and when they notice another hen has picked THE perfect nest, of course the next hen will want it TOO!  Kind of like you HUMANS - always wanting what the other one has!  And, if we're lucky, the box will be warm and cozy, already burrowed into the shape of a hen's body, and ready to accept another egg!  What could be more EGG-citing?!?
- Lizzy

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Lizzy's Fan Mail

Hello, ALL!  Today I'm going to make an exception to my rule of not revealing the identities...this letter was SO sweet, and the blog is SO much fun that I'm even providing a link at the end of their email, so you can go VISIT that blog!  Read on.  (and please take note of my fashion accessory today, if you will....)

Hello Lizzy!
My ever so handsome Roo-Roo wanted me to ask you if you were a single chick. I told him you were a real live chicken..but this tabletop rooster thinks he's real also.
A while back he stowed away in my luggage and took a trip to see the grand kids.
Maybe they could have a blind date one day.

I enjoy reading your letters and answers....What????..Oh... Roo-Roo wanted me to ask "do you have any leopard print glasses?"  Roo-Roo is a little on the wild side...

Hugs -

Cindy and Roo-Roo from Rick-Rack and Gingham


Dear Cindy and Roo-Roo -
MISS Lizzy is SOOOOO flattered by your provoc-EGG-tive email!  I'm definately a SINGLE (and available) Chick!  I would like if you would email me a good likeness of yourself, and then we'll talk about a possible "date" in the future!  oooOOOoooo!  And - I can be a little on the WILD SIDE, myself!  ooOOOOOOOooooo!  Hope you like the picture of me, shown at the top!
"Pecks" to you both -
MISS Lizzy

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Lena Says "I's in Trouble"!

Lena (L) and Miss Emily (R)
This past week I've noticed that one of my hens has been looking at the world through a squinted eye.  Lena, seen above, is normally bright eyed and perky, but this past week she has kept more to herself than normal.  I enlisted the Hubbs to hold Lena while I had a look at her little eye to figure out what was the problem with it.  I grabbed some tissue and a small amount of peroxide just in case.

Chickens have a sort of "pouch" beneath their lower lid, and that seemed to hold the mystery.  The pouch of skin had a build-up of dirt, and it was STUCK there.  Lena needed some help to remove it, so as Hubbs stroked her breast feathers to relax her, I took the tissue with a dab of peroxide on it (careful not to get it into her eyeball), and  gently rubbed till the dirt was completely removed.  There were some tiny pin feathers on that tender skin as well, so I was careful not to rub on those and irritate anything further.  I had some antibiotic ointment that I sometimes use to treat my critters, and Lena got a small blurb of that under her lower lid.  When treating those tiny eyes, it's important to be sure the hen is very relaxed because they can move quickly and no one wants to loose an eye!
infectious laryngotracheitis
It's important to give your birds a "once over", to be sure all is well with them.  The chicken eye shown above is a hen (not MY hen!) with a viral respiratory disease called laryngotrachetis.  The eyes are the windows to the soul....  See the bubbles in the corner, and the sticky yellowish discharge?  This illness progresses slowly through a flock of birds, and is mainly found in broilers, but can infect any bird, young or old.  The birds will become lethargic, and will sometimes cough or stretch their necks out as they struggle to breath when the disease gets severe enough, and finally, the birds will expire.

Prevention is the best medicine, and so, keep your eye on your hens, and try to catch trouble before it gets worse.

the ChickenWrangler

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Letters to Lizzy - Raising the Royal Chicken Dander??

Good morning Lizzy,
I am so very glad that your column has taken off. I have a somewhat personal question, however, to ask you. Why do chickens smell? Do you not have a shower in the hen house?
Signed,
City Ignorant
ooooOOOOoooo!  Miss Lizzy's Blood is beginning to BOIL!
Dear Ignorant,
This question just BLEW off Miss Lizzy's SPECTACLES! If there is ANY odor to a hen or her HOUSE, the fault lies with the KEEPER of the COOP, NOT with the chickens!!!  Our housekeeper cleans nest boxes out daily for our laying enjoyment; the house is completely cleaned each and every week, and the floors are dusted for pests that might wish to "bug" us Working Girls.  Our run is cleaned once a week, and the feathers and waste are burned and destroyed.  Fresh kiln dried pine shavings are used for bedding, and they smell just wonderful!  In the Spring and Summer, fresh cut Lavender and Lemon Balm are added to the corners inside our little house, and the aroma is SpEGG-tacular and ever so relaxing!  What therapeutic clippings are not used for aromatherapy can be readily eaten without harming any of us Ladies!

Coop care is so important to the health of any flock.  If there are odors, they can harm our delicate respiratory systems (causing disease and illness), but also odors attract bugs and rodents as well.  Visitors to our Chicken Palace have often remarked that if they did not see us or hear our gentle clucking, they would never know chickens lived in that coop!

As for your question about showers being provided, we girls prefer a good dust bath instead, containing 1 part sand to 1 part sifted wood ash.  Dust baths, when done properly, will drive away lice and some breeds of mites, and help remove the dander that accumulates under our feathers and upon our skin.  Dust baths are a daily necessity, and we find it ever so enjoyable!

Thank you (I THINK!) for your question, my dear "Ignorant" - - I hope this has helped educate you and others with questions concerning (cough!cough!) ODORS in the POOP  COOP and Hens that SMELL!  There should be no odors from EITHER!  (Now, I hope I can suck in my eyeballs before they swell this way permanently!!!)

Signed,
the Queen Lizzy

Letters to Lizzy - Making a Spectacle?

Dear Lizzy,
Where DO you get your glasses?  I would like to see you in NERD GLASSES someday!  Also, where can I find that older book, "The Egg and I"?
Signed,
Love Those Glasses
Dear "Glasses",
I get my Spectacular Spectacles at "the Eyeglass Egg-spress"!  I should have my own signature pair for them to market, but they have sooo many to chooooose from - I can't make up my little chicken mind which I like the best!  As for "The Egg and I" - you can find that book on ebay, or Amazon.com, in both new and vintage publishing years.  Many have remarked about the movie that was made from the book, but believe you me - the book is ever so much more enjoyable!!!

- the Queen!
P.S.  Please visit Two Bears Farm today, for a great spin-off on a Deviled Egg Recipe!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Lizzy's Book Reviews

ooooOOOOoooo!  ANOTHER e-mail in my nest in-box!  GOOOooooOOD Day!
Dear Lizzy,
Since you work in a Library, can you suggest a good book for me to read?
-Anonymous

Dear Anonymous,
I'm a working girl, all right!  And I do have a library at my disposal for times when one of the other girls is taking too long on the THRONE of PREFERENCE - the favorite nest box!  (We DO have 6 next boxes, but we all want the same ONE.  At the same TIME.) Reading helps pass the time, you know, while we're standing there with legs crossed, trying not to loose an egg!
Image found at Amazon.com, so DON'T click to look inside!
I certainly can suggest an EGG-celent book for you to read!  It is called:
"KEEP CHICKENS! TENDING SMALL FLOCKS IN CITIES, SUBURBS & OTHER SMALL SPACES " written by Barbara Kilarski.  A very good little book, only 150 pages, but covers most of the "ins and outs" of keeping a few hens in the country or the burbs.  It's entertaining, telling of the authors personal hens and how she transformed her yard from a concrete patio to a haven of relaxation and enjoyment!  Great EGG recipes, too!
Another fun and VINTAGE book I'd suggest is "The Egg and I" by Betty MacDonald - a hilarious read about a new bride, her husband, and their new business venture raising chickens back in the day.  Heard of Ma and Pa Kettle?  Well, Betty actually meets them back in the hills, with their zoo - including kids AND critters!  Good for some hearty laughs!

Two of my favorite reads, and NO YOLKS about it!

Cluckin' Good Day 2 You!
Queen Lizzy!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

In the Library with Lizzy

"I've got MAIL!"
OooooOOOOOooooo!  GOOD day! - Lizzy here!  An e-mail forwarded to me was Egg-zactly what pecked my day up! 

Some Chick wanted to check out the ChickenWrangler's recipe for Roma Tomato Jam.  Us WORKING girls don't cook, you know, but we shore do love to peck at anything that smacks of TOMATO!  And, if there's "leavings", the ChickenWrangler delivers them right to our doorstep!  And so, to tempt your palate and treat your tastebuds, here's the recipe from my Library:

Roma Tomato Jam

5 lbs Roma tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup sugar
3 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp Balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp cardamom
salt/pepper to taste

Combine spices, balsamic vinegar, honey, and tomatoes in a large sauce pan with a heavy bottom. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer until it reaches a jam-like consistency, about 1 hour. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Let cool completely before serving.

Have a CACKLIN' Great Day!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Changing of the Seasons

Since it's time for Autumn, it's time to get the garden cleaned up.  This spring, rather than plant tomatoes in pots like I have in previous years, I had decided to do things a little differently.  I have what I call my "circle garden" of flowers near the house by our parking area. 
I put some tomato plants in that little flower garden, and they did well enough for me to make some Roma Tomato Jam (YUM!  Great on Pork Roast!!!), BLT Sandwiches, and to slice up for salads.  I had very few pests to take bites out of the fruits, and the tomatoes that were damaged didn't go to waste!  The GIRLS got to eat them!  They LOVE their TOMATOES!!!
Now that the tomato plants have been removed, I cut back the "Susans" and got rid of some weeds, offering the trimmings to the hens.  The flowering baskets are spent, so down they came. 
I have a wetlands down by the main road and the seed heads from daisies and susans were not wasted; I scattered them along the roadside where the grass grows long all summer.  It should be beautiful in the years to come.  A blogger friend sent seeds from her Sweet Annie, and those have been scattered there as well.  I love the scent!  Heavenly!  When I was a young girl I'd love to pick a lily or violets or daisy flowers that I found growing near a woods to bring home to my mother.  Perhaps some child will take delight in doing the same thing in a year or two, with flowers from our roadside patch!

the ChickenWrangler

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Q&A: Egg Storage - Which End UP?!?

Another question came in for "Lizzy" yesterday, and this one concerns egg storage.
"This is too good of a question.  It COULDN'T have been asked by Miss Mamie!"
Q:  Is there a best way to position eggs in the cartons after they are collected?  

A:  "Take it from ME, LiZzY - the EGG-spert!  The BEST way to place eggs in a carton is to put the small and pointy end towards the bottom of the containers, and the large end UP.  WHY???  This will "center" the yolk as the albumen cools during refrigeration.  It doesn't affect the taste of the egg, but when deviled eggs are made after hard boiling, it makes it easier to remove yolks and then re-fill the whites with the "stuffing", with less chance of damaging the whites while doing so.  Check your store-bought eggs too, and if they are "pointy end UP", switch them around and save yourself some grief!  They'll look a little prettier when you crack them into the pan for over-easy eggs!"  Have a Egg-sellant Day -

Below are some trick questions -
Q: Why did the chicken cross the road?
A: To prove to the possum it could actually be done!
Q: Why did the chicken RUN across the road?
A: There was a car coming.
Q: Why did the chicken cross the road HALFWAY?
A: She wanted to lay it on the line.
Q: Why did the RUBBER chicken cross the road?
A: She wanted to stretch her legs.
Q: Why did the ROMAN chicken cross the road?
A: She was afraid someone would Caesar!


Have a Egg-sellant Day -
the ChickenWrangler

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Question! The Chicken? or THE EGG!!!

Another question was posed to me the other day...the age-old query which first puzzled the minds of man for thousands upon thousands of years - - "Which came first - the CHICKEN or the Egg?"  (Never fear - - When questions come up, I will never reveal the identity of the Question-er, unless he/she wishes me to, so ask away if you have any questions!)
".....there should be further STUDY and investigation on this topic..."
"Incredulous!  Miss Mamie must have been WHACKED on her noggin with an ACORN this morning to ask a question with so obvious an answer!  Further study INDEED!"
Finally, Scientists have discovered the answer!  It's OFFICIAL!  The CHICKEN came first!!!  It took an entire TEAM of scientists to figure this out, and they have discovered a protein crucial in forming eggshells!!!
The protein, called "ovocleidin" (who came up with THAT name?!?) is produced in a hen's ovaries.  When the albumen and yolk are produced by Said Hen, the ovocleidin kick-starts the calcium carbonate within Said Hen converting it into crystals, which then begin to form around that egg, protecting it and packaging it for arrival from deep within the caverns of Said Hen into the outside world, delivered straight to the basket of the coop keeper!
A Provoking Quote from the lead scientist: 
"It had long been suspected that the egg came first but now we have the scientific proof that shows that in fact the chicken came first." 
"WHO'S provoking WHO, here?!? -  A Scientist CRACKED the CASE!  Is he more CRACKED than Miss Mamie for asking that question to begin with???
The scientists now hope the breakthrough could be used in industry to help develop new materials.  The wonders of Science!

Hope your day is all you thought it was "cracked up" to be!
the ChickenWrangler

Monday, September 27, 2010

Tuesdays' Show & Tail - Strange and Woeful Eggs

It's been a while, but I'm joining in the party at West Virginia's Treasures for Tuesdays' Show & Tail.  Anyone can join in with a post about a pet or animal, so come on and sign in to the party!  Click HERE to be transported to the link-up!
Of course I must post something a little henny today - and if you are a chicken owner, you must have seen eggs like these at one time or another.  Young pullets often lay some S-t-r-a-n-g-e eggs!  Among them can be found 'double yolker' eggs.  They are larger than normal eggs and some have even contained as many as 3 yolks!  What a breakfast for a lumberjack!  Crack one egg and you have a huge meal!
Shell-less egg
I've had some young hens lay eggs with NO shell.  Just a membrane, with the white and yolk intact.

How about an egg with NO YOLK?  My old hen (who has since passed on to Glory Land) laid what I'd call "blank eggs" near the end.  They were smaller than the eggs she'd normally lay, but only the white inside - no yolks.  Maybe I could have marketed them for no cholesterol eggs, straight from the hen?  Coulda made a ton of money, I bet!
My young hens have laid eggs with a whirling shaped shell, too!  Looks like someone whipped up the calcium as it was coming out of the hen's chute!  Or, a wrinkled egg?  Goodness - those are a wondrous sight to behold!  
Egg within an egg
And, the strangest egg of all - the egg WITHIN an egg!  No one knows exactly why these things occur, but they are Odd but TRUE Eggs!

Have an EGG-zemplary day -
the ChickenWrangler

Nest Boxes - the EGG-speriment!

Clean and tidy nest boxes!  That's what I like to see each and every morning.  If the hens soil or flatten out their paper shreds, I change the 'sheets' and fluff the bedding...fresh daily, for their laying pleasure!
Shredded Eggs!
Not long ago, we had Critter Sitters help out for a weekend while hubby and I were out of town for a weekend.  One of their assignments was to replace the paper shreds each morning for the hens.  For this chore, I have "Chore Gloves", and a plastic cat litter scoop.  The gloves are for rolling up the bedding; the litter scoop is for raking the pine shavings and sifting the "poultry pudding" out from the salvageable bedding.  Truth be told, I hated to ask them to do this little bit of dirty work (I like to make things as easy and simple as possible for the critter sitters), but it's a necessary and unavoidable part of coop care.
Pickin' and Grinnin - Happy Hens!
Today I came up with an idea that I'm hoping will work to simplify coop keeping even more.  Hens LOVE to lay eggs where other hens have laid.  My girls fight over who will get the "preferred nest box" first, even to the point of hassling a hen who has begun to lay, to "egg her on", getting her to vacate that preferred spot so the others can have a chance to quick settle in!  After all eggs have been deposited for the day, evening arrives, and it seems certain SOMEONES like to sleep in a couple nest boxes rather than roost on their rails!  They do NOT deposit eggs!  In the morning I find chicken poo!  I would like this to cease.  Immediately, if not sooner!
Yummy eggs, straight from the nest box
In each nest box I nestled a ceramic egg into the fresh shreds.  These eggs are the very same that I use to encourage new pullets to lay in the boxes and not on the floor of their hen house.  The color, weight, texture, and size of the ceramic eggs are so much the same as a real egg that I mark the faux eggs with a large purple X to be able to tell the difference myself!  After all, my egg customers might not be too understanding if they buy eggs that are not edible!  It might be funny the FIRST time, but I would not want to make that error repeatedly!

Hopefully I'll have something successful to report soon!

Happy Egging -
the ChickenWrangler