He is LIGHT and LIFE and TRUTH! Look to Him for the ALL the answers. He will guide us, if we'll let Him.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.
Proverbs 3:5-6

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Fun Facts About Raising Chickens!

How many of you raise chickens for their eggs or meat, or for both? 

We raise chickens for eggs only. We tried the meat and egg route and just could not kill the chickens for eating.  We are too soft!! :0) Now, if there is a rooster that is flogging one of our children.  No softness at all can be found in us!  That rooster leaves the flock….and it’s not by getting his pink slip, packing his bag, and heading out!  See this post Cock A Doodle Doo No More

Chickens can be a little bit messy, but it’s worth their trouble for wonderful tasting, good for you, FRESH eggs!  There’s nothing like ‘em!

We’ve not had any chickens for a little over 2 years now.  I’ve missed the little buggers!  We decided to start once again and received our baby chicks on Tuesday, April 2nd.

They are so cute as chicks.  We love watching them grow.  They pretty much doubled in size in just one week. These were taken Tuesday, April 9th

We have all Red Star chickens.  We love them because they are gentle and are great layers.  The one odd one in the bunch is the freebie exotic bird McMurray always sends with your order.  We have 15 hens and 2 roosters.

We’ll keep them in the house for the first few weeks or so.  Then, we will move them to the chicken coop out back.  We’ll keep them in the coop for a couple of weeks and then we’ll begin to let them out into the yard during the day and put them up each night.  They are creatures of habit, so will willingly come in to roost.  We keep a light on in the coop at night.  We’ll turn it on when we’re ready for them to come in.  We try to make sure they are locked in each night.  There are lots of critters around here that apparently like chickens.  Over the years we’ve lost chickens to hawks, owls, raccoons, our own dogs and no telling what else.  Making sure they are locked in each night is imperative to keeping them alive.

Once they start laying (probably late fall this year), we will gather the eggs every morning.  We usually have an extra refrigerator that we use to store the eggs.  We don’t have one at this time, but hopefully by fall we will.  We typically don’t have any trouble finding people to buy the fresh eggs.

I’ll keep you posted as our chickens grow.  We’ll take pics once we move them to the coop. Know you are all just dying to see it….ha! 

What is needed to raise healthy chickens?
2 square feet for each bird
Living area that is dry and clean
Adequate sunlight
A coop that keeps predators out
Chicken Feeders
Chicken Feed
Chicken Waterers
Some type of litter (straw or pine shavings)

We also feed our chickens all the items that we would typically compost.  They love it!!  All the fresh fruits and veggies are the best.  They love bread whether moldy or stale, too.

Here is a post I wrote several years ago.  Caleb was 3.

Now for some fun, interesting facts about chickens….bet you didn’t know all this!  I sure didn’t!

There are 150 breeds of chicken and they come in 340 different colors
Most breeds begin to lay around 20-22 weeks. 

Some chickens have 4 toes, others have 5. 

Roosters can be as small as 22 ounces and as large as 12 pounds.

Chickens are raised all over the world.

Roosters will crow at any time during the day, not just early morning. 

Roosters crow to let others know it is their territory. 

Roosters cannot crow if they cannot extend their neck fully. 

A hen can lay as many as 600 eggs in her first 2 years.

Hens do not need a rooster to lay an egg.

There are more chickens in the world than people.

Too many roosters in the same coop can be a problem.

Chickens that lay brown eggs have red ear lobes.

Eggshells have a natural outer coating that keeps bacteria out.

Chickens need 14-16 hours of light each day to lay.

Chickens are social birds.

Chickens keep clean through preening and dirt baths.

Some breeds of chicken lay eggs daily, others every other day and some only once or twice a week.

Normal laying routines can be interrupted by molting, winter daylight shortage, temperature extremes, illness, poor nutrition, stress, or lack of fresh water.

The first two years of a hen’s life are the most productive years for egg-laying.

At any given time a productive hen will have eggs of several stages within her reproductive system.  The eggs most recently discharged from the ovary are just tiny yolks, and the eggs farther down the oviduct are progressively larger and more developed.

A hen will lay an egg about every 25 hours.  So, a hen that lays an egg every day will lay a bit later each day.

Hens don’t usually lay eggs in the dark, so once a hen’s laying cycle reaches dusk, she will usually not lay until the next morning.

Eggshell production can drain calcium from a hen’s body.  The comb, wattles, legs, and ear lobes will fade as the calcium leaches out.  Calcium must be replenished through feed or supplements such as oyster shell.

Shell color is a breed characteristic.  Most breeds lay light-to-medium brown eggs.  There are a few breeds that will lay white, dark brown, green, blue or cream colored eggs.

Shell color is only “skin-deep”—the eggs inside are the same as eggs of other colors.

Some hens like to lay their eggs in private, while others will join their sisters in the nest box. Often two or three hens will crowd into one box while another nest box remains empty.

Sometimes a hen will sit on previously laid eggs and add her egg to the clutch.  Some hens will sit and deposit an egg by itself.

Often a hen will sing “the egg song” before or after she lays an egg.  Some will sing during the process.  It’s a happy song that seems to be making a proud announcement.

Chickens learn by example, so a fake egg (golfball) or a real one left in a designated spot will encourage hens to lay there.

Straw is the best kind of litter for the coop.  It is absorbent and sweet smelling.

Chickens can live approximately 8-10 years.

Chickens are very easy to manage and they are quite forgiving, too.

A molting chicken can be quite the crab, and they don’t look real nice either.

Eggs are an excellent source of protein.

Chickens like to eat eggs, even their own. 

Some chickens can become habitual egg-eaters and must be culled from the flock.

The yolk of an egg can be anywhere from a pale yellow to orange.

Eggs should not be washed until just before use.  (we use sandpaper to clean our eggs)

The largest recorded chicken egg weighed 12 ounces and had two yolks.

They say that a Chef's hat has one pleat for each different way that an egg can be cooked.

The record for egg laying is said to be 371 eggs in 364 days. (bet that chicken was pooped!)

The world record for the most eggs laid in one day is seven.

Hens will lay larger eggs as they get older, but the shells are softer and she'll lay less often.

In the U.S. 46% of all chicken eaten is consumed in restaurants.

It is estimated that the average American eats chicken 10 times per month.

Americans prefer white meat while Russians tend to prefer dark meat.

A chicken with its head cut off can run as much as 100 yards before dropping dead. 

A hen will eat somewhere around four pounds of feed to make a dozen eggs.

The longest recorded chicken flight was 13 seconds at a distance of just over 300 feet. 

You can not cook an egg in it's shell in the microwave.

The reported record for the largest number of egg yolks in one egg is nine.

A Chicken can run about 8-9 miles per hour; a human can run about 12-15 miles per hour. 

Chickens have a different alarm 'cluck' for different predators.

A chicken's heart beats around 300 times a minute. A human heart beats around 80 times per minute (60 to 100 in humans is considered normal). 

Chickens enjoy hunting as well as scavenging. Their favorite prey include bugs, snails, lizards, worms, and even small mice.

America currently produces about 75 billion eggs each year. That's approximately 10% of the world's yearly egg supply.

America eats roughly 8 billion chickens a year, that's greater than the human population of Earth thought to be around 7 billion! 

To determine if an egg is fresh or not, submerge it in water.  If it is fresh it will sink to the bottom and if it’s not so fresh it will float.  Floaters should be discarded.

Little Known Chicken Facts ~ 

There are four cities in the United States that have the word "chicken" in their name: Chicken, Alaska; Chicken Bristle, Illinois; Chicken Bristle, Kentucky; and Chicken Town, Pennsylvania.

Chickens experience REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. (I wonder what they dream about?)

The chicken is the closest living relative of the tyrannosaurus-rex.

In Gainesville, Georgia, (the chicken capital of the world), a local ordinance makes it illegal to eat your chicken with a fork.

The waste produced by one chicken in its lifetime can supply enough electricity to run a 100 watt bulb for five hours.

China has the most people in the world, *and* also has the most chickens. There are over 3,000,000,000 chickens in China! (The United States has only 450 million.)

There are more chickens in the world than there are of any other domesticated bird. In fact, there's more than one chicken for every human on the face of this earth.

The fear of chickens is called 'Alektorophobia'.

Laid head to claw, all the chickens consumed from KFC worldwide would circle the Earth at the equator 11 times.


Chicken Vocabulary

  • Hen: A female chicken over one year.
  • Cock: A male chicken over one year.
  • Pullet: A female chicken under one year.
  • Cockerel: A male chicken under one year.
  • Breed: Division of poultry according to country of origin.
  • Type: The general shape and form of a bird.
  • Bantam: Small miniature chickens
  • Large Fowl: Standard size chicken.
  • Coop: A chicken housed or exhibited.
  • Fowl: domestic chickens, ducks, geese, and turkeys.

Raising chickens can be a fun way of getting eggs for free and they supply a bunch of entertainment as each chicken has its own personality and character. 

Most local 4H groups have information to help the beginner in raising chickens.  We purchase our baby chicks through Murray McMurray Hatchery

Chicken Humor:

What is a chicken’s most dreaded day of the week? 

~  Fry-Day  ~

Thanks for sticking with me through all of that chicken nonsense! :0)

Please comment below and tell me about your chickens.  Ask any questions!

Have a blessed day!

I've linked this post to the Farm Girl Friday Blog Fest 
Farm Girl Friday Blog Fest Dawn

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Dawn's Cheesy Biscuit Loaf

 I thought I'd start sharing some great recipes with you!  This first one is new to my family.  It's one I've been testing in my kitchen.  We'll see if 3 different tweakings is the perfect fit...

  YES It was Yummy!

It started out as two different recipes that I found here:
Jim & Nick's Cheesy Biscuits 
Red Lobster Cheese Biscuits (I did not originally find it here...I first saw it on Facebook and shared it to my timeline and printed it out and several people even commented on it....now, it has disappeared--so can't really give credit.)


Dawn's Cheesy Biscuit Loaf
3 cups flour
1 T baking powder
1 heaping tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/8 tsp. black pepper
3 T Sugar
1 1/2 cups grated Colby/Monterey Jack cheese
1 1/4 cups whole milk
1/2 cup sour cream
3 T melted butter
1 egg

Heat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease 9 x 5 loaf pan.

Mix dry ingredients in a bowl including the cheese.  Mix wet ingredients in a different bowl.  Then, add liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.  Do not overmix.  Place in loaf pan and bake for 50 minutes.

We waited 10 minutes and dug in!  Enjoy!

Please comment when you make this and let me know what you think.  Also, if you made any changes.  I love seeing what others like!  

I just linked this post to the Weekend Potluck
Click the box and go find some more yummy recipes.

I also linked up here:  

Farm Girl Friday Blog Fest
There are some great posts on this blog and all the ones linking up.  Grab some coffee and go look at the Farm Girls and all they have to offer.  Thanks for joining us!!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Adrenal Insufficiency Awareness April 1st - 13th

This is my nephew, Landon. He suffers from a rare form of Adrenal Insufficiency(AI) that puts him at risk for a life threatening, adrenal crisis.

More than 200,000 Americans are at risk for an adrenal crisis. Medical conditions such as Addison’s disease, Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia, Cushing’s, Secondary AI, those who require ongoing steroid treatment, certain cancer survivors, and even children who have used long-term steroid inhalers for the treatment of asthma are at risk for, or have had an adrenal crisis. 

When someone with adrenal insufficiency is injured, ill, or is unable to keep their oral medication down, they need an injection of Solu-Cortef® immediately.

Thankfully, our doctors are aware of the urgency, but Emergency Medical Services (EMS) personnel are less familiar with these conditions and the treatment thereof. Our doctors advise us (family members) to give the Solu-Cortef® shot PRIOR to calling EMS or going to the ER.

But what happens if the parent is not with the child at the time of a crisis? What if the child is at school or at an amusement park. What if an adult is in a car accident, alone, injured and unable to self inject?

Then what?

They suffer, go into a coma, brain damage occurs.
Ultimately, without treatment... they die.

Please see the value and urgency in which I ask, for all in our community......A nationwide protocol allowing EMS personnel to administer patient-supplied Solu-Cortef® in the field and/or mandate that this life saving medication be carried on all rigs.

The cost = $7.00 Shelf life = 5 years.
(EMS professionals want to help but without proper
protocol they cannot administer this life saving medicine.)

I want to help make the medical community aware of the need for this life-saving Solu-Cortef shot.  I'd like to see all EMS personnel and First Responders being trained about these diseases and what to look for so they can save additional lives!  Please help us spread the word.  

Read this blog post for more information on what AI is and how you can help.  It's such a small thing that they are asking. 
Bake a dozen cupcakes (make them pink in honor of Annie Sullivan's memory) and take them to your nearest EMS station, Fire Station, Hospital, etc.  Hand them a flyer and the cupcakes and ask them to read it so they will know what AI is.  Do this anytime between April 1 and April 13th.

We can help educate our communities and little by little the word will get out.  Then, this will be standard protocol for all EMS Vehicles and First Responders.

For more in-depth information on Addison's Disease (Adrenal Insufficiency) go here:  Adrenal Insufficiency
and here: AI United 

Please find me on facebook at:  Dawn Gray 
Find my post about a survey through AI United (I will try to repost this everyday in April). Please take the control group survey if you do NOT have AI.  This will help in AI United's research.  It's short and painless, I promise!

Thank you very much!

Please leave a comment if you have any questions or need more information!  
And, please let me know if you make and deliver any cupcakes or take the survey!