A few basic FAQs about raising chickens

chicken faqs

We had so many questions when we decided to become “chicken people”!!!  We had a lot of great advice from friends that have been raising chickens, and also researched our questions on the internet – that’s where I ran across this article that originally was posted by The Washington Post years ago.  It’s very informative for the beginners who are considering or have just started raising chickens.

By Adrian Higgins
Washington Post

1. Do hens need a rooster to lay eggs?

No

2. How often do chickens lay?

A well-fed hen usually lays one egg per day.

3. Do chickens lay year-round?

Typically, no. Egg production falls off as winter approaches and resumes in the spring.

4. Are chickens noisy?

Only when alarmed or laying an egg.

5. How long do chickens live?

About seven years.

6. Do chickens lay eggs their whole life?

They are most productive when they are 2 and 3 years old, and then laying declines markedly.

7. Where do you get chickens, and how much do they cost?

They are available from Amish and other rural farmers markets as well as from breeders advertising on the Web. Laying breeds such as Rhode Island Reds or Sex-links, as opposed to fancy breeds, typically cost between $5 and $15 each. Buy chicks that are old enough that their sex is apparent so that you don’t unwittingly purchase a rooster.  

**My note:  We now only get our pullets (young hens) from people that we know personally that have hand raised them.  That way we KNOW they have been taken care of and are disease free when we purchase them. We do not have any roosters as we don’t want fertilized eggs – and we do have an “urban” farm so we want a nice, quiet “farm”!  We are getting 6 more “babies” soon from Humble Hollow Farm!

8. Are chickens good for the garden?

Yes and no. They will scratch garden beds, dislodge plants and eat seedlings. But they will devour bugs and slugs, and their manure and bedding make great ingredients for the compost pile.

9. How do you protect chickens from predators?

Both the hen house and run should be fenced with chicken wire and covered with netting or wire to prevent hawk attacks. Raccoons and foxes will dig to get into coops, so you will need to bury the fence at least 12 inches.

10. Do chickens smell?

If the coop and run are left uncleaned, yes. Occasional removal of droppings and placement of fresh bedding (pine shavings work well) will keep the hen house odor-free.   **My note:  We use this  essential oil spray to clean our coop twice a week.

Source: Mercury News

Busy Saturday – Chicken expansion – Kombucha Class – EO Class !

It has been a super busy day at the homestead! We had a great class with some friends today about how to brew your own homemade Kombucha! Then we had a mini essential oil class with a couple more friends, I always LOVE explaining the wellness benefits with others and how they can live a clean, chemical free life with essential oils! (You can read more about that here.)

After the 2 classes we taught today, hubby and I got to work and expanded the chicken “pen”! Our girls now have three times the room they had this morning and they are loving it! We are getting ready to add six more hens to our flock very soon so we wanted to be ready for their homecoming 🤗

I know one thing, this old girl is tired!

#UrbanHomestead #ChickenFarmer #FreshEggs #TheHensNeededMoreRoom #ExpandingOurFlock #CleanLiving #FarmingIsHardWork #EssentialOilsOnTheFarm #KombuchaBrewing

Essential Oil Usage and Safety FAQs

Since I have so many friends and family that use Essential Oils, I thought it would be a good idea to share some usage tips and oily FAQs with the world !  Fortunately I have a great “oily mentor”, my team leader, Sheri, over at Oily Organic Mama that has schooled me in all these tips and usage protocols!

We have been using oils for over 2 years now and had only one small “peppermint near the eye area” experience and a few drops of Sweet Almond Oil did the trick and cooled the area off in no time!

If you have just started using oils or are a long time “users”, these FAQs are great to know!

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Essential Oil Safety Guide and FAQs

Essential oils are potent gifts from nature that can often be more powerful than expected. In order to prevent misuse of these precious oils and to ensure that you enjoy their maximum benefit, Young Living Founder D. Gary Young, working with Director of Global Education and Health Sciences Dr. Lindsey Elmore and other product experts on her team, has created this helpful safety guide. Refer to it to learn the basics of essential oil use, how to handle skin sensitivity, and other valuable information.

  • I’m new to essential oils. How do I use them?

Young Living labels each bottle of Young Living essential oil with directions for how to use it; these directions vary based on your region. Please consult the product label for appropriate usage directions.

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  • What’s the difference between Young Living’s traditional essential oils and Vitality™ essential oils?

Young Living’s large product line includes items that you can use in nearly any aspect of your life. These products are generally labeled for topical/aromatic, dietary, or cleaning usage. While all our oils meet our Seed to Seal® promise and exacting testing for purity and safety, our traditional essential oils are intended for topical/aromatic use, and our Vitality oils are intended for internal consumption. This distinction allows Young Living and our members to freely share the dietary and culinary benefits of our oils, thanks to Vitality’s clearly labeled dietary instructions.

  • I see the term “carrier oil” used in several places. What is a carrier oil, what does it do, and why should I use it?

A carrier oil is a vegetable oil—such as coconut oil, olive oil, or grapeseed oil—that can be used to dilute essential oils. Young Living’s V-6™ Vegetable Oil Complex is an excellent carrier oil for all applications.

Carrier oils ensure that essential oils applied topically are comfortable to the skin. Dilution with a carrier oil does not dilute the effect of the essential oil. In fact, it prevents waste due to excessive application. Look for dilution ratios on Young Living essential oil bottles.

Vegetable shortening, butter, margarine, or petroleum derivatives (such as mineral oil, baby oil, and petroleum jelly) should never be used as carrier oils.

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  •  What is a “hot oil”?

“Hot oils” are oils that can cause a hot or warming sensation when applied to the skin. Examples of hot oils and blends include Cinnamon, Clove, Lemongrass, Oregano, Thyme, Exodus II™, and Thieves®. For some people, Peppermint’s cooling sensation can be too intense.

Young Living recommends using a patch test procedure prior to first use. To perform a patch test, apply 1–2 drops of essential oil to a patch of skin such as the forearm. Observe that area of skin over the course of 1–2 hours for any noticeable reaction; however, reactions occur usually within 5–10 minutes. If you experience a hot or burning sensation or develop a rash, add V-6 or another carrier oil to the affected area as often as needed.

  • What if I experience skin discomfort or irritation?

If discomfort or irritation occurs, stop using the essential oil and apply V-6 or another carrier oil to the affected area. If a rash occurs, this may be a sign of detoxification. Drink adequate water to encourage the release and removal of toxins in your body. Toxins present in petrochemical-based soaps and skin care products, detergents, and perfumes may trigger some of the detoxification reactions. Consider discontinuing these agents if a reaction occurs. Before using the essential oil again, perform a patch test (see above under “What is a “hot oil?”) and dilute with a carrier oil as needed.

Be aware that some documents suggest diluting the oil with water, but water actually drives oil into the skin and eyes. Never use water in an attempt to flush the oil off of the skin, as this may increase discomfort. If essential oil gets in your eye, flush with V-6 or another carrier oil as quickly as possible to alleviate any discomfort. If eye discomfort does not subside within 5 minutes, seek medical attention.

  • Can essential oils be applied to sensitive areas?

Avoid contacting sensitive areas such as eyes, ears, genitals, and mucous membranes with essential oils. If you choose to use the oil in any sensitive area, dilute 1 drop of the essential oil with 5–10 drops of V-6 or another carrier oil.

  • How often can essential oils be applied? How much do I use?

Follow the proper usage instructions printed on each essential oil label. Essential oils are very powerful, so start low and go slow. Excessive use of essential oils may increase the risk for adverse reactions. In most cases, 1–2 drops are adequate, and using more may waste product. Depending on the essential oil, you can gradually build up to 3–4 uses per day, if desired.

  • Can essential oils be used during pregnancy or while nursing?

As with any medical condition, we strongly recommended that prior to using essential oils, you seek the advice and recommendation of a competent, trained health care advisor who is experienced in essential oil usage. Some people choose to avoid overuse and excessive use of Clary Sage (Salvia sclarea), Sage (Salvia officinalis), Idaho Tansy (Tanacetum vulgare), Hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis), Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare), and Wintergreen (Gaultheria procumbens), as well as the blends and supplements that contain these oils.

***  Check out this awesome guide to essential oils for Moms-to-Be !

Essential Oils By Trimester

  • Can essential oils be used on children?

Many essential oils are appropriate for use on children but should be diluted with a carrier oil prior to use. Some Young Living products come pre-diluted with carrier oil, as indicated on product labels, and are intended for direct application on children. You can dilute 1–2 drops of essential oil such as SleepyIze™, RutaVaLa™, Gentle Baby™, and Peace & Calming® with a carrier oil and apply to the bottoms of the feet.

***Here is a great article about EOs and babies !

  • How does exposure to sun affect essential oil use?

Some essential oils, especially citrus oils, contain natural molecules that react with sunlight (UV light) and cause a sensitivity reaction. Young Living labels the essential oils and oil blends that contain these compounds with a warning to avoid sun/UV light for 12–48 hours after applying. Always use caution when starting to use a new oil. To reduce the risk of sensitivity, use patch testing (see above under “What is a “hot oil?”), dilute, and apply the oil to skin that will not be exposed to sun/UV light. Young Living formulates its beauty and cosmetic products to remove sun-sensitizing agents to reduce the risk of sun sensitivity.

  • What about the use of essential oils if I have a medical condition? Can essential oils interact with prescription medications?

If you have a disease or medical condition or are using a prescription medication, it is recommended that prior to using an essential oil, you consult with a health care advisor who has experience with essential oils. Seek the advice of the prescribing physician and a pharmacist about potential interactions between any medication and essential oils.

eo faqs

Source: Young Living Website

Egg Apron

Someone posted an “egg apron” on my timeline on Facebook and just a couple weeks later, this arrived at my door !  Our daughter, Melinda, ordered it for me from Blanket Me Baby in Asheville, NC.

We will also be getting one soon from another one of our four daughters, Ashley at The Crocheted Dreamer, very soon !!  These will come in handy while collecting eggs !!

I can’t wait until we have enough chickens to fill them both up with eggs each day ! Thanks to our girls for supporting our “chicken addiction” ! 😉

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Fizzy Refreshment!

I have to give it to Hubby this time! This was his idea…club soda with Grapefruit Essential Oil – what a treat! Amazingly I have never had club soda and this was just what I need to help support my weight management journey! I quit drinking diet soda a long time ago but I have had a couple in the last few months, looking for that flavored fizz!

Grapefruit EO has so many benefits! Here are just a few:

  • Support your weight-management program by taking Grapefruit Vitality as a dietary supplement. Just add 1–2 drops to a vegetarian gel capsule and take it daily or as often as needed.
  • If you love infused water but are too busy to make it the night before, simply add 2–3 drops of Grapefruit Vitality and other citrus Vitality oils to cold water to make a refreshing drink and stay hydrated.
  • Add it to culinary recipes to add a distinct, citrus flavor. Grapefruit Vitality tastes great in desserts, marinades, and salad dressings.

Find out more about how to get yours here!

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*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

Kombucha

As we get deeper into our health and wellness journey, we are finding more ways to incorporate new things into our bodies! Kombucha is known for its health benefits, mainly for digestive support, but it has many different health benefits.

I spent the afternoon with two of my friends, both of whom embrace the wellness lifestyle like we do! Sheri, from Oily Organic Mama, showed me and our friend Kathy how to “grow” Kombucha! It definitely is an acquired taste…which I know I will learn to love!  She sent us both home with a SCOBY (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast), so I am now in the process of brewing my own batch!

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Stay tuned for the progress! In the meantime, go check out Sheri’s recipe and more great info on brewing your own Kombucha here.

Our chickens love their dust baths !

Chickens take “dust baths” to keep themselves free of  mites naturally.  These baths also keep the chicken fresh by washing off any “debris”.  They LOVE to get as much dirt and sand as they can all over their feathers and deep down to the base of their feathers! Dust baths, or some call them sand baths, for birds and similar to mud baths that their farm friends – pigs – enjoy, also very needed to keep them clean and mite free!

Our hens love their bath time and when I saw this great idea of re-purposing an old tire into a “bath tub”, I was on it !  Right now they all have to share one “tub”, but we will definitely be getting more tires as we expend our chicken pen!

You can build a bath box, use an old tire, or pretty much anything that will hold the dirt (we scooped some up from the coop floor) and sand (builder’s sand is best) and is big enough for your hens with plenty of shaking room to spread their wings while bathing.  Adding some wood ash or charcoal ash is a good way for your birds to get a little more Vitamin K, Calcium, and Magnesium from nibbling on the charcoal (charcoal is a laxative and also helps get rid of toxins), but always make sure that you never put anything in the dust bath that has had lighter fluid or other chemicals on it!

Look at our girls and their new dust bath!

 

Our Outside Chandelier! (Updated!)

I finally got to start on our outside “nightlight”! My good friend Katrina gave me this old chandelier so I am re-purposing it for our backyard at the homestead. I am still in the process of getting it finished, but I am so excited about it that I had to share the progress so far! I’ll be updating more when I get it done!

 

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UPDATE!!!!

Hubby and I finished our outside chandelier last night! I am in love with it and plan to do a couple more!

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It was so easy! First we hot glued the solar light to the place where the light bulb would have gone on the chandelier (save the posts that came with the lights, you can use them to replace any broken ones that are already in the ground!)

Then just put the base of the light on the hot glue/rim of the chandelier and voila !!!!  You are done !  I let it dry/harden for a few minutes then put the light part on the clear “shade” part that we had glued on the chandelier.  I LOVE how it turned out !

Here are just a couple photos of our “Hen Resort” at night 🙂   We have lights around our patio (the “people part” of our yard), our new chandelier hanging on a shepherds hook, and lights around the chicken coop/pen !

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Our indoor herb garden

My dear husband is the cook in our family, I’m so blessed  😉  He loves using seasonings and herbs in his cooking, but we haven’t always been able to get fresh herbs from the big box stores.

Since we have started this homesteading journey, I wanted to plant an herb garden in the kitchen so he can have a fresh supply of what he uses most when preparing our meals!  I am a gardener at heart (I really should have been born in the 1800s and lived on the prairie) so I planted our starter herbs today!

We will have Cilantro, Sage, Basil, Thyme, Rosemary, and Oregano! I also picked up some lavender seeds that I am going to plant outside – for our eye pleasure, to cut and use in many diy recipes, and for the nesting boxes in our coop!

I’m happy with my little greenhouse…until I can have a “real” one!

(Our “farm dog” Mike was very curious!)

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DIY Mouthwash

How To Make Homemade Mouthwash

  • 20 oz. of Purified or Distilled Water
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • 25 drops of Peppermint Essential Oil
  • 20 ounce glass bottle (essential oils can degrade plastic)

Put the baking soda in the bottom of the bottle to “soak up” the oils when you put them in…it’s a known fact that oil and water don’t mix, add the essential oils to the baking soda, add the water and shake. Done! Easy right? 30 seconds tops!

I add the Young Living essential oils to the baking soda before I add the water because the baking soda helps to keep the oils and water from separating (it’ll still happen a little bit).

You may want to adjust the ratios of essential oils. Thieves Oil Blend has some cinnamon flavor (which I love) but some people may enjoy peppermint more – feel free to use the Thieves Essential Oil instead of the Peppermint. You may also like it the flavor to be stronger or weaker so feel free to use a drop more or a drop less per your taste buds.

I hope you enjoy this mouthwash recipe!  I’d love to know what you think about it.

Important consideration: Tap water has chlorine, mercury, fluoride, nitrates, and may even contain some carcinogens. I want to avoid all of that so I use distilled or purified instead.

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