Fun Fact Friday – How many chickens do you need?

The first reader question we got was “How did you decide how many chickens you need? I mean how many would fit?”

That’s a GREAT question !  One that is very important to decide from the start!

In our research, of both the internet and local “chicken parent” friends, we determined that 6 hens would be a good number for us to start out our backyard flock.  Based on averages for our area, a good laying breed, such as the White Leghorn, will lay 5-6 eggs per week – if they are overachievers you may even get an egg every day from them !  Rhode Island Reds are also good layers we hear.

Since our family consists of my awesome hubby and me, we decided on 6 hens to start off so we’d hopefully get a couple dozen eggs each week.  We both love eggs and eat them daily!  We did get 3 hens before we really researched well, and luckily those 3 (a Delaware – named Della – and 2 Welsummers – Brownie and Broody) are great layers too and we wanted some brown eggs along with the white ones from the Leghorns (all named “Holly Hen” since we got them from our friend Holly)!!!  No, we are not very original with our chicken names, don’t judge! 🙂

So, from our 6 ladies we usually get 4-6 eggs a day…those leghorns really ARE great layers – which gives us an average of about 3 dozen per week.

We have recently added 6 Ameraucana pullets, but they are only 2 months old now and have not yet been incorporated into our little flock yet.  They will lay blue/green eggs when they do start producing, one of the reasons that we got them – and they were hand raised by our good friends, Hannah and her son Jacob, at Humble Hollow Farm.

mike and chickens

We decided on the extra hens for several reasons – the first one being that we are addicted to our chickens and wanted more!!!  Seriously, we LOVE have chickens in our backyard – even our little dog Mike likes the hens!  When we let them out of the run to free range a little during the day, he loves to lay and watch them too !  Another reason is that we have family and friends that love fresh eggs, so we wanted to be able to give some to family and sell some too (which is another question we will be answering in our series on Fun Fact Fridays – “do you ever sell chicks or eggs and are there any regulations”.

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That’s our dog Mike with the chickens…he thinks he is a black and white rooster!                          He loves the hens!

So, the short answer to the question of  “How did you decide how many chickens you need? I mean how many would fit?” is that we wanted about 3 dozen eggs a week so we chose 6 hens to make sure we got the amount we wanted.

The answer to the second part of that question is this:  we purchased our coop/run after we decided on 6 hens and bought/built according to the size appropriate for 6 hens.  Our first coop (we bought a second one for the 6 new pullets) will hold 6-8 hens at night and has 4 nesting boxes (you really only need about 2 for 6 hens as they share nesting boxes very well!). We also expanded our “run” to accommodate 12 hens to 300 square feet.

Chickens need approximately 4 square feet of coop space (nighttime roosting and egg laying) and 10 square feet of run space per chicken.  Of course the more room you can give them, the happier they will be and happy hens = good laying hens!

I hope that answered the question well….hubby and I really enjoy learning more about our chickens, so these questions have been alot of fun !!!!  Keep asking and we will be back next Friday for another Fun Fact Friday!

hubby and Blanche

Fun Fact Friday is coming!

Fun Fact FridayWe are doing a series on “chicken questions” – things that some readers wanted to know! Although we are in no way chicken experts, quite the contrary, we are learning as we go! These questions are helping us also.

Here is a list of the questions we have been asked so far…we will be answering the first one on “Fun Fact Friday”!  Each Friday during our series we will learn some fun facts – the first series will be facts about chickens with these questions from our readers !

  • How did you decide how many chickens you need? I mean how many would fit?
  • Are there regulations in your area for how many you can own in proportion to the size of the property you own?
  • Do you ever sell chicks or eggs? Is that regulated at all?
  • Are there any common chicken practices that you believe to be harmful or just less-than-ideal? Certain coop setups, feed, nesting materials, etc.
  • What would be your number one tip for new chicken owners?

So stay tuned for this Friday when we tackle the first question…how we determined the number of chickens we thought was appropriate for our little urban homestead!

See you Friday!

Questions !!!

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We have had a lot of people ask us “chicken questions” so I thought this might be a great blog topic !!  We are still learning the ins and outs of being chicken parents ourselves, so this should prove to be a fun assignment !

All I need for my readers and Facebook followers to do is – Ask Questions !  Ask anything you are wanting to know about chickens, coops, feed – anything, and I’ll do a little research if I don’t know the answer and then we will have a Q&A session on the blog !

I look forward to hearing your questions and researching the answers !

DIY Bath Salts

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Are you worn out from lugging around kids, strollers, diaper bags? Did you have a hard day at the office and need a little  tension relief? Spend too much time out in the garden?  Believe me, I know exactly how you feel!

When we first started using essential oils (EO) I quickly collected a lot of “empty” bottles. An oily friend of mine gave me the best tip ever!    My friend,  who had been using essential oils much longer than I had,  explained to me that even though the bottle looks empty, it’s really not. It still has a drop or two of precious oil left in it. All you need is a mason jar, and some epsom salt she told me.

I had no idea what she was going to tell me to do with these bottles! It’s  really so simple, and makes such good sense! All you do is put some epsom salt in the mason jar, I usually fill it up about halfway, drop in any empty EO bottles that you have – yes, you can mix and match them – shake the bottle a little bit to get the salt inside the “empties”, then fill it almost to the top leaving a little room so you can shake the bottle again after the lid is on.

The salt will pull out any oil that is left in the bottle leaving you with oil infused bath salts! Since I like mine “use specific”, I put all of my supporting oil bottles together – Lavender, Cedarwood, and Roman Chamomile for a restful night; Peace & Calming, Stress Away, and Ylang Ylang for a calming, relaxing bath; PanAway, Wintergreen, and Cypress for those joints, muscles, and bones that are “screaming”!  You get the idea.

So, when you start your collection of “empties”, save them! You’ll thank me later 😉

 

A few basic FAQs about raising chickens

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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.

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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” ! 😉

egg apron

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.