Monthly Archives: October 2021

Teaching Old Chicks New Tricks

This spring we had planned on building our new chicken coop, but life often doesn’t go as planned. Lack of time and know-how led us to the decision to purchase a pre-made coop. It was advertised as being Amish built, though the person sold it to us and delivered it was not Amish.

It is made from rough cut pine with a metal roof.

We had an extra windows installed to provide more light inside and a cross breeze on those hot summer nights.

Before it could become a home for our flock it needed some finishing touches.

We started by priming and then painting the outside.

We would have liked to put a second coat of paint on it but the weather has been quite rainy so that will have to wait until next spring/summer.

Inside the coop we discovered that the untreated lumber was quite susceptible to mold growth. My husband did a little research and found that a product called concrobium is recommend for removing or arresting mold on porous surfaces such as wood. After treating the entire inside of the coop twice with this product he was satisfied that the mold was taken care of.

Then it was time to add more roosts to the coop. Chickens like to roost at night and since our chickens always spend the nights inside the coop we find it necessary to have enough roost space for all of them. The roosts (pictured above) that were installed by the builders were not adequate to meet the needs of our flock.

The roosts he added are pictured below.

It was then time to move the chickens to their new home. The biggest challenge in this was that the location of the new coop is not in the area where the old coop was. The chickens were in the habit of returning to their (old) coop each night so it was time to teach them “new tricks”.

While we didn’t think it would be quite so easy, we first attempted to just put the chickens in the new coop at night and let them out to free range as usual during the day. In order to get the chickens into the new coop at night we had to wait until they returned to the old coop, where they were corralled, then we could catch them and put them into a carrier (cage) and take them to the new coop. We have three carriers that will hold 3-4 chickens each so it took two trips to move the whole flock (24 chickens).

After repeating this process on two evenings, because the chickens naturally returned to the old coop, we decided that was enough of those shenanigans.

The next step was to (temporarily) fence them in so they were not able to get to the old coop. It’s a little difficult to see in the above photo but my husband put up plastic fencing around a large area which included the chicken door. There are lots of leaves on the ground in the area so the chickens had lots to scratch through and he left the trailer inside the fenced area so the chickens could use it for shelter from the rain. They also had access to the coop through the chicken door.

After being fenced in all day, all of the chickens returned to the new coop two evenings in a row. On the third day my husband decided to let the chickens out of the fence, hoping they would return to the new coop that evening. 21 out o 24 chickens independently returned to the new coop. The other 3 returned to the old coop where my husband caught them and took them back to their new home. The following night only two hens returned to the old coop and needed assistance to find their new home. These two are apparently set in their ways. Again the next night these two hens showed up at the old coop in the evening. In anticipation of this my husband had staged a carrier there. He put the two hens in the carrier and transported them back to their new home. Keeping the flock fenced in for another day or two would probably have been enough to break their habit but he didn’t want to punish the whole flock for the actions of just these two.

I’m glad I didn’t publish this post yesterday when two of the hens had still not accepted their new home because last night when my husband closed up the coop all 24 chickens had independently found their way to the new coop. Woo Hoo! Cue Happy dance!

The other thing the hens need to learn about their new accommodations is where to lay their eggs. My husband has put some of the hens in the nest boxes so they know where they should lay. It seems to have worked but is to early to say fore sure. Right now most of the chickens are going though a molt and have stopped laying. We are getting just one egg per day which likely means that two or three hens are laying on alternating days. Each day, however, he has found one egg in a nest box so at least those hens that are currently laying have caught on. Based on our past experience it will be some time in February before most of the hens begin laying again, so we will have to wait to see if the other hens have become familiar with their new nest boxes. At least we know that it is possible to teach an old hen new tricks. 🙂

Idiom of the Week

Hello and welcome!

I thought I would stick with the egg theme this week so our idiom is “egg on your face“.

Writing explained tells us that to have egg on your face is:

To feel embarrassed; to have made a fool of oneself.

They go on to tell us:

This expression first appeared in mid-20th-century America. It quickly made its way into British parlance as well.

Its exact origin is unclear. Sources speculate that it might come from eating eggs, and having some of the food stuck to one’s face in an embarrassing way.

Others think it might come from the theater, when angry audience members threw rotten food, such as eggs, at bad performers.

I don’t have a personal story to go along with this idiom but I am hoping some of you might.

Can you think of a time when you “had egg on your face”? Please tell us in the comments section below.

Summer Sewing

I’m trying to develop my sewing skills and the only way I know to do that is to practice. Over the summer I made a few projects. Take a look.

The first was this red crossover tank top. It was a fairly easy project and I am pleased with the way it turned out.

This grey cardigan was a fairly easy project as well. I love the knit fabric it is made out of, as it was easy to work with and is comfortable to wear.

The red tank top even pairs well with the grey cardigan.

When I wore this striped hooded pullover at our family picnic three of my daughters decided I should make it for them. They told me what colors they would like and I told them “Christmas is coming”.

This beautiful black with yellow flowers has a cowl neck (it’s hard to tell in the photo). I’ve always liked wearing a cowl neckline. I have to give my sister credit for making most of this though. Recently while visiting I was visiting her we were looking through fabrics and patterns. She then showed me this shirt that she had mostly finished but given up on because she didn’t like the way it fit her. When I tried it on I loved the way it fit. I also loved the print.

I brought it home and finished sewing the second cuff on and hemmed the bottom. I now have some new fall attire and a list of things I need to make before Christmas. 🙂

Idiom Of The Week

Hello and welcome!

Our idiom this week is “don’t put all your eggs in one basket”

According to this phrase means:

  • don’t make everything dependent on one thing
  • don’t put all your resources into one thing
  • don’t depend for your success on a single plan
  • don’t concentrate all efforts into one area

They also tell us: The origin of the phrase is unclear, but it is most commonly attributed to the book Don Quixote written by Miguel Cervantes in the early 1600s.

I used this phrase recently when my husband and I were discussing our garden 2021 garden results. As he talked of the benefits of growing a diverse garden, “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket” I quipped. “There is your next idiom” he replied. 🙂

We use this philosophy in many areas of our life – having a backup plan or alternative means of doing things. Long time readers might remember my preparedness advice from this post. Ironically one of the times we don’t adhere to this is when collecting eggs. LOL! That’s right we collect all of the eggs in one basket but rarely do we have a problem. When it comes to collecting eggs the better advice is don’t put eggs in your pocket! Hmm – Perhaps there is a new idiom there.

Do you use this phrase?

Plant Identification – Can You Help?

I know some of my readers are gardeners and plant lovers so today I am asking for your help to identify a plant that my husband so lovingly brought home for me.

Before I show it to you I want to share the cute story of how it became mine. During a recent visit to the farm store my husband noticed these unique plants in the garden section out in front of the store. There were three of this particular plant and the sign said $5.00 each. My husband selected one of the plants and took it inside. As he was walking in another man with 5 of those plants in his cart had just finished paying and was leaving the store. He stopped my husband and said “I just bought all of those. You can’t have that.” When my husband explained that there were three left outside the man showed him on his receipt that he had paid for the five in his cart plus the three that remained (including the one my husband had in his hand). He had paid half price for all of them.

Not to be deterred my husband pleaded with the other man “let me have just one. I want to give it to my wife. She would love it.” Eventually the man relented choosing the smallest and least healthy looking of the bunch and handing it to my husband. My husband handed him $5 (full price) and wished him a nice day.

I love the plant almost as much as I love what my husband did to get it for me. The problem is that there was no tag in the container telling me the name of the plant or anything else about it. Thus I’m asking for your help. Do you know the name of this plant?

I did a quick internet search for “plants that look like caterpillars” but only came up with photos of caterpillars on plants.

Other questions I have are: what are the growing requirements for this plant – does it like full sun or partial shade? Does it require a lot of water or just a little? I’m also not sure if it would be best to plant it outdoors this fall and see if it will survive our winter or if I should over winter it in the house and plant it out next spring. If you are familiar with this plant please tell me what you know about it.