A Top Ten List of the Best Chickens for Eggs

Most folks keep a flock of chickens for their eggs and having the best chicken breeds for eggs makes all the difference. In this regard, not all breeds are created equal. So if your motive is to get eggs, check out this top ten list of productive breeds. You'll soon find these breeds will be the backbone of your backyard flock.


Homemade Bath Salts and Scrubs

I love making bath salts and scrubs! They are decadent, yet easy to make. These two recipes are so great you’ll probably find yourself making them for holidays and special occasions since they're perfect for gift giving.

All the ingredients can be found at your local grocery, craft store or online. There's almost no excuse not to make them for your next bath. Just grab the ingredients from your pantry and you're ready for a relaxing soak in the tub. You can also make bath salts ahead of time and store them in your bathroom closet so they’re always handy. They’re great for your skin and can be tailored to meet your specific needs.


OMG! It's a Roo! How to Tell if You Have a Hen or a Rooster

Are you wondering if you have a rooster in your flock? If so, you're not alone. As baby chicks start to grow up, it's not uncommon to wonder about the sex of your chickens even if you chose from the pullet brooder at the store or ordered pullets directly from the hatchery. Here's my personal story with getting an accidental rooster and how you can tell what you've got one (or three) in your flock.

Roopert as a young rooster.

Baby Chicks Get Outside Time

As spring gets warmer and baby chicks get older, people wonder when their chicks can get outside for some exercise and time to scratch and peck. After all, the ultimate goal for your chickens is to live in the backyard. But when is that possible? Are there small steps you can take toward the ultimate goal?


How to Make Marbled & Tie-Dyed Easter Eggs

Why make Easter decorating hard on yourself or expensive? You can make marbled eggs and tie-dyed eggs using everyday ingredients from your pantry including food coloring. These techniques produce beautiful eggs that look like they came from a fancy egg dyeing kit. Both you and your kids are sure to love them!

You can make marbled eggs and tie-dyed eggs with everyday ingredients from your pantry. These techniques produce beautiful eggs that look like they came from a fancy egg dyeing kit.
Marbled Eggs

Creative Easter Egg Decorating Ideas

Easter's such a fun holiday. So why not step it up and use some creative Easter egg decorating ideas your whole family is sure to love.

As I grew up, we always bought our white eggs from the store and used a PAAS Easter egg kit to make beautiful Easter creations. It’s not that my mom didn’t know how to dye eggs with food coloring; I just think my sister and I loved buying our cool egg kits so much that she didn’t deny us the pleasure.

Fast forward to today, and at Easter, my egg customers have a definite preference for the white eggs laid by my Brown Leghorn chickens. They see all the kits in the store and fall for the myth that white eggs dye so much prettier than other colors. Nothing, in my opinion, can be farther from the truth. In my family, we prefer to dye the brown and green eggs laid by the rest of my flock. I love the deep, rich tones that the brown and green eggs provide when they’re dyed. And frankly, we don’t need a kit from the store. We use the food dye from our pantry and find that it’s so versatile that we can make tons of interesting combinations.

Polka dot, rubber band and flower decorated eggs. 

How to Make Glitter and Floral Print Easter Eggs

These fun Easter egg decorating techniques give a nod to my girls, who love anything sparkly, and to my garden for the life it brings after a long winter’s sleep. Learning how to glitter your eggs and make floral print Easter eggs is easy, fun and colorful!


How to Make Silk Tie Dyed Eggs

This time of year the grocery store aisles are packed with Easter egg dyeing kits. I'm not opposed to these kits but am always on the lookout for creative dyeing techniques that don't come out of a box. Silk tie dye eggs fit that bill perfectly. I first saw this technique on Martha Stewart and soon found they are a beautiful way to reuse old silk. They are mess free. The get the hard-boiling and dyeing done in one step. And, they will wow anyone who sees them.


What is Coltsfoot?

Are you seeing dandelions in the spring? You may want to double check. Those yellow flowers you're seeing could be coltsfoot.

While its flowers are pretty, this plant is actually named after its leaves which resemble a horseshoe in cross section. Coltsfoot flowers pop up in early spring and are often found in poor, disturbed soils. (Which is why it grows next to my driveway!) The leaves don't appear until after the flowers have died back and the plant has gone to seed, so in the spring, the flowers show up with no apparent leaves. 

what is coltsfoot
Coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara)


How to Attract & Feed Hummingbirds

When the Ruby-throated Hummingbirds arrive in spring, we celebrate at my house. Each year we set up a protected area by our mudroom door and our kitchen window. The hummingbirds always find it and the air above the feeding station is soon filled with hummingbirds zipping around at all hours. It's a joyous site!


7 Tips for Buying Chicks From the Feed Store

Make Sure You're Prepared Before You Get to the Feed Store


For a few months each spring, when you walk into your local feed store, you're greeted to the chorus of tiny chicken chirps as the annual chick season tempts so many shoppers. If you're not sure of where to buy baby chicks, this is a great place to pick up your first flock members or add to your existing flock of backyard chickens. It's local. It's immediate. And it's fun.

Here are some tips to make the process easier on you and your new flock members.

Tips to make buying chicks from the feed store easier on you and your new flock members.


How To Care For A Shamrock Plant

This is the time that shamrock plants are in abundance in stores each March. Should you lay down a few clams and purchase one? Yes! Shamrock plants are worth it for a holiday treat and an easy-to-care-for houseplant that will rebloom again and again. 

Buying a Shamrock plant for St. Patrick's Day gets you a hardy plant that will rebloom again and again.

The first time I purchased shamrock plants, they were for my young kids. Needless to say, the plants were in their bedrooms and they didn't get much care. But never fear, these hardy plants are actually bulbs. The lack of water sent the bulbs into a dormant stage. And once a little TLC resumed, the plants were back in business. Instead of dying, they revived and turned into lush houseplants that have bloomed ever since. 

Chicken Breeds That Lay Blue or Green Eggs

If you're planning your first flock or considering adding some new birds, blue and green egg laying hens ensure you'll have a colorful egg basket all year round and a fun talking point when you give eggs to family and friends.

Blue & Green Egg Myths

Do blue eggs taste different than "regular" eggs? No.

Do blue eggs contain more or less cholesterol than eggs of other colors? No.

Here's why — the quality of an egg's nutrition and an egg's taste is determined by diet.

All eggs are formed in the same way, but the nutrition a hen gets on a daily basis is what gives her egg its taste and gives the yolk its color. If your backyard chickens are fed a quality layer feed and allowed to forage for grasses, insects and anything else they can find, you can be assured your eggs will be fresh and taste good.

If you're planning your first flock or considering adding some new birds, blue and green egg laying hens ensure you'll have a colorful egg basket all year round.
Easter Egger and Cream Legbar Eggs

Baby Chick Health 101

Chick season is fun, but make sure you're prepared to welcome new chicks to your backyard and keep them healthy. Good baby chick health early on gives your birds the building blocks they need to become healthy adults.

Good baby chick health early on gives your birds the building blocks they need to become healthy adults.

The Backstory on Hornet Nests

Bald-Faced Hornet nests have a story to tell. Through most of the year, hornet nests are barely visible tucked in trees with leaves surrounding them. But in winter, hornet nests are easily found and fascinating structures that can be safely explored without fear of repercussion. Around my neck of the woods, bald-faced hornets make beautiful, teardrop-shaped nests that provide a home base for the colony from spring to late fall.

In winter, hornet nests are easily found and fascinating structures that can be safely explored without fear of repercussion. Find out more about these fascinating creatures.

Prebiotics and Probiotics for Chickens 101

Feeding your flock a nutritious and varied diet should include prebiotics and probiotics for chickens. Many commercial feed rations contain prebiotics and probiotics. But what are prebiotics and probiotics? Is there a way to supply them to your flock beyond commercial feed? How do probiotics and prebiotics help backyard chickens?

What are Prebiotics and Probiotics? 


Probiotics are live organisms that live in your intestinal tract and, to put it delicately, keep things cleaned out and flowing well. They also help to strengthen your immune system. They can be found in foods that have live cultures, like sauerkraut, apple cider vinegar, cheese, sour cream and, famously, yogurt. Prebiotics set the stage for probiotics because they are the food for probiotics. Prebiotics are a non-digestible type of plant fiber. Many high-fiber foods are also high in prebiotics.

Feeding your flock a nutritious and varied diet should include prebiotics and probiotics for chickens. Learn how to provide this nutritious supplement for your birds.
The flock enjoying a treat of bananas. (Peels were removed before serving.)

New Hampshire Chicken - Breed Spotlight

The New Hampshire Red chicken is a great family-friendly bird that's named for the state where it was developed. Many confuse this breed with the Rhode Island Red which makes sense because it was originally developed from Rhode Island Red stock. This is a good dual-purpose bird that matures early and consistently lays brown eggs.

Class: American
Origin: United States
Comb Type: Single
Color: Red
Standard Size: 6.5 Pounds (Hen) 8.5 Pounds (Rooster)
Egg Color: Brown
Egg Size: Large
Production: 4 to 5 Eggs Per Week
Hardiness: Cold and Heat Tolerant
Disposition: Calm, Friendly

The New Hampshire chicken is a great family-friendly bird that's named for the state where it was developed. This is a good dual-purpose bird that matures early and consistently lays brown eggs.
Big Red and our Buff Orpington (behind) are two of our most friendly chickens.

How to Understand Egg Carton Labeling


As backyard chicken keepers, we don't buy a lot of eggs from the store, so it's normal to have some egg carton code confusion. The egg carton section of the grocery is usually foreign territory and we find ourselves there only if the flock is molting or winter's waning daylight has left us eggless.

But honestly, even for a family that doesn't have backyard chickens, those cartons can be a nightmare to decode. Do you go with the 99 cent special? Are those organic eggs worth the price? Is free-range really free range? What's an extra large egg versus a large egg? When were the eggs actually laid?

Ugh! Stop the madness!

The key to buying a carton of eggs and peace of mind is knowing how mass-produced eggs are handled and labeled and exactly what those egg carton codes mean.

A Guide to Cold-Hardy Chicken Breeds

What makes a cold-hardy chicken breed and why should you care? If you're currently living in an area that has cold winters, then cold-hardy chicken breeds are a must because of their ability to withstand the frigid temperatures.

Every year there are stories of folks that bought the wrong breed for their climate and experience losses, have unhealthy chickens, or end up bringing their birds inside where the climate is more moderate. Don’t let this happen to you! Make sure to pick a breed that will live comfortably in your climate and thrive. Your birds will thank you for it!

If you're currently living in an area that has cold winters, then cold-hardy chicken breeds are a must because of their ability to withstand the frigid temperatures.
A Buff Brahma hen.

Tips to Help Your Chickens Get Outside in Winter & Snow

Can chickens go outside in winter? Yes! The truth is, they like to get outside and explore in pretty much any weather and it’s always good for them to get some fresh air.

It’s important to understand that chickens are equipped to handle cold weather. In fact, it can be easier for them to withstand cold weather than hot weather. As you know, backyard chickens have lots of feathers and they’re there for a reason. Underneath their outer feathers, chickens have a downy layer of soft feathers. When it’s cold, they fluff those feathers to trap warm air underneath and they’re able to stay cozy.

Can chickens go outside in winter? Yes! The truth is, they like to get outside and explore in pretty much any weather and it’s always good for them to get some fresh air.

How to Get Started Winter Bird Feeding

What Both You and the Birds Will Need


Feeding the birds in winter is a fun way to stay connected with nature, participate in some citizen science studies and maybe learn a thing or two. Winter is naturally a time when we spend more time indoors, but that doesn't mean we have to leave nature behind.

Find out how to get started winter bird feeding - what you'll need to feed the birds and what you'll need to see and identify them.
A white-throated sparrow.

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