Tag Archives: Animals

30 Days of Thanksgiving – 4

30 Days of Thanksgiving - 4

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Before the Holidays – 2 Weeks Out

Preparing for the Holidays in Florida means getting ready inside and out. I usually start  two weeks before Thanksgiving week with any lingering projects/repairs and the outside chores, then move inside. The week before Thanksgiving is deep cleaning, usually cleaning out cabinets and drawers, washing windows and maybe the upholstery. The week of Thanksgiving is all about shopping, baking, crafts, decorating, friends, family and fun!

This week I’m working on this years “two weeks before” list. This includes painting the bathrooms and a doorway and maybe replacing some grout in the hallways. I started sanding and caulking the bathrooms earlier this year but never finished. I’ve been a little busy.


I’ve already started the outside chores this week with cutting the grass for the last time until Spring and making a fire to clean out the fire pit. I started trimming bushes, digging up weeds and raking leaves. I’ll let the chickens help with the weeding, they’re good at digging up weeds. Then it all goes in the compost pile.


I’ll be cleaning out the animal houses and  I might put lights in the coop. I’m not sure yet because since an earlier post where I talked about putting lights in the coop, I’ve been getting more eggs. Hmmm. I think they heard me talking about it. 🙂

I have lots to do, I better get busy.

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Ducks 2.0

Ducks 101 was a nice start to gathering information for raising ducks.  I’m now 3 weeks into actually raising ducklings and I’ve been making a few adjustments. I read many articles telling me raising ducks is similar to raising chickens…not really.

CWDuck1Through experience, I’m learning how much ducks LOVE the water! Most, if not all the information I’ve read says ducks need water to drink and eat, but don’t “need” to swim. After seeing how my ducks respond in and out of the water, it seems cruel not to give them a place to swim. I would say ducks NEED to swim! Chickens on the other hand, prefer a nice dry dirt bath.

Ducks are messy! CWduck1.4 I looked through many pics of open duck houses with water containers in them, so that’s what I made. If you’re keeping water in your duck house, your bedding will be wet all the time. If you have open (netting of some kind) sides, plan for rain to get in. I built an open sided duck house with the bedding, food and water all inside. Mistake. I had to move the food and water to a “play pen” in the grass. So now every morning I have to move them from the house to the play pen. Then it rained. I am daily trying to plan ahead to build a bigger area so I don’t have to move them every morning, to include the pool and their house and keep all water away from the bedding. It looks like their house CWDuck1.1should be more like a chicken coop after all. I think I read that somewhere…

I have baby chicks in with my ducks because ducks are very nurturing. I am discovering two problems with this: 


1. the chicks need space to learn to fly and roost. The roost isn’t hard, but that means my covered space needs to be tall enough for them to fly a little.  The other problem is that the baby chicks are starting to dig up the plants that the ducks like to forage through.


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Chickens 101

People ask me all kinds of questions when they find out I have chickens. Now that I’m at the market with a few of my girls, I get dozens of those questions every week. I thought a short, basic chicken lesson would help. For more information, there are hundreds of websites, blogs and pages about chickens. Or maybe someday I’ll write a part two. (“>

First, let me answer the most common questions.

  • No, not all “chickens” lay eggs. Only the female “hens” lay eggs.
  • Most young hens lay one egg a day, 5-6 days per week.
  • Hens start laying eggs somewhere between 4-6 months old.
  • No, not all eggs have chicks in them, only the eggs fertilized… by a rooster…before laying.
  • Males and females both have combs and wattles. Most males have more prominent combs and wattles than their female counterparts.
  • Most chickens can fly short distances, over fences or up into trees where they naturally roost.
Next, let’s get our terminology straight.
  • Adult females are called hens.
  • Females that are too young to lay eggs are called pullets.
  • Adult males are called roosters.
  • Males under 1 year are called cockerels.
  • Baby chickens are called chicks.
  • comb is on the top of their heads and the wattles are on the sides of their beaks.
  • Chickens loose their feathers once a year in a molt.
  • coop is a hen house with a roost to stand on and a nesting box to lay in.

Finally, here are some other helpful and interesting facts.

  • Hens need 12-16 hours daylight to lay eggs. Most free-range hens don’t lay during the winter due to the shorter days.
  • Chickens live about 5-10 years depending on the breed.
  • Some breeds are better layers while others are better for their meat, “broilers” or “fryers”.
  • Chickens eat most anything. Grubs, popcorn, leftovers and scraps. Feed, water and egg shells and they’re good to go!
  • DO NOT feed them citrus, avocado skin or pit, raw eggs, salt or sugar.
  • They put themselves to bed at sunset.
  • Chickens are very social and fun to watch.
  • Chickens are easy to take care of. Food, water, hay for the nesting box, a safe place to roost for the night and a safe pen to run around in during the day. Don’t forget to check for eggs!
Have fun!   (“>