This week Monica King writes her review of a book about keeping chickens. Along with keeping bees she keeps chickens and other fowl and farmyard animals – so she is our local go-to gal for this type of information.
101 Chicken Keeping Hacks by Lisa Steele of Fresh Eggs Daily
This book is right up my coop! First of all, any book full of color photos is appealing to me. Once cute pictures have my attention, I read content. I am very short on time and it is so fun to flip through the pages and read any of the quick “how-to” hacks.
Chicken Health Hacks
Some of my favorite hacks are all the herbal chicken health tips. One that really stands out is the “Top Twelve Dried Herbs for Feed.” Lisa lists many herbs that are easy to grow in the Southwest: cilantro, basil, dill, mint, marigold, parsley, and more! Which got me to thinking…..what about some of our local wild beneficial herbs we can forage or even grow in the native plant landscape? Like Wrights beebrush, also called oreganillo (Aloysia wrightii).
Hang Those Herbs
One of the herbal hacks was to use an old rake head to hang beneficial herbs to dry in the coop for fragrance and pest deterrent. Of course I have one laying around so up it goes! Where? I found an area inside the laying boxes – way up high where I don’t think that the birds may fly if spooked, as I don’t want them to get hurt on the spokes, I hung it backwards so I have to pull the rake head to refresh the herbs.
Recycle – or is it “Upcycle?”
Another hack I put to immediate use was turning old waterers into planters. I am always looking for any excuse to buy a plant and sticking to chicken beneficial ideas I went with gorgeous edible violets.
Which took me to the best Southwest hack in the book: frozen ice treats! So many options and with the inferno temperatures we have been enduring this year the girls have loved this hack! I used rose petals, cooked corn kernels, peas, hibiscus petals, cholla and prickly pear flowers, so many delicious treats inside the ice, they loved it!
It is currently too hot for some of the other ideas, such as homemade suet cakes but maybe in winter. I am pretty sure I will not be making the chicken tutus, but oh my are those ever cute though! If I had a little girl and she had a favorite hen, I would be tempted to make her one. The coop decorations such as curtains are best for someone with less chickens and more time on their hands. Personally, I wouldn’t be able to keep up with keeping them clean.
There are many great upcycling or repurposing ideas in this book as well as some tips on raising chicks on the cheap. Some of the other hacks listed I have actually already tried in the past such as the feather duster “mother hen” and it works! the chicks adore it and hide and snuggle under the duster feathers. I have made a similar “Plastic Tote Brooder” but used smaller mesh and used it for gathering bee swarms! I totally didn’t think to use if for introducing chicks.
So I love this book! I have picked it up many evenings and thumbed through it over and over. I love how it inspires me to create some of my own ideas and twists on hacks Lisa provided!
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More fun with Monica in: Using Honey in New & Savory Ways (Tierra del Sol Institute Press). Only $7 online – or buy from Monica or Jacqueline in person. This link is to Amazon and if you buy the book there the Horticulture Therapy non-profit Tierra del Sol Institute will get a few pennies at no additional cost to you.
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