Here is a neat little tutorial on how to turn an ordinary napkin into something special for your table. There is a short video where you can watch me actually do it, and then there is a photo collage for each step! Enjoy!
How many people want to come over and see your chickens? Where were they before they came to your house? Have they been to see someone else's coop? Were their chickens healthy? Other than refusing to let them near your chicken yard, what else can you do? Simply washing off their shoes is not going to cut it.
I just put in an order for these shoe/boot covers that I am keeping handy in my shed next to the coop. They are available here, 100 shoe covers for $10. No, this isn't the perfect solution. I prefer scrubbing boots and shoes with clorox and hot water to disinfect them. However, this is a quick fix for a random visit you may have not been expecting. (Plus, you can hide a few pairs in your house in case the plumber has to come over on a rainy day, and he has mud caked on his shoes!)
I am not going to worry about people's feelings if they are offended; they will just have to understand. Simply put, if you want to come into the fence at the coop, to protect both your shoes and my chickens, I need you to put on these shoe covers. If they ask why, it will keep the chicken poop off their shoes, plus if they have in any way been in contact with other chickens or animals, it will protect my girls from germs.
No, this is not ridiculous. I do not wear the same shoes to the coop that I wear to work, the feed stores, Tractor Supply, or even the neighbor's garage. I can't take the risk. I want to be able to allow my flock to free-range inside their fence without fear of contamination. I don't think this is too much to ask, and I wouldn't mind doing the same at another person's coop!
Before I begin telling you about the importance of giving your flock some yogurt, let me begin by saying that I purchase a huge container of this yogurt at a large wholesale store for a great price. It is much cheaper in a container like this, than it is purchasing the small individual containers.
We try very hard to give our chickens the best diet possible. We feed the Fresh Eggs Daily's Breakfast of Champion Layer Mix, additional dry and fresh herbs from the garden, romaine lettuce, a variety of weeds, leftovers from the kitchen, and all the bugs they can find for themselves! However, they do occasionally suffer from some digestive issues, much like humans. Even though we add the probiotic supplement ProBios to the feed that they receive daily, we do give them some plain yogurt now about once a week. They absolutely love it! We always give yogurt in moderation because chickens cannot digest the sugars in dairy, and it will cause diarrhea if the get it too often.
Recently, we gave them a good dose of yogurt once a day for a week because we noticed a few of them had messy bottoms. We gave their rear ends a nice bath; however, after just a few days they were a bit messy again. I was beginning to fear they may have developed vent gleet.
Vent Gleet isn't a sickness really; it is comparable to a yeast infection. However, if it is allowed to progress to long, it can lead to problems. What I love about natural remedies is the fact that if I treat them naturally for vent gleet and they do not have it, there are no side effects.
We always change our chicken's waterers daily, sometimes twice a day. But clean living conditions, access to fresh clean water, and access to clean dry food are perhaps the most important to prevent vent gleet. However, it can still happen. All it takes for them to develop vent gleet is an imbalance in the pH levels in the digestive tract, and this can occur from antibiotics, excessive heat, stress, or any other number of issues that have nothing to do with cleanliness.
To combat the possibility of vent gleet we add apple cider vinegar to their waterers daily — we add Probios to their feed daily. We are now giving a special "yogurt" treat once a week.
Simple changes can make a great difference in your flock's overall health.
To learn more about vent gleet, click here.
I keep a huge tub of this treat mix ready for the guinea fowl. I must admit that they are totally free-range, and get 95 percent of their diet from foraging for bugs and ticks, eating grasses, and raiding my herb garden. However, I do keep a station set up with fresh water, extra feed and treats, just in case they want something more. This can be used for the chickens also, because they absolutely have a fit when I am mixing this up for the guineas! I always have to throw them a handful to enjoy, just so
I can get past them to give it to the guinea!
I feed all my chickens and guineas Fresh Eggs Daily's Breakfast of Champion Layer Mix, and as you can see, I use a scoop of the Layer Mix in the treat mixture also. In addition to this, I add a scoop of scratch grains, a scoop of millet, and a scoop of dried mealworms.
Keep in mind these are TREATS ... these should not be used as their only source of feed. Also, please remember to provide water for all your free-range animals like the guinea. In heat like we are experiencing now, they may have difficulty finding water sources that are usually available to them.
This drawing salve is great for splinters, and it is so easy to make! I love being able to pick fresh herbs and other items directly from my yard and be able to use them. This is can also be good for wounds your animals may get.
I have been taking a class from the Herbal Academy of New England for a couple months. It has been a really interesting experience learning about all the natural ingredients and their unique abilities to heal the body. Recently, they started an introductory class that is a lot of fun and very affordable.
|Click here to explore the class!|
In the latest section of my class, I made a drawing salve and the ingredients are an interesting mixture. A drawing salve is used to help treat minor skin irritations. This particular one is used for treating boils, insect bites, and splinters. Each ingredient has a special purpose and when combined, they are potent.
Plantain is a weed that grows wild and is probably in everybody’s yard. Plantain can be cut while in the yard, chewed and placed on insect bites immediately when they happen for relief. By itself, plantain is anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory.
Bentonite is known as a healing clay. It is made from volcanic ash, and it actually produces an electric charge. Because of this charge, when activated, using a liquid like water or vinegar, it has an ability to draw out toxins and chemicals, much like a sponge can absorb water. (Make sure the clay never touches metal such as spoons or bowls- it will neutralize the electric charge)
Activated charcoal is interesting. It has many uses both internally and externally. Highly porous, the charcoal pulls bacterial and toxins into the pores on its surface and traps them. (I actually grind it down a bit more than it comes to help it absorb into the salve better.)
Beeswax is obviously used to change the texture of this liquid and turn it into a salve. However, that is not its only purpose. Beeswax acts as a barrier, trapping the healing ingredients next to the skin.
Castor Oil is the notorious laxative. However, when applied topically, it is an anti-inflammatory, helps skin remain hydrated, fights infections, and is known to heal cuts and wounds.
Finally, our essential oils: Clove, Rosemary, Lemon, Lavender, and Eucalyptus
Lavender is credited, in this instance, with its amazing anti-bacterial qualities.
Clove is great as an antiseptic, and is often used to treat bug bites and cuts.
Lemon is a natural bacterial infection fighter.
Rosemary is credited with having the ability to kill bacteria and viruses on the surface of the skin. It is known to improve circulation, and will help with cell renewal at the site of injury.
Eucalyptus is added for the anti-inflammatory properties that is is known to have, and it has a unique ability to calm the skin. It is also a very popular treatment by itself for bites, burns, and blisters.
As you can see, each of these ingredients potentially have incredible healing abilities on their own, but when combined into this salve, you have created a anti-inflammatory and healing bomb!
Homemade Drawing Salve
1 1/2 cups olive oil infused with plantain
1/2 cup Castor Oil
1 ounce beeswax
1/2 cup activated charcoal
1/2 cup Bentonite clay
1 teaspoon total of essential oils : clove, rosemary, lemon, lavender, and eucalyptus
To make the olive oil infused with plantain: I pulled fresh plantain from my yard and placed it in a small crock pot with the olive oil for about 4 hours on low. You can also infuse it by placing the ingredients in a jar and allowing it to sit for about ten days. Then, strain the oil and press the leaves out to get as much as possible. (or, I put the leaves and the oil in the food processor and liquified them. This way the salve gets as much benefit from the plantain as possible.
Then, I placed it in a small glass pan and slowly warmed it up enough to melt the beeswax. Slowly stir in the remaining ingredients, I used a wooden spoon to keep the bentonite clay active. Pour into small glass jars and allow mixture to cool. It will slowly start solidifying, so don’t add more beeswax than it calls for, or it will be a solid, not a salve!
This is perhaps the easiest Bruschetta ever.
All you need is:
Cherry Tomatoes: I purchased yellow and red from a farmer to add color
Fresh Basil- Pulled from my garden
A French Baguette- sliced at an angle
No measurements here:
I quartered the cherry tomatoes
Grabbed a bunch of basil from the garden and chopped it and threw it in!
Then I sprinkled it with a generous amount of salt and some pepper.
Then I tossed in a couple tablespoons of Balsamic vinegar.
I mixed it up and let this rest while I seared the baguette.
I sliced the baguette on an angle so the individual pieces would be larger.
I put some Olive Oil in my fry pan and coated top and bottom of the bread.
I turned on the heat and turned them when they got golden brown.
Finally, I spooned the tomato mixture over top of the hot bread,
and I spooned the vinegar mixture from the bottom of the bowl over top of the tomatoes.
If you happen to have some cheese, you can sprinkle it on the top, and then broil them
to melt the cheese.
Either way, with or without cheese, this is a wonderful summertime treat!