Sunday, April 29, 2012

Overnight Chicken Oatmeal!

I'm going to spin off of Kevin's post/recipe about making oatmeal for the chickens in the morning.  I know things can get a bit hectic in the mornings and lets face it, not everyone is willing or able to cook breakfast for their chickens. But for those of you who are pressed for time but still interested in serving up a homemade treat for your fine feathered friends, here's your solution . I present to you slow cooker overnight oatmeal that will be ready before your feet even hit the floor!  Now I will warn you that I was not able to find a recipe that people LOVED, but since we're feeding chickens here I'm not all that concerned about it being fabulous.  But just a warning in case you were planning on sharing.  :)


  • 1 cup steel cut oats
  • 1 cup dried rasisins
  • 1 cup chopped apple
  • 4 cups water
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half


In a slow cooker, combine all ingredients and set to low heat. Cover and let cook for 8 to 9 hours.
Stir and remove to serving bowls. This method works best if started before you go to bed. This way your oatmeal will be finished by morning.

Craisins are always the first to go..

Here my latest morning chicken treat recipe:

2 cups of hot water
1 3/4 Quaker oats
1/4 cup diced apple (peeled)
1/4 cup of craisins or raisins
2 Tbl. Crunchy peanut butter
1 pinch or garlic salt

Mix all dry ingredients, add peanut butter then pour hot water over then entire mix. Let cool a little. Serve warm.

They LOVE it!

~ Kevin
They always come back around to finish up the rest!

Friday, April 27, 2012

The future belongs to the few of us.....

Are your Free Range Chickens Thirsty?

I feel like I am constantly refilling water for our backyard chickens, the dog, wild birds, and the kids. After visiting with our friend Travis, he showed me a cheap way to keep water out and me away from the hose for a longer period of time.

Farm and Fleet and TSC both sell big watering units for your flock that cost $18.00 - 30.00. For Under $10.00 you can easily make your own that will even hold more water and the dog can use.

Purchase a feed pan (basically an over-sized pie pan). Gather up a clean 5 or 7 gallon bucket, 1/4" drill, and 2 bungee cords. Drill a hole 1/2" to 3/4" down from the lip of the bucket. Fill it up with fresh water, place the pan over it and quickly but carefully flip it over and place on the ground. Secure the bucket to the pan with the bungee cords, and you are all set.

If the water over fills the pan, you know you drilled the hole(s) down too far on the bucket and will need to try again using another one. Measure first!

Cheers~ Kevin
best urban backyard chicken waterer
Best backyard chicken waterer

A Better Way To Attach Chicken Wire Fencing

     Keeping YOUR chickens in YOUR backyard as an urban homesteader, can be a daunting task. With the use of a few basic tools and some chicken wire fencing, you can "almost" completely rest assured your hens wont be the ones that
~flew the coop~!
Before we get started here's the tools you will need. I have an air compressor which makes all my daily chores go much smoother, but a regular heavy stapler will work to!

 Chicken wire or hardware cloth.
Sheet metal/ aviation snips.
Stapler and a bunch of staples.
Compressor with enough hose to reach your project area.

     Measure desired area you will be installing your fencing at. Strength out and flatten your chicken fencing on the ground being careful not to cut yourself on the sharp edges.

     Spread it across the are you will be covering and start stapling at one end shooting staples from top to bottom then moving in columns from left to right. I usually skip over about 6 openings to the next staple.

Happy Backyard Chickens!

Following these simple steps will give you a neat looking installation even a chicken will appreciate!
Cheers~ Kevin

Paula Deen's Baked French Toast Casserole with Maple Syrup

The weekend is almost here and if your house is anything like ours, a delicious breakfast is in order.  If your overloaded with eggs, heres a DELICIOUS (no one said it was healthy) casserole courtesy of Paula Deen at Food Network.

Paula Deen's Baked French Toast Casserole with Maple Syrup.


  • 1 loaf French bread (13 to 16 ounces)
  • 8 large eggs
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Dash salt
  • Praline Topping, recipe follows
  • Maple syrup


Slice French bread into 20 slices, 1-inch each. (Use any extra bread for garlic toast or bread crumbs). Arrange slices in a generously buttered 9 by 13-inch flat baking dish in 2 rows, overlapping the slices. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, half-and-half, milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt and beat with a rotary beater or whisk until blended but not too bubbly. Pour mixture over the bread slices, making sure all are covered evenly with the milk-egg mixture. Spoon some of the mixture in between the slices. Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.
The next day, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Spread Praline Topping evenly over the bread and bake for 40 minutes, until puffed and lightly golden. Serve with maple syrup.

Praline Topping:

  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and blend well. Makes enough for Baked French ToastCasserole.

Recipe from

The dish we used:

More great recipes from Paula Deen:

And just because:

Friday, April 20, 2012

Dogs and Chickens

When making the decision to buy and raise chickens, not once did I take into consideration what Beckman's "opinion" might be of the whole situation.  From the first day we brought home our chicks, we made it very clear to him that they were part of our family, or in his case pack, and that they were in no way, shape or form here for his consumption. So when I posted the pictures of Beckman having his first official face to face with the chicks, I was surprised by how many people were interested in knowing more about how he acted, some even expressing concerns about their own dogs interactions, many ending in the death of one or more of their chickens.  I realized that maybe we weren't the norm here and then wondered how many people struggled with their chickens and dogs coexisting.  While I am not a dog trainer or an expert in chicken-dog socialization, I thought I would share some helpful hints that I found on that may help some achieve harmony in their animal world.

    • 1

      Create a safe home for your hens.

      Build a secure coop and an enclosed outdoor run for the chickens, which is important before you introduce your family dog to them. Simple chicken coop plans are available online at You can also purchase a coop from a feed store or the website Henspa (See Resources below).
    • 2
      Make it clear to the dog that you like the chickens and they are part of the family; this is key to training a dog to live with chickens. On the first day of the introduction, release your chickens into their secure run. Then, put your dog on a short lead and walk him over to the run area. Allow your dog to sniff around the coop and enclosed run and to investigate the chickens through the fencing. If your dog lunges or barks at the chicken, reprimand him with a firm "No." Repeat this step twice a day for three to five days.
    • 3

      Doggie TV

      Allow the dog to investigate the chickens (still safely enclosed in their run) off leash. Supervise the dog closely and do not allow her to bark, growl or lunge at the birds. Praise the dog profusely when she acts calmly around the birds and give her a treat (or two). Repeat this step twice a day for an additional three to five days, or until the dog displays consistent calm behavior around the chickens.
    • 4
      After a week to ten days of separated introduction, it is time to allow your dog to get up close and personal with your chickens. Invite a spouse, family member or neighbor to help with this step. Put your dog on a short lead and take him out to the coop. Have another person hold the dog while you pick up a chicken. Pet and talk to the chicken in calm, gentle tones for a few minutes while your dog observes.
    • 5
      Using a calm voice, invite your leashed dog to approach the chicken and sniff the bird while you are holding it. Again, do not allow the dog to act aggressively towards the chicken (and be prepared to move if he does so). Heap praise on your dog and give him a treat if he investigates the bird gently. Then, walk a few feet away from the dog, put the chicken down and let your dog observe the bird wander around the yard for 5 minutes or so. Repeat this leashed interaction twice a day for 5 days or until the dog displays consistent calm behavior around the chickens.
    • 6

      Once you feel confident that your dog understands you love the chickens (and her), you can try letting the dog interact with the chickens off leash. Stay close to your dog and keep a leash handy. Praise the dog for interacting positively with the chickens and pet her occasionally so she doesn't feel jealous. If the dog aggressively approaches or barks at a chicken, reprimand her with a firm "No." Repeat these supervised encounters daily until you feel comfortable leaving the dog and chickens out together unattended.

Read more: How to Introduce a Dog to Pet Chickens |

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Silkie Toes

I had really given up on having silkies this year because it seemed like there was just no way to get them.  Farmer Travis couldn't get them for me, online was sold out until late summer, and shipping from everywhere else was a fortune.  Well....that was until we moseyed on in to the Tractor Supply one evening and there, there they stood, well, more like ran frantically, in a tub full of about a hundred other chicks marked "mixed bantams."  I absolutely had to have them.  But how did I know they were in fact silkies? I made my judgment based upon the line of fluff that ran down their legs of course!  After bringing them home, I noticed that another one of our chicks that we had purchased on a different occasion, had fluff running down her legs and began to question if my new babies were in fact silkies.  I posted a picture of them on Backyard Chickens and asked "Are these silkies?" The first response I received  was "Do they have five toes?" Uh oh.  I went out to the garage and had a peek at both silkies feet and sure enough......five toes.  Pheww! So for all of you who are new to this like me and trying to pinpoint a silkie in a tub full of hundreds of bantam chicks, here's what you need to look for.

Silkie chicken feet have five toes!
Silkie chicken feet have five toes!

Easiest Crock Pot Chicken Taco Meat EVER!

This was so easy I can't even stand it.  If you want a quick, stress free meal that your entire family will devour, this is it.

  • 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 16oz jar of chunky salsa (I use mild so the children will eat it)
  • 1 pack of taco seasoning 
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic minced
  • Small flour tortillas 
Optional toppings:
  • tomato
  • sour cream
  • shredded lettuce
  • shredded jack and cheddar cheese

  1. Throw it all in the crock pot (minus the tortillas!) set on high for 4-6 hours or low for 8-10. 
  2. About an hour before the time in the crock is done, shred the chicken using two forks.  This will be easy and the chicken will more than likely fall apart as you are shredding. 
  3. After you are done shredding, let the chicken hang out a bit in the juices.  If it seems a bit dry and you don't have much juice, add about 1/2 cup of water or chicken broth if you have it.  
  4. Done! Enjoy! 
I served these chicken tacos with cilantro-lime rice and Amy's refried beans.  YUM!!! Everyone was very happy.  I will update with a picture soon! 

Friday, April 6, 2012

Burt's Bees Baby Bee Liquid Soap Recipe

First of all, I can't even explain to you how excited I am right now to have been able to make this. I spend a fortune on soap for my kids because I refuse to use anything with chemicals and to have just made a gallon of this stuff for less than $8.00 is totally blowing my mind!

Here's what you will need:
  • 2 bars (7 oz total) of Burt's Bees Baby Bee Buttermilk Soap
  • 14 cups of water
  • Grater
  • Large pot, big enough to hold a gallon of liquid
  • Empty container big enough to hold 1 gallon

  1. Grate both bars of soap onto a cutting board
  2. Heat 14 cups of water in your large pot on the stove
  3. Add soap shavings and heat until all soap is completely dissolved
  4. Stir and remove from heat
  5. Let stand for at least 24 hours
  6. Your soap is done!

  • The soap should be the consistency of snot. Sorry....but it's true. If it's too firm, add more water.
  • I used an electric hand mixer to "smooth" the soap before putting it in my jug
  • Ladle the soap into the jug using a funnel, attempting to pour the soap into the funnel will result in lots of soap on your countertops.
  • After washing my hands with the soap, they felt incredibly squeaky clean. I am thinking that the soap needs some oil added but am not sure how well that will go over. Next time I make this I will be using Baby Bee Apricot Oil in my recipe and will update ASAP.

I want to add that this was my second attempt at making liquid soap from bar soap. The first time I used a bar of Kiss My Face and it was a disaster...basically soap water. I thought I could use it to clean my floors but it left a film so I ended up scrubbing the deck with it. I was a bit reluctant going into this round of soap making fearing that the soap wouldn't turn out. PLEASE comment on this recipe if you can think of any modifications or ways that it can be made better!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent

Turn this:

Into this:

What you will need:
  • 1/3 bar of Fels Naptha
  • 1/2 cup Washing Soda
  • 1/2 cup Borax
  • Grater
  • 2 gallon bucket
  • Water
  • Empty detergent bottles.  Ask your friends and family to save theirs and pass them along to you if you don't have any! 

  1. Heat the Fels Naptha until all of the soap shavings have completely dissolved. 
  2. Once the Fels Naptha has dissolved,  add the 1/2 cup of borax and the 1/2 cup of washing soda into the saucepan. Stir the mixture until the borax and washing soda are completely dissolved and mixed.
  3. In your 2 gallon bucket, add 4 cups of hot water.  
  4. Carefully pour your Fels Naptha/Borax/Washing Soda mixture from the saucepan into the bucket and stir. 
  5. Add 1 gallon and 6 cups of water into the bucket and stir.  
  6. Leave the soap rest for at least 24 hours.  During this time, the soap mixture will gel and your liquid laundry detergent is finished!
Use 1/2 cup of your homemade liquid laundry detergent per load.  

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Well well.....look who it is.

To early to say, but it appears that Janis and Willie might be on the mend.  They have escaped from their quarantine box quite a few times today and have been taking small adventures around the garage together.   Still doing daily treatments of VetRx to the eyes and throat and antibiotics in their water.  Hoping they are starting to feel better!

Willie before and now:


The Dynamic Duo:

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