Archive for May, 2012

Help! There is Blood Dripping from my Chicken’s Beak!

I’m a wreck. I went out to the henhouse this morning to check for eggs. Everyone was looking for some treats as usual and I doled them out as usual. While everyone (except our broody Silkie) was eating, I checked for eggs, but instead found blood. What?! I took a closer look at the ladies and found our Buff Orpington had blood dripping, literally dripping, from her beak. Cornell Cooperative Extension, like everything else on Memorial Day weekend, is closed. I’m worried for her if its an injury and I’m worried for the rest of the flock if it’s contagious. I Googled it and I’m not encouraged by the results. What do I do? Help. Help. Help.

Here are some pictures of our sick girl. As far as I can tell, her sinuses don’t look swollen.

This is what alerted me to the problem in the first place. A frightening puddle of blood. She did come out of the henhouse when I brought food, ate some, and then she and some other ladies were curious when I took my camera out and came back inside.

Another clue is that there isn’t just the dripping blood, but some blobs of bloody tissue. I checked for external injuries, but see any signs.

In looking back on the past week, I wonder if my Silkie truly is broody or perhaps she is manifesting signs of something more sinister? Fortunately, Silkie is blood-free.


UPDATE 6/2013:  She fully recovered.  After the dripping blood cleared, you could see where part of her top beak was missing. A year later, her beak has completely regrown so I suspect it was some sort of mechanical damage either from a a flock-mate or something around the yard.  Since we don’t have chicken-cam surveillance, I guess we’ll never know.


The Broody Experiments

Silkie is broody. The previous evidence of constant sitting and lack of eggs pointed towards this, seconded by readers’ comments (thanks!), and yesterday’s experiment confirmed it for me. If she were sick, she would be too ill to get around, right? So I locked all the chickens out of the coop and run for the afternoon. Mean mommy, but everyone else finished laying and I made sure there was water and food. And what happened? Silkie free-ranged with the others for a few minutes and the proceeded to pace the door, trying to get back to the nesting boxes. Pace, pace, pace. She must have really wanted to get back to those phantom eggs. At least it got her up and moving and off the nest just as a wire-bottom cage would, except that I have free-range and no wire-bottom cage.

This weekend’s chicken treatment is to continue intensive free-range therapy. Will the experiment yield the desired result?  Hypothesis:  Hopefully.


Where Fish Wear Seat Belts

Passengers: 1 Toddler, 1 Goldfish

Safety Equipment: 1 Rear Child Seat, 1 Front Seat Belt

The Outcome: 1 Toddler Buckled in Rear Child Seat, 1 Goldfish Buckled in Front Seat Belt

Internal Mommylogue: I’ve crossed a line somewhere.


Broody or Sicky?

For the past week, this is the scene confronting me each visit to the coop: Silkie sitting.


Yes, I know that Silkies are notorious setters, so we had a few chuckles about Silkie and I simultaneously deciding it was time to brood our respective eggs. However, as the week has progressed, I’m getting concerned because other than sitting burning hot, she’s not showing other typical brooding behavior. For example,she’s not  at all miffed when I retrieve eggs from under her and unceremoniously remove her from the nesting box several times a day. Not even a hiss or peck or indignant fluffing of feathers in my general direction! Docile as a doll. When placed on the cool ground, she just sits there dazedly for a few minutes before wandering off.


Sometimes I can get her to eat and drink. Other times, it’s just back to the coop. She’s not visibily missing any feathers and I’ve done a thorough search of the area for plucked feathers just in case. She also feels like she’s a healthy weight and I can’t detect any signs of an egg bound hen.


What’s your guess: Is she broody or sick? Let’s hope for broody because she’s the best-natured broody hen I’ve ever encountered!

Breakfast Smoothie with Seasonal, Local Fruit

When eating for two, sometimes breakfast just doesn’t want to cooperate. Somehow, I’m almost always able to manage smoothies. This recipe was inspired by Alton Brown’s Buff Smoothie Recipe.

  • 8 oz. homemade yogurt or soymilk
  • 12 oz. of mixed local fruit in season or frozen during the season
  • handful of ice cubes (optional, but recommended if your fruit is warm)
  • fruit juice (optional to thin smoothie if the consistency is too thick)
  • 1 Tbsp flaxmeal or wheatgerm

Add all of your ingredients into a blender.  If you have large pieces of fruit, cutting them makes it easier for the blender blades o’ power to do their work.

Take everything for a power whirl on max power. If it’s too thick, add some juice.  Pour into a pint glass. Drink. Ahh.


Please watch this video from “The Lexicon of Sustainability” that shows the difference between cage-free, free-range, and pasture-raised poultry. Reblogged from; also showing on PBS


Editor’s note: If you liked the series of photos we featured from the Lexicon of Sustainability this winter, you might enjoy this video — which is one of three currently running on

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Caffeine-Free Teeccino for Two

I’ve tried eliminating coffee from my diet before. It worked, but somehow coffee’s call always boomeranged its way back into my life. It’s not really the caffeine that I miss, especially not the headaches that come by accidentally missing one’s daily dose, but just the cup of hot deliciousness. I’ve tried herbal teas, but just don’t love ’em. Pregnant times call for desperate measures and the wonderful world of the Internet showed the way to Teeccino, an herbal caffeine-free coffee substitute.

The Good:

  • No caffeine
  • Brews like coffee
  • Tastes good with milk and soymilk
  • Approved for pregnancy
  • Sold at the local health food store
  • Responsibly produced
  • Gluten-free
  • It’s better than no coffee

The Bad:

  • It’s not coffee
  • It’s not coffee
  • It’s still not coffee
  • It’s not locally produced
  • Not available at the local grocery store
  • Since it’s made from things like ramon nuts and carob and barley, wouldn’t it bad for your teeth to sip the stuff all day? I’m going to limit to my morning dose.

The Confusing:

  • It helps my acidity (What’s acidity and why does my body need help with it? Haven’t the Teeccino inventors ever pickled or canned anything? Don’t they know that most fruits and veg are naturally acidic? I guess I have to research that one more.)
  • Dr. Oz endorses it on tv (Um.  Ok.  Maybe I should watch more tv?)

Overall, it’s good stuff. I like the original flavor best, but I’ve also tried some of their flavored varieties with positive results. Here’s how to brew the perfect cup o’ ‘cino:

Add 1-2 Tbsp Teeccino to a 6-cup French press. Remember that coffee is measured in 4 oz. servings in those presses.


Add boiling water to fill.


Wait three minutes, press, pour, and drink.


I like my Teeccino with a splash of unsweetened soymilk. What are the ingredients in unsweetened soymilk? Soybeans and water. That’s. It. Regular soymilk has way too much sugar added. Even if it’s organic sugar, it’s still sugar.



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