Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road In China

Here's something you don't see every day. Three thousand chickens escaped from an overturned truck in China. In this video you see Chinese police valiantly trying to round them up.  Yee Haw Chicken Round Up!

Share & Win Sweepstakes Winners Announced

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Yolk Fish Helps You Separate Eggs

This little device from PelegDesign can help you separate eggs and yolks. The video shows it in action. Cute and probably a good accessory if your kitchen drawers aren't already full of little labor saving devices like this.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

A Very Small Farm

Although, the shortest day of the year is now behind us, I find January to be the hardest month of the year. Its too cold to do much outside and overcast winter skies can leave me a bit blue. 

As an antidote to the cabin fever, I suggest a little gem of a book called A Very Small FarmWritten by William Paul Winchester, the book is a memoir of his 18 year journey into homesteading. Having completed a college degree in botany, Winchester buys a 20 acre parcel in Oklahoma and builds a house, barn and garden on his property. 

Author William Paul Winchester

Like a modern Thoreau, Winchester lives a simple life of solitude -- tending his Buff Orpington hens, milking his cow and harvesting fruit from his orchard. His only source of cash income is the honey he sells from his many bee hives. Winchester recalls that during an election campaign he's called by a pollster to ask about his political views. The author admits to be stumped when he's asked about his income; "There was no place in his questionnaire for my embarrassment of riches, only a dollar figure placing me somewhat near the poverty level." 

Buff Orpingtons A Breed I'd Expect Winchester To Love

But it's very clear from the book that Winchester is not poor at all. And herein lies the appeal of this book; it's a romantic portrayal of a simpler way of life where frugality and self-sufficiency are the the currency that matters most. These values, and the straightforward writing style of the book, will resonate with homesteaders both real and of the armchair variety....

"I don't consider myself any more sentimental than the next, but in the course of those quiet hours in the garden with my hoe an affinity develops, one that deepens immeasurably in the case of seed I save back for planting next spring. Because of the seeds in those jars and packets in the pantry, winter never seems long. Brought out on a snowy evening and scattered on the dining table in a pool of lamplight, seeds look like nothing so much as precious stones -- treasure, which in a real sense they are." 

The book's chapter are arranged topically but each includes a set of journal entries Winchester recorded in his diary. They are arranged chronologically, and over the course of the book, provide a glimpse into daily life on Winchester's farm through an entire calendar year. 

Reader be warned, the journal entries all begin with a description of the day's weather. I suspect that the publishers choice to include this information was a conscious one, and meant to act as a literary device to convey a sense of stability on the farm, because it doesn't make for scintillating reading..."Change to rain and falling rapidly, cirrus fair becoming stratus mostly cloudy, 42 to 67 degrees..." 

That said, I highly recommend A Very Small Farm to gardeners, homesteaders and wannabes. An elegant little book and a quick read, you can buy a copy at Amazon.com for just $10.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Keep Calm And Love Chickens

A special treat for our readers this wonderful Sunday morning! Free KEEP CALM & LOVE CHICKENS wallpaper. 

You can use this as the background for your computer, tablet or smartphone since we’ve made it 25 of the most common screen size resolutions. If you decide to use one, please like us on facebook.

You can find the wallpaper at our website: Chicken Waterer Downloads.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Orpington Chickens

Orpingtons are prized for their massive appearance and they can truly tower over other breeds in the flock; a large framed bird with short legs and “fluffy” plumage, the Orpington looks like a giant cuddly snowball.  However, today’s Orpington is quite different than the breed first introduced in the 19th. century. In fact, it’s of a completely different breeding stock.

Buff Orpington Showing Characteristic Broad Build & Fluffy, Contoured Feathers

Developed by William Cook in 1886, the original Black Orpington was intended to be a dual-purpose breed with high table value. Specifically, Cook developed the Orpington to satisfy the needs a growing number of poultry enthusiasts who wanted a chicken breed that would lay a large number of eggs, lay in Winter, and to be a good meat bird.

Cook first mated Black Minorcas with Plymouth Rocks and then bred the female offspring of this pairing with Langshans.  The result was the Black Orpington, a breed with the desired characteristics and a lovely beetle-green sheen on black plumage.

Interestingly, the breed’s color was not an accidental. At the time, coal was an important fuel in England and its use created huge amounts of black soot in the air. Ever the marketer, Cook felt a black bird would show better at poultry exhibitions because any soot that had gathered on the Orpington’s feathers would not be readily visible.

Manchester, England Circa 1890 Showing Chimneys & Soot In the Air

The Black Orpington was first shown at the Dairy, Crystal Palace and Birmingham poultry shows in 1896 and was an immediate hit with the public. Cook capitalized on this initial success by aggressively promoting the breed, sending Black Orpingtons to many countries around the world including the United States and Australia.  Those sent to latter country provided the initial breeding stock for what became today’s Australorp. 

Crystal Palace, Hyde Park, London

However, in England the Orpington breed was to about to undergo a radical transformation. Another breeder, Joseph Partington, developed a significantly larger and more extravagantly feathered bird by crossing the Orpington with the Black Cochin.  The resulting “Partington Black” was decidedly different than Cook’s original breed – gone was much of the productive value of the bird in favor of its now famous fancy characteristics.

Seeing Partington’s success, Cook developed birds with similar bulk and fluffy feathers that he also named Orpingtons. The Buff Orpington was introduced in 1894 and a White Orpington was developed in 1899.  Since then, Blue, Cuckoo, Jubilee, and Spangled varieties have been produced and the Orpington has become one of the most famous and recognized poultry breeds. The breed today is characterized by a small head and comb, wide chest, broad back and soft profuse feathers that are fluffy and contoured.

William Orpington continued as a successful breeder and entrepreneur until his death in 1904. Among his other accomplishments were the publication of a magazine (Poultry Journal), two books (The Poultry Keeper’s Account Book and Practical Poultry Breeder & Feeder), and the manufacture and sale of poultry feed supplements.

Advertisement for William Cook's Poultry Supplement

Posting sponsored by ChickenWaterer.com, makers of the BriteTap poultry nipple waterer. The BriteTap chicken waterer shields water from dirt and poop. The water stays clean and there are no messy pans for you to wash out. 

Sources: Orpingtonaustarlia.com, Orpingtonbantgams.co.uk, “Cook-ing up The Orpington and Australorp” by Dorene M. Lorenz.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Egg Expressions

Have you heard the following expressions?

  • Egg on your face
  • Egg head
  • Laid and egg
  • Egg someone on
Where did these egg-cellent egg-spressons come from? Check out this clip from the TV show America's Secret Slang that explains the origins of our egg phrases.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Win A BriteTap Chicken Waterer

BriteTap Chicken Waterer Share & Win Sweepstakes

Want to win a BriteTap chicken waterer? Enter our Share & Win Sweepstakes.

BriteTap Chicken Waterer

We're giving away a BriteTap waterer. And for every 250 people who "Like" us on Facebook, we'll add one more waterer to the prize pool up to a maximum of 25 prizes. (Note: The sweepstakes is only open to those who have never liked our Facebook page in the past) 

How To Enter

To enter, go to our Facebook page 
and then click on the Trophy Icon that appears at the top of the page in the timeline area. (The trophy icon looks like the one pictured below) 

How to Improve Your Chances of Winning

Once you enter, "Like" us and enter the sweepstakes. You'll then be prompted to share with your friends. If you choose to do so, you'll be awarded one bonus entry for each of your friends who then comes to our Facebook page, clicks on the Trophy Icon, and "Likes" us. The more who enter, the more prizes for everyone to win. The more you share, the more potential bonus entries you'll get. To enter click: BriteTap Chicken Waterer Sweepstakes.

Promotion ends Jan 26, 2014 at Midnight.