Tag Archive: chickens

Keeping the Coop Fresh Naturally





Imagine that you live in a small one room apartment without indoor plumbing.  Living with you are your closest friends.  You dine together in this space.  You sleep in this space.  You go to the bathroom, when necessary, in this space. It’s not the prettiest of mental pictures, is it?  Yet, I’ve just described the state of affairs within the four walls of a chicken coop.  Even with access to the outdoors, chickens spend a lot of their time inside the coop together and leave the evidence behind to prove it.

We have two chicken coops and a duck house here at 1840 Farm.  The backyard garden coop houses our four bantam hens.  The main coop is home to eight heritage breed hens, many of them from the original batch of chicks we added to our farm back in 2010.  The duck house is our newest addition and provides shelter for the six ducks we added to our farmyard this spring.

1840farmcoopAll of our birds have access to the outdoors to stretch their legs, enjoy the fresh air, and nap in the sunshine.  We’ve been careful to plan for more than the recommended square footage of indoor space per bird.  We do our best to keep their indoor space clean, but any chicken or duck keeper can tell you that it doesn’t take long for them to make a mess of things.

I like to tend to our chickens, ducks, and goats as naturally as possible.  I also like to apply that philosophy to our barn, coop, and duck house maintenance.  Over the years, I have developed a few strategies to add a little natural freshness into the coop and barn. 

On warm days, our coops and barn are open and ventilated all day.  I believe strongly that cross ventilation is vital to the health of a flock.  Our front facing window and rear facing vents and access doors help to keep fresh air flowing into the coop.  The side screen door is also kept open during warm weather, allowing even more fresh air to enter the coop.

We follow the same method of keeping air circulating in our circa 1840 barn.  Each morning, I slide open the south facing front door and unlatch the screen.  Then the back door is opened and secured to keep it open and allow a breeze to flow through the main aisle. 

Keeping a coop or barn smelling fresh is a big goal and a breeze can only do so much on a hot, humid day.  Regular mucking and cleaning is the most laborious and also most successful way to keep a coop or barn smelling fresh.  Even with our drop down cleanout door, a total coop cleaning takes a sizable time commitment, not to mention the need to have a large quantity of replacement bedding on hand.

During the cold months, we utilize the deep litter method of coop and stall care, adding fresh bedding as the season marches on.  That fresh bedding piles up and helps our animals to stay warm even on the most brutal of cold New England days. With long stretches of cold temperatures, that extra warmth is needed.

During the spring, summer, and fall, I like to freshen our coop between deep cleanings.  Once a week, I use my homemade spray to do that.  In a few minutes, I can treat our flock to a fresh coop that smells clean even on the warmest summer day.

I chose the components for my spray carefully.  I use Dawn lavender dishwashing liquid soap both because of its lavender scent and its known gentleness and effectiveness to clean birds in the wild.  If it can be trusted to be used during the crisis of an oil spill, then I feel like it is safe to invite into our coop.  You could certainly substitute another brand of soap when making your spray, but I can only attest to the effectiveness of Dawn as it is the only brand that I have used.

Lavender Dawn has a lovely, light lavender scent, but I wanted to up the ante.  I also wanted to boost the power of this spray to both lightly disinfect the coop and help to deter pests.  I add tea tree oil and peppermint oil for their insect repelling qualities.  Lastly, I add a bit of lavender to help boost the calming properties of the freshening spray.

Herbal Coop Freshening Spray

2 ounces Dawn lavender dish soap
14 ounces water
10 drops tea tree oil
10 drops peppermint oil
10 drops lavender oil

I simply combine the ingredients in a clean spray bottle, replace the cap and shake the bottle gently to mix the liquid.  The resulting spray has a light, fresh scent without being overpowering.  One bottle of spray lasts me several weeks and has worked effectively in both our main coop and garden coop.

I remove the bedding from each nest box before lightly spraying the box with the herbal spray.  Then I lightly spray the walls of the coop and also the two roosts.  I allow the boxes to dry before adding fresh 23602819360_a3d81f799a_zstraw and shavings to each nest and sprinkling a bit of Herbs for Hens Coop Confetti™ in each nest. As soon as I finish my work in the coop, our hens come in to investigate their freshened surroundings. 

While I felt as though our hens appreciated my efforts, I decided to test my theory.  One week, I only freshened a single nest box.  I left the remaining boxes untouched and didn’t spray the floor or roost.  I placed a handful of herbs on top of the lone freshened box and exited the coop.

Later that afternoon, I went out to the coop to retrieve the day’s eggs.  Every egg that had been laid was in the freshened nest box.  They were sitting on top of the dried herbs I had placed there.

Clearly, our hens did appreciate my weekly freshening services.  The fact that they decided to lay their eggs in the only nest box that I had freshened confirmed that. As a chicken keeper, there was no bigger affirmation the hens could give me.  Collecting enough fresh eggs to feed my family was all the encouragement I needed to keep me coming back to freshen the coop every week.

Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2016/10/keeping-the-coop-fresh-naturally/

Oven Poached Eggs with Hollandaise Style Sauce

Oven Poached Eggs CollageI love a perfectly poached egg.  The texture is unlike any other egg preparation, firm enough to hold together yet delicate and smooth as velvet.  The perfectly poached yolk is thick and fluid, imparting an earthy richness to anything it is served with.

Oven Poached Eggs at 1840 FarmI first came to know poached eggs watching Julia Child on PBS as a teenager.  She waxed poetic about the luscious taste of a poached egg.  I remember her talking specifically about fresh eggs versus store bought eggs.  She belabored the point that eggs from the grocery store were in her words “unpoachable” due to their age.  She then went on to demonstrate several methods for poaching an egg, turning out lovely oval shaped specimens that were cooked to perfection.

At that point in my life, I didn’t have access to eggs fresh from the coop, so I was determined to make do with the eggs we had in the refrigerator.  I tried and tried, learning firsthand that Julia (of course) was right.  Those store bought eggs simply didn’t have the ability to stay tightly together when plunged into the hot water.  The results were a shaggy and disappointing mess.

Years later, but long before I became a chicken keeper, we purchased fresh eggs at our local farmer’s market.  I did poach those eggs using Julia’s instructions to guide me.  They were delicious.  Unfortunately, the process was time consuming and my kitchen looked like a war zone once we were finished.  There was the poaching pot, the double boiler used to make the Hollandaise, and all the implements used to make one meal for two people. 

I was thrilled with the results, but left wishing that there was an easier way to poach eggs.  I tried several methods with differing results, but was left with the conclusion that I was happy enough with a perfectly fried egg to just serve those when I wanted that lovely runny egg yolk and softly cooked white.

Now that we are chicken keepers, I find myself always on the lookout for a new way to prepare the eggs we collect fresh from the coop.  The time had come for me to revisit the poached egg and find a simple, foolproof method for creating them for the whole family.Oven Poached Egg at 1840 Farm

I had read about oven poaching eggs but was skeptical about the process.  It seemed too easy, too simple.  Yet, I couldn’t wait to give it a try.  I loved the thought of being able to poach dozens of eggs at once.  If I could perfect the timing, poached eggs would be making a regular appearance at our farmhouse table.

It took a few attempts for me to pin down the timing of oven poached eggs.  Once I did, I couldn’t believe how simple they were to make.  Not only were the eggs beautiful and delicious, but the process was so easy and forgiving.

It’s egg season here right now.  Our heritage breed hens are producing an abundance of delicious fresh eggs.  With a steady supply of fresh eggs and the garden harvest so far away, these poached eggs are a simple and comforting homegrown meal that my family requests time and time again. They’re a regular feature on our breakfast, lunch, and dinner plates and always a welcome sight.

This method certainly isn’t Julia’s way of poaching eggs, but I don’t think that she’d mind me finding an easy way to serve perfectly poached eggs to my family.  In fact, I think that she’d approve wholeheartedly. 

Oven Poached Eggs with Hollandaise Style Sauce
I find that room temperature eggs work best in this preparation. I reach for the eggs in our egg basket on the kitchen counter when making them. Choosing eggs that are similar in size will result in evenly cooked eggs and make the process of timing much easier. I choose eggs that would be considered large in size (approximately 60 grams in weight). Eggs of smaller or larger sizes can certainly be poached by adjusting the baking time slightly.
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For the Poached Eggs
  1. Large Eggs, room temperature
  2. Standard Sized Muffin Pan
  3. water
For the Hollandaise Style Sauce (Makes enough for four eggs)
  1. 2 Tablespoons mayonnaise
  2. 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  3. hot sauce to taste
  4. 1 Tablespoon warm water
  5. salt and pepper or chives to garnish
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Position an oven rack in the middle of the oven. Gather a standard sized muffin pan and the number of eggs you would like to poach.
  2. Add one Tablespoon of water to each compartment of the muffin tin that will be used for poaching. Crack a large egg into each of the water filled compartments. Transfer the pan to the preheated oven.
  3. Bake the eggs for 14 – 16 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through that time. The whites should be softly set and the surface of the egg should remain glossy. Remove the pan from the oven.
  4. Using a slotted spoon, remove each poached egg from the pan. Serve with a sprinkling of salt and pepper, chives, or your favorite egg topping. I like to serve them with an easy hollandaise style sauce made by stirring together mayonnaise, lemon juice, and a few dashes of hot sauce. I add the warm water to loosen the sauce and spoon it over the poached eggs before garnishing with a bit of salt and pepper or chopped chives.
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Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2016/04/oven-poached-eggs-with-hollandaise-style-sauce/

A Healthy Fall Treat for our Hens – Pumpkin Oatmeal

1840 Farm CoopFall is here. Our landscape is becoming more colorful every day. The foliage has been just glorious this year, the most beautiful I have seen in several years. Each day, I am astounded by the intense colors Mother Nature has treated us to this year.  Even the hens are enjoying a more colorful backdrop as the beautiful red maple leaves collect around their coop and run.

Now that fall has enveloped our farm, it is time to admit that we all know what is coming next: the long New England winter. A cold, snowy winter is to be expected here in New England. It simply goes with the geography. We don’t have to love the thought of months on end spent shoveling snow, watching the sun go down before 4:00 pm, and battling the perils of a drafty farmhouse built a full two decades before Abraham Lincoln became President. No, we don’t have to love it, but it’s coming and we might as well prepare ourselves to endure it in gritty New England fashion.

Long Island Cheese Heirloom Squash at 1840 FarmAs we ready the farm and its animals for winter weather, the meals served at our farmhouse table begin to celebrate the best of what is available during the season when our gardens are at rest. We begin to utilize the food we have put up in the pantry and freezer, pairing it with locally raised meat and produce from our favorite farms. The cast iron skillets go in the heavy rotation and tall pots of homemade chili and soup become a common sight.

One of those warm, comforting meals is our Smoky Black Bean Chili with Butternut Squash. It’s full of the deep flavors of chilies, tomatoes, and coffee from the fresh chili paste that flavors the bubbling pot. It has an intoxicating aroma which always brings my family to the kitchen to ask if their nose has correctly informed them of the meal that will grace that evening’s dinner table.

Our heritage breed hens are equally enthusiastic about my fall menu Pumpkin Seeds at 1840 Farmplanning. When squash and pumpkin are featured on our dinner table, the hens are treated to the pulp and seeds for days to come. On warmer days, I serve the seeds as is and the girls gobble them quickly. On brisk mornings, I often mix a hearty amount of the seeds and pulp into a bowl of warm oatmeal for them. On a cold morning, a steaming bowl of oatmeal is a welcome treat and doesn’t last more than a few minutes.

As a chicken keeper, I can’t help but love finding a healthy treat for our chickens that they love to eat and makes use of kitchen scraps. Not only do our girls love the flavor of the squash or pumpkin seeds and pulp, they deliver amazing nutritional and health benefits with every bite. Seeds from cucurbits are delicious and hold the incredible power of helping our hens to fight off internal parasites.

While you’re carving up Halloween Jack O’Lanterns and serving up squash and pumpkins to your family, save the seeds and pulp for your flock. They’ll be happy to enjoy their healthy treat and reward you with good health and fresh eggs.

You can learn more about the health benefits of feeding your flock pumpkin and squash along with other natural chicken and duck keeping strategies from our friends at Fresh Eggs Daily. While you’re reading, I’ll be carving up a Halloween Jack O’Lantern for the front porch, putting on a pot of chili, and taking out a bowl of nutritious pumpkin seeds to our girls!

Butternut Squash/Pumpkin Oatmeal for the Hens at 1840 Farm
This recipe is a great place to use the remaining butternut squash or pumpkin from your favorite fall recipes. Remember to include the seeds and you’ll find that only the peel will be making its way to your compost pile.

4 – 6 ounces winter squash or pumpkin, peeled and cubed (seeds included)
16 ounces water
2 1/4 cups old-fashioned oats
2 ounces yogurt or kefir

Place butternut squash and seeds in a large microwave-safe bowl with the water. Select a large bowl as the oatmeal will expand greatly as it cooks. Microwave on high for 4 minutes.

Carefully remove the bowl from the microwave and add the oats, stirring to combine. Return bowl to microwave and cook on high for an additional 5 minutes.

Remove bowl from the microwave. Add yogurt or kefir and stir to combine. Allow to cool slightly and serve to the lucky residents of your coop.


To make sure that you don’t miss any of our original content or favorite recipes, DIY projects, and homesteading advice from around the web, subscribe to The 1840 Farm Community Newsletter. Visit our subscription form to become the newest member of The 1840 Farm Community.

Our newsletter isn’t the only way to follow what’s happening here at 1840 Farm.
You’re always welcome at 1840 Farm
and at The 1840 Farm Mercantile Shop on Etsy.
You can also find 1840 Farm throughout the social media universe on
Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Flickr, and Bloglovin‘.

We even created a new 1840 Farm Community Newsletter Pinterest board to catalog
our newsletter content so that you could easily pin your favorites to your own boards.

Come add your voice to our conversation!
We’ll hope to see you there!


Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2015/10/a-healthy-fall-treat-for-our-hens-pumpkin-oatmeal/

Happy Independence Day

1840 Farm FlagI grew up celebrating Independence Day with sparklers and barbecue. We lived in Kansas and didn’t really need the guise of a holiday as an excuse to eat barbecue. Fourth of July parades and celebrations seemed to be as ubiquitous as sunshine on a summer day during those years.

There were opportunities for fun everywhere I looked. Children ran through neighboring yards while flags flapped on front porches. As darkness enveloped the neighborhood, fireflies were caught in jars and held just long enough to marvel at their luminescence before releasing them back into the humid, warm air. Those Independence Day celebrations were filled with family, food and the pride we felt in being Americans.

These days, I celebrate the Fourth of July with my family in New England. Our geography has changed along with the way I view this holiday and commemorate its meaning. Living in a farmhouse that has seen so much of our nation’s history has strengthened my connection to this day.Isis Candy Cherry Heirloom Tomatoes at 1840 Farm

In my opinion, every chicken keeper celebrates their freedom each time they collect an egg from their coop just as every gardener celebrates with each tomato they harvest fresh from the vine. Choosing to raise your own food rather than simply purchase it at the local grocery store is an epic decision. Every meal that consists of fresh food personally raised, harvested and tended is a celebration of an independent spirit and the determination to hold our food supply close at hand.

I don’t take my freedom to make this choice for granted. Instead, I celebrate the opportunity we have been given to live on our farm and learn the real value of the food that graces our dinner plates. Generations ago, Americans learned that lesson by working on their own farms. They had firsthand knowledge of the amazing effort required to raise a baby chick to the day it laid its first egg or tend a crop and bring it to harvest.

Chickens are an integral part of our nation’s long history. When our nation celebrated the first “Anniversary of the Independence of the United States of America” in 1777, it was more notable to be an American who didn’t keep chickens. Chickens were easily accessible to the colonists and critically important to their daily survival. They were equally important to our Founding Fathers and the settlers who came before them.

BerthaChickens arrived in the New World after long voyages to Jamestown in 1607 and Plymouth Rock in 1620. Those chickens helped travelers endure long journeys at sea and set down roots in their new communities in the New World. In those settlements, a chicken was a prized possession and held the promise of the incredible ability to produce food for your family.

In the early 1800s, chickens were a common sight on large plantations, estates and even the yards of modest homes. They were likely to be seen strutting through the streets of the early cities and towns looking for food. In those days, chicken was rarely seen on the dinner plate of average citizens.

Chickens were instead kept for their egg-laying capabilities. An egg-laying hen could supply a family with many meals compared to the single meal a chicken dressed for service on the dinner table provided. The lacking nutritional quality of the bird’s diet was also a contributing factor. Instead of carefully formulated, complete chicken feeds, chickens were fed diets consisting almost entirely of kitchen scraps. While today’s chicks can mature to table weight in as little as 8 weeks, back in the Colonist’s day it could take as long as six months.

At that time in our nation’s history, chickens were kept by Americans of all classes and backgrounds. Slaves were often allowed to keep a few hens at their quarters to supplement their diets or to trade or sell the resulting eggs. Poor families kept hens loose in their backyards to help dispose of kitchen waste and to assist in turning manure piles. Only the wealthy could afford to house their birds in decorative coops within the confines of their manicured gardens and lawns.

Care of the family flock fell mostly to the women in the early days of our country. It was lighter work than tending to the larger livestock and a chore easily managed by a woman and her children. Even the youngest child could gather fresh eggs and bring them into the farmhouse kitchen.

George Washington kept Dominique chickens along with other heritage breeds of livestock at his estate, Mount Vernon. By all accounts, he was captivated by animal husbandry. In fact, he longed to leave both the military and the presidency to return to his beloved farm. Washington carefully selected the breeds of livestock kept on his estate and endeavored to make use of every single product and byproduct of their life cycle.Necessaries at Mount Vernon

Most notably, he aimed to incorporate their manure as rich fertilizer in the cultivation of his gardens and crops. In fact, he didn’t only collect fertilizer from his farm animals. He also constructed and located his “necessaries” within the aesthetic design of the grounds at Mount Vernon. Years ago, when I visited, I noticed these impressive, elevated structures with brick foundations and even photographed them. Only after reading Andrea Wulf’s Founding Gardeners did I learn that they were in fact the outhouses purposely located in the ornamental gardens at Mount Vernon.

Our second president, John Adams’ relationship with chickens was slightly different. Like Washington, he saw himself as a farmer. He returned to Peacefield in Quincy, Mass., after losing a bitter election to Thomas Jefferson in 1800. While he hadn’t left political life willingly, he consoled himself with the work of his farm and lived there happily until his death in 1826.

His wife, Abigail, so loved her chickens and ducks that she tended to their daily needs herself. In fact, she remarked to Thomas Jefferson after living in France and England as a diplomat’s wife that, “I seldom meet with characters so inoffensive as my hens and chickens.” She much preferred the company of her hens to that of the dignitaries in St. James’ Court.

MonticelloA discussion of our nation’s history of farming would be incomplete without mention of Thomas Jefferson. He loved agriculture and believed that its advancement should be our primary national endeavor. His affection for gardening and farming included an affinity for chickens. While living in the President’s House, Jefferson exchanged letters with his granddaughter Ellen regarding a pair of bantams he had sent her. It was his hope that she would have the opportunity to experience the joy of chicken raising.

By the time Jefferson left the President’s House to return home to his famed gardens at Monticello, America had been celebrating its Independence Day for more than three decades. The landscape of the country was expanding, as was its agricultural knowledge. Agricultural fairs began to gain popularity and provided an opportunity for farmers to learn about new techniques, show their prized poultry and livestock, and spend time with other members of their local farming communities.

1840 Farm has stood for more than 170 Independence Day celebrations. This year, we’ll mark the occasion by spending the day together at our farm. The flag will wave from its perch on the front porch as our day begins in the quiet of the barn and garden. There will be homemade food to enjoy for family dinner as dusk approaches.

We’ll attend our town’s fireworks display and then return home to put the farm to bed for the evening. In the end, it will be a celebration filled with family, food and the immense pride we feel in being independent American farmers. Somehow, I think it’s exactly what the Founding Fathers would have wanted.

Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2015/07/independenceday/

Helping our Hens Stay Cool in the Summer Heat

ThermometerHere in New England, we spend more of our calendar days with frigid temperatures than intense heat. Yet, we can count on several days above 90 degrees each summer and seem to see more of them each year. Today, our temperature is predicted to exceed 90 degrees and summer won’t officially begin for nearly a month.

On the first truly hot day of the year, we’ll be employing strategies for helping our animals to cope with the heat. We’ll make regular rounds to the coop, barn, hoop house and garden with fresh, cold water to help everyone and everything cope with the heat. We’ll also utilize the design of our coop and share a few helpful, cooling treats with our flock. Together, these actions will help them to deal with the high temperatures.The Hens at 1840 Farm using the BriteTap

The hens spend their days outside in their shaded runs.  We take full advantage of the cross ventilation we built into the design of our coop.  The back vent will be opened to the full position, the front window opened wide, and the side door secured in the open position to capture any fresh, cooling breeze that might pass by. On a day with temperatures in the 90s, even the slightest breeze blowing through the nearby maple tree is helpful.

On my regular rounds, I will replace the water that has grown hot in the goat stall and top off the BriteTap Chicken Waterer that keeps our hen’s water cool and fresh. On a hot day, the volume of water consumed by our animals is staggering. When I freshen the water, I can count on the chickens and goats to line up for a sip of cool refreshment. As they help themselves to a drink, I make sure that everyone is accounted for and not struggling too mightily with the conditions of the day.  When I visit the coop with frozen yogurt, fruit, and vegetables, the hens gather at my feet as if I am a rock star.

Frozen Berries and Yogurt for the Hens at 1840 FarmSeveral years ago, I discovered that these frozen treats could help our hens cope with the brutal heat. Since then, I keep a few freezer bags with frozen healthy treats in our barn’s upright freezer. Small berries, tiny cherry tomatoes, diced vegetable scraps, and cubes of frozen yogurt are at the ready and make a welcome snack on days when the temperature is uncomfortably hot. When I have healthy kitchen scraps to share with the flock, I simply freeze them, add them to the bag, and keep them for the next hot day.

As soon as the frozen pieces hit their bowl, our hens clamber for a prime spot to grab a bite. The frozen treats only last a few seconds. The girls happily help themselves to a bit of cool refreshment and then return to the business of scratching at the ground, making happy hen sounds, and patrolling their run. Cooling them down from the inside out seems to bring them immediate relief from the heat.

Summer will officially be here in less than a month. It’s time for me to restock my supply of berries, frozen vegetables, and yogurt cubes for the hens. If this spring is any indication, we’re in for a hot summer and the hens are sure to be looking for their frozen afternoon treats!

To make sure that you don’t miss any of our original content or favorite recipes, DIY projects, and homesteading advice from around the web, subscribe to The 1840 Farm Community Newsletter. Visit our subscription form to become the newest member of The 1840 Farm Community.

Our newsletter isn’t the only way to follow what’s happening here at 1840 Farm.
You’re always welcome at 1840 Farm
and at The 1840 Farm Mercantile Shop on Etsy.
You can also find 1840 Farm throughout the social media universe on
Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Flickr, and Bloglovin‘.

We even created a new 1840 Farm Community Newsletter Pinterest board to catalog
our newsletter content so that you could easily pin your favorites to your own boards.

Come add your voice to our conversation!
We’ll hope to see you there!


Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2015/05/hens-cool-in-the-summer-heat/

BriteTap Chicken Waterer

BriteTapSpring has been slow to show itself this year.  In fact, we were beginning to believe that it might never arrive.  Then, without any gradual warm up, our temperature hit 90 degrees on Sunday.  While we were happy to have warmer temperatures, such a big leap in the temperature was very unexpected and certainly didn’t give our animals time to acclimate to the change in weather.

In order to help our animals and pets deal with the sudden heat, we made sure that they all had shade to take refuge from the blistering sun and plenty of fresh water to drink.  We also brought our BriteTap Chicken Waterer out of its winter storage and reintroduced it to our flock.  As soon as they saw me placing the BriteTap in their run, they were gathering at its base to help themselves to a cold drink of water.

We first began using the BriteTap late last summer.  ChickenWaterer.com promised that their system would provide clean, cool water to our flock even on the warmest days.  I will admit that I was a bit skeptical that the water would remain cool and completely clean.  I also wondered if our four year old hens could learn a new trick and begin using the system after using standard tray waterers their entire lives.

BriteTapWaterThe Hens at 1840 Farm using the BriteTapI was happily surprised on both counts.  The BriteTap did indeed deliver clean water even in the dry conditions of the outdoor run that is attached to our coop.  When dust covered the outside surface of the BriteTap, our girls were still enjoying crystal clear water thanks to the ingenious design that provides protection to the supply of water as it fills and is made available for drinking.  The BriteTap also kept the water cool even on very warm and humid days.  By employing a water cooler as its tank, the water remained cool instead of warming in the way our standard waterers do during the hot summer months.

My concern about our girls learning a new trick were completely unfounded.  Within minutes, their curiosity got the best of them and they were inspecting the red nipples attached to the BriteTap.  As soon as the first hen pecked at the silver protrusion and was rewarded with a cool drink, the girls lined up to have a go.  They stepped up one by one and even the most timid bird in our flock pecked fearlessly at the nipple and enjoyed a fresh drink.

The BriteTap is easy to assemble and simple to clean.  The waterer portion can be attached to a several different brands and sizes of water coolers.  For larger flocks, it can be installed on a cooler with a capacity of 10 gallons.  In our case, the 2 gallon cooler provides fresh water to our flock of twelve hens for several days even during the warmest weather.

We love using the BriteTap almost as much as our hens love helping themselves to a drink of fresh cold water.  Thanks to our sponsor ChickenWaterer.com, you can enter their “Everyone’s a Winner Giveaway” for a chance to win a gift certificate valued at $100 to be used in the ChickenWaterer.com online store.  Better yet, they’re offering the members of The 1840 Farm Community a special opportunity to win one BriteTap Waterer valued at $29.95.

To enter, simply click on the image below to visit Hobby Farms and enter the giveaway.  Be sure to tell them that you heard about the giveaway from 1840 Farm in order to be automatically entered into our 1840 Farm Community giveaway for the BriteTap waterer.  Once you’ve entered, you’ll also receive a code that allows you to enjoy a 10% discount on any purchase in the ChickenWaterer.com online shop.


Everyone’s a Winner with this contest, especially the birds in your flock who will be enjoying fresh clean water all summer long!  If you’re lucky enough to win one of the $100 gift certificates, we recommend the BriteTap Automatic Feeder as highly as we do the BriteTap Waterer and Tank Combo Pack.  Good luck to all who enter!

Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2015/05/britetap-chicken-waterer/

Jewel Toned Easter Eggs

EggsEvery holiday has its own unique food traditions. Easter has many. Creating brightly colored eggs would be near the top of the list.

For a few years, we were unable to participate in this tradition due to a food allergy to eggs. Those egg free Easter celebrations were every bit as joyous and memorable. We made new egg free traditions.

Shortly after we had accepted that egg coloring would not be a part of our Easter celebration, we learned that the egg allergy had cleared. Chicks were ordered, a coop was built, and we entered the world of chicken keeping.

The following February, we collected our first fresh egg. A few weeks later, we had enough of them to make a batch of colored eggs. It wasn’t Easter, but we had plenty to celebrate, so we gathered in the farmhouse kitchen to make a batch of colored eggs together. Since then, we’ve been known to color a batch of eggs for reasons other than celebrating Easter. Why not? There’s no reason to relegate all the egg coloring fun to one holiday a year.

When we returned to coloring eggs for our family table, we decided to put our own spin on it, creating our own method for adding intense color to the shells. We have been making our own egg dye for a few years now. It is an easy process that yields incredibly colorful, beautiful eggs.Eggs

Our hens are all brown egg layers. We find that beginning the egg coloring process with brown shelled eggs results in a more deeply colored egg. Pastel colors are more difficult to achieve without a white eggshell. That’s fine with me. I love the look of these rich, jewel toned eggs on our Easter table.

Before we get started adding beautiful color to the shells of our freshly gathered eggs, they need to be cooked. I have tried every method and none of them work as well for me as steaming by following the steaming method from Fresh Eggs Daily. It is my preferred way to prepare hard-cooked eggs. It has never failed to produce beautifully cooked eggs that are easily removed from their shells.

Once our eggs have been steamed using this method, I like to cool in the ice bath for approximately ten minutes. After ten minutes, remove the eggs from the icy water and allow them to air dry on a clean kitchen towel. Once the eggs have dried, they can be dyed immediately or refrigerated overnight until you are ready to decorate them.

Spring2015_Post_FoodGather a collection of small bowls or coffee cups to hold the colored solution. In each cup or bowl, mix four to six ounces of warm water with a Tablespoon of vinegar and enough liquid or paste food coloring to achieve the desired color. More food coloring will create a deeper, darker colored egg. Make sure that you are using a cup or bowl that can hold your colored liquid along with an egg. A container that is too small will overflow when you add your egg and leave you with a very colorful mess to clean up.

Gently transfer an egg to each of the cups and allow them to rest fully submerged in the colored liquid. We usually set a kitchen timer and check the eggs in ten minute increments. When the eggs are colored to your liking, remove them to a paper towel and allow them to dry completely. Colored, dry eggs can be stored in the refrigerator for three days or until you are ready to use them.


Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2015/04/jewel-toned-easter-eggs/

Henhouse Morning Mix

Black Australorp Chick at 1840 FarmFrom the moment that our first day old chicks arrived here at 1840 Farm, I was hooked on chicken keeping.  We built their coop by hand, using repurposed materials when possible, planning the best we could for the chicken keeping adventure that lay ahead.  We tended to the pullets through the first few months of a very cold New England winter.  We loved every cold minute of it!FEDBook

Months later, on a snowy February day, something absolutely magical happened.  We discovered the first fresh egg waiting for us in the nest boxes.  Our son, who was a toddler at the time, declared it our first “homegrown” egg.  It was a proud moment for all of us, filled with the excitement made possible by months of planning and years of wanting to bring livestock back to the landscape of our farm.

Years have passed, yet the excitement hasn’t faded a bit.  Each egg is still a reason to celebrate.  To ensure that our girls continue to provide us with a steady supply of fresh eggs, we do all that we can to keep them healthy and strong.  We prefer natural methods of boosting their immunity and providing them with the nutrition they need.  My favorite technique to accomplish that goal is to provide our hens with a nutrition packed start to their day.

I first tried this method after reading Fresh Eggs Daily:  Raising Happy, Healthy Chickens…Naturally.  The concept was simple and brilliant.  By incorporating several healthy supplements into our flock’s morning ration, we could easily provide them with a nutritional boost and enjoy watching them excitedly gobble it up each morning.

I used the Breakfast of Champion Layers recipe from Fresh Eggs Daily:  Raising Happy, Healthy Chickens…Naturally as a starting point and have incorporated a few of the components and supplements that we keep on hand.  Many of these products are also incorporated into the daily feed routine for our dairy goat herd.

If you’d like to learn more about natural chicken keeping, visit Fresh Eggs Daily’s blog, and follow them like I do on Facebook, and Instagram.  If you’re interested in learning more about using herbs with your flock, you won’t want to miss their wonderful organic Nesting Box Herb Blends in their Etsy Shop and the Herbs for Hens™ series of videos on YouTube.

1840 Farm Henhouse Morning MixNestin-box-herb-ad-300

We offer this mix to our hens along with a steady supply of their Blue Seal Organic Life Layer feed.  Our hens love it and I love knowing that it is packed with the nutrition they need and the taste they love.  Because we don’t rely on this mix as our flock’s exclusive diet, I can make subtle changes to this mix based on the seasons and use approximate measures for the components without worrying about our hens getting all of the base nutrition that they need.

During molting season, I add extra sunflower seeds and a healthy dose of dried mealworms to the mix in order to provide our flock with a boost of protein.  I blend these components by hand and store them in a pest proof container in the same manner that we store our other animal feed.

10 pounds Organic Life Layer Pellets
2 pounds raw old-fashioned oats
2 pounds Black oil sunflower seeds
2 cups dried, crushed egg shells
1/4 cup Probotic powder
1/4 cup food-grade diatomaceous earth
1/4 cup garlic powder


Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2014/10/henhouse-morning-mix/

Celebrate the End of Molting Season with an 1840 Farm Giveaway!

I have written before that molting season is the time that tries a chicken keeper’s soul.  It seems cruel that just as the weather turns cold and the days turn dark, we find ourselves without any eggs waiting in the nest boxes as a reward for our chicken keeping chores. Feathers abound, but eggs become scarce or nonexistent.

Today, I made the most wonderful discovery when tending the chickens.  After eight egg free weeks, there was a beautiful brown egg was waiting for me nestled in the straw lining one of our nest boxes.  I let out such a commotion that our girls couldn’t leave the coop to go outside fast enough!  Now I’d like to share the celebration with the entire 1840 Farm Community by having a good old fashioned Facebook page giveaway.

Visit our Facebook page to vote for the prize that you would like to have a chance to win.  I’ll tally the votes over the weekend and share the giveaway with you on Monday morning.  You never know, if I keep finding eggs in the nest boxes and comments on the post, I just might feel the need to offer more than one prize.   I can’t wait to hear what you would like to win in time for the holidays!

Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2013/12/celebrate-the-end-of-molting-season-with-an-1840-farm-giveaway/

1840 Farm and The Fresh Eggs Daily Blog Tour

When Lisa Steele from Fresh Eggs Daily asked me if I would like to participate in The Fresh Eggs Daily Blog Tour for her new book, Fresh Eggs Daily:  Raising Happy, Healthy Chickens… Naturally, I didn’t have to think twice.  Instead, I jumped at the chance to receive a copy of the book to review along with an autographed copy to give away to one of our lucky readers.

Lisa has been a trusted friend and mentor for well over a year.  I have been following the progress of her work on this book since it became a reality last year.  I have often joked with her that I was as excited as she was to finally see her book in person!

Last week, these beautiful books were waiting for me in our mailbox.  From the moment I saw the cover, I couldn’t wait to read it from start to finish.  As I read, I recognized the hallmark style that I have come to expect from Fresh Eggs Daily.  The whole book was warm in tone and presented the information in an encouraging manner.

The information was extensive, covering a range of topics from planning your first chicken coop, natural strategies for the daily maintenance of your flock and discouraging pests of all kinds.  Common chicken keeping challenges such as molting, coop cleaning, and potentially dangerous foods and plants are also covered in detail.

If you’re a Fresh Eggs Daily fan like I am, then you’re already familiar with their collection of posts containing tips and suggestions for raising and tending your flock naturally.  I am constantly learning new techniques from their blog and Facebook page and sharing their content on our own page.

Now Lisa’s natural chicken keeping knowledge has been assembled into a beautiful book. Fresh Eggs Daily:  Raising Happy, Healthy Chickens…Naturally will teach you how to implement effective and simple strategies like drying herbs fresh from your garden for use all year long.  Lisa offers common sense tips for helping prepare your flock for Mother Nature’s extremes and handling inevitable chicken keeping challenges.  She also includes several recipes for natural concoctions and several DIY projects including creating your own brooder.  This book covers such a wide variety of topics that it is sure to be your go to chicken keeping resource for years to come.

I wish that I had been able to add Fresh Eggs Daily:  Raising Happy, Healthy Chickens…Naturally to my bookshelf when I was beginning my journey as a chicken keeper.  Within the pages of this book, I would have found the information I needed to ensure that our first flock had the very best chance of thriving here on our farm.

Luckily, I can add it to my chicken keeper’s library now and so can you.  Whether you are in the beginning stages of planning to become a chicken keeper, tending to your first chicks, or have already earned your chicken keeping stripes, I know that you will enjoy reading this book as much as I did.

To make this giveaway even more exciting, I’m adding one of our 1840 Farm handmade fabric coiled egg baskets to the prize pack.  While all of our baskets are unique, this one is a true original.  It was designed in the color scheme of Fresh Eggs Daily:  Raising Happy, Healthy Chickens…Naturally and features fabrics in Wedgewood blue, chocolate brown, tan, and garnet red with butter yellow stitching.

If you already follow 1840 Farm and Fresh Eggs Daily on Facebook, then you have already earned a few entries.  Simply click on the buttons below to claim them.  While you’re at it, you can claim a few more entries and increase your odds of winning.

In fact, I’d love to hear where you are in your chicken keeping journey in a comment below and grant you another entry.  I ‘ll go first and share that we have been keeping chickens for three years.  Now it’s your turn to share:  tell me about your chicken keeping experience.  I can’t wait to read all about it!

After you have claimed all of your entries in our giveaway, visit the other stops on The Fresh Eggs Daily Blog Tour by clicking on the links below.  You can read other chicken keeper’s reviews and enter their giveaways to increase your chance of winning your own copy of Fresh Eggs Daily:  Raising Happy, Healthy Chickens…Naturally.


a Rafflecopter giveaway


Visit all the other stops along the Fresh Eggs Daily Blog Tour to read some more great reviews and to enter to win a copy!

Week One

Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2013/10/1840-farm-and-the-fresh-eggs-daily-blog-tour/

Great Grandma’s Daffodil Cake


Great Grandma's Daffodil Cake at 1840 FarmAngel food cake was one of the first recipes that I taught myself to bake.  I was around twelve years old when I first separated a dozen eggs and followed the recipe in one of my mother’s cookbooks.  I marveled at the egg whites as they were transformed into a light and airy meringue and baked into a delicious angel food cake.

That was decades ago.  Now I find myself with my own daughter who is twelve years old.  We love to spend time in the kitchen baking and cooking together.  I also find myself as a chicken keeper with a supply of fresh eggs to use in our baking recipes.

It’s the chicken keeper in me that shies away from making traditional angel food cake.  My reason is simple:  I can’t bear the thought of having a dozen egg yolks that are purposely cast aside from a recipe. I make an exception when it comes to meringue cookies.  It’s no great feat to find a way to use the three egg yolks left behind.  Twelve egg yolks left from an angel food cake are quite another thing.

Luckily, I don’’t have to.  Earlier this year, my Mom shared my Great grandmother’s handwritten recipe for daffodil cake with me.  Instead of twelve eggs, it called for only six.  My great grandparents were farmers and chicken keepers.  Apparently they didn’t want to cast aside twelve egg yolks either.

Instead, they baked Daffodil Cake.  As soon as I read the recipe, I understood why.  The technique was altogether simple and brilliant.  This cake would allow me to celebrate the best of both the egg white and egg yolk in one delicious cake.

My daughter and I gathered in our farmhouse kitchen this spring to make our first daffodil cake.  I watched the look on her face as she whipped the egg whites into a beautifully made meringue.  We worked together until the cake preparation was complete.  She slid the cake into the oven, set the timer and we wondered aloud how the finished cake would look and taste.

I am happy to report that we loved both the taste and appearance of the daffodil cake.  The color of the egg yolk mixture was a strikingly beautiful yellow.  The texture was light and airy and the flavor was everything I love about an angel food cake and more.

The egg yolks added a delicious richness to the cake without compromising the lightness of the meringue.  It wasn’t a fancy cake.  Instead, it was the cake of a farmer, the dessert of a chicken keeper.  This cake celebrated the beauty of fresh eggs.  Each bite reminded me that I was proud to be a chicken keeper and collect fresh eggs from our coop every day.

More than that, the whole experience created a memory that I will hold close for a lifetime.  Standing in our farmhouse kitchen with my daughter baking a cake from a recipe in her Great great grandmother‘s handwriting was a moment that connected the generations of my family past and present.  Having a delicious cake to share around our family table was merely a bonus.


Great Grandma's Daffodil Cake
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  1. 6 large eggs
  2. ¼ teaspoon salt
  3. ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
  4. ¾ cup (144 grams) granulated sugar
  5. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  6. ½ cup (60 grams) all-purpose flour
  7. 2 Tablespoons warm water
  8. ½ cup (96 grams) granulated sugar
  9. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  10. 1 teaspoon baking powder
  11. ½ cup (60 grams) all-purpose flour
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Position the oven rack in the bottom third of the oven.
  2. Separate all six eggs, placing the egg whites in a large bowl that has been wiped clean with a paper towel moistened with white vinegar. Place the egg yolks in a medium bowl and set aside.
  3. Add the salt to the egg whites and beat at medium-high speed using a hand mixer or stand mixer until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and continue to beat at high speed, adding the ¾ cup sugar a few Tablespoons at a time until the mixture forms stiff, glossy peaks. Set the meringue aside as you prepare the egg yolk mixture.
  4. Add the warm water to the egg yolks and mix on medium speed using a whisk or mixer. Add ½ cup sugar, vanilla extract, baking powder, and flour. Mix until the batter is completely smooth.
  5. Using a spatula, gently move a portion of the meringue away from the side of its mixing bowl.
  6. Add the vanilla and ½ cup flour to the space created by moving the meringue. This step prevents the weight of the flour from deflating the airy meringue. Using the spatula, gently fold the meringue until the flour and vanilla extract are fully incorporated and the mixture is smooth.
  7. Transfer two thirds of the meringue mixture to an ungreased angel food cake pan, spreading lightly if necessary to cover the bottom of the pan. Add the egg yolk mixture to the pan. There is no need to spread the yolk mixture or completely cover the meringue. Add the remaining meringue to the pan. Using a skewer or toothpick, lightly swirl the two batters by moving in a random pattern around the pan.
  8. Transfer the pan to the preheated oven and bake for 35-40 minutes. When fully baked, a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake should come out with crumbs attached. Remove the pan from the oven and allow the cake to cool.
  9. Once cool, run a sharp knife or small metal offset spatula around the outside of the pan to loosen the cake. Invert the cool cake onto a plate. Slice the cake into slices and serve plain or dressed with fresh berries and whipped cream.
  1. The light, airy texture of this cake depends on a properly beaten meringue. A mile high meringue is easily achievable with one easy step. Simply wipe your mixing bowl and beaters with a paper towel moistened with white vinegar before beating the egg whites. This will ensure that your bowl and beaters are free of any traces of fat. Fat residue jeopardizes your ability to whip the egg whites into a meringue with stiff, glossy peaks.
  2. To prevent batter from falling into the center tube as you are transferring the batter to the pan, place an overturned cupcake wrapper over the tube. Fill the pan, remove the wrapper, and bake as directed without letting any of the batter go to waste.
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Our newsletter isn’t the only way to follow what’s happening here at 1840 Farm.
You’re always welcome at 1840 Farm
and at The 1840 Farm Mercantile Shop on Etsy.
You can also find 1840 Farm throughout the social media universe on
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We even created a new 1840 Farm Community Newsletter Pinterest board to catalog
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Come add your voice to our conversation!
We’ll hope to see you there!


Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2013/06/great-grandmas-daffodil-cake/

Brinsea EcoGlow Brooder Giveaway

Raising baby chicks is a wonderful experience.  Here at 1840 Farm, we have counted ourselves lucky enough to enjoy the process twice.  Each time, we were captivated by the sight of the tiny birds in our brooder.  We couldn’t help gathering in our barn to watch the little, fluffy birds mill about.

Both of our brooding experiences were positive.  The day old chicks matured into young pullets, moved into their coops, and went on to become beautiful, egg laying hens.  The major difference in our brooding experiences was our use of my favorite piece of brooding equipment:  The Brinsea EcoGlow Brooder.

I can’t say enough about the quality and effectiveness of the EcoGlow.  The EcoGlow provides the warm environment that chicks require without bringing the danger of a brooder or coop fire to your farm or homestead.  Instead of worrying about the brooder’s temperature or our safety, we could simply enjoy the experience of raising our chicks, content in the knowledge that all was well.

Now you can do the same.  Our sponsor, Brinsea Products has generously provided a Brinsea EcoGlow 20 Chick Brooder for this giveaway.  We’re proud to share Brinsea and their line of high quality line of products with our readers.  We use Brinsea products here at 1840 Farm and believe that they are the best products on the market.

I know that you will be just as happy with the Brinsea EcoGlow as I am.  You can learn more about the EcoGlow by reading my posts at Community Chickens detailing our experience using it here at 1840 Farm.  But first, take a moment and enter the giveaway to win your own EcoGlow Brooder.  Good luck to all who enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2013/05/brinsea-ecoglow-brooder-giveaway/

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