Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Comb Says It All

You can tell a lot about the health of a chicken from the look of its comb.

A healthy hen will have a bright red comb...

that stands upright.

A pale comb, or one that lays over on its side is the telltale sign of
a stressed hen.
Poor Mathilda, here, is quite old and has reached the end of her days.
She no longer leaves the henhouse,
and prefers inactivity.

And you can see by her comb, that she is not in the greatest shape.

Some of my chickens are quite old.
And since we do not cull our chickens when they stop laying, but allow them to live out their
natural lives in retirement...
we have several chickens at any given time who are just plumb worn out.

As long as the other hens don't pick on them, I allow them to live out their lives
with the rest of their flock.
However, if I find one being henpecked, they are moved to the barn
(as was the case with Ivanka last summer)
I had thought that Ivanka's days were numbered...
and here she is a year later thriving in the company of the barn cats!

And speaking of thriving...
we have quite a healthy hummingbird population this summer.

At any given time there are several hummers around our feeders...
with the exception of this particular feeder,
which has become a popular hangout for the honeybees.


I wanted to quickly show you last night's dinner harvest...

We have tons of carrots right now...of all colors.

And how about these tiny eggplants?
I think they are called bird's egg eggplant.
I just love them!

And do you remember that repurposed chicken feeder that I planted?

Now look at it!

We are in that time of year, here, when we see lots of deer in our fields.
Does, fawns, and bucks with velvet horns can be seen almost
every morning and evening...

grazing in the hayfield.

I never tire of seeing these beautiful creatures!


  1. When we first started keeping bees, we would sit for hours in front of the hives and watch them fly onto the landing boards, loaded with pollen or nectar (sometimes we still do, because they are such amazing creatures). One day we noticed a lot of bees that were returning to the hive had a pinkish hue to them. We quickly figured out they were freeloading off the local hummingbird feeders!

    (I always recommend to folks not to use food coloring in their hummingbird food if I get the chance!)

  2. my carrots are tiny. i think i should have thinned them more. poor old chickens but at least they lived a wonderful life on your farm!

  3. Beautiful photos ! Yes I know about the cones of chickens from raising them on our farm when I was a kid we did the same with the old birds as well that stopped laying they all had a full long life ! Oh my your veggies look wonderful and YUMMY ! I am yet to get photos of the deer we have here they seem very skittish ! Thanks for sharing , Have a good week !

  4. Glad to read you give your hens a stress free retirement! I havent noticed our bees on the hummingbird feeder. We have lots of young deer in our meadow right now too! They are so fun to watch!

  5. Dear Bev, I have been following your blog for quite a while and just love to read about your farm life. I had a question. Recently we had to put our golden retriever Max to sleep and just now got a golden puppy named Griffin. Being all of your dogs look so healthy I would like to know what food they eat. Griffin is 12 weeks old and they have him on Purina puppy chow and I am trying to wean him to Wellness puppy food, but into second day he threw it all up. Any advice you can give me would be so appreciated.

  6. I love the small fresh carrots . . . so sweet . . .
    Love your grain feeder window/shed box of flowers . . ,
    Great photo of the deer . . .
    Happy your chick has set up residence with the barn cats . . . all is well.

  7. Do the deer every snack on your flowers or do they stay in the hayfield? All your animals have a wonderful life on the farm forever!! Yum,Yum, garden harvest! Enjoy the day - Hugs!!

    1. I think because of all the activity around the farm, the deer choose to stay in the woods and hayfield. I never see them near the gardens or barn.

  8. I have all my dogs on a grain free feed. Annie is on a puppy food...Blue Buffalo for now. When I wean to another food, I start by mixing in just a small amount of the new food with the old food. Then very slowly over the next week or so, increase the ratio of new to old until they tolerate it. If you have tried that and Griffin is still not tolerating, you might want to try another type of food....lamb, etc..... I am so sorry about is so hard to lose a family member....and goldens are wonderful!! Best of luck with Griffin!

  9. It's so nice that you let your chickens live out their retirement days on your farm and can thrive with other animals.

    Your veggies are looking great! Have a great weekend!

  10. I did not know that you could tell the condition of a hen by it's comb. Always learning something. Pretty pictures. Wonderful color. Yummy looking veggies. I haven't seen any deer yet this year but there was a skunk in my front yard two nights ago. They found him in the foundation of the Florida room across the street yesterday. I guess he fell in I couldn't get out. They picked him up and threw him out. He hasn't sprayed yet. That's a good thing.

  11. Well, I am no chicken expert, but your chickens all look very healthy. Even the old gals seem like they are well cared for and healthy looking!

  12. What a great post Beverly... Love your vegies from the garden...
    You have such a gentle heart... I am so happy you let the old gals retire and relax for the remainder of their days on the farm..

  13. Such lovely photos! I love the photos of your older hens. It makes me happy that other people will let them live out their time.

  14. What variety of orange carrots do you plant? Yours are a much brighter orange than mine (and mine are not as sweet as I'd like).


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