Chåteau Poulet, Chicken Castle, Tajmachick, Maison de Poulet, Coop de Ville, Pas de Coqs

  • Chicken Treats from Pork and Pickles
  • Jan 30-  Chickens with Red Cup 3
  • Ready for the 'fridge. I'm pretty generous with the cinnamon...

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February 6: Groucho Marks and Two Eggs

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Today’s a good day to play with photo apps.

The girls took one look at today’s snow fall and refused to leave the coop. In lieu of chickens, today we have an egg each from Strawberry Sally and Blackbird. Plopped in the snow, they reminded me of Mr. Potato Heads, so I added Groucho Marks glasses, nose, and ‘stache.

How do they look?

Photographing Chickens: Remember They’re Live Models

I have a fantastic camera that I can barely use. Yes, I’ve taken thousands of pictures with it, but I’m just now learning how to adjust all it’s manual settings to mimic my old Pentax (film) 35mm camera. With my Project 365:  The Daily Chicken I choose one picture I’ve taken daily. Often I take dozens of photos just to get the right lighting and best pose.

The other day, my friend Jess of Pork and Pickles gave me a goody bag of chicken treats:   days old bread and muffins, Kale stems, apple cores and radishes roots. I really wanted to photograph the food in the snow with the girls eating. Of course, my chickens hate walking in the snow, but since they love old bread, I hoped it would entice them to leave their warm coop.

One thing I’ve learned this month is photographing snow can be tough. Sometimes it’s overexposed because my light meter is reading the saturation of a dark chicken, sometimes my chickens look black and the snow perfect. Yesterday I had the smart idea of photographing the food in the snow first to get my settings (F-stop, ISO etc.) correct before I let the chickens out. ultimately despite my preparations I wasn’t impressed with the photos–they were okay, but looked too much like a recent daily chicken photo.

As you can see in the photos below, I flipped through a few settings as I took pictures of Strawberry Sally.

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Feb 4:  Blog Mashup with Pork and PicklesHere’s the photo I ultimately selected for yesterday’s Daily Chicken — I just loved Sally’s expression over the bread and muffin, the vertically aligned composition, and the array of russet and brown tones in the photograph.

Did I choose the best photo?

The City Chickens have a Photo Blog: 365 The Daily Chicken

Have you ever heard of Project 365? It’s a photo a day for a year. Some people shoot something new everyday, others stick to one subject for a month and then move on. Me? Well, we all know chickens are gorgeous birds, so why not them?

Please visit 365TheDailyChicken.wordpress.com and sign up to receive a chicken picture everyday!

Here’s yesterdays:

Jan 30-  Chickens with Red Cup 3

Do Chickens Fly? Only if They’re Motivated (which means HUNGRY!)

Yes, chickens will fly, but only if they really want to.

Dolly is our smallest chicken. She’s happy and healthy and weighs in at about 5 pounds.

Chickens aren’t too heavy to fly, but they generally don’t fly very far or very high. According to animalquestions.org, here’s why:

It is true that in most cases (unless they are too heavy) that chickens are indeed able to fly.  However it should be noted that they are only able to fly for short distances at a time, on average from about three to four feet.  Chickens usually fly to flee from danger or a predator, in which case they may be seen flying vertically up to an object, or just horizontally to get out of the way.  They have also been known to fly when not represented by danger, for instance simply in experimenting around their surroundings.  Maybe they’re bored.

Chickens can also fly up to roosts as turkeys do, though some breeds of chickens have been known to have better flying ability compared to others.  Chickens that weigh too much are not able to fly, due to the fact that they are simply too heavy.  Also contrary to what some people may believe, chickens are not able to fly to migrate.  They are not migratory birds and do not have this ability, also if you remember they are unable to fly for long distances.  It would take a chicken forever to migrate even if they could.

My chickens fly when there’s food to be had or they’re scared. Here’s Dolly in action.

I want some of that too.

I want some of that too.

I do not want to walk from here to there in this snow!

I do not want to walk from here to there in this snow!

Ah! The power of wings!

Ah! The power of wings!

Tending Chickens in Sub-Zero Weather

20130121-175749.jpg TEN BELOW this morning and only 13 above in chicken-ville! How do I know? We have a remote thermometer hanging in the coop.

20130121-175926.jpg At that temp their combs can freeze!

Tonight’s forecast is 15 below, so I closed the sliding door between their roost and their feeding area. Unfortunately the heater in the chicken waterer burnt out so we are bringing them fresh water every few hours, too.

As a special treat they dined on leftover fries, coleslaw, and ranch dressing. I’m sure it’s no better for them than it is for me, but they sure loved it!

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Brr! Preparing for a Change in Weather

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Despite a lovely day of running freely in the backyard, the girls didn’t lay a single egg. Smart chickens–they knew something was up.

After hours in the 40 degree sun (sorry California, that’s downright balmy in Minnesota come January), it’s now windy and 14 degrees. And it’s only getting worse.

What’s a chicken to do? Snuggle up in their closed up coop with extra food and water, and a heat lamp.

Enjoy the show!

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What to do with A LOT of eggs

Yes, even in the winter my chickens are laying. The light in the coop helps a lot, but frankly they lay more when they get to run around the yard and cluck at the snow. Either way, I had 27 eggs in the ‘fridge tonight which means I needed to bake something.

Saturday mornings my kids will forget to eat breakfast until about lunchtime unless I try to adhere to their school-day schedules and pull them into the kitchen. Given that I’m not much of a morning person and I like to practice yoga on Saturday mornings, this requires a bit of planning.

An easy solution for both problems is Southern Baked French Toast. I don’t know why it’s a Southern Dish, since it seems to be a practical use of pain perdu (old, stale bread) in just about every country for millennia. It must be all the cream, sugar and pecans that many recipes require.

My French bread was not exactly stale, but it was an impulse purchase from the “day old cart” at my local grocer. I cut it up into uniformly sliced rounds about 1/2 an inch thick and dipped them in an egg and milk mixture, placed them in a casserole dish (this is Minnesota, after all), and dusted them generously with cinnamon and sugar. Then I poured the remaining egg mixture over the bread, covered it, and put it in the ‘fridge. Tomorrow I’ll remove it and let it warm up on the counter while the oven preheats to 350 degrees and bake it for about 45 minutes.
So what’s in the egg mixture? Nine eggs and some milk (sorry I didn’t measure, but I think it was at least 2 cups). You want this mixture to really soak into the bread, so when I bake my French toast, I use more milk than I ordinarily would.

A Message from the Girls

Please! No more pineapple, pudding or olives.

We like plain bread without olives, apples and melons, and corn on the cob.

When you serve those, let us know!

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Chickens and leftover oatmeal = yum

My chickens are pets. I let them out and they follow me around. They expect treats, which in chicken means soft and squishy leftovers like cereal and pastas and non-citrus fruits.

Yesterday, despite the cold, they stood at the kitchen door peering in until I brought out a bowl of leftover oatmeal.

Then they wanted more.

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The Chicken Run in Winter

It’s hot and humid, so these photos are very refreshing.

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