Chickens with Bumblefoot

Growing a large family


*Graphic Pics in this post. Warning for the faint of heart*

Never in a million years did I think I would be a chicken keeper! Never in a million years did I think I would love birds! Never in a million years did I think I would have the knowledge to perform a surgery on a chicken! But all of those things I can and do.

Having chickens are really not for the faint of heart. Yes they are very easy to take care of…until there is a problem.

One of the first major problems I had to encounter was bumblefoot. And I have had to deal with it on several occasions with the same 2 bozos.

Growing a large family

Thing 1 and Thing 2. These 2 seem to get it like they get bugs in the leaves. It’s crazy.

Basically bumblefoot is an infection. If they land on something and cut their foot, it could lead to bumblefoot because of all the dirt that they walk around in. Almost like a staph infection. Signs of bumblefoot are swelling, redness, a black or brown scab on the bottom and sometimes limping or holding the leg up. If left untreated it could be fatal.

On this particular day, I had, not 1, not 2, but 3 cases of bumblefoot. Thing 1 had one of her feet and, always trying to one up her sister, Thing 2 got a double case!

So I gathered my team of homeschooling homesteaders, my supplies and got to work.

Growing a large family

This is your basic supplies for bumblefoot: Epsom Salt, Honey, scalpel, vetricyn wound spray, gauze and vet wrap. As you can see some of this you will have at home. The rest I picked up at Tractor Supply. You will need a bucket or bowl so you can soak the chickens foot.

Growing a large family

Sorry for the foggy picture. I used this activity as a photography lesson for Cailin.

First, you need to get warm water in your container and add some epsom salt. I don’t measure the salt. I just pour a little and let it dissolve. This is just to soften the area around where the surgery will take place. Hold them there for a minute or two.

Now comes the fun part. Keeping them still on your lap so you can perform the surgery without hurting them.

What I do is put a towel down on my lap, then I take them out of the water and lay them on their back on my lap. I have one of my daughters immediately cover their head with a towel. Chickens can’t really see in the dark. So the towel simulates this and keeps them calm. Once in a while they will kick their leg. But usually I have my youngest daughter holding on to them so my hands are free.

Growing a large family

This was a very mild case of bumblefoot. I probably wouldn’t have known she had it, had her sister not been limping and I decided to check both of them. But for this post I am going to show you the most severe case I have had.

Growing a large family

As you can see Thing 2’s right foot is extremely swollen.

Bumblefoot~ Growing a large family

That black spot is what we need to cut out. That is the infection. Again this is the worse case I have ever had on our homestead.

Growing a large family

You take your scalpel and cut around the edge of the black scab. You shouldn’t see blood or any fluids coming out. It is literally just a scab that is holding in an infection. You will see the scab start to come loose from foot.

Growing a large family

Once you cut away the scab, you need to scoop and squeeze to make sure there is no pus still in there. I very rarely get extra pus out. But at this point you have an open wound.

Growing a large family

Spray with wound care, put a little honey on the gauze and place over the incision area.

Growing a large family

Wrap with vet wrap. You will want to change the wrap at least once a day. If you see it has fallen off, then soak in warm water to kill any germs and repeat with meds. You may even need to use some medical tape to keep it on. Within 3-5 days it should be better and can remove the bandage.

Growing a large family


This post is partying over at the Simple Homestead Blog Hop



Cayuga Ducks

I have 2 Cayuga Ducks on my homestead right now. I love these ducks. I have 1 male and 1 female. I named them Hook and Dark Swan in honor of the show, Once upon a time.

Hook is such a sweetheart. He is one of the ducklings we hatched.

Cayuga Ducks~Growing a large family

He likes to chase after our feet and nibble at our boots. He is also very spoiled by his Mama. He always waits for his food because he knows I let him eat out of the food container. He is also very curious of everything, like my camera.

Cayuga~ Growing a large family

The male Cayugas have more green coloring on their heads than females do. Also you know a duck is a male because they will get a few feathers that flip back towards their head near their tail.


Male Cayuga~notice coloring on head and flip tail feather

Females are also more vocal. That is how I knew my Lucky Duck was a girl. Now my female Cayuga isn’t as vocal as Lucky, but very much has the features of a girl.

Female Cayugas have darker beaks and are mostly black with very little variation in coloring. Also the biggest giveaway is no flip feather on their tail.

Dark Swan is more standoffish when it comes to people. But if you have food or treats then watch out. She pushes most of the chickens out of the way to get to them. She is more calm and doesn’t freak out when you walk near her, which some males have a tendency of doing.

Cayuga Duck~ Growing a large family

Female Cayuga~ no flip tail feather and the coloring is more on the feathers and less on the head.

For a year, I told my hubby that I wanted Pekins. They were the best ducks for my homestead. But one day, I was reading a duck magazine and when I read about Cayugas and the amazing thing they do, I had to have them.

Cayuga Egg~Growing a large Family

That is the best first egg I have ever gotten. Only the first egg comes out black then they start getting lighter in color. My one Cayuga female has been laying for a few weeks now and has laid more eggs than some of my chickens. Ducks will out lay them and keep laying during the winter.

Another exciting moment was when I found the egg in the nesting boxes! Most of the time ducks will just lay an egg where ever they want and you have to hunt it down. Not with my girl! She has laid every egg either in the nesting box, coop or run. It makes my life so much easier! Hopefully she can train any other girl ducks we get to do the same.

Duck eggs are best used for baking. It gives it a much richer taste. Some people will use duck eggs just like a chicken egg. But then others say it has more of a game taste or is much saltier, depending on your breed. I personally have only use them for baking.

And of course this……

Cayuga Eggs in Incubator~Growing a large family


My Hubby is going to kill me.


This Post is partying over at:

FarmGirl Friday Blog Hop

From the Farm

The Chicken Chick

Simple Homestead Hop


Introducing Harley the Farm Dog

At the end of June, we had to say good-bye to our Great Dane, Duece. He was 9 years old and having hip problems, eating problems and all kinds of other problems. He would constantly fall and trying to pick up a dog bigger than you was no easy task. He would spend endless nights just staring at me while I was sleeping and whining. We had to stop his suffering.

growing a large family

But now we were left with just a toy poodle and an old, fat cocker spaniel to protect our homestead. Having Duece gave us peace of mind because everyone was scared of him. And I had been wanting a puppy that I could train to be with my chickens and whatever other livestock I get. My other dogs would bark and chase after them. I had been looking for months but couldn’t decide what I wanted.

And then almost a month after we said good-bye to Duece, we met Harley.

growing a large family  growing a large family  growing a large family


He is a Golden Retriever. He was 8 weeks old when we got him. This dog is playful, crazy and really smart. He learns very quickly. And half the time he learns it on his own without any training. He is really good with my kids. Especially Dakota, who goes around calling him his little brother.  But he grew so fast. One minute he was this little cute puppy to this big 40lb, thinks he needs to be in Mama’s lap, dog. And he is only 5 months old!

Growing a large family




He knows Mama will protect him when he is scared, but he also knows Mama is the disciplinarian. He is also very well-trained to protect considering he almost ripped my hubby’s lip off. He still doesn’t have any feeling in it. But hey, like I told Hubby, you shouldn’t be messing with my puppy. Lesson learned!


He is really curious about my chickens. He wants to go in with them, but has never chased or barked at them. He actually wants to play and eat their food. Never even touches the chicken poop. Which from what I read is a miracle because most dogs think it’s better than caviar!

So I think we have found our perfect farm dog. Introducing Harley the farm dog.


This post is part of the Simple Homestead Blog Hop.

Meet our ever growing flock

As everyone knows, I added to our backyard flock this year. We went from 6 chickens to officially 39 chickens and ducks. My hubby keeps bugging me to post about all of them because you know most of them have names.

So here we go…..Introducing the princes and princesses of Feather Tale Farm.









Thing 1

Thing 1

Thing 2

Thing 2

These are the original six. Now for the new members…..


This is Tank the turken. He has taken over as the #2 rooster now that his brothers were either sold or processed.

Mama & Bertha

The 2 big red hens is Mama and Bertha. They were hatched around the same time as Tank. I can’t really tell them apart unless they are looking at me.


The last of the first hatchlings is Meg. She is such a good girl giving an egg a day, but has to be watched she will run in the house.


Here is Lucky Duck. Still doing very well, but doesn’t think she is a duck. She is also starting to get braver and come eat worms out of my hand.


Out of Lucky’s babies we only kept a couple, this is Princess. I am so happy she is a hen because I love her coloring.

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Here is Tiny Tim. I wasn’t planning on keep him because he is a rooster. But after hearing his little crow and then naming him, I knew he was staying. He is a bantam so very little. Every time I am outside he has to be right by my feet. Isn’t he handsome?

other ducks

Here are my other ducks. Still very scared of me, but I do have them trained when I say “come here babies” they know its food time. When I say “time for bed” they know its time to go in the coop. I did just find out that both of the Pekins (white ones) are boys. So we will be selling one of them. I do know one of the Cayugas (black ones) is a girl but not sure which one.

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But this little guy is my buddy. This just started about 2 weeks ago. He is so curious and loves to see what I am doing. Once in a while I can ducky cuddles. I haven’t named him yet. And I know he is a drake because of the flipped up feathers on his tail. I think this is one I hatched but I am not 100% certain.

Now as you might remember. My aunt called and asked if I would take some chicks that the school had hatched and didn’t know where to take them. The kids were so upset thinking they were going to get eaten. And I told myself that if they were all roosters they were going. I did sell one, but ended up keeping the rest. What can I say I am a sucker!?!


This is Rusty, a rooster. I have never seen a coloring like his. He is also so calm.


The one in the front is Maleficient and the black and white one right behind her is Mama’s boy. Maleficient is the only hen. She doesn’t like to be messed with but has this very queen like presence about her. And she is so dark from her feathers to her face. Mama’s boy surprised me by being a boy. When they were in the house, he was the one that every morning would jump up on my shoulder and used me as his playground. Very unusual for a rooster. He is also another one that will try to get in the house and knows to wait on the stairs while the feeding frenzy takes place because Mama will feed him his own little snacks. Spoiled much!?! NAH!


THIS ONE BROKE MY HEART!!! This is Chubby. I was convinced he was a she. He loves cuddles and follows me everywhere. I was telling my kids I just don’t know. His feathers says boy, but his waddle and comb are little and not red at all. Then he looks at me and attempts to crow! I died right there. And then said oh well as long as there is no fighting he can stay. And the roosters out of this bunch do not fight at all. They are lovers not fighters.


This is Anna. This is my son’s silkie. We had a total of 3 silkies. We had an Elsa who turned out to be a Kristoff and a Lucy that turned out to be Lou. They got sold. So here is our one lone silkie. Funny looking thing, huh? Just wait it gets better.

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Polish Babies! These are also something my son wanted. We went to an animal swap and he fell in love with one that happened to be a rooster. I told him no more roosters, but we will get babies. I ordered an assortment from Cackle Hatchery and prayed the white crested ones would be included. And they were those black with white tops are the ones he wanted. I think one is a boy and one is a girl. The one in the middle is a Gold laced polish and the black and white one is a Silver Laced Polish. I think the gold is also a boy. My son said as long as one is a girl he is happy. Plus we can always order more, DUH?! They are usually much prettier but the rain does nothing for their do’s.

Silver Laced Wyandottes

I also bought some Silver laced Wyandotte Pullets. Meaning they are all girls. I bought 5 of them. I don’t have names for them or the polish yet. And they are very skittish.

Last but not least, I went to an animal swap to sell my leftover Polish chicks. I sold them and turned around and bought these bantam cochins.

flora and fauna

This is Flora and Fauna. There was a third one named Merriweather. But he turned out to be Floyd Mayweather instead of the 3rd fairy from Sleeping beauty.

So there you have it. All of my flock as it is now. Who knows what’s to come in the future!

This blog was part of the Our Simple Homestead Hop.





Why you’re getting soft shell eggs




When I first thought of getting some chickens many years ago, I thought oh it’s easy, throw some food, give them some water and collect eggs. OH BOY! Was I naive!?

After 2 of my babies died, I realized there is a lot more to it to keep your flock healthy and happy. So many things could go wrong! I decided that I wanted to raise them as naturally as possible. Using no antibiotics, unless as a last resort, and trying all holistic methods. We also switched to Organic feed. Because if we are going to do it naturally then go all the way!

When my girls started laying, it was so exciting! I had one start, then a few days later I would have 2 laying and so on. But then one day, I found this in the nesting box. Two eggs laid by the same chicken (I know this because I only had 1 more to start laying at the time), but both eggs had soft shells. One would always be broke and the other intact, but squishy.

Let me start by saying I flipped out when this happened.

But then my quest for knowledge started and I was determined to find out why my chicken was laying these no shell eggs. My hubby looked it up right away the first time and said it can be common in new layers. I accepted that and moved on with my week.

3 weeks later I was still getting them here and there, so to the internet I went.

After much research and question asking on forums, I came to the conclusion that it was probably lack of calcium. She is a little low in the pecking order, so maybe the higher ups were keeping her from getting the oyster shell she needed. She just needed a little help.

I bought plain organic yogurt and took some of the egg shells from some eggs I used up and made an egg laying soup. My chickens actually hates oyster shells. I have never seen them touch the stuff. I still offer it but also offer monthly crushed egg shells.

Now the rules for giving chickens egg shells for calcium:

  1. Only egg shells that were from eggs from your flock. No store bought and no other farm’s fresh eggs. You don’t want any contamination.
  2. Dry your eggshells really good. During the summer I use to put them outside in the hot sun for some natural baking. During the winter or bad weather, just bake in the oven for about 15-20 minutes and then cool.
  3. Make sure you crush or pulverize the shells. Easier for them to digest and they won’t recognize it as an egg or you might have trouble.

Use your food processor (warning: the egg shells will smell YUK!) and then add the amount of yogurt you think would feed your flock. I use one of the small cups or 1/2 of a bigger container.


Now I did say that Nutmeg was low on the pecking order so I put down one dish on one side of the run for the higher ups. And because Nutmeg is a little spoiled, she knows to follow me because I will let her eat out of the bag of worms or container of food where no one can bother her. I knew she would get her fair share from the second bowl on the other side before the others discovered it.

I have to say I really think it worked. We have had no problems since. And I do this about once a month just to make sure everyone is getting their calcium fix.


This post was part of the blog hop on Oak Hill HomesteadSimple Life MomTimber Creek Farmer and The Chicken Chick.

Chicken math


A year ago, I decided to buy 6 little chicks from Tractor Supply. Then a few days later, I went by and fell in love and bought 6 more. Out of 12, I had 10 survive and thrive. 3 roosters and 7 hens, little did I know that would send me on a journey that I never would have imagine. A wonderful journey of homesteading and learning about all natural/organic ways to raise animals and gardening. My hubby and extended family thinks I am crazy. My kids love it because of all the animals. But the most important thing is how happy I am doing this and learning. My friends on facebook now call me crazy chicken lady. I am constantly getting friends posting things like the chicken diaper or chicken leash (most ridiculous thing ever, I don’t need a leash they follow me willingly). But this is my life now and I couldn’t be more insane happy with the decision to buy 12 lil chicks.

At the beginning of the year, I had 9 chickens, 7 hens and 2 roosters. One rooster was getting a little crazy so he was rehomed to a farm with a lot of girls for him. Then is March, I lost 2 of my hens to poison. So by spring, I only had 6 chickens. 5 hens and a frizzle bantam rooster that can’t even mate because he is so small.

At this point, my obsession for hatching eggs began. First there was 4 that hatched, then 3, 18, 8, and last 15. I hatched out 5 different batches of chicken eggs. Along with 2 batches of duck eggs.


Then I got a call from my aunt about the school hatching eggs but no place to take the chicks. And I also made the mistake of going by the feed store the same day and seeing some little ducklings.

Then I saw someone selling pullets (girls) and I had to have them. Then I ordered 15 polish chicks! So how many chickens do we have!?! 57! 51 chickens and 6 ducks.

36 are undetermined meaning they haven’t shown their rooster or hen side yet. Or in the ducks case duck or drake.

2 bantam roosters I am trying to rehome for their sake since they are so little, my bigger ones will probably beat them up.

So far I do know that I have 13 girls chickens and 1 girl duck. And 5 roosters.


In the end, I am planning on keeping only 4 roosters (maybe less depending on attitude) and most of the girls. All of my ducks will stay unless I end up with a lot of drakes which I don’t think I will. And any roosters over what I want to keep will become dinner. Most of the polish chicks are going to be sold. I only wanted a few for Dakota, but of course there is a 15 minimum purchase and I couldn’t find any locally. And I pray I have done enough research to be able to tell a boy from a girl.

2 of my goals this year was to expand my flock and add ducks! Mission accomplished.


Am I completely done with raising chicks? UM hell no! Have you seen how adorable these little babies are! But I am more interested in the hatching and selling aspect now. I also will be adding meat chickens and turkeys next year.



Let me tell ya a story about Lucky the Duck

Gather round boys and girls, I’m gonna tell ya about a duck named Lucky and why she is named Lucky.

This year I really just wanted to add ducks to my homestead. I have always had a love for ducks and Koda really wanted some too. So I decided (after much research) that I wanted to hatch them. My neighbor has ducks and she gave me some eggs. But they turned out to be infertile. So I order 6 eggs off of ebay.

The eggs came in and they were beautiful looking. I let them sit and settle from all the bumps of being shipped. And then I put them in the incubator. 28 days later it was hatching day. Except it wasn’t. Nothing happened. 2 eggs pipped and I could see a beak. But that was it for about 24 hours. One duck ended up getting shrink wrapped in it’s shell. I could see the other one was still moving so Hubby and I decided to perform a c-section.

We got the lil’ gal out, but her yolk wasn’t absorbed and she was having a hard time. We told the kids not to get too excited because we didn’t know if she would survive or not. This was Easter Sunday and my family that came over was convinced she wasn’t going to survive.

I left her in the incubator for 2 days while her yolk absorbed and her umbilical cord dried enough that I could cut it. I moved her into a separate brooder in the office away from high traffic and noise. That is when I realized she couldn’t walk. She would flop on her back if you stood her up. She would just stay where ever you put her.

Hubby immediately started doing research on his computer while I was on the other. We both came to the conclusion that it was probably spraddle leg. Using the Fresh Eggs Daily website, we followed the directions for wrapping her legs. I knew it was going to take a lot of work to get this duck to survive. This was when my Hubby said “if this duck survives, we should name her Lucky.”

Every hour my cell alarm would go off and I would go in to help her eat and drink. I would stand her up and brace her up with my hand on her back. I would let her take some steps on her own, guiding her to the food and water. If she fell, I would get her right back up again.

About 24 hours of this and I realized her neck wasn’t quite right. So more research confirmed wry neck. I immediately started adding Nutri-drench to her water. That quickly fixed her neck problem.


Back to the leg problem, I probably did this every hour thing for 2 days. At night, I made sure she got food before I went to bed and immediately when I woke up at 4:30 am. Every day, I did the little therapy with her. Getting her upright and forcing her to walk. I also gave her a stuffed puppy to cuddle with. I then realized I could prop her up between the legs of the dog and that would help also. Then one day I found her on the other side of the brooder from where I left her. So I started standing her up and watching, within a week she was moving about all on her own. She was a little wobbly, but she was walking normally and that was all that mattered.

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She was about 2 weeks old at this point and  I knew we needed some real duck friends. I saw an ad on Craigslist and went to go look at ducklings who were the same age as our little one. Except I quickly realized that she much, much smaller and that would never work. I didn’t want them bulldozing her. So I held off.

I had some chicks I was selling, but there was one that my kids just really loved. So before the lady came to buy them all. I swiped that lil one up and stuck in the brooder with Lucky. At first, they weren’t happy. They stared at each other like what are you. But they quickly become best friends.



Then I had some more eggs hatch and I put the chicks in there with them also. She became the little mother duck to 9 chicks.

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This all started on Easter weekend, April 4th. As I am writing this it is June 1st and I can report that Lucky is doing fantastic! She is outside with my big girls, teenagers and her little kids.

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She hates water, but loves mealworms! I tried to separate her from her babies and it didn’t go over very well. So I moved the little kids outside with her in a playpen. She calls for her babies and they call for her. They are very much attached to each other. It is really sweet! I honestly don’t think she knows she is a duck. I think she thinks she is a chicken. I bought and hatched 5 more ducks and she doesn’t care about them, just her little babies.

It was a lot of work, but completely worth it in the end.

Check out my facebook page to see the video of when I tried to separate Lucky from her babies.


This post has been linked up at The Chicken Chick and Our Simple Homestead Blog Hop.