Feeding Chickens a Natural Diet

Feeding Chickens a Natural Diet

“Vegetarian Fed” is a phrase I see on chicken in the grocery store all the time and you know what? It makes me angry.  Chickens by nature, aren’t vegetarians.  When left to themselves (though at this point wild chickens aren’t really a thing) they will eat plants and insects, worms, etc.

I love keeping our little flock of laying hens but I want them to live as close to a natural life as they possibly can.  So that means that my chickens are not vegetarians.

Because of predators and living close to a very busy road, we are unable to fully free range our flock. They have a large fenced in yard to scratch and peck in as well as coop to keep them warm and dry. We are able to move the coop and yard from time to time so they can have fresh ground. Scratching and pecking at the ground gives them access to beetles and worms both of which they love to munch on.

Feeding Chickens

While grain is their main food source, I supplement it with sunflower seeds and crushed shells (for calcium) as well as just about every vegetable and fruit scrap that comes out of my kitchen.  My chickens are my compost pile and they love to eat cooking scraps.  I even freeze some in the summer so they have something nice and cold to peck at on hot days.

We also rake our grass clippings from when we mow the lawn and lay them down in their yard.  Tilly loves to feed them weeds from the garden and they’ve gotten so comfortable around her that they’ll eat them right from her hand.  They have also come in handy when we find grubs and beetles in the garden.  I pick any hornworms, potato beetles and other pests and put them in a cup.  Once I’m done in the garden for the night I dump the cup into the chicken yard and they go nuts!

chickens aren't vegetarians

As always, please do your research and make sure you know what you are buying, especially when it comes to meat and eggs.

Meal Plan 7.20.15

It’s been awhile since I posted a meal plan.  We’ve been busy trying to get as much of the outside work and projects done as we can while the weather is good.  I’ve also been putting more time into my Cloth by Kailyn business  you can always follow our facebook page for updates and sale announcements.  I’ll try and link up recipes when I have them and you can check out my Pinterest boards for more ideas and inspiration.

Breakfasts: We have a variety of breakfast items kicking around the house and pick and choose as we go.  This week we have homemade yogurt, cereal, and pancakes (I made a double batch last week).  

Lunches: I typically pack our lunches the night before.  Most of the time it is leftovers from dinners but some of our other favorites include, english muffin pizzas, quesadillas, crackers and hummus, and sandwiches. For toddler lunch ideas, check this out.

Dinners: I plan these out one for each night.  Typically we’ll have a “breakfast for dinner” night once a week and at least one “meatless meal”.  I try to stick to traditional real food (no food dyes, artificial coloring, flavoring, or sweeteners)  I also try to make as much from scratch as possible, it is cheaper that way and I can control the type and source of my ingredients.

Note: Tilly eats the same things we do because 1. I don’t want to make extra work for myself and 2. I want her to be exposed to lots of different flavors and textures.  I just make sure things are cut into pieces she can handle.
 
Week of 07/20/15
 
Monday: Crock Pot chicken and veggies
Tuesday: Pasta with sauce and salad
Wednesday:  Chicken fajitas (with the left over chicken from monday)
Thursday: Hamburgers and corn on the grill
Friday: Puppy party with friends! *we’ll grab sandwiches and picnic while the dogs play
Saturday: Oatmeal with walnuts, flax seeds, and chia seeds with applesauce
Sunday:  Crock pot chili and cornbread (I love my crock pot in hot weather, it keeps the kitchen cool!)

What are you serving up this week?

Healthy Carrot Cake Pancakes

Its been a long time since I’ve shared a recipe.  I guess I was just waiting for the right one to come along.  I made these pancakes for dinner last night and when Matilda polished off her second one I knew that I had a recipe worth sharing.

carrotpancakes

I love carrot cake and breakfast so combining them in a healthy way was just perfect for me.  Somehow (I think its magic) these pancakes manage to taste just like carrot cake but without a ton of sugar or white flour.  Go ahead and double the recipe so you’ll have leftovers for the freezer.  They make great quick breakfasts or lunches and will re-heat in the toaster oven in no time (or microwave, but we don’t have one)

Healthy Carrot Cake Pancakes

1 cup whole wheat flour

2 1/2 teaspoons aluminum free baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 tablespoons of maple syrup (REAL maple syrup none of that fake stuff)

2 tablespoons of melted coconut oil

1 cup of very finely shredded carrot (I grated mine and then pulsed in the food processor)

1 cup of milk

1 egg

raisins & chopped walnuts for adding when cooking *Optional but worth it

1.  Mix flour and spices and top with milk and oil, stir just until flour is wet.  Cover and let soak until dinner time (or overnight until breakfast time) *Yes I did just tell you to leave your pancake mix on the counter all night.  Soaking flour makes it easier to digest and it helps your body extract all those important nutrients that are hiding inside.

2. When you are ready to make pancakes, add the rest of the ingredients (except for the walnuts and raisins) and mix really well.

3.  Cook on an electric griddle set at 350 degrees (or pan on the stove) adding a few raisins and walnuts to each pancake before you flip them.

4. Top with butter and syrup and enjoy!

*This recipe made 10 medium pancakes.  Be prepared for them to disappear quickly.

carrotpancakes2What’s your favorite breakfast for dinner dish? Join in the conversation on our facebook page.

Meal Plan 6.15.15

We set up a table at our first farmers market selling pickles, hot sauce, and jam.  It was pretty successful for our first time and we are looking forward to going again in two weeks. We’ve been working on teaching Tilly to try new things and branch out a bit more so, you can see how that’s going on our facebook page.  I’ll try and link up recipes when I have them and you can check out my Pinterest boards for more ideas and inspiration.

Breakfasts: We have a variety of breakfast items kicking around the house and pick and choose as we go.  This week we have homemade yogurt, cereal, and banana – zucchini bread.  We’ve been on a big oatmeal kick lately so I’ll have plenty of that ready to go too. 

Lunches: I typically pack our lunches the night before.  Most of the time it is leftovers from dinners but some of our other favorites include, english muffin pizzas, quesadillas, crackers and hummus, and sandwiches. For toddler lunch ideas, check this out.

Dinners: I plan these out one for each night.  Typically we’ll have a “breakfast for dinner” night once a week and at least one “meatless meal”.  I try to stick to traditional real food (no food dyes, artificial coloring, flavoring, or sweeteners)  I also try to make as much from scratch as possible, it is cheaper that way and I can control the type and source of my ingredients.

Note: Tilly eats the same things we do because 1. I don’t want to make extra work for myself and 2. I want her to be exposed to lots of different flavors and textures.  I just make sure things are cut into pieces she can handle.
 
Week of 06/15/15
 
Monday: Salmon patties, cous cous, and veggies
Tuesday: Waffles, bacon, and fruit salad
Wednesday:  Baked Italian chicken and rice
Thursday: Bean and cheese quesadillas with salad 
Friday: Puppy party with friends! *we’ll grab sandwiches and picnic it while the dogs play
Saturday: Grilled cheese, veggie sticks and hummus
Sunday:  Oatmeal with walnuts, flax seeds and chia seeds, and applesauce 

What are you serving up this week?

Growing Potatoes in Buckets

growingpotatoes

We like potatoes and we go through quite a bit of them so, naturally, they were high on my “grow it yourself” list.  I did a lot of research last year as to the easiest way to grow them and settled on Potato Buckets.  I figured I’d give it a try, take lots of pictures, and then share it with you if it turned out to be a success….and seeing as you are reading this post you can go ahead and assume it was successful.

For starters, you need seed potatoes. Take a few organic potatoes and let them hang out in a brown paper bag the counter until the “eyes” (seriously, why do we call them that? its creepy) start to grow little sprouts.  Then, cut them into pieces, making sure that 2 or 3 sprouts are on each chunk.

growingpotatoes2

Once your potatoes are all sprouty, go ahead and get some 5 gallon buckets.  Take a few minutes to drill a couple holes in the bottom for drainage. Potatoes will rot if they get too wet so drainage is the key to success.  The other key to success is compost, because compost makes plants happy.  Go ahead and throw a couple scoops of compost in the bottom of each bucket.  Scatter a few seed potatoes in each bucket, make sure to give them some space and point those eyes to the sky.  Cover them up with an inch or two of dirt, find a sunny spot, water them when the soil looks dry and soon enough you’ll have little potato plants popping up.

Let the plants grow until they are 3-4 inches tall.  Once they have reached that height its time to hill them.  This encourages the plant to send out more roots, making more potatoes.  Toss some soil in to cover up all but the top inch or so of the plant.  Keep doing this every time they grow to 4 inches.

growingpotatoes3

After somewhere around 70 days go ahead and stop watering for a week or so to dry out the soil (this will make it much easier to harvest).  Tip your buckets upside down and start potato hunting…that’s all there is to it! Tilly loved helping me harvest the potatoes so if you happen to have a 2 year old hanging around let them dig in the dirt for a bit, it’s good for them.

*Have you grown potatoes? I’d love to hear your tips

Meal Plan 5.25.15

Still more busy weeks ahead for us.  That’s always the case come spring when we have a garden to tend to and lots of outdoor projects.  We’ve got an over abundance of eggs so the road side sign is going out and 3$ will get you a dozen farm fresh eggs. We’ve been working on teaching Tilly to try new things and branch out a bit more  You can see how that’s going on our facebook page I’ll try and link up recipes when I have them and you can check out my Pinterest boards for more ideas and inspiration.
Breakfasts: We have a variety of breakfast items kicking around the house and pick and choose as we go.  This week we have homemade yogurt, cereal, and english muffins.  We’ve been on a big oatmeal kick lately so I’ll have plenty of that ready to go too. 

Lunches: I typically pack our lunches the night before.  Most of the time it is leftovers from dinners but some of our other favorites include, english muffin pizzas, quesadillas, crackers and hummus, and sandwiches. For toddler lunch ideas, check this out.

Dinners: I plan these out one for each night.  Typically we’ll have a “breakfast for dinner” night once a week and at least one “meatless meal”.  I try to stick to traditional real food (no food dyes, artificial coloring, flavoring, or sweeteners)  I also try to make as much from scratch as possible, it is cheaper that way and I can control the type and source of my ingredients.

Note: Tilly eats the same things we do because 1. I don’t want to make extra work for myself and 2. I want her to be exposed to lots of different flavors and textures.  I just make sure things are cut into pieces she can handle.
 
Week of 05/25/15
 
Monday: Cooking out with Ians family (hamburgers / hot dogs, salad, potato salad) 
Tuesday:  Friends are visiting and we are still making plans so I’ll have to fill you in when we figure it out. 
Wednesday:  Mini veggie quiche with sausage and apple sauce
Thursday: Crock pot Philly cheese steaks and salad
Friday: Puppy party with friends! *we’ll grab sandwiches and picnic it while the dogs play
Saturday: Sweet potato patties with hummus and mixed veggies
Sunday:  Homemade pizza and salad

What are you serving up this week?

Meal Plan 5/4/15

Last week was a busy week and this week is shaping up to be even busier! I’m trying to plan simple dinners that will use up what we have.  We’ve been working on teaching Tilly to try new things and branch out a bit more  You can see how that’s going on our facebook page I’ll try and link up recipes when I have them and you can check out my Pinterest boards for more ideas and inspiration.
Breakfasts: We have a variety of breakfast items kicking around the house and pick and choose as we go.  This week we have homemade yogurt, cereal, and whole wheat bagels.  We’ve been on a big oatmeal kick lately so I’ll have plenty of that ready to go too. 

Lunches: I typically pack our lunches the night before.  Most of the time it is leftovers from dinners but some of our other favorites include, english muffin pizzas, quesadillas, crackers and hummus, and sandwiches. For toddler lunch ideas, check this out.

Dinners: I plan these out one for each night.  Typically we’ll have a “breakfast for dinner” night once a week and at least one “meatless meal”.  I try to stick to traditional real food (no food dyes, artificial coloring, flavoring, or sweeteners)  I also try to make as much from scratch as possible, it is cheaper that way and I can control the type and source of my ingredients.

Note: Tilly eats the same things we do because 1. I don’t want to make extra work for myself and 2. I want her to be exposed to lots of different flavors and textures.  I just make sure things are cut into pieces she can handle.
 
Week of 05/04/15
 
Monday: Macaroni and Cheese with broccoli 
Tuesday:  Tacos and all the fixings
 
Wednesday:  Chicken dumplings with salad 
Thursday: Crock pot Philly cheese steaks
Friday: Puppy party with friends! *we’ll grab sandwiches and picnic it while the dogs play

Saturday: Baked oatmeal and fruit

Sunday:  Whatever Ian plans (I’m off duty today!)

What are you serving up this week?

Meal Plan 4.27.15

I’m in full on garden starting mode…though I’m probably jumping the gun since it’s supposed to be in the low 50s and rainy all week. I don’t care! I’m getting my garden ready dang it!  You can follow along with all of my garden shenanigans on our facebook page I’ll try and link up recipes when I have them and you can check out my Pinterest boards for more ideas and inspiration.
Breakfasts: We have a variety of breakfast items kicking around the house and pick and choose as we go.  This week we have homemade yogurt, cereal, and whole wheat bagels.  We’ve been on a big oatmeal kick lately so I’ll have plenty of that ready to go too. 

Lunches: I typically pack our lunches the night before.  Most of the time it is leftovers from dinners but some of our other favorites include, english muffin pizzas, quesadillas, crackers and hummus, and sandwiches. For toddler lunch ideas, check this out.

Dinners: I plan these out one for each night.  Typically we’ll have a “breakfast for dinner” night once a week and at least one “meatless meal”.  I try to stick to traditional real food (no food dyes, artificial coloring, flavoring, or sweeteners)  I also try to make as much from scratch as possible, it is cheaper that way and I can control the type and source of my ingredients.

Note: Tilly eats the same things we do because 1. I don’t want to make extra work for myself and 2. I want her to be exposed to lots of different flavors and textures.  I just make sure things are cut into pieces she can handle.
 
Week of 04/27/15
 
Monday: Cheese tortellini, salad, and garlic bread
Tuesday:  Buffalo chicken wraps and peas
 
Wednesday:  pumpkin waffles, bacon and fruit salad
Thursday: Quinoa and red bean stuffed sweet potatoes
Friday: Puppy party with friends! *we’ll grab sandwiches and picnic it while the dogs play

Saturday: Cobb salads and whole wheat bread sticks

Sunday:  Turkey burgers and roasted root veggies 

What are you serving up this week?

Meal Plan 4.13.15

Spring! It’s finally here and I’m so happy about it that I’m currently typing this post from my front steps.  The sun was shining and it was too beautiful to sit inside.  This week I am running a “Mystery Hostess” Diaper Party on our facebook page head on over there for more details and for a chance to win a whole mess of awesome prizes!  I’ll try and link up recipes when I have them and you can check out my Pinterest boards for more ideas and inspiration.
Breakfasts: We have a variety of breakfast items kicking around the house and pick and choose as we go.  This week we have homemade yogurt, cereal, and banana zucchini bread.  We’ve been on a big oatmeal kick lately so I’ll have plenty of that ready to go too. 

Lunches: I typically pack our lunches the night before.  Most of the time it is leftovers from dinners but some of our other favorites include, english muffin pizzas, quesadillas, crackers and hummus, and sandwiches. For toddler lunch ideas, check this out.

Dinners: I plan these out one for each night.  Typically we’ll have a “breakfast for dinner” night once a week and at least one “meatless meal”.  I try to stick to traditional real food (no food dyes, artificial coloring, flavoring, or sweeteners)  I also try to make as much from scratch as possible, it is cheaper that way and I can control the type and source of my ingredients.

Note: Tilly eats the same things we do because 1. I don’t want to make extra work for myself and 2. I want her to be exposed to lots of different flavors and textures.  I just make sure things are cut into pieces she can handle.
 
Week of 04/13/15
 
Monday: Cheesy beef burritos and salad
Tuesday:  Baked flounder with mixed veggies and roasted potatoes
 
Wednesday:  Mini bacon, veggies and cheese quiche with fruit salad
Thursday: Pasta with sauce, garlic bread, and salad
Friday: Puppy party with friends! *we’ll grab sandwiches and picnic it while the dogs play

Saturday: Leftovers or family choice (as in “hey what do you want for dinner?”)

Sunday:  Ham and beans or chili probably over rice 

What are you serving up this week?

Meal Plan 3.30.15

We survived the grocery challenge! and it wasn’t even that bad.  We just restocked so I’m in full meal plan mode and very happy about that. Don’t forget that I am hosting a “Ditch the Disposables” challenge for the next 3 weeks.  To join the challenge and see how its going follow our facebook page.  I’ll try and link up recipes when I have them and you can check out my Pinterest boards for more ideas and inspiration.
Breakfasts: We have a variety of breakfast items kicking around the house and pick and choose as we go.  This week we have yogurt, cereal, and banana breakfast bars.  We’ve been on a big oatmeal kick lately so I’ll have plenty of that ready to go too. 

Lunches: I typically pack our lunches the night before.  Most of the time it is leftovers from dinners but some of our other favorites include, english muffin pizzas, quesadillas, crackers and hummus, and sandwiches. For toddler lunch ideas, check this out.

Dinners: I plan these out one for each night.  Typically we’ll have a “breakfast for dinner” night once a week and at least one “meatless meal”.  I try to stick to traditional real food (no food dyes, artificial coloring, flavoring, or sweeteners)  I also try to make as much from scratch as possible, it is cheaper that way and I can control the type and source of my ingredients.

Note: Tilly eats the same things we do because 1. I don’t want to make extra work for myself and 2. I want her to be exposed to lots of different flavors and textures.  I just make sure things are cut into pieces she can handle.
 
Week of 03/30/15
 
Monday: Chicken in the crock pot, green beans, and whole wheat rolls
 
Tuesday:  Whole wheat waffles, sausage and grapes
 
Wednesday:  Bean and cheese quesadillas and corn
Thursday: Baked flounder, rice and peas
Friday: Puppy party with friends! *we’ll grab sandwiches and picnic it while the dogs play

Saturday: Chicken noodle soup, salad, and bread

Sunday:  Easter dinner with family

What are you serving up this week?