For whatever reason, I cannot watch the ends of close football or basketball games (or races, or other sporting events). I can listen, but it makes me really nervous to watch. So I spent a lot of this year's NCAA March Madness listening to the broadcast, but messing around on the internet. When I want to waste time on my computer, I often turn to Pinterest. For those of you who don't know what Pinterest is, it's a web site where you can, on the one hand, find some great recipes, decorating ideas, and household and gardening tips....on the other hand, it's an invitation to covet other people's homes, clothes, and bodies.
I searched the topic "chickens" and up popped a great web site (Grit.com) with lots of ideas on how to keep your hens healthy and happy. For example, I learned that putting a half a teaspoon of cider vinegar in my chickens' water can keep away parasites and mites. I was happy to try it, and I am really really happy to report that not only is it keeping my hens happy (I don't think they actually had any parasites or mites before, anyway), but in 24 hours the vinegar in the water had actually cleaned the water container and made it look brand new!! There was also a list of fresh herbs that you can place in the nesting boxes, and the effect of each one. For example, catnip is a sedative, lemon balm is a stress reliever, and fennel is a laying stimulant - who knew?! Well, now, I have lots of herbs in the garden and around the house, so I thought, "What the heck?" and put some rose petals (vitamin C), lavender (stress reducer and insecticide), basil (mucus membrane health, whatever that is!), and rosemary (respiratory health) in my nesting boxes. Apparently, my hens are not into herbs, because less than an hour later they had kicked all of the herbs out of the boxes and all over the ground. They didn't even eat any, and that's saying something, because these girls eat any old bread product, grass, coffee grounds when they can get them, and even cobwebs. But that's okay, because they seem pretty happy and relaxed to me, and we have more eggs than we can eat (clearly I need to do some baking!).