Chicken Breeds For Children [Podcast]

Chicken Breeds For Children [Podcast]

While there are many chicken breeds for children out there, I think some are better than others.

 

We’ve had a lot of chickens on our farm over the years, and I believe some breeds are better for children. Although everyone has their own opinion, I’ve found that smaller and more colorful breeds are more attractive to small children.

 

If one of your goals with raising chickens are to teach your children about animals and life lessons, starting with a breed that might interest them is one way to go.

 

You also need to be sure that the breed will be safe and that your children will enjoy spending time with them.

 

In this episode of What The Cluck?! we talk about 5 chicken breeds for children as well as reasons to keep a flock when you have a family.

 

You’ll learn:

  • Which 5 chicken breeds for children I recommend
  • Which breeds I don’t recommend
  • How chickens can also be a teaching tool
  • How to bring chickens into your life so your children enjoy them

 

(LIKE THIS PODCAST? LISTEN TO THE REST HERE)

Transcript

 

Hi there, and welcome to session 15 of What the Cluck?!, a podcast devoted to keeping chickens for fun and self-sufficiency. I’m Maat from FrugalChicken, and in this episode we’ll talk about chicken breeds that are good choices if you have children, and advantages to keeping chickens if you have children.

 

If you have children, or just wonder which breeds I recommend, you’ll love this episode. Just as a reminder, you can access this episodes show notes at TheFrugalChicken.com/podcast15 that’s podcast one five all one word.

 

Now, over the years as we’ve had children, I’ve noticed that some breeds are better than others with small children. So, we’re only covering five breeds today, and this list is certainly not exhaustive.

 

I had to trim it down for the sake of time, and I’ve chosen breeds that I have personal experience with, and that I’ve seen interact with children.

 

I also tried to take into mind the things that are attractive to children, since part of raising chickens with children is to actively get children involved.

 

I’m not a child development specialist, I’m a chicken expert, but I know from raising two small children that there are certain things that get them more excited than other things, and things that they’ll respond to better than others.

 

I also tried to take temperament into consideration, and to choose breeds that aren’t known for being flighty or that are too antisocial.

 

I also took size into consideration, because we keep all kinds of breeds on our homestead, and I noticed that our children respond better to young chickens and smaller breeds because they’re less intimidating, especially the roosters.

 

So, that’s pretty much what’s reflected in my list of chicken breeds for children.

 

Now the other thing I should mention is in this podcast, I’m using the term “breeds” loosely. Some of these breeds are hybrids, and purists will shout that they’re not really breeds because they’re not recognized by the American Poultry Association, and I get that.

 

But until we come up with a different word in English for chicken breeds that are really hybrids, we’re going to continue to use the word breeds. Just wanted to get that out of the way.

 

So, there are many breeds that work well with children, and I can’t for the sake of time discuss them all, so I’ve just included five. These are good breeds for children, and are reflective of my opinion.

 

Your list might differ, but I think these five are a good starting point for someone wanting to bring chickens into their family that includes small children.

 

First on my list of chicken breeds for children are Cornish Crosses. And these are not your typical pet chicken breed, and if you don’t know what they are, they’re large meat chickens, often referred to as “frankenchickens” because they’re bred to grow freakishly large very quickly.

 

Now, if you hate Cornish Crosses or think they’re freaks of nature, just stay with me here. Cornish Crosses, because they’re bred to grow quickly, are quiet birds that don’t do much except lumber around.

 

They do enjoy human company though, more so than other breeds I’ve owned, and they’re happy to just sit quietly with people.

 

While they do have a tendency to die quicker than other breeds, if they’re well managed and not overfed, they can live quite a while. If you do decide to raise a Cornish cross, you need to remember they are not fully feathered and have a hard time regulating their own body temperature.

 

So, they’re more susceptible to temperature extremes, unlike other breeds that are fully feathered and can regulate their temperature better.

 

Cornish crosses do get quite large but they’re quiet birds and the roosters are placid giants that are not very territorial. We kept two Cornish crosses here as pet chickens, and both lost their lives to weather extremes, one to very hot weather and the other to weather that was too cold for her during tornado weather.

 

But because they’re not flighty, Cornish Crosses typically won’t scare children, and don’t really run away when approached. Like I said, they tolerate being held better than other breeds, and especially if you want to use chickens as a natural sciences teaching tool, then Cornish crosses are a good option.

 

They lay white eggs, and they lay much less frequently than other breeds. We had one hen that laid an egg every 3-4 days but her personality made up for the lack of egg laying.

 

Next on my list of chicken breeds for children are polish bantams. We’ve had a couple of these birds over the years, both hens and roosters.

 

READ NEXT: 10 ABNORMAL CHICKEN EGGS & WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW!

 

One of the reasons I personally like them is that they look funny and have tufts of feathers on their heads that look like a puff ball. They’re eye catching, and I think because of that, and also because they look like cartoon characters, children can relate to them.

 

Our children liked them because they look like cartoon characters, and they’re placid, easy to get along with birds that don’t grow too big. They’re bantams, but our rooster did grow to the size of a large breed hen, he was about the same size as our rhode island red hens, but he wasn’t territorial and didn’t ever make a move to attack us. He just did his thing and minded his own business.

 

Polish bantams come in a variety of colors, our rooster was mostly black with red tipped feathers, and of course his pom-pom on the top of his head was black with red tipped feathers.

 

Polish bantams are not really excitable birds, I’m sure given the right circumstance they would be, but for the most part, movement didn’t bother them, which is good for small children because they tend to make sudden movements. Our Blue Copper Marans hens, for example, run away from our children because the sudden movements make them uncomfortable.

 

Polish bantams lay white eggs, and they’re good layers. Of course, the roosters don’t lay eggs, but they’re nice, easy to get along with birds that children love to watch.

 

The third chicken breed on our list today of chicken breeds for children are silkies. Now, for full disclosure, we don’t currently have any Silkes, but I wanted to mention them largely for the same reason I mentioned Polish bantams which is that they’re comical to look at and they look a little like cartoon characters.

 

To me, they look a bit like something out of a Dr. Seuss book.

 

Now, at this time I want to address that you shouldn’t choose a chicken breed for your children just because they’re funny looking.

 

I know I’ve mentioned that I like Polish Bantams and Silkies as a breed for children because they’re cute, but by and large, you should choose a chicken breed for children because they’re a good fit on your farm and your kids want to raise them.

 

That being said, with this list, I’ve chosen breeds that I think are eye catching and that children can easily relate to. Since many people want to raise chickens as pets, or to teach their children about the world, or to teach them responsibility, choosing a breed that’s interesting to your children is the place to start.

 

Of course, you should always take the well-being of your chickens and your kids into mind, since both are living, breathing organisms. Both chickens and children should be kept in a safe environment and cared for accordingly.

 

So, getting back to Silkies.

 

Their feathers are also fluffier and finer than other chicken feathers, so small children are attracted to how they feel, and since their feathers are similar to mammal hair, I think children can relate to them. Children also like soft things, such as soft stuffed animals, so the texture of Silkie feathers are more attractive to small children.

 

There’s some debate out there about whether Silkies are a breed of bantam, and according to the American Poultry Association they’re considered a bantam breed.

 

Out of all the chicken breeds, Silkies are best known for their even, friendly temperaments, and some silkies are even used as therapy chickens for special-needs children because they’re so good with people.

 

One woman actually fought her city ordinances after she was made to get rid of her autistic son’s therapy chickens. She was told that she wasn’t allowed to have chickens, and would be fined $10,000 if she didn’t get rid of them.

 

But when her son’s health declined after the chickens were gone, she successfully got the city to alter the rules to allow her son’s therapy silkies, and was able to bring them back to her property.

 

So, a bit of history about the breed. Silkies originated in China, and made their way over to Western cultures via the Silk Route as well as on merchant ships.

 

Silkies were recognized officially by the Standard of Perfection in 1874. Unlike other chicken breeds, Silkies have 5 toes on their feet. They have all black skin, but their feathers can be different colors, including black, white, and buff.

 

They’re fluffy creatures that like Polish Bantams, they have a tuft on their head. Silkies also have feathers on their feet, and overall, their appearance is more attractive to small children than other chicken breeds.

 

One reason I mention silkies is because they’re small, adult males get around 4 pounds, so they not intimidating for children, and a good size for children to hold. Silkies roosters aren’t territorial so they’re less likely to attack your children.

 

Silkie chickens lay white eggs, and although they don’t lay as well as other breeds, they tend to go broody easily, and they will hatch eggs other than their own, so some people keep them as live incubators. Of course, a lot of people keep them as companions, as well.

 

READ NEXT: 5 CHICKEN BREEDS TO RAISE FOR COLORED EGGS

 

The fourth breed on our list are Easter eggers, and largely that’s because they lay colored eggs, and I think kids are fascinated by this. While most chickens lay brown or white eggs, Easter Eggers can lay blue, green, and even pink eggs.

 

We have one Easter Egger that lays pink eggs. I think kids get a kick out of the different colors, and it’s a little like Christmas or Easter every day for kids.

 

Unlike other breeds we’ve talked about in this podcast, Easter Eggers lay frequently, ours lay just about every day, so there’s always eggs for the kids to look for.

 

Easter Eggers are also effectively mixed breed birds, they’re a combination of chickens with the blue egg laying gene and other breeds, so they have hybrid vigor, and are generally healthy chickens to raise.

 

Easter eggers grow to a good size, around 6 pounds, but we haven’t personally had any Easter Egger roosters that were territorial. But that being said, because they do get bigger, Easter Eggers can be intimidating for small children simply because they grow to be the same size as small children.

 

Now one disadvantage of Easter Eggers is they’re more standoffish than other breeds we’ve discussed today, and generally don’t like to be held. So, if you’re looking for more of a lap chicken, then Silkies might be a better choice.

 

Last on our list of chicken breeds for children breeds for children are Cuckoo marans, and in this case, I recommend the hens only. We’ll talk in a minute about why that is.

 

As far as Cuckoo Marans hens go, we’ve had a few of them on the homestead, and they’ve been very friendly birds that enjoy human interaction. Ours would willingly be held, and as chicks, they would happily sit on our shoulders and take a snooze under my hair.

 

They were never aggressive and seemed to really enjoy human company, as long as there no sudden loud noises.

 

They’re a type of Marans, which are the dark brown egg layers. They’re also called chocolate egg layers.

 

Cuckoo marans also lay eggs frequently, every other day or so depending on the season and their diet. Cuckoo marans are barred chickens, mostly black with white barring. I think children enjoy the color of Cuckoo marans.

 

Like I said they’re more friendly birds than other breeds, and the ones we’ve had were willing to be held. They get larger than Silkies, for example, but the hens don’t get overwhelmingly large, 5 or so pounds. They have long, elegant-looking toes, and are just really nice birds to raise.

 

Now one disadvantage of cuckoo marans is they can move quickly when they’re scared or intimidated, and although they’re more scared of us than we are of them, so to speak, for children who get overwhelmed easily, a cuckoo maran might not be the best choice.

 

But like I said, cuckoo marans do enjoy human company, so if your child tends to be more in their head than you’d like them to be, cuckoo marans might help with that.

 

Now let’s talk for a minute about why I don’t recommend Marans roosters and other breeds of Marans.

 

I don’t recommend other breeds of Marans, we’ve had Black Copper and Blue Copper Marans here, and that’s because they tend to be flighty and run away from people. For children that want a pet or that are overwhelmed easily, they’re not the best idea.

 

Other breeds of Marans tend to be standoffish, and they don’t seem to like interacting with people too much, unlike the Cuckoo Marans.

 

I don’t recommend any Marans roosters in particular. We’ve had several Marans roosters here, both black copper and blue copper, and although we had a couple of exceptions, as a whole they were more territorial than the Marans hens and other roosters in general that we’ve had here on the homestead.

 

Our one Blue Copper Marans rooster, Lavender, is a quiet guy that won’t hurt anything, but he’s not your average rooster. The other Marans roosters we have are quite territorial, and one in particular likes to come after people.

 

This is good for a rooster who need to protect hens, but it’s not good for pet roosters, as it can frighten small children. For a while, our son was afraid of all chickens because this rooster would try to intimidate him by charging him, and this particular rooster has tried to charge me as well.

 

He’s never actually flogged anyone and it’s more about bravado than actually trying to hurt anyone, but children can’t tell the difference, and are easily intimidated by roosters like this.

 

The other rooster breeds we’ve had here have not been as territorial, and given the amount of Marans we’ve kept, I feel comfortable saying this is a breed trait.

 

Marans also grow to be large. The males can weigh as much as 8 pounds, and the hens 6, so they can grow as large and as tall as a 1 year old human.

 

My recommendation is to look at other breeds, or if you really want Marans, to keep them in a coop if they seem to present a problem for your children.

 

And that’s not saying that every Marans out there will be territorial, but by and large in my experience, they tend towards it more than other breeds I’ve seen.

 

So, let’s talk for a minute about why you might want to raise chicken breeds for children, and some of the advantages. Now again, I’m not a child development specialist, but I’ve noticed over the years that chickens are a gateway to teaching children about all sort of subjects, such as anatomy, natural sciences, and pretty much almost anything.

 

I like to think with chickens you can use a Montessori approach to teaching, for example, if your child is fascinated by the eggs your hens lay, you can use that as a springboard to teach about anatomy, biology, math, reproduction, colors (if your chickens are all one color), you get the point.

 

READ NEXT: WHAT ARE LASH EGGS?

 

You can also use your chickens as a way to teach kids where their food comes from, and to have respect for the life that yields that food.

 

With many people out there becoming more divorced from where their food comes from, there are people out there that don’t realize meat comes from animals, chickens are a healthy way to teach your kids where their food originates.

 

Chickens are also a way to teach kids about custodial duty and how to care for other living beings. Having to care for a live animal, regardless of the time of day, temperature, weather, etc teaches life skills in a more meaningful way. I think it also shapes kids into productive adults.

 

For example, someone I know, who now I wish I didn’t know, decided to throw a live rabbit he bought for his daughter to his dogs simply because he didn’t want to care for it anymore. What kind of lesson did that man teach his children?

 

So, raising chickens is one way to teach your children to value life and to be responsible for other living beings.

 

You can also use your chickens to teach about sharing. During the height of egg season, if you get more eggs than you can eat, giving them away to friends or family is one way to use chickens to teach your children that when they have too much of something, they can give it to someone who might not have any.

 

Or, you might prefer to teach your children about business and industry. For example, if you decide to sell your eggs, you children can help you take care of the chickens, or if they’re older, they can help you calculate how much your spending on feed and housing, and how that effects the price you sell your eggs for and any potential profits. You get the point.

 

You can also use your chickens to teach geography. For example, Silkies originated in China, and that’s a gateway to teaching about world cultures. They came to Western cultures via the Silk Trade route.

 

That’s a way to start talking to kids about human history and how different cultures historically interacted.

 

You can also teach US history, since breeds like Delawares originated in the US and are part of US history.

 

Chickens are also a way to get your children involved with programs like 4H and FFA, which stands for Future Farmers of America. Both of these programs work to shape the personalities of children and to teach them responsibility.

 

As an aside, FFA has scholarship programs and other opportunities available, perhaps 4H does as well, but I’m not as familiar with 4H. There’s many opportunities there, however, and I know chickens are a large part of FFA in our area.

 

One teenager I got my Blue Copper Marans from in our area was breeding them as part of his FFA scholastic credit, so that right there is telling you something. And like I said, both of these programs work to instill values in children and teach them skills they might not learn otherwise.

 

So, if you want to raise chicken breeds for children, but aren’t sure where to begin, you should first check your local ordinances to make sure you’re allowed to keep chickens.

 

Each area is different, but a good place to start is City Hall, to see if you’re allowed to have chickens in your backyard. Nothing is worse than getting attached to them only to have to find new homes for them.

 

Once you know you can have them, you’ll need to provide housing, so you’ll have to build or buy a coop. You can read one of my articles about how to build a coop at TheFrugalChicken.com/Tractor or you can buy one I recommend at TheFrugalChicken.com/Coop.

 

Just remember that you need to provide 10 square feet of space per chicken if they will be cooped all the time or 4 square feet if they will be allowed to free range.

 

They’ll also need feed and water.

 

If you’re looking for a good book to help your children learn to raise chickens, head over to Pantry Paratus, which is an online homesteading store.

 

There’s a wonderful book there called A Kid’s Guide To Keeping Chickens, which I highly recommend. It’s a step-by-step guide that kids can easily read to learn how to take care of their feathered friends.

 

You can find that book at TheFrugalChicken.com/KidGuide, that’s K-I-D-G-U-I-D-E, all one word.

 

Although I’m not an affiliate of Pantry Paratus, I talked to the owner, who is a wonderful woman named Chaya, and she agreed just for What The Cluck?! listeners to offer a special free shipping discount for orders over $100, and I think once you head over to the Pantry Paratus site, you’ll be super excited about all the awesome tools and books you’ll find over there.

 

Right now their books are 10%-40% off in the “How-Tos & Why-Tos” section, so I know I’ll be stocking up on some of their books.

 

So to use that free shipping opportunity, just use the code FrugalChicken, that’s F-R-U-G-A-L-C-H-I-C-K-E-N all one word. But you need to use it this month, because the coupon expires January 31.

 

Of course, I’ll also put that information as well as a link to Pantry Paratus in the show notes, which you can view at TheFrugalChicken.com/podcast15, that’s podcast one five all one word.

 

Well, I hope this podcast gives you a good idea of chicken breeds for children, and maybe it’s given you some ideas for breeds you can raise.

 

I’d love to hear about your experiences with chicken breeds for children or even if you have questions, so there’s something I want you to do. I would love it if you dropped me a line at [email protected]. I do respond to every email I get.

 

Now, if you have raise any chicken breeds for children, and you think their diet might be a problem, then you’ll be interested in my course Feeding Your Hens Right which comes out in January, which you can see at feedingyourhensright.com.

 

In this course, you’ll learn how to feed your chickens so they get an optimal diet, lead healthy happy lives, and lay the most nourishing eggs possible.

 

As we grow increasingly sophisticated in understanding where our food comes from and the repercussions of eating poor quality food, it’s important to understand how your hens diet effects the quality of her eggs.

 

Anyone who has a wheat allergy and can’t eat store bought eggs will understand what I mean. A friend recently told me that if she feeds her chickens a wheat based diet, her son, who is wheat intolerant, will get sick.

 

So, that right there is proof that your hen’s diet does effect the quality of her eggs, and studies have shown the exact same thing.

 

I’m not making this up, researchers have proven it in several studies.

 

If feeding your family the most nutritious food possible is important to you, then you’ll want to check out my course. It’s 5 video workshops, that you can access at any time. There’s specific recipes for homemade feed that can be tailored to your particular needs, and you’ll learn how to raise a happy, healthy flock of chickens.

 

The URL for that course is FeedingYourHensRight.Com, all one word.

 

Thanks for listening to this episode of What the Cluck?! about chicken breeds for children, and I’ll see you next time!

<!– Default Statcounter code for
Chicken-breeds-for-children

Chicken Breeds For Children [Podcast]


–>
<script type=”text/javascript”>
var sc_project=11955320;
var sc_invisible=1;
var sc_security=”ab391a9b”;
var sc_https=1;
var sc_remove_link=1;
</script>
<script type=”text/javascript”
src=”https://www.statcounter.com/counter/counter.js”
async></script>
<noscript><div class=”statcounter”><img class=”statcounter”
src=”https://c.statcounter.com/11955320/0/ab391a9b/1/”
alt=”Web Analytics”></div></noscript>
<!– End of Statcounter Code –>

 

 

DIY Outdoor Decorations that Double as Sensory Activities for Kids

DIY Outdoor Decorations that Double as Sensory Activities for Kids

I love outdoor decorations (Especially for the coop!) I think they’re so cute and fun!

 

I think that they really help to make any backyard feel more homey. I also love making outdoor decorations with the kiddos. I love anything my kids make because after awhile it becomes a fun keepsake!

 

I also try to incorporate sensory activities for my kids when I am doing crafts with them because both of my kids have autism. I think making decorations with your kids is a great way to decorate your yard and get in some amazing sensory activities all at the same time!
So here are 5 of my favorite DIY sensory activities/decorations that you can make for your yard!


Playdough cut outs


So personally I think playdough is on of the best sensory activities out there. And you can make so many fun things with it!

 

What I do is have my kids roll out the playdough flat (like you’re rolling out cookies) Then we use chicken shaped cookie cutters to cut out chicken shapes in the playdough! I then poke a small hole in the top of the playdough (make sure it goes all the way through!) and I then leave them out to dry for a couple of days.

 

After they’re completely dried I have my kids thread some twine through the hole in the top and we hang them in the backyard!

 

I’ve hung them outside of our chicken coop for a fun decoration, and I’ve also hung them in some of the trees in our backyard! It’s a super fun and easy decoration that you can make with your kids that is also a great sensory activity. Check out this awesome recipe for homemade playdough!


Sand foam decorated bucket


This is a super easy sensory activity/decoration that you can do with your kids! What I did is I used a regular sand bucket (you could also use a pretty pot) and had my kids decorate it, however they wanted to.

 

After they finished decorating we filled it with “sand foam” (check out the recipe here) Basically it’s just shaving cream mixed with sand and it makes an amazing sensory activity!

You can use spoons, or other toys if your kids don’t like to get messy. This stuff is so fun to play with! The texture of the sand and shaving cream together is really cool!


DIY Outdoor Quiet Area


I love having an area for my kids where they can go to have some alone time or just somewhere they can go and play. I think it’s important that there is somewhere my kids can go when they have a sensory overload or need a safe space.

 

I’ve seen a couple of amazing ideas online and I’m definitely going to have to try some of them out! I love that with all of these not only are you providing your kids with an area they can go to deal with sensory overloads, but they’re also really cute outdoor decorations.

 

I totally recommend that you have your kids help when you’re making an outdoor quiet area, so that they can be involved in creating the space that they think will be most beneficial to them.


This first outdoor quiet area is one of my favorites. It’s made out of pallet wood which is a huge bonus for me because we have tons of extra pallets lying around.

 

It’s pretty simple to make and after you finish you could have your kids help you decorate and add any sensory activities that they would like to! Check out the full instructions here.

 

Make sure that when you’re using pallets you know that they’re safe! I have an entire article about it that you can use as a guide to help you know if the pallets you are using are treated with chemicals.

 

I also love this DIY bean pole teepee! It’s super easy to create! You only need a couple of boards and some bean seeds are you’re good to go! Throughout the summer the beans will grow up the poles and create an awesome enclosed space for your kids to get away to!


This last outdoor space for kids is perfect for a reading nook! It’s small and could be filled with pillows, blankets, puzzles, books, or whatever your child loves the most!

 

You could also hang some sensory based activities around the playhouse for your kids to use if they needed to! Check out this AMAZING DIY tutorial for an outdoor reading nook here!


DIY outdoor sensory board

 


So I love sensory boards. I think they’re great for any kid and they keep my kids occupied while I get some me time:) This sensory board is made out of things from nature.

 

https://www.instagram.com/p/BgW4DshjkO2/?tagged=sensoryboard

All you need to do is go outside with your kids and have them choose some nature items that they like the feel of (leaves, feathers, smooth rocks, sand, etc ). Then your just attach them to a board and you have a nature sensory board!

 

I also love this sensory board that incorporates lights, switches, and wheels! I think both of these would be a fun project to do with your kids and personally I think they add a fun touch to any backyard as a decoration.

 

https://www.instagram.com/p/BiP8Zx2hOkH/?tagged=sensoryboard


Outdoor musical instruments

 

So I think outdoor musical instruments are a really fun way to incorporate different noises that your kids like into your backyard. And they add a unique type of decoration to your yard!


One of my favorite DIY musical instruments is a PVC Xylophone. This one is so easy and all you need are some spare PVC pipes in different sizes.

 

Kids love this because they can experiment with all of the different noises they can make when they blow into the different sized pipes. Here’s full instructions on how to make your own PVC pipe musical instrument.


I also love this DIY Music man project! It’s really easy and you can basically use any materials you have lying around your farm that make awesome noises when you play with them!

 

Basically it’s almost like a scarecrow made out of several different types of materials that make really awesome noises! This project is so easy and your kids will love helping your put this one together. Plus it doubles as a scarecrow for your garden! Bonus!

 

This last idea is one of my favorites. It’s a DIY outdoor music wall! I love that this wall incorporates different materials that are great for feeling as well as banging for making noise! Check out the full tutorial here.


What decorations do you have in your backyard that double as sensory activities? I would love to hear about them! Share your ideas with me in the comments below!

5 Grilling Hacks and Recipes That’ll Make Dad Look Like a Genius

5 Grilling Hacks and Recipes That’ll Make Dad Look Like a Genius

So it’s that time of year again. It’s time to pull out the barbecue and start grilling!

 

I absolutely love grilling, it’s one of my favorite things about the summer time! There’s nothing better than a delicious barbecued meal eaten with family and friends am I right?

 

Now grilling can be a little bit tricky at times. You have to worry about temperature, texture, and flavor along with trying to perfectly balance how long you cook your food for (because nobody wants charred food, but you don’t want it raw either) And after a long winter, most of our grilling skills are a little bit rusty.


So I decided that since we’re coming into barbecuing season I would share some of my favorite grilling hacks and recipes with you, so at your next barbecue everyone will see you as the grilling genius.


Use two skewers for your kebabs


So my first hack for you to put two skewers through your kebabs. Why you may ask? Well I’ve spent many an evening making kebabs and fighting with all of the individuals pieces of meat.

 

Every time I make kebabs I have to make sure that each piece on the kebab didn’t rotate on its own when I tried to flip it. If you put two skewers in it prevents this from happening! You can easily rotate your kebabs without having to spend a ton of time checking to make sure each piece turned over in the way that it should have.


And while we’re talking about kebabs check out this amazing grilled steak kebab recipe! I love this recipe! It’s fairly simple to make, but one taste of this amazing recipe and your family will be begging you to make them every night! They’re that good. Seriously.


Use an onion to clean off your grill


My next grilling hack for you is to clean your barbecue off with an onion. So the first time I heard this trick, I thought it was a little bit crazy to be honest with you. But it works so well! I just cut an onion in half and then use it to scrub my grill after each time I use it (wait for it to cool down first!) Not only does this add some amazing flavor the next time you grill, but the onion also does a great job of cleaning off your barbecue!

And just because I love barbecue sauce and onions check out this amazing Vidalia onion barbecue sauce recipe! This stuff is good! It’s super yummy on grilled chicken and it also goes great on your burgers!


Use tinfoil


So tinfoil is the best for creating delicious and easy meals on the barbecue. I use tinfoil for everything when I’m grilling. I cover my meat with one layer of tinfoil (almost like making a mini meat tent) when I cook it so that the moisture and flavor stays in the meat!

 

I also love cooking meals in tinfoil on the grill. One of my favorite meals to make is what I call tinfoil suppers. All I do is cut potatoes into cubes, carrots into small slices, mince an onion, slice a green pepper, and throw in whatever other vegetables I happen to have around. I lay about a foot and a half of tinfoil out on the counter and place all of my vegetables on to it with a hamburger patty on the bottom. After that I add about a teaspoon of water over the top, add a small slice of butter, and some salt and pepper.

 

Then I wrap it up with the tinfoil and then wrap another layer of tinfoil over the top of that. All you have to do then is throw it on the grill and cook it until your hamburger patty is done. It’s simple and I normally just add some ketchup and then eat it as is. Using tinfoil is a great way to simplify your grilling without compromising on taste.

I also use tinfoil to lightly scrub down my grill after I finish cooking. It gets off all of the gross stuff off of the grill and it’s an easy way to quickly clean after barbecuing.

Use the finger method to tell how done your meat is


Ok so this might sound a little bit crazy, but I found this amazing way to tell how done your meat is with your fingers on simply recipes.com. I hate that when I use a meat thermometer there’s a risk of losing the moisture and juices in your meat which is the worst!!!! Check out this awesome guide here on how to tell how done your meat is using your fingers. Keep in mind that this method will take some time to figure out. So you’ll probably have to keep using a meat thermometer (bummer) for a little bit until you figure out exactly how this method works.


If you don’t quite trust yourself to figure out how done your meat is (ME!) or you are overly worried about food poisoning (also me) I recommend that you get a instant read thermometer They’re awesome and I love that when you use one of these you know exactly when your meat is done.

Use lemons when cooking fish

 

My last hack for all of you is to use lemons, especially when you’re cooking fish. Not only is it delicious (duh) but it helps prevent your fish from sticking to the barbecue which is the worst! I just put two or three lemon slices down on the grill and then put the fish on top of it! So you get your yummy grilled fish, without it sticking and you get extra yummy lemony flavor for your fish!

 

Check out this amazing grilled salmon recipe that is my favorite! It’s so easy to make and it’s a hit at any barbecue!
Do you have any amazing grilling hacks that you use? Help me out with my summer barbecues I’ve got coming up and share them in the comments below!

 

How To Infuse Oil With Herbs For Traditional Home Remedies

How To Infuse Oil With Herbs For Traditional Home Remedies

Wondering how to infuse oil with herbs? It’s really simple – and incredibly useful.

 

For millennia, humans have used herbs for all kinds of things – health, cooking, for religious purposes, keeping livestock healthy, and more. So, it’s nothing new to infuse oil with herbs for your own purposes.

 

And there’s a reason for our species dependency on our plant friends – herbs have natural properties in their essential oils that are useful for seasoning dinner and medicinal uses, such as calming an upset stomach.

 

When it comes to herbs, there’s various ways to use them such as eating or drinking them or applying topically – on yourself or your animals, including your backyard chickens.

 

To use herbs for things like cuts and scrapes, to promote healthy skin, as an anti-inflammatory, or more, you can apply the plants by themselves (there’s lot of traditional and historic records of humans using plants alone.)

 

OR you can infuse them in an oil, which makes the plants easier to spread over a large area and concentrates the natural chemical constituents of the plants.

 

How to infuse oil with herbs

 

You can also do other things with the infused oils, such as make lotions, salves, and more.

 

For your backyard chickens, using infused oils can be better than using the plants themselves. Chickens are less likely to pick at the oil and eat the plants, and it’s easier to keep oils on an animal that likes to run around and forage.

 

For complicated applications, such as open wounds, oil can make it easier to apply and “stick” the herbs, and get around folds of skin that might otherwise harbor bacteria.

 

Imagine trying to keep a bandage full of herbs on a hen! It CAN be done, but it’s just easier and better peace of mind with infused oils.

 

Infused oils also mean the essential oils of the plant – the part that helps the most – is more concentrated and bioavailable to your chickens.

 

In this article, I’m going to show you how to infuse oils with herbs…and we’ll use two GREAT medicinal herbs – comfrey (botanical name Symphytum uplandicum) and plantain (botanical name Plantago major).

 

Both have a long history of helping maintain healthy skin, regrow skin after injury, reduce pain from sprain, strains, and more.

 

Multiple studies have shown that comfrey aids in relieving pain from sprains and strains, and you can easily use oil infused with comfrey to make salves.

 

Now, there’s plantain the herb (botanical name Plantago major, also known as broadleaf plantain) and plantain the fruit (banana cultivars of the genus Musa) – they’re two different species of plants with nothing to do with each other. 

 

The plantain we’ll use in this recipe (Plantago major) is a traditional home remedy for insect bites and as an anti-inflammatory.

 

how to infuse oils with herbs

What oils should you use?

There’s lots of options here. The easiest oil to use is a high quality olive, although you can use sunflower, grapeseed (which has lots of antioxidants and vitamins), jojoba, coconut oil (fractionated or not) or any other oil you can imagine.

 

I would stay away from corn oil, which is likely to be impure and genetically modified, and anything with soy. I’m also not 100% sure how well peanut oil will work.

 

The key is to use a 100% pure, high-quality oil.

 

How to infuse oils with herbs

This is probably the simplest thing you’ll do all week. To get the benefits of the herbs in the oils, all you need to do is soak the herbs in your oil of choice.

 

I use mason jars to infuse oils with herbs because they’re easy to clean, keep on a shelf out of sunlight, and are readily available.

 

Place the herbs in the mason jar – for this recipe I used a 1:1 ratio of comfrey and plantain, about ½ a cup of each. For a pint mason jar, 1 cup of herbs total is what I use – that way, the oil soaks all the bits of plant and nothing molds or invites bacteria into the mixture.

 

As long as the herbs are covered in oil, they won’t mold, but if any air pockets remain, there’s the potential for them to rot.

 

Pour the oil over the herbs until the jar is full, then top with a mason jar lid.

 

Allow the mixture to infuse for up to 6 weeks. Realistically, you can do it for much longer than that, but you’ll want to use the mixture as fast as possible and in my experience, any longer than that has diminishing returns.

 

After 6 weeks, pour the mixture through a mesh strainer and into a clean mason jar to separate the oil from the herbs. Your infused oil is now ready for other recipes!

 

Depending on the herbs you’ve infused (calendula is one of my favorites!) you can also cook with this oil or use it as a salad dressing.

 

What herbs can you infuse oil with?

Pretty much any herb you want. A great alternative to plantain and comfrey are oregano and, as mentioned before, calendula and rose, which have great properties to promote healthy skin.

20 Easy As Heck DIY Pallet Projects

20 Easy As Heck DIY Pallet Projects

So I LOVE pallets. They are so handy to have around and they are an inexpensive way to build things around the homestead!

I love creating DIY projects out of pallets. So I’ve compiled a list of my favorite pallet projects that are handy for any homestead!

Before I get into the list of projects keep it mind that it is very important that you make sure you are using pallets that are NOT treated with chemicals.

Back in the day many pallets were treated with a chemical called methyl bromide (MB) that is dangerous for humans and animals! Now pallets are no longer treated with this chemical, they are heat treated, but you want to make sure that you know how your pallet has been treated! Most pallets will have a stamp that will tell you how they were treated. Check out this blog post I wrote about how to tell if your pallets are safe to use.

So here are my favorite DIY pallet projects for your home and garden.

DIY Pallet Vertical Herb Garden

I love this Pallet Herb Garden! This project is so easy because you don’t even need to take your pallet apart to create this project! Check out more detailed instructions here

 You can also build a barn out of pallets!

Garage Storage Space

I love this idea of using an old pallet to store all of your garden tools! There is no work required for this project! All you need to do is set up your pallet and stow your tools inside! Easy!

DIY Pallet Shed

This project is amazing! I love that this shed is built out of pallets because buying a shed (or even buying the materials to build a shed) can be really expensive! This project is a great way for a homesteader who is just starting out to save some money!

Pallet Hanging Chair

My favorite thing during the summer is to take a nice break in the shade, relaxing and enjoying the outdoors. So I am definitely going to make this Pallet hanging chair this summer so I have a nice chair to relax in. All you need is one pallet and some paracord and you can create an amazing chair that you can relax in all summer long.

Pallet Fence

I love this cute pallet fence. It can be painted any color you want and it is a great way to create a closed in area for your chickens to roam.

Pallet Walkway

This project creates a simple walkway out of pallets that adds a beautiful decoration to your yard! Plus it’s pretty easy (Bonus!)

DIY pallet planter box

This planter box is a quick and easy project that you can create for free out of any pallets you have hanging around. I love using planters for herbs and they make a fun indoor or outdoor decoration.

Another DIY planter box

Ok so here’s another one. I really love all of these planter box ideas and I can’t choose which is my favorite! This one is a bigger planter box that is so cute and easy to make. Planter boxes are great for those who are just starting out gardening or have limited space so check out this awesome tutorial!

Pallet Shoe Rack

So as a mom I deal with finding my kids’ and husband’s shoes ALL OVER the place. So I love this simple DIY pallet shoe rack that you can place right next to your door so everyone’s shoes end up in the same place! Check out the tutorial here

Easy Pallet Blanket Ladder

So here’s another lifesaver project for all of my moms out there. This DIY pallet blanket ladder is a cute and easy way to store blankets! I love how easy this project is and how cheap it is to make! I’ve definitely seen ladders just like this online for about $100 so this DIY project is awesome!

Pallet Dog Bed

This for all my dog lovers out there! This easy dog bed looks really nice and it creates a nice space for your furry friend! It’ll work in summer AND help your dog stay warm all winter!

Pallet Swing Chair

Ok so this is awesome! Some of my favorite memories are from sitting on a swing chair in my grandma’s backyard when I was a kid. So this one was a little bit nostalgic for me! I’m definitely going to be trying this project out this summer!

DIY Pallet Hammock Stand

So it’s always the worst when you don’t have any trees to hang your hammock from. So I love this DIY hammock stand! This project looks ten times nicer than any hammock stand I’ve seen in the store and it’s practically free!

Pallet Bench

So I love this DIY Pallet bench! It’s so simple and it helps create an amazing place to relax outdoors this summer.

Pallet Adirondack Chairs

Ok, so I clearly love outdoor furniture. I love the outdoors and an adirondack chair is the perfect excuse to spent a little extra time outside this summer! Check out this awesome pallet wood adirondack chair tutorial!

Pallet Garden Tools Organizer

Ok, ok. So my shed is a little bit disorganized. It’s a work in progress. But when you have so many awesome gardening tools it can get a little bit messy.  That’s why I love this DIY gardening tool organizer! It’s a simple project, but there are so many ingenious ideas included in the plans! Check out the tutorial here!

Pallet Bookshelf

I love this pallet bookshelf idea! It’s a simple project that looks amazing in any home!

Pallet wood baby gate

So baby gates you get from the store just aren’t that cute. But this DIY Pallet wood baby/pet gate is adorable! I love that it looks like a barn door and it only takes about 3 hours to make! Be sure that you triple check your pallet to be sure it is heat treated and not chemical treated for this project though!

Pallet wood coffee table

This pallet wood coffee table is pretty cool! I love the hairpin legs that give it a little bit of a modern touch! Check out the full tutorial here!

Pallet Pot Rack

Last but not least we have this amazing pallet pot rack! My pots and pans drawers can be a little bit disorganized sometimes (i.e. I normally have to grab something out and quickly shut the cabinet before everything falls out) So I love that this DIY pallet pot rack allows everything to be easily accessible and keeps things organized!

Are you going to use your spare time this summer to make some awesome pallet projects? Share your ideas with me in the comments below!

9 Natural Cleaning Hacks That’ll Make You Look Like A Genius

9 Natural Cleaning Hacks That’ll Make You Look Like A Genius

So I’m a little bit of a clean freak. I’ll admit it. It’s really important to me that things are clean!!!

But I do not like using conventional cleaning products that are FULL of chemicals. Yikes! I am not a fan!!! Especially if you’ve got little kids around the house that could possibly get a hold of those nasty chemicals! Scary! So in this article I’m going to discuss some of my favorite natural cleaning hacks to help you keep your home or homestead squeaky clean.

[This page might contain affiliate links, which means for any item you purchase using our links, we earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks for supporting our website and being a part of the Pampered Chicken Mama family!]

Use the Environmental Work Group’s (EWG) website

So my first tip is to use the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) website. I use this website for everything!

The EWG is awesome because they give information about many products that are out there to allow you to make an informed choice before you purchase a product. They even have a handy app that allows you to scan a product’s barcode! It then automatically pulls up all of the information about that product.

Each cleaning product on the EWG is rated from A-F which allows you to see how good or bad that product is for you and how it could impact your health. The EWG rates products based on several factors including asthma/respiratory, skin allergies & irritation, developmental & reproductive toxicity, cancer, and environmental impact.

I also love that this website breaks down each of the ingredients in every product so that you can know exactly what is in your cleaning products and what each ingredient does. If you can’t tell I absolutely love the EWG’s website! It’s an amazing resource for anyone who wants to live a more natural lifestyle. They also have product reviews for cosmetics, food products and more! Check out their website here.

Vinegar

My next tip is to use vinegar! That’s right, just normal distilled white vinegar. Vinegar is awesome! You can use it to make vinaigrettes (yum!) and you can use it as a natural cleaning product.

Vinegar is a natural cleaning agent that you can use to clean surfaces in your home. I love using vinegar to spray down my counters and table after a meal because it cleans everything off, but it isn’t full of chemicals! No one wants to use chemicals on a surface that you are eating on! Yikes! I normally mix one part vinegar and one part of water in a spray bottle and then I use that for spraying down many of the surfaces in my home! I just use normal white vinegar like this one for all of my home cleaning!

I seriously use vinegar for EVERYTHING! I clean doorknobs, bathrooms, and I even spray it on my floors when I’m mopping. Be careful with this one though you want to make sure the vinegar won’t damage your floors-especially if they are wood! Do your research and even do a spot test in a low visibility area before you spray vinegar all over your floors.

Use Baking Soda

So baking soda is awesome. Baking soda is gritty so it’s super useful for getting off anything that’s extra stuck in your home. I use baking soda to get hard water marks out of my toilets and I also use it to clean my shower and sink. It really helps clean off any soapy scum that accumulates in those areas. I normally use baking soda and vinegar together when I’m cleaning my bathroom to make sure everything is really clean!

Plus you can also use baking soda to neutralize odors! Check out my recipe for a natural coop refresher using baking soda and flour.

Pumice

For tougher stains I use pumice scouring stones like this one. These scouring stones are made out of a volcanic rock called pumice. They’re natural and non-toxic. Not only are these bad boys cheap, but they also get off stubborn stains like no other. Seriously these things are the best! I use one of these monthly to clean my shower (it’s white tile which is the WORST to clean) and I LOVE it!

Buy a hair catcher for your sink and shower

So let’s talk about hair. It clogs up all of my drains and causes all sorts of problems. Ugh. SOOO this isn’t a cleaning product, but I love these drain hair catchers. They are so useful and they eliminate the need to buy drain cleaner which can be very toxic. You simply put these ones over your drain and it blocks the hair from going down the drain. I also love these drain snakes that you can put inside of the drain in your sink. They catch the hair and then you can remove them and clean out the hair!

Use essential oils instead of air freshener

I love my essential oils diffuser! It’s amazing and it has health benefits beyond just the amazing smell! I recommend using essential oils over spraying an air freshener in your home or bathroom. I’ve also hung peppermint in the bathroom and it makes a huge difference

If you want to get started with safe, great smelling oils, here’s the brand I recommend. You can get an entire kit of everything you need to get started with oils for just $162 – diffuser, 11 multipurpose essential oils, and more!

Hydrogen Peroxide

Another cleaning hack you can use in your home is to use hydrogen peroxide. This stuff can clean almost ANYTHING. It’s awesome! Check out this article about different ways you can use hydrogen peroxide to clean in your home.

Keep in mind that this product is rated a B on the EWG’s website. So it’s not bad, but it’s not great either. It can cause some skin and respiratory irritation if it is used incorrectly. Generally though, there is little to no concern for any issues if this product is used correctly.

Read labels

Do I still not have you convinced to switch to natural cleaning products? Well then, I highly recommend that you read labels of every product you buy, especially cleaning products.

Use the EWG and get familiar with ingredients that are toxic and can have nasty side effects. After using the EWG’s website for awhile I started being able to immediately identify toxic ingredients in my products that I was using!

I also recommend that you read the label because typically (if you’re using conventional products) they will give you information about how to store the product!

If you decide to continue to use conventional products it’s important that you know the risks and hazards of the product, so that you are storing it correctly!

Choose natural cleaning product brands

So I know not everyone is ready to make an immediate switch to totally natural cleaning products, and that’s OK! If that’s the case there are some amazing brands that make great products for cleaning.

I think Attitude is an amazing brand. (Plus they have good ratings on the EWG’s website) Keep in mind that buying a natural product from the store is going to be more expensive than buying some good ole vinegar (which is why I use vinegar for everything).

I also really love the Grove Collaborative for natural cleaning products. They supply you with all natural cleaning products that can be delivered right to your door step. Handy right?

Join Grove today and get a free gift set with your first purchase!


Do you have any more natural cleaning hacks? Share them with me in the comments below!