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Fresh eggs daily

A Virginia woman shares her tips on how to raise chickens like the old-timers did
Photo courtesy of Lisa Steele

Lisa Steele’s family has been raising chickens for five-generations, and she now has her own small flock on her Suffolk, Virginia, farm. She’s also a writer and thought others would be interested in the old-timer’s tips and tricks on caring for chickens. Several years ago she started a popular blog and Facebook page to share tips.

Lisa is adamant about raising poultry as naturally as possible. She did a lot of reading about chicken health, and wasn’t thrilled with the recommendations of either antibiotics or culling a chicken if it’s sick. So, she started looking into natural remedies.

"There’s not really a lot out there that’s been proven, but I try to eat healthy and cook healthy for our family, so I kind of transferred that to the chickens," says Lisa. "I feed them a lot of herbs, edible flowers, and weeds, and just started doing things naturally. People really responded to that message because a lot of them were raising chickens to have a healthy diet for their family."

For example, Lisa read that oregano oil has been used on some chicken farms as a natural antibiotic. She now grows oregano for her chickens, and says she’s never had a sick bird or had to treat them.

Occasionally Lisa will cook for the chickens. They particularly like to peck at her homemade granola mix topped off with a heaping scoop of dried mealworms.

Along with her culinary talents, Lisa also likes to tinker with tools and show her followers simple DIY projects to repurpose what they have.

"If I have an old rusted feeder, instead of throwing it out I paint it and grow some plants in it," says Lisa. "I’ve adapted a lot of ideas for wild birds, and adapted them for chickens. I make my own little suet blocks for them in the winter, I made a little feeder out of a wine bottle. Anything I see, could that be adapted for the chickens? People just love that stuff because I think a lot of people are crafty and they want their craftiness to have a purpose."

Find more chicken-and-egg tips from Lisa at her website, Fresh Eggs Daily

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