It can be hard to keep chickens, especially due to changing weather conditions. These days, many poultry farmers are turning to technology to help them raise their hens, chicks, and roosters. You may be surprised to know that there are a number of invaluable apps out there that can make poultry farming easier and more fun, too. Here is a review of some of them.

Weather Live

Stay informed about the coming weather with this weather app, so you know when you let your poultry wander and when you need to keep them safely in the coop. Features include accurate 7-day forecast, temperature and feels like temperature, humidity levels, dew point, pollen count, wind speed and direction and sunrise/sunset times. Wherever you are in the world, you’ll always know what to expect from the weather.

Cluck-ulator

If you’re just starting out with your backyard poultry farm, this app will be your best friend. The built-in breed selector helps you choose which kinds of chicken you would like to raise based on specifics such as climate tolerance, temperament, eggshell color, mature size, lay rate and more. The color photo gallery helps you recognize different breeds and the coop planner will get us started with your brood’s housing needs, such as coop size, perch space, run size and nesting boxes. There’s also a food estimator to help you figure out how much feed and water your brood will need each day.

FlockPlenty—Chicken Egg Tracker

FlockPlenty helps keep track of your hens’ egg output and feed consumption with easy to read graphs showing daily, weekly, and monthly readings. You can use the digital journal for note taking and detailing your observations on your brood. There’s also a camera function so you can take pictures of your hens and chicks. All data is stored on your phone so it’s always at your fingertips when you need it, so you can quickly identify when molting may happen and keep an eye on fluctuations in egg production. The app is simple and provides an easy way to keep track of your brood.

Thermotool

Developed by Groupe CCPA, this app gives you a user-friendly indicator of whether your brood will begin to stress in your current climate. All you do is type in your location and the app will let you know if heat stress in likely depending on the breed of your brood.

Poultry Diseases

This comprehensive app provides an overview of common diseases that can strike your brood, be they broilers, layers, turkeys or other poultry. Each affliction is described in easy to understand terms. The symptoms are outlined and the treatments explained. It also explains which birds are most susceptible to which disease and at what age they are most vulnerable. Diagnosis is simple thanks to the pictures of how each disease affects the birds.

Use these apps to save you time and make your poultry keeping more efficient.

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Although it may not be the most ideal situation, unfortunately, there are times when you have no other option but to take your kids to work. Whether the school is closed, your childminder is sick or you just can’t get a sitter, you’re just going to have to do it. Taking young kids anywhere can be a chore, but bringing them to the workplace means making an extra effort to keep them quiet and behaving well. Here are some tips to help when daycare or a sitter is simply out of the question.

Things To Think About

Plan ahead: Okay this may have fallen upon you at short notice, but don’t go in there blind. Before you leave for work, think about your schedule for the day and how you can fit your kids into it. Think about what they’re going to need throughout the day such as drinks, snacks, diapers, toys or school work.

Company assistance: Does your company provide a childcare service? If so make the most of it so you can focus on your work while knowing your kids are perfectly safe.

Think from your child’s perspective: This will give you an idea of the times during the day when your children might get bored, times when you may not be able to be with them, such as a board meeting. Think of ideas to help you deal with your kids when these moments arise.

Take plenty of activities: Young children get bored very quickly, especially when you can’t give them your full attention. Take a tablet with you and pre-load it with cool games, videos, audio books and creative things to do, like this mandala coloring book app for Android smartphones and tablets.

Don’t ignore your kids: Even if you’re really busy, don’t ignore them. Take a ten-minute break now and again to spend some time with them and reassure them. It will pay off because they won’t get so cranky and impatient to go home.

Explain to your kids: Let them see what you do at work and explain to them what you’re doing and why you have to do it. Even young kids will be interested in seeing mummy or daddy at work and knowing this is what you do each day when you’re not at home.

Don’t burden your co-workers: Don’t assume that your colleagues will help you out with childcare at work, this is not their responsibility so don’t impose. Many of them may want to meet your kids and if they have time they might be happy to play with them for a little while, but don’t expect it of them.

Taking your kids to work doesn’t have to be a nightmare scenario. If you follow these tips to keep them busy, they won’t be upsetting your work schedule or that of your colleagues. Make sure they have plenty to keep them occupied and that they are always in a safe environment.

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As you may have seen in my recent rant about estate agents, I’m thinking of getting myself on the property ladder.

I’ve only been looking for a couple of weeks but what’s really interesting is that the things I thought I wanted in a house are not the things I want at all. I’ve only ever rented, and so I guess you get into that renting mindset. You make compromises on things because you know it’s never going to be long term – you sacrifice outside space, or put up with a funny shaped kitchen maybe. You can also afford to opt for older styles of property, because you know it’s never going to be your responsibility when the ageing roof caves in.

There are a few things then that after just a dozen or so viewings, I’ve realised are deal breakers for me.

Natural light

This is a biggie. We’ve lived in a lot of Victorian terraces over the years and although they have a lot of character and can be deceptively spacious, the shape of them tends to mean you have some rooms in the middle of the house that are a bit gloomy. Contrary to what I thought I was going to like then, my favourite properties so far have been more modern, with lots of light coming in from patio doors and large windows. I’m a big fan of a Velux windows too, as they bring an amazing amount of light into a house.

Of course one thing that has occurred to me is that I will need to buy curtains for all of these huge windows. I’ve got used to moving into rented houses with nasty floral curtains already in place, so I’d need to budget for decent curtains and roof blinds, like these ones here.

big windows

Storage

‘Oh this is a useful cupboard isn’t it? We could keep the ironing board in here.’

Conversation doesn’t get much duller than this to be honest, but storage is so important. In fact, I’d almost go as far as to say that a garage is a deal breaker for me, just to have somewhere to put all of Fiancé’s things that I don’t want in the house. (I don’t think he reads my blog much. Don’t tell him this is my plan.)

Outside space

We have lived for nearly three years now with no outside space at all and it is beginning to drive me a little bit mad. I really, really want to be able to just open the doors and step outside whenever I want to. I want somewhere to hang washing that isn’t over a radiator or on a huge clothes horse in the middle of the living room. I want somewhere beautiful to be able to sit in the evenings with a glass of wine, with cooking smells coming from the kitchen, where Fiancé is busy preparing my dinner.

I don’t ask for much do I?

beautiful garden

Sponsored post. Images – alexandre zveiger and Hannamariah from shutterstock.

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Over the last couple of weeks we have started looking at houses to buy.

*insert that emoji here that’s the purple face with its hands on its cheeks, like The Scream*

I’ve never owned a house before, and the terror that that’s inducing is a series of blog posts in itself, but rather than open that can of worms today, I wanted to focus on one particular thing that has already begun to annoy me about estate agents.

Now don’t get me wrong, I know that their job is to sell houses, and that sometimes means they’re going to be a little bit pushy in terms of showing you things a little outside your price range or area of interest. I get that. But then sometimes they take it too far.

We have been pretty specific about a couple of our requirements, namely our budget, and the area that we want to live in. It has to be within walking distance of Belle’s school, which is fairly central in Taunton. At least two bedrooms, room for a piano, a bit of a garden – all fairly straightforward.

I had an email from one estate agent this week.

‘We have attached details of properties matching your criteria,’ it said.

Excellent.  View Post

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Some people find the act of ironing clothes to be therapeutic, but for most of us, the thought of spending any time at all running a hot plate over a pile of laundry, when you could be out with your buddies, is a nightmare.

Fortunately, we’re full of handy hints and tips to help turn ironing from a chore, into…well, less of a chore. It’s always going to suck, in our opinion. Here are eight simple hacks to make ironing your clothes easier, and altogether just that little bit more bearable.

Invest in a decent iron

This should go without saying, but we’re going to bring it up anyway. If you’re using an old, cheap, weak iron to get the creases out of your clothes, then you’re missing a trick right from the start. Different fabrics react differently to the heat settings on your iron, and if your heat settings aren’t accurate, then you’re either going to end up burning a hole in your favorite shirt, or you’ll be forced to pass over the same spot, again and again.

A top quality iron takes a lot of the stress and hard work out of ironing, by helping to make sure you’re using the right setting for the fabric you’re ironing, and that you only need to pass over those pesky creases once.

Save yourself some time and get back on with your day by buying yourself an new iron.

Cut ironing time in half using foil

As soon as we realised this was a thing, we were kicking ourselves for not using it sooner. Placing a long sheet of aluminium foil underneath the ironing board cover, can help to cut ironing time in half.

How? When you iron, the heat goes through the fabric, into the foil. The foil heats up, effectively acting like a second iron the other side. It’s not perfect, but for casual clothes and those with very few or very fine wrinkles, the foil sandwich approach is an awesome time saver.

Iron straight out of the washer

Normally, clothes that are ready to be ironed need to be dampened a little first. Leaving clothes to dry, only to dampen them again, seems like a little bit of a waste of time, then. Sure, you wouldn’t want to take an iron to sopping wet clothes, but if your washer has a spin cycle, then getting rid 95% of the moisture and going at the ironing right away, can help to get this nasty chore out of the way faster.

Add a splash of vinegar

To help remove wrinkles faster, add a little bit of white vinegar to your ironing water. The vinegar works to smooth out creases more easily, plus, when used on underarm areas, vinegar can help to prevent yellow sweat stains later on. Double win!

Do smaller, lighter loads

The heavier, more dense the load you pile into the washing machine, the more wrinkled it’ll be when it comes out. If you can manage it, wash clothes in smaller batches, and you’ll experience fewer wrinkles, and have to spend less time ironing them out.

Hang ironed clothes right away

As soon as you’ve finished ironing, hang clothes and allow them to set back into their natural shape. You’ve just spent time getting those clothes into the shape you want them to stay in, so hang them that way and get the process started quickly.

Use straight lines, not circles

If you’re wanting to keep your clothes in good condition at the same time as you remove creases, then always iron with a straight, linear motion. Don’t move in circles, as you’ll only stretch the fabric and cause more damage with each ironing session.

Use a quality fabric softener

Fabric softeners don’t just make your clothes softer and more comfortable to wear, they also make them less likely to crease by making fabrics more pliable and less prone to creasing. A little goes a long way, so invest in a good one and you’ll notice the difference.

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