Wednesday, June 29, 2011


The concept of getting the meat birds seemed like a good one. In theory.

Raise fresh pasture fed chicken for our freezer. How hard could it be? I now had almost 9 months of chicken experience under my belt, and had successfully raised 3 baby chicks. Surely it wasn't that much different.

Well it was.

The Meat Birds aka. The Meaties are eating machines. I have never watched a chicken eat so enthusiastically. We feed them a protein pellet, in addition to the pasture on which they graze.

Allowing them to graze on pasture was a feat in itself. The challenge being that the fox family is still routinely visiting the farm to see what there is for supper.

Voila! The chicken tractor. A large hoop cage on wheels which we can drag around the pasture, providing the birds with a fresh patch of grass and greens several times a day.

Like locusts they eat the grasses down to nothing within hours.

It's remarkable to see really, lush green Timothy grass riddled with dandelion leaves and clover reduced to a pile of mud.  On which the fat white birds laze about in the sunshine.

They can be quite ferocious with their appetite, and will peck at your hands when you duck in to change the water.  I often have to remind myself that chickens are omnivores, and would not hesitate to enjoy carnage like a turkey vulture if given the opportunity.

This morning as I watched them bask in the sun, all I could think was "a few more weeks...just a few more weeks".

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Chicken Math

June of 2010...

"Ok, so darling wife - this chicken coop that I have made you will hold 20 chickens. That's more than you will ever need, right?"

Me: "Yup! I can't ever see having more than 20 chickens. Can you imagine having more than that? This chicken coop is wonderful! I love it! Thank you!"

1 Year Later.....

Me: "Honey, where am I going to put my 53 new laying hens? I think I need a new coop"

Thus began the grain silo conversion.... stay tuned for more photos!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Rub a Dub Dub

This whole farming business is all a learning experience, but I always feel super guilty when one of the animals suffers at the extent of my learning.

When our donkey's arrived, we got them brand new spiffy halters and discarded the halters they were wearing. Like getting a new puppy we were pleased to see them sporting their bright new halters.

We left them on. All of the time.

We truly didn't know any better. The halters made it easier to hold on to them while cleaning their feet or grooming them.

Until recently I didn't see that the halters were rubbing the hair from their faces. Our poor donkey's were suffering and we hadn't noticed!

We immediately removed the halters, and put polysporin on anything that looked the least bit irritated. Primarily it was simply areas where the hair had rubbed bare.

A quick Google search informed us that halters only go on when needed, and should not be left on for turn out.

Apparently the hair will grow back now that we have removed the halters. They weren't much good anyway - pulling on a donkey to get it to go somewhere never works.

Baby carrots however work wonders.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The dogs earn their supper

Our dogs have been fantastic at chasing away the fox for the past few weeks, the trouble is that the fox just keeps turning up like a bad penny.

We have been letting the dogs spend more time in the yard, in the hopes of encouraging the fox to move along...but so far no luck.

I have all of the hens on lock down, and they are miserable. They love roaming free and enjoying the sun and the fresh greens of the pasture.

Here's hoping the fox moves along soon!