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Ordering Chicks

Feb
4

Chicks are like seed packets–a sign, in the dark drear of winter, that spring isn’t too far away!
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These aren’t my new chicks, of course. That’s a remembrance from past chicks. (That is, in fact, my first little layer flock from back in 2008.) I’ve got a couple dozen layer hens right now, so no new girls this year. They set a record yesterday, by the way. Thirteen eggs. A baker’s dozen! They’re laying better every day. My new girls are mostly Golden-Laced Wyandottes, about a dozen of them, plus a handful of game hens. My older girls haven’t been laying this winter. They’re mostly Araucanas. I got a blue egg yesterday, which was the first sign of (laying) life from the old girls! They’re starting to lay again!

But back to the new chicks. I’ve got my first chicken processing workshop of the year coming up on Saturday, April 30. Today I ordered the chicks for the workshop day. I ordered 35 jumbo Cornish roos, for March shipping. I’m very excited about this hands-on workshop where I can share with people how to raise and process your own fresh pasture-raised meat. Raising chickens for eggs and meat is one of the simplest, least-expensive, and least-intensive ways to grow your own food, natural and healthy. I’ve been raising chickens now for eight years. (Hard to believe!) As much as I love my cows and goats and other animals, if I was forced to choose one barn yard animal and had to give up all the rest, I would choose chickens. They do more, give more, make more than any other animal on the farm in the least amount of space, time, and money. I never thought I would be able to butcher chickens, but several years ago–picking up yet another package of plastic-wrapped factory-farmed chicken at the store–I knew something wasn’t right about that. I could raise chickens for the table myself, healthier and with better lives than those factory-farmed chickens. Even in a backyard, you can raise chickens! I want pasture-raised chickens on my table, not factory-farmed chickens. If you want to try it, too, come join us at the workshop, learn how, hands-on, and take home your own fresh chicken!

Get all the details about the Chicken Processing Workshop day here.

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Annie’s Trick

Feb
1

Annie is the sweetest little thing. You can’t get near her without her wanting to be between your ankles or right on top of you. She’s very friendly.
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Annie: “I love you! I just want to be with you!”
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Notice the tractor parked in the alleyway there. Annie really wants to drive it. We caught her up on the seat and had to shoo her down. Then the next day….
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….we found the battery was drained because she’d turned the key!
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Annie: “I just wanted to be like you and drive it.

Hmmph!

Annie’s not the only one with tricks up her sleeve, by the way. Remember Cherry’s one ear up one ear down trick?
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Bella can do it, too!
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(Finally, a decent picture of Bella where she held still for it.)

I’m still waiting for the goat conversion kit for my milker to arrive, and getting to know the new milk girls. Annie is a naughty sweetheart. Cherry… I discovered that she’s been disbudded, which is nice. I’m working on petting her up to tame her down. And Bella? Bella’s still running away from me.

The milking…. It’s going to be an adventure.

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  1. IMG_7262

    January 27, 2016 - The New Milkers

    I’ve been looking for a dairy goat for awhile. Glory Bee will be calving sometime in April, and our new cow Blossom will be arriving in a few months, to calve around June. Meanwhile, I have no milk. Glory Bee’s dried off, getting ready for her next round of milking. And I’ve been really missing goat cheese, and it would be nice to have a small animal to milk during … Continued…

  1. IMG_7134

    January 11, 2016 - Playing Favorites

    I wrote about “Ferdinand the Bull”–the rooster–the other day. He was getting beaten up in the chicken house and yard every day by the other roosters. He’d started hiding in a corner. Ferdinand was too sweet to fight. We let him out of the chicken house to roam the barnyard freely where he could live in peace and pick daisies.

    Unfortunately for Ferdinand–or Chester … Continued…

  1. IMG_7088

    January 4, 2016 - Third Trimester

    The cows, munching down in their hay stall in the barn.

    The other day, just to annoy me, Glory Bee and Moon Pie were playing jump-on-each-other. WHAT?! That’s what cows do when they’re in heat! But it’s also what cows do to show dominance or just to pass the time of day. Cows, they love to mess with your head. To know if … Continued…

  1. IMG_6678

    November 13, 2015 - Filling Their Bellies

    Bradley the Dexter bull from Ohio arrived here at the end of June. He courted them throughout the month of July. First Moon Pie, then Dumplin, then Glory Bee. By the end of the month, the romance was over and they were all just friends. He stayed until the end of September, so he had a full three months on the farm with the girls. But I’m pretty sure … Continued…

  1. IMG_6523

    September 30, 2015 - How Many Ducks Does It Take to Screw in a Light Bulb?

    So there’s been this rat in the cellar. For over a year. Big as a squirrel, but fatter. The biggest rat I’ve ever seen. I saw him one time, climbing on the shelves. I tried trap after trap, and I couldn’t catch him. I keep feed in the cellar, so I got huge plastic trash cans to keep the feed locked up. I gave up on the … Continued…

  1. IMG_6461

    September 18, 2015 - Hey, More Hay!

    Back to my favorite barn! (Other than mine.)

    I’ve been buying hay from Roger for six years. He’s a great guy, who likes to wax poetic about the “ruination of society” by round bales. (His theory: Round bales don’t require as much labor to put up. It’s mostly done by machinery, moving bales with a tractor, … Continued…

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The Slanted Little House

"It was a cold wintry day when I brought my children to live in rural West Virginia. The farmhouse was one hundred years old, there was already snow on the ground, and the heat was sparse-—as was the insulation. The floors weren’t even, either. My then-twelve-year-old son walked in the door and said, “You’ve brought us to this slanted little house to die." Keep reading our story....



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