Trip to a Chicken Farm


I want this.

I called our neighbor down the way who has a chicken farm and asked her if we could come out to see the chickens. Then I called Georgia and told her about it. “Do you want to come with us?” Of course! An outing! Georgia loves an outing. Below, that’s my chicken lady there on the left, with her husband, Georgia, and Princess on their chicken farm.

They also raise ducks, geese, and guineas–which are often in the road. She is a true chickens in the road inspiration. They have two daughters who are both enthusiastically involved with the chicken operation. Their oldest will be selling their farm-fresh eggs at the local farmers market this year.

She told me she got her chickens from ordering “rainbow” mixes, so she raises an assortment. If you recognize any of the breeds in her flock, please, fill me with your knowledge!

I love this gorgeous Golden Buff rooster. I believe the black one is an Araucana. She has brown and black Araucanas (which make the green and blue eggs), though she said she also has some slimmer-appearing black roosters that are Anconas. She also has some red-headed black roosters she called Black Stars.

And this speckled one, which she said was a Barred Rock.

They seem to have a lot of roosters….. (She said quite a few of the roosters are headed for new homes soon.)

Everything comes running when one daughter heads to the food barn.

Can you see ducks running and not be happy?

I’ve had ducks and geese before, but this is my first time with chickens. In the background, below, is the hen house on their farm.

I filled up a box with eggs right out of her nesting boxes inside the hen house.

Sometimes her chickens misbehave and won’t come into the hen house at night. This is Cell Block A, where several naughty banties were being held for psychological reconditioning. She says three days in lockdown next to the henhouse and they learn to come back to the right place at night.

She showed me where rats have been digging into the geese’s nesting house and dragging eggs down a hole.

Her chickens are free range during the day and they range all over the farm and up the hills and into the woods. Do you see the chickens up the hill?

She has several month-old babies in a large metal trough with a light, feeder, and waterer. She says a red light prevents fighting.

I came away with a “rainbow” mix dozen myself. The little white ones are banties. The others will be a surprise!

I have a Little Giant still air incubator. I used it several years ago when I lived by a lake and raised ducks. I had good success hatching ducks with this incubator. We’ll see how I do with chickens.

I worked on stabilizing the temperature to around 100, added water to the wells under the tray, and added the eggs. I marked a X on one side and an O on the other. They’ll need to be turned three times a day.

Since I’ve had success using this incubator before, I would be optimistic, but I’m a bit worried because I haven’t used it in a while, plus I had to take the eggs down our bumpy, rocky road home. I put them in the egg carton, drove slowly, and held them against my stomach with one hand while driving with the other. Still, I’m concerned about the jostling they took. But, I had to get them home….. I set the incubator in a room where I could shut the door and shut out cats, who I’ve found in the past enjoy batting at the incubator and upsetting the eggs. (Not to mention snacking down on babies.) Unfortunately, my lack of recent incubating experience and newness to this house left me unprepared to walk in and find sunlight streaming down on my incubator, raising the temperature over 107, which can kill the eggs. I taped cardboard over the window and quickly got the temperature back in line. I’d been checking the incubator frequently–but did they get too hot, for too long? I don’t know, but I think so. I called my chicken lady. She said, “You might have cooked your eggs.” How fast can I screw up?

I’ll try candling in a week to see what I’ve got….but I’m going back for a second batch of eggs tomorrow.

There’s nothing to do now but turn and hope, watch the temperature and humidity, and get some more eggs. And maybe, just maybe, if something miraculous happens, I’ll be holding some of these beauties in my hands in 21 days. Or a restarted batch in 23 days. Or a re-restarted batch in however many more days. This could be a long chicken watch, people!

Wish me luck?

Fashion Beat


Dookie the farm shih-tsu revealed his fresh spring style Tuesday, replacing his recent industrial mop look with a clean, sheared coif.

According to unpublished reports, the eleven-year-old purebred lost at least one film role starring alongside Reese Witherspoon and Matt Damon due to his disintegrating personal condition over the past several months. Rumors floated claiming depression and alcohol were involved in the famed farm shih-tsu’s hygiene troubles, but sources close to the farm dog said, “He’s a happy, well-adjusted little guy. He’s just not that particular sometimes. I’ve seen him playing in the creek every day, and he’s been taking naps in piles of sawdust.”

After a full spa day in the city, Dookie returned to his new farmhouse where friends and family greeted the newly-glammed doggy with a celebratory soiree. Five-star chef Wolfgang Puck catered the bash, serving the finest in lamb and rice hors d’oeuvres. Entertainment was provided by Carrie Underwood and Alan Jackson. Whether this showy return to public decency will bring film roles flying back into the farm pup’s lap is yet to be seen. Some in the fashion world were quick to criticize the new look as rash and severe, while others, perhaps more generous, called it “coquettish, bold, fun, and frisky,” and wished the shih-tsu celeb the best of luck. Dookie’s personal stylist noted, “We had no other choice. We have to take a scorched earth approach in these cases. He had to be shaved.”

The only statement Dookie made to the media was, “I need a nap now.”

Let’s just hope it’s not in another pile of sawdust.

March 23, 2008 - Homemade Chicken House Kit

Supplies: Landscape timbers to use for framing the hen house. Welded fence wire and chicken wire. (Ignore the tomato stakes.) The PLANS! (Scratched on the back of an envelope.) (View 1–aerial. View 2–frontal.) Dimensions of the chicken yard are to be about 18 feet by 10 feet. The hen house structure will be another 18...
Read More

February 22, 2008 - The Proper Way to Hold a Cat

Princess, bouncing into my bedroom after poring over old 4-H project books: I’m here to demonstrate the proper way to hold a cat! Me: Run, Buttercup! But, that quick, it was too late. He was in her arms, an experience equivalent in his mind to being captured in a dolphin net. You know, in the...
Read More

February 17, 2008 - Make Your Own Wild Bird Suet

Feed the birds! They need us, and we need them more than we think about when we are rushing around. There is no rushing around when we are watching birds. There is just quiet, breathing, listening, focusing. Life stands still for a minute and we can remember that it’s so beautiful. And there is something...
Read More