The Chicken and the Beast

Black Labrador

Image by Mr.OutdoorGuy via Flickr

I bet a lot of you think that you have the best dog in the world right? Well I suppose that it all depends on how you define “best”. I don’t know if my dog is the best, but she sure is pretty nice!

You see, my 75lb Black Labrador not only allows four full grown hens to free range around her yard, while never barking at them or chasing them, but she actually allows the hens into her personal space. What I mean is, she’ll be laying on the patio slab and she actually allows the hens to perch up on her back while they peck at her fur. What is this, some kind of poultry massage parlor?

Daisie, our ferocious four legged beast, also allows the hens to peck her food right out of her bowl while she’s eating. She never growls and never snaps, and she even let’s them peck at her mouth while she chews! Seriously, what is going on around here!

I guess her mild manor towards her friendly, feathered, yard-mates is due to the fact that she was never raised to be mean and she was around to see the hens raised from practically the egg up.

I’ll probably never really know why she allows those hens to be so close to her, while at the same time guarding the yard from other critters and intruders, however I think it’s pretty clear that if I want to go bird hunting I’m gonna need to get another dog!

Do you have similar experiences with your farm animals? Leave me a comment and tell me about your funny pet relationships, and I’ll post pictures as soon as I can sneak up on my little three-ring circus.

Photos From The Urban Farm

Gallery

This gallery contains 11 photos.

Some may call it urban farming, while others may simply dismiss it as gardening. It’s true, but in my case, I call it urban farming because approximately 30% of my little one-third acre of residential property is dedicated to growing … Continue reading

Egg-citing News From The Urban Farm

For those of you that have been following along, back in March, we acquired two addition hens. This time, we chose Red Island Reds, and thought they’d make nice companions with our three Ameraucana hens. So far, the union has been successful and they all get along perfectly!

Anyhow, the big egg-citing news is that on Sunday morning, we got our first egg from one of the new hens. Until we can catch one of them in the act and identify the egg, we’re not sure which hen is doing the laying. Maybe both? I’m not sure, but since Sunday, we’ve consistently had a little brown egg each day, along with the larger greenish-blue eggs from the Ameraucanas. I’m hoping that once we are in full production, we’ll be seeing between two and three eggs a day from the whole hen-house.

The first small brown egg from our Red Island Reds

Egg-citing News!

Do you raise chickens? Leave me a comment, I’ve love to hear about your chickens!

Pioneer Memories – The Call Of Duty

Friends and Enemies

Image by Rennett Stowe via Flickr

When I say “The Call of Duty”, I’m not talking about the ever so popular video game, I’m talking about the actual Call of Duty. The Call of Duty is more commonly known as the military service that so many fellow Americans provided for this country as they built up the foundation of America and continue to provide.today.

Take a step back in time and read one story about American pioneers, their military experience, and the mark they left in the history book. In the following 1943 letter by a distant cousin, Mary Lee Parker, writes to another distant cousin Hazel Bolton along with some other relatives, Margaret and Richard. In her recollections,  Mary Lee describes some of the military experiences of her father, grandfather, and uncle as they migrated west across the great plains of Kansas. Spelling and grammar mistakes are transcribed to help richen the true flavor of these pioneer memories.

Wichita, Kansas
May 26, 1943

Dear Hazel,

Sitting by a slightly open window through which I see clouds that cover the sky as they have so many, rany(sp) days through April and May, I direct your thoughts back about eighty years to the time when Aaron Holmes Parker, your Grandfather, Margaret and Richard, and your Great Uncle, Hazel was a boy of seventeen.

He had been left in charge for a short time of the quartz mill owned by his father, my Grandfather, who had gone to Denver on business accompanied by and older son Kirk. Grandfather Parker had temporarily left his home in Reading Mass. and lived for a while in Lawrence Kansas where his home had been in connection with the escaping of slaves going to Canada? Then he went on west to Colorado City, a few miles from Colorado Springs. There he established this quartz mill the purpose of which was to crush the quartz making it ready for the process of extracting the minerals.

Grandpa and Uncle Kirk had been gone several days when someone brought Papa word that his brother Kirk had joined the Union Army. Papa wanted to go too so he closed the mill and started for Denver. He met Grandpa on the way who permitted him to continue. The reason he was in such a hurry was that he wanted to get in the same compay(sp) with his brother, and he succeeded. He was not eighteen yet but was six feet tall. On account of his height they did not ask his age.

Continue reading

Hatching Chickens

For those of you that have always wanted to see a chicken hatch from an egg, we’ve got video of exactly that.

A few weeks ago my sister-in-law purchased an inexpensive incubator and acquired some fertilized eggs. With that, the great chicken hatching project was born. Out of about a dozen eggs, three have hatched and of those three, two have survived.

Here is a video of the second surviving chicken hatching from its shell. Cinematography and narration compliments of my seven year old son.

If you’re having trouble viewing the embedded video while using Internet Explorer, you can either try viewing this page with a different browser like Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox, or you can view the video at YouTube.

Have you ever hatched chickens? Leave a comment and share your learnings with us!

Five Reasons You Should Own Chickens

Hens in Missoula, Montana

Image via Wikipedia

Have you always wanted to raise hens for farm fresh eggs, but were afraid that your neighbors would turn you in? I used to be one of those people that just assumed that I could not legally own chickens because I lived in a residential area. Well a little research and 5 hens later, I now know that you don’t need to live on a farm or a ranch in order to raise farm fresh organic eggs.

Why would I want to raise chickens?

  1. First of all, once you’ve had farm fresh eggs, you’ll never purchase eggs from the supermarket again. There’s no comparison! I challenge you to a taste test.
  2. Owning laying hens will help improve the quality of your families diet. Farm fresh eggs are much healthier then store bought eggs. Store bought eggs are often weeks old by the time they are stocked.
  3. Another great reason to raise your own chickens is that not only will you get great tasting eggs, you’ll also get free fertilizer for the garden, and free pest control for the yard if you let the hens free range. Make sure to compost all the droppings and wood shavings after cleaning out the coop.
  4. Raising your own chickens means that you are in control of how your chickens are treated. Many chickens live out their lives confined to industrial environments. You have the power to give a few hens a better life.
  5. Chickens add great personality to your property. They’re hysterical and entertaining pets to own. I love watching my chickens roam around the yard, and so will you.

So I really might be able to raise chickens without owning a farm? How do I know for sure?

The best way to determine whether or not you qualify to own chickens and raise farm fresh eggs for yourself, is to check your city regulations. You might be surprised at just how many chickens you are allowed to own even though you don’t live out in the country on a poultry ranch.

So if you’re ready to get a few hens and start raising your own farm fresh eggs, than I highly recommend heading down to your nearest feed store. They will be able to set you up with everything you need to get started, and also help answer any questions that you might have. If you’re pretty handy with a saw and a hammer then I’m sure you can manage to build yourself a nice little coop and maybe even save a few dollars while you’re at it. If not, there are plenty of pre-made chicken coops out there for sale. Just remember one thing, the key to a successful chicken coop is easy access. You want to make sure that the coop has plenty of access that will make cleaning an easy chore.

Do you own chickens of your own? Leave us a comment and let us know about your favorite chicken stories.

New Hens For The Urban Farm

New Rhode Island Red hens added to the urban farmTwo weekends ago we picked up a couple more hens to add to the urban farm. This time we opted for two Rhode Island Reds, and once they’re ready, we’ll introduce them to our three Ameraucana hens.

Egg production already averages between one and two eggs a day with the Ameraucana’s. I’m hoping that the daily egg average will increase to somewhere between two and four eggs, in about six months when the Rhode Island Reds start producing. I’m also hoping that the Rhode Island Reds will continue to lay eggs during the winter when the Ameraucana’s tend to slow way down due to less available daylight.

Here are a few photos of how the Rhode Island Reds looked about two weeks ago when we first brought them home. It’s absolutely amazing how fast they grow and change.

After the first week, their wings and tail-feathers had grown about half an inch. Now, after two weeks, their wings are long enough for the little hens to take short flight, and almost all of their down feathers have been covered up by their exterior feathers. So far, it looks like the Rhode Island Reds will have markings equally as beautiful to the Ameraucana’s.

Do you have chickens? If so, leave a comment and let us know all about them.