Thursday, June 10, 2010
Jumping in with both feet
Danny the chick magnet - he started this whole thing!
We are up and running. Our farm that is...It has been quite an adventure to get here, and I'm sure it will continue. Danny has done a ton of research through reading publications, farming magazines, visiting other local (and not so local) family farms, and we finally realized the next step to our learning would be the doing. We decided to start with free-range pastured poultry and hopefully in the coming years add pork, beef, and perhaps lamb. Much of the desire to begin this adventure was developed through reading authors such as Michael Pollan, Wendell Berry, and watching the documentaries Food, Inc. and Fresh. I must say I was slow to come on board (mostly for stressful personal reasons such as pregnancy) but am now fully behind the idea.
We started our own little farm with 6 egg-laying chicks in Easter 2009. We assimilated 6 more grown chickens over the next 6 months. With each introduction of a new chicken to the group, the ladies have to re-establish the pecking order. Needless to say, the bottom hen is usually happy with new ones, who frequently take her place at the bottom of the order. A few mishaps (dogs) have led to the death of 4 of our hens. Each one was quite sad, so I don't know how we'll deal with raising meat birds! This picture is of our original 6 little chicks. They are now full grown of course. Anyhow, our final number of egg hens is 12, but not all lay eggs yet as some are still teenagers and haven't hit puberty. Once all are laying, we will have white, light brown, dark brown, and chocolate brown eggs. Sadly to say, the hens who laid green eggs were lost in one of the mishaps. I love having these chickens in our backyard. They are not afraid of people. They usually like us because we bring them nice snacks like lettuce, bananas, bread, crackers and oyster shells. Yum! Sometimes they free-range where they're not supposed to (so I guess it's not quite free) so we have to help them return to the backyard.
And this is our FAVORITE free-range chic! Saffron was born in January 2010. Luckily she loves to be outside and loves to watch the chickens.