Monday, April 25, 2011

I am that chicken mom!!!

This past weekend Jeff took me to Montreal for my birthday weekend. While at dinner, I kept hearing myself ask him if he thought the girls were okay and wondering what they were doing at that moment. My rambling came to a screeching halt as I realized I was that mom. You know her, the one who talks incessantly about getting away for a few days and as soon as she does, talks non stop and worries about the kids while she is gone. Here I was with my wonderful sexy husband in one of the most romantic cities in the world enjoying a wonderful glass of white wine by candlelight in a French restaurant and I am wondering if the girls are going to keeping changing nesting spots at night. Yup, it is official I am way too into this.

Update- the next night I pulled it together and stopped talking about chickens and ducks while on vacation and thanks to my mom and dad for watching the girls. 

Egg Production Back to Normal

I feel like statements like that make it sounds like I have a spreadsheet and a clipboard keeping track of the eggs per day. We really don't. Basically the way it goes whoever gets home from work first goes to collect the eggs. When the other one of us gets home we ask how the girls are and get a response like, "Good it was a two egg day."

Regardless, we are happy to report that the slowed egg production caused by the molting is now over. We are back to our normal two eggs a day. Which for only two people adds up quickly- does anyone need any eggs? 

Monday, April 18, 2011

Body Check Eggs

Yikes! A couple of weeks ago we were collecting our daily eggs and noticed that one of them had what looked like a pimple on the side. I was worried about eating it, so Jeff did some online sleuthing and discovered we had what is called a body checked egg. (On a side note, isn't it cool to know terms like that? Tomorrow, I am going to have to figure out a way to fit that into conversation at the office.) Basically the egg cracks inside the bird, but she is able to heal it before laying it. Isn't that just incredible? It never ceases to amaze me what nature can do. The egg is perfectly fine to eat (and was yummy as always) but what concerns me is that body checked eggs often come from birds who are stressed. (This happened before the ducks moved downstairs so it isn't my fault!) I am going to keep an eye out to see if this keeps happening.

Monday, April 11, 2011

A New Duck Home

I am not sure if it is my imagination or not but it seems like the ducks out grew their temporary "box I took home from the office" quarters faster than the chickens did. Either way, I needed a home for them in the basement ASAP. I debated building a similar home to the one Jeff built for the chickens but decided against it because I wanted to continue to stretch our clandestine farming minds and explore new ideas. (Ask anyone who knows me, and they will tell you that it is statements like this that normally get me into trouble but that is besides the point.)

First I thought about prebuilt raised garden beds. This would make the process easier and look more professional (sorry Jeff- nothing against your handy skills). This idea got thrown out for several reasons- I couldn't find find one big enough and even if I could, how would I fit it in my you would be SHOCKED by how much they cost.

Then came the idea of a kid sand box. The wooden versions came big enough but again were more than I wanted to pay and the cute plastic versions that were shaped like turtles or pirate ships were too small.

Just when I was about to give up and just build the same darn coop we have for the chickens, it finally hit me- an inflatable pool! A quick trip to the local seconds shop and $25 later and we were on our way- plus in came in lime green - bonus!

It just took a half an hour to unfold the pool, inflate it with our camping air mattress pump, lay down the pine shavings for bedding, get their waterer and food dish filled and we were set! I am fairly sure that they won't be able to escape however if they do, my plan is to buy the same pool and cut out the bottom and attached it to the first pool to raise the wall height. They have been in it for a few days without any problems but we will see as they get older/bigger. I don't think they can puncture the sides with their bills however, I don't know about their nails. I try to clip them regularly but they get sharp fast so that is another question. Like most things around here, it is an ongoing experience. We don't have a house but rather a lab, green house, farm, and workshop that we just happen to also live in.

I am most proud of the chickens who normally don't handle change well. They seem to be okay with the new basement roomies!

Before I inflated the pool. The chickens are in the upper right hand corner. Can't you just hear them thinking, "Ok mom- now what are you doing?"
The finished home with shavings down.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

A Fellow Urban Farmer in Need of Our Help......

The unfortunate challenges of being an urban farmer catch up with the best of us as Novella Carpenter of Ghost Town Farms and author of the book Farm City has recently learned. She is currently fundraising to pay a city fee for a permit that she needs to keep her urban farm going. Anything you can do for would be a great help....

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Spa Day on the Farm?

During the molting, I noticed that the chicken's combs were looking dull and dry.  Traditionally, farmers use vaseline during molting or the winter to prevent cracks. However, I don't use vaseline on myself (it is derived from peteroleum and prevents the skin from breathing) so there was no way I was going to use it on my chickens. Besides, what if they ate it somehow? Hmmmmm.... well after going through my drawer of beauty products, I decided to try my absolute favorite hand cream. The Body Shop
s Hemp Oil Creme. (Yes, the joke about my chickens being stonners has already been made.) Just two days later and the girls look 100% better. Their combs are back to the normal bright red and all the cracking skin is gone. I can't believe how well it worked!

Next up on the beauty treatment cycle was the ducks. Their stink was totally gagging me everytime I went into the office! Yikes! The solution- change the box and a bubble bath for the duckies. I fillled their swimming pool with warm water and added a little body wash (again from the Body Shop so it would be safe). My concerns about the ducks hating the bubbles quickly disappeared as I noticed they were swimming around after the bubbles and eating them! From watching them, you would think the green apple scent made the bubbles taste like apple! After they swam around in circles for about twenty minutes, much to their protest, I got them out of the bath. They smelled wonderful!

Lastly, I also deserved a little beauty treatment. One of the unique challeneges of being an urban farmer and having an office day job is the balance between looking professional but still being able to "get the job done" on the farm. My main issue is maintaing a decent manicure. I can't tell you how many times I have ruined my nails with gardening, building a chicken coop, etc. etc. So this week I opted for one of those new gel/shellac manicures. $35 and an hour and a half later, we will see how long this manicure survives farm life. (Yes, I see the irony in the fact that I won't use vaseline but will get a totally toxic chemical ladden manicure- vanity is an amazing thing!)

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Sad Day for Urban Farms Everywhere.....

Please check out this post by Novella Carpenter about her recent legal troubles on her urban farm.

It is a sad reminder that those of us working towards a world less dependent on fossil fuels are sometimes going to face opposition and bureaucratic red tape....unless of course they go clandestine! : )