Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Photos: Previous Chicken Flock

I found some old photos of my previous flock from about 3 years ago.

In this photo, you will see a lot of different breeds, of both chicken and duck, all living in harmony.

5 Buff Orpington Pullets
4 Muscovy Ducks
1 Barred Rock
2 Silkies

The Flock


Muscovy Hens

Muscovy Hen

Cool Random Link

Here is a video on how to inoculate and grow mushrooms on an oak log.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

My Chicken Coop Run Downsize

         The Chicken Run was the first of my projects that I got accomplished this spring. Overall, I pleased with the way it came out. Nothing special, just a smaller 10 foot wide by 18 foot long run. The bare dirt gives you the visual of how large it used to be. I made it smaller because I wanted to reclaim the front of my shed yard, and since I let my birds free range on the grass every night and all weekends, I really didn't a run of such a large size for my flock size of 10 birds. I firmly believe that the more access the chickens have to select what they want to eat in the yard, the better my eggs will be. If you haven't seen this blog post, it shows you a store bought egg next to one of my hen's eggs. Have a nice weekend!

New smaller run size

Gate and Water bucket Nipple Waterer

Friday, April 13, 2012

New Garden Trends that Suck

I consider myself a fairly open minded person, and I give every new garden trend a chance, if something can be proven more efficient and a better use of my time or space, I will convert. My bottom line is efficiency, and I'm not very stubborn about it, results are typically the single biggest factor that matters to me. However, If something is not ascetically pleasing enough for my wife, her voice would eventually wear me down to a stub, and then I'll change it anyway. This is my exception to the previously mentioned statute, and I suggest following my lead.

Things that suck:

1. Raised Beds Suck - As I converted from a tilled earth old school model to raised beds, I noticed how I didn't like being able to exclusively use my hoe and had to keep bending over to weed. I found that I actually liked hoeing my garden, and even missed it. Add to it the fact that I had to trim mow around the beds, and it just wasn't worth it to me. Removing the beds added more space via in the between the walking lanes, which I can reuse as growing surface.

2. Upside Down Growing Sucks - To me, this is completely stupid. I gave it a try, and what you end up with is a weaker plant that needs watered twice as much. It's more high maintenance and simply not worth the effort. My Tomato plants with deep roots in the earth produced 2x as much produce. I credit the success of the upside down growing model exclusively to some marketing geniuses desperate for a concept.Well played assholes, well played.

3. Naming Your Chicken Sucks- The chickens I end up having to keep are the ones that have some type of a damn name attached to them, and then the leverage is properly applied from the wife/son about getting rid of <insert name>. If you want to keep chickens during their prime years, and get rid of them afterwards, do yourself a favor and don't give them a name. My view is that it is a chicken, it has a purpose and a limited usage window, and then I move on to the next bird. It's the cycle of life, a lot of hipsters forget that we are talking about a fucking chicken. Chickens are not dogs, they are not intelligent (stupid actually) loving animals, they have been engineered by human breeding programs to be eaten and lay eggs only. I really enjoy keeping chickens, but let's not get crazy about how replaceable they are.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

My Garden Hoe

I never liked my garden hoe, but the cheap bastard within kept me from replacing it until it was broken. As luck would have it, it failed to complete a vicious weeding session and it has officially been deemed unfit to serve.

I was thinking about going and buying a new hoe at Home Depot, but then remembered a blog post I had read all about garden hoe's some time ago on the Contrary Farmer blog. If you are not already following that blog, I would highly recommend it. He is a great writer and witty as hell. The post gives you the pros/cons of  a regular garden hoe including structural details that most of us wouldn't have ever even considered:

"Nor is the collar made so that it can be removed from the hoe handle— no bolt, screw, or nail holding it in place. Far as I can tell, some kind of machine pressed an indentation into the collar and on into the wood so that the handle would stay in place. For all practical purposes, this hoe is made to throw away in a few years. A real repair job, if possible, would cost more than a new cheap hoe."

Monday, April 9, 2012

Picking Chicken Breeds

I thought I’d take a minute and respond to the wave of (imaginary) emails I've received about how I select chicken breeds for my backyard flock. Here is a great chart that lists all of the most common chicken breeds and egg colors for each. My advice is to simply vary your egg layer colors so that you can keep track of who is putting out, and who is not. You have to earn your keep around here!

For example, here is what I picked out for my current flock:

1. Cuckoo Marans - dark brown/chocolate
2. Silver Laced Wyandotte - brown
3. Amercauna - blue/blue green
4. Silver Grey Dorking - creamy white

My advice is based purely on egg color and is not considering other factors that may be important to you, such as friendliness and body style. You may need to adjust your formula for selection based on what is most important for your needs. One thing I can say with certainty is that even if you select the wrong breed, it will still taste delicious if you slap that bird on the grill and cover it with Sweet Baby Rays BBQ sauce.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Photos: My son and the cat

I found these photos of my son trying to catch the cat that lived in the shed. I think it's quite funny, but anything he does is funny to me. Jackson was 2ish at this time, and the cat has died.

Come here Kitty

Caught you!

Don't try and get away

Look Daddy, I caught him!

Dammit I lost it, oh well