This hatching is bringing us closer to our goal of 200 chickens! On our way to becoming 50% food sufficient. I encourage you to check out our Indie Gogo campaign. There’s an awesome perk that would allow you to name some of our chickens!
We are officially raising meal worms! How exciting! These little guys are living in a bed of oatmeal with yummy carrots, celery, potatoes and leaves from our yard! Soon they will turn into beetles and the cycle will continue! These are for our chickens to eat!
The Blush Family Farm hatched another batch of chicks! This time it was 16 out of 20 eggs that hatched. 80% hatch rate! The second incubator we used this time had a 0% success rate. This is likely due to a power outage that took place a couple weeks ago due to a windstorm. From this we took two lessons – 1. Brinsea makes excellent incubators that hold their temperatures well and 2. It is important to have at least one source of alternative energy (generator/solar/methane from animal waste/etc.) available for down grid situations.
Chickens are an excellent simple step towards food self sufficiency. Consider getting a small flock of 6 chickens and learn the basics.
“Last week one of our chickens got attacked by the dog across the street. In a barefoot and pregnant rage I chased the dog down and despite falling down in the middle of the street and skinning both of my knees and top of my foot, he let go of the bird and ran away. I banged on the neighbors doors throwing an absolutely fit and have not seen the dog running loose since. We have a language barrier and have talked to them about their dogs multiple times, this time it stuck. I was screaming and crying and VERY upset. Thankfully the bird (named Fire Eyes) survived with a limp, missing feathers and a flesh wound on her back. She is currently recuperating on our back garden porch away from the other birds so she does not get “picked” on.”
This is an example of one of the many hard lessons learned in chicken ownership. With free range birds you must be prepared to protect them from predators such as neighbors dogs. I knew she was in the front yard, but did not force her to go back to our backyard. This resulted in her being attacked by a dog I knew had been loose several times in recent weeks. In the future I will be much more vigilant.
Well, today our peppers and tomatoes were drooped like crazy from the first freeze. I went ahead and harvested all the fruit except the green traveler’s tomatoes because that plant had minimal damage (I did harvest from the damaged branches. Here is a photo of our tomato/pepper loot from today. I also have a pile of large traveler’s tomatoes that fell off while rearranging the vine last week that are about to turn red. I’m thinking salsa!
I plan to dry the cayenne peppers for medicinal use – will they still be worthwhile since they are harvested green? The others are green bell, jalapeno and I the name of the long large peppers slips my mind (I’ll update this post when I remember!).
The 16 eggs are also from today. We were down to about 5 or 6 a day and could not figure out why. Then we noticed the roosters were literally harassing the hens and fighting over them to mate. We slaughtered four roosters this past weekend and the next day our egg production increased to 12 eggs, 13 eggs and today 16. We’re back! Click here to read about the slaughter from the perspective of the cook!
I took photos of the garden and the damage that I’ll post sometime over the next few days at www.blushfamilyfarm.com.
How did your garden fare in the freeze, Texans?
Since tumblr is jammed up today, I’m adding some additional photos here instead of the Blush Family Farm blog (not of the freeze, just the loot). In hindsight I decided to harvest the rest of the travelers tomatoes so the plant could focus on healing itself totally, even though it was minimally damaged. I’ve added photo of the loot updated with the new tomatoes as well as a small bunch that had fallen off the vine last week and is nearly ripe. The second photo is baby Aliana snagging a tomato for a snack!
This is our daughter petting one of our multiple roosters. I wanted to show how friendly these sometimes “bully birds” can be when given the space and freedom to roam. Consider free-ranging your birds for a happier and healthier flock!
Our family places a high value on early and frequent exposure to animals for our children. This allows them to learn empathy, compassion, responsibility and how to be assertive. Aliana is now walking and can help us feed the chickens and collect their eggs – what an exciting way for her to learn about nature and numbers!
If you don’t have chickens of your own, consider bringing your children to visit a local farm or backyard chicken coop!