November 2011

The Mystery of the Eggless Chickens

"After many months of head-scratching, the mystery of the eggless chickens has now been solved"

We started over with chicks this year, so all of our chickens are young and just started to lay late this summer.  At our peak, we had about 16 hens and 2 roosters this year, and while all of them should have been laying, our peak egg production was a whopping two eggs per day.  Fed up with the food bill, not to mention the fact that we are paying over $5 per dozen for eggs at the store, we sold six of our hens a few weeks ago, but are still scratching our heads over the ridiculous amount of eggs we are getting for so many chickens.

Winterizing Your Farm

 

Getting ready for winter on a farm is much different than getting ready for winter in the city, or even just a rural house. We farmers have to think about more than just our old cold feet and winter clothing needs. If you are new to farming, here is a list, broken down by category, to help you remember what needs to be done before Old Man Winter comes knockin'.

How Much Does it Cost To Raise Your Own Chicken Eggs?

One of the first questions would-be chicken owners ask is, "Is it worth it to raise my own eggs?"  That can be a tricky question, actually.  If by "worth it", they mean the cost aspect of raising eggs, the answer is probably no.  There is so much more to raising your own eggs than just the cost of them, however.  You are ensuring the food you eat is the best you can get, raised by animals you know and care for, in conditions you have complete control over.  No more factory farms, miserable chickens and unhealthy additives.

Using Dried Leaves as Animal Bedding

As I look out the window at the lawn covered in leaves, and think about how I am going to keep my goats dry this winter, it occurs to me I might be able to solve both problems in one sitting.  Despite the fact that we have placed a huge amount of straw down for the goats’ bedding, they are still making it wet.  Buying more straw will only result in spending more money on wet bedding, and we are running out of places to put the dried leaves picked up out of the yard.

Should You Vaccinate Your Farm Animals?

It seems like the question of vaccinating is becoming more prevalent in our increasingly suspicious society.  Should we vaccinate kids?  Animals?  Adults?  The battle rages on both sides of the debate, but no matter whether you are for or against vaccinations in general, sometimes it may or may not make sense to vaccinate animals on the farm.

What Are the Risks?
If your animals spend their lives on the farm with minimal contact with the outer world, the risk of catching contagious diseases is fairly small.  That does not mean they cannot catch diseases, however.  Wild birds, skunks and other animals who cross our farms can carry a host of diseases our domestic animals are prone to get.  Our dogs had not been vaccinated and caught Parvo right here on the property a few months ago.  We live at the end of the road with no real traffic of the human or domestic animal sort, so it was quite a surprise.