Sunday, June 26, 2011

Chicken Update

It's been a while since I've posted, sorry about that. Coming home from vacation always seems to be more involved than you expect. Wanted to give you an update on the Galloping Herd and the coop:
As you can see above, we spared no expense and wrapped the coop in Tyvex scraps that we had around. Funny thing the chickens refused to go in the coop at night and for a few weeks we had to manually toss them in before we closed it up.

The roof vents. 'Nuf said.

Partially sided. The birdies seem to like to hang out under the coop.

More siding. That is Camilla, the Cuckoo Marans, at the bottom. Larry the white rooster above her. Eagle, another rooster, outside the fence on the far right. the other 6 on the deck.

OF COURSE they have a deck! Don't be silly.
The four red chickens on the deck (you can only see the 4th's head). Ronnette turned out to be "Ronnie" another rooster. He's crowing, so we know for sure.

Camilla and Eagle making eyes at each other. Eagle keeps flying out of the pen. We put him in, 10min later he's out again, so we just gave up and made sure he had water outside. He seems thrilled to be on his own.

Action shot: Larry chasing Eagle chasing (I think) Crystal.

I will have a garage update later this week!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Away for a Bit

I was hoping to get some more pictures up this past week, but I've been busy getting ready for a bit of a vacating trip, which I will go into later.

The chickens are well, growing like mad. Starting to fight a bit and get some personalities. So far, the lineup is:
  • Larry, the white rooster. He is probably not going to stick around. He's pretty aggressive.
  • Eagle, the black-and-white rooster. I have a soft spot for him, he's sweet. Besides, he keeps escaping. I'm going to call him Eagle of Alcatraz.
  • Peaches, a little white one with peach feathers on his chest. I say 'his' because I think it's a he. We'll see. I know, "Peaches" sounds funny for a guy, but...
  • "Honey," whose name I might change because I wanted a chicken called Camilla. I don't think Honey is an Easter Egger because she doesn't have fluffy cheeks or slate green legs.
  • "Cukoo," who also is in the running to be called "Camilla." She'll probably win the new moniker.
  • The three red hens (?) that I can't tell apart yet I'm calling Crystal, Ronette, and Chiffon. These were the names of the backup singers in Little Shop of Horrors, and they were named after the girl groups from the 50's. One of these might be a rooster, we'll see. If so, I'll adjust the names.
And there you have it. Tell me, do you name your chickens??

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Day of Chickening, Part 3

It took a bit longer than exptected to get the run done (a week). They were fine, "cooped up" (hahahaha) for a week, the temps were ok, and we engineered the roof on one side so that we could prop it open to allow for ventilation.

Then, on Sunday, we opened the door for the first time.
(A whole new world! A new, exciting point of view!)

The redish/peach one was the first out! Good girl!

Finally, a few more brave souls made the 'leap'

Introducing a few. Introductions will be ongoing as their personalities (and genders) make themselves known. The black and white one in the middle got a name first: Eagle, due to the markings. The blacker one is a Cuckoo Marans, they lay very dark brown eggs. The other white one in the picture has peach feathers on its chest.

Here is Eagle with the four red hens. One of the (the one on the right?) is ligher colored than the others, doesn't have puffy cheeks or greenish legs (like the rest of the Easter eggers do, regardless of color) and has pink legs. I'm not sure if she really is an Easter egger, but time will tell.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Day of Chickening, Part 2

And here they are:

7 "Easter Eggers" and one Cuckoo Marans (the one on the perch).

Let us out! Let us out!!!
We worked on the run the rest of the week and, finally....on Mother's day, we let them out.....which you will see in Part 3.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Day of Chickening, Part 1

First, let me say it's good to be back. I needed that 6-month break, but I think I was a happier, healthier Jody when I was blogging. Please look for at least one update here and my other blog weekly.

Lots of things have happened in the past six months, which I will probably discuss at another time. Right now, I need to talk about our finally getting a flock of chickens after hemming and hawing about it for two, maybe three years.

Our friend Barbara in Virginia had a batch of chicks from a candling exercise her "Chicken Enthusiast" group (as I call them, not as they call themselves) had done. The time they would be able to handle no extra heat in the coop corresponded well with the time we were planing on visiting at the end of April, so we decided to hurry the hell up and build the coop:

The above is the view from the house.

The main frame of the coop. Max is looking at me. At this point, he is totally clueless about what is coming...
This was the batch I had to choose from. Yes, it was up to me. Matt wound up not being able to come to Virginia with me. There were 22 it all (mostly Easter Eggers), and I came home with eight... a cardboard box in the back seat of the Camry. I was really hoping someone would be poking their head out the vent holes (windows) in the box, but alas, it was not to be.

Stay tuned for Day of Chickening, Part 2....

Monday, October 4, 2010

Article Round-Up: a side of arsenic, groundwater, chicken feed, GOOD news about milk

September 24, Dartmouth – (National) Professor warns against arsenic ‘on your plate’. High levels of arsenic in rice and rice products present serious hazards to public health, a professor from the University of Aberdeen in Scotland said in a seminar at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire September 23. The professor discussed the dangers and pervasiveness of arsenic, which has long been linked with cancer, in a seminar, "Arsenic on Your Plate." Although health organizations and governments have stressed the need to regulate arsenic levels in water, the professor said there are no corresponding standards for arsenic in food. He cited research to demonstrate that rice is particularly susceptible to arsenic contamination, and that diets heavy in rice can be related to arsenic-related health conditions, including cancer. Rice absorbs a substantially larger amount of arsenic than other crops because the water used to flood rice paddies is able to "mobilize" arsenic from the soil, the professor said. Levels of arsenic contamination are higher in rice grown in the United States than in any other nation, according to research the professor cited in his lecture. Rice from the South, specifically Arkansas and Texas, shows the highest rates of arsenic poisoning because of the arsenic-laden chemicals farmers previously used to cultivate cotton there, he said. Source:

September 27, Homeland Security NewsWire – (International) Worldwide groundwater depletion rate accelerating. In recent decades, the rate at which humans worldwide are pumping dry the vast underground stores of water that billions depend on has more than doubled, said scientists who have conducted an unusual, global assessment of groundwater use and recently released results of their study. These fast-shrinking subterranean reservoirs are essential to daily life and agriculture in many regions, while also sustaining streams, wetlands, and ecosystems and resisting land subsidence and salt water intrusion into fresh water supplies. Today, people are drawing so much water from below that they are adding enough of it to the oceans (mainly by evaporation, then precipitation) to account for about 25 percent of the annual sea level rise across the planet, the researchers found. Soaring global groundwater depletion bodes a potential disaster for an increasingly globalized agricultural system, said a researcher of Utrecht University in Utrecht, the Netherlands, and leader of the new study. He and his colleagues will publish their new findings in an upcoming issue of Geophysical Research Letters, a journal of the American Geophysical Union. In the new study, which compares estimates of groundwater added by rain and other sources to the amounts being removed for agriculture and other uses, the team taps a database of global groundwater information including maps of groundwater regions and water demand. Source:

October 1, Associated Press – (Ohio; National) Court strikes down parts of Ohio milk labels rule. Dairy processors can make claims that their products are free of a synthetic growth hormone, a federal appeals court in Cincinnati, Ohio, ruled September 30 in striking down parts of the state’s rule on milk labeling. Key parts of the state’s labeling rule violated First Amendment rights to commercial free speech, a three-judge panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously ruled. The Organic Trade Association and the International Dairy Foods Association sued the Ohio Department of Agriculture in 2008 over a state rule on how consumers are informed about whether milk is made from cows that were given a synthetic hormone. The trade groups argued that the rule is too restrictive. It prohibits composition claims such as "antibiotic-free" and "pesticide-free," violating their free speech rights and impeding interstate commerce, the groups argued. The appeals court reversed a lower court decision on the free speech issue, concluding that the state’s ban is "more extensive than necessary to serve the state’s interest in preventing consumer deception." The appeals court agreed with a lower court ruling that the rule does not impede interstate commerce. Source:

September 22, WTAQ 1360 AM Green Bay – (Iowa; National) Feds: Feed ingredients not Salmonella source at Iowa egg farm. Federal officials said feed ingredients bought by an Iowa egg company were not the source of Salmonella that contaminated the farm’s eggs. According to FeedStuffs.Com, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) believes the feed got contaminated during or after its processing at Wright County Farms. But officials are still not sure how the Salmonella was generated — and their investigation is continuing. Wright and nearby Hillandale Farms recalled 550 million eggs after a salmonella outbreak reported last month. It was responsible for making 21 diners sick at a Kenosha, Wisconsin restaurant in June. More than 1,500 people were sickened nationally. Top officials of both egg farms testified before a House sub-committee in Washington D.C. September 22. Panel members said they have records showing that Wright routinely tested positive for Salmonella contamination in the 2 years before the outbreak. The sub-committee has also asked the FDA and the Ag Department for their records in the case. Reports show that U.S. Department of Agriculture inspectors were aware of growing sanitary problems at Wright — but they did not notify health officials. Source:

And I just love this headline and had to include it:

September 21, Associated Press – (Arizona; International) Agents stop harmful insects at U.S.-Mexico border.

At least they're stopping something at the border, right?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Virginia Trip

We had high hopes and full intentions on going to the 4th Annual Heritage Harvest event at Monticello but, alas, it was not to be. It would have been too much, as we cut a day off our normal leave-thursday-comeback-sunday trip. It would have been too much driving and we decided not to go. Next year, we hope.

In any case, we were busy! Matt built a ladder roost for the chicken coop, we helped Barbara harvest the, gosh, maybe 100 winter squash she had in the lower garden. We listened to the coyotes in the middle of the night and I swear they sounded like a pack of hyena from the Serengeti. It was creepy.

We also went to the Lexington Wine Festival and found 11 bottles of good stuff and came home with them. And, my god, the people watching! I had no idea that 80s preppie was so popular again! It was hilarious! All the guys in their seersucker shorts, polo shirts, and sweater vests. It was straight out of the comic my mom had once called 'Save an Alligator, Shoot a Preppie.' I still have it somewhere, I'll have to find it again. Anyway, the people watching was a riot.

The weather was beautiful, the food was wonderful. Probably won't get back down this fall....maybe in November if we're lucky.