Category Archives: Chickens

Chicken survey

We are going before the Cedar Rapids city council on Tuesday to discuss having chickens in the city.  If you are interested please take the survey at the link below.

Survey

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Last one gone

Well, whatever it was came back and sort of got the other one.  We came home from work yesterday and the other chicken was outside the pen, but the door was closed.  I found a small hole which might be where the critter made it’s way into the coop, or ours got out. 

Normally the chickens move around when I come to them.  They are rather hard to catch.  This one just stood there and let me pick it up and look it over.  It was pretty banged up.  I won’t describe it.  But it wasn’t dead.  I had to put it out of it’s misery though.

Strange feelings of guilt about the life of a chicken that died because of my lack of observation of this hole.

RIP little chicken

I went out to the coop yesterday to take care of the chickens and one of them was dead.  I can’t really figure out how it died.  It does look like trauma of some sort.  There are feathers all over the place and the carcass was pretty mangled.  But, I can’t find a hole anywhere in the fencing or a hole that something dug under the fencing.  The carcass wasn’t eaten either, it was just kind of chewed up.  It’s possible that the other chicken killed it, but it doesn’t have that appearance, although I have no experience with dead chickens.

It’s kind of a strange feeling.  I’m a lot sadder about this dead chicken than I expected to be.  I’m not really sure why.  I guess because in some way it seems like a failure on my part by not taking care of them somehow.  This really throws up the question of what to do with the other chicken.  I’ve read that you shouldn’t have just one of them, but I don’t really want to give it away.  I guess I’ll have to make plans to pick up a couple more this next spring.

Wish I knew which chicken it was.  Either Poke or Brownie.  Gotta tell the boys sometime still.  I have a feeling they will be upset.

Potpourri

Sorry I’ve been away for so long, I’ve got a lot to say but not a lot of time right now.

Weight
Well, most of the month of February was lost. I ended up gaining 3 pounds by the time the week in Vegas (and subsequent week long readjustment after wards) was over. That puts me as of now at 15 pounds lost. Still have 20 to go. This week might be the week though. I feel some changes in my body and with gardening starting up I’m now busy in the evenings too (even if I just want to lie down) which means even more calories burnt. I typically lose 10-15 pounds over the summer so hopefully that will continue.

Chickens
Loving them. I’ve been spreading out mostly finished compost in the garden and they are finishing the work for me. I’ll be planting or trimming something nearby and they are digging up the beds and spreading around the compost looking for things to eat. Unfortunately they got into my cold frames when I had the lids off but I think I was able to stop most of the damage. They are doing a great job though earning their keep.

Gardening
I planted lettuces, Swiss chard and spinach in the cold frames. Also transplanted some so we’ll see how that takes. First results aren’t very good. Last night I also planted onions, carrots, parsnips, beets and turnips. I’m waiting for the moon phase to turn again at the end of the month and I’ll plant peas, broccoli, cabbage and other things, although I did start their seeds to see how they take. I also started some tomato and pepper plants. I’m not planning to grow many tomato plants this year. I’ll plan to buy most of what I need to can. Squash and melons will be started when the moon phases line up too, although they’ll only have about 6 weeks in the tray by that time. Seed potatoes are sitting on the counter waiting for the right time.

I heavily mulched some spinach last winter and it seems to be coming back just fine this spring, which is really cool. I should get my first asparagus crop this year and the garlic is doing nicely, although I planted less this year. I haven’t seen the rhubarb coming up yet.

Food stores
I did a lot better stocking up last fall and managing it through the winter. We ran out of pizza sauce, but that was really all. Most of my potatoes are unusable because of shriveling and sprouts, but that was because I was sold bags of mixed potatoes instead of just long storage ones. Otherwise we’ve had plenty of jelly, tomatoes, sauces, beans, corn and other things. We ran low on meat for a while but we’re past that now. I guess heading into this summer I have a much better idea what I need to stock up on and how much to stock up on.

Volunteerism
If you live in the area and want to help I’ve got some opportunities for you!
I am planning to do my runs again this summer from a local CSA farmer to the food kitchens. This would be once or twice a week. You would need to be able to pick up about 40 pounds and have a large enough vehicle to hold 4 or 5 boxes of produce.

I’m working with the Matthew 25 hub on a couple of projects.
1) We are setting up an effort to beautify the flooded areas of the city. Right now (pending city approval) we are planning to build a sheet mulched garden bed in the public space at intersections (maybe 6-8 ft around) that will be studded with native Iowa wildflowers, sunflowers, etc. Sometime in late April we are planning a gardening blitz, so keep your options open at the end of the month. Contact me if you would like to donate some seed packets.

2.) Additionally, through Local Food Connection we have two CSA shares being delivered to Cedar Rapids to Red Cedar Farm that will need to be picked up and delivered to the Matthew 25 hub once a week for 18 weeks. This produce will then be distributed to local low income families at a time to be determined. We’ll need volunteers to pick up the produce on occasion as well as people to staff the area during distribution time. We’ll also be doing some education opportunities which might be fun and interesting to be involved with. Let me know if you are interested.

Who throws a shoe? Really?

I’m assuming you’ve all seen the video of Bush ducking some thrown shoes.  One word: Hilarious.  Can’t believe that happened.  Reminds me of the assissin in Austin Powers that throws shoes to kill people (and was that a James Bond character before that?).

I understand that is a big insult in the Middle Eastern world, but how did that come about?

In other news on this side of the world, the chickens made it through the night last night when it was about 30 below zero with the wind chill.  I expected that I would see little chicken-cicles this morning but they were fine, and they each laid an egg too.  I did turn the lamp on this morning though so the coop has to be around 30 now.  I’m sure they are loving it…

My oldest one lost his first tooth.  Very exciting times in our house tonight.  Unfortunately he swallowed it so he had to make a note for the tooth fairy about the situation.

There’s been a lot of talk lately on this blog and others about food supplies and food shortages that may be coming up in the coming year.  In fact, you should go over to see Sharon’s predictions for 2009.  She was very accurate for this year (although past performance is no guarantee of future success) but it may give you some idea what to expect in this coming year.  Anyway, I’ve been storing some flour (white, I know, but it’s the most used one) around our house (I try to keep about 35 pounds on hand) as well as some whole wheat flour in the freezer.  What I really wanted to mention was my other method of storing calorie dense foods.

Pasta.

Pasta is a loss leader quite frequently in the supermarkets so each week when I go I buy 2 or 3 packages of whatever is on sale.  (Along with a few for the food banks)  This gives me the calories of bread, but stores without the same spoilage concerns.  Also, it pairs well with a lot of vegetables, so by default it helps us eat the necessary food items like tomatoes, celery, onions, garlic and carrots.  That means we’ll still be getting some decent nutrients whereas with bread we would mostly be eating butter with jam, if we end up eating nothing but pasta.  It also fits really well in soup.

Anyway, that’s my idea.

Things I’m Wondering

As I enjoy the chickens more and more I wonder more and more why people don’t have them in their backyards.  Hopefully as all of us bloggers talk about it more people will get interested and start doing it.  It’s a chore sure, but enjoying those eggs is so nice.

I’ve been wondering lately why the so called experts didn’t see this financial collapse coming.  Some of us dismissed, less fortunate people did.  How?  We used common sense to ask if things smelled right.  It’s amazing how often common sense works for most things.

I always wonder why people get so freaky about the weather.  It is what it is.  You just have to deal with it.

I wonder if this spring will be the spring where gardening really takes off.  Last year seed orders were up from the previous year, but how much more will they be up this coming year?

Along those same lines why do all the food donation places let people be so helpless?  People come to you for food, which is OK if you give them immediate help, but show them how to grow some food for themselves.  Why continue to make people dependent on food donations?  Where is the sense in that?

Same deal with the people receiving the donations.  Why would you continue to take what is given rather than looking for another solution?

I read a news story recently wherein a mother was complaining about not being able to find work, except overnight workshifts.  Her husband was laid off and she was formerly a stay at home mom with 4 children.  It made me wonder.  Was her situation really that bad if she was turning down nightshift work because it was nightshift work?  My parents worked all kinds of crazy shifts when I was growing up to make sure they were providing.  Sure it puts a strain on everyone, but you deal with it.  I wonder how much differently this lady might feel in 6 months.

I wonder how long it will be until I am full up with more wonderings.

The Food Supply Challenge

Recently I mentioned that I was going to start making small purchases each week and donate them to the food bank, and a few of you were going to do it too.  I did that this week.  This week I bought and donated 2 boxes of spaghetti, 2 cans of tomatoes and 2 boxes of instant oatmeal.  Wendy also bought some things to donate.  How’d the rest of you do?

Wendy even gave this little initative a fun name.  ‘The Food Supply Challenge”.  Thanks Wendy!

The chickens have been laying eggs.  They taste so good!  I keep them in a special place in the fridge and we only eat them when we want eggs by themselves, so we can enjoy the flavor.  If they are to be an ingrediant I use the store bought ones.

Now, I just have to figure out how we can get more chickens.  Rachael doesn’t want anymore but now I want even more.  Two aren’t able to keep up with the demand here in the house!

That’s all for now.