Ali asks: “Can you explain the difference between Cage free, free range, and pasture raised chicken and eggs?”
Unfortunately, the truth is that there are many conventional farmers manufacturers who are very unethical and are working the system to get what they want. While the “spirit” of the various labels are promoted, the laws are very loose and provide loopholes for getting around the labels. Also, note that any of these can be “organic.”
To start this explanation, it’s best to compare it to the conventionally-raised laying hen, i.e. the most common method for producing the grocery-store egg. Conventional hens are caged hens. Hens Read More
There was snow on the ground today and I was so happy. But then I got out to the chicken coop. There were dead chickens everywhere. Dogs had got in, even after we chickenwired the bottom of the fence to keep everyone safe. They decimated our Dorking flock. After all these years of working to breed chickens touch enough to withstand the desert extremes and to build a flock big enough to really start selling chicks…
To say that I’m discouraged is an understatement. I was already discouraged because we’re having such a hard time dealing with permitting issues for our business. Now this.
Our first dorkings of the year are chirping merrily away in their brooder. Almost all of them hatched on their own with absolutely no help which is the way I like it. About five chicks needed help. These stragglers took so long to get out of their eggs that the egg membrane died and stuck to them making it impossible for them to move.
It’s very easy to help a chick hatch. You just gently break the egg shell and remove it bit by bit. I put warm water on the dried membrane and rub it Read More
My favorite blog, Fresh Eggs Daily posted an article today about making homemade suet for your chickens. I’ve vaguely heard of Suet, but never really paid attention to it and basically just thought it was a “treat” for chickens who are pets and spoiled by their owners. But suet is not just for pampered chickens! Or at least all chickens should be pampered in this way.
Suet, if you didn’t know like I didn’t, is just raw beef or sheep fat (or I suppose it could probably be fat from another animal too). It can be used for making candles or even as an ingredient in certain food recipes.
But we care about Read More
The chickens are finally laying well now that the days are lengthening again and the geese are starting to court each other. Spring is on the way! And that means one thing. Babies!!!
The best part of farm life is the babies. Baby chickens and baby geese and adorable little baby ducks and baby goats and baby pigs and even baby wild animals like quail and Killdeer. I can’t wait to see baby killdeer even if they ARE shorebirds that aren’t supposed to be in the desert. How much cuter can a baby get?
Anyhow, we have the incubator turned on and Read More
I’ve found some good material from the first people to research and promote deep litter, Kennard and Chamberlin at the Ohio Experiment Station. The following is an article of theirs from the Golden Age of deep litter, published in 1949.
For the impatient, here’s a deep-litter quickstart:
Deep litter is not about compost. It’s about healthier chickens. Do your serious composting on a compost pile.
More is better. It’s not deep litter unless it’s at least six inches deep.
If the top of the litter gets caked over with manure, skim off the caked part and toss it into a corner. Within a few days, natural composting will cause it to turn back Read More