Victory Farm http://allcreaturesgreatandfabulous.com/ A lovely little blog about chickens, farming from the folks at Victory Farm. http://allcreaturesgreatandfabulous.com/icon.png Victory Farm http://allcreaturesgreatandfabulous.com/ Small Scale Sustainable Farming http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/AllCreaturesGreatAndFabulous/~3/eODbJuesZR8/sustainable-farming.html <img src='http://allcreaturesgreatandfabulous.com/images/rooster.jpg' title='' border=0 alt=''><p>I received an email today asking advice about starting a small scale sustainable farm. I thought my response was worth posting here:</p> <p>The best suggestion I can make, overall, is to be careful of your expectations. The word "sustainable" has a nice sound but achieving it is more of a goal to see in the distance than anything truly achievable on a small scale (without wads of excess cash). The cost of growing your own food is higher than most realize.</p> <p>That said, gather up an armload of reasonable expectations and go for it. Expect to fail and fail plenty. This is part of the process.</p> <p>Specifically on the eggs side you really need to consider margins. We have yet to break even. We can't order feed in truckload-bulk unless we have 300+ birds. We have about 120 so we're stuck with bagged feed. With feed prices so high it might cost you more to sell your eggs than just producing enough to consume. Figure out how many hens you think you need and then double it. Between predators and bad luck you will loose birds.</p> <p>In all your planning look very closely at ROI (return on investment). We had sheep that came with the property. They were nice (except the ram) but useless from a production standpoint. The wool didn't fetch enough to pay for a single bag of feed never mind a year's worth. They basically sucked in time and money and produced nothing. That's a bad deal.</p> <p>In your planning also make sure to account for the value of your time. Many neglect to do this. I was playing with the idea of a third coop but my son talked me off the ledge. It would be at least a $3k out-of-pocket expense and would cause us to loose more money every year (every dozen sold at a loss is more loss) and take very valuable time from our non-farm income producing activities. It was a very bad idea. He's only 12 and he was able to see it where I wasn't!<br /><br /><a href='http://allcreaturesgreatandfabulous.com/entry/sustainable-farming.html'>Read original article on Victory Farm</a></p><div class="feedflare"> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/AllCreaturesGreatAndFabulous?a=eODbJuesZR8:n2hFM_wPkic:yIl2AUoC8zA"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/AllCreaturesGreatAndFabulous?d=yIl2AUoC8zA" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/AllCreaturesGreatAndFabulous?a=eODbJuesZR8:n2hFM_wPkic:qj6IDK7rITs"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/AllCreaturesGreatAndFabulous?d=qj6IDK7rITs" border="0"></img></a> </div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/AllCreaturesGreatAndFabulous/~4/eODbJuesZR8" height="1" width="1" alt=""/> http://allcreaturesgreatandfabulous.com/entry/sustainable-farming.html Tue, 13 Aug 2013 09:00:00 EST http://allcreaturesgreatandfabulous.com/entry/sustainable-farming.html Mr. Fox and Me http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/AllCreaturesGreatAndFabulous/~3/DTq3DijF9zs/mrfoxandme.html <img src='http://allcreaturesgreatandfabulous.com/images/MrFoxASndMe.jpg' title='' border=0 alt=''><p>My ever so brief but possibly meaningful meeting with Mr Fox.<br /><br /><a href='http://allcreaturesgreatandfabulous.com/entry/mrfoxandme.html'>Read Article on Victory Farm</a></p><div class="feedflare"> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/AllCreaturesGreatAndFabulous?a=DTq3DijF9zs:sWpRxP-o6Po:yIl2AUoC8zA"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/AllCreaturesGreatAndFabulous?d=yIl2AUoC8zA" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/AllCreaturesGreatAndFabulous?a=DTq3DijF9zs:sWpRxP-o6Po:qj6IDK7rITs"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/AllCreaturesGreatAndFabulous?d=qj6IDK7rITs" border="0"></img></a> </div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/AllCreaturesGreatAndFabulous/~4/DTq3DijF9zs" height="1" width="1" alt=""/> http://allcreaturesgreatandfabulous.com/entry/mrfoxandme.html Tue, 19 Mar 2013 09:00:00 EST http://allcreaturesgreatandfabulous.com/entry/mrfoxandme.html What Cage Free and Free Range Really Mean http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/AllCreaturesGreatAndFabulous/~3/OsXzC0xZdfQ/storyofanegg.html <img src='http://allcreaturesgreatandfabulous.com/images/StoryOfAnEgg.jpg' title='' border=0 alt=''><p>Here's a video from PBS that does a great job of explaining what "cage free" and "free range" really mean. <br><BR> <a href='http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/12/story-of-an-egg-film_n_2862282.html'>'Story Of An Egg' Film Explains What 'Cage-Free,' 'Free-Range' Actually Mean (VIDEO)</a></p> <p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><a href='http://allcreaturesgreatandfabulous.com/entry/storyofanegg.html'>Read original article on Victory Farm</a></p><div class="feedflare"> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/AllCreaturesGreatAndFabulous?a=OsXzC0xZdfQ:xAGKSbhXqFY:yIl2AUoC8zA"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/AllCreaturesGreatAndFabulous?d=yIl2AUoC8zA" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/AllCreaturesGreatAndFabulous?a=OsXzC0xZdfQ:xAGKSbhXqFY:qj6IDK7rITs"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/AllCreaturesGreatAndFabulous?d=qj6IDK7rITs" border="0"></img></a> </div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/AllCreaturesGreatAndFabulous/~4/OsXzC0xZdfQ" height="1" width="1" alt=""/> http://allcreaturesgreatandfabulous.com/entry/storyofanegg.html Sun, 17 Mar 2013 09:00:00 EST http://allcreaturesgreatandfabulous.com/entry/storyofanegg.html Moving Your Pullets to your Coop http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/AllCreaturesGreatAndFabulous/~3/EcFk1CNF9eo/movingpullets.html <img src='http://allcreaturesgreatandfabulous.com/images/pulletsInCrate.jpg' title='' border=0 alt=''><p>Moving your pullets from the brooder to a coop usually goes well but when it goes wrong it can go horribly wrong. Here are some basic tips that can prevent disaster.<br /><br /><a href='http://allcreaturesgreatandfabulous.com/entry/movingpullets.html'>Read Article on Victory Farm</a></p><div class="feedflare"> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/AllCreaturesGreatAndFabulous?a=EcFk1CNF9eo:0ZxqxAhkwIw:yIl2AUoC8zA"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/AllCreaturesGreatAndFabulous?d=yIl2AUoC8zA" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/AllCreaturesGreatAndFabulous?a=EcFk1CNF9eo:0ZxqxAhkwIw:qj6IDK7rITs"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/AllCreaturesGreatAndFabulous?d=qj6IDK7rITs" border="0"></img></a> </div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/AllCreaturesGreatAndFabulous/~4/EcFk1CNF9eo" height="1" width="1" alt=""/> http://allcreaturesgreatandfabulous.com/entry/movingpullets.html Sat, 16 Jun 2012 09:00:00 EST http://allcreaturesgreatandfabulous.com/entry/movingpullets.html This One Got Away Alive http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/AllCreaturesGreatAndFabulous/~3/xHi_X1ksvS0/notdeadyet.html <img src='http://allcreaturesgreatandfabulous.com/images/NotDeadChicken.jpg' title='' border=0 alt=''><p>This is about the third time this has happened. We scare a hawk off a seemingly dead hen, but when we get to her she's still breathing. We look and we see no injuries, but the birds chest is heaving, the head is twisted and the eyes are closed showing the white eyelids of death, with looks much different from a sleeping chicken.</p> <p>We've seen this before. A chicken can get so stressed is falls down as if dead. About half of the time they recover. It's an amazing thing to see. You go from a hawk standing on a bird ready for dinner to, 20 minutes later, to a bird who appears completely fine.</p> <p>The one in the picture turned out fine but she was touch and go. When we found her the head was twisted around abut 270 degrees. We gently lifted her a placed her in the safety of the coop and she was fine in the morning.<br /><br /><a href='http://allcreaturesgreatandfabulous.com/entry/notdeadyet.html'>Read original article on Victory Farm</a></p><div class="feedflare"> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/AllCreaturesGreatAndFabulous?a=xHi_X1ksvS0:KQyQXE5nxaY:yIl2AUoC8zA"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/AllCreaturesGreatAndFabulous?d=yIl2AUoC8zA" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/AllCreaturesGreatAndFabulous?a=xHi_X1ksvS0:KQyQXE5nxaY:qj6IDK7rITs"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/AllCreaturesGreatAndFabulous?d=qj6IDK7rITs" border="0"></img></a> </div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/AllCreaturesGreatAndFabulous/~4/xHi_X1ksvS0" height="1" width="1" alt=""/> http://allcreaturesgreatandfabulous.com/entry/notdeadyet.html Tue, 08 May 2012 09:00:00 EST http://allcreaturesgreatandfabulous.com/entry/notdeadyet.html Farm Update April 2012 http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/AllCreaturesGreatAndFabulous/~3/0azMeXQcbQg/farmupdate201204.html <div align='center'> <iframe width="640" height="360" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/Xr50wzKCNRc" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe> </div> <p>It's been a rough winter here on our chicken fam. We lost over 70 birds mostly to weasels and mostly in just two days. Most of our 2012 replacer flock is gone and our late season 2012 chick order was delayed. We did get an interim batch of Leghorns.</p> <p>Here's an interesting comment thread from You Tube that brings out some point that probably should have been in the video.</p> <p>@TradionallySouthern Wrote:</p> <blockquote> That's a real shame to lose chickens because of lousy housing for them. Why don't you purchase some real heavy gauge wire and cover those wooden buildings? Or better yet, build some new more protective housing? </blockquote> <p>This should really be a no-brainer. The things is -- over the years we have taken major steps to prevent predators. They are much better at finding dinner than we are at stopping them. I look at it this way: They (collectively) have 24 hours a day to find a way to eat. I have much less time to try and stop them. Any given day there are numerous predator, night and day, eying our birds.</p> <p>Here is my reply:</p> <blockquote> Wire, 4" thick wood, and concrete only slow them down. Before this our biggest single-day loss was 18 chicks. They were locked in the barn which is built from concrete block. They tunneled in through the bathroom floor. I've had many long conversations with many old farmers. Dealing with predators is an odds game. You do what's affordable and hope for the best. We can afford maybe $1,000 or $2,000 or so a year on predator prevention. Through the years most predator loss, by far, has been in the field. In-coop deaths were extremely rare so most of our anti predator investment has gone out there. Our coops are airtight from raccoons and fox. This is very unusual behavior for weasels (I'm told) but not unheard of. I've also been told that patching the holes may have caused the big kills by causing predator panic. Rather than taking one and leaving they panicked and killed 40. Not sure I buy that but it does fit the circumstances. </blockquote> <p><br /><br /><a href='http://allcreaturesgreatandfabulous.com/entry/farmupdate201204.html'>Read original article on Victory Farm</a></p><div class="feedflare"> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/AllCreaturesGreatAndFabulous?a=0azMeXQcbQg:we-QcWjPBD0:yIl2AUoC8zA"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/AllCreaturesGreatAndFabulous?d=yIl2AUoC8zA" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/AllCreaturesGreatAndFabulous?a=0azMeXQcbQg:we-QcWjPBD0:qj6IDK7rITs"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/AllCreaturesGreatAndFabulous?d=qj6IDK7rITs" border="0"></img></a> </div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/AllCreaturesGreatAndFabulous/~4/0azMeXQcbQg" height="1" width="1" alt=""/> http://allcreaturesgreatandfabulous.com/entry/farmupdate201204.html Thu, 19 Apr 2012 09:00:00 EST http://allcreaturesgreatandfabulous.com/entry/farmupdate201204.html I think this Possum was Pregnant http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/AllCreaturesGreatAndFabulous/~3/RNINUc_xHWs/pregnant-possum-released-from-trap.html <iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/MrF1m9W-lzg" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe> <p><br /><br /> Caught this possum today. We don't deport possums because they are really no threat. I though it was odd how slowly it left the trap and now watching the video I suspect she was pregnant.<br /><br /><a href='http://allcreaturesgreatandfabulous.com/entry/pregnant-possum-released-from-trap.html'>Read original article on Victory Farm</a></p><div class="feedflare"> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/AllCreaturesGreatAndFabulous?a=RNINUc_xHWs:disgZ9CWjQk:yIl2AUoC8zA"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/AllCreaturesGreatAndFabulous?d=yIl2AUoC8zA" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/AllCreaturesGreatAndFabulous?a=RNINUc_xHWs:disgZ9CWjQk:qj6IDK7rITs"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/AllCreaturesGreatAndFabulous?d=qj6IDK7rITs" border="0"></img></a> </div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/AllCreaturesGreatAndFabulous/~4/RNINUc_xHWs" height="1" width="1" alt=""/> http://allcreaturesgreatandfabulous.com/entry/pregnant-possum-released-from-trap.html Thu, 12 Apr 2012 09:00:00 EST http://allcreaturesgreatandfabulous.com/entry/pregnant-possum-released-from-trap.html Homeschooling is Cool http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/AllCreaturesGreatAndFabulous/~3/rVBgIq7lnHs/homeschooling-is-cool.html <img src='http://allcreaturesgreatandfabulous.com/images/DTK_Dalek.jpg' title='' border=0 alt=''><p>So, last night Farmhand (aged 10 years) pauses our viewing of Cosmos to correct Carl Sagan's grammar. I think he was incorrect -- his point was that "cosmos" was plural, but I think Sagan's usage is correct because we know of only one... But later in the episode Sagan says our cosmos could be one of many so I guess it could go either way.</p> <p>We watch documentaries with dinner at least two nights a week. Tonight's dinner was tori-karaage which is a fancy name for fried chicken nuggets, a very popular junk food throughout all of Asia. Never had it? Sure you have. Half of the chicken dishes in a chinese restaurant are karaage in different sauces. They serve it in bars the way chicken wings are served here and we silly American's think it's authentic asian food.</p> <p>Japanese culture has been our latest obsession. We don't use text books to do that. Sure, we learn some history but we like to delve and it's been all-in: Food, anime and manga conventions, language, documentaries, art and lifestyle. None of it's been part of any curriculum we just did what excited us.</p> <p>When we studied polynesian culture we had a luau. People from three states came which is surprising since we did it in November. It went well but we learned that cooking in pit ovens is a bit more complicated than we thought. We'll try again someday.</p> <p>But let me be clear: Homeschooling is hard, challenging and downright scary. Farmahnd's future is in my hands. I will never stop clinging to the self-doubt that says "I'm not doing enough." For me, the only thing that mitigates that fear is my firm belief that I am doing more than the public school system would have done.</p> <p>One of the best parts: We don't use alarm clocks. Ever. Ponder that for a moment. We're usually both up when the sun clears the tree line -- about 8am this time of year but earlier in the summer. People sometimes huff and puff about this is not a correct way to live but I figure its worked well enough for several thousand years of history it ought to work fine for us.</p> <p>When we do get up there is no stressful running around and looking at the clock. No worrying about being late to anything. Our day simply begins.</p> <p>In short -- Farmhand wakes up happy. I don't recall that happening much in my own youth.</p> <p>Many people think homeschooling is apocryphal and will even go so far as to quiz farmhand to try and catch him out. They would ask him a math question or the name of state's capitol hoping to trip him up. I've taught him to respond to these with "Why do you ask?" which is usually answered by an evasion like "I was just curious" to which he now responds "Google it."</p> <p>But we don't worry too much about those people. We're too busy laughing our butts off as we act out Moliere's <em>The Misantrope</em> in the kitchen or walking through the woods or blowing things up, um, I mean doing "science experiments."</p> <p>We've been homeschooling for over five years now. People ask "Don't you <em>want</em> to put him back in school." I look at them, perplexed, as if they were asking me if I wanted a root canal.<br /><br /><a href='http://allcreaturesgreatandfabulous.com/entry/homeschooling-is-cool.html'>Read original article on Victory Farm</a></p><div class="feedflare"> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/AllCreaturesGreatAndFabulous?a=rVBgIq7lnHs:EC7cBncuFh0:yIl2AUoC8zA"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/AllCreaturesGreatAndFabulous?d=yIl2AUoC8zA" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/AllCreaturesGreatAndFabulous?a=rVBgIq7lnHs:EC7cBncuFh0:qj6IDK7rITs"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/AllCreaturesGreatAndFabulous?d=qj6IDK7rITs" border="0"></img></a> </div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/AllCreaturesGreatAndFabulous/~4/rVBgIq7lnHs" height="1" width="1" alt=""/> http://allcreaturesgreatandfabulous.com/entry/homeschooling-is-cool.html Fri, 10 Feb 2012 09:00:00 EST http://allcreaturesgreatandfabulous.com/entry/homeschooling-is-cool.html Dealing with Rats http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/AllCreaturesGreatAndFabulous/~3/yvBVWdAxSt8/rats.html <img src='http://allcreaturesgreatandfabulous.com/images/JaguarRatPoison.jpg' title='' border=0 alt=''><p>A You Tube viewer asked us about rats, which is a much larger answer than You Tube allows on the reply box. Rats are a never ending problem. Here is what we do.<br /><br /><a href='http://allcreaturesgreatandfabulous.com/entry/rats.html'>Read Article on Victory Farm</a></p><div class="feedflare"> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/AllCreaturesGreatAndFabulous?a=yvBVWdAxSt8:egVM8Lf391c:yIl2AUoC8zA"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/AllCreaturesGreatAndFabulous?d=yIl2AUoC8zA" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/AllCreaturesGreatAndFabulous?a=yvBVWdAxSt8:egVM8Lf391c:qj6IDK7rITs"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/AllCreaturesGreatAndFabulous?d=qj6IDK7rITs" border="0"></img></a> </div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/AllCreaturesGreatAndFabulous/~4/yvBVWdAxSt8" height="1" width="1" alt=""/> http://allcreaturesgreatandfabulous.com/entry/rats.html Wed, 08 Feb 2012 09:00:00 EST http://allcreaturesgreatandfabulous.com/entry/rats.html Making a Brooder and Raising Baby Chicks http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/AllCreaturesGreatAndFabulous/~3/il6uOBiVrPc/brooding-chicks-video.html <iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/1uGmO5JWcCo" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe> <p>We'll show you how we brood our chicks and provide some practical advice on raising chicks from day old hatchlings.<br /><br /><a href='http://allcreaturesgreatandfabulous.com/entry/brooding-chicks-video.html'>Read original article on Victory Farm</a></p><div class="feedflare"> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/AllCreaturesGreatAndFabulous?a=il6uOBiVrPc:ldd88I6xPDE:yIl2AUoC8zA"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/AllCreaturesGreatAndFabulous?d=yIl2AUoC8zA" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/AllCreaturesGreatAndFabulous?a=il6uOBiVrPc:ldd88I6xPDE:qj6IDK7rITs"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/AllCreaturesGreatAndFabulous?d=qj6IDK7rITs" border="0"></img></a> </div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/AllCreaturesGreatAndFabulous/~4/il6uOBiVrPc" height="1" width="1" alt=""/> http://allcreaturesgreatandfabulous.com/entry/brooding-chicks-video.html Sun, 29 Jan 2012 09:00:00 EST http://allcreaturesgreatandfabulous.com/entry/brooding-chicks-video.html We Caught a Skunk http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/AllCreaturesGreatAndFabulous/~3/Fch9mDdEWvI/skunk-in-the-trap.html <img src='http://allcreaturesgreatandfabulous.com/images/skunk.JPG' title='' border=0 alt=''><p>It's been a bad month and we've lost many birds to predators so we've been extra vigilant about keeping the traps open and baited.</p> <p>Yes, we caught a skunk. I knew it would happen… eventually. I've been dreading this eventuality for a long time.</p> <p>My first reaction was to have a cup of coffee. That proved to pleasant I had another one. Before long, however, I realized that continuing down this path would leave me jittery and would do nothing to help shift the skunk.</p> <p>I also suspected being jittery while skunk-shifting was not advisable. I have no proof of this conjecture but I feel fairly confident it can be taken as read.</p> <p>What does one do when one is faced with a potentially unpleasant task that one does not wish to do and is potentially dangerous or at least significantly olfactorily unpleasant? <del>Procrastinate!</del> Google It!</p> <p>Did you know there are a whole crap-ton of videos on YouTube on how to get a skunk out of a trap? It would seem it's something folks like to record.</p> <p>I won't go into details but it turns out to be easy to get a skunk out of a trap without being sprayed. They really don't want to spray anyone and as long as you don't give them a <em>really</em> good reason to do so, they won't spray you.</p> <p>After we opened the trap the skunk turned around and went to sleep… and stayed there for eight hours. Next time I'm putting a "check-out time is 11am" sign in the trap.<br /><br /><a href='http://allcreaturesgreatandfabulous.com/entry/skunk-in-the-trap.html'>Read original article on Victory Farm</a></p><div class="feedflare"> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/AllCreaturesGreatAndFabulous?a=Fch9mDdEWvI:ZhkHpDkzLeM:yIl2AUoC8zA"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/AllCreaturesGreatAndFabulous?d=yIl2AUoC8zA" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/AllCreaturesGreatAndFabulous?a=Fch9mDdEWvI:ZhkHpDkzLeM:qj6IDK7rITs"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/AllCreaturesGreatAndFabulous?d=qj6IDK7rITs" border="0"></img></a> </div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/AllCreaturesGreatAndFabulous/~4/Fch9mDdEWvI" height="1" width="1" alt=""/> http://allcreaturesgreatandfabulous.com/entry/skunk-in-the-trap.html Sat, 28 Jan 2012 09:00:00 EST http://allcreaturesgreatandfabulous.com/entry/skunk-in-the-trap.html Three Little Chickens That Wouldn't Go Home http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/AllCreaturesGreatAndFabulous/~3/rP5p4lX_hiE/three-chickens-that-wouldnt.html <img src='http://allcreaturesgreatandfabulous.com/images/ThreeChickens.jpg' title='' border=0 alt=''><p>It's been a bad time to be a chicken on our farm in the last few months. All told we lost about 70 birds from Thanksgiving to mid-January. We think it's weasels.</p> <p>We think that because we can't think of anything else that can fit into a golf ball sized hole and take out over 40 birds at a pop.</p> <p>After the first gory massacre three birds from the red coop decided that returning to the crime scene was not in their best interest. They took up residence on the side of the house and have been there for about two months now.</p> <p>Which got me thinking about free will. I never really though about whether chickens had free will or not. I suppose I assumed they were flock animals and did what the others do.</p> <p>But then there's these three birds. One Rhode Island Red, one Barred Rock and one Red Star. These three did the mental arithmetic and decided “we're outta here!”<br /><br /><a href='http://allcreaturesgreatandfabulous.com/entry/three-chickens-that-wouldnt.html'>Read original article on Victory Farm</a></p><div class="feedflare"> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/AllCreaturesGreatAndFabulous?a=rP5p4lX_hiE:5RJN6zYZU0k:yIl2AUoC8zA"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/AllCreaturesGreatAndFabulous?d=yIl2AUoC8zA" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/AllCreaturesGreatAndFabulous?a=rP5p4lX_hiE:5RJN6zYZU0k:qj6IDK7rITs"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/AllCreaturesGreatAndFabulous?d=qj6IDK7rITs" border="0"></img></a> </div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/AllCreaturesGreatAndFabulous/~4/rP5p4lX_hiE" height="1" width="1" alt=""/> http://allcreaturesgreatandfabulous.com/entry/three-chickens-that-wouldnt.html Mon, 23 Jan 2012 09:00:00 EST http://allcreaturesgreatandfabulous.com/entry/three-chickens-that-wouldnt.html Chores and Responsibility for Kids http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/AllCreaturesGreatAndFabulous/~3/8lBJOFLrafI/chores-and-responsibility-for-kids.html <img src='http://allcreaturesgreatandfabulous.com/images/EthanTractor.jpg' title='' border=0 alt=''><p>I have recently realized that Farmhand (aged 9) has far more chores and responsibilities than I ever had as a child. Important work, too. If the work doesn't get done, animals suffer and perhaps die or get killed.</p> <p>I think that's one of the most valuable aspects of living on a farm -- something that's missing from many children's lives. I heard one parent say "Oh, I don't bother giving my children chores." At first that disturbed me. They went on to say they meant scheduled chores. They are required to do what they are asked when they are asked, say "clean up your room." Ok -- that makes sense. Many of farmhand's non-farm chores are like that.</p> <p>That got me thinking. In modern life there is very little critical sink-or-swim scale work for children to be involved in or even be aware of. Family income is usually just something that happens when the parents are not home. The rewards of school (e.g. getting a good job) is so far in the future it's really an abstraction.</p> <p>Then there's the relatively new practice of having no winners or losers. All members on all sports teams get a trophy. At the arcade you get the same number of tickets whether you excel or fail.</p> <p>Once you remove the reward for excellence and penalty for poor-performance what are you left with? Perhaps entitlement, ambivalence and complacency.</p> <p>Maybe that explains the problem I see in young workers:  The nearly complete absence of willingness to step up to the plate and take ownership of a task or responsibility. They lack the desire to excel. They lack of ambition. They've simply had no exposure to these concepts.</p> <p>Sure, Farmhand resisted and complained at first. One of his jobs is to date-stamp and label the egg cartons. He hates this job. He would always complain if we had a lot of eggs. Considering how much money we lost this year to predators it always irked me. Then I realized he had no tie in between work and reward. His work produced no personal benefit. Sure, he knew the price of failure, but not the benefit of success.</p> <p>He was due for an allowance raise a few months ago. Rather than just giving him more each week I started giving him 5 percent of gross sales. Now he's invested. He sees the relationship of work-to-reward and it brought about a quick change in attitude. No he looks for ways to improve the farm.</p> <p>Some might object and say "When I was a kid I never got paid." That's true but it's a much different world. TV and movies were filled with positive values. Our societal zeitgeist was "work hard and get ahead." I don't see that anymore. The farm is also not an income source, we still loose money (alas!). So it's not like a good harvest or good season has meaning to him (until now).</p> <p>I also constantly teach him, to the point of being a mantra, "bring me solutions, not problems."</p> <p>Today he asked me to teach him how to do laundry so he could wear his favorite clothes more often.</p> <p>Way to go, Farmhand!<br /><br /><a href='http://allcreaturesgreatandfabulous.com/entry/chores-and-responsibility-for-kids.html'>Read original article on Victory Farm</a></p><div class="feedflare"> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/AllCreaturesGreatAndFabulous?a=8lBJOFLrafI:mtCUvZP4XYg:yIl2AUoC8zA"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/AllCreaturesGreatAndFabulous?d=yIl2AUoC8zA" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/AllCreaturesGreatAndFabulous?a=8lBJOFLrafI:mtCUvZP4XYg:qj6IDK7rITs"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/AllCreaturesGreatAndFabulous?d=qj6IDK7rITs" border="0"></img></a> </div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/AllCreaturesGreatAndFabulous/~4/8lBJOFLrafI" height="1" width="1" alt=""/> http://allcreaturesgreatandfabulous.com/entry/chores-and-responsibility-for-kids.html Tue, 30 Nov 2010 09:00:00 EST http://allcreaturesgreatandfabulous.com/entry/chores-and-responsibility-for-kids.html Don't Harvest Wild Cranberries Until it Gets Cold! http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/AllCreaturesGreatAndFabulous/~3/SJlbWaBAVWE/wild-cranberries-and-chiggers.html <p>Friday morning I awoke to find several little itchy red spots on my arms and legs. I check farmhand and he has them too.</p> <p>"Oh well," I thought. Fleas. Six years ago when we had sheep we had a problem. I remember it as a very difficult month. As chance would have it we did just gain a new barn cat in the last two weeks so I thought, "ok, she must have fleas."</p> <p>Judging by the number of bites on my legs and arms there must be a swarm of fleas hereabouts. Donning my white socks I walk around the room. White socks are the best way to detect fleas. They flock to them. If you have an infestation your socks will be covered in seconds.</p> <p>But not a one.</p> <p>Next I check the bed. With that many bites they should be easy to see. But still not a one.</p> <p>Hmm... Oh My God! Could it be bedbugs! We did spend the night at the YMCA last night for Farmhand's fencing lesson. He did wear a fencing jacket that other people had worn. After my initial horror I think, wryly, that at least it's a meme. Maybe not a hip one but it's really in the news. It's our chance to participate in contemporary culture. Zeus knows we don't get many of them.</p> <p>I grab the laptop and google furiously. Hmmm. No. Bedbugs are easily visible and we had quite a few welts. There would have been evidence if it were bedbugs.</p> <p>Must be fleas. Nothing for it but to go into flea annihilation mode. All of the bedding goes in the wash, we vacuum all the carpets and spend $90 on Frontline for our new outside cats as well as our four inside cats (If they got us then they got them).</p> <p>But as I'm Frontlineing "Seven" (the barn cat) I still see nothing. As I walk about her little room not a single black spot on my socks. I'm completely at a loss as to what caused these bites.</p> <p>Today is Sunday and as I sit here I remember fondly how last Wednesday we spent the day harvesting cranberries in the Pine Barrens. A day spent wading through waist high berry bushes. In sandy soil. Next to a lake. In short, and area ideal and well known for chiggers.</p> <p>If you have not had the pleasure, chiggers are wee little tick-like bugs that give a bit of a bite, eat a few skins cells and drop off. They leave little itchy welts that resemble more the bite of a flea than a mosquito. Happily they don't carry disease but, for all that, they are not the type of insect one would prefer to have around for tea.</p> <p>So half a day of work lost to laundry and vacuuming and $90 spent for no tangible benefit other than "I probably shoulda done it anyway."</p> <p>Oh, yeah... And wait till it turns cold to harvest wild cranberries.<br /><br /><a href='http://allcreaturesgreatandfabulous.com/entry/wild-cranberries-and-chiggers.html'>Read original article on Victory Farm</a></p><div class="feedflare"> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/AllCreaturesGreatAndFabulous?a=SJlbWaBAVWE:sigI_jXas7o:yIl2AUoC8zA"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/AllCreaturesGreatAndFabulous?d=yIl2AUoC8zA" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/AllCreaturesGreatAndFabulous?a=SJlbWaBAVWE:sigI_jXas7o:qj6IDK7rITs"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/AllCreaturesGreatAndFabulous?d=qj6IDK7rITs" border="0"></img></a> </div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/AllCreaturesGreatAndFabulous/~4/SJlbWaBAVWE" height="1" width="1" alt=""/> http://allcreaturesgreatandfabulous.com/entry/wild-cranberries-and-chiggers.html Mon, 27 Sep 2010 09:00:00 EST http://allcreaturesgreatandfabulous.com/entry/wild-cranberries-and-chiggers.html Possum! Prisoner Transport and Release http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/AllCreaturesGreatAndFabulous/~3/moO6G2U5nxo/possum-transport-and-release.html <p><object classid="clsid:d27cdb6e-ae6d-11cf-96b8-444553540000" width="425" height="344" codebase="http://download.macromedia.com/pub/shockwave/cabs/flash/swflash.cab#version=6,0,40,0"><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true" /><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always" /><param name="src" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/wvjtoCSKuI4&amp;hl=en_US&amp;fs=1?rel=0" /><param name="allowfullscreen" value="true" /><embed type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="425" height="344" src="http://www.youtube.com/v/wvjtoCSKuI4&amp;hl=en_US&amp;fs=1?rel=0" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true"></embed></object></p> <p>Predator kills this years have been epic. Most decapitations which are usually done by Raccoons, Possums, or Weasels.</p> <p>YouTube link: <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wvjtoCSKuI4" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wvjtoCSKuI4</a><br /><br /><a href='http://allcreaturesgreatandfabulous.com/entry/possum-transport-and-release.html'>Read original article on Victory Farm</a></p><div class="feedflare"> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/AllCreaturesGreatAndFabulous?a=moO6G2U5nxo:N65HTFo0wiM:yIl2AUoC8zA"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/AllCreaturesGreatAndFabulous?d=yIl2AUoC8zA" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/AllCreaturesGreatAndFabulous?a=moO6G2U5nxo:N65HTFo0wiM:qj6IDK7rITs"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/AllCreaturesGreatAndFabulous?d=qj6IDK7rITs" border="0"></img></a> </div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/AllCreaturesGreatAndFabulous/~4/moO6G2U5nxo" height="1" width="1" alt=""/> http://allcreaturesgreatandfabulous.com/entry/possum-transport-and-release.html Sat, 10 Jul 2010 09:00:00 EST http://allcreaturesgreatandfabulous.com/entry/possum-transport-and-release.html