Monday, May 6, 2013

Google farming

I realized today that I haven't posted to my blog in ages.  It comes down to the fact that I have been so busy that time has flown by!!

Two weeks ago, we became farmers.  We bought 2 week old chicks and ducklings and 22 egg laying hens.  I grew up with baby ducks and chicks, but didn't remember how much work they are, and how much they poop!

2 weeks old

2 weeks old
3 weeks old

4 weeks old

While I did have chicks and ducks when I was little, I don't really remember what it takes to take care of them.  And I certainly have never done any farming.  My cousin knows some about farming, having been raised with sheep and such.  Together, we certainly don't know it all.  So, we turn to Google.  A lot.  And it is amazing.

Things we have Googled since we started farming.

  • "Ducks on wood chips".  When we first brought the ducks home, we put them on a cozy bed of wood chips.  About 20 minutes later, I noticed they were eating a lot of it and I wondered.  Is this ok?  We went inside and googled, only to learn that it is very bad for their digestive system.  So, we ran back out and changed it for some hay.  Much better.  

  • "Chicks sleeping all the time".  We were very nervous when the chicks came home and were so lazy, they looked like they were half dead.  It is normal.  

  • "Treats for chickens and ducks".  I have learned that ducks love bananas, raisins and carrots but should never eat undercooked beans.  Who knew?

  • "How to produce omega 3 eggs".  When I mentioned Omega-3 eggs to my cousin, he had no idea what I was talking about.  This is big in the states, but unheard of here (so it seems).  When we looked it up, turns out it is as easy as feeding flax seeds to the chickens.  Amazing. 

  • "Do foxes swim in water".  Now that the ducks are HUGE, we are getting their duck house ready, and need a safe place for them if the foxes come to visit.  Sure enough, foxes will swim to get a yummy duck dinner. 

  • "Can chickens drink milk".  I thought my friend was kidding when he said chickens drink milk.  Sure enough, a number of sources tell us that the proteins are very good for chickens and they should eat some dairy products.

  • "How to keep foxes from your henhouse".  My favorite trick google taught me about this is to ask your hair dresser for as many pieces of others hair as they can give you.  Then, stuff old stockings with it and hide them around the hen house.  Fox's have a great sense of smell and think there are many people at the house.  Then, they are less likely to go near it.  

The eggs from the hens has been one of the coolest parts of this whole experience so far.  Chickens are pretty cool.  And it is amazing that they can produce an egg a day.  Every morning around 10am, I hear from my cousin how many eggs we got that day.  it's like Christmas every time.  And the eggs are so much more delicious than normal, store bought eggs.

Bringing the chickens home

The first morning

21 farm fresh eggs!!

Egg Customers

Farm signs!

There have been downsides to farming too. On the first night, we lost a chick.  It jumped out of its cage and into a pool of water and drowned.  Then a few nights later, a chicken died.  The chickens are not the smartest.  They all piled up into one nesting box (16 to be exact) and they squished their friend on the bottom.  Not pretty.

Even with all the farm work, mixed with normal work, it has been very relaxing at the farm.  It is a peaceful place, and always an adventure.  In the next few weeks, we expect to have real farm animals...pigs, sheep and rabbits!!  I hope Google has some information about that, because I really have no idea how to take care of a sheep!

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