The City Girl Farmer

Chick Season
May 21, 2014, 10:47 am
Filed under: Chickens

Partridge Cochin chick

It’s hard to feel bad when you’re holding a chick.

I Thought Chickens Couldn’t Fly
April 17, 2011, 2:42 pm
Filed under: Chickens | Tags: ,


That, my friends, is a chicken in a tree. No kidding.

The Latest Train Wreck
August 5, 2010, 3:22 pm
Filed under: Chickens | Tags:


We lost eleven chicks in one day.  ELEVEN!!  I called the hatchery thinking that this last batch was the last I would order from them.  It turns out that I accidentally ordered the wrong bird.  They tell you on their website that these birds can’t handle the altitude above 5000 ft.  We’re at 6503 ft according to Google Earth.

You might be wondering why it would matter.  Well, these chickens have been bred for meat.  They gain weight as fast as possible, using as little feed as possible, for as short a time as possible.  Great idea except their internal organs, particularly their hearts can’t keep up.  So my four-day-old chicks died of heart attacks.  Ah!  The wonders of agricultural science!

I ordered 25 birds and I can expect to have zero survive.  I’m going to see if I can salvage them by putting them on a feed with a lower protein content to try to slow their growth.  We’ll see.

I was warned some time ago by a software engineer turned rancher that there was nothing like this life, but not to deceive myself.  There would be train wrecks.

Chickens in the Freezer
May 8, 2010, 12:27 pm
Filed under: Chickens | Tags: ,

Chickens in the Freezer

In the spirit of a true City Girl Farmer, I decided to try raising chickens someone else could butcher.   Butchering a chicken is like cleaning a big fish or cleaning a toilet.  Any one can do it, but why would you want to?

I was a little disappointed with how Aurelio tasted.  I had heard such wonderful things about how you could never go back to store-bought chickens after raising your own.  Actually, it wasn’t a problem for me.  He tasted like cardboard.

Talking with my chicken mentor straightened out a couple of things.  I wasn’t raising the right kind of bird and Aurelio was several months old before he was butchered.  The chickens we are used to eating are about 8 weeks old.  It cost us $2.50/bird, packaged and ready to put in the freezer.  Such a deal!

Our chickens were almost 9 weeks old and we just got back from the butcher in Simla.  We dropped them off at 9:00 and  picked them up around 10:30, after we had a leisurely breakfast at the Hen House Cafe.  Lovely!

Growing Our Own Meat
April 21, 2010, 5:26 pm
Filed under: Chickens | Tags: , ,

I decided to raise some chickens for food this year.  This time instead of eating one of our old roosters, I picked a breed designed for meat.  Thomas and I made this portable enclosure for them.  They only live in it for about a month before they are butchered.  At $2.50/bird it is worth it to me to have someone else do the dirty work.  I’ll go drink some coffee and then pick up wrapped birds on ice.  You can tell I’m a City Girl Farmer, can’t you?

Outdoor chicken enclosure

Finally Finished the Door
February 12, 2010, 6:31 pm
Filed under: Chickens, Goats, Maintenance

Thomas next to the coop door he designed

We had been working on this off and on for a few months and finally decided to get it finished.  Can you see where it says “Chikin Coop” across the top in purple chalk?  That’s how you know where you are. 🙂

He designed it with a hen-sized hole so that the chickens could come and go as they pleased during the day.  The only problem with that, as we soon discovered, was that young goats can get their heads in but are too stupid to figure out how to get them out again.

It was hilarious to come out and see a goat on his front knees, his butt in the air, bleating to be set free.  The door had caught him in the act of trying to steal chicken feed.

We have decided to just keep the door closed for now.   We will be having baby goats in the spring (you can’t say “kids” when you’re my age or people panic) and we don’t want them to endure the plight our little wether did.

Thomas locking the slider into place

Killer Chickens
November 11, 2009, 3:38 pm
Filed under: Chickens | Tags: , ,

Most people think of chickens as being among the benign farm animals, but not so!  Today I went out to feed them and saw a gopher skin on the floor of the coop.  The gopher had been opened up like a hard candy and his skin discarded like a cellophane wrapper.  It looked a little like a miniature bearskin rug.  The chickens had eaten everything out of the skin and that caused me to wonder about egg carton labels that claim their chickens are “vegetarian fed”.  I guess ours are vegetarian fed, too, because the feed I give them is 100% vegetable matter.  If you count what they feed themselves, though, I doubt anyone who raises chickens can honestly claim they are “vegetarian fed”—unless they post guards to make the bad chickens spit out the bugs and rodents they ingest.   Just sayin’….