Maggie has gone broody, so I brought her some food…
…but it looks like she’ll have to share. I ended up putting those fake eggs in the right nesting box (from the kiddie kitchen section at Target: quite realistic, which is why I’ve marked them with an “X”) under her to make her feel useful.
Every morning, between dropping our daughter off at school and starting work, I try to do one outdoor task. This morning, I headed east to the Fruit Exchange to get the birds some more scratch.
I adore the fruit exchange. It’s our feed-and-seed shop, but it is also the regional fruit processing and storage facility. Normally, I can chew the fat with the guys who work in the warehouse. They look at me (I think) as an anomaly: when we first moved here, I was in there often to get supplies to beef up my compost piles (greensand, dolomitic limestone, cast-off fruit, moldy straw) so I guess I have rightly earned the reputation as “that organic gal.” But today they were busy, far too busy to chat, and the place was hopping! Big semitractor trailers are rolling in, their trailers piled high with wood boxes filled with apples and pears. Conveyor belts were rumbling away in the now well-lit warehouse, with a few women sorting and dumping the beautiful red round fruit rumbling down it.
I got a peck of Cortlands for $3, got my scratch, and made for home.
Chickens first thing in the morning makes me smile every day. I’ve been buying them ‘deer apples’ from our local orchard (apples that I guess they won’t even sell for sauce). But the chickens love them and are always grateful.
Chickens make me smile, period! (And was thinking of your poor bird this a.m. when I noticed poor Maggie. No trips to the drugstore for me.) Alas, our girls are spoiled and won’t even eat the falls from our apple trees. But I even considered the deer apples at the store this a.m.: though I have tons of quarts downstairs, one could always use more sauce!!!
You realize, don’t you, that you are living inside a children’s book? Trucks and apples and chickens. Sweet.
$3! $3!!! Goodness gracious. I thought I got some good prices.
Cookiecrumb! (Sniff!) What an intriguing thought. A good children’s book, I hope: believe me, there’s a lot of dreck out there. (But B. Potter is a hero of mine.)
Matt: It was so tempting I just had to buy it. And me, with trees full of apples…
I so very much want chickens. I think next spring will finally be the time.
I just realized that you have chickens, so now I’ll have to go scour through and find all your other posts.
I love the two photographs of your hens and guinea fowl.
Sara from farmingfriends
Robin: Yes please do! They are immensely charming, hilarious, wonderful creatures who just happen to lay the most wonderful breakfast items imaginable. Oh and I love their poop, too (or actually I should say I love what their poop does for the gardens).
Sara: Thanks for stopping by! The guineas are such crazy creatures. The other night they actually chased three deer that had ventured into the side yard, such great watchdogs they are.
Me again, I know this is an older post, but I wanted to ask you about your chicken poop. You said it first, so hopefully I’m not out of line. 🙂 I’m assuming you are composting it first, prior to applying it to your garden? Can you tell me a little bit about how you are doing this?
Also, do you use straw exclusively for them or are you using other material, like pine or aspen chips?
Yeah, I have read all about how chicken poop is really “hot” when it’s fresh-ish, so I always compost it. I use straw for bedding because it’s cheap and it bulks up the compost heap with a lot of “browns” which I usually lack most of the year. It also breaks down really quickly in the pile because straw is hollow. The only time I apply it directly to the beds is if I am making new beds that won’t be used for a long time. I’ll put down about 3-4″ of chicken coop leavings and then throw 1-3″ of dirt down then some grass cuttings then more dirt. Then I use it in a year or so.
But almost anything can be used for chicken bedding. I use straw because it’s convenient, but I also throw shredded paper in there and sometimes a bag or two of leaves I pick up from the curb when I am in town. Wood shavings work too but they don’t absorb much, and take a really long time to break down in the compost heap. Hope that helps!
It does help – thank you so much! One further question about the shredded paper…I’ve seen other chicken people using this, too. Paper straight from their shredder…isn’t the ink and stuff a concern? Who knows what type of materials are being added to the bills, receipts, envelopes, etc., that I’m shredding. Or do I not have to be concerned about this? (thanks again!)
Hi Danni: yeah, it is a concern. But with most of this worry, I always weigh things toward the conservative side of things: I gladly shred, say, cardboard boxes and the white-page phone books and my old drawings; anything that is glossy or plastic-y will just go into the regular recycling. In other words, the stuff that looks closer to being the product of a tree is probably fair game. If there’s anything particularly nasty on it, it’s on the category of “not much at all.”