Farm Blog 2011

New Chicks, New Coop, and a New Era
Posted on October 10, 2011

We bought five new chicks to build up our flock after the fox attack!  (Ancona, Welsummer, Speckled Sussex, Light Brown Leghorn, Silver Lakenvelder.)  Kabwe hatched one of them as a foster chick and the rest were ordered as day old chicks after the poor hatch rate.  They're cute as can be!  In six months or so, we will once again have plenty of organic free range eggs available.

Doug is also working on a magnificent new chicken coop!!  If anyone wants the old one, let us know.

In belated news, Pittsburgh held its first Coop Tour this summer.  The turnout was phenomenal!!!  Over 300 people visited the coops of local chickenkeepers all over town.  (We were not a stop on the tour, but our ducks in Highland Park were!)  Watch out, city council!

Tragedy Tragedy Tragedy
Posted on June 1, 2011

Rest in Peace:  Backwards Poco, Little Brown Hen, Amalasha, Sprattle, Jamie, and Julie.  That's a lot of profiles to delete from our "Meet the Birds" page...

It was a massive fox attack.  Only five hens left.  Thank goodness we transferred the slow clumsy ducks when we did or they would have been goners as well.  The survivors are now penned in a small temporary run until we can figure out a permanent solution.  We're looking into electric fencing (with a $1,500 pricetag!), but are not sure whether it will work in the winter.  Sigh....  With our hilly land and snowy winters, there doesn't seem to be a solution that will still allow the birds to be free-range.

Now we only have one green egg layer and no white egg layers.  We can't even begin to think about getting more birds until things settle down and we can secure the ones we have.

Eerily, the day before our massacre, another Pittsburgh chicken keeper lost half of her flock to a jack russell terrier and a chihuahua.  Must be something in the air.

So Long Quackers!
Posted on May 16, 2011
After much debating, we decided to give away our four ducks.  It wasn't easy, but it was the right decision.  Their new urban homestead allows them access to one of Pittsburgh's rivers, so it's more swim space than we were able to offer in Allentown.  There were other issues as well.  The cost of organic feed plus the duck's weight plus their tendancy to spill as much food as they eat equalled a hefty feed bill.  Since we have more than enough chickens to provide eggs, and since people wouldn't want to pay the $15 a dozen that the duck eggs actually cost, the additional cost to produce duck eggs just didn't seem worth it.  We will miss their funny antics and hope to visit them at their new home soon!

Attacks by Hawks, City Council
Posted on February 11, 2011
Two more hawk attacks have left injured but alive chickens.  Luckily, we were home at the time, heard the ruckus, and were able to run outside and scare the hawks away in time.

In other news, the new urban agriculture laws for Pittsburgh have officially passed, which means we'd have to get rid of most of our ducks and chickens and pay $300 (or take classes) to keep the ones we have and sell their eggs. Then to add insult to injury, the put out a press release saying how pleased they are to support urban agriculture. Infuriating!

Losses and Gains
Posted on January 11, 2011
Our duck, Fox Mulder, was killed by a hawk last week.  A sad day.

On the bright side, we are overflowing with eggs!  We weren't planning on selling again so soon, but if anyone is itching for them, we're itching to get rid of them!  We can only eat so many omelets.

And on the brighter side, the house has been full of life lately.  After fostering a mom cat and ten kittens, we are now proud parents of two kittens and a puppy.

We're also in the planning stages for getting a GOAT!  Hopefully this coming spring!  We're getting excited!

Happy New Year!

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