and so, after moving 3 yards of dirt from one place to another i thought it’d be nice to take a rest on the lawn and say hello to The Girls who are normally a little wary of The Big Man, but are willing to abandon The Raspberry Patch to investigate when he has A Bit of Food.
being well-versed in The Way of The Chicken, i do believe they are thinking, “WHATCHADOING? WHATCHADOING? WHATCHADOING? GOTSOMEFOOD? GOTSOMEFOOD? GOTSOMEFOOD?”
and more, “WHATCHADOING? WHATCHADOING? WHATCHADOING? GOTSOMEFOOD? GOTSOMEFOOD? GOTSOMEFOOD?”
being The Great Defender of All Members of The Pack, pushkin decides it’s time to investigate The Situation.
without being too anthropomorphic, i recognize well the slight furrowing of his brow indicating Worry that Someone or Something May Be In Distress.
all is Right As Rain, though, with a good scratch behind the ears.
being new to the backyard chicken scene, i sure was surprised to see this headline, “Arsenic found in Utah kids’ pee traced to their pet chickens’ feed”. apparently feed companies add roxarsone, an arsenic-based additive, to rations to help chickens fend off diseases and grow bigger and tastier. according to estimates poultry producers used 2.2 million pounds a year and now backyard producers who are trying to save a few bucks by not buying organic feed are unwittingly feeding the stuff to their hens which is ultimately ending up in their children’s urine.
as with all things, it appears that it’s a complicated issue, with the typical argument being that the arsenic in the feed is organic arsenic which is less toxic than inorganic arsenic, but according to the fda they are, “…evaluating reports suggesting that organic arsenic may convert to inorganic forms in the digestive track, litter, or soils.”
it sounds like testing of organic layer rations found “little or no arsenic” ( um, shouldn’t that be an unquivocal “no”? ) which is great news for us since The Girls only get organic feed to supplement what they get “on pasture” ( i.e. roaming around the lawn ).
yet another reason to avoid “conventional” poultry and eggs in the supermarket and if you’re doing the backyard chicken thing, shell out extra money for organic feed or do some digging into what’s really in the feed.
over the next few weeks we’ll take a little time to get our new baby chicks used to us. odin has been feeding them a lot so they like him best 🙂
this is a black australorp.
and this is an ameraucana, known for laying colorful bluish green shelled eggs.
this is a fine, fluffy light brahma.
and a shot of our other ameraucana.
no shots of our buff orpingtons this time around, but i’m sure you’ll see them in the future 🙂
we’ve been talking about getting chickens for quite some time, partly for fresh eggs ( although there is certainly no shortage of farm-fresh organic eggs in the area ) and partly to have fun with odin learning about where food comes from – know your farmer, know your food! caring for chickens and collecting eggs is nothing new to odin since he’s lucky enough to go to a school that has a couple of birds right on the school grounds.
so after years of talking, we finally went out to chett’s feed and seed and bought some chicks! two ameraucanas ( they lay blue-green shelled eggs ), two australorps, two orpingtons and one light brahma. if all goes as planned we’ll pick up a couple of barred rocks soon.
for the next 5 weeks or so, they’ll stay in a brooder under a heat lamp as slowly ween them from a toasty 95F to ambient temperature.
odin quickly took to letting the chicks smell his hands and soon they were eating away from them.
he’s going to make a fine egg farmer.