Tag Archives: chickens

First flock

These are the chicks I’m ordering for delivery in June since that’s the earliest delivery I can get at this point. (Thanks to Guildbrook Farms for some great advice – I highly recommend their fantastic YouTube channel). I’m focusing on Dorking and Easter Eggers this year and getting a variety of other breeds to see what I like.

Silver Gray Dorking (cream/tinted egg): 4 females and 1 male. My rooster will be this breed so I can contribute toward the continuation of this endangered, heritage breed dating back to the Roman empire. It’s a sweet, gentle breed so this should be a good rooster.

Barred Rock (brown eggs): 3 females.

Easter Egger (colored eggs): 3 females. I’m getting these primarily for egg marketability. People love colored eggs (and so do I).

Blue/Black/Splash Cochin (light brown eggs): 1 female. I’m getting one of these to be the mama of my flock.

Silver-Laced Wyandotte (light brown eggs): 1 female

Australorp (light brown eggs): 1 female

Golden Comet (brown eggs): 1 female

Ideas from my dad

I spent a while talking to my dad today, telling him about the home we’re buying and my plan to farm. He grows some vegetables on a small scale and was sharing some of what he’s learned. Even though he lives in North Georgia with very different soil and climate conditions, his input was very helpful. Now I’m watching this video on Back to Eden gardening and I’m loving it.

I like their use of wood chips to replenish the soil over time – specifically, chipped branches and leaves rendering a nutrient-rich mix with pieces of variable size that will allow for air pockets that help the mixture to compost over time. At least half of our land is wooded. I’m planning to limit the vegetable planting area to probably an eighth of an acre. When I prepare the soil this year, I’m going to pull topsoil from the wooded area to rake in. I think it could also work to pull ground cover from the woods to use in my garden. I’ll probably end up pulling random seeds along with it, but I can watch for random seedlings to pull out.

Small wood chippers aren’t very expensive, so I’d also like to get one of those. I think that if I just collect branches that fall in the woods and occasional cuttings, I should be able to run it through the chipper and create the sort of self-composting garden cover that they’re doing without taking more than the woods can replenish. It shouldn’t take a great deal to cover the amount of area I intend to plant. They’ve talked about how the real benefits start showing (and rapidly accumulating) after a few years of this approach. I think if I start out that way from the beginning, I should see a nice return.

Everything they’re describing can be boiled down to patterning the garden after the way a forest naturally sustains itself. It makes sense to me to use the forest that’s on the same land I’m planting. This wouldn’t be sustainable if I was growing large-scale – then I’d have to outsource for my chipped trees – but I think it’s doable in my case. If I’m always getting enough cover by chipping what falls naturally in our forest, I’ll know it’s sustainable.

I love the segment about chickens! Aside from wanting a good supply of pastured eggs for my egg-loving family, what they do for a garden is awesome. I’d read about different approaches such as a chicken tractor or rotating two areas between pasture for chickens one season and planting the next, but I like what they’re doing here where they have a permanent chicken pen and just remove the soil they create to use in the garden. Feeding what would go into a compost bin to the chickens instead makes a lot of sense and sounds a lot easier than maintaining compost. I’ve also read that letting the chickens run around your garden is great for natural pest control, so I’m curious to see if this video covers that topic.

This video is also swaying me against a need for raised beds.

Iiiiiiinteresting. They’ve found pest control isn’t really an issue when using organic practices because plants in good health aren’t susceptible to attack. That’s awesome. I also like how easy weeding is with this approach! And that watering isn’t necessary. I was extremely impressed by the whole video and the approach is scientifically sound (I’m kind of using my M.S. in molecular biology after all).

Mostly, I feel very lucky to have been given this information before I get started so I can do it right from the beginning. Thank you, Daddy 🙂