Category Archives: Chickens

Egg layers, and a token turkey

Jelly, the rooster
Jelly, our mongrel rooster and confused alarm clock

We have a mixed group of layers here, and their rough and ready leader, Jelly. We have a few Americaunas, a few black Austrolorps, and  a Rhode Island Red. Some of the ladies are quite elderly, though they seem to produce an egg just fine every now and then, even with the snow and cold.

They are free range  24/7 in the good weather. In the winter, they cozy up in a stall in the barn and peck though last fall’s pumpkins and gourds, go out on sunny days and shuffle back in at dusk. They eat organic layer pellets – we keep looking for a source of feed with out soy, but no luck yet. In the good weather they don’t eact much of the pellets anyhow, they get a lot of grass and bugs and fresh milk. They have a lovely hoophouse to call home then too!

hens weeding the garden
Hens weeding the garden

We also share the farm with my daughter’s pet broad breasted bronze turkey, “Thug”. Thug lost her sister. “Gangsta” (don’t ask…please…) to a horrific head injury over the summer. Thug is now the “chosen bird” on thr farm, accrding to MArika, my daughter. This phot is proof, obviously:

Thug, queen of the farm
Thug, queen of the farm

Thug has recently taken to laying large, speckled eggs wherever and whenever she feels mother nature’s call. They are yummy, it’s like eating an extra large egg :) Apparently selling turkey eggs never really caught on with megaAg cus the darn turkeys took forever to lay, and were, naturally, *larger* than a chicken, so they couldn’t stuff them all into some obscenely tiny crate. Thank heavens. Here she is as a poult (that’s the word fro a baby turkey, go figure!)

Baby Thug
Baby Thug, our broad breasted bronze turkey hen

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We are an official WWOOF host farm!

A picture of compost soil

Image via Wikipedia

I’m very excited to announce that we have finally become a host farm for WWOOF! What’s WWOOF you say? WWOOF is  “world wide opportunities on organic farms

here’s our profile! 

One-half day of volunteer help is traded for food and accommodation, with no money exchanged.  The WWOOF-USA Host Farm Directory lists more than one-thousand organic farms (not necessarily USDA certified organic) and gardens across the country.  The Host Farm profile contains information about the location, general responsibilities,  and lifestyle of the host.  Any farm, community, or garden project in the US that is willing to host and accommodate volunteers can participate in our program.  We encourage all types of volunteers and hosts who can cooperate to strengthen sustainable agriculture worldwide to be a part of WWOOF-USA.  The program is open to anyone 18 years of age or older, regardless of experience.

WWOOF farms offer a variety of educational opportunities, including growing vegetables, keeping bees, building straw bale houses, working with animals, making wine, and much more. With over a thousand farms in all 50 states, the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, there is something for everyone.

Here’s the WWOOF link

Some of the things that  we do here (or are planning on ) at Dancing Dog Farm that would include WWOOFers are:

Small goat dairy

Cheese/yogurt/’kefir making (small scale)

Treatment-free apiary (small scale)

Pastured Poultry  brroding, pasture management, slaughter, rules and regs, marketing

Laying hens

Compost – bokashi, thermal,bokashi,O2, compost tea

Soil food web/microbiolgy (with microscope work)

organic fruit

organic vegetables

biochar

hugel kulture

solar applications

hoophouse construction

Food preservation

electric fencing

Farming classes

Strawbale shed

bread oven

small grains

farm dog training

marketing – social media, website, hard copy collateral

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Filed under apples, Cheese, Chickens, Cows, farmers market, Farming Classes, Goat milk, Goats, homestead, pastured poultry, Raw Milk, Sustainable living, treatment free bees

Chicken Proccessing Training

Peter's first chickenMany thanks to Henry Thedford of Claremont and to Kate Kerman of Phoenix Farm and SNHBF for traveling to Stonewall Farm in Keene and spending the day showing a few of us intrepid and soggy Southern NH Beginner Farmer folks the ropes of the Cheshire County Mobile Poultry Processing Unit. It’s quite a rig! Here’s a slideshow of our day (did I mention it was soggy??) ***PLEASE NOTE** Some of these photos are quite graphic. The birds were handled with the utmost respect and were stress-free until the end. However, be aware that, again, some of these pictures are not for the faint of heart, but they *are* educational.

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Monadnock Winter Farmers Market

monadnock farmers market

monadnock winter farmers market

Peter and I had a great *first time* experience at the Monadnock Winter Farmers Market, at Noone Falls in Peterborough, NH, last Sunday. Thank you to all the good folks who bought our honey! We’ll have lots more next Sunday, and although we aren’t yet legally allowed to physically sell our milk at the market, we will have information about both the fresh cow and goat’s milk that you can buy at the farm, as well as information about our new “dairy share” program.

See you at the market!

monadnockwintermrktflyerjpg

 

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Filed under Cheese, Chickens, Cows, farmers market, Farming Classes, Goats, living food, Raw Milk, treatment free bees

Crisis Averted!

Ever the alert farmer, Peter discovered Rusty, our mild mannered Mille Fleur bantie rooster, limping in the barn this morning. After a brief struggle, Peter was able to catch the wayward rooster and discerned that the poor little thing had managed, somehow to wind some sort of string, and then, trailing the string, a length of fine wire around his ever so odd feet. (He is a “feather-footed”  breed, and has weird toes, to begin with) .

Rusty and Peter

Rusty in the emergency room

Here’s the evidence (tho it’s hard to see). Peter brought said rooster to me, and we managed, together, to remove the offending string/wire. Who knows where it came from. Mille Fleurs are lovely little birds, and at one point we had a mated pair. Alas, Rusty’s mate sufferend an unfortunate demise in the jaws of a fox…Rusty has taken to cajoling the bigger laying hens with his fancy, stylin’ rooster ways.  Sadly, and somewhat predictably, Jelly, the “main man” in the hen house, trounces Rusty’s efforts whenever he can. There is always much squawking and feathers flying when this happens, and, even tho Rusty has an impressive set of spurs on his legs, Jelly, being three times his size, always beats him up. SO, Rusty, because we feel badly for him, has free rein (roost? in the main barn, whereas Jelly, and his women, are penned (in the winter).

 

Rusty has no regard for our pity, however, as is evidenced by the large pile of poo he leaves on Peter’s workbench. Maybe it’s really an offering tho. Hey, think positive!

 

Rusty, the Mille Fleur rooster

Rusty, the Mille Fleur rooster

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