Your Chickens in November [Newsletter]

Robert Plamondon’s Poultry Newsletter, November 2016

News from the Farm

Hey, let’s experiment with giving the news in bullet-point form!

  • Just three more weeks in our 2016 Farmer’s Market season. Here in Corvallis, we’re among the proud-but-shivering vendors in the November outdoor markets.
  • Karen reports that the seasonal decline in egg production seems to have ceased, thanks to her use of lights in the henhouses, using methods summarized last time.
  • Four of our six piggies have been converted into pork, ham, and bacon for customers, and we’ve lined up a customer to take the other two as-is. Which is just as well, since it’s been raining like the dickens (or even the Bulwer-Lytton). Pigs plus rain equals mud, at least when they’re living the kind of outdoor lifestyle our pigs do. Our pigs have just a little Port-a-Hut shelter to sleep in, not the usual spacious roofed pig shed with a concrete floor.
  • We’re not doing Thanksgiving turkeys this year. Why not? One reason is that heritage-breed turkeys have a distressing tendency to escape and vanish en masse into the woods, never to return. We were hatching our own turkey eggs until the breeding flock skedaddled. And just to rub it in, about twenty wild turkeys are hanging around the farm, bold as brass.
  • I suspect that modern broad-breasted turkeys are more likely to stay put, partly because they’re less agile, partly because they dislike going far from the feed trough, and partly because they grow at least twice as fast, leaving that much less time for them to get any funny ideas. This would involve buying day-old poults during the summer, since spring-hatched poults would be the size of hippos. A neighbor down the road has a nice flock of white broad-breasted turkeys that are still where they’re supposed to be.
  • We won’t be doing many new projects until the new year. My current feeling about brooding pullet chicks in the winter is that it’s a great idea once you get the moves down, but, for our personal convenience, not during the holidays. January is soon enough.

Publishing News

Jack & the Magic Software: A Future Fairy Tale

Jack &the Magic Software
Jack & the Magic Software

My science fiction novel, One Survivor, contains a number of things that might seem extraneous in a book that starts with a space battle. This includes three fairy tales, a prophetic flight simulator run, and much else. I’ve broken out one of the fairy tales as a stand-alone Kindle e-book: Jack & the Magic Software: A Future Fairy Tale.  It’s yours for a measly ninety-nine cents. Read more...

Replace Dead Cooling Units with Air Conditioners

old refrigerators upgrade
You can repurpose retail refrigerators

I have an old Hussmann refrigerator with two sliding glass doors, that was originally used as a refrigerated produce case in a grocery store (I use it to store eggs from my free-range egg farm). This was a nice unit in its day—it’s built like a battleship—but its refrigeration unit is shot, and was an inefficient dinosaur even when it ran properly. Read more...

Don’t Let the Chickens’ Water Freeze

Keeping the chickens’ water ice-free during the winter can be a struggle! Here are some easy ways to make it happen.

Galvanized Buckets for Winter Waterers

Galvanized pail for eggsThe classic technique for full-grown chickens is the old bucket switcheroo: when you go out to tend the chickens, you bring out a galvanized bucket of warm water, and leave it for them to drink from. When you leave, you take away the partly empty bucket you left for them last time, because if it’s not empty, it’s frozen. You bring the frozen bucket inside with you and leave it in a place where it will thaw a little, so the ice will slide out easily. Read more...

15 Best Quotes from Ruth Stout’s Gardening Without Work

Ruth Stout, the lovably eccentric advocate of simple living and especially no-work gardening, sprinkles all her work with wise and funny observations. Here are my 15 favorite Ruth Stout quotes from her book, Gardening Without Work: For the Aging, the Busy & the Indolent:

Ruth Stout
Ruth Stout, author of Gardening Without Work.

“You can, of course, just promise yourself that you will reform and will do better next time, but broken vows, even those made exclusively to oneself, can be rather uncomfortable to live with.” Read more...

Your Chickens in October [Newsletter]

Your Chickens in October

Robert Plamondon’s Poultry Newsletter, October 2016

News from the Farm

The farm year is winding down. Our last batch of broiler chicks in in the brooder house. Our pigs will be sent to be reincarnated as pork, bacon, and ham before the end of the month.

About those Pigs…

We have some pasture-raised pigs available. This year’s batch is going to be good-sized, with a half-pig yielding 100 pounds of wrapped freezer meat, give or take. Call it five paper shopping bags full. These pigs have been fed not only on custom-milled feed, but whole wheat, all our cracked and otherwise unsaleable free-range eggs, and bushels and bushels of carrot tops and other scraps from Gathering Together Farm’s market booth. Read more...