Your Chickens in August [Newsletter]

News from the Farm

The blackberries are coming ripe. The weather has been alternating between mild to hot, but not hot enough for me to yearn for air conditioning. The pasture is getting browner than I’d like, which soon will cause our egg yolks to fade from orange to yellow if we don’t get some rain (and we probably won’t until mid-September).

The tractor is still in the shop. The ice machine broke. There’s always something.

Roost mites are giving my hens some trouble. I’m painting their roosts with oil. This lasts a long time and smothers the mites. Even if the roosts seem dry on the surface, because the oil soaks in, capillary action seems to keep the cracks and crevices in the wood damp with oil, and that’s where the mites hang out. But only once. This time around I’m trying used gear oil for the purpose. Any non-drying oil that’s not weirdly toxic will do, but I prefer indigestible oils (petroleum based oils) because they don’t attract mold or critters with the munchies, the way fry oil might. Usually this treatment lasts for months. read more...

Your Chickens in June [Newsletter]

Robert Plamondon’s Poultry Newsletter, June 2016

News from the Farm

June is busting out all over. One sign: A couple of our White Hybrid 300 ducks snuck off and hatched 20 ducklings between them, and one of our Red Sex-Link hens did the same and hatched 10 chicks. All 30 are doing splendidly. Another sign of June is that the grass is as high as an elephant’s eye because our Ford 640 tractor chose this moment to need transmission work.

But back to the ducklings and chicks. The ducklings are on our main pasture with our mixed flock of geese, ducks, and hens. With baby chicks, this is bad news, because baby chicks are too fragile for the rough-and-tumble of flock life, and need to be kept away from any sizable flock for at least a few weeks. The ducklings are made of sterner stuff, and their mothers are aggressively protective, far more so (and more effectively) than mother hens! read more...

Your Chickens in May [Newsletter]

Robert Plamondon’s Poultry Newsletter

News from the Farm

The Corvallis outdoor farmers’ market is already in full swing, and sales are brisk! In addition to pasture-raised chicken and free-range duck and chicken eggs, we have frozen turkey. A while ago we offered poultry by the piece as well as whole, and this is all doing well.

Other farmers have early strawberries, asparagus, all kinds of greens, potted plants, and all kinds of meat and cheese products.

Our early pullets and broilers are doing well on pasture, and we just got six weaner pigs, cute as buttons! read more...

Your Chickens in April [Newsletter]

We’re into the best time of year … spring! The weather’s getting nicer and our outdoor farmers’ market opens in less than two weeks, so we’re busy as can be, and loving it.

News from the Farm

At this time of year, our brooder houses are are full to capacity, with three batches of chicks in the brooder houses at the same time (one batch of pullets, two of broilers). And we’ll soon have to make room for goslings and turkey poults. Our first batches of broilers and pullets are headed out to pasture, and we’re refurbishing houses for them, and even building a new nesting house in anticipation of record egg production. read more...

Your Chickens in March [Newsletter]

Robert Plamondon’s Poultry Newsletter, March 2016

The sun is shining, the brooder houses are full of busy baby chicks, and if the tractor were working, life would be perfect.

News from the Farm

Why, oh why do we have so many geese? When I go onto the main pasture, there are about half a dozen ganders who want to show me who’s boss. It turns out that I’m the boss, but I have to remind them every single time by glaring at them and hissing, then advancing on them until they back off. “Slowly I turned. Step by step. Inch by inch…”

But the most exciting news is that I published three books last month! read more...