You know what? Chicken butt!

1 Comment

What came first, the chicken or the egg?

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.

That’s as scarce as hen’s teeth.

A hen that struts like a rooster is often invited for dinner.

I been workin’ as hard as a hen hauling wood.

Better an egg today than a hen tomorrow.

He was madder than a wet settin’ hen.

She done flew the coop.

Don’t be such a chicken!

I been running around like a chicken with his head cut off.

What’s stuck in your craw?

Well don’t just stand around hatching rooster eggs.

Shake a tail feather my friend!

You know you’re a redneck when…

4 Comments

I have “kill chickens” on my to do list this week, right there between “pay water bill” and “call CPA”.

Gag Me with a Poopy Pitchfork

5 Comments

10 grossest things about farming in no particular order:

  1. flies and maggots
  2. reaching in to a goat’s vagina to pull out a dead kid
  3. afterbirth which the momma goats or the dogs eat if you don’t get to it first
  4. seeing your dog happily licking up chicken poop
  5. the smell of rotting hay
  6. having your foot peed on by a goat who’s just saying hi
  7. rotten potatoes with maggots in ’em
  8. chicken blood
  9. chicken guts
  10. chicken feet
  11. did I mention the poop, the flies and the maggots?

Two for Tuesdays 7/27/10

Leave a comment

It’s time for another Two for Tuesdays, where Real Foodies link up with Alex and friends on her awesome blog A Moderate Life to share tips and recipes. This week I’m sharing two recent posts about one of my favorite subjects, CHICKENS! A Rare Combination and Fresh Eggs In your Back Yard Please check out the Two for Tuesdays page on her site by clicking the banner below.

Fresh Eeggs in Your Backyard

10 Comments

I can’t tell y’all how stoked I am that a good many of my friends in town are catching the farming bug and want to know about chickens. What kind they should get, how many, do they need a rooster and things of that nature. Well, I’ll be the first to tell you I’ve learned most of my lessons the hard way, which kind of makes me an expert on what NOT to do. After many breakthroughs and breakdowns, I finally ran across several books by Joel Salatin at the library. The man is a genius. Luckily I was smart enough to follow his advice and in the process learned a few lessons in success. So if you live in town and are thinking about getting into chickens for the first time here’s my advice.

First of all, go for it. Don’t let nay sayers get you down. In fact I’ve found farming can be the most useful tool to weed out negativity in one’s life. Start with a positive attitude and let yourself have some fun.

Secondly, don’t mess around with roosters. They’re really noisy which might upset your neighbors and cause them to tell on you. Stick with three to five hens and chances are you’ll be much happier.

I have found silkies are a wonderful addition to the urban farm, especially if you aren’t technically allowed to have chickens. The reason I suggest silkies is because their wings are so small they can’t fly. And they are really friendly. Silkies are so cute. They have feathery feet and a poof ball on their heads. They are moderate layers which means you could count on 3 eggs a week per chicken. Silkies are also very motherly which causes them to go “broody” during which time they sit on their nests and won’t lay any eggs. I’m not sure how to prevent broodiness so my advice here is to get a couple more chickens than you think you’ll need. Silkies are addictive so a few more will just add to the fun.

I know a lot of folks who get their chicks from commercial hatcheries and that’s fine but I recommend buying from a local breeder/farmer. If you’re getting baby chicks, make sure to get pullets (females) and not a straight run (both males and females). Once again I recommend checking craigslist to find someone in your area. One of the most important benefits of getting your chicks locally is developing a relationship with your farmer. Later when you have questions, and you most certainly will, you’ll know just who to call. Another great place to find egg layers is at a county fair. The local 4-H chapters often raise chicks and show them at the fair as 16-18 week old pullets. After the pullets are judged they are auctioned off in batches. These hens are probably the most pampered birds available and are usually ready to lay within a couple of weeks. And you can feel good about supporting your local 4-H chapter.

I also recommend using a chicken tractor, which I’ll blog more on later, rather than “free ranging” your chickens. This comes from my own experience with our free range chickens who decided to live on our front porch rather than out in the grass. Chickens are so special.

Read as much as you can but don’t be afraid to jump in there. You will learn as you go what works for you…and what doesn’t.

Southern Summertime Brunch

2 Comments

This post is part of a blog carnival called Real Food Wednesdays.  Check it out.

Here at my farm, I raise chickens and goats. That means I have lots of fresh eggs, milk, and cheese on hand to go with all the great veggies that are coming in right now. One of my favorite things to make this time of year is Summer Veggie Quiche. Here’s how:

Start with a homemade pie shell of your choosing. Prick the sides and bottom with a fork and bake for 10-12 minutes at 425.

In a medium bowl lightly beat 2 large farm eggs (or 3 banti eggs). Stir in 1 cup of unpasteurized goat milk and one cup of grated fresh mozzarella. Salt and pepper to taste.

Dice 2 cups of garden veggies (squash is a good one to use) and one small onion. Sauté the onion in real butter until clear.

Spread veggies and onion in an even layer on the bottom of the prepared crust.

Pour in the egg/milk/cheese mixture and bake on 425 for 35-45 minutes.

Serve with sliced tomatoes, a side of blackberries and a glass of strawberry wine.

Yes, I killed my Dinner.

9 Comments

People seem really weird-ed out about meeting their food face to face. It reminds them what they eat everyday used to be alive and that gets them thinking. No one likes to think all that much. It’s just kind of uncomfortable. So most people would rather go on believing chicken comes from Kroger, in a nicely packaged Styrofoam container. Chicken doesn’t have a face or internal organs. It doesn’t have bones. It’s just a bag of breaded strips we hope our children will eat without complaining.

So it’s no surprise that, ” Is it hard to eat it after you, ya know…kill it and everything?” is the usual response I get when someone finds out we raise chickens for meat. Most people think it’s sad and mean to raise an animal and then eat it. I suppose they don’t consider the alternative because it requires a lot of ya know…thinking.

But let’s go there for a minute. Whether or not you eat chicken, eggs, dairy, whatever: Unless you grow your own food or get what you eat from someone you know, you are supporting companies that are destroying the earth, causing disease, erosion, and toxic runoff, exploiting “immigrant” workers, promoting the use of dangerous chemicals, genetically modifying the “fresh” vegetables you feed your children, using bovine growth hormones, irradiating meat, and practicing unclean and morally despicable livestock management.

I’m not judging anyone for shopping at Kroger or Publix or Whole Foods. I shop there too when I have to and sometimes just for convenience. The fact is, it’s nearly impossible not to rely on factory farming or industrialized food because there’s so much power and control hindering small farmers from marketing their products to consumers who are eager for change.

So to answer the earlier question, no it’s not hard to eat a hen I raised and killed because I know she enjoyed her life in fresh air and sunshine. She ate grass and bugs and had clean water to drink. She was allowed to be a chicken. The day she died, I picked her up and carried her to my back deck. I placed her head first into a cone and tied her feet with twine. I gently held her neck as my husband slit it open with a sharp knife. The blood flowed from her neck into a bucket on the deck. After a few minutes of bleeding, she drew her last breath and was gone.  I had to work for that hen. It took effort to keep her healthy without antibiotics. I was involved in the process of growing her for food. I pampered her and in exchange she became a source of health and nutrition for me.

What’s so weird about that? I think its one of the coolest things I’ve learned so far. And no I don’t name them. Do you name your tomatoes?