Chickens, Farm to Fork, Keeping Chickens

A Completely Understandable Reason Not to Tame Your Chickens

I’ve talked about the reasons it’s a good idea to have tame chickens in your backyard flock. But, like most things in life, it’s not perfectly black and white.

I don’t raise meat chickens. I’m sort of interested in it, and I admire those if you who do. The amazing heritage breed chicken meat I get from Kristy, of Chowdown Farm, at the farmer’s market, is the most delicious I have ever tasted. (She even brought whole, dark-skinned, young roosters to my house, and taught me how to butcher them, for a coq au vin I was making a few years ago!) I can imagine that if you are raising meat chickens, you might prefer not to get to know them quite so well.

My grandparents raised a few cattle for beef, on their gold country ranch, when I was growing up. My grandfather’s barbecue skills were legendary. He sometimes jokingly named a cow “Steak”, and another “Hamburger”. And I will admit to having a few qualms as we ate dinner on the patio overlooking the cows grazing on the rolling golden hills.

But gosh those garlicky, red wine-marinated, steaks, with homemade pesto fettuccine, green beans from the garden, and wild blackberry pie for desert, were among the favorite meals of my life. And I think it would have been a little harder to enjoy the steaks if the cows had been named “Bessie”, and “Clarabelle”, and had come running when I called them!

Home, Things I Like

Chicken Art

Look at this awesome barn art I got from local artist and fellow chicken keeper, Chris Temple. I love it!!!

Here’s a link in case you’d like something like it too: https://www.facebook.com/marketplace/item/293146914540231

Chickens, Keeping Chickens

Pink Eggs

I know I’ve talked a lot about blue egg layers, but we want ALL the colors in our egg basket, so let’s talk about pink eggs now! Do I have pink layers? Sort of 😊. In this picture of today’s eggs, you can see that some of the are pinkISH. It turns out that pink eggs are more difficult to achieve than blue ones. They are usually, technically, a cream egg, or the result of a whitish bloom over a brown egg. But they can certainly look pink in comparison to the other eggs in your basket!

If you are looking to add a pink layer to your flock, your best bet may be a cream egg layer, which often looks pink next to the brown and white eggs. Some Easter Eggers also lay pinkish eggs. The problem is that if you are scooping up chicks at the feed store from the bin of Easter Eggers, there’s no guarantee you’ll get a pink layer, as EE’s also lay blue and green eggs (not all from one chicken!!) Some people say you can predict egg color an EE will lay by the leg color – it’s worth a try!

I’m pretty sure my pinkish eggs come from my Speckled Sussex, and my Silver Laced Wyandotte. My Black Australorp also sometimes lays a pinkish egg. I’ve heard that Salmon Favorelles lay pinkish eggs, and they are such pretty birds. I’ve got my eye out for one,… and a Seabright because they are so pretty,… and a Deathlayer… and a Black Copper Marans……. except that I’ve already got a dozen chicks in my living room! 😂

Chickens, Family, Getting Started with Chicks, Keeping Chickens

Bringing Home Baby

Those of you with kids probably went through something like I did when you were expecting your first baby. Remember how everyone had advice and opinions about what kind of diapers, or pacifiers, or baths, to use? Remember the strong opinions of well meaning aunties about nursing vs. bottle feeding, or vaccines? And god forbid we get into sleeping habits, or discipline! Do you remember the first time you walked in to a Babies-R-Us? Personally, I wandered around overwhelmed, and stunned, by the vastness of it all, and finally fled without having bought a thing.

And do you remember, how, once the baby came, there were some hiccups along the way, and a learning curve, but eventually it mostly worked out. And how all that advice was kind of helpful, but also, that you figured out what worked best for you. And that it turns out a lot of different choices work for different people. And that your kids have somehow grown up to be pretty spectacular, whatever diapers you used, or mistakes you made.

That’s what it’s like with chickens. I wanted chickens for twenty years, and was afraid I didn’t know enough about them to do it. I will forever be grateful to Lisa Steele for sharing her experiences at Fresh Eggs Daily, which is what gave me the confidence to try. There are a lot of different ways to raise chickens. But it’s not as complicated as it seems. And you have to figure out what works for you. Want to keep the little ones inside to cuddle and stay warm and get tame? Great! Want to raise them in a grow out pen or a barn? Sure! Want to have your hen be mama? That works too! Medicated, vaccinated, fed only organic – all reasonable choices. Three hens in your urban backyard, or too many to count, with roosters, on rolling green acres, are both perfectly reasonable. Heritage breed show chicks, hatchery eggs for incubating, a handful of fuzzy yellow babies from the feed store bin – will all be lovely, spectacular, chickens.

So I’m not going to tell you what you ought to do, just what works for me. It doesn’t all work out perfectly. My kids have learned the phrase “farm strong”, because sometimes chickens die. But we have also each held a small chick to our chest until the chirping stopped and it fell fast asleep against us, warm and soft. We have had the magical joy of a first egg. We have laughed at their dinosaur run, and learned their personalities, and hunted for precious eggs hidden in the straw. My hope is that I will give someone else the confidence to give it a try. If you have questions, I’m happy to answer them. But also, you will figure out what works for you, and it will be fine. You can do this! ❤️

Stay tuned for the first steps of getting set up for baby chicks…

#urbanfarm #farmtofork #fresheggs #cooptofork #chickens #eggs #coop #farmlife #prettycoop #coopdreams #coopgoals #prettyeggs #chicks

Farm to Fork, Things I Like

Valentine’s Sweets

I got the sweetest treat for Valentine’s Day! ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

I don’t turn my nose up at any kind of chocolates, but these are special! They are Ginger Elizabeth chocolates!! (she says with reverence and a happy sigh)

The Ginger Elizabeth store is like the small Parisian chocolatier shops, where each piece is a fleeting, perishable treasure. Each little jewel is a sophisticated expression of art and complex flavors, created with the highest quality, seasonal, and local, ingredients. These chocolates are truly a luxury!

One of the things I love about living in Sacramento is the culture of farm-to-fork – prioritizing fresh, quality ingredients from local, seasonal sources. The community is passionate about artisan products like this. It’s so much fun to talk food with farmers and chefs here! It’s just exciting to watch, and taste, the farm-to-fork movement grow here. We’re so lucky to have this amazing chocolatier in here in Sacramento! I am going to relish each one of these. And no, I’m not sharing with the kids! 😁

#urbanfarm #farmtofork #chocolatier #gingerelizabeth #chocolate #fresheggs #cooptofork #chickens #eggs #coop #farmlife #coopdreams #coopgoals

Family, Home

How It All Started

On our first date, I told my husband-to-be that someday I wanted a house full of happy, loud children, a piano, horses, dogs, and chickens. By the way, I also still wanted season tickets to the theater, good yoga classes, and a French bakery nearby. A few months later, we were wandering past art galleries on a warm summer evening and saw this painting. When it turned up on my doorstep, I knew he was a keeper.