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The Adventures of Chicken Rearing and Odd Farm Lessons

3 years in to LoveBug we estimate that we have loved and cared for about 3,500 chickens, 50 ducks, and 6 geese. I thought it would be fun to talk a little bit about our farming practices on the farm, share some of the weird and crazy things I've learned about raising all these bebes, and talk about eggs! There are so many facts about eggs and how to care for them, what do with them etc.

We are a no cull (kill) farm, meaning that we will do everything in our power for every living creature on our farm to enable them to live out their lives as long as they see fit. No matter what. We currently own about 80-100 birds. I've lost official count. We have 4 geese, 2 brothers and their wives, and several gaggles of ducks. We also have about 70 chickens. They all sleep together in the same coop.

What began with a mad search for 5 laying hens on craigslist grew into a deep obsession ... okay obsession is a strong word ... but who doesn't want UNLIMITTED FRESH EGGS FROM YOUR BACKYARD?!

So yeah ... we became the crazy chicken people.

Alex has raised many birds in his lifetime. He's grown up on and around farms and I've collected ducks (mostly the rubber kind, for decades).

We initially wanted some chickens for their endless supply of miracle grow i.e., nitrogen rich poop.

Fun fact: Did you know you can buy bags of chicken poop at Home Depot. Huge bags of poop, just for sale to everyone on a shelf. It blows my mind ... Their poop is really a gold mine. I've thought about selling our chickens' poop but haven't gotten there yet. Their poop has to be dried out because it's too "hot" to use fresh. If you put chicken poop directly on your plants, they will die. But if you dry out chicken poop in the sun or just in an unused part of your yard, the poop will make your veggies grow BAZINGAAZ.

Going back to 2019, we got 5 laying hens from this guy on Craigslist, and ended up going home with one of his roosters - so 6 chickens. We were elated to hang out with them. Their coop was inside the greenhouse and made mostly out of recycled materials that we found on the property + upcycled lumber. This is when I really started learning mpre about Alex's magical skill of "you can turn anything you're not using into something, and it can be beautiful."

Their first nesting box he made out of an old hanging shoe closet organizer thingy. Here he is spreading pine shavings in it for the VERY FIRST TIME! 'Twas a big day.

The first time one of them laid an egg, we happened to be around the coop and I thought it was so amazing. It's quite incredible that this perfectly round, fresh, warm egg with a crunchy shell came out of a chicken.

In case you haven't spent much time around chickens, it's important to take a moment to talk about what I can only describe as the endless ways in which they are tiny, drunk, dinosaur, children.

The first thing all chickens (and ducks and geese) do when you let them out of the coop in the morning is run, fly, stampede and scream as fast and as loud as they can for about 50 yards. They will trample each other, poop as they are running, squirt hot, diarrhea on each other as they try to fly over their friends and are just generally really excited. They are like parasailing toddlers in the middle of a panic attack with explosive diarrhea .... every single morning.

Once their morning tirade to escape their coop and be the first one get to their breakfast ends, they begin their day. Their days consist mostly of very noisily running from place to place with no destination in mind, screeching at the top of their lungs, and laying eggs.

Our chickens lay blue, green, pink, white, and dark brown eggs. Our ducks lay blue, white, and black eggs, and the geese's eggs are giant and white. You can eat all of them interchangeably. If you get eggs from us, you'll typically get a mix of duck and chicken eggs.

Ducks bury their eggs, so they are always caked in more gross stuff than chicken eggs.

If you get eggs from us at LoveBug Farms, there are few facts that you may find useful.

  1. We do not wash the eggs before they arrive in your hands. This is because eggs naturally have a protective shell called a bloom. When that bloom is preserve, eggs can stay happy and healthy for months. Last year I did a test with eggs in the greenhouse. I left several dozen fresh eggs in the greenhouse in the middle of the heat wave of 2021. After 3 months of them staying in direct sunlight, out in the open they were perfectly fine. So I really mean it when I say you don't need to refrigerate the eggs you get from us, even if you're not going to eat them right away. Just make sure you wash 'em before you crack 'em!

  2. If you're wondering how to test your eggs to see how fresh they are, I recommend the float test. You can do the float test with store bought eggs as well. The major points are: put an egg in a or glass of water. If the egg floats or turns on it's side, I wouldn't eat it as it's very likely not good anymore. If the egg sinks to the bottom of the glass and stays there, you can enjoy your egg worry free!

  3. As of now (July 2022) we provide over 100 eggs to families in the Portland Metro area! We are proud to be able to give families healthy, happy eggs from healthy, happy chickens. We feed our chickens a LOT of veggies. They are wonderful compost machines. They eat veggies that are too far gone, they eat the parts of vegetables that are human don't consume, they eat mold, it's great.

I hope you've enjoyed learning a little bit more about chickens and the adventures we've had with them! We consider all our birds pets, and are dedicated to giving them a happy life as we continue to thrive off their poop and eggs!

Thanks for tuning in

Please let me know if you're especially curious about anything in particular at LoveBug Farms so I can follow up with more fun posts!💖

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