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Saturday, July 17, 2010


HELLO & welcome to Garden Daddy here at the urban farm! The field peas have finished here and turning yellow, mostly from no rain or rain at the wrong time and they have just flat played out. So instead of letting 22-pullets loose in the garden with exposure to city hawks and the chance to escape over the short chain link fence in the yard here in center city Jackson, TN I just pulled the pea vines up and dumped them...YES, DUMPED THEM...over into the coop for their dining pleasure. And boy are they ever thrilled. They will eat these things down to stalks, then pick and play with them as well, leaving "stem skeletons" and with the watermelon & cantaloupe rinds already in there from a day or two ago, I will then go in and just rake off the top and add to my compost bin, not only adding green material but adding the top layer of fresh fertilizer to the pile as well that will eventually cook off and be added back into the garden, probably next spring. The worst time, if you call it worst at all since the pullets arrived at 2-days of age here at the urban farm has been the first few weeks, about 4-weeks I guess. They were really no trouble then except for the fact I had them in a large recycled rabbit cage I shared with you early on in this backyard chicken process. That required weekly cleaning and other than that they are and have been nothing but joy, laughter and lots of fun and really no trouble at all. They eat ANYTHING...I mean ANYTHING literally. I give them all my grass clippings from mowing the lawn, usually 2 to 2-1/2 mower bags full about every 6-days. Then they are getting any kind of fruit peels and rinds, cleaned lettuce greens as well as damaged vegetables from the garden here at the center city farm and even some generous neighbors as well, waiting patiently for their first fresh eggs I will share for their patience with me having them in the first place in their back yards so to speak.
I have enjoyed this urban farming idea very much since the inception of turning some flower beds into more of a self producing plot of city lot. HA, you indeed! Well, MY urban farm anyway. I have a vegetable garden, flower garden(s), raise chickens to feed myself and YES I SAY...FARM! URBAN FARM! Farm definition: "FARM: A tract of land devoted to the production of agricultural products and the raising and breeding of domestic animals". I rest my case from this point on for you scoffers and naysayers out there.
The pullets started this week on their new rations of oyster shell and layer crumbles, along with grit for digestion, to prepare the way for egg production for the early maturing birds. I have some breeds that do have moderately early maturing times...Speckled Sussex, the Wyandottes (both Silver Laced & Golden Laced), Ameraucanas (the tinted blue & green egg layers), Black Austraulorps, Buff Orpingtons, and the Barred Rocks which are rather early maturing birds. The earliest eggs could be as soon as the next week or two from some of these. The 2-Black Jersey Giants I have are very slow to mature due to their huge size, being the largest of the domesticated chickens for layers. They do not have a good feed-to-egg conversion but I got them mainly for a conversation piece...they are really large already and if they top out like I think, they will be a head at least about the crowd for sure! Then there are the the 3-Cuckoo Marans...the chocolate egg layers. I have found that even though the name "cuckoo" is supposed to represent the color pattern (similar to the Barred Rocks but more disorganized white stripes on black background) the name really represents the character and temperament, as they are a little cuckoo if you ask me. They truly run around like "a chicken with their heads cut off" if you excuse the quote. Quite the little clowns they are.
I leave you today then with our ongoing gardening affirmation in mind: "URBAN FARMING: ONE EGG AT A TIME!"


  1. Looks like a farm to me!
    Does your feed have antibiotics in it or anything that would prevent your eggs from being called "organic." What is the alternative to commercial feed if you wanted to be completely "home grown"?

  2. For SID: No antibiotics OR steroids...this urban farm is ANTI-antibiotics and steroids for this hens-in-training! All natural diet, including their feed, which was previously grower feed and as of last week now on layer crumbles - drug free. So yes if I were in the egg business I could eventually get "certified organic". But having all my feed home grown will have to wait for the "mini-farm".
    Thanks for following Garden Daddy!

  3. Follow up on the comments above--what's in 'Feeder Mash' that makes it so good for layers if not 'inorganic' stuff? Just wondering. Thanks.

  4. Charlie, Are you asking about "laying mash" or "grower feed"? I understand there are some binders in the crumbles but mostly vegetable protien. I think using the layer CRUMBLES is better than pellets as the pellets are larger and they are forced to use more "binder" to make then into the form fo the pellets. It might not be "organically grown" vegetable protien but still vegetable protein. I believe from what I know that with the layer CRUMBLES being around 16-18% protein and then adding some scratch feed (a mixed cracked corn and other seed-type mixture) daily as additional ground feeding supplement along with the grasses and other bugs, worms, etc the chickens can scrounge up that some kind of balance occurs. I am not familiar with "feeder mash" per se. Hope this helps.