One day, all of a sudden, so it seemed, Charlotte started loosing the feathers on her back right above her tail. Soon after, Sandy followed. We would stand at the chicken run, trying to figure out who was doing the pecking. As much as we would stand there, eyes peeled, we did not see any pecking going on.
After doing some recon/research, we found out that mites were the problem and are one of those things that is a “normal” occurrence with chickens. GOOD NEWS! There is an organic solution – food-grade diatomaceous earth (DE). The sharp edges of the DE cuts the exoskeletons of the mites (and other insects), which causes them to become dehydrated, and therefore, die.
We take a 4″ high plastic bin and the bucket of DE into the chicken run. One by one, we pick up one of the girls, place them in the plastic bin, with one of us holding the chicken while the other one sprinkles and massages the DE into the chicken’s feathers. In the beginning, the girls would squirm and try to fly away, and once released, would shake, run, and shake again. We applied DE yesterday for the 4th or 5th time. Each chicken stood in the bin, with no resistance, closed their eyes while being massaged, and walked away when placed on the ground. No squirming, no fighting, no shaking. The white on the back of the girls is the applied DE.
A very good friend of mine told our students that I was talking about my chickens as if they had personalities. Little does she know about chickens! Of course, those of us who have chicks absolutely know and experience their personalities on a daily basis. Check out the chicken personalities Ernest Goh caught on camera, http://www.ernestgoh.com/animalia/cocks
The serpents are pretty cool as well…
We’ve been feeding the chickens fermented grain for the last couple of weeks and they love it! And we have been feeding the dogs their raw “paleo” diet one day a week for the same amount of time. The dogs are also very happy with this change! What dog wouldn’t love raw organ meat, raw fresh eggs, sardines and vegies!
For me, I could do without both of these things… the smell is noxious. I woke up around 5am this last Saturday, stumbled out of bed and headed to the kitchen. As soon as I rounded the corner between the end of the hallway and the dining room area, my nostrils were met with fermentation sour and sardines. I stopped dead in my tracks, gagged, and made the fastest u-turn back towards the bedroom that I could make. Yesterday afternoon, I fell asleep reading. As soon as the dogs were finished with their paleo dinner, Roxy, one of the Jack Russels, jumped up on the bed and started licking my face. It was the smell of sardines on her breath that actually woke me up.
What is good for the farm is not always the best for the farmer…