Chicken Farming

Well, finally our dream of having our own chickens has come to life! Even though we have only had our 4 hens for about a week and a half, it has been quite the adventure that is for sure. Some things have been a tad more difficult than we expected, but it is totally worth it watching our cute little chickens walk around, catch bugs, and play in the sand. Oh, and of course opening the roost door to find fresh eggs! Totally worth it.

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When our coop first arrived! All clean, new, and shiny! Quickly to change upon the hen’s arrival.

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Welcoming the girls to their new home! Such strange little critters. They look like dinosaurs.

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Me giving the chickens some scrap lettuce from our garden as a treat! They LOVE lettuce. That is their favorite treat. Well of course other than bugs. But, lettuce is a close second.

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Here are the girls in their more permanent home! To get the house here it took quite a bit of work. Dad, Cody, and Kevin had to tear out an old concrete slab and haul off the pieces. Then dad had to move the coop from down by the garden all the way to this spot. We filled in the caged part of the coop with sand and then Dad and Cody laid down new sod all around the coop. Then we needed to get a fence rigged up around the sod so we could let the girls out to eat on the grass and bugs without being bothered by nearby predators such as hawks, bobcats, coyotes, coons, opossums, house cats, dogs, etc. So, Dad and Cody rigged up a temporary fence around the coop so we can let the girls out, but keep the predators away until we figure out exactly how we want the permanent fence built. Once the permanent fence is built, we are going to work on a run so that they can access even more grass and bugs.

As much as we wish they could be completely 100% free-ranging, pasture raised chickens, we know it just can’t happen with where we live and the stage of life we are in right now with Taylor and me still in school and Mom and Dad having jobs. But, we are doing the best we can with what we have and where we are. We are trying to be as supplemental as possible with giving them feed, and when we do feed them it is only organic, NON-GMO feed and the homemade feed Mom and I put together. We also give them some of our oregano from my garden that we dried at the beginning of the summer as a natural antibiotic. We also feed them kitchen scraps such as lettuce, strawberry ends, squash, and watermelon rinds for treats. All of this is in addition to their daily all you can eat buffet of grass and bugs. With the hay in the roosting area, we have added in lavender clippings from my lavender plant into the nesting boxes.

Every day we learn something new and try to improve upon what we already have.

Our daily and weekly chores have changed quite a bit. Our chores now include: opening the roost door in the morning and closing it each night, freshening up their water, feedings, cleaning poop out of the roost and their sand box, raking hay, watering the sod, checking for eggs, and constantly making sure no predator is trying to get them.

We have also had our fair share of mistakes since the chickens’ arrival. Mostly miscommunication issues, but we also bought a bag of feed that was unknowingly infested with weevils. Quite a disturbing sight. That bag was quickly disposed of. My mom also accidently left the gate on the fence open one morning and one of the chickens got out. I had to chase it down and try to corral it back into the pen. That was a difficult task since the girls still aren’t quite comfortable enough yet for us to just pick them up.

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Here is one of the girls working on laying an egg!

Below is the picture of our first two eggs! So egg-citing! Yes, I know that was terrible.

I’m not really sure how many eggs we’ve gotten so far, but we’ve been averaging about two a day. But we did have a day that we got three eggs and we were all pretty pumped. We have a feeling the girls are still getting adjusted to their new home.

It has been an exciting time at the Long’s house, that’s for sure, and we are looking forward to many more exciting times ahead!

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Summer Garden

Our summer garden is now in full force! We’ve got so much planted and growing around the house. We aren’t quite done planting yet, but we are getting close! We are all getting very excited to watch our plants grow and of course for when it’s time to harvest.

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Above is my tiny little sprouts garden! I got to plant a little handful of the seeds for free at the Earth Day festival in Norman. It’s been so fun watch them sprout up from seed and poke up through the dirt a little more each day.

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Here is our tomato plants! Dad has a special affinity for the tomato plants, so usually we refer to them as Dad’s tomato plants. Pictured here is: one cherry tomato plant, two Cherokee Purple tomato plants, two Black Krim tomato plants.

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Above are pictures of our big main garden! Naturally our property does not have fertile dirt. At all. It is clay. So, this year, after an unsuccessful garden last year, we finally decided to replace the clay dirt in the garden, with 5 loads of fertile soil. It is part compost, part sandy loam, part manure. It is doing tremendously better than the clay. Of course.

Here we have planted: yellow and purple onions, sweet potatoes, romaine lettuce, beets, carrots, zucchini, cucumbers, a cantaloupe, yellow summer squash, banana peppers, and yellow and orange bell peppers.

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Above is our compost pile turned into a garden! Planted here are 5 more tomato plants, and 6 strawberry plants. The strawberries are doing tremendously well. They are supposed to be June bearing, but we have already gotten a good little harvest from them. Last year we planted our strawberries in an actual strawberry planter. They were not too successful and the ants devoured them. We decided to go ahead and turn our compost pile into a garden this year because we are planning on moving the location for our compost pile and extending our main garden over.

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Above is one of our 6 strawberry plants. We’ve got several strawberries on their way to becoming ripe! So exciting!

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Here is one of our 2 peach trees! Every day they are growing more and more! We’ve got several little peaches growing on each tree!

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See! LITTLE FUZZY PEACHES! They’re so precious!

Below is my baby. It looks a little gnarly, but I am growing to accept it. Here I’ve got: mint, parsley, oregano, chives, and lavender. All of these survived the harsh winter. The mint and oregano especially. They are taking over a little bit, but they are extremely healthy and fragrant. Our plan is to start pruning and drying the excess that we aren’t going to use right away. We’ve also got two basil plants, dill, and celery growing next to this garden.

Our apple tree has a lot of new growth. Our blueberry bush has lots of buds, we just need to buy it a partner bush so the blooms will actually produce fruit. Our two lemon trees are doing great as well. We’ve also planted a lot more flowers and trees around the house. The roses and irises are in full bloom as well.

Our next plants that we will be planting will be: another blueberry bush, a plum tree, ginger, garlic, asparagus, more celery, and possible potatoes.

We are all getting super exited that our home is becoming more sustainable and self sufficient each day.

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