Chicken Research Goes to the Farm!

I don’t think reading and internet researching really is enough to know everything about chickens. I’m a hands-on type anyway, so I visited two farms this weekend to get first hand experience. This was a lot of fun and I learned lots! TO THE FARM!

Farm #1: ChickenvilleUSA I found them on Craig’s List and located in Terrell. I was able to talk little sister into coming on this adventure. We quickly learned it was worth the drive out there. This farm sells chickens and goats. First of all, google has no idea where this place is, so listening to Cherly’s directions is key to successfully finding the place. WEAR THE RIGHT SHOES. We wore flip flops, yard shoes or old shoes is best. Rookie mistake! I thought the ‘by appointment only’ was annoying until I got an excellent one on one tour, awesome customer service and hospitality. I GET IT!

The front yard is loaded with goats in dog houses and sheds with porches. The goats were pretty cool, we saw a baby and a pregnant goat. The pregnant goat carries on the side, I thought something was wrong with it. They said their goats are the ones at the Fort Worth and Dallas Zoos. I never really thought about where they come from… The sheds were confusing because they have a big barn in the back of the house. Duh, it’s where all of the baby chicks stay until they are sold. Because of this trip I now have a new FAVORITE chicken breed:

Blue Red laced Wyandotte

Blue is my favorite color, so it only makes sense. Too bad they were out of them, so I couldn’t take a pretend to buy one. She’s another brown egg layer which most seem to be.

Ameraucana

The Ameraucana is what little sister requested I get, since they lay green eggs. Wait, she wanted blue, but close enough. They aren’t the prettiest bird; do go for a pretty bird or a pretty egg?
ChickenvilleUSA gets about 1,000 day-old chicks at a time and sells out every time. Cheryl said she wants a few egg layers for the barn but will wait when she has some left over. THAT’S A LOT O CHICKS! One of the reasons I picked this place is because they guarantee a hen. Just return the rooster for a hen at no cost. 
In all honesty, I have to say the chickens and goats were not my favorite. It was the Guineas at the barn that you can’t ignore. 

Guineas
My Dad described these birds pretty well: GUARD DOGS. The feathers are pretty, but their heads: eww. The head looks similar to the turkey. The ones we saw seem to have longer necks than what the picture shows. She said they aren’t friendly with anybody and squawk when a strangers are around. They were pretty loud for us! These guys will eat their weight in bugs in the spring time. More importantly, they will eat snakes and rats. You could see 4 lined up on a birch at the barn watching us. I’m pretty sure my aunt and older sister need one of these!!
New info I left with: when you bring your chicks home and need something to put in the bottom of your brooder: PINE IS FINE, CEDAR IS DEADLY. Say it again, it gets better with age. We sure did like saying it. 
In conclusion: I thought I was just going to see chickens and got so much more. Plus we are rookies when it comes to farms, so we loved it! I wish I had taken pictures. In fact, I’m pretty upset I didn’t. I’ll be back for the chicks though!
Farm #2: Rheudasil Farm in Flower Mound by Mark and Penny Glover. It really helps to see in person how other backyard chicken owners are doing which is exactly why I went. Mark Glover is trying to get the city of Flower Mound chicken ordinance rewritten. His presentation to the city was awesome! So awesome, I sent a copy to my city. Same thing happened with this farm: I expected chickens and got even more.

Mark’s chicken tractor
This tractor was huge! There were a chickens running around the place, so I never expected to find a chicken inside a nesting box. This could hold quite a few chickens. I should have asked how he moves it.

Another chicken tractor
This tractor I’ve seen a lot online but seemed a little small in person. Who am I, Goldie Locks? Or maybe it’s because it stood next to the giant one?  The owner mentioned this brand didn’t have quality parts but got the job. After looking at the coops we went on a tour of the 2.75 acres. 
Raised Garden Bed
The picture above shows their raised beds, and the in the winter then turn it into a green house. The height is convenient but I hear raised beds use more water. They also had a nice size fenced in garden that had lots of veggies and fruit. I liked the berries. Something ate my straw berries in my garden…

Field of Bluebonnets
Isn’t that beautiful! They had bluebonnets everywhere. At this farm everything has a purpose, so if you have flowers, you need something to pollinate them…

Beehive
What else would pollinate them other than honey bees? Apparently honey bees are being extinct because of us. Big surprise our pesticides and chemicals are killing them. The fence is to keep people out. The bees used the honey to eat through the winter, so they haven’t had any yet. This is really cool, I’m adding this project to the list! Jamie, the bee keeper is in the works.

Momma
What farm isn’t complete without a good lookin’? She’s about to have a liter. She sure wasn’t happy to be tied up, though. The Old Lady would have never acted as good as her tied up. 
In conclusion: It was a beautiful farm. I added one more thing to the list: honey bees. I also wish I had more land to play with. Mark even had an office on his property. 

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