Monday, February 9, 2009

You Can Fill A Book, A Lot of Books, With Things I Don't Know

First, the good things. I got eight eggs from my lovely hens today. That's a big deal because it means that one of my young Australorp pullets is laying. The Australorps, all three of them, were younger than the Rhode Island Reds by a month. So if one of them is coming online, it means the other two are not far behind and then all ten of the hens will be in production. And not a moment too soon.

I have started phasing some of my more sensitive dogs off of store-bought poultry. My Pharaoh Hound was just not the same after the possible bleach incident. So now she gets cooked eggs, rice, egg shells and vitamins. And the Dachshund who just had surgery and is on antibiotics is also on cooked eggs right now. Remind me sometime to rant about how vets don't understand the role of diets in overall health.

But anyway, I need all the eggs I can get so I am happy that the younger hens are finally maturing.

Also, the tractor was reserved today. I am refinancing the farm on Friday (yay for low low rates!), so I am loathe to put money down, but they are holding it for me on their word (I love small towns). Which means that President's Day is also going to be.... TRACTOR MONDAY!!!!

Finally, I've been reading all the gardening books I ordered and, it turns out, there's lots of good information in them. Good information that I wish I knew before I ordered seeds. Like there's cold weather and warm weather strains of veggies and you can have a succession harvest if you plant the right one at the appropriate time. D'uh, it seems so obvious, except if you're a complete neophyte such as myself.

But no matter, I can order more seeds. I am particularly interested in the information in Eliot Coleman's Four Season Harvest. Mr. Coleman lives in Maine which just might be colder than where I am, and he has fresh greens for salad every day of the year. There is a man to emulate. So I am much inspired.

I am also pouring over this great chicken website Funder provided. It has some fascinating information about growing your own chicken feed, which fits in well with the sustainable theme I am working on here. It also has information about breeding your sustainable flock. So I think I am adding "chicken food harvest" to my five year goals sometime in phase 3.

Things are picking up. In four short weeks I will have a tractor, a green house erected, and seeds started. I will be finalizing my garden plan and rotation log and when that is done, I will post it for all the smart people who read my blog to critique and enhance. I am counting on the collective here to get me through this year!


dp said...

I love my vet, but she and I had to agree early on not to talk about diet. Just like I have to agree with some folks not to talk about politics. I find that many vets who do not support raw diets will blame said diet first when the animal needs help. Torn ACL? Must be that damned diet.

On the other hand I generally find vets that do support a raw diet to be too flaky for my tastes -- no, I do not want to homeopathy for the torn ACL, thanks. My vet provides a happy medium -- we don't talk diet, but she treats my crew with solid, evidence-based medicine.

I am envious of your tractor. We will also refinance soon...

Funder said...

Yay for laying hens!

dp, I feel exactly the same way about vets. Actually, down here we're so back assward that vets very rarely ask about diet, EVER - only one of the five or so vets I've used since I started feeding raw has ever asked. She was fairly tsk-tsk about it, but we talked for a while. I sounded somewhat knowledgeable about canine nutrition, so we agreed to disagree.

The whole "dog food" thing makes me want to scream. I could rant about it for days.

Anyway - how do you cook the eggs, Daun? Just boiled, or scrambled, or doggie frittatas with rice and shells?

KT said...

I was wondering how you and your SO were keeping up with the egg production. I was thinking maybe your SO was baking lots of bread or something. But this is coming from someone who can only eat eggs when they don't taste like eggs.

Austen said...

I'm so pleased things are coming together for you!

My vet is a great medium. She is very concerned with our dogs diet, especially after we inadvertently induced pancreatitis in the big guy. He runs with me, about 20 miles a week, and wasn't fat. We couldn't understand how the extra fat in his diet could do him him. We got lucky, and now we know better. That's when we found this great vet. Maybe she's so fabulous because she started her career working with horses. Of course!

I was wondering what is the benefit of feeding shells?

Also, check out this book:
It's right up your alley!

Kosicle said...

Where do you order your seeds from?

I used to be a vet tech and the minute you mention raw diets vets flip out. They're conditioned to believe that science diet is the best food out there when it's terrible!
Anyway- I love your blog- I always get excited when a new one shows up on my google reader. Someday hopefully in the near future I'll get my own few acres to live off of- until then I can only read and dream. :)

Daun said...

Thanks all.

My main beef with vets is exactly as Kosicle said: Most vets learn nutrition from Science Diet sales reps. And the "normal" blood panels are all from carbed out, kibble-fed dogs. Last Dec, when my Dashchund first got an infection, she had a blood panel at it was normal. Then after 8 weeks of increasingly aggressive antibiotics (and obligatory diet change), her pre surgery panel showed a distressed liver. Well OF COURSE her liver was distressed!! Maybe kibble-fed dogs which require zero gut bacteria to digest food can stomach all the antibiotics in the world...

Anyway, vet calls, like a good caring vet, warning us of the IMMINENT LIVER FAILURE. Nonplussed, we ask if perhaps the antibiotics coursing through her blood and being filtered by her liver might be the problem. Oh no, he replied, antibiotics don't have this side effect.


Anyway, on to the questions:
DP, I will answer you here. We don't muzzle Brego, because he simply will not tolerate it. He does have a "fatty" hay bag which tiny holes that makes him work extra hard for the hay. It slows him down a lot.

Our new response to the diet question is that we cook for our dogs at home. It gets less lectures than the scary "raw" word and it's true, our dogs have a varied diet and some of it is cooked. The current round of eggs are scrambled up, shells and all, with some ground turkey. We add a little bone meal and vitamins and rice and potatoes if we have any left over from dinner.

KT, I don't understand you. I LOVE eggs. Any meal is made better when topped with a fried egg. I am pretty sure that is a universal truth.

Thanks for the book, I added it to my wish list. The added egg shells are to provide calcium. Dogs tend to consume both meat and bones (in the wild). Their prey is small, birds, rodents and such and they would eat the whole carcass. Studies have shown that the calcium is very important to the absorption of the protein in the meat. So we never feed just a "muscle meat" meal, we also add some frame, or shells, or bone meal.

We've ordered form a couple of places, but I am going to be ordering from others.

Next on my list:
A couple of places in Maine. I want local varieties that do well in this region.

I hope this helps!