We don’t get snow often here in Olympia. We may be pretty far north on the globe, but the Pacific Ocean keeps our temperatures pretty moderate, so six inches of the white stuff is pretty unusual.
But life continues on an urban farm, snow or no snow, and there is a whole new set of problems associated with the snow on an urban farm.
Three times last night I went out and brushed the snow off the top of the aviaries where the quail are living. It was either do that or suffer the consequences of a collapsed roof.
I also had to go out and make sure the water didn’t freeze up, and I shoveled a path for the chickens so they had a little pecking area outside their coop. I don’t think the animals care, one way or another, whether it snows. All they care about is having water and food, and that is my job.
WHAT’S HAPPENING HERE?
Forty-three chicks are now chirping up a storm in the garage. Not one died in the first three days, so we did something right.
Three incubators are running properly, so the 160 quail eggs are progressing nicely. In five days I’ll remove the eggs from the automatic egg-turner, and three days after that we’ll have a whole bunch of quail chicks.
The chickens will move outdoors in a month . . . the quail in two months.
And then it will be time for the farmers’ markets.
And so it goes!
If you raise chickens you really need to raise mealworms. Mealworms are like caviar for chickens, and raising them couldn’t be easier.
Get yourself a plastic tote with a lid. A ten-gallon tote is good enough to start with. Cut a decent-sized hole in the lid and glue a fine screen over the hole for air-circulation.
Now put about three inches of wheat bran in the bottom of the tote. You can use oatmeal, or cornmeal, or sawdust in the bottom instead, but I’m a big believer in wheat bran since the natural food of mealworms is wheat.
Next, buy 1,000 mealworms (you can find them on ebay or Craigslist) and dump them in the tote. Slice off two or three slices of potato and put that in the tote for moisture.
And that’s all there is to it!
The mealworms will breed, and eventually larva will appear, then beetles, and then the cycle starts again, and your 1,000 becomes 2,000 in about a month, and on and on you go, a constant supply of treats for your chickens.
We keep our mealworms in the garage. They don’t like cold temps, so a temperature of 60 degrees or higher is ideal…the warmer it is, the faster they will breed. And don’t worry about the beetles escaping. They can’t climb up those smooth plastic sides . . . chickens also love eating beetles, by the way.
You can go to Youtube, of course, and you’ll find an endless supply of videos on how to raise mealworms, some different from my way, but my way works for me so there you go!
SO THAT’S ALL FOR NOW
It’s a busy time and I need to get moving. Spring is coming! I promise, it really is, so now is the time to prepare your garden tools and get them ready for the work ahead. If you want to get a jumpstart on the growing season, build yourself a cloche or cold box and start planting seeds.
The chickens are calling me for their food. Gotta run!
Later, my friends!