Monday, April 13, 2015

My life as a chicken pedicurist

Tonight we treated our chickens for scaly leg mites.  The general procedure is to dip their legs in oil to smother the mites, but I had the bright thought that a solid oil, like coconut, would be even better because it would form a thick layer on their legs that would last for a while.  And while we're at it, why not throw in a little essential oil to soothe the scales and irritate the mites?

This is how I came to be massaging lavender/tea tree scented coconut oil into the feet of 15 nervous chickens.

It went pretty well.  We came by night, when the chickens were all asleep and docile, and manflesh pulled them down one by one.  It was interesting, because they all started off anxious and pulled their feet away from my touch, but as soon as I started really massaging the oil into their scales they all stopped fighting and even seemed to enjoy it.  I really felt like I was giving them a bit of a luxury treatment, which, maybe I was.  The mites live under their scales and make everything kind of inflamed and icky, so a gentle oil massage probably felt pretty good.

We'll need to do it a few more times, so I'm interested to see if they remember that it's a good thing and are a little more receptive when we do it again.  We'll also be dusting the whole coop with diatomaceous earth to knock the buggers out in the bedding and on the perches.


Earlier today, one of our cats was super interested in a cardboard box near the front door.  I thought he was just being a weird cat until Babby said, "What's that on the ground?"  I looked closer, and a sad, hard done by alligator lizard was desperately trying to limp away from the cat.  He was already missing his tail and sporting some other wounds, but his drive to keep running away gave me hope that he might make it.  We threw him into a terrarium we had sitting vacant, filled with soil and leaves from the woods.  He sat really still for a while, but has now disappeared, so maybe that's a good sign?  Ooooor he's slunk off to die.  I suppose we'll find out soon.

We do like our little native lizards, so I'm hoping he makes it and goes on to eat bugs out of our garden for many years.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

I'm Back!

I'm sure all three followers of the blog were really distressed by my absence over the summer (and fall, and most of the winter).  What can I say?  Summer started, both farm work and office work picked up, and blog posts fell by the wayside.

We vacationed with my mom and stepdad on Maui last month, and while we were there paid a visit to John at Rancho Relaxzo.  That visit, and the time spent in a place where things were actually *growing*, really reinvigorated my passion for permaculture and got me excited about this spring and the many springs to come.

To that end, Manflesh has enrolled in Geoff Lawton's online PDC course.  The idea is that we'll both watch all the materials, so really we'll both have all the knowledge, but he'll be getting the certificate.  He's planning to do an overall design for our land as his final project, which we'll start putting into practice this year.  After that, we're hoping he'll be able to find some small projects with which to build his portfolio, leading to this being a nice little side business for him.

In other news, I've got a perfect raisin-sweetened oatmeal cookie recipe to share as soon as I get around to making another batch and taking pictures.

I'm stoked for spring and ready to blog the excitement!