Last year we had a terrible time with our flock of laying hens. The hot conditions in addition to predator attacks and other stresses kept our egg production at an all time low. Our new flock is thriving and we couldn’t be more pleased with the colorful mix of brown, blue, green, pink, and white eggs that they produce. This time around we kept a few roosters on hand and they have done an excellent job at protecting our ladies, that is, when the chickens stay within the portable fencing.
Every day we find a number of chickens who have casually hopped over the fence to forage and hunt for goodies in the pasture. I suppose they think that the grass is greener on the other side! Out on their own, they become prime targets for predators and in the last couple of months we have lost about two dozen birds to eagles and coyotes – that’s about 10% of our flock. Seeing the pile of feathers left after a predator attack is always heartbreaking but such are the risks of raising chickens on pasture. We just hope that the remaining chickens have the sense to stay inside the fence after witnessing the others get taken.
On a happier note, we’re excited to have our first carrots of the season. We almost lost them to the weeds but managed to salvage enough to fill boxes this week. Ugh, weeds. Sometimes it’s so hard to keep up with them.
Week 3 CSA box:
Red Russian Kale
Large boxes add:
What to do with fennel and the giant mass of fronds? Here are some tips:
- Slice it thinly and add it to a salad or coleslaw
- Halve it, cut it into quarters and roast it with chicken or fish
- Add it as a topping for pizza
- Braise it
- Coat it with seasoned flour and then pan fry
- Make pickles
- Make “pesto” with the fronds and then freeze in an ice cube tray for later use to flavor soups, stews and other dishes
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