Moon Dog Farms

Certified Naturally Grown family farm growing fruits, vegetables & flowers in the Texas Gulf Coast

MoonDog Farms is dedicated to stewardship of the land, reinforcing a healthy community and producing great food.  

The Casita de Pollitos and El Hombre Magnifico

At our house, there are no chickens to be found anywhere. Not a single feather.

Walk into the garage, and your nose will tell you a deceiving story. As the former home of over 100 squawking baby dinosaurs--er, chickens-- one would expect this humble abode to carry at least  a  trace of our former guests. But no. Not even the faintest whiff of ammonia.

Don't thank me. I had nothing to do with the Vanishing of Chick Residue.

The chicks were moved in batches of 20 to a box, a la moving Christmas ornaments to the attic.

That darn old McFarmer, he's been at it again. We moved the chicks on Tuesday morning in what was a shockingly easy maneuver, and by dinnertime Wednesday evening our garage was spic and span. I think Alex did this as a gift for me, as it had become nearly impossible for me to stop commenting on how..."chicken-y" everything had become lately. Pine shavings in the upstairs bathroom. Pine shavings in the laundry room. Pine shavings in the kitchen. Motes of chicken-produced dust greeting you at the front door. Poo smudged on every farm-grade pair of shoes (and a few non farm-grade, unfortunately).  The smell.  

The commenting might have turned into complaining. Just maybe. 

Thus it follows that, when you have an absolutely lovely partner who values your happiness above all else and wishes to hear your whining cease, they clean up the aftermath of 100 + chickens living in your garage for a month and they explicitly warn you not to help because they don't need your pithy commentary, thank-you-very-much.

The point: our house is clean, our garage is newly functional as a garage once again, the young chickens are in their slick new mobile coop (did I mention McFarmer also finished  the camper-renovations single-handedly?),  we've gone through a year's supply of cleaning vinegar, this gal is extremely happy and not only do we have a finished Casita de Pollitos but this farm boasts one very talented & fantastic El Hombre Magnifico.

As for how the chickens feel about their new arrangement, I think it's safe to say they are wholly content and enjoying their new location as much as we are. 

Now, we're on to worrying about how coyote/raccoon/possum/snake proof the Casita turns out to be. And a week or so after that, we'll turn our eyes to the sky and worry over the goshawks, owls, falcons, and oh-so-many more birds of prey that will delight in our plump little raptors. 

The Casita de Pollitos was our most economical option; by utilizing the bones of this old camper, we saved over $1,000 in construction costs.  It  rests under cover for now, but in a few short days the mobile coop will be moved to the fields, and the girls allowed out to explore.

I worked on a farm for a time managing their egg operation, with around 250 laying chickens in production. Alex worked on a different farm at the same time, helping with their layers and broilers (meat birds). However, as with our vegetable crops, we're unsure how our experience with chickens in northern climes will correspond with the reality of raising chickens in this  consistently muggy and hot landscape. Not to mention our bouts of boneheadedness, often displayed when we tackle a new project for the first time. 

It's sure to be an adventure, and we welcome the insight of those who have done it longer than us.  We're bound to have missteps; we just hope to avoid catastrophe. After the seasons we've experienced in 2015 so far, sidestepping tragedy and avoiding wasted efforts are  high priorities. 

But for now, we delight in watching the ladies explore their new home, feel the breeze and cluck reassurances to one another.

"This ain't so bad, girls. This ain't so bad."

And as I come home from the farm and look in my garage, nary a pine shaving to be seen, I have to say--I agree.