Saturday, March 3, 2012

On buying chicks from a feed store............

Uh...........did anyone out there think this would be HARD???


Good.  Because I didn't either.  Get ready for a bit of a rant.  :P

So, we have been planning to order chicks through a hatchery.  Some for meat, some for eggs.  I poured over my favorite catalog and carefully underlined important information about each breed I was interested in.  Then, I circled the breeds I wanted to order with a red marker.  You know, so I wouldn't forget.

Low and behold, now we are ready to submit our order, and the hatchery is out of meat chickens.  As in, totally out.  Not backordered.  Argh!  Then, I notice several of the laying breeds we had chosen were backordered by at least three weeks, some for two months!


After looking at some other hatcheries online, I realized this is a common problem right now.  In February.  Who knew hatcheries started selling out of chicks so early?  I didn't.  This was our first time to order from one.

I thought I was ordering early!!!

So, we thought we might just get some from Tractor Supply.  We called every day for several days hoping to hear they had received their shipment of eggs.  Finally, they did.  I dropped everything (I left rising bread in the oven for this!) and loaded up the kids and headed to the store.

No meat chickens like they were expecting.  Bummer.

Lots of Rhode Island Reds.  We already have several of those and wanted some different breeds.

Lots of Gold Sex Links.  Hmmm.  I wasn't particularly fond of getting "mutt" breeds.  We have some mutts and they're not real pretty.  I want old breeds.  Heritage breeds.  Breeds that can reproduce for us, if we want. 

Then, there was a bin full of fluffy little yellow chicks with two reddish stripes down their backs.  What were they?  Nobody knew.  The sign just said, "Pullets".  I even took my hatchery catalog into the store with me, and Ava and I couldn't find these chicks anywhere in it.  I asked several employees.  They didn't know.  They told me their "chicken guy" was out to lunch and would be back in a bit.

Then, a customer reminded me of another feed store just down the road that she thought had chicks.

They did!  However, bless his heart, this nice old man couldn't tell me much about them either.  I thought they looked like a bunch of Buff Orpingtons (because we have two) and a couple Barred Rocks (of which we also have two).  He told me, "No, no.  There's a bunch of 'em mixed up in there.  There's Dominickers, Buffs, Rhode Islands, and Brown Leghorns." 


When he got back there to look, he changed his mind.  "Well, we must have sold all the Leghorns.  But the rest of 'em are there."

Hmm..........I wasn't sure he knew what he was talking about.  We have RIR chicks and they don't look anything like what he had in that bin.  So, then I asked him if he knew if his Dominiques were male or female.  He said there was no way to tell.


Ava and decided we thought they were both males, based on what we remembered about the head spots on our Barred Rock chicks we' ve been raising.

We passed on those and tried our best to choose four Buff pullets.

Then, we went back to Tractor Supply and found said "chicken guy".  Turns out this guy doesn't know what breed ANY of the chicks were.  Huh?  They have signs on two of the tubs that say what breeds they are!  It was the third tub that didn't tell me what breed was inside.  He was clueless.  So was I.  And frustrated.  These people didn't know what they were selling.  How helpful is that?  I even asked him if he happened to have the packing slip that came with them that afternoon.  Perhaps that would have an itemization of what breeds were sent.  I could tell he was losing patience with me.

Mixed in with the RIR were supposed to be some New Hamshire Reds.  He couldn't tell which were which, so Ava and I decided to try two of the lightest chicks.  We also got three of the "mystery" breed and one little rogue fella roaming around with the Gold Sex Links.  This chick appears to either be an Ameracauna or Brown Leghorn.  We're not sure.  We're not even sure if it's pullet.  This "chicken guy" held it upside down by the feet and declared it was a rooster because it struggled.  Um.....okay.  We kept talking for a minute and he did it again.  This time, the poor little chick just hung there.  "Yep." he said, "I think that one's a male."

Uh, huh.

Anyway....................we brought home 4 Buffs, 1 Ameracauna/Brown Leghorn, 2 New Hampshires (I hope), and 3 "mystery" pullets.  10 new chicks, in all.  Hopefully 10 pullets.

By the time I got back home, I was mentally exhausted by the frustration I felt.  Then I remembered my bread.  It fell.  I baked it anyway.  It's meh.

All of that was just to remind myself next winter to order my chicks from a hatchery before February.  I don't want to go through that again!  I'd like to just order what I want and get it.  On the other hand, if you really don't care what kind of chickens you get, go to a feed store and they will likely save you money on shipping.  And you will not have to buy 25 of them for shipping safety.

Oh, by the way, the "mystery" chicks have been found out.  You may already know.  Do you?  If you do, you're smarter than me!  We believe they are Golden Comets.

I really didn't want mixed breed chickens because I want heritage breeds.  However, they do appear to be excellent layers, which is also important to us.  I'll let you know how I feel about them in 5-7 months.

Ok, rant over.  I feel better.  :)

Friday, March 2, 2012

Save $180 on a Berkey water filter!

I have recently been enlightened to what is in our water supply.  It concerns me, to say the least.  We've been using a PUR faucet mounted water filter until we can afford a better solution.  Our biggest concern is flouride.  These common filters do not remove flouride. 

Side note:  From what I understand, Berkey filters do not remove flouride, either.  However, their filters are superior at removing contaminants and they have additional filters you can purchase which DO remove flouride and also arsenic.  See the video below.

I have already switched our family to flouride-free toothpaste and am looking into switching to a dentist who will not use flouride on my kids (among other things), but more importantly, one who will NOT give me a hard time for choosing this.  My current dental office is already giving me a hard time for not wanting unnecessary x-rays.  I can only imagine how they'll react when I tell them, "No more flouride."  It's time to move on.

Another side note:  This is the last thing I will say about flouride right now.  It is a personal concern of ours and for many others.  Many people are learning that flouride has not been proven to be beneficial, but instead may be a trigger for diseases such as cancer, alzheimers, and bone diseases.  You'll need to do your own research on that as this post is intended to be more focused on water filters, but here are just some interesting articles on the topic of flouride.

I'd love to say this is a post on how we BUILT our own Berkey water filter.  But it's not.  We're still not there, yet.  But, in the meantime, I have found several websites and youtube videos on the subject and just wanted to share them with those of you who are interested in such things.  I did not think of this money-saving idea on my own.  I just happened to stumble across a video and thought, "Duh.  Why didn't I think of that?"  It never ceases to amaze me what other people invent.
The idea is to purchase the filters from Berkey (or another source) and build your own containers from old "Ozarka" type bottles or 5 gallon buckets, etc. to save a lot of money.
This fellow saved nearly $180 building his own Berkey!  His site has a pretty good tutorial on how to do it.

Here's another at

And here's a short, helpful video showing a simple and inexpensive set up.  This video does not walk you through the building process, he just tells you how he did it and shows you the finished product.

This is something we WILL be doing in the future.  We just have more pressing projects on our plates at the moment.

I would love to hear what you have done for your family concerning filtering water!  Do you own a Berkey?  Have you built your own?  Care to share any advice on the matter?

I will definitely update this post when we build our own system.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

February Reading accomplishments......

I won't be giving much detail on each book I list.  I simply don't have the time right now.  This is more of a simple record for me to remember what I have read.  If you have specific questions, feel free to ask!  I'll try to make time to answer!

Knockout by Suzanne Somers
~good, interview style layout between Suzanne and innovative doctors, lots of information, a little over-the-top at times, though, IMO

Breakthrough by Suzanne Somers
~very similar to above book, so similar I thought I was reading the same book again, good though, if you are into alternative healing and nutrition

~~~~I feel like I need to add a little side note here about Suzanne Somers.  I think she is a lot smarter than many interviewers would have you believe.  I like how much research she has done for the good of the population on cancer healing and prevention.  The two books above have a lot of valuable information in them--I can't speak for anything else she has written, as I haven't read them.  Having said all that, as a Christian, I have personally felt convicted that I do not want to make health my god, or idol.  I believe it would be very easy to become consumed with it all and make it the most important thing in life.  To the point of offending and/or ostracizing other people.  I don't want to do that.  Suzanne tells you she is not religious, and it is evident (to me, anyway) that health/nutrition and especially anti-aging have become like idols in her life.  This is why I am cautious to just give these books an overwhelming "thumbs up".  Now, take that for what you will.

The Maker's Diet by Jordan Rubin
~great book! Interesting personal story of near-death healing with nutrition, biblical perspective of food and how it is raised, very do-able, this was actually my third time to read this since Nov. or Dec.-it's that good!

Blood on the River by Elisa Carbone
~read this book aloud to Ava (10), a little gritty for her age, but a very good read.  She was riveted and always wanted to hear more.  Perhaps too mature for this age-but probably a good choice anyway if you have a reluctant reader you are trying to help become interested in reading.  Pre-reading this book may be in order if you are concerned.

Hobby Farm Magazine - March/April issue, one of few subscriptions I have and always interesting!

There are a few I didn't finish in time for this month but I already have a nice stack from the library I'm anxious to get started on.  We'll see how much I get to read in March!