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The Gray Fox Farm

Hudson, Ohio

Welcome to The Gray Fox Farm! We're a small produce and poultry farm in Hudson, OH. We sell our vegetables, chickens, eggs, and turkeys through a combination of our local farmers market, CSA, and directly to customers at the farm. Then we obsessively blog about it all. 

 

 

What Your Chicken Says About You

My mother sent my sister and I a text last week. Something akin to, "Hello! Is anybody out there?" It'd been a few days since either of us had contacted her. I'm a terrible daughter. I know. So to defend myself I sent back a picture of a super cute chick which I hoped had the two fold benefit of making my mom smile and give a cute, fluffy excuse as to why I hadn't called. Not to be outdone, my sister sent that center pic of two frozen chicken breasts. And, to join in the fun, mom sent a pic of her decorative ceramic chicken. 

Aside from proving that the Fox girls know how to have fun it also reveals our individual relationships with chicken. I'm fairly involved in the making of my food. I generally start making dinner months in advance by planting a seed or hatching a chick. Then I plant/raise it, harvest/butcher it, cook it, and eat it. On a scale from 1 to very involved I am very involved. 

But most people aren't. Most Americans hit the grocery store twice a week and shop according to the two most important criteria: Price and Convenience. No judgement here. Just a fact. We shop according to our values. My sister, who works crazy hours and lots of them, values convenience. Hence the frozen chicken that can go from freezer to table in 12-18 minutes. 

And that ceramic bird? Well, when mom thinks of chicken she thinks decor, not dinner. After cooking every night for 18 years she deserves a break, yes? 

Think about your chicken pic? What does it say about you?

Farm Hacks

Everyone is hacking things! Ikeahacks. Lifehacks. I was feeling left out. So I give you Farmhacks.

1. The 5 gallon bucket turned poultry waterer. 

You can buy fancy waterers for poultry at your local feed store. A 5 gallon version with bird attracting red dish will run you about $30. Or you can grab a 5 gallon bucket left over from a paint job and a $6 Tuff Bucket from Tractor Supply. Drill two small holes near the top of the paint bucket. These should be on opposite sides of the rim.  Fill with water up to the holes. Firmly attach the lid. Flip the bucket over into the black rubber dish and voila, poultry waterer.


2. The mason jar feeder. 

For $3 at the feed store you can get a 6 slot feeder for chicks. But then you're expected to pay an additional few dollars for a plastic jug to screw on top. The plastic will melt under the heat lights. Just trust me on that one. But for free, or the cost of any jar of anything at the grocery store, you can use a mason jar instead. Cheaper, reusable, and much less melty.


3. Shredded leaves as bedding

It's $5 for a big bag of pine shavings at the store. We use them for the brooder and the coop floor. The only problem is that the chicks will eat the shavings instead of food. Instead you can use all the leaves you just raked up. The birds will scratch at them to release any insects and ultimately turn it into compost. Not only are leaves free but you end up with usable compost for the lettuce field. 


4. Campaign signs as shade cloth support

To keep squash beetles off of the plants we cover them with shade cloth. It lets light and water through while acting as a physical barrier to keep insects out. It's one of the organic alternatives to spraying pesticides. As the plant grows we need to raise the shade cloth off the ground so we don't smother the plant. You can buy metal rods that you bend into an arc or you can use those conveniently shaped square ones from campaign yard signs. You get to recycle the metal sign parts and there's no bending required. 

Who else has ideas on farm and garden hacks? I feel like there's a whole bunch I could be using. 

A Chicken Baby Book: Week 1

New chicks grow so quickly it's like watching the entire first year of a baby's development. They learn to walk, eat, drink, keep themselves warm, and interact with all of the other birds in the brooder. It's pretty impressive when you think that this is done completely by instinct. We don't have a hen brood them so they figure everything out on their own. 

Here is week 1 for the chick baby book.

1. Baby's first car trip! Chicks spend two days traveling by postal truck from Iowa. 

2. Baby's first tooth! Chicks have an egg tooth that they use to peck out of their egg. On day three they lose that tooth. 

3. Baby's first meal! Upon arrival the chicks have their first sips of water and eat their first solid food.

4. Baby's first feathers! Chicks hatch out covered in yellow fuzz which is slowly replaced by feathers. The first feathers to come in are wing feathers. Right now the chicks are all yellow fuzz with little wings attached. 

5. Baby's first diaper blow out! Chicks often develop something called "pasty butt" which is when their poo gets stuck to their rear ends. It backs up the whole system and can kill the chick. We lovingly clean each chick bum on day six so they have clear plumbing.