Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Escalante Community Garden welcomes five new employees

As you might have guessed from my previous post, the Escalante Community Garden now has chickens. We have been chicken-proofing the compost area of the garden for the last few days. This included sealing the areas under our fences and putting the final touches on their chicken coop (a old playhouse donated by Gretchen and Raul).

With that finished this morning, we picked up our five new residents. Our first chickens are Silver Laced Wyandottes. We picked up five of them to start, but if all goes well, we hope to expand the flock in the future. Silver Laced Wyandottes are known for being good egg layers, calm and hardy. Our new ladies (roosters are not allowed in city limits) are 2 months old, which is good for us because we decided we did not want to raise a whole batch from chick-stage only to find that it wasn't worth it. Unfortunately, the downside to this strategy is that we missed this chicken stage.

As one could imagine, our new Wyandottes were a little confused finding themselves in a new place and spent the first few minutes backed into a corner. They showed a surprising level of teamwork in defending against whatever imagined threat was lurking in this new area. Eventually, however, we lured them out of the corner with a mix of food scraps from the food bank. These scraps aren't a special occasion either. We hope to be able to raise these birds on mostly food scraps from the TCAA food bank. These scraps are because the food bank gets donations from many grocery stores and a lot of the produce in these donations is a little past the state of human consumption. Chickens, on the other hand, have a more liberal definition of what is edible. They prefer scraps more than others, however. When I tossed them a pile of food, they all squabbled over the same grape-sized radish for the first ten minutes before pecking at anything else.

Now the next logical question is obviously: what are you planning on naming them? Since they all look quite similar at this stage, Dave and I have decided to keep it simple and name them all Jesse.

UPDATE: While I was in the office writing this article, Jesse, Jesse, Jesse, Jesse, and Jesse all snuck out of the chicken coop. This was a surprise and means we aren't done chicken-proofing the coop yet. However, it's not too much of a setback because it only means they discovered their outdoor area earlier than we intended.

I've been humming this song all day:

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