Archive for December, 2010


Clockwise from right: Amaracana, Buff Orpington, Black Giant and the first Narragansett Turkey egg

I was looking for a book on poultry health care so I checked Poultry Health and Management by David Sainsbury out from the library.  When I got it home, it turned out to be a book about commercial poultry production, and it had pretty much nothing in it dealing with our sort of farm.  It did have a some very interesting data however, like this chart which the author offers in the introduction. (more…)


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There has been a lot of discussion on FaceBook about two recent recalls of artisan cheese, one by Bravo Farms in California’s Central Valley and the other, perhaps more serious, by Sally Jackson Cheeses of Oroville, Washington.   Bravo Farms, which produces my favorite California Cheddar, “Silver Mountain”, is not tiny, but is small by any modern standard of a food production plant.  Bravo suffered a recall when the California Department of Food and Agriculture found both Listeria monocytogenes and E.Coli O157:H7 at their plant.  Cheeses were recalled even though, to date, no one has been confirmed to have gotten ill from eating their cheese.  The later FDA report of Bravo shows twelve separate dates when a team of three inspectors visited Bravo over a 26 day period and found numerous – though I must say rather minor – violations. Sally Jackson Cheeses has a far more serious problem, because their cheeses have sickened at least 8 people with the very serious E.Coli O157:H7.  As is evidences by both the photos on Jackson’s web site and the descriptions of the facilities in the FDA report, this is a tiny, ill-equipped “Mom & Pop” operation.  The FDA report is rather shocking in the number and nature of violations for which Jackson was cited. (more…)

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The array of eggs from our hens, from blue-green to white and cafe brown.


I had to do something this week that is thoroughly depressing and demoralizing:  I had to buy eggs.  Now that might not sound like such a big deal to many of you, but you have to understand that I have 21 chickens and 12 turkeys on my payroll and I do expect something in return for providing them with food, water and keeping the eagles and raccoons at bay.  Since the cold snap, however, and with the number of hours of daylight having dwindled to a precious few, the chickens have just plain stopped laying.  Each time I go to the coop and open the door to the laying boxes and look in with eyes full of hopeful anticipation I find a hen staring back at me with a look on her little chicken face that can only mean “It’s cold and dark out here.  If you want eggs, you lay them!” (more…)

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