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Friday, November 23, 2018

Pilgrim Geese Nesting and Hatching Babies!

I have a trio of pilgrim geese that were laying eggs and were becoming broody.   Broody means they want to start sitting on the nest to hatch the eggs.   If you cannot provide them a safe place to sit,  it isn't good to let them hatch eggs.   They will sit on a next and become easy prey for predators, especially at night.  You will usually loose the nest and often the hen to predation.    I decided to put them in a covered kennel to let them sit on their eggs where they could be safe.   Both hens made a large nest and had 17 eggs between the two of them.   The gander (white) loved to sit up high and watch over them.



I wasn't expecting that many to hatch as they were young hens and this was their first next, so sometimes they don't know what they are doing and only 1-2 will hatch.      Much to my surprise  12 of the 17 hatched.   Here are images of the babies.  Pilgrim geese are a auto-sexing breed which means you can tell the males from the females based on color.  Males are white, females are grey.  Even as babies, the females will be darker with a grey beak.   The first three pictures show a baby female.    Baby geese are very cute.   The male also plays a role in raising them.   Geese are very social and are constantly chattering with each other, including the babies.








Riverside Food Coop - Supporting local farmers - monthly crop box for members.

I belong to the Riverside Food Coop and buy the produce for the members monthly  crop box from local farmers.   The Riverside Food Coop was formed to open a member owned grocery store that sells local produce, food items and groceries.   We currently have 178 members and need more members to begin planning for a store.    Visit Riversidefoodcoop.com to join.   Lifetime membership to the coop is $100.00.  Monthly payment options are available.
Here are pictures of the produce that I picked up from local farms to pack our boxes a few months ago.   We have around 50 members who get a monthly produce box for $30.00.   This  box is available to members only.



Thursday, November 22, 2018

The Big Chicken Massacre

One morning I arrived at the farm to see feathers all over the place.    It looked like something had killed a lot of chickens and by the looks of the different colored feathers, it was more than one.  I had also forgot to close the large door to the coop that night so it was open all night. 



At this point, I wasn't sure what had killed all the chickens.   Whatever it was had eaten all of the birds, including the feet, head, and bones.   I ruled out raccoons as they will only eat part of the chickens.   It appears that I was missing almost 30 chickens including my two roosters, Roy and Delbert.     
I found this which appeared to be coyote scat near the pond.

The farm is completely surrounded by  houses and the perimeter is all concrete block walls which are over 7 feet high.    I found dead buried chickens along the walls of the farm.   This was another clue that it was coyotes because they will bury food they cannot eat and come back the next day and eat what they buried.






I dug them all up and disposed of them.  I didn't want them coming back to eat that they buried.
I found a portion of the farm that has access to the Santa Ana river.    The coyotes has dug a large hole under the fence and were accessing the farm through that area.   I installed a motion activated wildlife camera near the hole and got some really good pictures of the coyotes.   One of them had a really bad case of mange as you will see if the following pictures.  




There were a couple more visitors also after they coyotes stopped by.     I  placed concrete pavers on both sides of the fence so they couldn't dig under the fence anymore.   I haven't had any losses to coyotes since then.   



Monday, October 30, 2017

Hitchhiking Bird!

I ordered some day old ducks and geese and when I received the box and removed them, there was a little bird in the bottom of the box.    I wasn't sure what it was.   Looked like a pheasant, but was too small for a pheasant.   I called the hatchery which shipped the ducklings and goslings.    They didn't put him in there so what we figured that it escaped from a box at a post office somewhere in transit.   The postal employees caught it and put it in my box. 

Here is a picture of the ducklings and goslings in the box they were shipped.
 Here is the picture of the bird that was hitching a ride.



I kept the bird for 3 months until it was bigger.   It turned out to be a chukar partridge.   I found someone who was breeding pheasants and partridge in Jurupa Valley and donated the bird to them.

Here is a picture of an adult chukar




Pilgrim Geese - New Addition to the farm!

I purchased some pilgrim goslings from Metzer's hatchery in Northern California.   I also purchased some ducklings and they all arrived in the same box.
Pilgrim geese are an old breed that is listed as threatened by the Livestock Conservancy.    They are a calm and friendly breed of geese.    They are also an auto-sexing breed which means you can tell by the color of the babies which are male and which are female.   Males are white as babies and females are gray.
I received one male and two females.    Here are pictures of them as babies.






Here are some pictures of them when they are bigger





This is what the geese look like when they are mature.  You can tell the male (white) from the females (gray)


Saturday, February 18, 2017

Pest Control on the farm - Preying Mantis Egg Case

I was walking through the orchard the other day and noticed something on the branches of a young apricot tree.   I stopped to take a closer look and also take some pictures of it.   I then searched under insect egg cases and realized its a preying mantis egg case.   This makes me happy as preying mantises are insect predators and will help control the insect pest population.     This is also a by product of utilizing organic growing methods because if I sprayed insecticides, there wouldn't be any eggs cases of good or bad insects.

Preying mantises are insects that are closely related to cockroaches.   They will eat almost any other insect they can sneak up on and will also eat smaller preying mantises.   They will also eat small lizards or frogs if they can catch one.     Here is an image of a typical preying mantis found in most gardens or farms.


Here is an image of a baby that I found last summer so I took a picture of it before I released it.


Here are images of the egg cases on the apricot tree along with a picture of my finger along side for scale.    I will watch it closely and hopefully take some pictures of it when it starts hatching.



Thursday, February 2, 2017

Planting Update - Carioca Lettuce

I have started planting all the seedlings that I have started.    Today I planted a 50 foot row of carioca lettuce.   This variety is a red lettuce that forms loose heads.     I plant 3 rows within each row that is about 3.5 feet wide.   The seedlings were started in a plug tray.  

Here is a image of the seedlings.   They have decent roots so should start quite easily.   Lettuce plants are very easy to transplant.


Here are images of the rows after they were planted and finally an image of this variety when it's mature.