Baby Chicks, Backyard Chickens, Farming, WWOOF USA

Our Farm’s First WWOOFers

As a couple of young farmers, we get a lot done during the day. This year we have been so blessed that we are staying really busy and we’ve almost reached the point where we couldn’t continue to move forward with our business because we were spending nearly all of our 7 day work weeks on farm management and sales. In November, we visited a farm in Santa Barbara owned by a couple friends of ours, Kevin and Lauren Hanson, who are trying to revive an old avocado orchard. They had a group young, spunky, and passionate people out there working happily to help them reach their goals – WWOOFers. I had heard of the program, and loved the idea, but never imagined we had the capacity to open up our farm for work-stays. Kevin gave us the rundown and it sounded too good to be true. We dragged our feet of course, not sure how to provide them with a place to stay, and then got a call from a couple of women who wanted to come work. We threw together an old motorhome with cute thrift store finds, and voila! Jeremy picked them up from another farm in Carmel Valley. The were soon after joined by their friend.

 

We have had such an amazing experience with them! Since they are our first WWOOFers, we are delighted to share it with you. For those of you who are not familiar with WWOOF – it stands for WorldWide Opportunities on Organic Farms. It is a work-stay program designed to connect people with host farms in a mutually beneficial working relationship where knowledge and skills are shared. The program has a chapter in almost any country you can think of, including WWOOF-USA. This is where we get to thank the WWOOF Organization as a whole and WWOOF-USA specifically for creating an environment rich in knowledge and growth that grooms our future generations of farmers, or even just our future generations of responsible citizens!!

 

Our first WWOOFers came to California from Georgia. Their names are Katie, Brooke, and Chaz – and they have been so helpful! Katie is excellent at gardening, Brooke has a great eye for photography, and Chaz has learned he has a knack for construction. They’ve all learned to drive manual transmission, how to care for chickens, build coops, and so much more.

 

We’ve also had a great time with them: homemade pasta nights, a seven mile hike with the puppies, corned beef and cabbage for St. Patty’s Day, getting baby pigs, sightseeing trips to Los Angeles, and game nights. And tomorrow morning we will be milking goats in Santa Barbara with one of our favorite people, Emma Fowler with the Isla Vista Food Co-op, and catching a Jalama Burger on the way home to catch our first hatch of Lavender Orpingtons and Olive Eggers for the year. Life is good. The girls will be with us until March 28th, and Chaz will be here until April 10th. Then we will be looking for our next set of WWOOFers… any volunteers?

 

For fun, here is a peek at one of the pictures Brooke took with our Canon 50D.

 

 

And, as I promised! The winner for the Free T-Shirt from our last blog is Tammy! Please email me with your address and preferred size, and it will ship to you on April 10th. If you didn’t win, you have until the end of the month to Pre-Order your Dare 2 Dream Farm T-Shirts! 

 

Thanks for your support everyone!

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Chicken Health, Fresh Eggs

Scrambled Eggs: Insight into the Egg Industry, and Encouragement for Backyard Farmers

This video by the The Cornucopia Institute is incredible. Cage-free eggs or organic eggs sound great in principle but, as we suspected, the commercialized egg industry cuts corners on the quality of life for their mass production hens. The requirement for “outdoor access” is a term left open to a broad range of interpretations, and mass scale egg producers take advantage of that. This video is less than 5 minutes and really hits home about why we farm the way we do – and why we encourage you to be your own source for eggs by raising chickens with all the love and care they deserve.

 

 

In the appendix to their report “Scrambled Eggs: Separating Factory Farm Egg Production from Authentic Organic Agriculture”, The Cornucopia Institute discusses the three approaches to organic egg production (pasture-based, permanent housing, and industrial organics) and the corners cut by industrial organic egg producers including that “chickens don’t like to go outside.” It exposes rogue animal welfare labels and identifies the good ones. If you can’t raise your own chickens this is a great read to help you identify the best egg sources for you or your family.

 

For more information on our pasture-based farming, you can visit our website to Meet the Flock or read About the Farm for pictures of our mobile housing and chicken pastures.

Breeds

Barred Plymouth Rocks

We got an awesome email today from one of our customers of a picture with her Barred Plymouth Rock sitting on her shoulder. We told her the Barred Rocks were friendly, and this little one really lived up to her description! She said: “Who needs a parrot when you have a Barred Rock?”

Barred Rocks are part of the Plymouth Rock breed – Barred is the color variety aptly named from the black and white bars running through each feather. They are excellent egg layers, excellent foragers, and clearly they make excellent friends! They are by far our favorite of all chickens. Some say they’re noisy, but they really are just very interactive and like to talk to anyone who will listen. They certainly have a lot to talk about as they’re insatiably curious and love to explore their surroundings and help with gardening chores.

 

These girls lay a big, beautiful brown egg almost daily and will even lay through a good portion of winter during their prime and you can expect around 240 of them each year. Crossing a Barred Rock hen with a Rhode Island Red or New Hampshire Red rooster will produce a Black Sexlink which is bred specifically for laying and dons a similar curious and interactive personality.

 

Visit our website for more information on Barred Rocks, and the Plymouth Rock Breed.

Baby Chicks

Raising Baby Chicks

Springtime is upon us again… it’s baby chick season! Lots of us will begin to entertain the idea of raising chicks at home – even those of us who do it for a living (yes, I’m writing this with a 1 week old baby Blue Cochin on my shoulder named Elle). or those who’ve not yet had the pleasure, here is a quick tutorial on getting set up. Please, remember they are indeed very fragile as babies, and do need special care. The joy of introducing children to baby chicks is wonderful but this is not a task for young children without supervision.

 

What you’ll need:

  1. Heat lamp
  2. Brooder box: This can be made out of anything you have laying around such as large cardboard boxes, large plastic storage containers, large metal water troughs, etc.)
  3. Bedding: We recommend pine shavings but there are also other alternatives. Just be sure to avoid cedar shavings.
  4. Chick feeder and chick waterer: There are all different sizes and styles of feeders and waterers. It is best to use ones designed for baby chicks which help prevent them from soiling or spilling their food and water source, and also prevent them from drowning in it.
  5. Chick starter crumbles
  6. A warm place inside

 

Setting up:

Find a place inside to set up your brooder box that is insulated and remains a fairly constant temperature. Garages can be drafty and often prove to be difficult places to maintain the right temperature.  Depending on the box you’ve chosen, you may want to consider setting down an old sheet, tarp, newspapers, or rags underneath the box to prevent spilled feed, water, or shavings from soiling your carpets or floors. Put approximately 1-2 inches of bedding in the bottom of the brooder box. Attach your heat lamp to the corner of the box or to a surface nearby the brooder box. Place the chick feeders and waterers in the box away from the heat lamp. If you can, prop the feeders and waterers up on small bricks, blocks, pavers, or other items to raise them a bit above the bedding to help prevent soiled bedding from being scattered into their food and water source. When you settle in your new chicks into their brooder box, it is a good idea to dip their beaks in the water so they know where it is. 

 

For more information about what to look for, cleanliness, and what temperature to keep them at, visit our website page on Raising Baby Chicks.

 

For information on our brooder packages that include baby chicks and everything you need to raise them, visit our website page on Brooder Packages.

Backyard Chickens, Feed Stores

Listing: Feed Stores In Your Area

In an effort to connect our customers with their local feed stores, this is a list of feed stores that carry quality poultry supplies from the Bay Area all the way down to San Diego. 

 

Agoura Feed
28327 Agoura Rd
Agoura Hills, CA 91301
818-889-1989

Anaheim Feed
1730 N Lemon St
Anaheim, CA 92801
714-992-2012

AnJan Feed
111 S. Main Street
Milpitas, CA 95035
408-263-1774

AnJan Feed
433 Vineyard Town Center
Morgan Hill, CA 95037
408-779-6800

AnJan Feed
1633 1st St. (Monterey Rd)
San Jose, CA 95112
408-293-6232

AnJan Feed
1129 S. De Anza Blvd
San Jose, CA 95129
408-446-3932

AnJan Feed
1109 Branham Lane
San Jose, CA 95118
408-269-5551

AnJan Feed
7128 Santa Teresa Blvd
San Jose, CA 95139
408-578-7790

AnJan Feed
1841 Pruneridge Ave
Santa Clara, CA 95050
408-243-1571

Armstrong Feed & Supply
28520 Cole Grade Rd
Valley Center, CA 92082
760-749-2223

Aromas Feed & Ranch
320 Carpenteria Rd
Aromas, CA 95004
831-726-1953

Benwood Feed
294465 The Old Rd
Castaic, CA 91384
661-775-0101

BioFuel Oasis
1441 Ashby Ave
Berkeley, CA 94702
510-665-5509

Blacksmiths Corner
17647 Lakewood Blvd
Bellflower, CA 90706
562-531-0386

Brentwood Feed &Pet
2500 Walnut Blvd
Brentwood, CA 94513
925-634-0404

Byron Feed
3800 Holway Dr
Byron, CA 94514
925-634-4353

Camarillo Feed
264 Dawson Dr
Camarillo, CA 93012
805-389-2929

Canyon Feed & Tack
30555 Trabuco Canyon Rd
Trabuco Canyon, CA 92679
949-766-2825

Carter’s Hay & Grain
10227 Palm Row Dr
Lakeside, CA 92040
619-561-0631

Carter’s Hay & Grain
1985 Oliverhain Rd
Encinitas, CA 92024
760-436-4738

Centinela Feed & Pet
2320 Harbor Blvd
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
714-540-4036

Centinela Feed & Pet
11055 W Pico Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90064
310-473-5099

Centinela Feed & Pet
3120 E Colorado Blvd
Pasadena, CA 91107
626-795-9895

Centinela Feed Inc
16571 Ventura Blvd
Encino, CA 91436
818-990-0744

City Farmers Nursery
4832 Home Ave
San Diego, CA 92105
619-284-6358

Collier Feed & Pet
101 W Laurel Dr
Salinas, CA 93906
831-443-6161

Concord Feed
5288 Clayton Rd
Concord, CA 94520
925-887-9200

Concord Feed
7100 Dublin Blvd
Dublin, CA 94568
925-230-1060

Concord Feed
2401 Waterman Blvd
Fairfield, CA 94534
707-6734554

Concord Feed
3170 4th Street
Livermore, CA 94550
925-447-4203

Concord Feed
228 Hookston Rd
Pleasant Hill, CA 94523
925-940-1200

Country Feed Store
2111 E Vista Way
Vista, CA 92084
760-724-7310

Country Hills Feed
151 Casserly Rd
Watsonville, CA 95076
831-722-6588

Da Moor’s Feed & Tack
1532 Riverside Dr
Glendale, CA 91201
818-242-2841

Dave’s Haybarn
1325 E Julian St
San Jose, CA 95116
408-292-3337

Descanso Hay & Feed
25077 Viejas Blvd
Descanso, CA 91916
619-445-5464

Half Moon Bay Feed
331 Main St
Half Moon Bay, CA 94019
650-726-4814

Hansen’s Feed & Pet
2901 Freedom Blvd
Watsonville, CA 95076
831-722-1144

Island Seed & Feed
29 S. Fairview Ave
Goleta, CA 93117
805-967-5262

JC Feed & Supply
10027 Main Ave
Lakeside, CA 92040
619-561-4479

Kahoots Feed & Pet
947 Main St
Ramona, CA 92065
760-788-7785

Kruse Feed & Supply
2300 E Lambert Rd
La Habra, CA 90631
562-690-6998

La Cumbre Feed
3652 Calle Real
Santa Barbara, CA 93105
805-687-1880

Larsen’s Feed & Pet Supply
7400 Gravenstein Hwy
Cotati, CA 94931
707-527-7328

Lemos Feed & Pet
120 Traffic Way
Arroyo Grande, CA 93420
805-489-4043

Lemos Feed & Pet
2527 Los Berros Way
Arroyo Grande, CA 93420
805-489-9243

Lemos Feed & Pet
8405 El Camino Real
Atascadero, CA 93422
805466-5387

Lemos Feed & Pet
4945 Carpenteria Ave
Carpenteria, CA 93013
805-566-9700

Lemos Feed & Pet
5880B Calle Real
Goleta, CA 93117
805-692-8566

Lemos Feed & Pet
1620 F North H Street
Lompoc, CA 93436
805-735-1975

Lemos Feed & Pet
2085 A 10th Street
Los Osos, CA 93402
805-528-8910

Lemos Feed & Pet
600 Quintana Rd
Morro Bay, CA 93442
805-772-5647

Lemos Feed & Pet
110 Mary Ave #H-9
Nipomo, CA 93444
805-929-2349

Lemos Feed & Pet
1491 Creston Rd
Paso Robles, CA 93446
805-239-3880

Lemos Feed & Pet
3210 Broad Street
San Luis Obispo, CA 93401
805-544-5227

Lemos Feed & Pet
330 E. Gutierrez
Santa Barbara, CA 93101
805-882-2336

Lemos Feed & Pet
525 S. Broadway
Santa Maria, CA 93454
805-925-6606

Lemos Feed & Pet
1511 C Mission Dr
Solvang, CA 93463
805-693-8180

Lincoln Feed & Supply
1464 Lincoln Ave
Pasadena, CA 91103
626-345-9361

Linda’s Feed & Supply
1234 6th Street
Norco, CA 92860
951-371-3330

Livery Feed & Ranch
2537 Main Street
Ramona, CA 92065
760-789-5582

Lomita Feed Store
24403 Narbonne Ave
Lomita, CA 90717
310-326-4738

Marin Tack & Feed
6880 Sir Francis Drake Blvd
Forest Knolls, CA 94933
415-456-2929

Mary’s Tack & Feed
3675 Via De La Valle
Del Mar, CA 92014
858-755-2015

Mc Abee Feed
71 McCloskey Rd
Hollister, CA 95023
831-637-0900

Midway City Feed Store
14941 Jackson St
Midway City, CA 92655
714-893-2613

Mountain Feed & Farm
9550 State Route 9
Ben Lomond, CA 95005
831-336-8876

Ostrander Grass Hay
1350 Partner Rd
San Luis Obispo, CA 93405
805-544-0041

Pan American Seed
400 Obospo St
Guadalupe, CA 93434
805-343-2723

Ranch Feed & Supply
12868 Campo Rd
Spring Valley, CA 91979
619-669-4720

Ranchers Feed Inc
354 1st Street
Hollister, CA 95023
831-637-5548

Red Barn Feed
18601 Oxnard Street
Tarzana, CA 91356
818-345-2510

Red Barn Feed
8393 Topanga Canyon Blvd
West Hills, CA 91304
818-887-7388

Red Barn Feed
5160 Vineland Ave #103
North Hollywood, CA 91601
818-763-1358

Red Barn Feed
10142 Balboa Blvd
Granada Hills, CA 91344
818-832-0110

RiverTown Feed & Pet Country Store
200 1st Street
Petaluma, CA 94952
707-762-4505

Rodie’s Feed & Pet
8863 Marsh Creek Rd
Clayton, CA 94517
925-672-4600

Royal Oaks Feed & Tack
16500 Trapey Rd
Royal Oaks, CA 95076
831-722-5669

Santa Margarita Feed
2423 El Camino Real
Santa Margarita, CA 93453
805-438-5619

Santa Ynez Feed
3532 Sagunto St
Santa Ynez, CA 93460
805-688-6404

So Cal Feed
308 Chamersberg Rd
Fillmore, CA 93015
805-524-1000

Soutwest Feed
2671 Monument Rd
San Diego, CA 92154
619-428-5439

Stephens Hay & Grain
1840 Riverside Drive
Glendale, CA 91201
818-242-4540

Tecuya Feed & Animal
3105 Mt Pinos Way
Frazier Park, CA 93225
661-245-1765

Templeton Feed & Grain
405 S Main St
Templeton, CA 93465
805-434-1136

Western Feed & Pet Supply
407 G Street
Davis, CA 95616
530-757-9744

Westside Farm & Feed
817 Swift St
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
831-331-4160

Whittier Narrows Feed
2668 Pacific Park Dr
Whittier, CA 90601
562-692-0874

Wilson’s Feed & Supply
1700 Yajome St
Napa, CA 94559
707-252-0316

Yorba Linda Feed Store
3782 Rose Dr
Yorba Linda, CA 92886
714-524-3222

 

 

 

Farming

Do you LOVE farming?

What's not to love?Of all the questions we answer regarding backyard chickens, coops, and urban farming, the most common question we hear is “Do you LOVE your job?” The cool thing about this question is that even on long delivery days or hot and grimy farmwork days, we get to say yes! We have a lot of reasons to love our job: we work with each other, with adorable baby chicks, delicious farm fresh eggs, and we get to travel around the beautiful state of California to deliver aforementioned cute chicks to super-cool customers. There’s really not much to dislike about our job. But here’s the best part:

The most satisfying and fulfilling part of farming for us is the human interactions. There are so many people who just want to get their hands dirty as a way of escaping from their daily commutes and 9-5s, intensive curriculums, or busy city lifestyles. People crave sunshine. They want to see the miracle of sprouting seeds or learn the art of humanely raising animals for food.

Out at the farm we get to show our incredibly awesome and diverse group of work-stay guests from WWOOF-USA how to do what we do: from hatching and raising baby chicks, to keeping laying hens and gardening. It’s like camp: they spend around 1-3 months with us and group of their peers learning the ins-and-outs of farm life. When they travel on, many of them gift us with letters describing the immense changes they’ve undergone since arriving at the farm, and why they’re so thankful for their time with us. (We usually cry, and then save them to read again later!) Lots of them stay in touch. Some move on to other farms where they’ll get to share their newly earned knowledge. Some find new direction for their education or career. Others simply find a way to incorporate a bit of farm life into their regular lifestyle with plans to keep it growing.

Our farm’s main product is backyard chickens. We hatch and raise baby chicks to make it possible for people to start keeping chickens for eggs. Of course there’s an intrinsic joy to keeping chickens just like other pets – it’s especially evident on the kids’ faces when we pull up in our chicken-mobile to bring them their new little chickens. Let me tell you – being a part of that joy is priceless. But even after their cute baby chicks grow up, there’s the excitement of finding their hens’ first eggs, or the satisfaction of giving a dozen fresh eggs away as a ‘thank you’ gift to someone who has never experienced the taste of eggs from hens that are truly cared for. Our customers call us months or even years down the road just to tell us how much they love their chickens. Then they get to share with and teach their friends, neighbors, and children the benefits and joys of humanely keeping an animal for food. We believe in what we are doing, and we know that our business is putting honest value into people’s lives.

Most importantly, backyard chickens are a gateway to farming – tearing up lawn, building raised garden beds, and sometimes even moving out of the city and investing time, money and energy in DIRT. This is the kind of change people are looking for, and we get to help ignite it! What’s not to love about that?

Roosters

What To Do If a Roo Isn’t for You

White Plymouth Rock Rooster

Roosters aren’t right for every owner or every flock, but culling them isn’t the only option. If you’re looking for a humane way to get rid of a rooster and earn a few bucks, Craigslist is worth a try. Price your bird at around $10 to deter buyers who are simply looking for meat birds. If you don’t mind if you’re rooster may be slaughtered or need to get rid of a troublesome bird quickly, try offering him for sale at $5 or for free. If you are willing to part with one of your pullets, you may also have more success advertising the pair together. Craigslist may not have the best reputation, but it is free to list your rooster and has been successful for many former rooster owners, such as BackyardChickens.com user, jettgirl24:

I just re-homed mine using Craigslist last week. I had my post up for about a month, starting at $10 for purebred Marans. I ended up putting the ad in the community section under ‘Pets’ as well as under ‘Farm & Garden’ and gave them to a woman for free because she was super nice and just loved them. Don’t give up hope, just keep posting and eventually you’ll find a good home.

If you have a farm supply or garden store in your area, try asking if you can post a flier in their shop or see if they would be interested in taking the rooster off your hands. It is helpful to give the rooster a name and to include a character description along with a photo of your roo looking his very best! 

Other websites where you can list your rooster for adoption include: PetFinder.com and AdoptAPet.com. Depending on your area, you may have some luck contacting fellow chicken enthusiasts directly through local clubs or meet-up groups at MeetUp.com. If you don’t mind spending a bit of money to advertise your rooster, place an ad in your local paper or farm-related newsletter if one exists in your area. 

Fun Craigslist Rooster Ad Photo
Taking Notes? Cool photos like this earn big points with animal lovers looking for a new roo


Poultry swaps or shows in your local area are another avenue to investigate. The majority of these events take place in the summer, but occur at limited dates year-round. The American Poultry Association, Poultry Show Central, and the Greater California Society of Poultry Fanciers all post listings of upcoming shows. 

Rooster rescue organizations exist throughout the state of California for the sole purpose of re-homing unwanted roos. If you are unable to find a new home for your rooster on your own, consider giving him to a rooster rescue. If a placement fee is not required, consider giving a donation to help support the organization as many of these groups are independently run. Below is a list of rescue organizations by region: 


SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

Farm Sanctuary, Acton, CA
5200 Escondido Canyon Road
Web: www.farmsanctuary.org
E-mail: info@farmsanctuary.org

Blue Hill Farms, Ventura, CA
Web: www.bluehillfarms.com

CENTRAL CALIFORNIA

Save the Cocks, Templeton, CA 
Web: www.savethecocks.com
Phone: 805-226-6567
E-mail: info@savethecocks.com

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA

Farm Sanctuary, Orland, CA 
19080 Newville Road
Web: www.farmsanctuary.org
Phone: 530-519-0183
E-mail: info@farmsanctuary.org

Horse Plus Humane Society, Oroville, CA
Web: www.horsehumane.org
Phone: 530-282-5565 (Sun-Thurs noon-5pm
E-mail: info@horsehumane.org 

Animal Place, Grass Valley, CA
17314 McCourtney Rd
Web: www.animalplace.org
Phone: 530-477-1757
E-mail: info@animalplace.org

Concord Feed, Concord, CA
5288 Clayton Rd.
Web: www.concordfeed.com
Phone: 925-887-9200