Important decisions about spending at the farm…
The cast of Real Hens of Orange County help pay for their rent and some of their living expenses by laying eggs and employing the humans to sell some of the extra eggs, particularly in Spring and Summer when the hens lay particularly well. The flock recently convened a family meeting with the humans to discuss spending.
Weighing, labeling & recording a few days' worth of eggs. Good job hens! . #backyardchickens #chickenlove #fresheggsdaily #pastureraised #chickens #fresheggs #urbanfarming #urbanfarm #sustainability #sustainableliving #realhensofoc #urbanhomestead #permaculture #organic #growyourownfood #orangecounty #losangeles #backyardpoultry #backyardpoultrymag
Basically, the flock wants more mealworm treats. “Woooormmms! Wooooorrmmmms!!” was the resounding cry. However, the humans explained how expensive that can get. A bag of dried mealworms costs about $20-$40, and the flock can go through a bag rather quickly, even if they only get the treats once a week. And while the egg sales contribute to the feed cost, it most certainly doesn’t cover it! At $40-$44 per 40 lb bag (with tax), and a large flock, the feed gets expensive fast! There are other costs, like organic barley seeds for fodder, supplies, etc. (In case you’re wondering, the flock eats Scratch & Peck’s Naturally Free Grower (an organic, non-GMO feed with no soy and no corn), which Lady Human ferments for them for optimal health.)
Flock queen Barred-Rock Obama understood the dilemma, so she lobbied the humans to restart mealworm farming. The humans were a little reluctant at first, because it adds more work… they already spend lots of time farming the backyard, cleaning up after the chickens, fermenting feed, picking up and chopping chickens’ veggies, growing chickens’ fodder…the humans’ list of duties was long. Plus, the last time the humans farmed mealworms for the flock, ants attacked and nearly devastated the colony. Warding off the persistent, invasive and non-native Argentine ants was quiet a lot of work and stress. There are also a few (ok, more than a few) mealworm addicts among the flock and they have been known to try to raid the mealworm colony for their own selfish gains.
Nonetheless, Lady Human caved to the beak-poking and the “bawwww-bawwww-bawwwwk” of the chickens’ pleas. While it will be more work, it isn’t all that hard once things are set up. It’s healthier, more economical and more sustainable than freeze-dried packaged mealies from the store. Fresh mealworms would be a fantastic healthy treat for the chickens, and the frass (mealworm poop) is an excellent natural fertilizer in the garden.
Now that the humans and chickens were in agreement, the next hurdle had to be overcome: how many mealworms to order. Newton (pictured below) and several of her buddies lobbyied for 100,000 worms to start. Lady Human strongly objected to that many worms.
Barred-Rock Obama then suggested 50, 000 mealworms, but Lady Human still balked and put her foot down to an order of 10,000 from Rainbow Mealworms. Afterall, she will be the one managing the worm farm and should have final say. The flock had no choice but to agree reluctantly, because the alternative would be no worms at all.
Stay tuned: Follow up posts later about the mealworm farm set-up.