Friday, May 30, 2008

Fly Wars

Since we now controlled our own mini-farm, we decided to try predator flies in the new barn. I heard they worked well, and boy do they ever! Some of my friends called it "Fly-of-the-Month-Club" since 5,000 of them arrive each month to hatch and eat the larvae of the pesky biters. Throughout the fly months, my horses have had minimal flies on them! I was and continue to be so excited about cutting down on flies using this approach... I love when the little egg packet arrives each month. I can't wait to release them, because I know they WORK! As you can see from the photo, they're not very big; the tiny specks you can see along the edges are actually the little flies. They don't smell, and the packet is secure and really easy to use. The monthly cost is less than a bottle of fly spray, and it's a safe, totally "green" source of fly control - all natural and no pesticides or chemicals whatsoever!

I purchased my flies from Spalding Labs. If you'd like more information from Spalding, go to this link:

Here is a link to some great Anti-fly articles as well as several Forum threads:

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

By way of China

My sister acquired a brood of chicks from some foreign exchange college students who didn't know it was illegal to keep chickens in your apartment. Those chicks grew into a beautiful flock, providing amazing eggs-big and BLUE! Yes, blue! Araucana (or Ameraucana) chickens lay colored eggs and are also known as "Easter Egg Chickens"-they are like any other egg; they just have a beautiful shell, which can arrive in a variety of colors: blue, green, pink, yellow. "Brownie" came to us due to all her mates being killed off by raccoons. When my sister got new chickens to replace them, they pecked and picked on poor Brownie until she was in danger of death (bottom of the "pecking order"-literally!). Once the barn was built, my sister begged me to take her. Now, mind you, we live 4 hours apart-no small ride for a chicken, especially in the pelting rain that occurred that weekend. Luckily, I was in the area with my truck, picking up rubber stall mats, so they loaded me up with a large, roomy cage for Brownie to make the trip with a tarp cover to shelter her from the rain and highway wind. We all survived, and Brownie, now also called Fred, provides us with a beautiful blue-green egg every day. She lives "free-range" and roosts way up in the barn rafters, away from predators. She digs in the dirt, eats flies and other insects and provides both entertainment and comfort with her soothing little clucking sounds. She LOVES cat food, and comes running when I call her at morning feeding time. We've certainly learned a lot about chickens-and plan to add a couple of chicks soon.