Welcome to Pandora's Box

You're cordially invited to take a peek into Pandora's Box.

The intent of this blog is to inspire critical, logical, and free thinkers to join in on the discourse which will address topics such as; Agriculture, Agribusiness, Tourism, Human and Animal Rights, Cultural Diversity, Organic Cooking, Wining and Dining, World Religions, Philosophy, or anything else that might just "pop" out of Pandora's Box!

I would love for you to join me in the never-ending journey to enlightment, love, and the pursuit of purpose.

Peace Out,
Carla Jean

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

All Cooped Up

The close to another workday is quickly approaching, and not without incidence. It appears that the computer that interfaces with our server is toast. Perhaps my co-hort can revive the old bird with his voodoo magic. Perhaps not.

Technology doesn't turn me on and I'm feeling cooped up with a million other things I'd rather be doing. Learn more, do more, be somewhere else more. Anywhere but behind this ball n' chain of a desk. Office air-conditioning wars are peaking as August's fiery furnace beats down on the exterior suites. Yes, our eight units are having a hard time keeping up during these dog days of Texas summer.

Speaking of feeling all cooped up and old birds, I have recently discovered a subculture of "chickinists" on my trail to chicken-enlightenment. Although, the label doesn't quite sit well with me. It could be very well confused with a chicken-religion or even a political party that backs chickens. Chickenista better suits my style. Granted, I've never raise any chickens of my own,therefore, I've yet to earn my feathers and the right to be called a true chickenista.

Many years ago my grandmother purchased 100 baby chicks and rented the horse-stall next door to our Tennessee Walker, Outline, to house them. Grandma piled the cages 6 high, a sort-of homemade factory chicken farm. I don't recall much free-ranging going on and never got the chance to really appreciate the chickens for who and what they were. Looking back, it must have been grandma who instilled my curiosity about chickens.

My husband has promised to build me a chicken-coop this spring. This should give me ample time to gather all the information I need to raise healthy, heat-tolerant chickens that will provide our kitchen with fresh eggs. I have decided that veganism is a lofty aspiration and one that I am not totally committed to pursue. Shying away from all animal products is a hard one for me to swallow, so to speak. It has taken a couple months to find my balance and I am comfortable with eating dairy products, IF, and that's a big IF, I know where they came from. I didn't have to worry when I read this email from PETA:

"Half a billion eggs were recalled by the Food and Drug Administration, and more than 1,000 people were sickened by a strain of salmonella. When you consider that a hen spends more than 34 hours suffering in a crowded battery cage to produce just ONE egg, it puts a whole new perspective on the true cost of the egg industry."

Gathering the eggs of information has proven to be fun and a bit bizarre. I was amazed to learn of Austin's Funky Chicken Coop Tour.
The second annual chicken coop tour brought in 6000 chicken enthusiasts who all share a common interest in their fowl-feathered friends.

The chicken community is undoubtedly growing. The Funky Tour has a facebook page (who doesn't) that offers a well-spring of insight and one that I will frequent often. I have many questions. Which breed is conducive to Texas heat? Which are child-friendly? How many eggs will my layers produce on average? How long will they live?

After emailing http://www.mobilechickencoops.com/, a few of my questions were answered within moments.

Thank you for inquiring about our chicken coops. Generally speaking 4 to 6 hens will share one nesting box for laying eggs. If you have sitting hens then you might want additional nesting box space but most people don't hatch their own eggs anymore. I have found as many as 3 of our hens in one box at the same time all trying to lay their eggs. I have 6 nesting boxes in our largest coop and our hens use 3 to 5 of the boxes and surprisingly use the smaller boxes over the larger ones. Unless you have sitters, hens generally are only on the nest for 20 to 40 minutes. What is more important is having adequate roosting space. Most standard breeds need about 9 inches of roosting space per bird. In the heat of the summer I would allow up to 12" per bird. If you have any other questions feel free to ask.

Thanks to Josh who replied so quickly. I'm leaning toward that bright yellow Mega Coop. My hubby is still deciding whether to do-it-himself (which is he very capable of doing), yet doesn't know if he really wants to commit 4 weekends to this project. Either way, it's not like I'm asking for a million dollar house. A chicken-coop will do just fine, thank you very much!

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