What is a Happy Chicken Cooperative?

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There are all kinds of cooperatives.

Babysitting ones.

Vegetable ones.

Homeschooling ones.

We hear the word but I think unless we have been a part of one

the real meaning behind it

could be a little fuzzy.

Basically it’s when a group of people pool their resources

to solve a problem or pursue a belief

with shared risk and reward.

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So for The Happy Chicken Farm

our problem,

my problem I guess and I’m hoping it’s yours too,

is mass farming of poultry- birds raised in crowded inhumane conditions.

This type of poultry farming is called factory farming.

Factory farming doesn’t make us very happy here

and we like to be happy

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I live my life by the motto

if you aren’t part of the solution then you are part of the problem.

So I thought

what could I do about factory farming?

I am just one person.

It’s hard to make a difference when you are just one person.

Enter a cooperative or as I prefer to type a co-op.

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Each co-op is comprised of 15 families

who invest equally into the farm.

They share in the risk-

such as predators,

or road crossing

(why chickens? why?!)

or whatever chicken problems you can have

(hint- not many).

But we also share in the reward.

Bountiful eggs, your very own chicken (without having to clean up the mess!)

also the tangible experience of knowing

where your food comes from and who provides it!

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It’s such an important connection to me

and one I especially enjoy sharing with children.

When kids see the chickens

feel the feathers,

collect the eggs

there is a connection to the food

that we seem to have lost these days.

We put all our food into plastic containers

and buy them from a store.

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We never think about where it comes from.

But shouldn’t we?

We have lost our connection

to the land,

the the farmer,

to the animal

and we take it for granted.

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But right now

because of three co-ops

(thats 45 families!)

here at The Happy Chicken Farm

we have 74 chickens

won’t have to inhale their own feces

and possibly become a cannibals due to the stress of overcrowding.

The only worries a happy chicken has

is when the farm assistant (Ryan)

is going to have their new swings ready

and when frozen blueberries are coming again.

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They have 99 problems

but a grub ain’t one.

There isn’t money in making happy chickens.

The money from co-ops goes to feed,

bedding,

feather care,

equipment,

 general maintenance,

and of course, the chickens favorite,

SNACKS!

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The reason I do what I do

is because

I wanna do my part.

It’s a small way I found that I can make a difference

in a problem I see in the world.

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74 freaking chickens.

What did I get myself into?!

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Rural King Run…

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Every week I make my usual trip to Rural King. It’s probably one of my most favorite times of the week. Only five minutes away down country roads we drink warm glass sodas on the way home each of us excited about something we found from the Rural King run. We go for the chicken food but we leave with waaaaaay more.

Today I’m sharing things I would have bought if I had money to burn and no adulting to do. I think you would be surprised at what they have to offer. Maybe you will understand why I call it “Farm Target”.

This little dandy sir made it into my cart. He was just so cute with his wooden handle, pink bristles, and snazzy tie. Wood is in right now.

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Plus, he is made in Germany so of course I love him.

I always smell this soap when I pass by but I haven’t bought it yet. I would love to eventually have it in my outside bathroom. It’s where all that farm hand washing happens and it could use all the extra good smelly goodness it can get.

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I haven’t had poison ivy for years but I was happy to see Burt’s Bees Poison Ivy Soap. I didn’t read the back but I think it’s to use after working somewhere that might have poison ivy. If you take a nice lukewarm shower after you have been expose to poison ivy, especially with a special soap like this, you will lessen your chances of getting the rash. I speak from experience I use to be extremely allergic. Don’t use hot water when you shower because it opens your pores making it easier for the pollen dust to get in.

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It is .18% unnatural though…hehe.

This next one is the wake up the inner JoJo in you. Look at this galvanized watering can. How classy is that? You can do all kinds of things with it. Use it as a planter. Just have a cute watering can. Build your own water feature with it. The possibilities are endless. Ok, not endless but there are a couple really cute things you can do with it!

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I don’t know about you but I have seen these small wooden paddle cutting boards all over Pinterest kitchens lately. So when I saw this one at Rural King I thought yes, you need to come home with me. So into my cart it went.

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I really, really, really, REEEEEEEEEAAAAALLLLLLY want this pool. I can see it now. Charlie sliding down the slide. Me relaxing with my drink. The chickens just hanging out enjoying the summer vibe. Yes,  I do see this pool in my future.

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It even has cup holders.

Now I can’t forget some summer BBQ add ons! I am putting these away in the ol’ memory bank for our next shindig. Toppings can make all the difference!

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All yummy additions for burger, dogs, and summer sammies. I am especially looking forward to trying the pepper jam. That sounds so yummy.

The last addition that any cart at Rural King needs before check out though is the glass bottle soda section.

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I love to use these when entertaining. I’ll pick up a fun selection for guests to try. My favorite so far has been salted caramel root beer. #YUM These would also be so cute at a bridal or baby shower. There are all kinds of colors to choose from.

They would be really cute in a large galvanized bin with ice. Thats one of my entertainment goals. I have had both but I haven’t been able to put them together yet. Someday. Someday.

So thats what I got for ya today. Come back tomorrow to learn what a farm cooperative is!

A Chicken Pickin’ Party…

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We had us a chicken pickin’ party down here on the farm for co-op #1. What is a chicken co-op you might be wondering? Don’t worry I am going to have a post on that coming up so come back later this week to learn more about farm cooperatives.

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But back to the chicken picking’ party. I just like saying it. lol Chicken pickin’, chicken pickin’…ok I’m done. It was a really fun party that ended with a lot of dads and kids chasing chickens around for a family pictures. Yeah. It was as good as it sounds.

Chickens were posing for their Instagram shots and hoping for a treat from the chicken treat buffet. I set up a spread for all our co-op members to choose from to butter their chicken up with treats for many good eggs to come. Tomatoes, blueberries, sunflower seeds, raisins, all kinds of yummy chicken things.

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The chickens were in heaven and co-op members set up lawn chairs and blankets in a semi-circle to sit and enjoyed the scavengers come and beg for maybe one more treat. The chickens really did put on a show. I think they would have stayed out as long as everyone stayed. Usually the go up to roost around 7 pm but not that night. That night they were young and free chickens without a care of tomorrow. They were raging.

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How does one pick a chicken? First you have to decide picking order. We had a food drive and the co-op family that brought the most collected items got first pick. Giving back especially to our community is a top priority here at The Happy Chicken Farm. Then once the picking order is established  the fun begins.

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It mostly starts timidly with a little pointy- “that one?” “or maybe this one?”. But it quickly progresses to attempting to corner and hold the prized “one”. This makes for good entertainment as an entire co-op runs around your farm chasing chickens only to stop and call “take a picture we got one!”

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It was such a good time. It is amazing how kids take to a farm. Within seconds they are off with a smile on their face and they don’t stop. By the time everyone left I bet all the kids smelled of summer sweat, had dirty hands and feet, and fell right asleep that night. It was a sweet sight to see them holding the baby chicks, trying to make friends with the older ones, and asking all kinds of chicken questions.

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This is why I do what I do. When kids know where their food comes from they appreciate it more. When adults see how we do things around here their eyes are open to the fact that there is a way to fight factory farming and they are apart of it.  Thank you co-op #1 for a great night. Can’t wait to get the name roster up because they picked some pretty fantastic names!