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September Update

Greetings and salutations friends! I worked several days recently with very little time at home. I finally have a few days off to spend with my zoo, freshening their water, bedding etc. I did find one chick had died and a couple of others acting sickly. The rest seemed really fine though. I decided to move their pin on to a fresh piece of grass.


I spread the old bedding out with a rake and covered it thoroughly with some diatomaceous earth. Also sprinkled some inside the pen on their new grass and put apple cider vinegar and a couple of shakes of garlic in the babies watering can. That should give them a good immune boost, plus take care of any parasites they may have. So we'll see how that goes. The bigger chicks tend to want to sleep next to the chickpen so I have created a lean-to for them to sleep under.


They like the plywood on cement blocks during the day but won't sleep there. Oh well...

Petri the duck has been mixing with the chickens on occasion.

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He really likes them, but they don't know what to think of him. So next spring, he's going to be getting two or three female friends to keep him company. I've never raised ducklings before and I am excited about adding them to the flock! Again, we'll see how that goes.

The garden season is coming to a close but I have a couple of interesting things taking off right now.


This large tentacled-looking thing is something new I tried this year it is called Cassabanana and it is native to El Salvador. I started seeds back in January because it needs a long growing season. I planted several in different places but they all died except this one. In fact, this one was 8 inches long when I planted it in June. It didn't do anything for about a month and now it's everywhere.


It has several zucchini-like fruit hanging all over it. If it doesn't fully ripen, it can be eaten green like a winter squash. If it does have a chance to ripen it will be a dark red very sweet and fruity.

The other interesting thing is the gourds I planted in July. Here I have some swan gourds and one birdhouse gourd.

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I've given them zero attention and they're really big right now. I don't understand why they grow so well and I can't get my edible squash to live long enough to give me anything to eat. It's like they have a secret ingredient that deters squash bugs or something, so maybe next year I will grow them together and see what happens. Note to self: 2019 plant squash with gourds.

The garden may be coming to a close but growing something edible is never really out of season. My next new venture is to grow oyster mushrooms. I'm not going to go into details here but I will be writing an article about it soon. They can be grown easily and cheaply with very little care or special equipment. However, here is a glimpse...


So be on the look out for something new coming soon! Next week I will be receiving a 3rd and final batch of chicks to raise for meat. I have constructed a brooder that I'm excited to share here so look for a blog on that next week!!

Take care!

Jill Barlow


Future articles will include information about gardening, meat birds, egg birds, photos and lots of project ideas.

For further information, to ask a questions or to suggest a program topic, contact Jill Barlow at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..