Sunday, May 29, 2011

Things you learn at the UFA farm supply store

We headed off to the big city today to play around a bit. A niece of ours (Daisy) was in a school play so we got to see her Cha-cha’ing away during a wonderful remake of Grease. It’s sad that I know all the lines and songs from that show but that’s what you get when you have five sisters as told in my Girly Man post.

Before heading to the big show we specifically wanted to do some preparation for the chicks we have comiimageng in the next week or so. I felt quite out of place heading into the local UFA (United Farmers of Alberta) store after I saw one of my childhood neighbors sauntering in. I’m pretty sure I saw him take out a piece of gravel from his pocket, chomp a few times, and spit out dirt. 

I engaged him in conversation being surprised he was still frequenting the farm supply store as I remembered him being about a thousand years old when I was a kid. He admitted to selling off all his sheep but still keeping all his cows. I asked him why he only sold his sheep and not his cows. He grinned and said “I’m too young to sell off my cows. I was only born in 1925 so have quite a few years left in me yet with those critters.”

How in the world can I compete with that? I complain when I have to type too long on my keyboard and he’s been farming for 86 years.

As I walked in the store the lady behind the counter looked me up and down asked if I was looking for directions or something. (Hopefully you can see the humor in me trying to pretend to belong in a farm supply store filled with tough as nails cowboys and cowgirls.)

Trying to act confident and tough I said “ummm….I’m getting some baby chickens and I need some stuff to keep them alive.”

The lady kind of snorted (I’m pretty sure I’m not making that up) and replied “So you are getting chicks? Do they have all their feathers?”

“Ummm….” was my reply. Not trying to sound ignorant to the fact that not all birds have feathers I kind of just crossed my fingers and said “I think so.”

Feeling sorry for me she tried to throw me a slow pitch “How old are they?”

“Ummm…a few days I think”

“Are they laying hens or meat birds?” she continued.

I said “Ummm….I think kind of both. If they don’t lay eggs we will eat the bird I’m sure. I’ve been told the roosters don’t lay too many eggs so we are going to eat them.”

“Oh Honey, let me explain a thing or two about chickens, roosters, and the birds and the bees.”

After a long and detailed explanation of the above I think I’m fully prepared to talk about the birds and the bees with my kids. At least in farming terms. If I mess that conversation up maybe I’ll try explaining the difference between chickens and roosters.

So I ended up walking out of the store with 55 lbs of oyster shells (for grit and calcium I’m told), a couple of 250 watt bulbs for a heat lamp we bummed off of a good friend of Dancing Queen and some detailed notes on various and sundry things relating to raising chickens.

We eventually did make it to Grease to watch Daisy. I sure felt confident at the musical, just like I belonged there. But I sure am glad those farming folk weren’t there to see me dancing and prancing to “Look at me I’m Sandra Dee”. After all “I have a rep to protect.”


  1. Just an FYI, We got some chicks and there is a big difference between the mash you give downy chicks and full feathered chicks. we gave most of ours heart attacks when we switched from straight starter to straight growing feed. You have to start slow like 90/10then 80/20 etc. Maybe she told you maybe not, but not a word of a lie we lost about 50% of our chickens to strokes cause the growing mash was too much too soon.

  2. Nice ahem post actually I love it. Farming is a learning experience from the moment you rise to the moment you nod off for the night.Many farm store food diets are based on a "complete" feed approach. When you add a "Mash diet" make certain that you are not feeding a supplement as a complete feed. It may have the same effect as mention in last comment.