To those of you who emailed with questions: we are behind, so please be patient and we will respond as soon as we can.

As for the store we are in the process of being able to sell books from Storey Publishing, Burley Flatbed Cargo Trailer, Xtracycle, Can O Worms and organic seeds! Stay tuned for these item and the re-launch ofPeddler’s Wagon sometime this week.

Sabbath Walk & Buy Local Day

We spent a peaceful and restful day walking with a friend in the lower Arroyo to Mission street in South Pasadena to check out this year’s Craft & Art Fair. The day turned out to be quite warm with temperature at least in 90’s. On Sabbaths we close down for business and don’t make money and for the most part we don’t buy anything on that day either; however, with yesterday beingBuy Local Day we did support the local economy. We bought something from a local craft merchant at the fair and on the walk home passed a yard that had a bucket with a sign in the driveway saying “avocados 75 cents each.”    The bucket was filled with avocados and dollars and cents which people left behind (we joked that in our neighborhood the bucket, table and money would be gone only the avocados would be left ). We bought the last four and had those with our meal that afternoon.

Animal care

A lot of urban homestead life has to do with research and development (besides first hand experience). We talked the other day about putting together kits, especially for animal care.   Not being able to rely on local vets, it took months (no kidding) of research for Jordanne to find all the necessary first aid or treatments for the animals.   Also being that we wanted much of the medicine to be holistic and natural as possible that even made it more tougher to find sources – but we/she did.  

So now the garden shed contains a “animal medicine” section filled with natural and (in case of an emergency not so natural) solutions and treatments. Through real life school and experience each of us, and especially Jordanne, are learning how to care for the creatures — “all creatures great and small.” Such experiences are valuable – you have to go through all the problems with raising animal once, treating it successfully and, afterwards, you are an expert. Or in cases that you aren’t successful,  like Edison said you know how many ways not to make a light bulb. You can take that learning experience to future situations and be able to better diagnose or treat the animal.

Ducks & chickens

“Getting Along” Q&A with Jordanne

Jordanne’s answer to a reader about chickens and ducks getting along. Jordanne continually amazes us and others she meets with her immense knowledge of animals. She’s not the type to let on how much she knows but she feels that she should share her knowledge because as she says “I wish someone had done that for me.”   I really think she should consider charging for “Citified Animal” consultations because she’s certainly a walking encyclopedia on health, living and behavioral aspects of ducks, chickens, rabbits and now goats.

>How did you introduce them?

Well, we definitely didn’t want to introduce the ducks when they were too young. I think we waited until they were about 6 weeks old before we let them into the chicken coop. And, when we did, I think I spent several days out there monitoring the situation. Oh, and prior to that, we caged the ducklings just outside the chicken coop so they saw each other every day but were separated by a mesh fence.

>Are they housed together?

They are caged together in a common “run,” but sleep in different houses. Chickens like to roost at the highest spot but ducks are more ground dwelling (excluding muscovies). We have a ground level house for the ducks, and a raised house for the chickens. I suppose the ducks could sleep on the floor of a chicken house, but then they would get a lot of chicken poop in their feathers.

I looked at your journal and spent a little time reading about the drama that’s going on with your ducks and chicken. Wow, what a little mini war!

Our ducks and chickens do have little spats every once in awhile, but for the most part, I suppose it’s generally peaceful. The “top” chicken of the pecking order does like to boss the ducks around and chase them away from the choice feeding spots. She can get a little nasty. But then, she also picks on the “lower” chickens too. So, just to keep things peaceful, I make sure that any food I put out is in two pans far away from each other so she can’t guard two pans at once and just has to accept things as they are. She’s a little witchy-woman.

The other chickens also boss the ducks around, but it’s usually, a “get-out-of-my-space” kind of peck and the ducks move on. Generally, they do hang out together, roam around the yard together and sleep in the sun together, so I’m pretty happy with how things are. Actually, they are sort of buddies – until food becomes an issue – then it’s a free-for-all. 🙂
I do have to say, the first thing I would strongly recommend is that you get at least another chicken or two (three is always a better number). I believe the reason why things are okay in my coop is that the numbers are evenly matched. For instance, when I had five chickens, I introduced six ducks. Then I sold four ducks and kept two. But I think the important thing was that they had been integrated with numbers pretty evenly matched.

Three of my chickens died of old age so now it’s two and two. I’ll be getting some young ducks and chickens this spring and I’m going to have four ducks (not including one “borrowed” male) and six chickens.

I hate to be one of those people that get all preachy and know it all, but I think your problem stems from the fact there is only one chicken. (I didn’t ready deep enough into your journal to see if you are considering getting more – so, if you are, great! – and ignore anything else I say in this email. J )

To the ducks, she’s a strange creature and, thus, they have to get rid of her. It’s the way animals “cull” the weak or ill ones. Different = bad. I think they really think she’s a duck with a physical difference – to their little ducky pea-brains, she shouldn’t live and pass on those “physical differences.”

I’m sure your little hen is feeling really left out and lonely. She’s probably very stressed too which can take a toll on her egg-laying capacities. Chickens love having companions they can boss around or be bossed by — the whole pecking order thing. A single chicken might just get really miserable.

A single animal will know he/she is different in a flock of others and it can really be a problem for them. For instance, I had one Black Cochin in a flock of four Rhode Island Reds and she knew she was different. The others knew she was too. She got picked on by three of the four Rhode Island Reds. Sometimes, she would sit off by herself and be excluded from the flock. If I had to do it differently, I would have made sure she had another chicken of “her kind” so she wouldn’t feel so “different.” It’s really amazing these poultry-relationships. It’s just like human ones in a sense.

If there were more chickens around, I think the ducks would just view them with disgust and generally ignore them until their paths crossed. For instance, when my ducks do get bossed around by the chickens, the ducks would just go off by themselves and everyone would ignore each other or just trade dirty glances. But they each have their own friends, so no one is being excluded.

Getting a few more chickens is probably my best advice at this point. The other advice I would suggest is that you introduce any new chickens at night. That way, when everyone wakes up in the morning, it’s a good chance they are dumb enough to believe that chicken(s) had been around all along. A lot of people have success that way.

Or you can just pen them side by side until they get used to one another and no one is “murdered” before then.


On November 9, the American Dental Association (ADA) finally admitted that fluoride levels in common tap water could be dangerous for infants. The ADA recommended that fluoridated water should not be mixed into concentrated formula or foods intended for babies. The ADA’s announcement comes on the heels of a National Research Council report that revealed fluoridation’s adverse effects to the thyroid gland, diabetics, kidney patients, high water drinkers and others. The Centers for Disease Control has added to the debate with a new report showing that fluoride absorbs into enamel topically. However, adverse effects occur upon ingestion.
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  1. Wildside says:

    Enjoyed Jordanne’s words on animals this AM. Thank you. I too have noticed that the chickens seem to “know” what kind they are and take preference or lesser numbers appear to be miserable. This was sort of an unexpected surprise as I thought being raised together they would think they were all the same breed or “family”. The larger #s I have in my flock, the happier they all seem to be.

  2. Nancy Kelly says:

    Re: chicken varieties – I have had Plymouth Rocks, Rhode Island Reds, Aracaunas, and Delawares. The Rhode Island Reds are by far the sweetest and tamest, lovely personalities. Have you found that too?