Saturday, July 6, 2013

Beat the heat, and where to buy feed in Boston?

Hey folks, and happy summertime!  

Firstly:  Have you tried putting a few ice cubes in your girls' water to keep them cool in this heat?  It's a nifty little trick (and they love trying to peck at the bobbing cubes!). 

You can also hose down their run in the morning to create a slightly cooler microclimate and help cool their little down-coated bodies.  Just be sure that you let them run to the other side so they don't get hosed down too - chickens tend to be strongly averse to getting wet, and you definitely don't want to add to the stress. 

That said, a nice sponge bath under the front of their bellies or under their wings will help them cool down a bit more as well.  And, of course, make sure they have a place where they can get into some nice shade and always have plenty of water. 

And now, the main topic of today's post: where to buy chicken feed and supplies in the greater Boston area?

There are a couple of long-established feed stores a little ways out of town, and three smaller and really fantastic little Urban Ag centers a bit closer in:

Feed stores:
1) Agway in Waltham, MA (closest to us here in Cambridge/Somerville) - They only carry Agway brand feeds, but there are a couple of options to choose from (basic layer vs. "healthy hen" vs. organic, etc) and they have a variety of feeders/waterers/etc.  The guys who work there are great and a get a big kick out of us city dwellers coming to buy chicken feed.  :)

2) Erikson Grain Mill in Acton, MA - Great old place that operates in the old mill building.  They have some variety of feeds, and a good variety of supplies, including food grade diatomaceous earth.

3) Essex County Co-op in Topsfield, MA (north) - This place has the highest variety of feeds/brands and you can often walk into the warehouse to read labels, etc.  They also have a wide variety of supplies, supplements, meds, etc.  This one might be my favorite of the big feed stores in the area, and it's a nice drive to get up there.

Urban Ag Centers:
1) Relish: Center for Urban Agriculture, here in Somerville, MA.  They just opened, so they don't have much for supplies yet, but definitely keep this place on your radar if you're in the Cambridge/Somerville area.  They are already a fantastic resource, and as they grow and get their inventory and system better established they will serve our local community even more.  They will soon be organizing a monthly group feed order, probably in conjunction with our new monthly (1st Tuesday) urban chicken meet-up events that will be starting August 6th.  So stay tuned for more info on that excitement!

2) Pemberton Farms in Cambridge, MA.  This is one of my favorite stores in all of Boston - gourmet groceries with a very strong emphasis on locally-produced goods, plus a fantastic garden center, and they carry some chicken feed and supplies as well (the owners have a small flock of silkies!). 

3) Agricultural Hall in Jamaica Plain, MA (SW Boston).  They have been open about a year or so, and have limited hours, so check that they are open before you go.  They carry some feed and a few supplies, and occasionally host urban ag festivals like last September's Urban Ag Fair!

Thanks y'all, and stay cool!