In the interest of flock-diversification which is code for OH-MY-WHAT-PRETTY-CHICKENS I bought 11 new ladies from Farmer Joy who lives about 15 minutes away. There are several Black Sex-links, some Barred Rocks and a few White Rocks - all egg layers. Last year the McRae family gave us their one-remaining-chicken - a Barred Rock we called Mrs. McRae - but she disappeared in a flurry-of-feathers one fine summer evening when she missed roll call and stayed out all night. They are beautiful birds so I was happy to get another of the same breed.
DH and I went to pick them up and Farmer Joy helped catch them and load them into the cages. That part went well.
There's a proper way to do things when you introduce new animals to the farm. Chickens in particular need to be placed in a seperate pen for a few days for a several reasons. Most importantly you don't want to bring in disease and infect your entire flock so although the chickens looked perfectly happy and healthy it's just a good idea as a precaution.
They also need to learn where HOME is. We free-range our chickens and they love to roam but they (mostly) know that when it's getting dark it's time to come home and head for the chicken coop where they are securely locked in from predators at night.
|A Red Sex-link|
Visiting Farmer Joy at her farm was a pleasure and she introduced me to what I hope is my next breed of chicken - a Silver Laced Wyndotte - oh-so-gorgeous. She had two hens and a rooster that ran with the chickens I bought from her. I think the incubator will be coming out in the next few days to hatch some of their eggs. Even a cross breed would be pretty! (In case you're wondering how that works: when a chicken is bred it's eggs are fertile for approximately two weeks.)
Every chicken deserves a name so the girls were named after some of my online friends and two sweet little girls - Teagan and Elyse.
For the last two winters we have "babysat" some baby cows for our neighbour. We don't have to take care of them but they live in our barn and they spend most of their day on the cement-paddock eating hay - at least that's how it's supposed to work. They arrived on Saturday and by Sunday afternoon they had discovered a weak spot where the gate wasn't as secure as it should have been and decided the grassy paddock was much more to their liking. Well - it wasn't to MY liking since they were tearing up the grass that my sheep and donkey will be eating next spring. So Luke and I went out to herd them back where they belonged - after a few turns around the field we finally got the gate closed behind them, locked it up tight and thought we were done with it...
Not. An hour later they were out again. Ack - sneaky burgers - we missed a smallish hole in the fence. This time we had a plan that included three people, some sticks to prod them in the right direction and a whole-lotta-rope to close up the hole. So far - so good!
The cows are really sweet looking. They have been lowing (as in in the Christmas carol - the cattle are lowing) and missing their mommas. I would love to be friends but they are very skittish - I guess I would be too if I had been chased around a field by a crazy-lady with a stick.
Eight cute little 1000+ pound cows who are as yet un-named...JUST-THINK for only $19.95 you can have a cow NAMED-AFTER-YOU. Your package will include a signed portrait of your cow and one year of regular updates of their health and well being. You might even be invited to the farm to pet them or chase them out of the grass paddock - if it bears your name I think that should be YOUR responsibility.
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