Grackle & Sun

Archive for the tag “buff orpingtons”

Chickie-booms

Quick chicken update.

We (and by that I mean mostly my Husband of Awesomeness) fenced in the garden and a bigger, lusher chicken yard this spring.  They have a huge (you know, for a chicken) space to graze. And they do–with an intensity that is both mind-boggling and addictive to watch. It is strangely satisfying (and ridiculously easy) to make chickens happy.

Husband of Awesomeness, aka Fence Builder.

One of the Buff Orpies.

Doing their thing in the freshly tilled earth.

A very gentlemanly rooster.

Curious chicken. Or maybe she was helping to pick out seeds.

And then this one had to have a say.

No, they’re not dead. They take dust baths, then they take dust naps.

Hunkering down.

CHICKS!!!

They grow fast. And they’re a completely different colour and pattern than the hen or the rooser. See them in the back?

A blurry close-up–they are very skittish and won’t let me get close. Mama hen was protective in a way I didn’t care to test, lol.

Chickens eating lemon balm = happy (and very relaxed) chickens. :D

Sad news. One of the Buff Orpies disappeared. We are guessing a hawk. There is a pair of red-shouldered hawks that live in the woods behind the lake. Sad that she is gone, also know that it’s just how it goes on a farm. The pen attached to the chicken house is completely covered, but the only way to let them have the joy of the open pasture is to leave them somewhat vulnerable. Sigh. It’s a trade-off, but one that is worth it for the health of the flock, I think.

That’s all my chicken news for now. Next plan–building a chicken swing. Not even kidding. :D

They grow up so fast.

Chicken update!

The chicks moved into their side of the big chicken house & coop several weeks ago, and they love it. They spend their days outside scratching and pecking and taking dust baths, and then like good little chickens, they go inside at night to sleep. It’s amazing to see how much they’ve grown over such a short time.  They are pretty fully feathered out and look like miniature hens. This week, the skin around their eyes and beaks has started to redden, and I imagine any time their combs will, too.  They are all, save one, very tame and happy to be hand-fed treats—although now that they’re getting bigger, it’s not so cute to get pecked too enthusiastically with those beaks. I wonder sometimes if I’m raising crows–these chicks love to peck at anything shiny–my wedding ring, the buttons on my pants, my shiny rubber boots.

We’ve only had one bit of chickie unhappiness this whole time. Several weeks ago, one of the Buff Orpies had an eye infection. One eye got all swollen and unhappy, but she showed no other symptoms. I treated her with a product called Vet Rx, which is a base with several essential oils in it, including the powerful antibiotic oregano oil. After a week, the infection seemed to come to a head, like a solid ball, under the nictitating membrane. And then, the next morning, it was gone. She scratched at it frequently, and I think it must have popped out. Her eyelid was a little wrinkly, but other than that, nothing. Within a few days, it was completely healed. Now I can’t tell which one she was. I’d name the Orpies, but they all look the same. I’m hoping that once their combs start filling out, they’ll be easier to tell apart.

 

One of the Delawares, Rouser, is a wild, wild thing and wants nothing to do with me. She is not like the other ladies who come running and clucking when I call them. “Hey, Chickabooms!” That’s how I call them. Nope. She runs as far from me as she can. Here she is giving me the crazy-eye. She’s always giving me the crazy-eye. It’s the only kind of eye she’s got.

Her “sister”, Rabble, is just obnoxious and rowdy. She doesn’t like me either, but she likes the treats, so she gives me the eye while she eats from my hand. Lol.

She’s fast, and the others have to work hard to get any treats before she hogs them all. They like all kinds of food. Favorites are dandelion greens, tomatoes, lemon balm, and grapes. Especially grapes.

Rabble is all business when it comes to grapes. She is not messing around. She demands ALL THE GRAPES.

Life with chickens. I like it.

Vernally Obliged

Happy day after the vernal equinox!  Here are some perky and punctual jonquidils that opened up just yesterday.  Even though the world still seems half asleep, everything is stirring.  The sap is rising, metaphorically, and circulating literally. I feel this in me, too. A few weeks ago, I was compelled to visit my favorite local herbal shop for some spring tonics. I’ve been drinking blood cleansing teas made of nettle and burdock, red clover and violet leaf.  I am craving all green things, to eat all the green. I often eat according to what colours I’m hungry for.  It’s a fun and pretty darn informative way to get intuitive feedback on what one’s body needs. Just listen. It will tell you. This year is all about listening.

Usually, I notice spring first with the change in the angle of the sun and the restlessness of the breeze. This year, though, spring has rung in with sound.  The frogs are out in mighty chorus—the spring peepers, pickerels, and southern leopard frogs—announcing that spring has arrived. The toads will be next, and then later the bullfrogs will add their baritone to the summer sound.  A pair of barred owls have been conversing like love struck teenagers every night for the last week.  Wild ducks have been visiting the lake, and just today, we saw a blue heron circling above.  And what else has come to roost at the farm this spring?

Chicks!

Meet the 4 Buff Orpingtons. Question. What do you do when you spend several years dreaming about raising chickens and reading books on raising chickens and deciding that the perfect chickens to raise would be Buff Orpingtons, and then one day you go into the local farm store for some Sav-a Lam and see that they’re stocked with all manner of poultry and waterfowl—which you are, of course, obligated to peruse—and amongst the countless pens of countless Leghorns and Rhode Island Reds and sex-linked this and thats, lo and behold there are four lone Buff Orpington chicks tucked in a tub in the corner?  This is not a trick question.  Clearly I was meant to take them home.  The end.

I will go back for some Leghorns.  Lol.  In a week or two, they will go live in the chicken house with the rest of the flock, but for now they are in their cozy box in the front porch where I can listen to them peeping as I work on various projects. What else? Gardeny goodness. I planted a millionty seeds and am curious to see how they fare starting indoors.  I will bore no one with photos of a table full of little cups of dirt. Garden plans are being tilled in the fertile fields of my mind. These plans involve raised beds, fencing, and part-time garden-wandering chickens… If I’d been here in time, I would have prepped the garden in the fall. As it is, I am very late and will have to make do with what I can get done in the next month. No need to feel bad about it though—something will grow.

The sheep are enjoying the first nibbles of spring grass.  Here you can see a very chubbeh Phillip in the forefront. He is such a pet.

We are very seriously considering adding a couple wool sheep to the farm to try out. (By which I mean for me to play with their wool). I’m looking at Clun Forest, Romney, and Cheviots, but am listening to any and all advice from those with wool sheep raising experience.  A shepherd/spinner friend has also recommended Montadales and Coopworths.  I am unfamiliar with both.  So far, I am most interested in the Cluns as a hardy dual purpose sheep, but have never seen or felt Clun wool.  Anyone?

Finally, Ronin is a happy farm dog.

Be well and listen hard.

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