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Posts Tagged ‘chickens’


{snort} NOT!

Have you ever been so busy that you look down and when you look up, a few months have gone by? That seems to be part and parcel of my life these days. While there’s non-stop activity, there are things that are actually getting done.

Coop #4 has been moved into, I’m glad to say. While we still have some modifications to make to get more ventilation, chickens and guineas have been moved over for a while now. In the event you ever move chickens and/or guineas, don’t get discouraged. It took 4 days for all of them to put themselves to bed, which was pretty good, considering. {Considering, as in, guineas do not like change, so that they actually did it at all is a major win in my book!}

This meant tearing down the original coop, which Hunny wasn’t happy with. His initial design was basically what we had before, just the grande-wrap-around-horseshoe version of it. Because of the size and time involved, it rained before it was complete. Ya, I know.  It seemed like the never-ending battle to get done, and thus its name, The Coop That Would Not Be Built, was dubbed. I was not sad to see the old one go, honestly.

One of these days, I’ll get around to posting old coop and new coop info. There’s so much to catch you up on, it’s almost overwhelming. I vow {energy willing} to start updating on a more regular basis. I just need to sit down and do it.

Much of my day revolves around collecting eggs. Because we free-range 100% of daytime hours, that always means I am out hunting for eggs. While most of the girls have figured out that the nesting boxes are the best place to lay, I do have a few rogues in the bunch.

Just last night, I crawled under the shed {and it’s LONG!} and finally found the pile of eggs the dogs had been eating. What was left were 26 eggs. *sigh*

When the house well froze during the polar vortex and Hunny had to thaw it and then insulate it, I found a stash of really nasty rotten eggs.  vomit I counted about 8 that hadn’t been eaten by wee little dog. I don’t think they were all bad, just the ones at the bottom.

Earlier today, I found a small stash of 4 eggs, which could have all been laid today. With reduced laying during the shorter winter days, I’m getting about 2 dozen eggs a day…………

Here are some of the more interesting stashes I’ve found:

Pile of fencing posts that I had to move around to even reach the eggs.

pile1

plie2

pile3

pile4

pile6

These are the small well-house eggs.

well2

well1

And, my personal favorite, the barn eggs.

barn1

barn2

These were laid by one of my girlies who likes to lay up high- she’s even dropped an egg from the rafters in the guinea section of the coop! There’s another one of that breed that likes to lay under a tarp in the hay shelter. 😆

Either way, while I don’t necessarily mind the egg hunt, it is a total time sucker. And, lest you think chickens are totally stupid, it never fails: just when I find the nest, they move it. They realize that something has found it, so it’s time to move so they don’t get eaten. Pretty smart!

In the next installment of the “Crazy Chickens Saga,” I’ll tell you about one of my chickens who’s broody. We found her sitting on a clutch of 20+ eggs way up top of the hay loft. We did manage to move her, eggs and all, down to the nesting boxes, without losing any arms or fingers. She’s definitely the meanest broody I’ve ever had! {She’s so mean, she’s still sitting on those eggs because I didn’t think it was safe for US to try to get them out, lol.}

So. That’s what I’ve been up to. While I’ve had to deal with wacko folks because of the polar vortex, painting all kinds of things outside, and trying to stay sane, I have not, in fact, fallen off the face of the earth. 😀

What’s going on in your world?

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*sigh*

I know loss is part of farm life, and I accept that.

I also accept that the safety of the animals is my responsibility. And it irritates me to no end to have a loss that could have been prevented.

At this point, we’re up to 4 losses that could have- SHOULD HAVE- been prevented. 😥

Last month, I went to let them out in the morning and found one of my polka-dotted chickens {silver spangled hamburgs} huddled by the door and near frozen solid. It had gotten cold overnight, and while I didn’t think she had gotten her foot stuck under the waterer, I really had no other explanation for her being by the door instead of up on the roost.

I brought her inside right away, and got a water bottle full of hot water to help heat her up.

chicken1

She sat on my lap all day.

chicken2

chicken3

By evening, it was clear she was not doing well, despite out efforts to feed and hydrate her. Early the next morning, with my daughter sitting with her, she convulsed and died. 😥

I am not sure what it was, but it might have been something she ate that got stuck in her crop, even though I couldn’t feel anything there. It didn’t seem to be a contagion, and I was sure hoping it wasn’t. {It wasn’t.}

I accept that sometimes, these things happen. It is absolutely never easy, though.

We also lost 2 cuckoo marans over a month ago. We had moved them outside to the coop, but because the run wasn’t done, we weren’t letting them out. After finding 2 of my girls trampled and plucked inside the coop, we cut the pop door and let them out, finished run be darned.

Did I mention that this has become The Coop That Would Not Be Built? Yep. And it’s a source of irritation to me, to say the least.

That right there is the bulk of the issue, as I see it. Hunny doesn’t think we need a run (or the expense) and once we had to let them out, it was easier to just let them free-range the entire time.

Then the guineas got out about a week ago. 3 were out all night because we couldn’t catch them. 2 found their way back in the following morning, but the last one we found dead on the horse path between the two pastures. Here again, I am convinced that if we had the run, it would not be an issue because they would be contained while we let the chickens out.

It goes without saying that by far one of the worst predators is the family dog. Have I mentioned that we now have 5 dogs?

We moved here with 2 dogs that completely left the chickens alone. We gained another border collie, and then in both July and August we gained dogs that had probably been dumped. That’s a whole ‘nother post for another time. Having 2 unaltered male dogs- even though one is a weiner dog- was not on my agenda.

But I digress.

Up to this point, we’ve done pretty well keeping the dogs away from the chickens. {You know where this is going, don’t you….} Both Buddy (short-haired Jack Russell terrier) and Oreo (border collie) are about a year old. You may know that border collies are well-known as the smartest dog breed there is.

Case and point- Icee (our blond merle border collie} knows how to open the bedroom door in our RV; and Oreo not only knows but has taught Buddy how to open the outside door. We can’t do an eye-hook because then whoever is outside can’t get back in. Not to mention, she’s working on the dead bolt, too. We are trying to remember to take our keys outside with us every time……..

The bigger issue is not that they can open the door when they are both in and outside, but that I don’t want the cats to get out.

Did I mention we’re up to 6 cats now? Yep. One of these days, I’ll write up the story of the kittens, which were not planned but totally loved and adored.

Bottom line- I just don’t want them getting out. The older kitties are declawed because we don’t want them outside. The kittens were planned on being outdoor barn kitties, but after bottle feeding them and having them inside because they are too little to be left outside to fend for themselves, well, we’re smitten with them, too, and will get them declawed and fixed so they can be indoor kitties.

Anyhow.

Last week, Buddy got a hold of my favorite silver silkie, Silver. We got to her in time before he killed her, but he sliced her chest open and punctured her in a few places. I kept her inside overnight, and then the following day (when I had company, of course), I used some EMT gel {for animals} to glue her back together and sent her back out.

You need to understand- I’ve been crazy about keeping the dogs away from the chickens. It hasn’t been easy, but we’ve managed. At some point, Oreo got scared of them, but I knew it wouldn’t last, particularly if she was out there with Buddy. I’ve seen them essentially hunt/play together/in a pack.

Now, Hunny and the kids think they are playing with them. Buddy with go after them when there’s squawking- like when the boys are sparring and when they are grabbing the girls. He thinks that she was chasing her and went to nip as border collies do, and got carried away.

I didn’t see this event, so I don’t know what happened. What I do know is that Oreo killed one of my polka-dotted chickens {silver spangled hamburgs} and that I am really very upset.

This dog is smart, and she knows better.

I am loath to give up an animal- any animal- particularly when it’s a rescue and I’ve invested money in it. I cannot, however, abide by the “it’s just a chicken; there’s no reason to get upset” kind of thinking some of my kids are dishing out.

I. DO. NOT. CARE. IF. THEY. THINK. THAT.

IT. IS. NOT.” JUST”. A CHICKEN.

I love my chickens, even if they don’t.

I have a responsibility to keep the animals in my care alive.

And so, I’m annoyed. I’m upset. I’m not sure what should be done.

There are those that tell you that once a dog kills once, they won’t stop. Normal dogs, I would agree. Border collies are so, so smart.

My other border collie blew out both cruciate ligaments in her knees- both of them, at the same time. If you know border collies, you know they have a HUGE work ethic; in that you often don’t know there is anything wrong with them until they just don’t get up the next day.

And that is what happened with her. She just couldn’t get up one morning and was in huge amounts of pain.

The normal fix for this injury is surgery, at $2,500 a knee. 😯 Our vet thought, given how smart she is, that we could try something else first.

He suggested we explain to her what happened and why we had to crate her. If she could stay immobile for about 6 months to give the ligaments time to heal, we could avoid surgery. It was a long shot, but we thought we’d give it a go.

It’s been over 5 years later, and we never had to have surgery. She wasn’t thrilled with being crated, but she accepted it. Her knees are a bit arthritic now, and we think she can’t see too well. She’s been kicked in the head by one of the horses, but the head injury didn’t kill her, either.

She was smart enough to listen {and yes, I’m sure she knew what we were talking about- ask anyone with a border collie and they’ll tell you}. Oreo is just as smart, but she’s only about a year old and very headstrong.

I don’t know if she will WANT to learn.

I don’t know that I can ever trust her again.

I don’t know that the kids will actually LISTEN to me and NOT let her out unsupervised. I am sick of hearing how much they hate the chickens (with the exception of daughter number 2). When they say that, they are basically saying they hate me, and that bothers me. I don’t ask them to love them the same as I do, but gollee, it sure would be nice if they could care about living things a little and have a little regard and respect. And a little thought about keeping them safe.

I need other options.

I just don’t know what they are yet. And, with life in flux right now, I’m not sure the answer is going to be forthcoming, either.

I’m so annoyed. I’m annoyed with the situation, and I’m annoyed because there are no easy answers.

Stay tuned.

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I think I mentioned it before, but when you live on a farm, there are never-ending things to do, even if you aren’t actually farming. 😉

You may recall that when we moved, we ended up with 5 abandoned horses in our front yard. A few months later, we did the horsey shuffle. It actually was remarkably like the Hokey Pokey, but with horses. At the end of the day, no one had gotten really injured and we all still had our teeth, so that was a win. 😆 And our roster was set.

Around Thanksgiving, our kitty went missing. We later discovered her deceased. 😦 When her brother had to be put down for intestinal cancer, we had gotten Little Dog. As luck would have it, a short-haired border collie became available from a gentleman who used them with his cattle and had gotten a large amount from a breeder/trainer friend of his who decided he was too old and passed on his border collie ‘stock.’ Anyhow. Puppy was the runt of the litter and he felt would be too small to handle the cattle, so he was trying to find her a good home. We got her the next day.

Christmas rolled around, and we were still missing having a cat. I don’t think in the last 20+ years we’ve gone very long without some kind of cat. We like our kittens in pairs. Then chicken math hit, and we got three babies from the same litter. {Actually, I have a whole category on Chicken Math………… :lol:} That’s how we ended up with Los Tres Amigos.

At some point, we had a lovely orange kitty come and visit us for several months. He’s actually been over at our horse trainer‘s house for the last several weeks. I wonder if he got tired of the dogs barking at him. We hope he comes back because we miss him………

Then we got the bantams and I ordered my large fowl and guineas. 😀

Two weeks ago, my newly “adopted” 19 year-old daughter/neighbor came by on her way home from the vet’s office where she worked. Someone had dumped off a litter of 4 kittens to be put down. Well, there was no way she was going to let that happen! So she took them home. Seeing as the little girls were outside, she thought she’d stop and show them the babies.

When she left a while later, she had one kitten with her. 😆 We kept the other 3 3-week-old kitties. So, we’ve been busy bottle feeding, ect. I had no idea that when they are that little, you need to stimulate them to go to the bathroom. 😯

Because the other kitties became solely indoor kitties, we are thinking these will be our barn kitties. I’ve got some great pics in with the other kitties and today in with the chicks. Hilarious!

This morning, the post office called at 6:15 am to let me know my chickies were here. I was back home around 7 am with all live chickies!!! ♥♥♥

{And you wonder why I’m not writing much…………….  :lol:}

We’re missing guineas, which will come next month.

Don’t laugh or roll your eyes, but here’s what we have right now:

3 dogs

5 horses

6.5 cats

14 bantams

40 large fowl

4 kids

2 completely crazy parents; {one obviously more crazy than the other 😉 }

And a partridge in a pear tree. {No, not really, silly- not yet, anyhow. 😉 } 😆

Because y’all have been so patient with me, here are some pictures. I’ve added a category for Around the Farm stuff, which will probably end up being mostly pictures. You’ve been warned! 😀

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

Herman

Herman

9

Spawn of Herman?

Spawn of Herman?

Go Navy!

Go Navy!

Creepy quiet those are- didn't bother the horses and the dogs never even barked!

Creepy quiet those are- didn’t bother the horses and the dogs never even barked!

Fog rolls in an hovers over the fields.

Fog rolls in and hovers over the fields.

14

15

16

17

How many horses do you see?

How many horses do you see?

From the balcony off the bedroom.

From the balcony off the bedroom.

21

22

23

24

Finally enough weight to be ridden!

Finally enough weight to be ridden!

My girl. ♥

My girl. ♥

28

29

30

So there you have it- a taste of 6 months on the farm! 😀

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If you’re reading along, you are no doubt shaking your head, rolling your eyes, and probably sighing, thinking, “Here we go again. Will she never stop? Someone needs to do an intervention.” 😆

Ya, I know I’m addicted. It’s just not a “problem,” as far as I’m concerned. 😉

Last Monday, I added silkie chicks to the brooder. 😆 Can you see me doing the happy dance?

A pusher friend of mine knew I was going to order silkies, and suggested she knew a feller that had some silkies and regularly had them hatching out. She contacted him, and sure enough, he had 4 silkies- 2 white, 1 silver, and 1 black.

You may remember me ranting about wanting white silkies, which is how I ended up with my 2 boy Sultans when I came home with 5-toed bantams last year and 4 buff silkies. Turns out, we totally fell in love with our buff silkies, too.

This year, I had planned on getting buff silkies, in addition to blue, black and white. I was going to order them from the hatchery, and they would be here mid-June.

Then, my friend told me about this gentleman, and I thought, if I could get them locally, that would be better. Plus, I wouldn’t have to get as many. 😀

Because he charges more for the blacks and had silver hatching, I thought I would substitute the silvers for the black silkies. So. He let me know what he had, and I dashed off to go pick them up.

I came home with 2 whites and 1 silver silkie chicks. Squee! 😆

These chicks hatched, as I understand it, within days of each other. Here is one of my white ones. You can already see her crazy hair. We named her Mo. 😆

mo1

 

You can see her black skin peeking through; one of their unique, defining characteristics.

 

mo2

 

mo3

 

I love that round little poof!

This next fluffy baby is Silver.

 

silver1

 

silver2

 

According to the American Silkie Bantam Club, “The colors which are recognized by both the American Poultry Association  and the American Bantam Association are White, Black, Blue, Buff,  Gray, Partridge and Splash.” I’m trying to track down which category my silvers fall into. Two things I’ve learned about silkie genetics are that I don’t know anything and they’re confusing. 😆

He said he’d have 12 more hatching out in the next two weeks. Since I wanted 6 and came home with 3, I would wait for 3 more.

Yesterday, he let me know he had 2 more white and 1 more silver hatch. We made arrangements, and I went out to get them today. I didn’t bring the 2 whites home because I want an even number of each color, to up my chances of having a girl in each color. That means I have 1 more silver one to get, if it hatches out next week. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

Even though I won’t have buffs this year, I am thrilled to have the silvers!

I can’t wait to round out my silkies! I will say- things are starting to feel more “normal” instead of “new,” and most of that, I think, is due to the peeping coming from the brooder. ♥♥♥♥♥ 😀

 

 

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Obsessed.

Strange.

Cuckoo.

Bizarre.

Insane.

Uncouth.

Demented.

Sick.

Nuts.

Happy. 😀

Euphoric. 😆

Bitten.

And those are just the single-word descriptions. I may have to make a new category. Because, you see, even though I *know* this happens every single time, whether I plan it or not, I continue to repeat the deed because I am, quite simply, addicted.

I am pretty sure if someone was mapping my brain at those times, the pleasure center would be lit up like a Christmas tree, and you could see those neurons firing the message to send out some oxytocin; maybe even some prolactin. {And it might be contagious, too, so watch out! 😀 }

Wednesday afternoon, I headed to Tractor Supply to get a stock tank and horse feed since they were out on Tuesday. They told me they were getting bantams on Friday, so on the off-chance that they got some silkies, I figured I’d get a stock tank since the brooder didn’t make the move. 😥

The stock tank would be fine, and we can reuse it for the horses when we’re done. It’s a good stop-gap measure.

So there I went, mostly to get food for the horses. You know you have to walk by the chickens, yes?  😆

I spent close to 2 hours there, talking to people about chickens. There was a very nice lady who had just gotten some, and she was taking pictures, trying to figure out which breeds she had gone home with. We started talking, and pretty soon, we had covered all kinds of things, particularly coop design and the space requirements per chicken. {A good rule of thumb is 4 sq ft per chicken; large fowl.}

I talked to some gentlemen, as well, and suggested they all go the Backyard Chicken website and forums. The forums have all kinds of sections, including starting chicks, breeds, predators, and coop design. Really. If you are thinking about chickens, start there. SO many people are willing to share their plans with you it’s not even funny. You won’t regret it!

I spent all that time jabbering and then realized Hunny was going to be coming home soon, so I needed to skeedaddle.

I was in the parking lot on the way out when I realized I had forgotten to get the stock tank. *sigh*.

So, Thursday, I headed back to get the stock tank. And, I wanted to check the time that the bantams for sure were going to be getting there. Turns out, they had literally just gotten there. They let me come back an hour later, after they had time to get warmed back up, and pick through them.

No silkies. 😥  😥

BUT. They did have other, four-toed, feather-legged bantams. Tractor Supply has a minimum of 6 chicks to take home……..

You can see where this is going, can’t you? 😆 You might think I would be thinking, “I just ordered 40 large fowl and 15 guineas the other day. I know I can order the 8 in the breeds that I want and get them here in June.”

Ok, I admit I was thinking that. 😆

Louder than that voice, though, was the one whispering, “You haven’t had these kinds of feather-footed chooks. Look, aren’t they cute? Look at how small they are! Awww, they’re so fuzzy! Aren’t they cute? And there’s only 6 of them…….”

Because we haven’t built anything yet, I thought, what they heck- let me text Hunny and see what he says. I explained to him that I would have to end up with 12 bantams total because I’d have to get 6 more; or if they didn’t end up getting any in, I’d have to order 12.

I could hear him rolling his eyes. 😀

I did mention, though, that bantams are so small that you really need 2 of them to make 1 large chicken, so you could get more with the same space.

Struck down again by chicken math! 😆

So we dug through and picked them out. 😆 There were exactly 6 feather-footed bantams.

I had no idea what they were. Naturally, when I got home, I got down to business, researching to see if I could identify them.

I think I might have a clue what these cuties are.

chick 1

chick1.2

chick1.3

I think {and certainly, I am no expert} that this is a Black Cochin chick. I think I have maybe two them. One I’m real iffy on, because he’s somewhere between this one and the other suspected Barred Cochin chick. I’ll show pictures of them last.

chick2

chick2.3

chick2.2

This little cutie I think is a Buff Brahma. If feather sexing works on this breed and is the same for others, this baby is a girl. I only have one of them, but she is pretty zippy and is very, very active and busily trying to fly and get into everything. Her tail feathers have grown since yesterday. What a riot!

chick3

chick3.2

Rounding out my set of 6 are these plumpers. You can see how they have a fuzzy yellow tush and more yellow on their bellies. They all have a similar wing pattern, tipped with yellow. These actually look a lot like our Barred Rock chicks did.

The one I question is not as yellow-y as this little bug, but is not quite as solid as the chick I suspect of being a Black Cochin.

At this point, it’s a waiting game until they start feathering out and we can really tell what they are. I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to have chicks again! There is just something about hearing their little cheeps that brings a smile to my face.

I’ve also continued to be amazed at how fast they grow! You can literally see them growing tail feathers and getting their other feathers. You can see their egg tooth when you first get them, and watch as it gets picked off or worn down and disappear. And I have to laugh at them digging and scratching; doing all the “big kid” behavior, when it’s not something that’s been learned by watching other chickens.

Already, we’ve had some races {where they race and try to fly but end up just zipping all over} and we’ve had some hockey, when they thought a piece of shaving was a bug. They are hilarious- it really IS ‘chick tv!’

It’s been another unexpectedly busy day. At this point, I’m just tired. 😀

So now you know. I’m _________. 😆

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I’m tellin’ ya, it’s a drug. A heavy- hitting, fly -to -the moon, squee-all-afternoon kind of drug that leaves you high and darn near breathless with euphoria.

Raise your hand if you are nodding along because you know what I’m talking about. {I’ll pretend I see you :lol:}

When we moved, as you may remember, one of the primary criteria for the new digs was the ability to have chickens. You may also recall that we ended up with horses instead.

Hunny finally got tired of me whining decided that despite the chaos, it was ok for me to order some chickens. I had been looking online for a while and came to the realization that it was going to be a few months out before all the breeds I wanted were ready to ship.

I spent the entire morning shopping. While I generally despise shopping {as you know because you’ve been reading along all this time} the only kind of shopping I don’t completely hate is- {wait for it……} shopping for chickens. 😆  There is something about checking out your breeds and then finding the best dates and prices on them.

This time, we were going to do it right, without falling victim to chicken math. Every time I’ve gone to buy chickens, I’ve fallen prey to it. Literally every. Single. Time. {Like, the time I Almost Did Something Bad and then ended up with Babies anyhow…….}

This time was going to be different, though. “Why,” you might ask? Well, we’re in the country for one thing, and for another thing, I was planning on getting more than the 23 I ended up with last time.

So you see, there was no reason for chicken math to creep up on me this time because I was already going to get as many as I wanted. 😆

I spent all morning shopping online, and had my breeds and quantities picked out. The only real issue was that I couldn’t get them until the end of June, which is, well, meh.  😥  😆

I thought, “Gee, well, as long as I’m down at tractor Supply, I’ll ask them how their shipping works. After all, the hatchery I talked to this morning would mix large fowl with bantams with no problem.”

So I asked. And they told me no. No biggy; I can order my silkies in a smaller quantity.

In the meantime, my oldest daughter had found another cool looking breed that she though would be neat to have. And I thought, “No biggy; I’ll just order a few of those and tack them on to the order.”

Are you laughing yet? 😆

Come to find out, yes, there’s a minimum order of 25 chickens. BUT. You have to order the breeds in quantities of 5. I called Hunny and talked it over with him before I did anything. And bless his heart, he was fine with it!

Initially, I was going to have a total of 31 without the guineas; 8 silkies and 23 large fowl. Because I was not going to pay megabucks to have the 90% accurate DNA testing done, the silkies were going to be straight run.

When it’s straight run, you can figure on about a 50/50 mix of boys and girls. So, in reality, that means we would only end up keeping 4 silkies, unless I could con talk Hunny into breeding and selling down the road. {Keeping my fingers crossed, but not holding my breath!}

So, in reality, that would put me around 27 chickens, which is a good amount of chickens.  😆

One other thing we decided on was getting guineas. Now, you may be scratching your head and wondering why, since we would have plenty of chickens.

Guineas are great at getting bugs. So are chickens, but the specialty of guineas is ticks. And, they will eat the bad bugs in the garden without eating the garden {I’ve heard- we’ll see- I’m a bit skeptical on that one, though}. While I’ve heard guineas are messy and loud, they are very good at alerting to predators and other unannounced “visitors.”

Another primary reasons guineas are such a good thing when you live in the country is that they will help control the snake population. I could do without snakes, so this seems like a win-win to me!

One of my bigger concerns is that because they roam, they might get chased by hunting dogs and then shot. In theory, this land is off-limits, but since we’re new and some haven’t figured that out, we’ve seen hunters from the hunting club out here. I don’t remember if I wrote it up, but there was one set of hunters in the front pasture with my HORSES that went and dragged a deer carcass right in front of them and my daughter who was out there. Ya, things are going to change next year!

We’ll have to see where we land with that.

I did a lot of looking online, and I finally ordered 15. Tractor Supply had a minimum of 25, and I just do not want that many.

Which ones did I settle on? I ordered 5 of each:

Lavender guinea: lavenderguinea

Royal Purple guinea:  royalpurpleguinea

and White guinea:   whiteguinea

Now. Onto the chickens! 😀

I actually did not order silkies today. Tractor Supply is getting bantams on Friday, so I’m going down there first thing in the morning to dig through them like we did last time. Hopefully, they will have a good variety, or else I may order the ones I want in a few weeks. That would put them here late June.

I did, however, order 5 Buff Orpington pullets. eggs and grass 010

The two big yellow chickens were our BOs, Butternut and Daisy. Butternut was the flock mistress, and would protect the chicks from the dogs. She would even peck Little Dog, who learned she didn’t like having her nose poked. Butternut was huge, and it was awesome to see her fluff her neck feathers out.

This was one of my absolute favorite breeds because of being a dual-purpose breed: good for meat and eggs. {We don’t eat our friends, though. 🙂 }

They are good all around- good in confinement and heat and cold tolerant. It’s also listed as a “Recovering Heritage Breed” with the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy.

Blue Andalusian.   BA3I got 5 Blue Andis, too.  After having our hearts broken saying Goodbye, Dear Jasmine, I vowed if I ever got the chance, we would get more Blue Andalusians, but all girls {pullets}. So we did. 😀

Andalusians are a “Threatened Heritage Breed,” and they are simply gorgeous! They are medium layers of nice white eggs and are heat tolerant.

If you’ve seen pictures of my eggs before we moved, you will no doubt know that none of my flocks are ever complete without Easter Eggers. EEs are commonly found at hatcheries listed as Ameraucanas, but because they come from hatcheries, they are actually Easter Egges. This is because hatchery birds don’t meet the breed standard all the time; some of them are rumpless; some are muffless and/or beardless, and of course, some of them lay brown eggs.

Out of our last flock, we had one that laid a brown egg; two laid olive eggs {yay for olive eggers!} and the rest laid the typical blue/green eggs.

They are SO cute as chicks because they look like chipmunks! chicks1

EEs are an all-around great chicken- they do well confined and are a cold and heat tolerant breed. I can’t say enough good about this breed. I settled on ordering 10 of these girls.

As I was choosing breeds, I was looking for a balance of egg color. I, personally, like to see a nice variety of egg colors in the carton. A very nice brown egg layer that is something special to look at is the Silver Laced Wyandotte.

silverlacedwyandotte

SLWs are another breed that are cold and heat tolerant and do ok being confined. While I was happy to see that this breed is listed as “Recovering,” it didn’t deter me from ordering 5. 😆

Before getting chickens, I had no idea the wide variety of colors chickens could come in. I admit to going a bit hog-wild this time. 😆

One of the egg-colors I have always drooled over was the really dark brown chocolatey eggs.  cuckoomaraneggs

YUMMY!!! Marans lay these eggs, so I got 5 Cuckoo Marans. I was particularly pleased, because Cuckoo Marans look a bit like Barred (Plymouth) Rocks, and since we weren’t getting any, I knew my middle daughter would be thrilled, because her favorites were the BRs.  cuckoomaran

As I was thinking about breeds, my daughter noticed the Silver Lakenvelder, and I remembered that it was also listed as a “Threatened” breed. I thought, “I’ll just add a few of those” and that’s how we ended up ordering 5. The Lakenvelder lays a nice white egg and does well in confinement and is heat tolerant.

silverlakenvelder

One of the more interesting and unique chicken breeds is the Silver Spangled Hamburg, also known as “the polka-dotted chicken,”

silverspangledhamburg

When I discovered these a few years ago, I swore I’d get some if I didn’t have to order a boatload. So, I ordered 5. The Silver Spangled Hamburg is on the “Watch” list. It lays a white egg; does best free-ranging and is heat tolerant.

So. Let’s recap:

Brown egg layers: Buff Orpingtons (5), Silver Laced Wyandottes (5)

Dark chocolate eggs: Cuckoo Maran (5)

White egg layers: Blue Andalusian (5), Silver Spangled Hamburg (5) and Silver Lakenvelder (5)

Colored eggs: Easter Eggers (10)

Regular math: 23 large fowl + 8 silkies= 31 + 8 guineas= 39. {I probably would have rounded to an even 40.}

Chicken math: 40 large fowl + 8 slkies + 15 guineas= running afowl of 63 birds! 😆

Ahhhh, my loves, I’ve been waiting! 😆

**pictures courtesy of Google, My Pet Chicken, Meyer Hatchery, Feathersite, Backyard Chickens, etc etc

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Being the fan of chickens that I am, I couldn’t turn down the opportunity to read about Mike, The Headless Chicken, who lived for 18 months after an unsucessful attempt to be eaten for dinner and then was taken on the road by his fortune-seeking owners.

Initially, this strikes me as something too impossible to be true. I mean, how did he eat? How did he survive not running into stuff? How did he know where to roost at night? How did he escape predators?

The ‘proof’ that the town of Fuita, Colorado has a link on its town website for Mike and has an annual festival? Well, that doesn’t make it true. I mean, for goodness sakes, Roswell, NM has an annual UFO festival, even though it’s not linked on the city website. I’m pretty sure we can’t equate festival = real.

Nonetheless, I was so compelled by this take that I decided to go looking researching.

Of course, there’s a Wikipedia page for Mike. Knowing that Wikipedia doesn’t accept any first hand accounts (and why not? I mean, they really ought to think about not accepting anything that doesn’t have first and second-hand resources! Look also at the bit on journalism………….) gets my hinky meter going, mostly because it’s commonly known that second-hand information is heresay, which isn’t generally admissible in court.

So, then I thought I would check Snopes. Nada. Although there was a reference on the discussion boards there, there is nothing written up about Mike. Poor Mike. Not worthy of urban legend status according to Snopes!  😥

I did, however, hit the jackpot when I stumbled across this article from the Denver Post where Mike had thrown his hat, er, head into the presidential ring. Using “It’s a No-Brainer” as a campaign slogan for the “Free Range Party ticket” was genius!

It’s linked to Time Magazine, which had taken several pictures, including Mike being fed by syringe. Honestly, I’m not sure how Mike managed not to aspirate. And cracked corn?  😯

Anyhow. While this seems fantastical, early evidence suggests it’s true.

You tell me: true or hoax?

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