Sunday, December 19, 2010

Just where do those eggs come from anyway?

Right now the farm has 500 laying hens.  We have 350 Red Sex-linked hens and these are the most prolific. The sex-linked has nothing to do  with their romantic capabilities but that the color of the chicks is on the sex-chromosome. This allows the hatchery to distinguish the boys from the girls. The Red Sex-linked are a cross between a Rhode Island Red and a White Leghorn. The second breed are Black Sex-linked and are across between a Rhode Island Red and a Bard Rock. They are a slightly larger bird and lay slightly larger eggs but not quite so many. We have 100 of these. And the third type is a less common breed,  the Araucana. They lay blue eggs. They don't lay so many eggs but they are a pretty bird.  


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving Turkey?

 A local radio station dropped of this fine looking turkey, but made me promise she would not be Thanksgiving dinner. Her name is Matilda. The station had offered a free Thanksgiving turkey in a contest. The winner was expecting a nice frozen Butterball and didn't know what to do with a live turkey. So here she is. I am beginning to feel like Noah and the Ark. Two rescue dogs, two rescue mules, a rescue duck and now a rescue turkey. Happy Thanksgiving!

ZEUS, MIA and BUSTER the duck

Zeus, Mia and yes Buster the duck are pretty much on their own today as the chickens have been moved to the barn for the winter (they still go out during the day for the grass, or what's left of it.) Soon I will move them out with the sheep in the back pasture. But first I have to teach them not the chase the sheep so they will be on a lead for about a week. I wonder if they know it is thanksgiving. Gosh, they are such good dogs. I feel very lucky.

Thanksgiving 2010

Well it is now November and the hens are scrounging every little bit of green grass they can find. They have already eaten up my back yard. I then moved them out to the spent garden to finish off the last bits of lettuce, clover and weeds. They made quick work of that so now I am leading them out to the back pasture. It's the green grass (beta-carotene) that makes the yolks nice dark yellow. 400 chickens makes one impressive foraging machine!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Moms and their Lambs (Catherine, Aesop, Candy, Tim,  Alice, Anne, Lucy, Ali, Lila, Lola, and Lucinda)
Lila, Lola and Lucinda
The Moms and all their "Babies"Heading for the Barn
As I said, the sheep have grown, not quite as big, but almost as their moms. Also, feeling bad for the unnamed, I named them all this morning as I took their pictures. So....Cathering begat Aesop and Candy; Anne begat Lucy and TIm; Lila begat Lola and Lucinda; and Alice be gat Ali. Here they are in all their glory.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Gosh! It's September already

Heavens, it is already September! It's starting to get cooler at night.We were essentially untouched by Herb (it was Herb, wasn't it?), just a lot of much needed rain. Well, all the lambs are big now (pictures to follow) though they still hang near their mothers. I have had less time to spend with them so only three have names. When they are bold enough to get close enough to get a tummy scratch they get a name. Three have names: Lucy, Aesop and Tim. I am up to 17 sheep and my pasture is starting to show it. Fortunately I am  renting an a adjacent field so I can give my pasture a bit of a rest. Of course, now I have two small mules (Molly and Sally) and they are hard on my pasture as well.  I am also up to about 850 hens. Good lord, how did this all happen?  Oh, did I mention that we adopted a goat as well, Henry the goat.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Spring is Here!

Well spring is definitely here. Nothing like having a few younguns around to cheer you up.

New Lambs 1AM Friday April 30th

Two of the ewes (Catherine and Annie) have delivered the goods. Each of them had twins. Right after they were born they were jumping around like jack rabbits. Quite a sight. The two other ewes well be delivering soon.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

more pictures of the shearing

Here us a kink to more pictures of shearing day.

The link is to "snapfish". I think you have to sign up to get to them. If you get an "error" page, just click on "home" and the pictures should come up. 

Well, we are done with the shearing. (See the pictures) All the sheep were pretty  calm about the process except Rip Tide, our new fertile teenage ram. This was his first shearing and he was  quite put off to say the least. He was not keen about being flipped on his back. Fortunately Bill Cornoyer, our shearer, was able to stay away from Rip Tides impressive horns and get the job done.

Funny, after shearing the sheep do not recognize each other and there is a whole lot of butting going on.

We also have about 30 new chicks that have hatched with their mothers sitting on their eggs, au natural. New  babies of any kind are always fun. We would eventually like a good percentage of our flock hatched and raised by their mothers. How would like to be grown in and incubator and never have a mother to get you started. It is fun to watch the chicks scooting after mother.

Next step is baby lambs due sometime in May. Four ewes are "with child" and we may have anywhere from four to eight new lambs. Last time we had all rams. I hope this time we have some girls. I'll keep you posed.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010


Unfortunately, we did not excape the rain.  The pasture  was flooded. THer are now three new ponds in the pasture. My poor sheep. They looked so pathetic huddled on a patch of dry ground. Was going to move them to their quarters under the barn, but that had one foot of water. There was also one flock of 100 hens on the pasture. They were swimming in a foot of water. Had to pull the hoop coop to  higher ground.. That was real fun in the mud. Everyone survived, but we all need to dry out.

Sunday, March 7, 2010


A friend let me know that I had described Zeus as big as a bear and gentle as a LION. No, he is gentle as a LAMB. He is no longer scared of Buster the duck. The duck follows Zeus around just as he followed Wheeler. I believe he thinks the new dog is Wheeler. Zeus is settling in. He no longer chases the chickens. He is good enough that I let him off the lead today to roam free. Boy, was he happy. Couldn't stop running around the field. I  am leaving him out tonight to sleep in the small  shed I made for Wheeler. Hope he doesn't bark too much.
Next week I will start introducing him with the sheep. I can't wait for the time where everyone is comfortable with each other and Zeus can lay around anywhere and keep an eye on things. I hope he is not lonely or gets bored.  Maybe I should get him a companion Pyrenees, or some goats, or a donkey, or some more ducks..........

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

New Guard (?) Dog

Well Zeus has arrived two days ago. What a dog. A gentle giant. Big as a bear and gentle as a lion. HE is 3 and 1/2 years old. Right now he just likes to chase the chickens and the sheep. Will definitely need some guard training. He is scared of Buster the duck. Hopefully things will work themselves out.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Gosh, it's been a month. A bunch has happened. Wheeler, my gentle Great Pyrenees died. He was 16+ years, but it was still sad. We found him in the morning by the chicken coop and Buster, his friend the duck, was sitting by his side. The poor duck seemed lost for a few days. And then fortunately the hens, who had freaked before when we first put him in with them, now accepted him. At least he had some company. But I do not think it will ever be the same for the duck.
Wheeler had become quite a celebrity in the area. He was written up several times in the New London Day. The second graders wrote a book about him and his friend the duck. I will be getting another Great Pyrenees soon. He is youger (2-3 yrs old). I will need to train him. I hope he doesn't eat the chickens. His name is Zeus.

It has been raining here for four days and will do so for another two days. My farm is awash with huge puddles and mud. My poor chickens. They can't wait for spring so they can be outdoors all day, on fresh green grass.