Monday, July 28, 2014

Catching up in photos from around the homestead - July 2014

It is a crazy chicken month. Lots of decisions and steps to build our flock the way we would like it. I'm hoping with all the additions that we'll have at least one broody hen and can start letting her hatch eggs asap. We are going to revamp the coop area in preparation of future breeding seasons and add a little farmstand with refrigerator to hold all the eggs we are selling. The cooler just isn't working out that great!

So here are some quick updates in pictures:

This Easter Egger is turning out to be a he. So sad. He isn't any trouble, but he isn't needed here and we'll be trying to find him a new home. He was the lone survivor of those beautiful 10 chickens we brought home and then lost to a fox.

The garden at the beginning of July. Things were a little slow, and have since picked up. We were hit by cucumber beetles, but I think the chickens have taken care of those for us now.

First year with bee balm in the garden. I can't wait to see how it spreads next year.

We picked up 6 free chicks that were from a barnyard mix and hatched out by a broody cochin. These eggs were a mix of Blue and black copper maran, blue/black/splash ameraucanans, and lavender orpingtons. It looks like we have a few pure marans, but we'll have to wait and see. It also looks like 3 of the 6 are roosters. :-/

These are two mottled english orpington roosters we also got for free (from someone different). I was so excited to have these. They will get to be 9-12lbs and I was hoping to use them as the roosters for our future australorpe gals. They were super friendly. "Were" - because we went searching for them one night while we were closing up the coop and couldn't find them. The next morning, only the less friendly and not breeding quality one came back. I'm still hopfull he'll show up. That pretty Easter Egger at the top of this post came back days after he went missing.

LOOK AT THAT WING! He was perfect. He was so friendly and ran to greet us. Now we can't find him. Nothing wandered into our yard and took him - I'm guessing he just explored too far away in the woods and something took him. Or a dog. This one has been the hardest one to loose so far. I keep looking for him every time I go outside.

Mottled English Orpingtons shouldn't have those white feathers. This guy is still sweet, but we can only keep so many roosters, and if he isn't what we need for the hens, we might have to try to find him a new home.

Gulp. They were inseparable and so sweet. Look at how they just sit on people's shoulders.

Norway is here to try to breed Buttercup. He's feisty and somewhat difficult to handle. I never found him a herd - so a circle of life event happens tomorrow. This will be our first cow we'll be sending off. We can't keep him, and this was going to be his ultimate fate someday - it was planned. But it's still a new thing to experience and figure out how to "feel" through. Things I know: He had far from a feedlot experience and I'm so happy we were able to raise him "grass fed". He was useful and helped farmers out. He was respected and given a pretty good life.

That beat up buckeye is becoming a best friend. Partly because of how she loves my kids and me. She's the hen that survived the fox attack (was being carried away in his mouth). And she was also a rooster favorite. She's healed up, but I'm not sure she'll ever get those feathers back. She came up to the house and squatted down while Isaac was 3 yards away. She waited patiently, while I told Isaac, (in shock) "She wants you to pet her... Uh, sure, walk up to her. Go pet her." Which he did. And she just happily sat there.

I love seeing the chickens free ranging.

And these are the long hoped for Ameraucana flock. Hens: three splash, two blue, one black. And one blue rooster. I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to get these, but after a few weeks of communications, they are here. They were all hatched last year from Paul Smith eggs.

The first really blue egg in the nesting box this morning.

This rooster is fantastic so far. He's so friendly and he doesn't spook or feel the necessity to show off when people are around. That results in fewer hurt chicken backs and a rooster that is welcome around my children and guests.

The chickens have been working in the garden to reduce bugs while we occasionally keep up with weeding. Norway likes to spread out his hay and wastes quite a bit so the waste will be used to mulch the garden. We just couldn't seem to find a good source of mulch that we wanted to actually purchase this year. I love that we'll be getting the most use out of what we were already buying. And we'll finally get to mulch the garden like we planned!

More big homesteading changes are on the horizon too. We'll see if they pan out - but I'll let you know if they happen!

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