Saturday, March 28, 2009

Chickens


We have 3 types of chickens: Buff Orpington chickens (the gorgeous gold ones), Barred Rock chickens (the black & white striped ones) and, fairly common chickens around here from what I can tell, Rhode Island Red chickens (the red ones). We have them in a shed that was already here on the property when we bought it. We seperated the shed so that there's still a space for storage and added a door to that side of the shed. We also cut a small hole in the back of the shed. We also set up green house pieces with netting extending off the back of the shed so that the chickens have a nice area to roam, kick up dust and scratch around while still being protected from any predators.

Last May we purchased around a dozen little chicks which we raised inside, then moved into an old rabbit hutch until they were finally big enough (and fairly friendly with us) to go into the shed we set up. A few chickens mysteriously died with in the first couple months - they seemed well and they weren't attacked by any animals (the shed set up is very safe for them), so I'm not sure what happened. However, the remaining 9 seem to all be very well and are now producing eggs every day. We actually just ordered a few more little chicks, the Buffs and Rhode Island Reds, because we've been selling the eggs. Friends and family seem very impressed with the eggs, so we figured a few more hens would be a good idea.

The eggs our chickens produce come in all shapes, sizes and different shades of brown (all three types of chickens lay just brown eggs). I think the photo here is a great example of what I'm talking about ... and excuse the wine cork, it's all I had around to compare the size with at the time. Aside from being protected from predators, we also have no rooster meaning that none of the eggs we're producing are fertilized in anyway. Sure, there's the "feral rooster" roaming around, but he can't get to the hens - thank goodness! The eggs are normally pretty big, very fresh and are from some fairly spoiled chickens, so we feel good selling them and sharing them with others. Right now, we're selling a dozen of the eggs for $3 to friends right now, though the price may change when we start up our farm stand soon.

Here's some more photos that just had to be added in:


Friday, March 27, 2009

Another Baby

There was another baby born this weekend ... and what a cutie she is!

Less than a week after Olivia gave birth to our first little lamb, our adorable Penny, Mellie finally had her baby as well ... a super sweet looking little black female. I thought this was just so perfect - Olivia's all white and had her little white girl and Mellie is a black sheep (yes, she's a "black sheep" even though she looks brown, but that's just from her wool being so long and sun bleached) and she gave birth to a little black girl. Last year, it was the exact opposite, believe it or not! Olivia had a little black lamb and Mellie had a little white boy (note the last photo in the entry).

video


Check out this oh so sweet photo of the other sheep (Penny is out running around with the whole crew now) curious as to what's going on. They were so interested in seeing what was going on, especially when Mellie's little girl would start "bahhhing". While they were trying to nose their way in, we were wrapping the new munchkin up in towels and a little sweater. In doing that, we also determined Mellie had graced us with a little girl. Since Mellie had her baby one full week after St Patty's Day, Patty sounded like a good name - it just goes so well with Penny too: Penny and Patty.

Mellie wasn't a fraction of the size Olivia seemed to be when she was pregnant, so there wasn't any anxious waiting to see if another little lamb would follow Patty out that morning. That means Patty will be the last of the babies for this summer. These two little babies are just absolutely perfect though, definitely a wonderful start to Spring and I can't wait to watch them grow.

And here is Mellie with her little munchkin last year. Last summer she gave birth to our guy, Bob, the fixed boy we have here in our little group of baby dolls. How cute was he?!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Circle Of Life?

I hate to open with such a cheesy subject line, but it's honestly the most correct title for the day that comes to mind. What a day on the farm!

This morning we found an adorable baby sheep : )

You can't really tell in the photos, but she's really tiny. And she "bahhhs" all loud and high pitched compared to our crew who are all adults. Mom  carried her into our little whelping pen. I'm not sure if that's the correct name, honestly, but the concept is a small pen for mom & baby to go in for the first few days in order to bond and get to know one another. So, we dry off the little baby a bit more and put her in the pen before steering Olivia in there too.

A little girl born not long after the Ides of March (March 15th) and we've been so set on getting away from these silly, silly names my mom gives our animal.  Had it been a boy, I was thinking Julius ... but a girl? Hmm, what's not too fancy and silly (Olivia, Arthur, Lancelot), but not to common either (Bob) - oh and has something to do with Latin/Rome? Hmmm... Ah! Penny! As in Mrs. Cip, my high school Latin teacher. Cute, cute name and in the world of Latin/everything Roman I'm not sure any better name comes to mind for a little girl. So, congrats Cippy, you've got a legacy in a lamb :)

It was chilly out this morning and though the day got warmer, little lambs are not born with thick coats of wool. No, no. For this reason, the woman we purchased our sheep from suggested little sweaters and gave us two of her old ones in order for us to be prepared for when we had lambs. My aunt, the obsessive knitter, was able to make us some newer ones though, ones a bit cuter, I think.

Born well, in the "bonding pen" (I like that more than the whelping term I think it's actually referred to as) with mom, moving around, dried off, sweater on, nursing and hopefully with a name now - all good things!

 let's finish off this entry on a good note for the night: