Fast Times At Farmville High

There’s a rapid pace to farm life that seems to pick up speed during the transition from winter to spring.  Preparations and planting of new garden rows as well as maintenance of winter rows begin.  Taking advantage of the warmer days by cleaning cages and built-up coop floors.  Between a few bugs, plain lethargy, and extreme busyness, I’ve neglected my blogs.

Promises of Spring

Promises of Spring

Since I last shared our farm animal news, Daphne and Phoebe have each given birth to seven kits, boosting our total rabbit population to 31.  That includes Daddy Buck, Father of all 24 rabbits, including Chloe’s last (and incidentally, first) litter of 10, as well as Checkers, an old retired buck who, well, is just here.  We have mated Chloe and Buck again, as Chloe’s 10 kits are completely weaned, getting fatter by the day, and about ready for new homes.  We are going to be selling several of our various chicks and pullets, as well as our bunnies, come Good Friday.

Phoebe and babe

Phoebe and babe

Super Mom Chloe's babies are so loving.  They greet me with kisses every day <3

Super Mom Chloe’s babies are so loving. They greet me with kisses every day ❤

I’m also excited to announce that we will be selling two products my Mama and I have been busy formulating and tweaking, as well, on Good Friday.  If these items are well received at the farmer’s market, you may be able to purchase them online in the near future.  Cross your fingers for us.  As a lady with hard-worked hands, I can say I have reaped the benefits of being the co-creator of our all natural lotion sticks and chap sticks.  I am giddy about our debut!

Our Leonardo, the prize winning Ameraucana-Maran Roo, took 2nd prize at the first ever Chicken Costume Contest, in that particular county, at least.  My Dad likes to say that he couldn’t keep his pants on, because he was pinned in between two lovely brides (hens dressed as brides).  I like to say he had a major wardrobe malfunction.  Either way, I have a much simpler idea if Dad decides to enter another wild and zany chicken contest that requires the chickens to be dressed for success…this year, Leonardo went as a Mexican Cowboy from the Chicken House in La Grange…I’ll post his grand tale soon.  Yes, Dad wrote a nine page handwritten story to go along with his prize roo.  I even monogrammed his boots!!

Leonardo takes a bow at dress rehearsal

Leonardo takes a bow at dress rehearsal

Dad in his modified Tweetie-Roo hat, tries to help Leonardo get ready for the contest

Dad won several prizes for his eggs at the La Grange Poultry show, including best in show.  We do have a lovely assortment of eggs, from whites, tans, browns, and greens, our girls pump out a nice stream of vitamin rich jewels for us to enjoy in so many different ways, from boiled to fried, to baked in a cake.  What a joy to be able to enjoy such fruits of our labor!

Every so often, the tree trimmers drop off a load of mulch in our far field.  Three days ago, they dropped off more than just mulch.  Six newborn kittens were found mewing among the mulch, by my youngest son.  My first instinct was not pretty.  I really wanted him to just put them back and forget he ever found them and let nature take it’s course.  But I always get this prick upon my heart when I harbor such thoughts.  I know we are to be stewards of the earth and if my child is going to grow into a loving man, and potentially a husband and father, I could not in good conscience follow through with my initial thought.

We are now bottle feeding the screaming brat-pack, and I intend to find homes for them as soon as they can eat on their own!  There are already three resident cats, two dogs, countless chickens, and quail, a pig and what was it, 31 bunnies?  I think we have enough mouths to feed around here.  Here’s to hoping for a short-lived kitten-stewardship!  I never said I was perfect…or purrrfect for that matter!

we do what we can

we do what we can

More news on the farm is that our pair of Japanese or Sumatran Bantams are apparently a pair of flaming roos… Dad said, “It’s no wonder we could never find out where she was laying her eggs!  Turns out, she’s a he!”  We’ve recently separated another pair of bantams to find out which is the male and which is the female of that pair.  One or both are laying eggs!  Usually, spurs give away the sex of the chicken, even before their feathers fully develop.  But until the spurs develop, it’s anyone’s guess…unless one wants to start counting wing feathers, that is.  We don’t have that kind of time!

Our ducks have become free-rangers along with many of our pullets.  The ducks have their own hut, but they prefer to retire with the rest of our chickens in the main coop.  All three turned out to be daffy hens, so we look to add at least one male duck to the group before we’re done. We’ve added several more bantams and Ameracaunas to the mix, as well as 50 plus new Texas A&M quail.  We’ve probably already got 20 adults, so the additions will allow us to retire some of the older quail to the freezer.  They are quick growers and great egg producers, laying after only 6-8 weeks of age, and are also excellent eating…so I shall soon find out.

checking on the quail peeps

checking on the quail peeps

one of these things is not like the others

one of these things is not like the others

We finally got around to operating on and removing Mr. M’s Bumblefoot plugs.  It was icky and Mr. M was an amazing patient.  He’s recuperating in a cage out in the sunlight.  This morning, Dad put him back on the ground, and I hope he doesn’t wind up having to fight his way back to the top of the cockerel-hierarchy.  He was king and head-honcho, the position currently shared (?) between Leonardo and Mr. White.  They are both just chicken enough that I don’t think Mr. M will need to put up too much of a fight to regain his position.  We shall see in time.

before the operation, Leonardo attempted to challenge Mr. M through his waiting cage.

before the operation, Leonardo attempted to challenge Mr. M through his waiting cage.

Dr. Dad operating on Mr. M while I hold him still in a burlap bag

And until NEXT time, this is the Crazy Chicken Lady, signing OFF!

a friend sent this to me...pretty funny, no?

a friend sent this to me…pretty funny, no?

Vaya con Dios

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Meet My Fine Feathered Friends

I have been meaning to do a pictorial of our menagerie of chickens and such for about a week now.  Unfortunately, a rotten cold plagued me and my family and I haven’t felt much like sharing anything, this past week.  Luckily, I am on the mend, and aside from two, the rest of my family is much better as well.  HALLELLUJAH!!

So, allow me to share a few of my favorite chickens, as well as a first look at Supermom’s 10 kits, and a sample of our daily egg collection as of late.  There might even be a surprise or two sandwiched in between all the cluckers.

First is Mickey, our young, handsome Black Polish Bantam Rooster.  He’s a real looker and seems to know it, but he’s not friendly with others, which is why he has a bachelor’s pad all to himself.

Mickey's named after my new brother-in-law

Mickey’s named after my new brother-in-law

Next is SilkiePoo.  Again, exotic and lovely to admire, but this Silkie is a bit spastic at the moment.  She/he/it is also in her/his/it’s own cage.  I tried to pair SilkiePoo with Mickey, but Mickey is just too aggressive.  So, until she/he/it is old enough, and/or the run is finally finished, she will be a bachelor/ette/whatever!

Kind of wicked lookin', really

Kind of wicked lookin’, really

Then there’s Granny, who isn’t as old as her name would suggest, but doesn’t she look like Granny to you?  She’s so sweet like a Granny too, this White Crested Polish hen.  She is bunked up with Daffy-Doo, another White Crested Polish hen.  However, Daffy’s crest is more like Mickey’s, spikey and jagged.

Granny

Granny

SamKitty just explained that he would really like to be right in the middle of these beautiful chickens, because he admires them greatly.  He also admires himself greatly and believes he’s too sexy for his shirt.  So he wanted me to share this picture of him, shirtless, of course, because he always models shirtless…because he is so hot…his words, not mine.

don't hate me because I'm beautiful

don’t hate me because I’m beautiful

My Dad is really getting nervous about SamKitty and his attraction to pretty chickens.  So he will probably not appreciate the humor of sticking this troubled, vain man-kitty in the middle of his chickens…or will he?

 

I’ve introduced Mr. M to you already.  He really is the finest specimen of Blue Copper Maran to be seen.  He was however, disqualified, for being mis-labeled a Blue Maran, when he was the only Blue Copper Maran in the building and was sure to win the grand champion prize.  Bygones.

I’ve also mention my fear of this dominant roo, as he truly gives me the strangest chills when he is around and has charged me on several occasions.  He actually got my youngest son in the lip, the other day.  So not cool!

He is suffering from double Bumblefoot at the moment and has been caged for the time being.  Dad will be operating on him real soon.  It’s a simple enough procedure for a man like my pop!  Mr. M will be good to strut again in no time.

It’s a catch 22 really, because I rather enjoy him caged, as do many of our other free-range roos.

Anyhow, here is Mr. M with two of our four guineas.  They have no names…they live to annoy us all.  But they are a beautiful annoyance and one day I will enjoy creating something with their beautiful feathers.  Until then, they serve as extra eyes on the farm, alerting us to anything out of the norm…and squeak, squawk, and honking all other hours of the day for no particular reason except to hear their own voice.

Some folks might say that about me and my writing!  Haha!

Supergirl, the high-flying hen, totally photo-bombed this pic

Supergirl, the high-flying hen, totally photo-bombed this pic

 

These guys just have one thing to say:  “We are the Sultans with Wings”(think Dire Straits)…that’s all…autographs are worthless, as no one can read the henscratch, but you’re welcome to try.

(think Dire Straits)

 That’s Daffy-Doo up on the feeder

 

Here’s a group of our free rangers going mad for greens, which were just delivered to their coop.  The second-step brooder box is above, with feeders for the layers and for all, hanging below.  In the spring, we will clean the coop real good, raking a lot of the mashed down, soiled hay into the compost and spraying down the roofs of the brooder box and laying boxes.  During the winter, we let the hay and shavings and compost-y materials such as discarded green scraps and chicken poo accumulate, as it adds needed warmth to the coop.  We also have the coop’s open chicken wired areas tarped securely to help with the heat and the brooder box has a heat lamp as well.

They go cuckoo for greens

They go cuckoo for greens

Right now, the ducks are in a large cage in the corner of the coop.  They are so nasty!  They destroyed two cardboard brooders in a matter of days, which is why they wound up in the coop.  Their food is suspended and their water is a dog bowl dish, since they wanted to swim in their waterer and spilled it everywhere anyways!!  We have to give them a fresh hay bed, daily, and put them outside in a larger, bottomless pin during the day, due to their mess-factors.  But even the chicks in the brooder box need fresh paper and shavings every 2-3 days to maintain sanitary, healthy conditions.  It’s about stewardship.

Our baby khakis, with a crested Huey, and then Dewey, and Louie

Our baby khakis, with a crested Huey, and then Dewey, and Louie

Aside from our quail, which a whole blog post was recently dedicated to, and our caged bantams, the majority of our laying hens are happy free-rangers.  They are supplemented with laying pellets, fresh garden greens, as well as some dinner scraps, and we will from time to time, put a little apple cider vinegar in their water.  Our eggs have won several ribbons at the few shows my dad has shown them at.  That is why I boast of them being award winning eggs.  Here is Sunday’s collection, although a few more were collected later in the evening.

Since their release, I hadn’t laid eyes on our pair of Sumatra Bantams, with the exception of Saturday evening.  They are a beautiful ornamental Japanese breed, given to us late last year.  They have made a home in the woods behind the caged area, and only pop up when they think no one is looking.  Dad told me that they are sleeping in the trees and do not intermingle with any of the others.  I miss them.  They are beautiful.  Now that Mr. M is caged, they have been spotted closer to the flocks, but they still kept a healthy distance and disappear when they realized humans were near.  This is the first time chickens didn’t automatically get with the program and enter the coop with all the others in the evening.  It’s rather amazing, really, how quickly new groundlings find their safe havens.  Proof those clucks are more than clucks!!

As this pair is ever elusive, now free, and I did not get a picture of them, while caged, you will just have to google them.

 

One of the many things dad has entrusted in me, is pairing mates.  I love this.  I was actually pretty good at this back in the day and got 4 human couples together based on my feelers, and I’m proud to report that all four couples are still together to this day.

Here’s a young couple, I recently paired, sharing their dinner.   Isn’t that lovely?!  When you allow the little things to give you joy, inevitably, they will.

True love in bloom

True love in bloom

A major predator on the land, that was caught red-handed today, carrying Lavender, our Pearl Guinea in his mouth, is Skaar.  BUSTED, BUDDY!  You can only imagine how I hate this.  This is why I am crossing my fingers for the soon return of a healthy husband and a week of warm, sunny days, so they can get the well-house/coop/run combo up and running.  But you know how things go; so many things pop up that demand attention and priorities shift.  It is the way of the day, I tell ya!~!  GEESH!

Here’s the naughty doggy, just a waggin’ his tail and grinnin’ next to his humble abode.  This is where he gets to hang out during the days now, chained to the tree.  Hopefully the chickens will keep their distance, because the boy has the thirst for chicken blood.  SUCH A BUMMER!!  The good news is Lavender, who believes she is a chicken, survived the ordeal.  Bad Bad Puppy!!!

will he ever learn??

will he ever learn??

These two are part of our quartet of fellows on death row.  They had the unfortunate misfortune of being born male, and we tend to eat males around here, since our ladies know how to work it in the egg laying factory.  It’s a shame such handsome fellas have to meet such a fateful demise, but alas, it is their purpose, after all.  Before you ask, yes, roosters tend to be tougher.  They need to be boiled longer and make great soups, as well as chicken and dumplings.  We fatten them up before the culling.  They really don’t know what’s happening until it’s too late.

our two-headed roo...or not

our two-headed roo…or not

My baby brought our favorite little girl into the house and put it in the tub.  I’m really not sure why, as I’ve learned not to question the Littlest Chicken Whisperer.  Like all boys, he’s prone to lie anyhow, so why bother!  Mamas has begun laying.  I was so excited, you would’ve thought I just became a grandmother.  Chickens have an odd effect on people, I tell ya!

cutest and sweetest lil' girl in the whole world

cutest and sweetest lil’ girl in the whole world

 

And then there is Chaca, our garden hog.  My crazy dad and crazy son captured Chaca and they are letting her root around on our spring/summer garden plot to get it all nice, aeriated and fertilized.  Chaca is just certain that one day she will escape her fate…but she’s destined for a luau.

The guys also killed and cleaned two wild hogs for the freezer.  It’s been a good hunting season with 4 deer and 3 hogs.  Our freezers are blessed beyond measure, our God is a Master of Provisions.  I give Him all praise for what has become of our lives, since our move to the farm.  He has taken us to a new level and is growing us, just like we’re growing the veggies and animals.  Life is a beautiful thing, isn’t it?

I come from a long line of crazy

I come from a long line of crazy

 

Let’s not forget the bunnies!  Here’s SuperMama’s babes as well as the proud pop, Buck.

you can't see them all, but believe me, there are ten burrowed in there

you can’t see them all, but believe me, there are ten burrowed in there

Such a handsome bloke

Such a handsome bloke

 

 

Mr. Dominique met an early demise upon release.  I’m not sure if he was chased or trying to escape, all I know for sure is that my Lil’ Chicken Whisperer came back reporting that he’d found Mr. D’s body in the creek bed.  It’s a pitty, though I admittedly blamed him for the untimely culling of (un)Lucky.  His wife is still with us and has been claimed by Mr. Wellsummer.  What I’m not sure of, is how Mrs. Wellsummer feels about that.  But she seems happy enough to be a free-ranger now, so I’m not too concerned.

Mr. D, before his untimely demise

Mr. D, before his untimely demise, in an action shot

There are so many other chicks, pullets and older layers that I’ve not snapped a picture of.  These are a few of the ones that have a particular claim to some acreage in my heart.  Chickens know voodoo.  I’m just sure of it.  They have me under their spell.  I think about them all the time.  I talk about them and write about them and sing about them, even.  Working with them brings me an immense joy that I can’t describe except to say it surely comes from my Lord Jesus Christ, son of the God of Abraham; my stay and my stead.

He makes everything magical…just wish I could explain it in a way to save the world.  His majesty is beyond me, and at the same time, within and all around me!  Oh me oh my, my God is Good.

And on that note, this is the Crazy Chicken Lady, signing OFF!

VAYA CON DIOS