I’d Like You to Meet the ‘Ladies’

D and I purchased 26 baby chicks about a year ago, when we still ate meat, and had the intention of butchering some and using the others for their eggs. Well, things changed and we knew we couldn’t eat them or their off spring and we ended up selling all but four of the ladies. I struggled with selling them because I knew ultimately their were few people around here who wanted a bunch of chickens as pets and that they may go to someone who would end up butchering most of them. We didn’t know what to do but knew we couldn’t keep this many chickens. I ended up posting them on Craigslist and fortunately a really great couple purchased them and I like to believe that they are all happy, roaming freely on their farm.

The four that we did end up keeping have slowly, over the course of the year, become more like pets to use. They honestly have their own funny little personalities . Anytime they see us they all come running over to the fence. Their coop is surrounded by a 40 foot electric fence which doesn’t seem to work very well because we always see one of the chickens poking it’s head through reaching for the grass that sits just on the other side. But I suppose it still gives us a little piece of mind with it up. Plus, the dogs really can’t be trusted, nor the cats or the occasional coyote that gets on the property.

These gals have a special place in our hearts. We’ve nursed one back from the dead, literally, and the other three just tug a little at our hearts as well.

Every morning they are we waiting patiently for me to come out and undo the latch and open the ramp which they come in and out of the coop from. I’m an early riser so this is usually around 6-6:30 am. If it’s any later they always raise a stick and you can hear them from inside the house voicing their frustration at you. They spend their day waking around their pen picking at the ground. On extremely hot days they go under their coop and sit in the shade until it cools off in the evening. They are, for the most part, creature of habit. When the sun goes down they automatically go back into their coop and wait for D to come out and lock them in.

When we first got the chickens, while they were still living in the guest room as little baby chicks, we had a Chicken Coop made from Gopher Boy Farms. They idea behind it was for it to be mobile so we could transport the ladies around the farm and they could fertilize the ground.

This is me cleaning it out during the winter. The hay from inside the coop is a great ingredient to put in your compost {in case you are wondering}.

Most days the girls give us an egg each; a blueish-green, a pinkish brown, a speckled brown, and a plan brown.  We decided that instead of throwing them out {since we don’t eat eggs} we would trade with our friends for other goodies like vegetables or fun house plants or we sell them for $5 a dozen.  We may as well cover their cost, right?

So without further ado, I’d love for you to meet ‘the ladies’.

Hope everyone had a great weekend!

a morning stroll

I woke up this morning, looked out the window and was  greeted by the sun peeking out from behind some clouds highlighting the beautiful array of colors around the farm. I quickly put on my boots to go  let the chickens out for the day. I grabbed my camera on the way out the door…


Every season shares some sort of beauty but autumn colors are by far the most inspiring to me.

I think the animals even appreciate it as well…

 

And life is good…

 

 

 

 

 




Coyote Not So Ugly

It’s a little known fact that I am a huge animal gal. I once had to stop volunteering at a cat shelter because I kept bringing them home with me. I was excited when I found out there were sheep and goats already on the farm and that the idea was to breed the sheep at the end of the summer/early fall and this spring we will be diving into the world of raising chickens. But not all animals are welcome on the farm and they’ve put a lot of efforts to keep predators from getting through the 8 foot tall fence that surrounds the perimeter of the property.

The other day as I was bringing David his sunglasses while he was on tracker I noticed that he was standing on the wheel looking to the south corner of the property. He yelled at me that there was a coyote lose in the vineyard. Somehow this big guy got in, probably slipping under the fence somewhere near the gate. David yelled for me to go open the gate as it’s kept closed during the spring and summer months for this reason alone. If luck would have it, they were going to try to push the coyote back out without having to do any harm. All of a sudden I remembered that I had just let my cats out to roam in the yard. Momentarily panicked,  I felt caught in between a rock and a hard place. Do I open the gate first which required me running a good football field length or run back to get my cats into the house in order to prevent them from being the coyote’s lunch ? The realization set in that I am now a farm girl and my priorities must change, not to mention that my cats were sitting under a bush about five feet from the front door to the house. I ran to open the gate as fear set in that somehow, just maybe the coyote would manage to smell the fresh meat of my poor defenseless kitties and get to them in the five minutes it took for me to open the entrance of the fence and get back to save their lives. Dramatic? Well, maybe just a little but you have to understand, these were city cats for the last four years and they are rather naive to the ways of the farm cat. Knowing Lucy she’d probably see the Coyote and run to it,  roll over and let the him have his way with her.

Image taken from http://www.freewebs.com/coyotehaven/thecoyote.htm

As I was dashing back towards the house David yelled out that they were going to have to shoot the coyote because he was working his way further into the vineyard. I skidded to a halt. WHAT? Shoot the poor defenseless coyote who probably has a family of its own. I mean, it’s really only trying to provide for its young and who are we to get in the way? I’m assuming David could see the sadness in my eyes and reminded me that my cats were still out. A rush of reality came back to me and I pivoted in my tracks running to gather Lucy and Oliver.

I waited for the sound of the rifle from inside the house but it never came. Although I know that having a coyote loose on the property reeks havoc for obvious reasons, I can’t help that a little part of me is relieved that I never heard the sound of the gun. Maybe he found his way out after all? I wonder if I’ll ever get use to this part of life on a farm?