Monday, June 20, 2016

Got any ham?

We've added a couple of Isbar hens to our flock recently, and one of them just started laying.  She lays a beautiful, sage green egg...

   so we are all set for Green Eggs & Ham!

House Guest

We had a brief house guest last week.  Ms. Thing had a bloody nose, so I brought her in to doctor it up and let her hang out for a little while in the A/C.

Gus didn't quite know what to make of our temporary house guest.

And then there were two...

Several weeks ago we added three little Marans to our flock.  We named them Bessie Smith, Ella Fitzgerald, and Etta James.

Not long after that, we determined that Bessie Smith was likely a BOY, and has since been called Mr. Smith (although I often call him Romeo, because he loves to love).

left to right:  Ella Fitzgerald, Etta James, and Bessie (Mr.) Smith
Now that they are all just a little bit older, Ella Fitzgerald (below center) now known as Fitz, has started crowing too!

I'm holding out hope that Etta remains a girl!

Enjoying Farm Life

So... it's been a while.  We've definitely been busy!

In May, we moved to our new location.  A quaint and very rural piece of property just outside Nolensville, TN.  We've been busy adding buildings and chicken coops and are soon to add MORE CHICKENS!  I have 7 eggs in the incubator now (only 4 appear to be fully developed); they should hatch mid-week.  We will also be adding another large coop, the largest we've ever had... a 14' duplex coop made by Heritage Ways Farm in the next few days.  We'll also have our self-serve Egg Shack open in the next few days as well.  Just a few signs to put up and we're ready to go!

In the past few weeks our little farm has been added to the Local Hens website as well as Pick TN Products.  Getting approval from the Dept of Agriculture was certainly exciting!

On a more somber note, we said, "Goodbye" to Bud, our Lavender Orpington Rooster last week.  He laid his head down next to his favorite hen and went to sleep forever.  He was such a sweet gentleman; it was shocking and hard to see him pass, but I believe it was for the better in the long run. We suspect he had neurological problems from the time he was born.

So, here are a few pictures of the coops and the Swedish Flower Hen flock.  They'll be more to come as we get things moving along.


Sunday, April 10, 2016

Prince Little Feather

So, a couple of weeks ago, we covered the fact that I have fans.

Yes, I have fans!

What I found out yesterday is that I have a very, very, special fan.  We'll call him Prince Little Feather.

He's too young to follow us on Facebook, but little did I know he's been enjoying the pictures and stories here on the blog.

So, Prince Little Feather...

     Peek-a-boo... I see you... 
                       actually, you see me (but that doesn't rhyme).

Henny and Roo

This is just a quick shout out to Henny & Roo.

Henny & Roo is a great little program where you get a monthly box of poultry products.  Some are full size, some are samples... but all the items are perfectly practical if you are a chickenista.  It's a great way to try new things and add to your chicken supply closet.

Billie Holiday shows us just a few of the items that were in my Henny & Roo box this month.

Spring is Springing!

I can't say, "Spring has Sprung," but it is definitely springing...

The grown up chickens are certainly enjoying the sunshine, and exploring all the fresh green things popping up in the yard!


Happy together...

So, as you know... or may not know... or may have known and forgotten...

We have a bunny.

She's a sweet, little bunny... but has been all alone since she came to live with us.

Last week I moved our four January babies to an outside coop and introduced them to living with the bunny. They freaked out a bit at first, but that certainly didn't last long.

Bunnies mark things as "theirs" by rubbing their chin on them.  I noticed one late afternoon, when I threw in some celery for snack, that the bunny was rubbing her chin on the backs of the little chickens. I think she thinks she's a mama, and I'm not telling her otherwise.

Other than the bunny gorging on chick feed and the chickens pecking around on bunny treats, all seems to be going well.  I even made a swing for the chick kids to play with... but that is freaking them out a little bit too.  Perhaps in time they'll embrace the fun of that as well.


All good things bear repeating

and so I repeat (both in word and in deed)

Oops... I did it again.

Maybe this time I should say,
                                     Ooooooopps... I did it AGAIN!

So last time I introduced you to my 3 Marans and 1 Ameraucana; Ella, Etta, Bessie & Billie...
                                     (They are doing great, by the way.)

This time, I am happy to introduce to you their brooder mates.

We (perhaps I should say, "I" but "we" sounds so much less incriminating) have added 3 Salmon Faverolles and 2 Easter Eggers.

The Salmon's are Chenille, Chiffon and Chambray. :-)

I think Chiffon (center) thought I said, "The Chiffons."
She looks like she's about to "Do the Locomotion."
♬ ♬ ♪ ♪♬ ♪ ♪

Next are the Easter Eggers, Caramel & Truffle.

Easter Eggers are a mix breed chicken designed to lay colored eggs (anywhere on the spectrum between blue, blue-green to olive green.)  These will likely lay blue eggs, because they were sold as Ameraucana chickens (a breed that lays blue eggs)... but they are clearly NOT Ameraucanas.  I knew that as soon as I saw them, and was OK with getting Easter Eggers because I want to add more colors to my egg varieties... but I feel bad for people who don't know the difference (which apparently includes this particular hatchery.)

Just to show you the difference, here is a picture of the two new Easter Eggers next to the one true Ameraucana I have.  Clearly, they are not the same breed.  I was hoping to get Billie Holiday a couple of like-breed friends, but that just isn't the way it worked out.

One of these things is not like to other...

All of these newbies are breeds that will develop puffy cheeks and beards, so that will add some visual variety to the flock as well.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Oops... I did it again.

So where do you want me to start.. with the fact that I have yet another 4 more baby chicks, with the experience I had with my silly dog today, or with the most amazing question my husband has ever asked me (and something I never thought anyone would ever ask me for as long as I live), which he asked me today while we were mattress shopping?

O.K., the chicks... chicks ALWAYS come first.

I have four more baby chicks.  What can I say?  Chicks happen!

But it is not my fault.  I blame the Uber Chicken Breeder friend of mine who messaged me and said (and I quote), "I am coming your way to make a run to the feed store; if you want anything, call me."  Are you kidding me?  Who asks something like that and expects a "no" answer?  Of course I do!

"I'll take two Splash Marans. Oh, and do you have any Easter Eggers or Olive Eggers?"

"I have one Ameraucana I hatched by accident.  You want it?"

       ~ side note... NOBODY hatches anything "by accident." 
                            I mean, what happened.  She woke up one day and found a chick in her bed 
                           and said, "Gee, how'd that happen?" 

Anyway, you know what my answer was to "You want it?"  "Yes, of course."

"Anything else?"

"Well, what else have you got?"

"I have lots of Blue Marans."

"Oh, OK.  Yes, I'll take another one of those too.  Please make sure it has feathers on its feet."

"OK, see you in about an hour."

THANK GOD she did not say "anything else" again!

So here we go... two Splash Marans, one Blue Marans and one Ameraucana... because, like I said, chicks happen!

And, of course, we have names... the Easter Egger is Billie Holiday (of course, because Easter is a Holiday), the Blue Marans is Bessie Smith, the Splash Marans with the freckle on its head is Etta James and the other Splash Marans is Ella Fitzgerald. The Marans will go by first names if they are pullets and lasts names if they end up being cockerels. The Ameraucana (Easter Egger) will probably be Billie Holiday either way.

O.K. now, part two... the dog!

Gus has been in the habit of riding in the car with me lately when I run errands. It all started when we had mean, scary men working here on our pre-sale renovations and updates. So today, I knew the errands would be time consuming and drawn out, so I told him he should stay home... but he persisted and so I gave in and let him ride in the co-pilot seat.

Well, one of my journeys was to pick up this cute green gingham bassinet which I found used, in excellent condition for next to nothing. It even came with two little matching storage baskets that are so cute. That new grandboy is going to need a place to lay his head when he is at Grandma's house.

So on our way home, I noticed Gus had abandoned the co-pilot seat. When I turned to see where he was, this is what I saw... he was IN the bassinet!

Sorry for the poor cell phone quality photo. This was taken backwards, over my head, while sitting at a red light. No animals were harmed in the making of this photo... but if they had of been, he would have deserved it!

Now then, last but certainly not least.

Today we went shopping for a new mattress for our new house.  Well, my husband was running late, so that meant I had plenty of time to check everything out, decide what "I" wanted, and then lead him directly to it when he got there.  So, in this case, late is perfect timing.  I like that logic.

So I narrowed down my choices, knew which one "I" preferred, but waited for him to try things out and then choose the one that I knew we wanted.  I told the lady helping me that she could go ahead and write most of it up.  I was pretty sure my husband would prefer the same mattress I preferred, but we'd let him try another one too to be sure.  We were going to go with an adjustable bed frame platform thingy, whatever they are called... because we are old and generally "aching and paining" when we go to bed... and at any given time my feet may be swollen and need to be elevated or one of us may have nasal congestion and need our head elevated.  But I was quite sure that this would never happen at the same time for each of us, so the split adjustability was going to be essential.  Outside of that, there were features that I really didn't care about either way.  One of them vibrated like those hotel beds you used to be able to put a quarter in (and the fact that I can remember those beds just tells you how old/achy/painy I am).  So, I told the lady that I really didn't care which platform we got, so we would let my husband pick that out; that way he would feel like he had power.

So, he showed up, we showed him the options, he picked what I wanted and we went to check out.


Someone at the check out counter said, "Oh, you are the chicken lady, aren't you?"

I said, "Oh, I have baby chicks in the car and it's hot out."  At which time my husband was dispatched to the car to turn on the AC for the babies.

Then another customer chimed in, "You are a mother clucker."

Then the owner's grandfather wanted to know what I thought of a cheap chicken coop he was looking at for a pet chicken.  I told him it was junk and wouldn't last more than one season, unless he was planning to keep it inside.

The look of confusion was priceless.  He didn't say anything, but I could tell by the look in his eyes he was envisioning chickens living in the house and wondering if people really do that.

I stared back at him with a very serious look that unequivocally said, "Yes, people really do that."

When I was all done with the paperwork, I came out to the car and my husband got out and said...

wait for it...

        wait for it...

              wait for it...

                     "You have fans????"  That lady knew you; she knew you were the chicken lady. 
                                                                                 Is she some kind of fan?  Do you have fans???

My response was as follows...  I made sure to make no eye contact.

                    "Yes, I have fans.  Of course I have fans."

Nothing more was said.

Nothing else needed to be said.

That said it all.

Friday, March 18, 2016

New members in the flock family...

Well, here we go again...

So, I received a Brinsea Mini Advance incubator for Christmas.  It was certainly the perfect gift for me!  And I'm sure my husband knew what he was doing when he chose an incubator that would only hatch 7 eggs at a time.  That way, the most we could possibly add to our flock is 7 chicks every 21 days, right?

Well, you know the first thing I did was call one of my chicken chick pals and ask for some fertile hatching eggs.  I met up with her when she made a trip to the feed store and she had a variety box for me.  I filled up the incubator and started the journey.

I candled at 7 days and purged any that weren't developing.  I left a couple that I was iffy about since I had the room.  I stared at the incubator for the remaining 14 days.  On day 22, I saw it... the first pip.  I sat up half the night watching the eggs.  I found it ironic that I was eating left over chicken while watching them.

I watched.  They cheeped.  They peeped.  They pipped.  I peered.  I cheered.  And they hatched.

First was a splash barred rock.  (How cool is that?)  She (yes, SHE!) climbed all over all the other eggs, pecking at the pips, letting the other chicks know that she had arrived and was waiting for them.  Next was the first Marans, then a Sapphire, then the second Marans.  We had two that didn't survive the hatching process.  One that seems to have died the day before and one that pipped and then gave up.  The seventh egg never developed at all; probably wasn't fertile.  It was one that I was iffy about.

Since the chicks were all due to hatch on my sister's birthday, I gave her naming rights.  She chose a Dr. Seuss theme.

Our Marans are Sneetch and Yertle.
The Rock is Thing 1.
The Sapphire is Blue Fish.

I will probably never give her naming rights again.  Who names a chicken "Thing 1" & "Blue Fish"?

So, since a picture is worth a thousand words, here are a few thousand words worth of images!

Thing 1 makes her appearance.
Sneetch in the hatching process...

and Sneetch finally makes it all the way out of the shell.

All the babies at 1 day old.

Day two:


One Week Old

Blue Fish (Now being called Blue Belle)
Thing 1 (now known as Miss Thing)
Beautiful Sneetch!

16 Days Old