This is Elvis right in the middle of a cockle-doodle-do.He is the top rooster in the chicken yard.Yes,we name our chickens!Well most of them,the ones not intended as future suppers! I hate to eat things with names.I hate it,but I still eat them.
When we moved here the first farm animals we got were chickens.We mail ordered them.We got a cold,damp spell when they were delivered and we lost a few,but most of them did well.
I guess chickens are the first thing most folks get when they start"farming".There is something satisfying about going out to the nest boxes and finding fresh eggs.It is like an easy treasure hunt. In the evenings it is relaxing to sit in the shade and watching the chickens scratch and peck.We Have Buff Orpingtons,Easter Eggers or Araucanas,Cuckoo Marans,and Bannies or Bantams.
I choose the Orpingtons as a good all around bird,good layers and big enough to eat too.The Easter Eggers(green and blue eggs) and Cuckoos(chocolate eggs) for their interesting eggs and Bannies because they are so gosh darn cute with a knack for being good moms.We have a couple of Polish because The Boy likes them.Those have been more trouble than they are worth,but fun to look at.
This hen below is named Tina Turner.This rooster above is Baldy.He has a big bald spot plucked in his head poof.All the others love to peck these polishes heads.If it gets really bad we put their head feathers in a pony tail to protect their heads until their feathers grow back.No,I am not joking,we actually put our chickens feathers in ponytails.
I have to say I was shocked the first time I cracked open a farm egg.It almost didn't look real! The bright orange center compared to the sickly yellow of store bought eggs.Now it make me shudder to have to eat a store bought egg!Our chickens are pastured all day then penned up at night.We have about a half acre fenced in for them.This is also where I have started my orchard.Eventually it will give them more shade and protection from hawks and they will have a feast of fallen fruit and,in exchange, give me bug control and fertilizer.
We had a few episodes with hawks ,but nothing really bad.Our real enemies are the coons and 'possums.We put the chickens up at night,but they like to roost out side in the run attached to their coop in the summer.The run is completely covered in chicken wire but if they get close to the wire at night the varmints,AKA coons or 'possums,will grab them and bite their heads off through the wire.I know,your thinking what kind of animal sits there and lets a 'possum bite off it's head,right? Time for The Boy quote of the day.....The Boys says chickens go comatose at night.That describes it pretty well. So we have run rabbit wire along the bottom of all our chicken pens so they can't reach their mean little 'possum paws through to our chicken's heads anymore.I really need a good dog to put back there.We have 4,all of them untrustworthy and useless!Two of them are little,hmm....OK maybe not little,overweight is more like it, house dogs.
The other two are Hubby's mentally disturbed Red Heelers.Talking about those two's mental deficiencies will take up a whole post!
This is one of them eating a piece of cement.Yes, I said eating,not just chewing on or playing with,eating.If you knew these dogs that would not shock you.
Back to chickens.Hubby fixed up an old leaning shed that was on the property for the coop,because we try to live green and frugal by reusing everything we can. I need to finish painting it,but I probably won't until this fall 'cause it is just too hot and I am not a hot weather person,neither is The Boy.Give us snow and freezing temps and we are happy as clams.Yeah,I know we live in the wrong place,but this is where Hubby's job is.These days you don't want to mess with that!
We have had a bounty of baby chicks this year.Earlier in the summer we had over 35 hatch within 2 weeks of each other!There are some funny looking ones out there!Elvis is the dominate rooster ,but we have a polish and bannie rooster too.Apparently those two have a way with the ladies if ya know what I mean!
The best we can figure this is 'Ole Baldy's son by a Cuckoo hen.Look at the weird feathers growing out of the top of his head.There are quiet a few like this in the yard.I wonder how they will look full grown?You know, you might be a hillbilly farmer if one of your favorite games is "Guess the parentage of freaky chickens!"Me and The Boy play all the time!