Can you find the chicken in this picture?
Oh wait, there she is, with her three-week old chicks…about 8 feet off the ground!
She started doing this a week or so ago, and I was astounded that the 2 week old chicks were somehow able to follow her up the tree (she’s been roosting in this tree since last fall – refuses to roost in the hen house). Last night, at about 11:30, just as I was about to drift off to sleep, I heard a chicken cackle in alarm. Speck, my Speckled Sussex, is still under the egg shack, so it was likely her (she was still there this morning). I went out to check and didn’t see any predators, and RedMama and her chicks were fine this morning, so her tree method seems to be working. The babies are getting big!
Next year, I’m just letting the chickens do the incubation and rearing of the new crop of chicks. It was always my plan to have that happen. It was part of why I chose some of the breeds I have. If anyone is curious, so far, I’ve had Buff Orpington, Bard Rock, Speckled Sussex and Red Star’s go broody, and Bard Rocks and Red Star’s be successful. I bought my one Butter Cup specifically for broodiness, but she’s shown no inclination so far.
We lost two of the three turkeys to a predator last week. Something (weasel, raccoon paw) was able to either get into or reach through the chain link dog pen where we had them penned (in order to give them a higher protein food that the other poultry could not get to). The day before, I had let them out of the pen into the yard for the first time. They were so happy to be out in the sun eating grass. And when I went out to check on them in the late afternoon, they ran across the yard to see me like a scene from a cliché romantic movie, so the whole thing was especially heartbreaking. Not to mention that they were a heritage breed that cost me $15 each, and I was only able to order so few because I ordered the ducks at the same time. (Babies need other babies to keep warm when shipped – there is always a minimum order). Live and learn. More wire for everyone! The remaining tom turkey is in with the chickens now, and is fine (though a bit confused – he may turn out to be a trans-species bird with all the ducks and chickens around). He turned 6 weeks old on June 4th.
The ducks, for 6 weeks, are huge. We do plan on butchering some of the drakes (males), but at this point, aren’t quite sure who is who yet. The females should start laying at 14-17 weeks of age. That will be exciting! I should be swimming in eggs come August, when the new chickens will start to lay too.
Can you find the Araucana (Easter Egger chicken) in this picture?
I know I have two Araucana cross chicks from this year’s hatch (Araucana are the chickens that lay the blue/green eggs). And yesterday, I was looking at the young uns and thought, oh, THERE you are. The one in the back left is so obviously an Araucana. They have this distinct feather tuft thing going on. And their combs are often doubles or triples. More blue eggs for us!
The garden is cranking. Tomatoes are growing very well, which makes me all atwitter. Everything is planted except for one more batch of green beans (I planted them in three installments to extend the harvest season).
When I have produce that doesn’t sell, or is a little past its optimum picking time, like this spinach that was getting ready to bolt, I pick it and use it for myself. Most of this pile was blanched and frozen for later use, and a bit went into a vegetarian curry I made last night. Probably only about 1 1/4 lbs when all was said and done. I never cease to be amazed at how much spinach can cook down.
Because what’s the point of all this gardening if I don’t get to enjoy some of it too, right?
Miles Away Farm Blog © 2012, where we’re miles away from getting it all done, but we are making progress. Note I’ll be at the Milton-Freewater Farmers Market, just over the border in Oregon, tomorrow from 4-7 pm. Never did hear from the market manager, despite numerous attempts on my part, so will just show up and see what happens. Can’t imagine he could afford to turn me away if he communicates with all his vendors so effectively. Sheesh.