Thursday, December 30, 2010

Farm Sign Redo

Our farm got its name when we were staking out for the house, garage and barn. We were working on a scraped off corn field! My mom pointed out that we had three massive oaks on the back edge of our "new" yard. Our new farmstead was christened "Fletcher Three Oaks" For many years, the purchased sign had a hand painted massive Boer Goat buck as its feature. Last December the goats were sold and Shetlands took their place. We tried to free hand paint a Shetland ewe- its harder than you think. Not satisfied with the results, I searched through our pictures and the internet. I found a beautiful ewe that looks like ours..disclaimer...the ewe pictured is not our ewe but a good representative of the breed. We made an 8 x 10 and had it laminated. The sign will once again be put in its bracket on the post. Proclaiming we have Shetlands! 

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Beautiful Days!

We have 6 inches of snow- several storms missed us and these last two days have been beautiful days to remodel the barn. I made the chicken pen wider. I put Plexiglas over the mesh on the door, so when the sheep door is open the chickens don't get a cold draft. With air intakes the coop stays fresh. Happy hens - More eggs!
 The hens and roo are roosting in their expanded coop. Blue Laced Red Wyandottes and some Ameraucanas Just Wyandottes by Spring!

I added two hutches 4 foot off the floor. Each is 2 ft x 2ft x 4 ft long, For a broody hen to hatch and rear chicks or house younger pullets. The hutches currently housing my Old English bantams
 Under the hutches I tucked away the nests. The hens like to think they are hiding when they lay.

Yesterday I gave away some hens and a roo. I took down their chicken pen. Now the sheep have more room. I plan on keeping a few really nice 2011 ewe lambs to add to my flock. Counting the days.....88 days to lambs and goat kids!  I took an after dark picture tonight of the area given to the sheep...a window to the south, a window and  a skylight panel on the east wall (the white square on the left is the hen pen) Lots of sunshine coming in.

Today I paced myself and slowly cleaned the barn. I like it all is fresh and clean. 
Of course Miss Poppy (oatmeal musket fleeced coming 2 yr old ewe) was there --or in the way-- every step of the way. Her new name is "Go on! Poppy"  By Spring she may not come to just "Poppy".
Poppy last summer........
Till later

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Less is More?

I am giving some hens and a rooster to a dear friend. I have too many. I don't know how that happened.....ah I do but let's not get into numbers and purchases.  Reducing number AND taking down a chicken pen A small step in the right direction. By Spring all the Ameraucanas, Old English and Silkies will be sold. I am keeping my Blue Laced Red Wyandottes. They are quiet, beautiful and full of color.Their abundant plumage and tight rose combs help them conserve heat, making them  impervious to the cold. Mind you my chickens are in an insulated walk in pen in the barn where the sheep and goats keep it warm. They are producing large brown eggs in good quantity.
Here is Beach Boy my California Blue BLRW  At 7 months old he is maturing nicely.   Look at his deep broad body, abundant tail and great blue red laced color!
 My 5 adult Splash hens Plump, deep bodies, nice shorter leg and broad builds


 The real excitement is the Twenty 10 and 12 week old BLRW chicks. Mate Blue laced and Splash laced together and you get Blues and Splashes. There is 9 Splash and 11 Blues. The youngsters being 2 weeks apart in age and having rose combs, I am still not positive who is a roo and who is a pullet! But I am watching them and guessing.

Here is a blue laced chick  The blue will  lighten and become more evident as it matures. One of the bigger ones, it has a smaller comb..a pullet?
Hoping a few are Blue pullets  Here is my inspiration and ideal..."Beauty"..not my hen, isn't she gorgeous

Till later

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Hi my name is Jerry, and I am a chickenholic

I have Splash Silkies 1 roo and 6 hens, Ameraucanas 1 roo, 6 hens, 3 three month old pullets and 11 month old chicks, Blue Laced Red Wyandottes 1 roo, 5 hens and 20 6-8 week old chicks, 2 black production hens and four 8 week old pullets.....So let's see I have 60 .....and I bought some more?

Yup, I bought some Old English Bantams. OE are small about the size of a crow with out the long legs. They are very tame they will eat grain or corn bread out of my hand. I bought two color varieties-  Brassy Backs 2 roos and 3 hens and Brown Reds 1 roo and 3 hens..and let's not forget I have my incubator It will hold 20 large eggs or 35-40 small bantam eggs.  Hmmm..where can I add more growing pens..........If I stack more of the sheep and goat hay in the garage........ I can add another 6' x 12' pen and still have about 150 bales in the barn.......

Introducing the newest additions
Brassy Backs
Brassy back "Pretty Boy"

Brassy back "Babette"
 Brown Red " Rhett"
Brown Red " Scarlett"

Oh,  proof they eat out of my hand.....piece of corn bread half gone...
They arrive Wednesday by USPS Express mail from Georgia....hence some got "Gone with the Wind" names. I am very pleased with them. They are great representative of the breed, they have excellent Old English Bantam type, small in statute, short backs, full fan large tails, brilliant shiny feathers (I didn't enhance the pics - posted them just as they were taken) All that and ready and willing to be hand pets.....ah just like the rest, ewes that almost crawl into my lap, does that are gentle and easy to milk.
A slice of heaven right here


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

C card

In July Paula started a part-time job at a women's clothing store, BonJos. She really enjoys her job. Some days are very busy, others are slower. This past summer, Paula traveled to Southern Idaho. Idaho is beautiful with a great climate. She reunited with her cousins after 38 years!
 In September, I was unsatisfied with my health. I tired easy and wasn't enjoying myself-- stayed home most days. I decided to change my doctor and my diet. I have added fresh goat milk, pureed green vegetables and herbal supplements. I stopped most of my medications. A new me emerged. I no longer require a mid day nap. My voice is stronger and louder. My muscle mass is returning and I am more active.  I have sheep, dairy milk goats, Old English bantams and chickens-- I try to keep busy- in moderation.
We continue to have our granddaughter Nessie quite often. She just had her 7th birthday. Nessie is a sweetheart. Wakes with a smile and is pleasant all day. She is very caring, good natured and quick. She can read very well and some of her insights are quite remarkable. Of course we are thrilled to be part of her life.
Daughter Jess and her husband Dave. Jess is a rural mail carrier and Dave is home for Afghanistan. They will be moving to New Mexico where Dave will be starting Security school to be a Border Patrol Agent. We are very close and we will miss them but Dave has to take advantage of this rare opportunity. After 12 months old training, Dave and Jess will be stationed on the Southern border for 6 months on the job training. They are hoping his permanent post will be the Montana border. Jess is ready to go where there is no snow and cold. While Dave is at school, Jess and her Big dog "Tonka" -  a Mastiff- will keep each other company.
Son Darren is working at a local auto repair putting his mechanic skills to good use. He is the "good son", always ready to help us. He can handle this old German with soft spoken diplomacy. A visit from Darren is always interesting. He researches on the net and we have the best conversations.

Son Derek and Bek came home and were married in May 2009. November 2009, they returned to Australia enjoying the warmth and being close to her family as Bek is the oldest of six. Bek works in a Music shop and Derek is awaiting his work permit approval--- a process that takes 12-15 months to complete. We miss them. Derek and Bek call often.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Its Cold!

I know here is no wind, but its cold out. We have about an inch of snow, you can see the grass yet. A few drifts by the barn,,that's it. I know that friends further south got a lot more snow so I shouldn't complain. You other sheep keepers will probably shake your heads but when it gets this cold my 8 ewes are locked in the barn. They help keep the barn above freezing....valuable for that feature alone- the rest is a bonus--how much is a therapist these days? Everyone stays warmer--does stay milking, chicken water pans remain unfrozen...and the barn is dry..I must have the ventilation right.  I got 11 eggs today out of 15 hens-- of which 3 hens-- an older one is molting and 2 pullets never really started laying, ready for someone's stew pot. The sheep and goats have a heated water tub...I dip out water so the chickens get warm water in the a light comes on at 2 AM to lengthen their day.....when I pick eggs at 8:30...they are pretty much done laying for the day and I get the eggs before they have a chance to freeze...
Two days ago, the 14 baby chicks in the tub. I came to feed and water them--what 6 chicks in the tub?....I looked 8 had flown out! They are only 2 weeks old today!  I decided well in with the older/bigger chicks you go...counted as I put them in ...12.........found two dead and frozen  they must have jumped out during the 14 is now 12. They are getting along fine with the others.  I have 21 Blue Laced Red Wyandottes, 12 Ameraucanas and 4 black pullet chicks----what's that... 37 about 16-20 pullets  that's plenty! And in Spring I will hatch out a few more batches--
Stay warm, dry and safe