New Roo


Out of the 21 Rhode Island Red hatchery pullets I bought last spring, I was hoping one might turn out to be a mistaken rooster. And these ladies are so assertive that more than once I thought I did have a rooster, with the way they spar, and mount each other! But, I finally decided it wasn’t the case- I have sixteen hens left, and no sire amongst them. So, I have been on a quest for a RIR roo!

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What I Learned At Summer Camp

WiltshireCross Well, not summer camp exactly. But I just got back from a four-day trip to Corvallis, OR to attend the Katahdin Hair Sheep International Expo and Sale. I really enjoyed it, they had great farm tours, speakers, and a sheep sale. I bought a few sheep too! I’ll try to write about the highlights, as best as I can capture all that I absorbed there.

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More Little Chicken Eggs


My parents animal-sat while we were on vacation. I didn’t ask them to hunt for eggs in the yard, of course, and had almost forgotten about the two tiny chicken eggs we’d found the week before. But, yesterday the distinctive “bu-KAWK! buck-buck-buck bu-KAWK!” sound of a chicken complaining while laying eggs made me look behind the crawlspace entrance, from where the sound was emanating. There were eleven, still tiny, brown eggs collected there. 🙂 Continue reading “More Little Chicken Eggs”

First Chicken Eggs


One of our chickens has started to lay, this was the first of two eggs we’ve found. They are usually tiny like this when the bird first starts to lay (the scale of the picture is hard to see, but I have small hands, this egg is about half normal size). We have Rhode Island Red chickens, which lay brown eggs. But this first egg looked funny- the brown pigment wasn’t consistent, so it looked like it had been airbrushed on.

I bought the chickens as day-olds around April 10th. So, this is a bit early for the beginning of laying- I would expect it more around 5-6 months of age. Hopefully that means they are going to be prolific layers!

The Mice Are Back, Part 2


This morning, I witnessed this funny little inter-species drama. The cat had caught a mouse, and was lording over her dead prize. The chicken wanted it. Our chickens can be a bit confrontational, I say, they aren’t “chicken” about anything. Here you can see the chicken is posturing to the cat in a tense and threatening way, and the cat is reacting with annoyance. A few times the chicken pecked at the cat, and the cat swatted back. They were definitely having an argument. Continue reading “The Mice Are Back, Part 2”

Living With Coyotes: Part 2

yingyang1How to live in balance with your local coyote population? Here’s some of my thinking and learning thus far.

Of course the first temptation is to shoot at them, there is a very alluring promise of an immediate sense of “justice” and relief of seeing that thief dead! Removing certain animals from the population is a valid part of predator management. But, only a part. Continue reading “Living With Coyotes: Part 2”

Poultry Houses

poultryaframes1I finally finished building my two new yuppie A-frame poultry houses a few weekends ago. I made one for chickens, with nest boxes and doors in the back for collecting eggs. The other one is just a plain night house. The two new houses are on the left, fully roofed; and the older, half-wire house is on the right.

I have the five duck hatchlings growing in the half-wire house. I bought some day-old Rhode Island Red chicks at the local feed store. I considered mail-ordering some, but have read a lot of the hatcheries are back-ordered quite a bit, and I was convinced I only needed a few. The feed store’s order was arriving right after I finished the houses.

I figured I only wanted about a dozen chickens, max, but asked for fifteen, figuring on some mortality. After I paid, the cashier said, “oh, you qualify for six free chicks based on the amount you spent today.” Ok, so now I have 21 chickens, and naturally, zero mortality! I think once you get them out of that mass-production environment into a roomy, warm pen with very accessible food and water, their individual odds of survivial go way up. Plus, I got there soon after their order had arrived, so got “fresh” chicks, and picked the most vigorous ones. I kept them in the house for the first several days until they were well established.chicks3

This was a pullet order, but I’m sort of hoping there will be a screw-up and at least one rooster in there, as I’d like fertile eggs. If not, I can buy one later. But these gals are a start, this fall, we should be able to start enjoying fresh chicken eggs, to augment the duck eggs. When they get a little bigger, I’ll teach them to range during the day, but go back into their house at night.