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Farmette1769's Blog

by Monica Melograna-Ward

Category Archives: chickens

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Farmette 1769’s honey bees are no worse for the wear after Tropical Storm Florence last weekend. I guess I can take the tent stakes out of the ground now. Or maybe my shadow can take care of that task.

 

Our honey bees were out enjoying this hot, sunny Saturday. They had been doing this all day while I was at Carolina Chickenstock. It’s like Woodstock, but with chickens.

It is actually a large poultry buy and sell gathering that happens twice a year in Taylorsville, NC. It is almost an hour away from me, which is doable. Breaking an hour and a half total driving in a day is difficult for me. I have degenerative discs in my cervical spine of the neck. I have had surgery, but you fix one spot and the one below crumbles more. I broke my self-inflicted limit and will pay for it for a day or two, but it was so much fun!

I purchased a pair of white homing pigeons, which were being sold in pairs only. We only had one pigeon here since Petunia’s boyfriend was killed by a snake.

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This is the new pair. They’re gorgeous!

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The quad travel cage was still in the back of my truck, so Petunia came all the way into the garage to investigate the familiar sounds of friends. The new pair will stay caged for 2-3 weeks until they know that this is their new home.

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I was lucky enough to happen upon a Dark Cuckoo Maran Hen for sale. They lay dark brown eggs. Even though the nutritional content is the same, we love having the variety of colors in our egg basket.

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I stole this pic off the net. This is what her eggs should look like. We have brown, tan, white and blue egg layers right now. It will be great to have this color too!

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It really was my lucky day. I found a juvenile pied guinea fowl. We have two juvenile pearl, which are this color without the chrome aka white splashes. The contrast is beautiful, albeit hard to see in this photo at this angle.

I got up really early to pack up for selling, did a lot of buying and chatting, came home and got the newbies settled in, took care of Barry the giant, crazy puppy and a gabillion other things.

So that’s all for now – I’m tired.
Enjoy the rest of the weekend!

 

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HectorRules

Hector is the Head Rooster of our flock. He is a somewhat rare Swedish Flower breed that has only been in the United States since 2010. His Sidekick Agador is the Roo below him (with the white wings).

 

Happy Friday!

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Easy Farmette Dinner:

Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts coated with One Whisked Egg, White Wheat Flour and then fried in Vegetable Oil.

Steamed Bok Choy

Baked Sweet Potatoes (with Butter!)


 


And for the farmette’s chickens (and duck):

Kitchen scraps of salad greens, kidney beans, corn, broccoli and breaded fish nuggets. The chickens, and the duck, loved the fish! They came back for the greens later.

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:)MMW

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I’m running late again – even later than last week. It has been busy with spring happening here on the farmette. So, this will be a quick one for all those current and potential chicken keepers.

Here is a simple recipe, variable, which will help get your hens laying.

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Kitchen Leftovers – Chicken Bonanza Feed

  1. Old, dry (not moldy or rotten) Bread
  2. A few spare Fried Eggs
  3. About a dozen Egg Shells
  4. Oats
  5. Water

Put all but #4 in the blender and blend on CHOP setting.

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I added WATER to get it all

Continue reading this article ›

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Last week’s storm #1 of Winter 2013 was wet and got extremely windy, but by the time the temperature dropped below freezing the precipitation stopped. Better to be safe with extra weather-proofing!

The ponies were out early in the morning, even though the sleet had already started

The ponies were out early this morning, even though the sleet had already started

Hard to see start of the storm sleet building on the ground

The hard to see start of the storm sleet build-up on the ground

This week’s storm came in icy. It has been running below 32 degrees at night this week, so at least it did not start off warm & wet with that potentially fatal drop in temperature that quickly becomes wet & flash frozen.

Rocky - Still out in the weather

Rocky – Still out in the weather

He thinks I am funny for calling him in

He thinks I am funny for calling him in

Our Shetland pony “Rocky” is made for this type of weather, but I still tempted him into the shelter with snacks (“Bigs” had already given up on standing out in the ice storm).

They will do anything for treats

They will do anything for treats

In the morning, one of the ponies had apparently made their way through the iced surface to the water. The troughs and chicken drinkers sometimes have to have hot water poured on/in on days like this. If need be for your area of the country, you can get special water heaters to use during cold spells.

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Ice forming a shiny coating on items like branches and roofs always looks interesting. I took the rare opportunity to take a few quick pics before escaping back inside.

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Icicles in Southern, North Carolina

Icicles in Southern, North Carolina

If the ice gets heavy on the electrical lines we could lose power. I do not mind losing TV or electronics, but our heating and well water runs off of it, so I hope it stays on.

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In the United States of America, Christmas has become a holiday that includes a variety of customs. They stem from the melting pot of people that live here. Although based in Christianity, these traditions are the culmination of many different cultures. The ones we take part in are based on the hopes and dreams of all mankind.

It is a time to remember that we have much more in common with each other than we have differences. It is a time that helps us to become closer to our family, friends, neighbors and colleagues. It is a time to make bright the eyes of children, show extra kindness to those less fortunate and to share with everyone the warmth of the season.

In our home and on our land, Christmas is also an earthly reminder to gratefully finish up the current year in preparation for the new. On the farm, we end it with hopes of a warm Spring bearing little chicks, baby goats and a fresh garden.

My favorite expression of this splendid holiday is the lights – lots of lights, pretty lights. It has over-spilled into the rest of the year, as we always keep strings of them on our front porch. They were recently added (in a year round display) to our pony run-in.

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The night is always alive on our farmette and usually with much more than holiday spirit. “Bigs” happily eats his hay just beyond the shelter. A giant night bird, most likely a Barred Owl, flew overhead while I was taking this photo (we have had this species frequent the farmette before). Maybe it was gliding on the aspirations of the wild creatures that make their home here – wishing survival through the cold Winter darkness.

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The little barn sparkles, faintly illuminating the pasture (left), as the brighter house lights echo in the background (right). It is not an especially chilly evening, so I linger a bit to watch the light fade from the sky.

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As I walk up to the door, I pass the chicken coops on the front lawn. The inhabitants are quiet. Are they comfortable? Are they warm? Are they dry? Are they snug in their nests with dreams of sugar plums dancing in their heads?

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Are they dreaming of new chicks in the Spring to come? I hope so.

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We noticed some mites on a hen that was getting her injured leg wrapped. They are extremely tiny and easy to miss, but when you see them on your poultry, it is best to deal with the situation as soon as possible. Within the next day or two, one by one, I pulled our birds out of the coops. Each chicken was treated for these nuisance pests.

Our injured bantam Ameraucana hen

Wild birds and newly purchased poultry are the main sources of chicken mites and lice. It is part of the deal if you choose to keep chickens, but merely requires periodic checks and attention. Bird mites/lice are species specific. You may get a few on you when working with your chickens, and they may bite you. But, they will not take up residence on humans.

With our poultry now held in smaller, stronger coops due to predatory loss, parasite proliferation and disease can occur more easily. Free ranging chickens are usually very healthy since they have the freedom to take care of their own hygiene and balance their own nutrition.

Our main coop is a tractor type and allows you to move your chickens to a fresh patch of grass. It is the best compromise for caged v. loose. We need to build more of these.

Chickens normally clean themselves off by taking dirt/sand baths. They enjoy dusting themselves as much as they like to scratch and peck at the ground. I sometimes let a group out towards the evening to frolic about so that if any of them elude re-capture, they’ll roost shortly as the sky darkens. When they are in “zombie sleep mode” I can grab up any of the strays.

When I was taking this closer look at our fowl, I noticed how glossy our red bantam Cochin rooster had become. The feathers of a rooster are so beautiful. The older a male chicken gets, the more magnificent the plumage becomes. So, after completing my farmette chores, I took some new pics:

“Mozart” (bantam Polish rooster) unhappy about picture day

Black & White feathers

“Big Red” – Red bantam Cochin roo

Red feathers

Black & Red bantam cockerel

Black & Red feathers

Splash bantam Cochin cockerel

Splash feathers

Blue Showgirl Silkie roo

Blue feathers

White bantam Polish x Showgirl Silkie “Ugly Project” cockerel

I am not sure if any iridescence will show up in this little guy’s tail feathers, but we will know by the Spring. Either way, he is handsome
– in a strange and bizarre kind of way.

White feathers

Hens can have great feathers too.

Splash bantam Ameraucana hen’s feathers

Mille Fleur bantam Cochin hen

Mille Fleur (“Thousand Flowers”) feathers

Pictures do not do justice to the color, shine and detail of chicken feathers. In order to see how truly gorgeous they are, you must see them in person – or raise your own personal  flock!


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