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Monday, March 21, 2011

Farm Notes: It's SPRING!


First off, let's celebrate the fact that it is now Spring! *insert happy Spring dance here* Gone (hopefully) are our annual insane heating costs and gloomy cold days, and rolling in are the flowers and green grass and I can almost taste the fresh tomatoes right around the corner.

Now that that's out of the way (YAY SPRING! Ok, I can't stop celebrating), hold still and listen.... do you hear that? Well, maybe out in internet world you can't, but around here the farm is filled with lots of peeping. Yep, it's chick season and we've been swooning over our newest additions. I'm sure our coworkers are tired of hearing about them but hey, there isn't much cuter than tiny fuzzy chicks peeping and chasing you around the yard. This year, since it seemed that the coveted Black Copper Marans were still out of our reach, we ordered three one-day-old Ameraucanas through the same feed store we bought chicks through last year, and we picked them up just over a week ago. They've been camping out in a brooder in our living room and growing like weeds. Each one is different (see photo above) and we named them after blue & green colors because of the color of eggs they are known for laying. So Denim, Turquoise (Turkey... haha... ok, I blame The Boy for that one) and Esmeralda (Esmay) have joined our farm and in several months will be introduced to the existing flock of five hens and a rooster.

I think I've mentioned here before that we've been carefully calculating and resisting the urge to buy too many chickens at once. Cute fuzzy chicks are hard to stay away from, which in the poultry world, leads to falling victim of chicken math, but in the end we didn't want to end up with a whole flock of older, non-laying hens several years from now. Our chickens are egg producers, but they are also pets, and we don't eat them, so they are here til the end of their little lives. So our steadfast stick-to-it plan is to only add two or three chicks a year to the flock, giving us a manageable flock size with a constant rotation of active layers and retirees.

Until, well, not even 24 hours after our three Ameraucanas are brought home, I get a completely unexpected call from the Black Copper Marans breeder who says she has a 7 week old pair for me if I want them. WHAT?

Yep. Seems someone backed out on buying their last pair this season and I somehow, by the grace of the chicken gods, had not only secured the next spot on the list (which I didn't expect to happen until next year), but had also become the next victim of chicken math.

So along with my blue egg laying fuzzy butts in the living room brooder, we now have a beautiful girl and boy pair of French Black Copper Marans living in a small coop outside with heat lamps in the henhouse. I still can't believe we have them...

Jacques & Giselle
Black Copper Marans, 7 weeks old
Almost as eggs-cited as we are is my longtime friend & fellow chicken addict Autumn, who, as official God-Hen of our flock, will be involved in hatching some eggs off these two in the future to add to her feathered collection as well.

In addition to hanging out with a bunch of cute chicks these days:

  • We've been building a new chicken yard, which will accommodate the growing flock as well as give us more options for separating birds if and when needed. We scored a ton of chain link fencing, poles and gates as well as a practically new henhouse and a separate smaller coop/henhouse on Craigslist which saved us a ton of time and money. We're hoping to eventually cover our entire chicken yard with a simple metal roof, but we've got to collect the materials for that still. 
  • Yesterday, The Boy built a potato box in the garden to house this year's potato crop. He doesn't know this yet, but he'll be doing a DIY video on how that works. We ordered seed potatoes from Seed Savers Exchange this year, opting for German Butterball and Purple Viking varieties because they can be used for longterm storage. 
I think that's about it for the moment. I hope all of you are enjoying your first days of Spring as much as we have been. What kind of Spring activities are you guys up to these days?

2 comments:

  1. Wow! I'm officially God-Hen?? Really?? I'm so honored and I promise, if anything should happen, to live up to my duties. I will love them as if they are my own, but promise that they will never forget you! Just in case anyone was wondering, this is NOT sarcasm. =)~

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  2. I know we can count on you, Crazy Chicken Lady :-p

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