Good morning and happy Saturday! Before I head off to the farmer’s market this morning, I wanted to share a little surprise that we had this past week.
A number of years ago my (sweet wonderful fabulous) husband built me a beautiful chicken coop – chez poulet. It was a Christmas gift – he wrote me a lovely letter, explaining that the following spring he was going to build me a coop for the chickens that I had always wanted. We had just moved to the farm and I was beside myself with excitement, planning which breeds I would get, imagining fresh eggs and lots and lots of girls on the farm.
I adore my girls, and wanted you to meet them. We currently have 21 adult hens and one rooster that was a surprise last year when one of our hens went off and laid eggs in a pasture and proceeded to hatch four babies. He is one of those babies and he is a wonderful rooster. They aren’t all wonderful – we have had a number of mean roosters that have been taken back to our local feed store and put in the pen where people go who, ahem, eat roosters. Fine by me!
Our big guy – Pierre, is sweet and a good rooster, by rooster standards. This includes protecting the girls last week and standing between them and a coyote, which, as you can see, took his entire beautiful tail. Oh, he had such a beautiful tail… We have collected the beautiful feathers from the yard and are hoping it will grow back, but are thankful that he is okay. Just in time one of our dogs spotted the coyote and chased him off before he had a chance to do any real damage.
The girls we have are sweet as can be – they come when called and if we have waited too long in the evening to put them in for the night, they come to the front door and wait for us. We have a variety of hens – giant cochins, buff orpingtons, welsummers, frizzles, bantam cochins, rhode island reds, blue laced red wyandottes, a partridge rock, and a phoenix.
Right now we are heavy on brown hens, but as you will see, I tried to balance that out this spring… I love watching the girls run around the property, chasing bugs, scratching in the compost, playing in the pastures. They are great fun~
Every spring we add a few hens (hopefully hens, but you never know…) to the flock. This year, while I had planned to add 4-6, somehow I found 10 that I *really* needed to have. You have to understand – come spring, our local feed store – the best feed store in the area in my opinion – has trough after trough filled with the most beautiful variety of baby chicks imaginable. I love walking through seeing the posted photos of what they will look like as adults, and deciding what I want to add that year. Our feed store carries an incredible selection of chickens, as well as turkeys and ducks.
This year I added a giant blue cochin, a salmon faverolle, two bantam ameraucanas, two blue laced red wyandottes, a blue wyandotte, a rhode island red, and two white frizzles. As you can see, they are heavy on blue – my favorite color for hens! This bunch is especially pretty, and shockingly – all hens! Not a rooster in the bunch, which I do believe is a first for me. You see, when you buy them as day-old chicks, they have officially been sexed, but there are no guarantees. I am thrilled that these are all hens as they are all beautiful and I would hate to have a rooster that may not make the cut here on the farm~
So, after bringing home the new chicks this spring, we were up to 32 chickens – plenty for our coop. I was happy. The girls were happy. The chicks were happy. And then I went to feed the horse last week.
Walking through the barn I heard what any farmgirl who has plenty of chickens dreads hearing. Peeps. Baby chick peeps. MULTIPLE baby chick peeps.
It seems that one of the girls had snuck off to the barn when no one had noticed and, along with another hen or two (we have no idea as there are a variety of chicks and egg colors that couldn’t have come from the same mother) laid a clutch of eggs. A large clutch of eggs. And, it seems that of those eggs, 15 hatched into cute bundles of baby chickness. They are incredibly sweet, and fluffy, and cute. But, are you doing the math with me? 32+15= oh my goodness! Seems that we are going to have to make some adjustments to life for chickens here on the farm – possibly one of the stalls in the barn or the lean-to off the side of the barn will have to be turned in to a chicken outbuilding. Seems we will now be needing a chicken compound~
Have a wonderful long weekend mes amies – enjoy your time with family and friends, indulge in good food, and hopefully you have gorgeous weather wherever you are!