Tag Archives: layer hens

Equal Opportunity Barnyard Supporters…

Since we missed "Thoughtful Thursday", instead you get Friday update on the chickens from my favorite teenager...

Since we missed “Thoughtful Thursday”, instead you get a Friday update on the chickens from my favorite teenager…

As you all know, the Burkholder Family gained five new members at the start of the summer. Ten weeks later, they are no longer tiny, fluffy balls that fit in the palm of my hand: the “ChickiDees” are formidable feathered friends.

"Sliding" down the ramp...

“Sliding” down the ramp…

Although they were reluctant at first, the Burkholder chickens spend the great majority of their day in the the fenced in run, aka “The Forest”. Their hobbies include playing Hide and Seek in the tall weeds, squawking over the food dish, and pecking the hand that feeds them.

Juliet has also expressed an interest in becoming dog food. (A few weeks ago she was almost eaten when Shellie grabbed her from the coop and ran around a bit. Apart from being completely traumatized for a few days, she was perfectly unharmed.)

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“Shellie”

Their favorite color is alfalfa dust green, as they have been known to eat the dust off the top of the food. They also enjoy cherries, and, to my disbelief, squash and other vegetables from the garden.

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Our four barn cats showed quite a bit of interest in the coop during its building phase, and you will be pleased to know that the interest has not waned. The yellow cats especially, Simba and Little Bit, take great pleasure in spending their leisure sitting outside of the run. Simba also likes to climb on top of the run and peer down at his imagined entree. The chickens have eventually become desensitized to this behavior, and it is now a game to mock the cats.

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All in all, I believe the chickens have transitioned into their place at Casa de Loca, and like all of our animals, have truly found The Good Life. They are rapidly growing on my own special diet of alafalfa dust, vegetable scraps, 5 Seconds of Summer music, and The Fault in Our Stars quotes.  The last ones definitely have the greatest effect……

Author Extraordinaire: Ashley Grace

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Diversifying the Farm…

My favorite farmer and I have been known to pontificate to our girls about the importance of diversity in the business context of our farm.  While both of us would argue that our pontifications frequently fall upon deaf ears, the girls obviously listen enough to be able to use our words to manipulate a situation!

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Normally our discussions about diversification revolve around cattle, traditional and organically grown crops, and learning how to market the fruits of our farm effectively.  About a month ago, my favorite teenager announced that “in order to further diversify our farm, that our family should get layer chickens.”  After all,

“Dad always says that we should be equal opportunity barnyard supporters.”

My immediate answer was “No” as I was not looking to add to my own chore load.  Because she is a product of two very stubborn people, instead of abandoning the idea, my daughter proceeded to fully research layer hens via the internet and asking questions of chicken enthusiasts.  She impressed me with her thorough research and plan development, and the next thing that I knew she had talked her Dad into going to the lumber yard for supplies to construct a coop.AGMattcoopconstruction1.jpg

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What began as a family joke metamorphed into a terrific “father-daughter” project.  The coop that Ashley Grace constructed is beautiful, functional, and should make a nice home for the 5 Rhode Island Red chicks that our family adopted Memorial Day weekend.  The “run” has yet to be constructed because the little chicks will spend the next few weeks growing in an old livestock water tank that she adapted for the chicks.

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I am laughing that the new screened in porch that we built last fall is now home to the chicks instead of the patio furniture that I intended to fill it with, and I am chalking this experience up to “the things that we agree to do for our children”.  I hope that this will be a fruitful learning experience for all three of the girls, as they will be the primary caregivers for these new “food animals” at our house.

You might wonder what my favorite teenager has decided to name her new chicks…

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In keeping with her “intellectual personality”, Ashley Grace named the chicks after Shakespeare characters and a Norse Mythology God:

  • Lady Macbeth (Macbeth)
  • Juliet (Romeo and Juliet)
  • Ophelia (Hamlet)
  • Moth (Midsummer Night’s Dream)
  • Loki (Norse Mythology God)

My favorite farmer is having nightmares about what she may name our future grandchildren…

 

 

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