A small, diverse permaculture farm (and now, Bakery!) in beautiful SE Minnesota - our dream come true life focused on Local Food, Local Art, Local Music.
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Our first few batches of chicks are growing up and starting to look quite pretty in their nearly-adult plumage. Today will be a purely poultry post.
Last year, I raised 25 Buff Orpington chicks because that is a breed that is large-bodied, hardy, calm, and known for being good egg-layers. While I do love the buffs, all the breeds of chickens are so appealing, so this year our palette of chicken colors has expanded greatly. Relaxing front to back on the compost bin are: a Barred Rock hen, 2 Americauna hens, Lavendar d'Uccle banty rooster, and Buff Orpington hen.
The barred rock seems like the classic farmstead chicken to me.
The Americaunas) can be brown, white, buff, black or any combo pattern. These are both Americaunas raised from chicks this year.
This is the third young Americauna hen. These three Americaunas should start laying any time. They will lay beautiful pastel green, blue, or pink eggs.
With the loss of Louise to the owl last week, we are down to just four of our 9 original chickens, including Phyllis Diller and Carol Channing, the two Polish hens with the wild feather-dos. These two hens are sweet but kind of ditzy - I am a bit surprised they are among the survivors.
This hen came accidently mixed in with the 200 male broiler chicks we raised for meat last summer and we kept her as a laying hen. By summer, most of the hens get an unsightly bare spot on their backs from the passionate roosters mounting them. This hen is finally sprouting some replacement feathers --that one little feather in the middle of her back looks so funny!
The Lavendar D'Uccle banty rooster has a personality much bigger than his size. Even though I didn't intend to have little banty chickens, I impulsively got him and a female at the feed store last spring because they were such unusual lavender-gray chicks. As adults, their feathers are still very beautiful: mottled silvery-lavender-white and buff. They are such tiny chickens (they probably only weigh 2 pounds) and have white-feathered legs, so I named the rooster "Pettipants."
Our turkeys are "broad-breasted bronze." Their chest feathers have a metallic bronze gleam in the sun. They are getting huge--the toms probably weigh at least 35 pounds now.
The size-contrast between the banty rooster and the tom turkeys is striking. So, I was astonished when I fed everybody last night to see the banty and the turkeys get into a spat - and I believe the banty provoked it! Pettipants would leap into the air doing his kung-foo kicks at the huge toms' chests, then land on his feet and run underneath their bodies, practically before the turkeys knew what hit them. It was like a cartoon! I was able to find my camera and take just a couple shots before the battery died. Unfortunately the light was dim, the birds were moving fast and the shots are blurry, but you get a sense of the action and the uneven match.
In September 2008, we dived into our dream of creating a small, sustainable farm. Neither of us has previous farming experience, but we have enthusiasm and many ideas for this little 10-acre farmstead.