Thursday, September 15, 2011

Farm Update!

We're planning on processing our turkeys, ducks and all but one of our roosters this weekend. The three turkeys are the right size for butchering and our excess of roosters is fostering a lot of disharmony in the flock. So we're taking them across the street to our neighbors who are also processing a lot of their birds this weekend. Probably a good thing that we're getting rid of the turkeys this weekend because I'm afraid of getting any more attached to them. Just look at this guy! How cool is he?

That's our male caramel/white runner duck in the foreground and the female mottled duck in the background. They're going away this weekend, too. They're cute, but pretty useless as farm animals. Mottled ducks aren't particularly prolific egg layers. All they're really doing is eating food and turning the turkey/duck pen into a muddy mess. Ideally, we're going to make a home made turducken for Christmas!

And I'm putting up a few pictures of the chickens. When we bought the house there were two dog kennels attached to the back of one of the garages. A few weeks ago I tore down the wall separating the kennels and made the area into one large chicken coop.

Here's what it looked like when I turned one of the kennels into a coop for our initial flock:

And here it is now:

Here are some of the older hens and roosters hanging out in the yard on this chilly, gray morning. You can see the coop in the background:

As of Sunday, we'll end up with 1 Buff Orpington hen, 4 Barred Plymouth Rock hens, 3 Black Australorp hens, 2 Production Red hens, 6 Buff Orpington/Black Australorp cross hens and 1 Buff Orpington rooster. We're currently getting 9-10 eggs per day with a couple of those being the smaller pullet eggs from the Production Reds. Any day now the Buff/Australorp crosses should start laying pullet eggs. And a month from now we'll probably be getting 15-16 eggs per day!

The beautiful Buff Orpington/Black Australorp crosses:

These are all chickens that we hatched here at the farm and slowly integrated into the larger flock. I'm not sure how the genetics work, but half of them have dark heads and the other half have buff-colored heads. All have the same Buff Orpington dad but they come from 3 different Black Australorp hens. They're really pretty with variegated black/buff feathers and quite gentle; if still a bit skittish. I think they'll be a little more friendly once they are no longer being terrorized by 6-7 randy young roosters all day long!

The goats are still doing well. No new pictures of them as they really haven't changed much other than the fact that they've grown some. They're still hanging out eating hay and nibbling on weeds all day.

And the garden is doing well, too. Last week's cold snap seems to have stymied the tomatoes' ripening, but we've got hundreds of green ones just waiting around for the warm weather to return next week. Still getting cucumbers. The bell peppers are getting larger and starting to ripen into gorgeous orange and purple hues. Picked a bunch of jalapenos last week and pickled them. And, of course, we're still getting all the fresh basil, rosemary, thyme, chives and oregano we can consume.

Last week my wife planted second crops of carrots, green beans, beets and arugula. Some of those are already starting to sprout.


  1. Bill, we should all have such creatures; curious how the zoning works for you.
    Be good,

  2. Dennis, I live on 15 acres outside the city limits of rural Paola, KS. There's basically NO zoning out here. Everyone has animals. Everyone shoots guns in their back yards.


  3. Fly-over country! Got to love it.
    When I was growing up I had a pet chicken, but city life makes it a bit difficult to get your hands down and dirty; I'm glad for those (you) who can do it.
    Bill, I'm guessing your the salt of the earth, be good,

  4. nice job and nice journal, great work Bill!!! (frank)