Chicken News...
-- August, 2016 --
e just added 5 pullets to the flock after a predator, probably a coyote, took five of our hens about a month ago.  Added to the flock were 4 beautiful Australorps an Australian breed and a Black Sexlink which is a Rhode Island Red/Barred Rock x.  All about 10 weeks old.  They have transitioned in well, love the new run area and seem to be curious and healthy.  The new run has no breached fence areas which hopefully will insure their continued survival.  I have one adult Australorp hen that survived from the last addition and she is so beautiful with a big dark eye, gentle ways and iridescent plumage that I thought a few more would be nice.  Oh, and she does lay a nice brown egg.

Austrolorp Black

Austrolorp Black

-- April, 2016 --
hese days our flock is all of 15 chickens.  One absolutely elegant protective and wonderful Bantam Rooster we call Roosty who is 4 years old this year.  4 of our original flock of Salmon Faverolles that are 7, 2 Light Brahms hens that are 5, 4 Welsummers and an Austra White at 3 and lastly, 2 Black Austrolorpes and a lone Dominique at 2.
We always have eggs, really nice eggs except for during the worst heat here in MO mid summer.  Then they molt.  We feed a locally ground organic grain mix, organic hulled sunflower seeds, oyster shell, grit and a treat tray every morning that has literally everything from soup to nuts.  (Actually, they don't like anything too soupy and beans create havoc with their digestive tracts.)  I worm every so often, let’s say every 6 months with a garlic and cayenne pepper concoction.  They range all day with plenty of greens and bugs and have a comfortable safe clean coop.  Here are a few images at evening feeding time at the barn.
Roosty and hens
Roosty, a Welsummer hen, an Austra White hen and two Black Australorpes.
2 Black Australorpes
2 Black Australorpes hens.

Favorelles and Light Brahma
4 Salmon Favorelle hens and a Light Brahma.

-- May, 2015 --
e got some new birds on April 26th. 8 week old pullets.  2 Dominiques, that being the speckled hens.
They are actually said to be America's oldest breed of chicken, probably brought to the states from England to new New England during the settling of the country.


The black pullets are the Astralorpes and an Australian chicken actually from the 1920's when they became very popular.  The first images (top, and below left) are from when they were first brought home.  The last two images (below right, and bottom) are almost two weeks later.





The flock is hanging out in Neil's workshop with the little Dominques and Astralorpes in the forefront. 
The photo was taken May 10, so the babies are about 10 weeks old.

-- August, 2014 --
Our sweet and gentle rooster, Roosty — a Black Cochin Bantam with feathered feet. ==>

Now about 3 years old, with a group of Austra White hens which are a cross between Australorps and a White Leghorn.

These are Stripey, and his brother Cloud - barn brothers that keep the mice at bay and keep watch over the birds.  The brothers are nearing 8 years old, born in the trashed out basement of a law office that I was working at at the time.  They were the warmest and most authentic beings there.


--March, 2014 --
few shots of the girls enjoying the sunshine, about 40°, in early March.



--November, 2012 --
ate November, the weather is glorious, so no one seemed to be in the mood to pose.

Black Bantam Cochin Rooster

 
Welsummer hens


Here's a Light Brahma hen, and some of the gang out in the enchanted forest...


..and there's an Autra White hen hiding out in the weeds.



--June, 2012 --
ay 1st chicks are now about 6 weeks young.
 
The white with black splotches are the Austra Whites and the extroverts of the group.

The lovely brown ones with patterning are the Welsummers.
They are the introverts and were much harder to get shots of.  But here they are.
 
--Spring, 2012 --
pring 2012 finds the chicken run in transition which seems to be typical for this time of year.  We are in anticipation of our new chicks which are due to arrive the first part of May and will consist of 5 Welsummer pullets and 5 Austra Whites.  That will give us blue, white, brown and copper eggs for the carton.  Or so the plan goes.  Here are a few shots of the current homies:

(1) Easter Egger hen

(2) Black Bantam Cochin Rooster

(3) 2 year old White Brahma
  • (1) This is one of the gorgeous Easter Egger hens of which there are 6 all uniquely colored from this to pale cream to red.  They lay those wonderful blue green eggs and have get along personalities and a lovely range of colors.  They will be a year old in May and are laying nicely.
  • (2) This is Sundance, one of our Black Bantam Cochin Roosters.  His brother Butch will soon relocate with 3 of the Easter Egger hens to make room for our new chicks.  They have been the sweetest most endearing little fellows although they have been known to quarrel occasionally.
  • (3) This is one of our 2 year old White Brahmas of which there are 4 calm sweet hens at present.  They lay nice brown sometimes spotted to pinkish eggs.
  • We still have 4 of our original flock, the Salmon Favorelle grannies who I believe are 4 this spring.  Still laying occasionally and doing great.  We located a supplier for organic feed last year so that grain mix with the addition of powdered garlic, raw sunflower seeds, organic table scraps from our kitchen and the day spent free ranging is the modus operandi around here.  We pulled the laying boxes off the walls, took them out in the sun and sprayed them down and cleaned the whole coop especially well a few weeks ago (early March).  We're hoping to offset any mite invasions this year.  So far, so good.



    -- October 2011 --
    utch and Sundance, our 2 new Black Bantam Cochin roosters.  They're brothers, and all of 3 months young.  Hoping for some good natured and good looking offspring from them in 2012.


    ur first pale blue egg from our pullet Easter Eggers, autumn, 2011.

    -- July 2011 --
    ere you have a couple shots of our two month old chicks.  The Mottled Houdans turned out to be all roosters except for one sweet little pullet that was killed by something.  The Easter Eggers are an Ameraucana type from Cackle Hatchery that we are trying this year.  They come in a lovely array of colors and so far seem very calm and good natured.  I am eagerly awaiting the colored eggs. 
    e still have our 4 Salmon Favorelles that are now 3 years old, we call them the 'grandmas', and they are still laying fairly regularly.  They were joined last year by some Speckled Sussex and Light Brahmas of which we still have 4 Light Brahmas.  One of the Light Brahmas refuses to come in the coop and wanders with the ponies so we usually call her the 'wild thing.'  Go figure on that one.

    -- May 2011 --
    n early May of 2011 Neil brought home 5 Mottled Houdans and 6 Easter Eggers from Cackle Hatchery in Lebanon, Missouri.  The pictures show them at just over 4 weeks old.  We ended up with 4 tiny Mottled Houdan roosters or so it appears.  One of our barn cats ate the only little pullet.  The Easter eggers were all pullets at the start.  The Houdans are especially charming with their little top hats and the Easter Eggers are curious and sweet in a myriad of colors.  Our big girls, 4 Salmon Favorelles, 5 Light Brahmas and 2 Speckled Sussex continue to provide us with superior eggs, many smiles and great compost for the gardens.





    -- December 2010 --

    ehold one tiny new egg from our July 2010 pullets otherwise known as the Light Brahma and Speckled Sussex hens.  As of very late November, tiny eggs started appearing on the coop floor in a hard to get at spot.  They are much appreciated in the kitchen.



    he girls as you can see, have grown and are doing fabulously.
     

    -- July 2010 --

     
    n late July we chose to bring in several new heirloom breeds of chickens.  They arrived as bundles of fluff otherwise known as 5 Light Brahma pullets and 5 Specked Sussex pullets.  At that time, we sold our beautiful Salmon Favorelle rooster and 5 Salmon hens as a beginner flock for someone interested in the breed.  We kept 4 of our senior Salmon girls and they will retire here.  They are still laying a lovely brown egg about every other day.  Our new kids are getting lost, eating the big girls' food, being cute and generally getting in trouble like youngsters do about every other minute.


    -- December 2009 --
    s of this writing, Southwest Missouri has had a very chilly late fall into winter.  As we prepare to celebrate the Winter Solstice tomorrow the 21st of December, we have had a heat lamp in the chicken coop for most of the month.  We have also been carrying warm water twice a day to the waterers.  In addition, we are in process with fazing out any of the mainstream laying mash with it's preponderance of GMO's.  We are instead adding additional rolled oats and organic mixed grains and keeping with the organic sunflower seeds which they dearly love.  They are still free ranging most days when temps are above freezing.
     
    hese pictures are of our 4 month old rooster Snape and our lovely hens.  He has not crowed as of yet but is tangling with the girls so it won't be long.  His brother Mad Eye went on with 5 of the hens to begin another Salmon Favorelle flock elsewhere.  Snape is going to be very large and showy just like his father Fawkes.  We have 10 of our original hatchling hens that are now going on 2 years old and continue to lay throughout this miserable weather.  Thanks ladies!!  The eggs are divine.

    -- September 2009 --
    n late July of 2009, we moved 8 fertilized eggs into the clever and useful brooder box with hinged top and ramp that Neil had built inside the chicken coop.  We placed a broody hen on the basket with eggs and waited with high anticipation.  A second hen replaced the first after numero uno decided that she'd had enough around the first week of August.
    ong story short, the pictures you see here are of Mama chicken II and her offspring, Snape and Mad Eye, the two very sharp looking little guys that were the outcome of our first hatch.  One will eventually replace Fawkes who in late August went on with a few hens to begin another small Salmon Favorelle flock in Springfield, MO.
    t this time, we are feeding the flock crimped oats, milo, organic sunflower seeds, laying mash, garlic powder, ground minerals and they free range in a good sized fenced pasture daily.  Snape and Mad Eye also get fresh worms from the compost bin every evening.  They all appear to be happy and healthy.  We added a fan mid summer and are still using it occasionally in late September.


    e chose to raise Salmon Faverolle chickens this time around, a breed named for a village in France.  They are now on the critical list with the Amercian Livestock Breeds Conservancy which played a large part in our decision to host them here at the farm.  In addition, they are fine winter layers, friendly to humans and are beautiful birds to look at.
    he breed is thought to have been the result of the crossing of Cochin birds with Houdans and Dorkings.  It has also been suggested that Brahmas and Malines were thrown into the mix as well.  Our birds are beautiful examples of the breed.

    e bought them as day old chicks in June of 2008.
      

    ur showy rooster Fawkes was purchased later at a month old. The first time he tried to crow at about 3 1/2 months old, he just about scared the girls to death.
      
      
    s of March of 2009, we have 17 hens and our rooster Fawkes (who, by the way, was named after Dumbledore's phoenix in Harry Potter). They can get a bit impatient with each other; however, they are good natured with us.  We love the pale brown/speckled medium sized eggs and the birds' wonderful plummage colors.  They all have 5 toes, lightly feathered legs, a beard and muffs, and a broad breast carried well forward.

    Fawkes...

    ...and his harem...

    ...circa February 2009
    f you are a chicken fancier, there is a wonderful global newsletter on all things chicken, the Keeping Chickens Newsletter.  Do get on board.  The newsletter is full of information on how to best raise your birds from all over the world and here in the USA as well.  As to raising birds, we mix our own feed — that being equal parts of rolled oats, whole oats, cracked corn and organic wheat berries.  To that we add garlic powder and ground minerals.  They also get oyster shell and fine gravel in a separate feeder.  And warm water in cold weather, both mornings, evenings and at noon if very cold weather.  They have a covered run on the south side of the barn and free range, only with supervision, due to the threat of loose dogs in the neighborhood.  The first teeny weeny eggs came at about 5 1/2 months old.
    o sum it up, the eggs are light years ahead in quality versus the store bought cage raised variety.  We also enjoy just having them around and hope to raise some chicks come warm weather, as the Salmon hens can make good broodies.  Other than that, check back with us as we hope to add a breed or two as space and time permits.

    Linda and Neil
    January 2009


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