I have to say that we love our chickens here, and we call them “the girls.” We recently purchased two new girls, my first pure breed ones. The “old girls” are called a heritage mix, which means that they came from a farm that raises all sorts of chickens and roosters so they are not “pure bred” as they free mingle together and then you end up with cross breeds. The “new girls” are Lavender Orpington and they are a large breed of chicken with a sweet personality. This gives us a total of 6 chickens happily wandering in our yard. They are closed in their coop every night and every morning we go and let them out for the day. Before they head off for the day they always stop for a little pet and visit. That done off they go on discussing what they will do for the day. Usually, two of them follow me over to the hay shed and busy themselves scratching for any bugs they can find while I fill the horses Eco nets.
At any given point I can go out and call them, “here girls” and they come a running. Really it is very entertaining to watch them come a running as fast as they can. I would not call a chicken’s gate graceful but they do cover some ground. The other activity that they enjoy doing is following my husband Grant around the yard when he is doing anything with his tractor. I guess they figure that he can do the digging and they will get the worms. One day he was cleaning out the horse pens and the girls were helping him. He would load the dirt and poop into the trailer and the girls would jump in and climb to the top of the pile and just start scratching. Something that they take very seriously, the dirt was just a flying out the trailer door. Grant has said “if the girls keep following me around like this you are going to have to sew them up some safety vests.” Now what a sight that would be!
One morning last week I noticed our little black hen Plum did not come out for her morning visit, I thought that maybe she was laying and would come out when she was done. Rude to interrupt the girls when they are doing their business and often find myself blushing and saying “oh excuse me” like when you open the door to an already occupied stall in a public bathroom. Later in the day I went out to check on her again and she was still on the nest. This in the chicken world means she has gone broody, which means she intends to hatch the eggs she is sitting on. I know that Plum really wants to hatch her eggs to the point that last year she went missing for a week and when we found her she had a little nest made and had laid 13 eggs in it. Where she had decided to build her nest was not safe at all!!!! It was down in our wind row right next to the road and there is a large population of coyotes around. How she survived that week down there we’ll never know! We are a rooster free farm here and the eggs she was sitting on would have never hatched. We took the eggs and wrecked the nest so she wouldn’t go back and carried her to the hen house.
Now that she had gone broody again in the hen house this time I decided we should let her hatch some eggs. I got a hold of our friends Mark and Tina, who have supplied us with fertilized eggs before and the were nice enough to supply us again. Plus, I think they find my farming adventures entertaining. We got the eggs and brought them home and I set them next to Plum and she would talk to them and then gently roll them under her. I did have to go out the next day and remove the eggs that weren’t fertilized. I have to admit I was not to excited to move her as a broody hen can be fairly grumpy. Plum being Plum didn’t mind and she happily went back to sitting on her eggs. She has been sitting on them for 5 days now, and has 17 days to go till they hatch. We have hatched 2 batches of eggs in our incubator with great sucess and no sleep on my part. It’s kinda like waiting for Christmas morning for the presents to open. This will be the first time we have had a hen hatch them, so we are excitingly counting down the days, well maybe me the most.
Now, just in case that wasn’t enough fun for around here we are also waiting for a parcel to come in the mail tomorrow all the way from Nova Scotica that contains 12 Call Duck eggs. It’s time to start up the incubator again and I can’t wait. These are a tiny little breed of duck and the thought of having little fuzzy ducklings around makes me smile. Good thing my husband is a good sport, he didn’t even bat an eye when I mentioned how cute the ducklings would be swimming around in the tub.
I will keep you updated on the new adventures as I am sure there won’t be a dull moment.
Have a Beautiful Day