Tag Archives: chickens

Hen For a Best Friend?

A dear Canadian farmer friend who keeps me updated with the current events of the chicken  world  touched base today.  He and I were wannabe -chicken -farmer -dreamers years back and we both have made our dreams of chicken poop and blood orange egg yolks a reality.  His dream expanded far wider than mine and he is going to town on his farm in Canada. His dream is his livelihood.  Mine is my hobby.


Farmer Doug

He sent me the following story of a young sailor guy who is sailing the world with a hen.   The sailor  desired an animal companion rather than a human. Gee, I wonder why.   He settled on a hen.  It is my guess you cannot imagine why in the world he would choose a chicken for a sailing mate.


Please  open link to take a gander at his priceless photos.  Precious.

It is  my opinion that chickens get a bad rap.  They are stupid animals they say.  Well…I beg to differererer……Its all relative.    What would you expect given  their heads are the size of a cherry tomato?  Of course, we cannot compare their intellect with ours.  Is that what those people are doing?  Can we please look at the rest of their character attributes?  Intellect ain’t all there is, sista.

My chickens are gentle.  They chat with me when I enter their house. And they ALL  have a little to add to the conversation.  Personalities vary just like ours.  They know when I am coming to treat them and when I’m not coming to treat. They wait patiently for me to feed all the other animals.


They walk quietly in single file line to their treating ground.  I could learn a thing or two from our “stupid” chickens.


Chickens live in the moment.  They are honest about their moment.

They hoot and howl their eggs out.  These guys work HARD for your Saturday morning omelet.

They quibble and squabble away their differences.  No harm. No foul. No lasting resentments.  Unless of course there  is a weakling  lurking about.  I never said they were perfect.  Maybe that’s why the sailing guy chose only one hen to sail instead of a buddy system.

As with any being, if you love them, they can in turn love back.   If you give them room to grow, they will flourish.   If you keep the  creature locked in a cage  physically, mentally or emotionally where they can’t stand on their little legs, they can not blossom. They will lack the love and luster.

Every night after dinner, we abandoned the dirty dishes and run to  the swing to watch the chicken show.  There must be  some redeeming qualities in these little guys if we invest our evening entertainment hours in avian performances. Maybe I have the intellect problem.  Not the chickens.  I’ll have to think about that.  Or not.

They require no showers before bed time. No teeth brushing.   They march right on to their school bus (roost) at dusk  without being asked and lights out.   I do need to train them to shut lights.


Could I go boating with one of my hens?  Oh yes.  If I liked boats.  Can I take her on a jaunt around the world in my pickup?  I’d love to.


Long live the hen.








Filed under Farm, Spiritual

The Queengdom Is At Stake

Queen Claire, our Pyrenees, is the ruler of our land.  I nominated her and voted for her at election time as she is more wise than I. She is more calm and patient than I.  She is prettier and more fairer over all the land than I.  She is gentle, soft and frosty.



I can’t begin to compete with the gloriousness of her tongue.   Most of all, the most content being  I have met.  I aspire to be Claire.

Claire was  met with our other Pyrenees, Francis, when we moved our goats and  Francis over to Claire’s palace. Claire kindly welcomed her and has been putting up with Francis’ immaturity ever since.  Although Francis is beginning to get that she is a Pyr now and that work is first and foremost.

Serious guarding goin' on.

Serious guarding goin’ on.

Great Pyrenees have an impressive history as Livestock Guard Dogs.  Roaming the slopes of  the Pyrenees  mountains of France and Spain,  they can maintain in the most frigid of temperatures.  Which is fortunate for us this week.

It is  unfortunate that the rescue scene for this breed has grown quite large because at first site they are fluffy, cute, white puppies.  What is not known about them is they are not domesticated dogs.  Their instinct to work is still bred strong.  As a result, their behavior can be off-putting by humans.  The main complaint is that they start barking at dusk  and wind down at dawn patrolling their pasture perimeter in order to protect their flock.


They are aloof.  And an invisible fence can not keep them from the distance and effort they risk to keep their flock safe.  We knew all that going in.  To watch them ward off hawks and other predators is nothing short of spectacular.   I was feeding Francis a few weeks back.  She was all hunkered down at her bowl ready to devour her hard-earned kiblits and out of the corner of her eye she saw a flash of shadow on the ground.   She knew immediately that danger was present.   She went tearing off to shelter and protect.  I looked up and there was a Red-Tailed Hawk swooping back and forth over the pasture.  Good job, Francis.

The territory is at risk of a take over while I digress.

When you order day old chicks from a hatchery,  they come via the good ol’ USPS.  They call you when they arrive at the post office and you run your little buns  over to pick them up fast, fast, fast,  before the little critters fail.  They are sexed at birth and I always order hens. That makes the most sense since I’m in the market for eggs.  Every once in a while a mistake is made and a rooster is thrown in there.  It is not to be revealed until they are 3 months of age when you begin to hear a strange throaty sound coming out of one of them.   We have one that has just been revealed.  When he realizes that he is a he…..well…. watch out world cause there will be an overthrow attempt.  Every time I visit  the pasture he lets me know that he is NOW in charge of all with his puffed up chest.


Now some of these chickens have not been in the same room with a gentleman rooster for over three years.  These last couple of weeks have been traumatic to say the least for the lowly hens.  It has been survival of the fittest to be sure.

Some hens stand frozen with their beaks to the wall hoping if they stand still long enough  and they can’t see HIM,  just maybe he can’t see THEM and will leave them alone.  And might I add that….well… some would simply rather die than to be subjected to the goings on that he brings into our Chickondo.   Three to be exact.  My farmer friend who spends time here once a week, Mr. Shady, said he would take him off my hands.  He is good at doing that.  Thank you, Mr. Shady. I may take you up on that.


In the meantime, maybe Mr. Rooster will freeze his little…………….never mind..

Have a super weekend.



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What Kind Of Crazy Farmers Are We?

Let’s be clear.  We are not real farmers.  We are people who get kicks out of catering to little critters.  Keeps me sane.  Our chickens have been peckin’ on a few chosen ones.  A few weeks ago one of the chickens was sporting blood.  Wet head.  Hardly a feather on her back. What kinda freaked me out was her eyeball seemed to be displaced.  To the infirmary she went.

IMG_3363The infirmary is where chickies go when they are under the weather.  They can take some rest and relaxation time away from the hustle and bustle.   This poor animal was in distress.  I couldn’t see her eye.  It was like a black abyss.    She has been infirmed for several weeks and her eye is miraculously reappearing.   Wonder where it went off to for that time?  It was time to reintroduce her to  the brood.  Not so good it went.   They had long forgotten her and she was a strangaa to them now.   Foreign material.  She was ostracized to the back corner of the pasture.  I tried to get her reacquainted to the coop.  She was blackballed.  Pecked into the corner.   Very very sad.

I then had an ingenious idea.  Let’s move little  eyeless chick  over to the barn and have her live with the barn cats.  Uh huh.  So far this year we have had harmony farmony.  Why not?   Let’s let the birds live with the cats.  How did my farmer mind think that would work?  She packed her suitcase and off she went.

Kitty scratching her claws on barn getting ready for.....

Kitty scratching her claws on barn getting ready for…..

When I got her over there, I decided to bring along another chicken who had been hen-pecked by the bully chickens to keep her company and give her time to grow feathers back.


Feathers? Gone.


Circling curiosity

Circling curiosity

tastin' the goods

tastin’ the goods


They all sniffed, tasted, glared and then on about their day.  We are in to the third day.  They have found their little egg nest I made for them.  They have settled in and everyone is happy.  Pretty nuts, eh?  Farmony harmony still intact.

Now, on the Guinea front.  Not so much.  They are laying eggs  out in the middle of plain day.  For everyone to see.  Not very discrete.

Guinea sitting on her eggs.

Guinea sitting on her eggs.

It is a community effort.  One lies on the eggs and the others protect and patrol the area.


After some time,  the layer will get tired of sitting in one place and be off for some fun.    Little do they know that a one big monster is lurking in the shadows waiting.  Waiting.  Waiting.


I spied through our upstairs window.  I spied the perpetrator.  Miss Virginia has had her fill of eggs in recent days.   The guineas have relocated their nesting to a place they may feel success.  I hope so.  We would love to have more guineas  running the farm.  They provide us with endless entertainment.

Spring is a fun farm time.  Especially as we ready ourselves  to celebrate a wedding and welcome our first daughter to our family.  Yay.  Times are a changin’.

This week at dusk.  Wow.

This week at dusk. Wow.

God bless,



Filed under Farm

Day is Done, Gone the Sun.. Part II

When we entered the barn early, early in the morning I felt like I was a character in  Charlotte’s Web.   They (the goats, chickens, guineas and turkey) were quiet and tucked in.  Their eyebrows  raised with curiosity.  “What are the people doing here this early?  Is something the matter?  Are they coming to take us away?  Who are they going to take?  Where would they take us?  It is still dark outside.”

When we grabbed our first chicken, then they knew.  “It is the chickens they are after.”  Then all heck broke loose.  All the animals were running about, back and forth, this way and that.   I just had to remind myself, this is farming.  This is what it is.

Loadin’ up the truck

Off to the Amish farm we go.  It took about two hours to get there.  Pops and I drove separately because we cant figure out how not to.  It would be too complicated. What if,  heaven forbid, one of us wanted to go somewhere different than the other while we wait for the birds to get their haircut and other stuff.   So, we followed each other there.

Amish farm bright and early

The farm was lovely.  I don’t know what it is about farms, nature, animals. But when you  put all that together I feel like I am going to burst with joy.   I was so taken with this farm.

They were unloading chickens from two other vehicles.  One guy brought 275 chickens and the other brought about 20.  All I could think about was what if they gave me their chickens back instead of mine.  Their chickens we dirty and skinny.  Ours were the “suburban” looking chickens.  Clean, plump, shiny and new.  Beautiful color.  “I don’t want their chickens,”  I said to the kind Amish man.  He said, “You’re not getting their chickens.”  I said “ok”.

We got our chickens back.  26 of them.  Weighing in at 4-5 lbs to 7 lbs.  Some of them are monsters.  We got them home and I am starting to feel a little queasy about eating these things.  The day was extremely emotional for me.  By the time I got home late in the afternoon I was physically ill.  It was like the day the goat died at my hand.  This farming thing is really emotional.  I know I will get use to it as time goes by but this was the first time I have ever eaten an animal that I have raised.

Pops kept making me take photos of the chicken.  I have decided I don’t like taking pictures of food.  Seems really odd to me.   I will take them, but it makes me feel the same as when someone makes me pose for a photo.  It is unnatural.    I am weird.  But aren’t we all?

We grilled the birds and ate them.  OKAY.   So what did they taste like?  The white meat was perfect.  The dark meat was a little chewy.  Not tough.  Just chewy a little bit.   We attribute that to free ranging.  Running around here gaining muscle on their little bones as opposed to force-fed birds in confinement.  The flavor is outstanding.  And we are happy about it.  It was and has been an adventure.  It would be really cool to find someone closer to process them and I think we probably could do it ourselves but that discussion is for another day.  We will enjoy for now.

God bless,



Filed under Farm, Food/Recipes


When I publish a post, this program congratulates me for getting another one done and then attaches a quote from usually who knows where about writing.

The last post’s quote was:

“To send a letter is a good way to go somewhere without moving anything but your heart.”

I like that.  Writing letters seems to have become obsolete.  A very sad thing indeed.  I am reading a book right now that is about letters written by artists to friends or family where they include art sketches within the letter.  This stuff took place from the early 1800’s to mid 1900″s.  Really cool stuff.  In many of  the letters there is a tone of great excitement to be writing the letter or responding to a letter received.  They seem to have been written with such care.  And consideration for the other person.

Most people communicate through emails.  They are not “letters”  most of the time.  It seems to me that email most often is a tool to communicate logistics, plans, or something that is in motion.  It doesn’t seem to me that it is used to communicate on an emotional level really.  Throw facebook and twitter in the mix and what in the world is going on?    There is a lot of it flying back and forth,  but is it improving relationships?  I don’t know.  It seems that communication is going great guns but relationships seem to be suffering.  How can that be?  In the “olden days”  letters were a way of growing and sustaining relationships when we couldn’t be together.

I don’t really know what I am saying here other than it is just different than it used to be.  Right or wrong.  There is a flurry of activity now and I’m not sure what it all means.  Back then letters were far and few between.  We waited for them.  The contents were treasure (usually.  Bad news could come via letters too!).   And receiving one was clearly a gesture of effort.

I used to write letters.  Anyone who received them would agree that I was/am not the best composer of letters in the world.  But they were special.   I have most of  the letters that have been written to me stored away.  They are special.  When we went through my mom and dads stuff when they moved out of their house, we found all the letters that we had written them over the years. Obviously,  they meant something to them too.

What are we saying to people when we email them?  HOW are we saying things?  I realize that all the words we write on paper or computer don’t have to have profound meaning, or care,  but why not?  If we care about the person(s) that we are communicating with then shouldn’t our words be intentional and written with care?  Shouldn’t we use these great tools that we have the privilege of using to grow our relationships rather than simply throw words at each other?  I’m just thinkin’ a little today.

Did you know that the eggs you buy at the store are anywhere from 1 month old to 6 months old?

Did you know that eggs have a natural protective coating on them  that allows the egg to sit at room temperature for up to a year?  Now, that is what I call a great service from our friendly chicken!  If the coating has  been washed off, it needs to be refrigerated and the shelf life is reduced drastically.  Commercial chicken people wash the eggs.

Did you know that the USDA doesn’t require farmers to pasture feed the chickens that produce free range eggs?  Should I repeat that?  Read that statement above again.

It is a glorious day to be alive.

Have a blessed day,



Filed under Farm, Spiritual

New Controls in Place

I thought I’d never say this, or even have the opportunity to say this but…. I’m all about these birds we own.  We have 25 layer chickens.  They are well taken care of by their livestock guard dog, Claire.  They only get dragged around in Claire’s mouth sometimes.  Not always.  So they are in good shape most of the time.

Sweet Claire and her flock.

Over in the barn and pasture across the driveway, we have the meat chickens that I showed you in  May as day old chicks.  They are, believe it or not,  getting ready for the butcher in two weeks.  They are shaping up to be  beautiful birds.  And while I am kinda freaked out about them ending up in the freezer, I am excited to taste a home-made chicken for sure.  I had a feeling I would be ok about this business.  Although, I haven’t loaded them up on a truck in the dark of night. Yet.

Meat Chickens. Freedom Rangers.

Right now the birds that we are most in awe of (or I should say, entertained by) are the guineas and the turkey.   They are now in charge of the place.  It’s nice to have something/body else take control for a while.   Don’t you think?   We had two turkeys.  One passed on.  I can’t remember if I passed that on to you.  Yeah.  Right in front of me.  Laid down, flapped his wings real hard then plunk.  Died.  All his meat chicken friends were standing in a circle around him wondering what the heck was going on.  When they realized he was dead they started pecking him.  To death. Or to kingdom come.   The turkey that is left and the two guineas we kept up by our house are rulin’.  They parade up and down the driveway thinkin’ they are all about it.  Usually one guinea is on each side of the larger turkey.

They have become the best of friends.  At night and in the morning they get up on the stall rails in the barn and tell US ALL ABOUT IT!.   Guineas are very very loud.  Sometimes ear-piercing.    The turkey can certainly hold his own as well.

They are ugly, ugly creatures but both Pops and I have a grand time being entertained by them.
We have 5 more guineas down in the lower pasture guarding it and eating bugs.  They do so well at guarding that the first night something ate 3 of them.  Very sad.  Death is becoming a common occurrence here. ( I hope I still have some time left on the farm before something gets to me.)   We started with 8 down there. Now we lock them up in a pen at night.  They have free reign during the day.

Birds, at least the ones we have, are VERY social creatures and they like us to be part of their posse as well.  We like it.  And they are SUPER easy to care for and bring lots of food and fun.

God bless,


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