Posts Tagged ‘Chickens’
Well, it’s been so long since I’ve posted that I pretty much had to learn how to do it all over again! Life has kept us very busy here at MoonCat Farms since I last checked in many moons ago. There’s too much to cover in one post so I’ll just start fresh with one of my favorite and frankly, most time-consuming interests. My chooks…
Mr. MoonCat’s parents call them their “grands”. When they come up for a visit, they enjoy helping me with the little feathered fiends. In fact we’re looking forward to a visit next month when I will be enlisting their help in vaccinating the flock and accomplishing a few other chores that seem to need a few willing extra hands. Plus, we just have fun playing with the birds and spending time outside. The chickens reward their “grands” by sending them back to Arizona with a bunch of beautiful farm fresh eggs!
|Rudy Roo – Barred Plymouth Rock|
Rudy Roo is called a Barred Plymouth Rock or just a Barred Rock. He runs with my laying flock of mostly Rhode Island Red hens and a few girls of questionable parentage. He’s a very gentle bird that takes great care of his girls and is pleasant for us to be around. (His neck shouldn’t look all fuzzy like that, he’s been sticking his head through the fence to reach the rosebush and messed up his feathers. I will be putting up more chicken wire soon, as Mr. MoonCat accused me of trying to strangle poor Rudy!)
|“I’ll Be Back…” Iowa Blue hen|
This little gal giving us all the stink-eye is an Iowa Blue hen. She’s a smallish bird that lays a small creamy colored egg. They are a personable breed that is enjoyable to be around and as you can tell by the up close and personal photo, very nosy! (BTW, they aren’t blue..just those Iowa people coming up with a name for their birds… 🙂
So, as usual I’ve been a flake. I guess my only excuse for not posting is that I didn’t really feel like I had anything to say. I figured I’d better give a brief update on what’s been going on around these parts or you’d think the chickens truly had eaten me. Bad birds.
Mr. MoonCat has been working six days a week, keeping very busy. I’ve been working on my new business which is in the infant stages. I’m excited about getting it off the ground and I’ll have more on that at a later date. The garden is starting to see some activity.
The hubby’s uncle passed away a few weeks ago after a very long battle with cancer. We’ve spent a day up in Sacramento for the last two weekends helping his parents clean out the house to get it ready for sale. While it was a sad reason for us to all be together, we really enjoyed visiting with his parents. Hubby’s best friend/brother from another mother Chris went with us this last weekend to help us move all of the furniture. We were grateful for the help as there was a lot of heavy lifting involved.
Most of the critters are doing well. The dogs and cats are happy that Spring is pretty much here. The chickens are keeping us snowed under with eggs and attitude. We have a great bartering deal going on with my “other parents” – my best friend Becky’s folks. They keep kitchen scraps saved up and I weigh them down with eggs. Everyone’s happy! Especially the chooks – it is hysterical to watch them dig through the goodies. They recognize the large plastic ice cream tubs that the scraps are saved in. When I walk out carrying one of those it is a large squawking herd of mini-monsters meeting me at the gate. (Remember the Velociraptor Chickens?) They get quite rude and scary!
All is not great though as we do have some cause for concern. Wedgie’s leg isn’t healing like we had hoped. Since I posted about his injury we’ve had him x-rayed and found that he had actually fractured his leg. The vet seems to think it will heal just fine in time, but it’s sure making us worry. He has to stay in the small box stall and not move around too much. Poor little guy isn’t taking confinement well, he is horribly bored. It’s really hard for such a curious and mischievous little dude to deal with forced inactivity. We try to keep him entertained, but it’s a challenge. He is such a good baby though. He allows us to change his bandages/semi-cast with a minimum of fuss.
That’s about it around here at MoonCat Farms and the ranch. I will try to post some photos in the next few days – truly. Wedgie really is getting cuter all of the time. I know he sends his love to all of you who love him from afar, especially his honorary auntie Lemon Verbena Lady 🙂 (Phantom kisses being blown your way)
As many of you know (and our new readers will soon learn), we’ve recently joined the ranks of “backyard chicken farmers”. I mentioned my initial desire to have about six chickens in order to provide enough eggs for us and the immediate family. Well, the hubby and the Dad decided if six was a good amount then NINETEEN would be a GREAT amount of chickens to have. Men!
Well, all of this has led to a MAJOR over-abundance of eggs and the addition of “farm fresh eggs” to the things that we are starting to sell here at MoonCat Farms. I am trying to get completely organized and making sure that everything is legal and by-the-book. One of the first things I started looking into is insurance coverage.
It is amazing how much information is out there and just how uninformed I am! I had no idea the different types of insurance I could or can’t get for our little operation. The green things we grow are covered in one area and the birds are a completely different ball game. I’ve learned things I could never have imagined ~ or wanted to imagine knowing. So for instance, do you know that along with credit scores there are also insurance scores? (I found an informative guide to insurance score in case you didn’t and would like to.) Needless to say, I’m doing more homework than anything else right now.
I’ve been filling out so much paperwork lately that I’m afraid I’m responsible for at least two trees being killed. I’ve always known that agricultural pursuits are highly regulated, but OMGosh! I have permantly cramped hands from filling out forms in duplicate and triplicate..blah blah blah… I’m nowhere near done either. Still have banking to go…
On a good note, we have happy chickens who are happily producing lovely eggs. LOTS and LOTS of eggs.
Have a great Wednesday my friends.
Like many of you I spend hours upon hours this time of year drooling over the newest seed catalogs and planning the garden’s future. There’s a big difference for us at MoonCat Farms this time around though, we’re also deciding what kind of crops to grow for our chickens!
Since becoming the chicken mama to my feathered friends, I’ve been trying to learn as much as I can about what I can feed them – especially at this time of year. The ground is bare and there aren’t many tasty bugs to be had so I need to supplement their fare. Trying to give them fresh produce is costing a fortune! They’ve been eating some very interesting concoctions that I’ve been creating in the kitchen as well.
For the most part, I’ve gathered that if it is natural and healthy for us ~ it should be pretty much the same for them. They have been enjoying A LOT of fresh spinach, cooked peas and beans, various fruits, a bit of fish or other proteins on occasion, homemade suet cake treats, etc. This is of course on top of their chicken mash, scratch and pellets.
When the garden was still in full swing we discovered that tomatoes and watermelon are their top choices. They’d line up like little inmates at the fence and beg for tomatoes. Squash and peas were OK once they’re cooked by the chicken mama, most greens were welcomed as well. Strawberries and blackberries were another favorite treat along with cucumbers.
Besides the normal fruits and veggies that we’re growing for ourselves, I’m trying to figure out what we can add for the chickens. I will be doing a lot of canning, freezing and drying of our own foodstuffs and things such as comfrey, spinach and other greens for the birds. I would like to get any suggestions that some more experienced chicken keepers might have as to what else would be good for getting us through the winter a bit cheaper..
I haven’t updated everyone on the girls (and Big Red) in a while so I thought I’d share a few photos from one of the VERY few days of no rain lately.
|The hen’s eye view|
|Big Red fascinated by a bit of straw|
|The death of a straw bale|
So, are you ready for a surprise? We weren’t! Look….
|Aren’t they pretty?|
We really didn’t expect the girls to start laying until March or April at the earliest. I think they’re confused as they aren’t supposed to lay during the very short days of winter. Given that they’re also only 5 months old, we were amazed to find these beauties in the coop! My babies are growing up so fast…
Here’s a bunch of photos of the chickens. We’ve added a big red rooster to the flock. A friend of the family dropped him off at the ranch for Dad. Only problem was that Dad’s little banty (bantam) roosters were beating up the big guy. He’s pretty much a gentle giant, poor thing 🙂 He had to learn his place in the flock quickly here too as Stella immediately whooped on him too! You don’t mess with the alpha hen around here!
|Red hen close-up|
|Big Red and his harem|
|Playing in the water|
|Big Red shows the girls the way|
|Thelma finds a tidbit|
|My lap full of chickens|
|Stella gets up close and personal|
|Big Red’s a beauty|
Many of you have asked how Wedgie (aka the Wedge, Phantom, and butthead) has been doing. Well, he turned 4 months old on September 22nd and he’s quite the big boy. Dad is talking about weaning him early as he doesn’t nurse near as much as he pigs out on his mama’s grain and hay.
As usual I had a hard time getting photos of him. He either wanted to run and play with me or he wouldn’t get his head out of the feeder. So I only have the two pictures today, but I’ll get some more in the next week or so just to show you what a little pill he is.
This is the only photo I managed to snap of the new addition this morning. We were in a hurry, so hopefully I’ll get some updated shots later in the week with Mr. MoonCat doing his thing. “Swifty” is the name my Dad bestowed upon the new guy. In case you’re wondering, it’s actually an oxymoron. The horse is a bit on the lazy side.. But as usual, if the naming is left to Pops, he’ll name him according to where he came from. The previous owner was named Swift so there ya have it. (I warned hubby…)
I know he looks similar to Whiskey in coloring, but Swifty is actually a registered Paint Horse whereas Whiskers is a Quarter Horse. Swifty is a real sweetie, very gentle and able to teach Mr. MoonCat a whole lot more than Whiskey could. The hubby is excited because this new horse LIKES to work cattle!
So that’s the happenings for now. In closing I’ll leave you with a shot of Adolph (Dad’s dog that he got from his neighbor, yup – named Adolph) sharing his doggy bag from breakfast with the chickens.
|Yummm..biscuits and gravy|
You know how scientists claim that our avian species are all descended from the dinosaurs? I think I have proof that a few of my chickens can claim that ancestry…
|I’m feeling a bit like prey here…….|
|Can YOU do the Chicky Chicky shake?|
|We’re always watching……|
|Please note, only a tomato
was harmed in the making
of this photo..
Sorry I’ve been off the grid for a bit. I’ve been reading and reviewing up a storm over at One Book Shy as well as doing a lot of varied stuff around here. Some of that includes watching the hubby’s baby chooks grow up FAST! (Notice they are now HIS – it’s a love affair.) The girls are doubling and tripling in size every week it seems. Except for Midge, I think she is either a Banty/Bantam or just a runt. Either way she is a tiny terror. She beats up and bullies the bigger girls. They all seem to tolerate the little tyrant. She also has a thing for pecking at my toenails….
|Midge (r) next to the “normal” sized girls|
|Stella the “Chicken Whisperer’s” favorite girl
Do I sound jealous?