Farm Animal Notes
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Farm Animal Notes August, 2013

August 2013
The animals have been growing.  Some are challenging, and some may be moving.  We may sell a couple goats before fall.  Someone at Church mentioned they were looking for a rooster, and Bill said nonchalantly, “Would you like one?”   Our rooster has gotten to be a bit nasty as roosters sometimes do when they are protecting their hens, but he is so aggressive now we cannot let the grandchildren in the chicken yard for fear he will attack them.
nasty rooster
So, since our inquiring neighbors do not have young children, Mr. Blue Cochin (which is about as far as we go with naming our chickens, by their breed), will be moving this weekend.  We may give them one hen, too to keep him company.  Our other baby chicks are no longer babies and are now laying eggs and will move in with the older hens after the rooster leaves.  Ordinarily, it is not good to mix flocks, but we were thinking of opening up more grazing land for the chickens and with the rooster gone, the hens may just relax a bit more and not pay too much attention to more yardmates.  I will miss the cock-a-doodle-doing in the morning, AND in the afternoon, AND in the evening, etc., but we still have the ducks waddling around and busy quacking to each other, and the goats baa-ing and dogs barking, so it will not be totally quiet.  
The new chickens are laying eggs now, and as I usually do when I order chicks, I mix it up a bit and order several different types of breeds of chickens for an interesting flock, though I do like the heavy setters rather than the flighty types.  We discovered a number of years ago that most of the brown egg layers seem to be nice and sedate and good mothers, while a lot of the white egg layers are flighty and crazy as ever…..flying into fences and super hyper.  So, guess what color eggs we have?  
colored eggs
There is another type of chicken called the Aracana, which lays blue or aqua eggs and we have a couple of them this time around, so when Bill collects the new eggs now, we have a few small brown ones and a few small blue ones and aqua ones as well.  In another month or so, their eggs will get larger, and match their older sisters, but hens usually start laying small eggs when they first start laying.  Aracana chickens are often called the “Easter Egg hens” since their eggs come already colored…..and no, the yolks are not blue or aqua, but just the same as brown eggs or white eggs and they taste
the same, too.  They do make a pretty variety though. 
Sophie is not behaving any better this month than last month.  We tried the electronic collar a few times, and she seemed to shrug off the charge and then jump over the fence.  We may not have had the color on tight enough or perhaps needed to “up” the charge, but the last time she scaled the fence with the color, she came back without it, so we have no idea how she got it off or where she dropped it.  We are talking with folks about invisible fencing now, but will see where that goes.  
sophie in dog house.375
She is tied almost all day now, next to her dog house, for as soon as she’s off her lead, she up and over a fence in a flash, and then we have to start hunting for her all over again.  I hate to see her tied up all the time.  If one end of our property was not on such a busy state highway, maybe we’d let her off and over the fences, but her purpose is to guard the goats, not the whole neighborhood.  Jeremiah, on the other hand, is a good boy and doesn’t seem the least bit interested in jumping fences, but he is still eating like crazy and is now bigger than Sophie, even though he is only eight months old.
We have yet to see any duck eggs, though those should be coming soon.  The ducks, however, have gotten more adventuresome, and are now flying over the small fence, but they still are staying together as a group and staying fairly close to their home and water.  Come October, we will be putting a few of them in the freezer for Christmas dinner, and we will see how the remainder gets along with the chickens or how they do fairly restricted in their coops.  We have hawks and coyotes around here, and during the warm months that is not so much of a problem, but when the first frost comes and food starts getting scarce, we have to round up the ducks and chickens and keep them closer to our house.
puppy Jeremiah
Joey and Watson, our inside dogs, are doing fine, and enjoying the warm summer months.  So, August has had its challenges on the animal front, but the animals are such a joy to have around.  Like many animal lovers, I have read all of James Herriot’s books about All Creatures, Great and Small.  An English vet, Dr. Herriot has shared numerous stories of hiking through hill and vale servicing animals for their masters, but the series of books is based on a simple poem by Cecil Frances Alexander (1818-1895):
All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful,
The Lord God made them all.
roaming ducks
Praise God!!