Jen Pietsch
Orcas Island, WA

I love spending time outdoors, gardening, running and raising my fleeced friends!
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Monday, June 27, 2011

postheadericon A Tail of Two Chickens

(Yes I know Dickens spelled it tale.)

Zig and Greta

I have never been a huge Dickens fan so I will tell of you my chickens.
We have been having such unrest in the coop. Let me back up.

Scrawny Greta- the Hester Prynne of the the flock. (No not Dickens- Hawthorne) No she is not an adulterer. She is just a general outcast. She had been fine just happy enough foraging alone since her buddy Polly Pullet was taken by a hawk. For some reason this spring all of the other hens and Frank turned against her. This took the form of bullying her into not leaving the coop on the best days and not leaving the protection of the nest box on the worst.

I, the chicken expert, deduced that it was because her vague rooster like appearance and the urges of Frank in the spring. He didn't want competition. She, as I have discussed before is a Lakenvelder, an old breed in which both sexes have cockscombs and spurs. Could our up until now kind hearted rooster be turning to the dark side? (Star Wars) Had he started this whole unrest? Maybe but it really doesn't matter. I can't have Greta getting beat up. (All of you who are talking about pecking order and the like back off. My chickens are pets. Yes they give eggs so you may want to call them pets with perks.)

She needed to be put into the hen protection plan.

Our coop has two parts. A covered and secure outside run and an indoor coop we call the coop proper. There is a ramp connecting the two which can be closed making two separate secure areas. I know you can see where I am going with this. I put Scrawny Greta in the outside coop with Zig and Zag the ole' girls, and let everyone else stay in the coop proper.

During the day the chickens free range, unless you are locked in the covered coop and then you watch others free range. I have worked out a system where the groups switch off sometimes in the covered run sometimes out ranging. The idea was that the hens could see each other and then would somehow magically get along. I am not sure this is working.

I have begun to integrate more and more hens into the Greta group and it is going well sort of. Now I just have two big groups of hens who don't get along. I will keep you posted.
Tuesday, June 21, 2011

postheadericon Happy Birthday Summer!

Today is Summer Thyme's birthday! She is two today- it is the nicest day we have had here on the farm all year. Bring on the summer.

Doesn't she look BEAUTIFUL?

It is not hard to remember the day our Summer was born.
  • It was Fathers' Day.
  • My crazy parents were here.
  • Luke, made his first communion.
  • It is my sister's birthday
  • We weren't at
We came home to the most beautiful surprise ever. She was up and running and hasn't stopped since!

Donkey Girls heard there may be cake.

They were mistaken!
Monday, June 20, 2011

postheadericon And Where Have I Been? Everyday is an Adventure!

I never thought one could be so busy and still not get it all done. Everyday is an adventure and if I don't write it all down right then and there by the time the next day comes with all its cool happenings it seems like a distant memory replaced by the next big day.

All in all it is you that are missing out on all the news. Here are a few of the tidbits you missed. I couldn't possibly remember all the cool stuff but...

  • We went to another show in Pasco, Washington. I got to drive the trailer over a mountain pass with snow! A real nail biter!
  • We did great at said show!
  • All of the herd is clipped and ready for summer.
  • I sheared a few of the animals myself this year- harder than it looks- but doable.
  • Brave Heart the hen is broody and with my luck will hatch out all roosters.
  • The haying is done.
  • We got a new lawn tractor (okay it is really a mower but is called a tractor for some reason) I am loving it.
  • The kids are out of school for the summer
  • The farm stand is open for the year and we have had lots of visitors
As I said if I don't write it down right away it is lost. I am sorry you have missed all of the fun but stay tuned anyway.

Here are a few pictures that Luke took at the Alpaca Showcase when I asked him to get ready for shearing by taking pictures of animals that had neatly trimmed heads. I wanted the photos to use for models to give us something to shoot for.

This is what he came up with- I should have been more clear.