Why, some of our best friends are chickens!
We are committed to our chicken friends. We freely admit that we had no idea when we brought that first box of innocent chicks home from the feed store how far down the rabbit hole we would go.
Yes, that metaphor fails in a few ways, but I am sure those of you who are chicken-experienced understand.
We were struck at the outset, and are still amazed at how peaceful their company can be. This is balanced by free eggs for awhile for both man and (canine and feline) beast. On the smartass side of life and living, the humor quotient of these attitudinal avian folk knows no bounds as well: that is a healthy mix both for our flocks, and for we overworked human caretakers.
We keep a variety of breeds - mostly Americanas - and some tried and true "standards:" Black and Red Sex Links (so named because the color markings of young chicks help determine their gender) and Barred Rocks. (Don't ask us our opinion on our White Leghorn rooster.) Our flock of egg-laying age chickens have been sharing a half-acre pasture with our Navajo-Churro sheep for the past two egg seasons. They roam freely from the several chicken tractors and hoop houses during the day. Predators are a given in this riparian area, and we've gone through time periods where it seemed there was a 1:1 ratio of sleeping chicken dinner:raccoon being advertised on pirate raccoon radio. Our smaller flock is now locked away at night; some will soon be moving into a new electric-netted area to the north of the property, our trial run of the Joel Salatin-recommended fencing.
In addition to our egg-laying flock, our collection smaller specialty bantams, including Grey Cochins and Silkies, continues to thrive. They have the run of the property during the day with Buff Orphingtons (surprisingly personable girls, those) and a duo of wild turkey sisters that have moved in. Our many cats leave them alone. We have a pen of ducks and banties that we are not sure the cats would be willing to leave alone. Our animal management, by fits and starts, goes on.»
We are members of the American Pastured Poultry Producers and The American Livestock Breed Conservancy, and are committed to doing what we can to help endangered heirloom breeds keep a place in today's sustainable agriculture movement.
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