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Saturday, January 18, 2014

chicken littles

        chickens have become part of the landscape
here at dash home farm.  i love looking out the kitchen window and seeing the finches, bluebirds, doves, & yes chickens.

i'm used to seeing cardinals, nuthatches, chickadees, finches and all kinds of small birds on our hanging feeder but now i look out and see our small flock of chickens under the feeder getting the cast off black sunflower seeds. 

here's gretchen our leghorn.

i've always had a thing for birds. when i was a teen a neighbour asked me to watch their aviaries full of love birds, budgies and cockatiels. at first walking in those giant aviaries was scary because the birds would take flight but as summer after summer went on with me caring for the birds it instilled in me my love for birds. 

when we lived in florida...our family had a small aviary with budgies, cockatiels, and finches. i loved having an aviary to care for and watch the birds. and my kids did too.

now that we live on a small farm...i can enjoy the wild birds at the feeders and our free ranging chickens that roam around like they own the place. 

the other day i noticed one on the front porch looking in the window at me while i was redoing the dinning room table for valentines day. i just chuckled.
the table is a work in progress.

since we moved to tennessee in the year 2000. we have had various finches inside but when we moved to the countryside of leiper's fork about 7 years ago my finches were all gone and we started feeding the wild-birds and watching for all the different kinds of birds we could attract it fulfilled that need i had for having birds close by.  
then last may, 2013 we decided to add chickens here on the farm and they have been so full of delight.  each one has it's own distinct personality. some come running up to you while others don't seem to care. 

juniper has to be the most friendly girl we have. if you come out she comes over to see you. when you go out with a treat it's natural to start talking to the chickens(which by the way is great therapy.) 

juniper runs right over to see who is doing all the squawking. 

the "new kids" as we call them usually hang together. 

splash marans(white with black specks)~astrid, french blue copper marans(all blueish grey at top)~matilda,
 olive egger(blueish with red neck and head)~nike, and the welsummer(the most colourful brown and golden)~olive

these girls came as poulettes or pullets (teenagers) in 
september, 2013.

they have integrated well into our original flock of 7.

abbey holding nike our olive egg layer.
 she has not given us an olive egg yet.
fall, 2013 ~ dave with easter egger~eleanor.

as many of you know we have quite a few dogs around here. 5 in fact at the moment. sometimes we foster dogs, too.
having the dogs has been a bit of a challenge. but it is all working out. above is beatrice, our great mountain pyrenees. she is our guard dog for the sheep and the chickens so not a care there. 

but originally when the chickens started free ranging on their own, like flying out of the run. we lost two poulettes to this guy.
rowan is a male huskey. he now resides indoors all day while the chickens are out unless we are out supervising. it was a hard lesson to learn but now we and he understand he has a high prey drive and needs help.
we can all be outside together nowadays and he lets the chickens come up to him. but we will not leave him to his own devises. in all fairness we were not aware that the chickens could get out until it happened. 
vivian is more of our little wrangler. if we need help corralling the hens she is all about helping us. 

buster brown is the quintessential gentlemen. he does whatever we ask. go herd the sheep...he's got it. 
get the horse to move...he's the man.
round up the chickens...he's on it, gently of course. 

the newest dog around here is actually kitty. 
don't ask, the kids named her. 
she has a bit of prey drive but wants oh so bad to please us. she has learned over time that the chickens are just part of farm life. but she does love to chase a frisbee. good girl, kitty. 

i would highly recommend having chickens if it is possible for you to have them. we are getting the best organic eggs you could ask for...right as they are laid in our own back yard.  they eat lots of leftovers. they have cute individual personalities that are endearing. they are quite beautiful. they are fun to hold and pet. all in all it's been a very rewarding experience. 
my one granddaughter, gwynevere loves them. 

happy days,

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