This is our "Main Man" around the hen house. We call him "Talkie" because he talks all day long as he hangs out with and chases the hens.
We almost lost him last week. He was acting strangely. Chickens are actually pretty fragile, and you have to pay close attention to them. If they get sick, its almost always too late to help them by the time their symptoms are noticed.
When we upended him to check him out, he had two infected and maggot infested wounds.
Probably the result of a raccoon or possibly a possum. It was a mess. Glenn cleaned him up and then the local vet cleaned him up a lot better and gave him some antibiotics
While chickens (and other birds) get worse very fast, they also get better very fast. In just a day Talkie was back crowing and eating, and in a couple of days he was back outside with his girls (who missed him by the way). After four days he was allowed to stay back in the hen house overnight.
We were really happy that he got better. His crowing around the farm has really become part of
the day and he would have been missed. Lots of thanks to Dr. MacVeigh at Solvang Vet Hospital
Thursday, November 19, 2009
We are going to try to post pictures and items here that give a flavor of what its like to be on Clairmont Farms. If you like to play with cameras, there is a lot to do around here. The lavender field offers endless opportunities, but so does the commercial agriculture just across the street.
At the end of the day the lines of the freshly plowed furrows catch the light on the tops and are shadow in the furrows.
And here is a shot at the beginning of the day. The people who farm this land really work hard.
If anyone wants copies of these photos for screen savers, let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
BRENDA AND THE BURN PILE BABIES
Brenda is one of our hens that tends to create nests and raise families. Every night we lock up the hens so that they are safe from predators. If they are missing and we can't find them, its a serious problem and we have lost favorite hens this way.
One night Brenda didn't come back to the hen house, and it took us a day to find her. We followed her after she came in mid morning to eat and drink. We followed her back to this burn pile.
The pile was pretty big after not being able to burn after a whole summer of tree trimming. The pile was about 10 yards wide by 30 yards long. After we followed her we found that she was sitting on a nest with 8 eggs in it.
Temperatures were getting above 100 in late September out where Brenda was. We parked the truck right next to the nest and at night we left a light on with a low wattage bulb to keep the predators away. One morning we came out and found a few heads peeking out at us.
When everybody was out of their eggs we moved them all into the barn where we could shut the door and keep them safe. It was also cooler in the middle of the day when the Sun was strong.
Here is Brenda in the barn with her new brood.
One of the things that is very important with free ranging chickens is to keep them safe from hawks and other predators. For this reason Brenda and the babies stayed in the barn for a couple of weeks after they moved in from the burn pile.
Even now that they are older Brenda and all the babies still sleep together. Chickens always go to the same place to roost at dusk. Most of ours go to the hen house, and some to a hedge by the hen house and we have to take them inside. Brenda and her babies go to the stall in the barn where the babies were raised. One of the other hens had three chicks and she abandoned them at about two months of age and started going back to the hen house. Brenda might do that someday but she shows no signs of it yet.
Brenda is looking a little crowded here.
So keep an eye on this blog and we will make a few posts about Brenda and the Babies as they grow. Here's Brenda keeping an eye on things with one of the babies keeping an eye on her..