Saturday, December 24, 2016

Giving A Rooster A Bath. SAY WHAT??!!

 Ok, so yes, we did give our rooster a bath. Let me back up a bit  though and start at the beginning.
We had 2 Welsummer roosters for our 29 hens. The roosters were raised together as chicks and got along very well until one night when I walked into the coop and it looked like a blood bath. There was blood, and lots of it, all over the coop, the feeders, even the hens were covered in blood and both roosters were bleeding badly. The hens were overstimulated by all the blood and were now attacking the bloodied roosters. So we took the roosters out of the coop and separated them from each other.

When I headed back into the coop the hens were now attacking each other because they were attracted to the roosters blood that was covering their feathers. So on a freezing cold night Don and I were out there for hours using the goat brushes to comb the blood off the feathers of 29 hens. The next day I brought one of the roosters into the house thinking that if I could wash the blood off of him the hens would no longer attack him. He was so awesome through the whole bath. I really adore these Welsummer roosters and it will break my heart if I have to put them both in the freezer.

After his bath we dried him off and took him back out to the coop a few hours later. It didn't work, the hens attacked him straight away. Onto plan B. I grabbed some Poultry Wound Spray which has Tea Tree oil and other smelly things in it and Fooey, which is a bitter tasting spray meant to keep dogs from chewing things. I sprayed his comb, the feathers around his head and his wattles with the two sprays to keep the hens from pecking at him. Realizing at this point that this whole thing happened because these large breed, free range birds, do not do well being stuck in the coop but our girls refused to go out in the snow. So after getting the rooster all sprayed up with this stinky "cologne" to hide the smell of the blood we shoveled an area and spread old goat bedding hay over it in the chicken yard. I threw out a bunch of scratch grain to entice them and they had the whole area under the coop to explore. They were still refusing to come out so Don tossed them out the hatch one at a time, all 29 of them. Ugh!

The good news was that it seemed to work. The hens were so happy to be able to take dust baths under the barn and scratch in the hay for the scratch grains that they completely ignored the rooster. Until, that is, we locked them all in the coop that night. After we finished all the chores we went in to the coop to check on him and he was hen-pecked and bleeding. We put him back out of the coop for the night and today we are repeating the experiment of spraying him with the smelly, bitter sprays and leaving him out with the hens in the outside run. So far it is going well again today and we will keep him out of the coop at night for a while to protect him from the girls. The things we go through to try and hang onto this rooster. The other rooster is currently living in the goat section of the barn and sadly he will likely end up in the freezer.

 Me telling him it will al be OK. I'm not sure he was convinced!

 Before the bath. You can't really tell in the photo but his feathers were coated in blood. 

He was so good during the bath. I just adore these Welsummers for their beauty and temperament 

After the bath, getting dried off

 He was eyeing the bottle of Wound Spray and Fooey rather suspiciously 

 Don convincing the girls how much fun it will be to be outside in the fresh air. Needless to say they were not convinced and had to be "helped" out the door one by one. Happily the second day they all came running out on their own.

The rooster with his happy hens. No hen-pecking going on while they are outside. 

This is the other rooster. He is still a bit bloody as he has not had a bath like his brother has. He is currently living in the goat section of the barn.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Our Eggs at Putney General Store!

Today we delivered 7 dozen of our eggs to the Putney General Store in Putney, Vermont. Our hens are free-ranged in the woods in good weather and they are fed a 100% organic diet. We are very happy to have been given such a wonderful reception to offering our eggs for sale at this local store.

Don carrying in the box with 7 dozen eggs.

Save your plastic egg cartons for us! We will reuse them with our eggs.  PM me and I will give you an address you can mail them too. The plastic ones work well because the old labels can be easily removed so that we can put our info on them. 

Beth modeling our eggs so elegantly before she puts them in the cooler ;-)

Friday, December 2, 2016

Monarch Butterflies on Tea Bags

I finally finished the custom order for 5 paintings of monarch butterflies on tea bags. Here are some photos of the process and the finished paintings. I received an order for 2 more from someone else yesterday. I may paint some extras to put in my Etsy shop.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

The Buck Arrives, New Puppy, Barn Kitten, More Eggs, Bending Rebar

So much has been going on lately! We were given a new puppy, an 11 week old Japanese Chin that is absolute adorable. We named her Posey. We also rescued a barn cat from the Humane Society to help us get a handle on the problem we are having with mice stealing our grain in the barn. Her name is Alma and she is a very cute but slightly feral 4 month old grey tabby.

Today the buck arrived to breed our Boer goat Bee. We also got a delivery of 50 bales of hay in the same trailer that the buck came in. The chickens have started laying more and there were 5 eggs yesterday up from one egg a day previously.

The logger came and did a final walk through on the land. We mapped out the areas where they will cut trees and clear land for more goat pasture and garden area. Then there are all the other things that come up or need to be done on our little farm, like Don finding a creative way to bend rebar to hang a heated water bucket using the tractor or me finding a stash of acorns in my muck shoe on the front porch this morning.

Meet Posey, our new Japanese Chin puppy. She is 11 weeks old and already owns my heart <3 p="">

This is Alma. She is a 6 month old silver tabby that we adopted from the humane societies "Barn Cat Adoption" program. They ask farmers to keep their new cats in a large crate for 2 weeks so that the cat become imprinted on her new surroundings and doesn't run off. They even lent us a large wire dog kennel for this purpose. In the photo below Don used his hay pull to pull the crate up into the hay loft where he set it up.

Don pouring out some fancy grain free cat food for our newest employee and resident mouser.  

 This is her home for 2 weeks in the hay loft until it starts to feel like home to her. We left the small crate with a bed in the large dog crate so it would be like a little den to her. You can just barely see her peeking over her bed in the back of the pink kennel.

 The hens have ramped up their laying from one egg a day to 5 eggs today! We have a light on a timer that turns on at 4:00 in the morning to help give them enough hours of light a day to lay. It is safer and kinder for the birds if a very low watt light goes on in the dark hours of the morning and does not stay on at night and suddenly go off as the he's are trying to get up onto their roost. They don't see well in the dark and the light going out abruptly may cause them to injure themselves as they try to get up onto  the roost or prevent them from getting up on the roost at all.

 This girl prefers to use the milk crate instead of the nesting boxes on the wall. 

 Collecting eggs in the nesting room

 The girls and boys wandering around the barnyard and venturing out into the road.

 Our beautiful helper Clara. She is such a cheerful, hard worker and a real Godsend to us. 

 50 bales of hay all loaded up into the hayloft!

 On the left is Bandit, the young buck that we had brought in to breed to our girl Honey Bee

 Bee and Bandit 

 Bandit getting used to his new surroundings

Scarlet, on the left, is Bee's daughter and she is too young to be bred this year so she is being kept on the other side of the fence line. She is not liking being separated from her mom.

 Don needed to bend some rebar to hang a heated water bucket in the second goat paddock so he improvised by using some holes in the bucket of his tractor.
 It ended up working perfectly!

Somebody decided to store some acorns in my barn shoes that were on the porch overnight. There were a couple of them up in the toe part of the shoe :-)

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Painting Monarch's on Tea Bags

I have been working on a custom order of 5 paintings on tea bags of monarch butterflies. I have been using gouache paints and they are just perfect for this application. The colors are so vivid and work well on the fragile tea bag paper. Painting on the tea bag fibers reminds me a bit of painting on silk.