Hitting the Wall on the Farm, Decision Time with Roosters, New Hens (Oh, and Baking Cinnamon Scrolls)

It’s been a heck of a few months.  Things had been travelling along nicely on the farm after a bit of a hiccup over Christmas, but then slowly but surely things seemed to spiral out of control.

It All Started with the Crows…

I’m not a particularly superstitious person but it all seemed to start unravelling with the arrival of three crows to the farm.  I looked out one day and noticed, instead of our resident friendly storks on the cows’ backs, Midnight had three crows perched on top of him.  They’re just birds, of course.  But there’s something a little unsettling about crows on a farm – probably to do with their penchant for following about the dead and dying.  Then not long after we lost two of our three Isa Brown chickens to a neighbour’s pet dogs.  Followed around the same time by several guinea fowl to car strikes.  Then our remaining guinea fowl decimated my Autumn/early winter vegetable seedlings leaving me nothing to plant out during our prime growing season here in the subtropics.  Around the same time the leaves were stripped from my young tomato, eggplant and capsicum plants – they recovered to some extent but never really thrived, producing very little in the way of a harvest.  My beautiful vegetable garden that had not long ago looked like this:

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I miss my vegetable garden – it looks nothing like this at the moment!

 

…returned to a barren wasteland, overrun by the chickens.  *Sigh*  And the husband’s work situation has changed, meaning very little time for team work on the farm.  It’s amazing how much harder most jobs are with only one set of hands.

Not all was lost though, we managed to get some particularly yummy corn before the season was over, and even a few tomatoes.  The watermelon I harvested was ‘ok’ but perhaps should have been picked a little sooner.

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Getting ready for dinner.  Some of the twenty or so cobs of sweetcorn we harvested from the vegetable patch during corn season.

 

The Chicks – Growing Up Is Never Easy

As predicted, most of our little chicks have grown up to be roosters!  Three out of five of the chickens are definite roosters (having been observed crowing at all hours of the day) – Sunshine, Maggie and Pam.  One chicken we’re almost certain is a hen – Sophie.  And our little fluffy footed chicken, Minty, is still something of a mystery.  So that leaves us with the unpleasant task of saying goodbye to all but one of our roosters.  To decide who stays (to father future generations of chickens) and who goes we’ve drawn up a list evaluating each of the roosters’ qualities:

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They grow up so fast!  Two of the roosters as chicks.  Pam on the left and Sunshine on the right.

 

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Rooster Maggie as a chick

 

Maggie:

  • Not aggressive towards people
  • Easily handled
  • Aggressive towards one chicken – Sophie
  • Crows quietly
  • Only crows in the morning
  • Attractive
  • Small sized

Pam:

  • Not aggressive towards people
  • Difficult to catch
  • Aggressive towards all other chickens
  • Crows loudly
  • Crows frequently
  • Moderately sized
  • Won’t win any beauty prizes

Sunshine:

  • Friendly towards people
  • Easy to handle
  • Friendly towards other chickens
  • Crows loudly
  • Doesn’t crow frequently (but still young)
  • Very large body size
  • Strong, healthy chicken
  • Moderately attractive

On the basis of this list, Pam (the trouble maker) is the first rooster to go.  We came to this decision after several discussions with the kids.  They were sad to say goodbye to a chicken but they’ve always known we could only keep one rooster.  We will take photos of the kids with Pam before Pam makes his final departure from the farm – I’m hoping this will help them cope a bit better with the decision.  If it was up to the kids they’d keep a thousand roosters!  We still don’t know which rooster will be next, Sunshine or Maggie.  More decisions to be made.

New Hens on the Farm

Despite all these chickens, we currently have no eggs.  Chocolate Chicken (the last of our Isa Browns) is off the lay, and our young chickens,  Sophie and Minty, haven’t started laying yet.  My husband was getting a little tired of us feeding six chickens a day and having to buy eggs from the grocery store, so today we took a drive to the local chicken farm and picked up three point-of-lay Isa Brown hens.  Hopefully it shouldn’t be too long before fresh eggs are back on the menu.

I’m hoping things will start turning around.  Those pesky crows have cleared off.  The storks are back.  And while the weather is thoroughly miserable at the moment, it was the perfect excuse to make cinnamon buns…

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Soft and fluffy inside 🙂

 

Wishing you all a very happy week.

Julie.

4 thoughts on “Hitting the Wall on the Farm, Decision Time with Roosters, New Hens (Oh, and Baking Cinnamon Scrolls)

  1. Oh dear, it’s no fun when everything seems to be falling apart! Hang in there and stay positive. Getting new chickens is a happy thing. Choosing your rooster is tricky! It’s hard to know what they’re going to end up like. I know that sometimes they seem to be picking on the boss hen to keep order and fairness. Don’t know if that has anything to do with yours. And sometimes they just get really frisky with any female they think they have a shot with… 😛 Hope things start looking up for you here on out. 🙂
    -Twiglet

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Twiglet :). I’m sure things will start smoothing out. Just need to get back in the swing of it. Balancing the kids and farm jobs/maintenance/ambitions/life is always a bit of a juggling act – which I bet you know all about!… As for the roosters, it’s a bit of a learning curve. I’ve never had roosters before so it’s all new. It’ll be interesting seeing how the power relations play out with a male around. With my hens previously the leader of the pack seemed to change quite a few times till they settled down. Hopefully the new hens will take some of the pressure off Sophie the hen with all these boys around!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Sorry things have been all over the place. It will get better. We have definitely learned, especially this year, that handling family, farm, business, and everything else is a constant balancing act that requires changes of plans as you go. Nothing ever seems to end up how we planned but when I look back at the end of the year the farm is always pretty productive despite it all. I think its great that you got some point of lay pullets, good change of plans that I think will pay off.
    As for the roosters, we have a lot of experience with picking roosters. In some ways it is a roll of the dice because as you remove other roosters the remaining ones personality changes a bit because the pecking order changes. So a roo that was nice can sometimes get more aggressive once the other roos are gone because he was the bottom of the pile and now all of a sudden he is head of the flock. Because roos are so hard on the flock, tearing up the hens backs, I would pick one that seems least aggressive with the ladies but still has other qualities you like – which sounds like sunshine. But you might watch and see if there are changes in them once the most aggressive one is gone.
    Hope things go better this week!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A big thank you for the advice and encouragement 🙂 I think I’m starting to get the idea that I have to be a bit flexible when it comes to planning. I always seem to have this (false) idea that everyone else’s plans go smoothly! lol 🙂

      Your insights about the roosters were really interesting. I’d wondered whether the roosters’ personalities would change once the head rooster was removed. I hadn’t really thought through the issue with the roosters’ treatment of the hens. Think I’ll have to take a day or two to observe them and see which ones are not as aggressive towards the girls…

      On a good note, the point-of-lay pullets all laid eggs today 🙂 So good to have some eggs again! Things are looking up already 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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