Back from the Farm

This past weekend, we headed out to visit my brother, who is now living outside of Asheville, NC on a small farm.

The day we got there, they'd just received a shipment of adorable baby chicks. It was, I think, very good timing on our part... even though it was totally unintentional. There were about thirty new chicks, which just about doubled the size of their flock.
Now, I know a lot of people who have said that chickens are disgusting, stupid creatures. I suspect these people have only met chickens over-bred for meat or egg production... that have probably been living under incredibly unnatural conditions. The chickens I spent time with this weekend had free run of about five acres, not all of which was pasture. They could hang out in the barn, but preferred to wander. They had a lot of personality. Some of them were very, very friendly:

The eggs were wonderful. Right now, they are getting about two dozen a day from the chickens, plus a few every now and then from the geese and ducks.

In addition to the birds, the farm has some other livestock. Here's a picture of my brother with one of the two horses:

There were also some lovely (if vaguely creepy) Icelandic sheep. The sheep were surprisingly graceful, and seemed to enjoy playing with the dogs (they chase each other back and forth). I think it will be a few more months until they are ready to be milked. Then, I believe, there will be cheesemaking. I am researching now so that I can be fully prepared to offer unsolicited advice. If anyone has any suggestions on sheep's milk cheesemaking, let me know.

Comments

Is that just a trick of the light or does that hen in the second picture really have blue feathers? And it seems to have feathers on it's feet too??? What breed is that? If I ever keep chickens I'll make sure to have one of those!

Stuart Broz's picture

Sort of a blue-gray. It is some sort of bantam. Small and sweet.

Yes, it has feathers on its feet.

Wow, cool! Thanks :)

I suspect the legendary nastiness of chickens comes from the infamous "pecking order." They do fight amongst themselves a fair bit.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pecking_order
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chickens_as_pets

Upon reading the latter it strikes me that temperament will be affected greatly by breed, so maybe your brother has one breed and the other source of info about chickens I know you have (aka George) had a different one?

Stuart Broz's picture

Out of the 30 adult hens, there were multiple breeds (maybe seven or so). Several different types were friendly. The worst of them were merely standoffish.

I strongly suspect it has to do with how they were raised and with how they're kept. Apparently, they've gotten friendlier now that they have more space to wander freely in...

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