Happy Fri-YAY! Texas keeps teasing us with fall-like weather, then slaps us across the face with temps in the 90’s. I need to just enjoy the nice weather and appreciate sunlight to ride after work and not having to blanket horses. My least favorite thing about winter is the short days that make it nearly impossible to get rides in after work.
This week has been moderately eventful at the farm. We finally got a handyman/contractor out to give us a bid on doing some outside repairs on the house. Boot City had started some of the repairs, then quickly realized a carpenter he is not! Now we have brown spots on the ceiling in the kitchen from rain getting into the attic where the repairs were started. Oops! Fingers crossed that next year is THE year for a total renovation inside the house.
This isn’t the best photograph, but I had to memorialize Jaguar’s molting chicken friend. This chicken has commandeered Jaguar’s water buckets as her nightly perch for over a week. She is molting (shedding old and growing new feathers) so she looks ridiculous. Every night Jaguar munches on his hay while she poops in his water.
Don’t worry. He has a second water bucket (with water in it) that she doesn’t perch on and poop in.
Jaguar and his molting chicken bestie.
Now that Sterling is back in action Coco isn’t getting as many rides during the week, but she is still progressing nicely. She has an appointment with an equine acupuncturist next week that I’m looking forward to getting some answers about her back soreness. When I brush her back from her left side she kicks at me with her left hind foot. She may be just being sassy, but I think it is only fair to her to see if there is an actual issue. The acupuncturist is also a veterinarian and chiropractor so is highly qualified for the task. Sterling does a similar thing so I will probably have him looked at, too.
Coco being Coco
Dickens had a BIG day this week. He had brain surgery! Not actual brain surgery, he got neutered. Up until about 2 weeks ago he was the easiest puppy in the whole wide world. Then, for no apparent reason, he started marking spots in the house and going wandering to the neighbors’ properties. We figured this was the universe telling us that it was time for his family jewels to be removed. The breeder recommended waiting until he was at least a year old to have him neutered because the hormones help them grow stronger bones and be overall healthier. He turned 1 in early September so the timing was right. He is still sore and I think he generally hates us right now, but he’ll be back in action with his beerhound besties in just a couple weeks.
Dickens the goober Whippet.
I had a really sappy moment earlier in the week reminiscing about some of the fun things Jaguar and I have done together over the years and got mad at myself for taking him for granted now that he’s an old man. I went out to his stall super late (like 1a, which is crazy late for me) to just give him a hug. He looked at me like I was nuts and was absolutely insulted that I hadn’t brought any treats for him. Reason number 4,086 that I love him!
“Hi Mom. I will bite your noggin because I LOVE you!”
Boot City and I both took some time off work this week to get some stuff done around the farm. Usually when we do this we get distracted and hardly accomplish anything on our to do list, but we did really well this time! Lots of gates built, arena sand delivered and some purging of Boot City’s metal collection.
Little Mickey is quite the snuggler. He has no idea that he only weighs about 5lb. He acts like he is a 70lb pack leader! So funny!
Casey is spoiled and gets 24/7 turnout, mostly because he is so well behaved and not a fat kid. He often has chicken buddies while he grazes during the day and the other horses are in their stalls.
Simon. Just because he is a lovebug and so cute.
It has become somewhat of a tradition for one of my hunt friends to host a gymkhana the weekend before the 4th of July. We were blessed with moderately cooler temps this year and had much fun!
I got a truck load of sand for my “arena” and the dogs and horses took full advantage of the sand pile. There was much dog wrastling and horses rolling!
It is never easy to see them go, but its time for these boys to move on. Boot City took them to the goat sale this morning. I always tell myself that they end up in a home similar to ours and get good lives.
What are you up to this weekend?
This was a relatively quiet week at the farm. The weather is heating up to typical Texas summer temps, which makes me kind of sad. The spring and fall here are delightful, but the summers really are brutal!
Sweet little Harriet had her first heartworm injection this week. She was quite lethargic the first day, but has pepped up since. She will have two more injections in a month and hopefully will then be cured and ready to be adopted!
I can’t even with these two! This is no less than 150 pounds of dog on one dog bed. Never mind that there are at least two other same-sized dog beds they can use.
This is Mickey, our most recent foster from the Fort Worth shelter. He is your typical 6 pound dog who acts like he is 60 pounds! He is also heartworm positive so will be starting treatment soon. In the meantime he is trying his paw at goat herding.
Pardon her closed eyes, but this is Coco modeling her new fly sheet. She is a solid 16hh so I have mostly bought her sheets and blankets sized for a horse that tall, which is generally a 75-78 depending on their body type. Well, Coco has a very compact body and she was tearing up her size 76 fly sheet because it was too big and didn’t fit her correctly. This sheet is a 72. She is so petite!
This photo is a barn evening in a nutshell! Peaches asleep in the middle of the doorway. Quila chasing chickens trying to find eggs to eat and chickens wandering in the barn aisle and pooping on the floor.
Happy weekend y’all!
When I woke up this morning I was pretty sure someone outside was flipping a light switch off and on. In reality, it was Mother Nature. I check the weather pretty religiously and I’m confident there were slim to no chances for storms today. Alas, by the time I was finishing up feeding the horses it was POURING rain! We are still a few inches behind average rainfall, so I’ll take it!
This was Pablo’s feed pan when I got home from a work trip last Friday. It rained over 3.5″ that day!
This is what happens when you forget to latch Sterling’s stall and he’s in the barn all day on stall rest. Oopsy! Pic cred to Boot City
How many hens can you find in this photo? They are ALL broody and stay in this position, more or less, 24/7. Chicken ridiculousness.
These two are goat brothers. I think it is so cute they are the same color! The little guy is for sale if you are in the market for a baby goat.
One of our adorbs foster kittens. They go to the Humane Society of North Texas this weekend and will be available for adoption! Get you a kitty!
I’m looking forward to the Southwest Hound Show this weekend! If you live around DFW and want to see the loveliest fox hounds in the region you should come by! We will be at the Marvin Savage Farm, which used to be part of Greenwood Farm all day Saturday.
In the meantime, check out the goings on at the farm!
Sabrina, our foster fail kitty, LOVES her a box. She also loves the counter so a box on the counter is idea.
This is Dragon. I don’t think I have introduced her on the blog yet. Dougal was hit by a car and killed in December (so so so so so so so so so so so so so sad) and we were so lucky to get the opportunity to give his sister a home! Meet Dragon. She would dearly love for the baby goats to play with her, but she just ends up chasing them around and they are terrified of her. You can see how tiny the baby goats are and how tall (28″!) is Dragon.
I find the chickens in the wheelbarrow to be hilarious. It makes me sad that they won’t stay in the wheelbarrow and let me push them around. A girl can dream.
Why eat the hay when you can climb onto the hay bale and eat the much tastier tree leaves?!
Every ass needs a stage. Amiright?!
If you live in Texas and have watched the news lately you’ve likely heard the TERRIBLE news that Whataburger has shortened the hours they serve eggs because of an egg shortage. Well I’m here to tell you that we don’t have an egg shortage at the farm! Right now we get a little over two dozen eggs per day out of our 50’ish hens. Hens lay about an egg per day at the height of their egg laying years. We have quite a few hens who are past their prime, but since we have no interest in eating them they get to stick around. Every year in about August we get 30-40 chicks to replace the hens we lose to coyotes/bobcats/hawks/owls and illness and it’s about time to place our order so we are able to get the exact breeds we want.
The timing for when we get our chicks is very purposeful. It is best to get chicks when they days are getting shorter. This assures that we will have laying hens during the dark winter days when the more mature hens slow down or stop laying entirely. Plus, Texas summers are so hot that we don’t need to put them under a heat lamp if they arrive in August or September. Chicks need to be kept at 90-95 degrees for the first week of their life. After the first week the temp can be lowered by 5 degrees each week until they are fully feathered and can regulate their own temperature. Running a a heat lamp to keep chicks warm in December is a huge pain-in-the-neck, especially after you realise how much easier and better it is to get them in August!
Peaches the foxhound LOVES babies of all kinds. She really wanted to pick these chicks up and take them to the house to snuggle with her, however that wasn’t the best option for their survival.
We try to mix up the breeds of chicks we get each summer, but we always get at least 10 Aracauna chicks. These are hens that lay blue/green eggs and they have the cutest little tufts of feathers on their cheeks. We have had good luck with them in terms of heat tolerance and surviving predators. Generally darker coloured chickens are harder for predators to see so they tend to live longer. Aracaunas can be all kinds of colors, including white, but we’ve had nearly all brown ones.
This year we are also going to order Lakenvelder chicks. We had some a few years ago, but they were victims of a pointless raccoon crime. A raccoon went into our outdoor chicken coop and killed 30 pullets that were within a few weeks of laying eggs. Killed every last pullet and didn’t eat a single one of them. Just broke their necks and went on it’s merry way. Raccoons are NOT popular at our house. Lakenvelders are white with black heads, which kind of goes against our no-white rule, but they are small and active, which are good characteristics for free-range birds. We avoid the more portly breeds because then tend to do poorly in hot Texas summers.
We haven’t settled yet on the third breed we want to get. We have had great luck with the Egyptian Fayoumi chickens. They are wily little chickens and nearly all of the Fayoumi chickens we got 7 years ago are still around! I also like the Dominiques. Another breed we had that were victims of the raccoon attack. The last option we are considering are Blue Andalusians. We got some 2 years ago and love love love them. They are very hardy in the heat, intelligently avoid predators, and they are nice to be around. Some of the better free-range breeds can be pretty darn wild! The Fayoumis, for instance, are pretty unhappy about being caught and they sure let you know so with their beaks.
We have to place our order soon to assure our breeds of choice are available and are all female. Until then I’ll leave you with a pic of some of our existing flock enjoying a chicken spa day in the dirt. They were sure happy when the ground finally dried up enough for their dirt baths!
Chicken spa day. In this pic are an Aracauna, Leghorn, Cuckoo Maran (dark brown eggs), White Leghorn, Rhode Island Red and a mixed breed hen that one of our hens hatched a few years ago.
Our ranchette seems to be afflicted with a rash of unplanned pregnancies. I pestered Boot City a few days ago to get the eggs away from our broody bantam hen. The last time she was broody she hatched 6 or 7 chicks. They were adorable. Until they grew up and pecked one of their brothers nearly to death and then had to be separated. Too many roosters in a small space makes for a lot of drama. So now we have 3 random bantam rooster habitats that are a pain in the neck to take care of and they don’t lay any eggs!
I went to check on said broody hen tonight and guess what I found?
We won’t know for a few weeks of it is a hen or a rooster. I really hope it’s a hen. When I asked Boot City about this little bundle of joy he told me he had found it yesterday. Why he wouldn’t share this delightful news immediately is beyond me. Actually, it doesn’t surprise me at all. He’s always irritated by people who act like any birth is a glorious event (human or animal, in his eyes they aren’t all glorious events) regardless of circumstances.
Do you see how it has fuzzy legs? When it grows up it’ll have feathers down it’s feet. It’ll be cute. Bantams are miniature chickens and when the roosters with the feathered feet fight with each other we call it tickle fighting because they look so cute jumping around. Until there’s blood. Then it isn’t very cute anymore and they have to be separated.
Can you see the chick here with it’s mum?
Happy hen mom
The baby snuggles up under it’s Mom to stay warm. They can’t regulate their own temperature until they have feathers. They generally are fully feathered at about 6 weeks. They won’t lay eggs until at least 14 weeks, but with bantams it is more like 26 weeks before they lay eggs. The purpose of bantams are to be cute. They don’t really lay many eggs and their eggs are teeny tiny. They are like Italian Greyhounds, no real purpose in life other than to be cute.
This is the whole fam-damily. Three hens and two roosters live in this little chicken house. These roosters actually get along quite well. I don’t think we’ve ever had an issue with them fighting.
Bantam chicken family
Everyone should think happy thoughts/pray/meditate whatever it takes for this chick to be a hen. Her life would be much better (and probably longer) than if she’s a he.