2 Plymouth Barred Rocks, 4 Light Brahmas, 1 Red Laced Wyandotte, 1 Buff Orpington and 1 Rhode Island Red.
Aunt Fanny, Golden Penny, Special, Red Hawkes, Shelob, Maleficent, Raven, Molly, and Wyldstyle.
We have chickens.
It’s a lot of chickens, certainly more than we had planned on, but now that they just started laying eggs, we are happy with the plethora of eggs we are getting. So far, our girls are free range, which was NOT in my chicken plans. Dave has a lot to do with their freedom, but also the fact that the girls simply don’t want to be caged up during the day! No matter what we do, they find a way to escape…the little feathery Houdini’s. But they are so happy and playful when they are free, wouldn’t you be? We finally trimmed their wing feathers last week because they were all over the neighborhood clucking and calling out for each other. We found out (thanks You Tube!) that you only clip one wing’s feathers because if you do both, they can still fly, it’s just harder. Clipping one throws off their balance. Dave is putting a fence along the upper part of our yard so as to keep them off our walking areas and patio. (Can I just tell you how tired of POO I am? I want to use my patio again!!)
On August 1st, we came home from our vacation to 2 eggs! Tiny eggs, but eggs! We were so excited because we weren’t expecting eggs until September at the soonest! I think the chicks must have been older than we initially thought them to be, because they don’t lay eggs until they are 6 months old, and we thought they were 4 or 5 months. So now, two weeks later, we have been getting around 3-4 eggs a day and it’s increasing. I ended up purchasing a carton of eggs yesterday for our Sunday tradition of German Pancakes, but I’m really hoping that soon I can be DONE buying store eggs!! Ours are SO much better. I had no idea. Eggs are eggs, right? Wrong! The whites are whiter, the yolks are creamier, and the flavor is so much more….egg-y. At first, I will admit, I was a little bit grossed out by picking up a WARM egg that my creature just “plopped” out, cracking it open, frying it up and eating it. I think when you are so accustomed to getting your eggs, dairy and meat from a sanitary, clean, grocery store shelf, it can be a bit of a shock to get any of it right from the source. I mean, we KNOW where eggs, meat and dairy come from…that’s a given. But to actually experience it firsthand is so different. Amiright?
I also started a garden this year, and although 30% of it didn’t survive to planting stage, I am still happy with this summer’s crop. The tomatoes are starting to turn red and I have already harvested carrots, lettuce, eggplant, jalapeno and green peppers.
The broccoli is almost ready, but unfortunately the whiteflies already took over the cauliflower. That’s the downside to organic, pesticide free gardening. We did release over 1,000 praying mantis nymphs in the spring to help keep the bugs down, and I think it helped with grasshoppers and caterpillars, but those whiteflies must not taste very good to mantids.
We plan to buy a home with property in Ramona within the next 2-3 years (right now we are in the San Diego Country Estates outside of “town”) and eventually get ducks, a goat and MAYBE a milk cow. (I’m still not sure about a cow, but we’ll see!) Horses are also in our future especially for our daughter Pepper, who has CP. (Horseback riding is one of the BEST therapies for people needing gait-training.)
For now, we are so happy with our little garden and our flock. Our boys are educated at home and they LOVE the chickens and working in the garden. They do most of the chicken’s care, including penning them up at night and clipping wing feathers. It’s all part of our “homeschooling” lifestyle, which they (and we) are thriving on. (An updated post about that is past due, a LOT has changed since we started homeschooling last year! I’ll be posting about it soon!)