Chicken Catch-Up

This week it’s the poultry’s turn in the spotlight.

Earl

Who’s the Homestead chicken’s Daddy? Earl, that’s who!

Once upon a not so long ago, we believed chickens were pretty much the same the world over. Now, with two winters of life on this Homestead under our belt (where did that time go?!), we know differently.  While our little seaside flock was quite content to continually supply us with eggs enough for our needs – with a few extras -whatever the season

chickens UnionSt

60 kilometres down the road and 200 metres above sea level, it’s a completely different story.

chickens oct19

We now know that there will be a couple of weeks each winter where we receive no eggs whatsoever and, for a month or so either side of that fortnight, quiche will definitely be off the menu. Having said that, once the days heat up a little, the chicken coop needs to be visited several times a day to clear out the poultry largesse. Whatever the reason, it’s just another example of how much more seasonal life is here, down on the farm.

While there’s been a smattering of births and deaths in the coop, the core of our flock remains the same. There’s our coop matriach, Delia, airhead Kiki, and bootscooting Jolene but a quick glance at coop colourway will indicate we have definite plans. Slowly but surely, our flock is becoming more trademark Sussex, a dual-purpose breed we have identified as suiting the Homestead’s needs best. Our Light Sussex ladies, all called Sylvia, have recently been joined by three Speckled Sussex girls. We’re getting pretty good at the whole poultry auction deal now (even if we do say so ourselves) and were rather proud to have identified the three bedraggled, tatty looking birds, now known collectively as Raylene, as just needing a little Homestead TLC and coming home with a bargain basement deal.

Raylenes oct19

Two weeks on, the Raylene’s are looking like new birds

We also came home with a boyfriend for Farm Girl’s chicken, Gertrude. Another poultry auction bargain, Peter now rules the smaller bird’s roost and, with third- wheeling Kiki,  Gertrude is much has perked up enough to settle happily into her job of Homestead egg incubator.  Hopefully we’ll be seeing the result of this soon.

Small birds oct19

Kiki happily plays gooseberry, placing herself firmly between  Gertrude and her man

But the Flock Character Award has to go to Leonardo.

Leonardo oct19

Destined for the Homestead freezer, Leonardo managed the unimaginable for a second maincoop rooster: a name. Not his father’s favourite, Leonardo’s early life was spent keeping a good distance between him and Earl’s spurs. That is, right up until he discovered that, even with his wings clipped, he could clear the coop’s fence; Not that he’d receive any style points. Suddenly, we were being greeted at the yard gate each morning by a naively enthusiastic rooster who didn’t seem to understand that he was next cab off the rank for The Bean Counter and his trusty axe.  As the days passed, we all began to tire of the Benny Hill chase required to get him back in with the flock and he came to the conclusion the chicken life really wasn’t for him, anyway. The day we discovered him jostling for space at the feed trough, chowing down on sheepnuts with Sapphire and crew, was the day he earned his reprieve – and his name.

Every farmyard needs a freerange rooster. Loony Tunes has Foghorn Leghorn

Foghorn_Leghorn

and, as long as he doesn’t start eyeing up the vegetable garden fence, Leonardo is ours.

11 thoughts on “Chicken Catch-Up

  1. Such a lovely catch up on your chickens. I’m glad to hear that a couple of the original ladies are still reigning. That’s fascinating that you’re getting such a difference with egg production on the farm vs down on the coast. Three roosters seems like a lot, but I can quite see why Leonardo earned his reprieve, and really, he’s clearly not really “in” the flock anyway…except that he probably wakes up you in the wee sma’s as much as the other two. I also love your naming system :). All of my hens are always called Henny Penny, regardless of breed. Like you, I often seem to end up naming the roosters – I guess because they stand out from the crowd. As far as I know, we don’t have poultry auctions here – that would be a very dangerous thing for me to attend. I was just watching Escape to the Chateau the other day (found it online, it started in 2015 I think), and Dick and Angel get their chickens at the local street market in a nearby town – they paid a whopping amount too mind you. My own flock (now finishing out their 3rd laying year by grudgingly squeezing out an egg once or twice a week, less so as we are heading into winter, and they of course have decide to molt as well – sorry for the run on here) is down to 11 ladies and one gent. My chicken shed is on it’s last legs, so no more chickens until we can get it repaired and better at keeping out the weather and other minor details (rats). Locally the the place to get new point of lays is a poultry swap – I’ve never been, but see them advertised all the time. In the past I always raised them from chicks, but the swap sounds much more fun and apparently is more like a market than a swap -since clearly I have nothing to trade. Also, the Benny Hill reference definitely resonates – I have felt just like that far too many times – thankfully without garnering broken ribs.

  2. Chicken auctions are fun…and made just that little bit more exciting having watched Pecking Order. ALL the stars are there 😊
    We’re currently at 3 littlies, 14 big and Leonardo-thats really 3 too many for us.
    As for the wake up calls: Earl likes to tell us all when it reaches 3am. I dont mind it 😊

  3. Thank you for the chicken update and the lovely photos; Earl is a beauty!
    One of Mum and Dad’s roosters was a very caring Dad and used to shelter his babies under his wings. This gave a visiting electrician the heebie-jeebies when he saw the rooster standing on the back-doorstep with multiple legs.

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