welcome, and thank you for joining me on my farm and studio in southern lancaster county, pennsylvania

Monday, July 19, 2010

busy day last week

First, I took myself off to the Kirkwood hay auction and bought a load of grass/alfalfa mix hay. I would have preferred straight grass, but the sheep have eaten the pasture down to a nub and so I took what I could get. Very nice stuff, but the problem with the added alfalfa is that it's more expensive and it has stems. My sheep don't eat stems, you see, so there's a lot of waste. Once they have selected all the soft and tender bits, all that's left in the manger are stems. Then they scream at me to bring them more of the good stuff and of course I comply. Have you ever been in a barn full of angry screaming sheep glaring balefully at you? (Try it sometime and get back to me.) Heading home from the auction I was followed by the very nice gentleman whose load of hay I bought. He then backed his truck up to the barn and threw the bales in to me while I stacked them six high. Over 3,000 pounds of hay, 82 bales, 90 degree heat and high humidity, with hungry sheep screaming for lunch and three cages of roosters and a hen voicing their displeasure. I never thought I'd make it.

happy, hungry sheep

I came in the house covered with sweat and hay chaff and immediately got in the shower. Then loaded up the three cages of roosters in my Bug and headed off to Roots small animal auction, feeling like a traitor the whole way. You see, I've had two of those roosters for several years and we've always gotten along quite well. They didn't have a mean bone in their bodies and always took good care of their hens. But, they wouldn't stay out of the greenhouse and market garden. They've eaten tomatoes and scratched up seedlings. Instead of roosting in their own pen, they chose the rafters of the barn, defecating on anything below. And they refused to stay out of the dog's yard. So although it hurt my heart to do it, I took them to be sold. Tough decision and I'd like to say the right one, but I'm still not clear on that. Things are certainly more peaceful here without the constant (and I do mean constant) crowing of four roosters, each trying to assert their aural dominance. What's left are only the silkies that came as peeps this spring. They can't fly over fences and barn stall barriers, or up into the rafters, making it much easier to keep them contained. There are 25 of them, several are roosters, a few of which will make that same car ride to the auction. What I hope to end up with by autumn is a nice-sized flock of silky hens with two roosters. A flock that stays in the pasture and their designated pen in the barn.

young silky chickens (please ignore the fact that my barn needs to be painted)


Teri said...

Wish I were closer - I could use a roo or two. Lost both of mine over the winter. Your silkies are adorable. :)

Tracie said...

Poor old roosters. I understand how you feel.

To answer your question about the worm farm, yep, I will be taking up vermiculture very soon. : ) Didn't get my fiber rabbits (yet) though.