So the "big girls" (those hatched at the end of January) are now laying, and we have Easter Eggers, Green Queens, Silver Laced Wyandottes, and Welsummers in that group (see our cool assortment of egg colors?). Of that first batch of chicks, we had a few die, and three turned out to be roosters (one Welsummer, Henrietta- who you will recognize as the Corn Flakes rooster, and two Easter Eggers, Owl and Roo-bot).
Before we realized their testosterone levels, we decided we wanted to have roos, so they could protect the flock and not pay for more chickens moving forward. So we obtained two gentle roos (Black Copper Marans that we named Saddleback and Drake) for the flock and put them out when we added the "little girls" (all Buckeyes and Buff Orpingtons) to the coop. We built a partition between two sides of the coop so they could get used to one another slowly before interacting. It was a good idea to give them a bit of separation- the big girls were indignant! The roosters in our original 45 started crowing immediately. It was hilarious. They are all now integrated and sharing space, which includes not only the Chicken Palace, but an indoor run attached and pasture in electrified netting when the weather permits. The five roosters are all OK with one another, there is no fighting really. Sometimes posturing and crowing contests, but that's as far as it goes. The hens are squabbling for pecking order less with so many roos present. And that's a good thing. Chickens are terrible velociraptors and can be super mean and violent. Having a roo around establishes an obvious pecking order, which they need, I guess. Chickens are NOT anarchists.
The weather has been so strange and unpredictable here and all over the world (115F in Portland? Floods, hurricanes, wildfires, droughts, and unseasonably hot or wet weather. We barely have time to mow or weed before several days of storms or rain come in, and then it's a horrible job to get done! The grass here is relentless and is the worst weed in my garden. I cannot wait to get geese next spring and have them help us mow and weed.
That's right! We will be building a goose house this fall in anticipation of goslings! We plan on three. We think we have a big enough lawn and garden to keep them fed easily. Plus, I wanna try goose eggs!
We'll also be building cold frames for extending greens through the winter, starting to gather equipment for mushroom logs, and planting more annual beds. We also have re-organized our space and carved out a tool area, a potting shed, and will have a great space for cold storage of our squashes, pumpkins, onions, and garlic. We are setting up more drying space for medicinal herbs this fall, and obtaining pressure canners and large batch water bath canners, too.
All in all, things are chugging along here on the farm. One day, when the pandemic is over and done, we'll host gatherings and classes again.