Poultry extra

Okay I swear this will be the last poultry post for a while on this (ahem) gardening blog, but it was a big weekend around here last weekend.

Six appears to be the magic number.

IMG_1621She’s not exactly doing the Hovercraft thing, but her tail is quite fluffed out.  She was giving me the warning crackle the whole time I visited.

Here’s Chicken Patty with her six foster chicks.  She’s doing very well with them, though admittedly she was getting kind of bored in the dog kennel I had set up for her in my gardening shed.  So, I moved her and the babies out to the Chicken Tractor, which is (conveniently) set over the goose/turkey nesting box.  Considering the geese and turkeys have other sleeping arrangements, this works quite well for Patty and her little brood.  The babies are five slow-growing Cornish like their adopted mama and one little red broiler.


And Yoli, our goose, hatched six goslings this weekend, of the 9 eggs she was sitting.  Isn’t she just the prettiest bird?  Look at that refined, beautiful head of hers.


Here’s the back end.  Can you count three little legs?  Must be warm in there…

21 responses to “Poultry extra

  1. Poultry and gardening go hand in hand if you ask me. Your birds, especially the babies, are adorable. I love your poultry posts!

  2. Gardening without chickens! Not adviseable. You at least really need their manure. Plus, if you place your compost pile outside the garden, chickens will scratch out the weed seeds, add their own droppings while visiting, and eat any bugs that may be flourishing within. They also help keep it turned, at least a little bit.

    So, don’t hold back on the poultry news!

  3. No chickens, ducks or geese?? Not such great gardening!! If I could I would, but right now can’t!

  4. Love it. Beautiful photos. Wish we could do this too.

  5. Beautiful pics El. Congrats on the new additions. Personally, I never tire of seeing the poultry! 🙂

  6. I agree about the gardening/chicken thing–I just have a few backyard birds but they taught me so much about making my garden part of a bigger cycle. Changed my thinking about food in general too 🙂

  7. Oh, those baby chicks are so adorable.

  8. You goose is just beautiful! I agree with you so much. Having birds and gardens and cows and dogs and cats and kids are what it is all about.


  9. They really are cute. Good idea on the new sleeping arrangements, I bet they will all be happy.

  10. Except for the dinner info, your poultry posts are my favorite; I love seeing the babies. And the photo of the goslings tucked in with Yoli are spectacular.

  11. photos. Compulsive, I can’t help but correct it. It’s a lot of work to be crazy.

  12. oh how i want geese! dh says no. i love mama hens.

  13. These pictures are adorable. I hope to get some chickens this summer, please don’t stop posting about them, especially since your pictures of them are so lovely.

  14. Quite a few proud mamas on your farm, one of whom wears shoes.

  15. Yoli is gorgeous! I love the poultry pics, and envy all the room you have to keep these sweet birds. Nice work!

  16. So cute. . . love them when they’re little.

  17. Mike, I don’t know about your chickens, but mine can be food snobs who don’t necessarily love garden greens. The geese, however, are always game: I can give them anything green and it gets eaten down to the tough nibs. Of course this means my compost suffers. Ah well.

    Petunia, inadvertently or intentionally I agree that chickens make great compost turners! That’s Stop #2 after getting into the fenced-in garden space after stopping at the topsoil heap for a bit of a dustbath. The compost is just like nirvana for them (yuck).

    JZR, well, maybe one day you can have a chookie or three. They’re quite fun.

    Green Bean, put it in the “one day” category! Chickens really make your yard a special place.

    Angie, what’s up with that duck? Is she still sitting? Goslings are cute but ducklings….!!

    Sara, how great for you that the chickens expanded your thinking and your garden plans. And feeding them definitely makes you think about what you feed yourself, doesn’t it? I mean, we eat those eggs, and in my instance I eat the whole bird (just not the egg-birds of course). So it’s important to consider what they’re eating, and that of course leads you to think about where any food comes from…isn’t it funny that these humble little birds do so much? That’s not their ambition. A full pot of pasta is their ambition.

    Kristi, they are, aren’t they? And so much less pressure on me!

    Linda, yes indeed. And all of those things lead us to live a life spent outdoors, also a good thing!

    MC, yeah, bedding spots are musical chairs around here. It’s their doing not mine. But it keeps me on my toes!

    Pamela, hah! I am married to a crazy person so I know, oh so well, of which you speak. Me, I am much more laissez-faire because if I wasn’t there’d be lots of trouble. But yeah I think of you each and every time I mention dinner in re: the feathered friends around here.

    Tabitha, well, maybe one day! The boys can be kind of aggressive but they are really cheap to keep because they eat grass for more than half the year. Pretty lawnmowers!

    WMM, hah! Okay. I of course will keep posting about them because they’re great source material for blog posts and they can be so damned funny. Like those bantams: I am thinking 5 out of 5 are boys so I might just have to do a chicken trade with someone but in the interim, they’re quite hilarious to watch.

    Boots, CC; usually poop-encrusted boots. (Sigh. Long gone are the days of my full-closet-of-shoes.)

    Amanda, I can see you figuring out how to do bigger poultry! But yeah it would be a waste to not use all this land for something…

    Stef I love them when they’re big too. Though maybe not a month-old chick; they can be quite ungainly, especially 50 of them….

  18. El, I have my first chickens. We live in a rural area and our property has riparian, forested and field habitats so we have lots of critters. When you free range, do you just accept some degree of predation? I want to just let my 1 month babies out but hawks, fox, raccoon, weasel, etc etc etc. What do you think? I hover at your web site and trust you completely! Jen

    • Hi Jen! Congrats on those chickies! You will be in for lots of fun. But yeah, there’s only so much free-ranging my birds really do: I have had 3 losses over my 3 years of chicken stewardship by 2 hawks and a dog, and then just this week one gosling was somehow spirited away (sniff). Our daytime predators really are just hawks and the occasional straying dog as coyotes are shy and weasels (not that I have seen any but I am sure they’re here) and possums and raccoons are nighttime creatures. So full-time free-ranging here is limited to the turkeys and (sometimes) the geese: they don’t scare easily and in a pinch they can fly.

      This is what I do. All the chickens are in the pen all day and then I let them out for “happy hour,” around 5 or so, and they wander back in to their pen about an hour before sundown. The older chickens teach the younger ones the routine. But honestly having birds run around only for an hour or so is one of the reasons I am not much of a flower gardener any longer: they do love to dig in gardens, sigh!

      With month-old birds, I would just open the gate and watch them. They may not go far. And at that age they might be a little too dumb to figure out where to get back in again; they’ll need some herding. But their safety is your utmost responsibility; death by a hawk is a particularly painful way to go as these critters have sharp claws and simply take chunks out of your bird with its beak, not fun. So yeah, I guess I would set myself up for a loss, but truly don’t ever let them out when you’re not around and just really watch them. Train them with treats from the kitchen and you can get them to run back to you from wherever they are, too. My stupid call of Chihh-kiiiinnn gets them running and it’s quite funny to see…

  19. Hoping to “grow our own” babies next year – we’ve had two broody chickens (out of eight) this spring, which gives me hope that they’ll be willing to sit again next spring. Two of the seven female geese sat, regardless of eggs, so am hoping they’ll do the incubating thing next year as well.

  20. Suzanne & Debbie

    Oh, we are so excited about your wonderful NEWS & PICTURES. Believe it or not, this is the first time we’ve looked. Can’t wait to get G’dad upstairs to see this. I know he’ll go bonkers. Wonderful website.

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