Monday, August 31, 2009

MUTINY In The Bluff Country...

It seems that some of my sheep are feeling a bit neglected. When I went out to sit with them this past weekend I was mobbed!

Even DREAM had to shove Prima Dona and Dazzle away to get in for some lovin'

"Well, if you'd tear yourself away from those silly chickens and get your butt out here more often, maybe everyone wouldn't be so starved for attention!"

Even Dazzle was complaining about being lonely!

Zaria was grumbling about the weeds growing in the pasture...

"The girls and I were talking about taking up a collection and buying Mom a new Sythe! She must have LOST the one she had. It's probably buried in all those shavings in the CHICKEN pen!.."

Even the BOYS got in on the revolt!

"HI, Mom!"

I do NOT want my breeding group (if ANY) put together until NOVEMBER.
LATE November!!

Fortunately, Nick helped me fix the fence where Hunter made his 'great escape'. I think I'll put an unused paddock between the ewes and rams from now on...

DREAM says...

"OR, you could just pay more attention to us girls! I keep telling you ~ we get LONELY!!..."

You're right, Dreamer. I need to make you ladies a priority again!
I'll try. But right now, I've got to look up some information on Cochin chickens on the Internet....

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Three Princes...

My three handsome, charming Grandsons came to visit yesterday. They are the greatest helpers any Grandma could ever ask for!

Josh, the oldest, at 11, mowed the entire nursery pasture and paddock on the riding mower ~ after only a very brief lesson in which I showed him how, if you pull back while trying to maneuver, the steering wheel comes off! ~ his very first time, EVER, driving a riding mower! He was incredible.

Master of the push mower, Matt, the 'middle child' at 8?9?, did my entire back yard ~ ALL BY HIMSELF!! Totally awesome!! Then he wanted to do the ram's paddock for me but found the long, thick grass in there really tough with a push mower.

Nick ~ the youngest at 6, wanted to give it a try...

Big brother, Josh, finally came to the rescue and finished the ram paddock and then went on to do my FRONT YARD! This kid was like a mowing MACHINE!!!

After the mowing (and fence mending ~ THANK YOU NICK! ~ and plant watering ~ thanks Matt!) was done, we had an ice-cold Root Beer break and then the boys wanted to "go throw rocks in the river". This has been a favorite sport when visiting Grandma's since Josh was 2 years old...

Of course, on the way to the river (actually, a creek across the road from my place) the boys have to practice aiming at a road sign.

If you look closely (click to biggify) you can see the rock, flying through the air!

And the SPLASH as it hits the water below!

As sunny and beautiful as the day may look, if we looked over our shoulders, towards the other side of the bridge, THIS is what we saw:

STORM CLOUDS were building in a HURRY!

We RAN back to my house, just in time!

I've got pictures to show of the boys with their chickens and stories to tell about NAUGHTY sheep but this is already too long so I'll save them for the next time.

Thank you Josh and Matt and Nick for ALL the hard work you did yesterday! You really were such great helpers for Grandma and saved me SO much work!! And Thanks to Pam & Karl (the boys' Mom & Dad) for the wonderful meal of cheeseburgers on the grill that you brought and prepared when you came to pick up the boys!I love you all and hope that you know how much joy you bring to my world!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Black and BLUE...

Ameraucanas, that is!

Meet "Storm" (rooster) and "Sky" (hen).
Breed History:
The Ameraucana was developed in the 70s by a few people who were trying to standardize the Araucana breed. The Ameraucana is easier to breed as there are no complications due to lethal genes. A very detailed history of the Ameraucana can be read at the Ameraucana Breeders Club website. Besides the above color requirements the following are some of the traits Ameraucanas should posess: {eyes - bay (reddish brown)} {shanks & feet - slate (blue grey) black accepted on black birds, bottoms of feet white} {ear lobes - red, pale on females (no white)} {comb - pea} {wattles - very small, absent} {skin - white} {toes - four} {muffs & beard - forming three seperate lobes, absence is a DQ} {egg color - blue, minty green} {cock weight - 6.5 lbs/cockerel - 5.5 lbs} {hen weight - 5.5 lbs/pullet - 4.5 lbs} {full breast, medium back, and tail carried at 45 degrees above horizontal} {the bird must breed true to color}

So, I went to the Country Fair, looking for Cochins. But this beautiful pair of Blue Ameraucanas caught my eye!

Not that they noticed ME! Storm was quite busy challenging the roosters (of ANY breed!) in cages near him. What a feisty little bird he is!

But Storm and Sky are wild, crazy, hysterical birds! quite timid. Fortunately, I brought home another Ameraucana: a lovely black girl who carries Blue:
I named her "Scarlet"

She is VERY sweet!

Please indulge me while I show off a bunch of photos I took of this little gem...

DREAM says...

"I think I'm going to be sick!
Hey, CrazySheepLady ~ Can I come live with YOU???

Now, Dreamer! I still love you. I'm going to get off the computer, RIGHT NOW, and come out and sit with you and your friends...

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Breed History:
(from McMurray Hatchery)
Soldiers returning from China brought the first Cochin bantams to England in the 1860’s. They were known as “Pekin” bantams then and are still referred to as “Pekins” in many parts of Europe. Cochins are heavily feathered down the shanks and toes and appear to be much larger than they actually are. They are very gentle, excellent setters, require little space, and with their many color varieties are absolutely beautiful to look at. Cochins are the most popular of the feather legged bantams and one of our best setters. The coal black plumage with the greenish sheen really sets these birds apart from the others. A bright red comb and wattle makes a beautiful contrast with the black feathers. A variety that has been shown for over 120 years in this country.

Black Cochin Bantams are very gentle, are excellent sitters and lay lots of eggs. They have great mothering skills and are often used as “foster moms” for other breeds of poultry.

So I bought my rooster, "SHINE" and two black hens (I haven't thought of names for them yet. ~ any suggestions???) from a poultry breeder who has been breeding and showing chickens for over 50 years!

I love this picture of Shine with one of his hens peaking out from behind him. The hens definitely count on their rooster to protect them and keep them safe!

Mine are "banty" (smaller) Cochins and I already love them! They are so CALM ! They don't freak out every time I go near their pen. They don't appear to be good flyers so I am able to keep them in a pen (indoors) that only has 4 foot high panels! As opposed to the Ameraucanas, for which I had to fence all the way up to the ceiling and also fence off the ceiling so they can't fly up into the rafters!

As I look through these photos it's hard for me to believe that I took them all! On the same day ~ in the same barn. Granted, the first 3 were taken in the ram's stall with natural light (I'm not sure why that gives the pictures a bluish tint, but it does), and the latter ones I took in the newly finished 'Cochin pen' with a flash. It's amazing the difference the surrounding colors have on the appearance of the total photograph!

I've made up separate pens for the Cochins and the new Ameraucanas. I figure since I paid for pure-bred stock, I may as well try breeding for a couple batches of pure-bred chicks! I left the door open from the Cochin's pen to the backyard for a while today but they never even ventured out! Someday, I'd like to have a REAL chicken barn with separate runs for my various breeds...

SHINE says...

..."Oh yeah, she's got it bad..."

Empty Nest Syndrome???

"I'm thinking it's entirely possible that Mom has LOST IT. Seriously. She's gone off the deep end. Not only is she completely NEGLECTING us sheep, she's gone out and bought a bunch more CHICKENS!!

Now, I'm not mentioning any names, but SOME of the girls are starting to act out! They're getting into stuff that they aught not to be getting into...

Mom was going to post a bunch of pictures of her new chickens but I put one of my feet down and said *THIS IS A BLOG ABOUT SHEEP! DO YOU SEE THE TITLE? A SHEPHERD'S VOICE ~ NOT

I hate to be so rough, but sometimes a girl's just gotta lay down the law!"

Thank you, Dreamer.


(sorry, Dreamer!)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Adventures of the Back Yard Chickens...

Every morning I let the chickens out of their coop and into the back yard.
The Roosters:

and "LUCA"

check things out to make sure everything is safe.

The boys do a little "Dance" to scare away any would be predators/hen theives...

And then the girls get to go exploring!

They check the flowers planted along the 'chicken barn' for bugs.

Sometimes they get a little over-entusiastic!

But they're so darn CUTE!!

I LOVE having chickens in the back yard...

Doesn't EVERYBODY???

When they're all done exploring, I toss the chickens some bread crumbs and when they're done with their treat,

BELLA gets to clean up after them!
*Bread Crumbs, that is!!


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