Category Archives: Chickens & Rooster

many hens, few eggs and a loud rooster that has his days 7 nights mixed up

Snow? What snow?

For the last 24 hours all we’ve heard on the news is about this powerful snow storm heading our way with up to 24″ of snow and high winds over night!  What do I see outside this morning when I got up?  5 foot snowdrifts? NO!  Wind swept pastures with sheets of blowing snow giving us white out visibility?  NO!  It is sunshine galore out there!  Not a cloud in the sky!  We spent hours yesterday getting the animals ready for riding the storm out. We shut them in the barn, gave extra grain, plugged holes that we discovered from the last storm, spreading more straw. I gave them all a lecture about being nice to each other while cooped up in a tight spot and few a warnings along with finger pointing (Sparky) for a more dramatic effect if anybody nips at the other! I have trapped animals who I’m sure are very unhappy by this time of day and I’m the one who will be opening up the barn door! That means I have to slowly, carefully slide it open as I stand sideways so I don’t get trampled as they gallop for freedom! As soon as they gulp in the crisp fresh air, shaking off the barn dust they will realize that I’m in the barn and they’re not!  That means they all run BACK into the barn to pounce upon the food that I was trying to sneak out before they realized it! IF I’m lucky, I will be in the back pen with the girl llamas and Stormy feeding them before the troops raid the barracks! sheesh!!

The 4 Horsemen (chickens)

 On a warm summer weekend we had a garage sale. We would advertise all over town that Addie Acres was having another sale, encouraging folks that they are welcome to bring their youngsters to the farm to see the llamas and pet the fat little goat who likes to hug. It seems like every time we opened the doors, we would get people showing up to offer us FREE animals. This time it was free… chickens. This young couple were down on their luck, moving in with her parents but mom didn’t want noisy chickens to reside in her backyard.  They were hoping that we would adopt their pets. They sweetened the deal by not only giving us these chicks, they were also throwing in a nice big cage, food dishes and corn grain! All that FREE stuff! I said, yes before Chad could blink an eye! These chickens were still young, mostly fluff and you couldn’t tell what they were yet.  Unfortunately 5 out of the 8 chicks were Bantam’s.  They are small chickens with big attitudes… little man syndrome. Of course 4 of those little terrors turned out to be roosters. They hung out together, attacked together and bossed every animal in the barn even at the risk of being stomped. We nicked named them the 4 Horsemen.  Bantams are very pretty, they have long tail feathers’ with many different colors. These 4 guys traveled together…the gang. They didn’t like to sleep, eat or hang with the flock. We would watch them strut around the yard, chasing bunnies or sleeping under a bush.  The Horsemen also didn’t care that much for humans and after giving Lucifer the axe a few months before, we weren’t up to letting roosters chase us in our own backyard again!  Especially annoying little birds that were no bigger than our Chihuahua. We let them know early on that we the people, control the food and showed them where we kept the axe.  The gang kept to themselves that first year and although they were a pain by pecking at our ankles we let them stay just so we could watch their antics with the other animals. The Horseman loved the cats and were not afraid of them.  The kitties on the other hand despised those irritating birds. Those ankle tall roosters would chase the cats, pecking at their behinds or stealing their kibbles. The kitties sat high up on the hay bales to keep distance between them. Once in awhile you could hear the battle between the Horsemen and a couple of  cats….loud squawks and high pitched meows.  They also annoyed the goats. The gang was always sneaking into Dillon and Sierra’s pen, hanging out pecking at the goat grain. Once they were in, the goats were not allowed back inside with out a fight. We would chase the pest out so the goats could go to bed. The Llamas didn’t care for the gang and left them alone.  Our dogs however loved them!  If a pooch got out, he went straight for one of the Bantams! Cody our golden retriever enjoyed a good chase and these roosters were perfect exercise. Those chickens would split up running in circles or ducking under a barrel.  Cody was in heaven! He went from one to the other, mouth open wide, tongue hanging, a  few feathers stuck in his teeth.  As much as I wouldn’t have cared, I never let him grab a Horsemen. But I did allow Cody to put the fear of dog in them! If they were acting up, I opened the door and let a dog or two out to put them back in their place. After a couple of years the gang started to get mean,  following in Lucifer’s footsteps. They started to attack the children who stopped by to pet the animals so they ended up in the freezer.  I couldn’t bring myself to eat them. Chad cooked them up one night and served them at a family gathering. I heard they were tough and not very tasty which didn’t surprise me at all. I enjoyed them for a short period and can honestly say, I will never allow Bantam chickens to rule the farm again, unless MAYBE they’re free!

Billy the Goat!!

I need to write about our first goat…Billy. Yes that was his real name. Chad and I were just getting started in the ‘farm business’ when a man with 2 kids tagging along behind him, came to our garage sale at our new home. He asked if he could take his children over to pet the horses and see the llamas up close. Of course we said yes, after all, that is why we felt led to get some large animals,to share our place with folks who had young’uns. After a few minutes of friendly chit chat, he mentioned that they purchased a young goat from the Amish almost 6 months ago and Billy was getting too big for their back yard. He asked us if would like to have him…for free! Well of course we said yes! Never turn down a free animal when your starting up a farm!   Since we were new at this large animal stuff, it didn’t click inside our heads that there is always a good reason why people want to give away a perfectly good goat (remember the Dorito commercial??). That should have been Red Flag number one! We agreed to meet ‘Billy’ the next day to see if he would fit in with our family. We met Billy in the back yard of a modest house where they kept a few chickens and a very large black lab. Red Flag number 2 was about to show itself!  Billy came running straight for us as fast as his little goat legs would trot, only stopping when his horns were firmly planted on Chad’s behind! We nervously laughed as Billy’s mom commented over and over how cute it is that he likes to ‘play’…allot….non stop…continually. Flag number 3 came when the kids automatically hid behind both parent’s as Billy tried to play with everyone within sight!   
We took him home, in the back of our van.  
Billy was an adorable looking goat with big horns and a non-stop ‘lets play’ attitude. His playfulness consisted of butting everything that breathed….the horses, which kicked their hind legs at him…the llamas that ran away which made him very happy since that meant chase, and anything on two legs! If you moved, he butted…if you stood still…he butted. If you came outside…he butted. He wasn’t mean, just a typical boy goat! After a couple of months of the butting game, Billy started to get gruff! He was beginning to smell like a mature goat! Male goats STINK if they aren’t fixed! Billy needed an ‘operation’. We were hoping that after his ‘castration’ he would settle down. Hope is a funny word when it comes to goats. Our wishful hope did not come true. Billy just wanted to play! Soooooo, we learned to run faster than him in a zigzagging line , we even made escape plans before we ventured inside his pen!  Chad and I tried to feed him together as one of us distracted him so the other could sneak in, filling up his food dish and water bucket, trying to be quiet as barn mice. If he heard you, he got into play position, head bent low, horns glowing with determination to butt! We tried with Billy, we really tried. We changed how we did farm chores, we gave him balls to play with and learned how to be sneaky. After a LONG frustrating year, we gave him away…free to some folks who I’m sure had Red Flags swaying in the back of their minds as we commented over and over how cute it is that he likes to play!  
Then we got our next FREE goat…Jasper, ‘butt’ that’s another story!

Starting The Farm

When Chad and I started our little farm almost 5 years ago, we were as green as green gets! Chad did have a few years growing up on a farm when he was a boy. My dad was born and raised on 48 acres raising dairy cows in Kansas. Every summer my folks would pack up us kids and we would spend 14 fun filled hours in a car driving to KS to visit relatives and get some farm experience! Well, even thou my father hated farm life, it must have rubbed off on me because as long as I can remember, I’ve dreamed of having horses and other critters! Unfortunately, life does a detour forcing your dreams to take a back seat until the time is right. My time came when the Lord opened a door for us to live on a llama farm that was already well established in Laporte. Our first 2 Llamas were given to us by dear friends, I had our horses, Laci & Sparky on ‘lay-away’ until I could pay them off (yes you really can put a horse on lay-away!). Chad and I started this adventure together even thou some family members objected. We both felt like it was God’s will for us to start our own little farm, making it a blessing for young family’s with little ones. Our herd has grown from 2 llamas and 2 horses up to 4 llamas, 1 alpaca, a donkey, 2 goats, our original horses, various chickens, 3 quackers and too many barn kitties, not to mention the escaped bunnies who are now helping the wild rabbit population go from basic brown to funny spots and droopy ears! We talk quite a bit about how different things could have been for us when the kids were growing up if we had the farm 14 years ago with all of Gods creatures, big and small a few feet away. I am so blessed to be here and I try not to take what God has given us for granted. I’m looking forward to sharing all this with many grandchildren. We hope to be the fun grandparent’s that are considered cool and have the ‘must-go-to’ place in the eyes of a child! A home where the next generation will always be safe, happy and drama free! We both desire that the days with Baba and G-pa, imprint sweet memories in the hearts of all our grandkids for years to come!

The One Eyed Bunny

We  have a brown bunny who has one eye and he lives in the barn with the other animals.  He lived with us on our other farm and is around 3 years old. He is very friendly, not afraid of humans or the big animals that daily step around him or back away from the ‘one eye’!  He hops to us when we enter the barn and he will sit on top of a hay bale not moving if you walk up to him.  We let him live in the barn free, enjoying bunny life. Today ‘one eye’ as he is  named, was eating a carrot that I brought to him in the middle of the barn where we trapped the unhappy ducks. One eye was so excited about his treat that he chased loose chickens away from it (who also like carrots, of course they like everything that isn’t theirs!) and let the ducks waddle over him multiple times which didn’t faze him at all, he just sat there nibbling away. So today I had a one eyed bunny kicking his back legs at chickens to protect his carrot as the 3 ducks jumped over and on top of him reaching for their own food.  The quackers  were also pecking hens away from their corn bites! Poor chickens, they had to eat their own food today, the kitties, ducks and bunny refused to share!!

Talking Goats

Okay…this was weird.  I went out to feed everybody (their favorite past time) and the goats were in the far corner away from all the other animals, not unusual since they don’t like anyone else and keep to themselves. I noticed they were facing each other, almost nose to nose making soft grunting and baaaing sounds back and forth…like they were ‘talking’ to each other. They were so deep in ‘conversation’ that I didn’t want to break-up their special moment.  So I stood there watching with a smile on my face silently kicking myself for once more forgetting to bring the camera out with me. I didn’t get to awwwww every long, Dunkay butted me from behind and the mini tank made sure I saw her, all of her. Apparently the other animals don’t think it’s as cute, they want to eat…..now.

Ahhhhh yes, the sounds of the New Year on the farm! My rooster who started a good 20-30 minutes early was right on cue at the stroke of midnight! He let it out his celebration crow loud and strong, following within seconds, were the neighbors across the street with their left over 4th of July fireworks!  My dogs jumped up and started barking at all the outside party sounds as the famous lighted ball dropped in front of a million people dancing in the streets of New York City blasting from the TV. I’m shocked the goats weren’t staring at the house bleating out the ‘BAAAAAA feed me’ song they’ve been perfecting for months!

With all the rain and the ground still frozen we have about 10 little lakes, ponds and puddles all over the yard and pastures! That makes for HAPPY ducks!  They are happily going from puddle to lake and back.  They are so full of ‘quaking joy’ that they are waddling from one to the other as fast as their little webbed feet will go!

Before I go to bed, I shall share a Dunkay story. 

I collected all the brown eggs and remembered that my little red basket was in the house so I put them in a bread bag.  I carefully placed in each one so they wouldn’t break and gently laid them on the ground next to the gate. I went to the back of the barn to feed the Llamas when I heard this commotion behind me.  I automatically roll my eyes and start to form the word NO on my lips. I turned around and there was Dunkay with his head squeezed through the lower bars of the gate, my Wonder bread bag in his mouth. I saw myself in slow motion running to the gate, reaching for the bag of eggs, my hand opened wide and the favorite barn word being slowly yelled, “NOOOOOOOOOO”!. Dunkay looked at me, swung his head to the right, the bag of fragile eggs flying through the air just missing my out stretched hand and flying body!  It hit the metal top bar with a dishearten CRUCNH sound. The eggs and I landed at the same time next to the gate. Dunkay now on the other side, was looking at me with his ears back wearing a “did I do that??’ expression! Yep, 6 good eggs now scrambled without a frying pan!