A Walk Around the Fall Homestead Part 1: The Animals

I love the homestead in the fall.  There are so many different things going on at once, the weather is cool and fresh, and everything looks beautiful.  I decided to take you on a walk around the homestead via pictures to catch you up on everything going on around Willow Creek Farm.  But once I finished I realized it was way too much for one post.  So I am breaking it up into a few posts and will walk with you around the farm for the next few days.

The barnyard is always a nice calm place to hang out, so lets sit here for a minute and watch the chickens scratching and pecking while the sheep enjoy their breakfast.

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If you look over towards the Mama Hen Pen you will see Banana pacing back and forth in front of the door.

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Earlier today, both she and Eve, our other broody mama hen, were living in the barn with their chicks.

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But the chicks are 6 weeks old now, so it is time for the mamas to re-join the flock and the chicks to stay inside on their own.  So Banana will pace the door for a few hours and then go back to regular flock life in the barnyard.

Their chicks are looking good.  Very lanky and teen-age staged, but nice colors are coming out in that hatch.

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Speaking of nice colors, look over there at the pullets from the April hatch.  There are several awesome colors in that group.  See the blue splash colored one with floofy cheeks…she is my favorite, we named her Clover.

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All the chicks from this year will be given herb names.  There is Tansy, the white one with red markings, and right behind her is Marshmallow (named for the root, not the candy).

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And over there is my husband’s favorite, he named her Yarrow.  Her feathers are so unique.

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We can walk over and look at her even closer to see the detail on the feathers.

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It has been a good year for the chicken breeding program.  We are really happy with how the young ones are turning out.  Not just their beautiful colors of course, but all the other things we are selectively breeding for.  Bird size is increasing, comb size is decreasing, and internal conformation is improving.  Floofy legs are coming out strongly, even though that is not something we are specifically selecting for.  The cockerels are nicer (although there is always one or two in each bunch that is nasty.  The roosters we keep are good at finding food for the flock, protecting them, and yet are gentle with humans.  We are excited about the progress that has already been made through our selective breeding.  In a few more years we will hopefully have just the perfect high-altitude chickens that thrive in our climate.

The sheep are still quietly eating their breakfast.  The lambs are so big already.  Fiona looks scraggly from her shearing, husband needs to tidy her up a bit.  And Stella is almost ready for her shearing.  Both Stella and Fiona will be sent off to the breeder late this fall, but the ewe lambs Lily and Violet will stay here.

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Such a peaceful barnyard.  That is…until the farm dogs tear by wrestling with each other and sending the chickens scattering.  They are good boys, watching over everything for us.  Finley is as tall as Tundra now, but not near as filled out and muscular.  He is in his lanky teenager phase.  He still has energy a-plenty, but is doing so well with his obedience training and working with Tundra in the barnyard.

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Let’s go into the barn!  You aren’t going to believe how cute the baby bunnies are right now.  They will just melt your heart.

We are almost finished weaning Liberty’s kits.  There are 4 now in the weaning cage and only 1 left with mama Liberty.

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Over here in Indi’s cage is a pile of black and grey fuzz that is just oh-so-cute.

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They have been hopping in and out of the nest box on their own now.  There are a few black ones, a few grey/brown speckled ones, and one solid grey one.  They are so soft!

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Awwwww, look at this little guy.  So adorable.  Sometimes it is hard to get chores done in the barn when there is this much cuteness around.  I just want to hold them and look at them for hours.

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But, we can’t stay in here forever.  We really do need to get lunch made.  Let’s grab those eggs on our way in.  The hens have been laying so well lately, and I just love all the different colors we are getting.

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Tomorrow we can walk around the gardens and work in the kitchen with some of the harvest!  Thanks for hanging out with me.

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