September 20, 2012

Farm Life As We Know It

So I thought I would give our readers a little update about "The Farm".
Prior to moving to our new house we lived in your average family home in White Lake, Michigan. We moved in September of last year to a beautiful country home with a pond that's big enough to boat in and land with a view to die for. Since the move we've embraced our new surroundings and turned our home into a perfect little farm.

To start, you can view the inside of our home as it was in March. A few things have changed, but you get the gist of it. Our home is actually connected to a larger house next door where Quinn's Gram and Grandpa live. So we have our perfect little house with our family right next door!

Our Chicken Story.
The first addition to our farm was our chickens. We had never had chickens before and I'm not going to say I've always wanted them. Before actually raising chickens, I thought they were pretty gross, not very nice, and I just never had a desire to own them. But in early March we got our first round of chickens, 6 total: 2 Jersey Giants and 4 Black Sex Links. Instantly, we fell in love. We brought them home as chicks and kept them inside for a few weeks until they were big enough to let outside. A few weeks later we ended up getting 6 more little red chickens. Once they were all big enough we let them out to explore the world and live in there cozy little coop! Our chickens are all free range and very, very happy. So we had a total of a dozen chickens, no problems, and life was good! Until, of course, one of our Jersey Giants turned out to be a rooster.
At first having a rooster was exciting and so much fun! Everything was great, he was so friendly, and was definitely never shy to share a "cock-a-doodle-doo"... until he started to get a little bit older. We really wanted to keep him, but with having a baby and a dog it just wasn't safe when he started chasing people... so unfortunately we had to harvest him. But this story has a happy ending, I swear.
Aside from 12 chickens, my Grandma and Grandpa had gifted us 3 baby chickens as an Easter gift! They were so adorable and we were so excited to have more chickens for our farm! Until we found out that they were broiler chickens, and that if you didn't harvest them in 6-8 weeks that they would die. (We call them "McFattys" because they are huge, like 10 pounds huge) But this really upset us because our intention was never to eat any of our chickens, we only wanted to have them to collect and eat the eggs. Although it made us sad at first that we would have to harvest 3 of our birds, we raised them free range and just as we did our other chickens until it was time for them to go.
Fast forward. A few days after the rooster was gone, we noticed that the other Jersey Giant (who we had named Big Mama) went missing. She was no where to be found, except on Sundays. Yes, this may seem a little odd... but Mama would come running in from nowhere, eat, drink, and go running back. She stayed gone for weeks until just recently... when she returned with a baby! It seems that before Mr. Rooster had to go, he became a daddy. So lately we have been tending to our new baby chick, who in no time will be out on it's own and free range!
(Side note: next week we will be expecting a shipment of 29 chicks: 25 McFattys and 4 layers)

 (Quinn playing with some of the chickens)

 (The coop, where the chickens sleep at night)

Our Duck Story
Also on our farm we have ducks. Unlike the chickens we don't have our ducks for eggs or meat, they are only intended for company and aesthetic purposes. We started out with two Khaki Campbell ducks. We loved them and raised them similar to the chickens until they were big enough we set them out on our 1.5 acre pond to live and be free. They came in during the day to forage and hang out and stayed out on the lake and the island most of the day; they were the best of friends. Everything was great until a few months ago when a snapper turtle in our pond killed on of our ducks. This was so tragic because we loved our ducks and our ducks loved each other, the pair were so close and had been together since birth so we felt so sad for our lady duck who was now all alone. A few months went by, and just days ago we finally got her some new friends! We hooked up with someone near by who had four ducks that needed a new home: 3 Peking and 1 male Khaki Campbell, how perfect! They are still adapting to their new home, but they seem to be settling in well and our duck loves the new company.

(The ducks when we first brought them home. The brown one in the front is our lady duck!)


So this is where we are now with a baby chicken, 29 more on the way, and 5 ducks for our pond. In the future, we have talked about getting Alpaca and other livestock to live in the pasture out back, but for now we will just stick to our ways of having a poultry farm! Having to care for these animals definitely has it's ups and downs and dealing with loss is not always easy, but we do the best that we can do and thank our animals everyday for the beauty and food they provide us :-)

(Lake Knox, Goodnight)

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