There are quite a few resident birds at the farm. Everything from the wild Canada Geese that live in the wetlands, to our flock of domestic fowl. Poultry comes in every size and shape imaginable. From little bantam chickens that stand 8″ high, to stately geese with white ruffled feathers. We have a bit of everything. When faced with selecting birds, it is easy to get carried away. You can’t have just one. In fact, by law in NY, you have to buy 6 when selecting youngsters. Each Spring the local feed stores have bins filled with chicks and poults of all colors and shapes. Fancy ones that will have feathers on their heads, to short stocky ones with feathered legs. It is so much to take in. How does one possibly decide??? So over the years we would get some chicks each Spring. The current flock includes Polish, (not from Poland), cochins (the short square ones with fuzzy legs), and Amerucanas that actually have fluffy cheeks.
They wander around the property, always looking for their next meal. Chickens forage by backing up and dragging their feet along the ground. Picture Michael Jackson doing his signature move wearing some feathered Lady Gaga get up.This backing up removes the top layer of soil, or leaves to expose bugs and stuff to eat. They do this all day. All of the female chickens lay eggs each day, whether a male is present in the flock or not. Our girls lay consistently, in certain spots on the farm. We collect those eggs and use them for cooking. Some breeds of chicken are known to be good mothers and will become “broody”. This means they will sit on the eggs they lay, rather than leave them and forage. We have one round little black hen that loves to sit on eggs. We would gently pick her up and take the eggs. Normally this caused a lot of puffing and twittering from her. She would be so mad! She finally found a spot we didn’t notice. This past week we were cleaning and found her sitting happily on her eggs. As per the usual, we picked her up. But this time rather than eggs we found two perfect fluffy chicks. One black and one white. We prefer to take any babies our poultry lay and hatch, so that we can socialize them. They are brought into the house and placed in a large bin under a heat lamp. The black hen hatched another 3 chicks, so we now have a little group of 5 living in the sunroom. Mind you they all have different fathers! So they are a funny looking bunch. Nothing like some babies to brighten one’s day