Thursday, January 2, 2014

Hens & Rabbits: Free Rangers


Backyard Chickens: It was time to add animals to our mini ranch, so we decided to purchase 6 laying hens. Finally, fresh farm eggs from our own hen house!  Jeff and I, with our daughter and grandsons, drove to a chicken ranch outside of Parma. It was a perfectly beautiful spring day to choose just the right chickens. We each chose the hens that we liked, and on our way home we named the hens: Zeta, Flowers, Abigail, Buffy, Blanco, & Rhodie. We have a fenced in yard, so I allow the hens to free range. Thus we have healthier eggs, at least I like to think so. Chickens put themselves to bed at night, so we just close the coop gate after dark. That's the easy task.
A few months after all the hens were happily laying and providing our family with lovely eggs, two of the hens, (Zeta & Flowers,) became ill and died.  So, now we have four hens, three great layers and one not so good. She may join us for a New Years dinner...!   Just a final note on backyard chickens: after all of the time, energy and money we have spent on a few laying hens, I would say that each egg could be worth its weight in "gold."

Winter Update: Abigail does not like walking in the snow, but she seems to like the cold weather.  She finally started laying better; so for now, she will not be "chicken & dumplings."

       Occasionally Abigail lays a very small egg???

Rabbits: This fall, two young rabbits escaped from a neighbors cage.  They said, "keep them if you want," so we decided to allow the rabbits to free range in the backyard with our chickens. Pinkerton and Mel (CarMel Blanc) have many places to hide and keep warm so I'm not too worried about them.  After researching on Google, I now know that other people allow their rabbits to free range. We will have to take care of a few things to prevent more bunnies from joining our family, but it is well worth it.  Watching rabbits hop and play in a natural setting makes me smile!

Winter Update: Pinkerton and Mel are still hopping around our backyard and probably sleeping in our barn-like shop. For the past several weeks it has been very cold in the Boise area.  In December, we had two good snow storms in the valley, and the snow still hasn't melted. It may be a long, long winter. So, I filled a heated bowl with water and put out rabbit food. However, I have observed the rabbits munching on the exposed wild grasses and dry leaves and not the store bought stuff.  I would have to say that Pinkerton and Mel are very smart little rabbits...they look healthy and happy!

Looks like Mel...
Happy New Year!!!
And God Bless,