Saturday, October 4, 2008

First Frost and Chickens Run Free

Frost

We had some beautiful Zinnias this year. I planted seeds in a metal tub and also out in the field behind the barn. They really came into their own in August and September and were a colorful addition to our life. The next few photos show the beauty of their demise. Mr. J. Frost came calling last night and Ruth snapped these photos.







Chickens Run

My blogger friend Amy, over at Twelve acres suggested that I let my chickens out of their 60' x 60' run occasionally. So, I have been letting them run free when I get home from work and also all day on Saturdays and Sundays. They seem to be in chicken heaven as they work through the underbrush and all around the buildings and garden. They love to go through the grape arbor where I'm sure they are finding lots of grapes. I have seen several red tailed hawks floating around and taking a look, but no attacks (yet).


Here they are on a chicken parade. I am going to put barn siding over the new door area so it will match the rest of the barn. I did it this way because I was in a hurry and this was cheap.



Bearded Hen



A Face a Papa can love


Bob trying to impress the girls

This is my Crevecoeur rooster named Bob. He was named by my niece Mackenzie as she thought it was funny to name such an unusual chicken "Bob." The black hen Bob is flirting with is a Black Minorca. Apparently, the Minorcas are descended from Castillian chickens, which are the breed that Columbus had on his ships. Also, T.E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia) kept hens and guess what! He kept Black Minorcas.



Stiggy Update


This is my Ameraucana rooster named after my blogger friend Stiggy from the UK. He is really maturing into a beauty! (Stiggy the Blogger is also a Beaut) Don't you just love his comb-over?


My niece Kaeley gathering eggs




36 comments:

laura said...

Frost! I loved frost when I was a kid, crunching through it. Here at the Jersey shore we rarely--close to never--get any. Or maybe I don't get up early enough now that I don't have a school bus to catch.
Beautiful photos of the frosted zinnias; and I love the chicken parade!

Don said...

Hi Laura: I can't believe you don't get frost! Are you influenced by the Gulf Stream?

The chicken parade is fun to watch. Usually there are more in the parade, but many of them ran out to the pen first to see if there was some scratch out there.

Sharon said...

I can't believe that you guys have already had frost! Usually we are way ahead of you in that department. We would love one good hard frost to settle the yellow jackets down a bit. They have been just predatory this year.

Beautiful photos as always Ruth! :)

Don said...

Sharon: We have had several frosts around us the past few days, but this morning was the first one we saw on our property. I agree about the yellow jackets, they are mean little SOBs

Gwen Buchanan said...

Don you always make me smile.. and remember when my chickens used to run around scratching and dusting and simple enjoying the great outdoors!!!..

and your roosters are magnificent ... Bob looks like a "Sir Robert"

Your frost looked very crisp and fresh.. We haven't had any yet but I imagine it will happen soon.. the leaves are falling though with all the wind we have received the past couple days...
thanks again...

Drowsey Monkey said...

Frost, wow. I don't think we've had frost yet.

Okay, that bearded chicken is priceless! I remember this one from a previous post but I can really see the beard in this photo.

Is Honey still around? Because I think they'd make a fine pair, lol.

Berthddu Suit said...

Hi Don, lovely photos again. I do enjoy looking at your chicken collection. Loving the comb over! One of my girls has a rather floppy comb but that's because she tore the back portion. I think she looks like she is wearing a jaunty hat!

Amy - "Twelve Acres" said...

Frost hit us last night too. I don't have any pretty flowers to photograph like you do, though. Good on you for letting your chooks run wild and free. It's good for them and they'll repay you with their excellent insect eating. Don't worry about the Red-Tails too much. They won't risk injury swooping in near trees (or grape arbors). They hunt in open fields because they're too big to maneuver in tight spaces. Now, Cooper's hawks and Sharp-shinned hawks are another story...

Isn't there a motherload of history associated with chickens? It seems every breed has played a part in every place around the world. I've heard Minorca roosters will tear your liver out without much provocation. Ditto for Sumatras. My little Hamburg roo is a nice feller, thank goodness.

Oh, to answer your question, I've got 14 layers, and 2 are not yet laying. Late bloomers!

Mrs. M. said...

Frost...usually happens once in January, and we have to protect our fruit trees. I have nothing else to say about that.

Garland and I are considering planting vegetables for a winter garden this year, and as first timers we're not sure we want to dig up our cute little yard.

Would you recommend pots or earth boxes, Farmer Don?

Don said...

Amy: It's funny you should mention the Cooper's hawk, becacuse I had one after the chickens yesterday! My two big roosters were squawking and strutting around the thick bushes where the hens were hiding and no attack was reported. It's funny how the hens were making the same noise they make when they lay eggs. The roosters, even though they are still young, did their job! I think I'm going to always have roos around.

You have good "producer" hens! I have the variety pack that has some good producers and some that aren't so good.

Don said...

Hi Gwen: Ibid. on the smile!

The chickens are great entertainment, that's for sure. THe daily egg production is a nice bonus too.

Sir Robert does suit him more. Maybe I'll call him that in private so the other two roosters don't kick his butt even more than they do now.

Don said...

Hey Drowsey Monkey: I need to include a photo of Honey soon. She is mad at me because I gave her a haircut like my dad used to give me, really bad! Maybe it'll grow out some this week!

Don said...

berthduu suit: You need to show us a phot of the jaunty hatted chicken! Some of my hens have interesting combs and I worry about them and the approaching cold weather. My coop is actually mostly underground, so maybe it will stay a little warmer in there.

Don said...

mrs. m: I think either one of those two options would look good in your yard. I like the idea of a raised bed as it eliminates a lot of problems like poor soil, moles, a lot of weeds, etc. A smaller individual pot is more susceptible to drying out if you go away, or forget to water(like I do). Here is a link to a place that has good sized rised beds for a backyard that also look good. Garland will make them look even better!

http://www.runnerduck.com/raised_beds.htm

Don said...

OK, all of the deleted comments were not people talking dirty, but they were me, commenting as Ruth. I forgot to check to see who was logged in and noticed that, "Wow, Ruth is really making a lot oc comments..."

Dumb is as dumb...

Juri said...

Don, I see that you let your chickens run free for a period of time each day. Do you have trouble getting them back into their enclosure? I am tempted to give it a try with my chickens, but I am so afraid I won't get them back in!

Juri

Hot Belly Mama - taking it all back said...

Beautiful photos! I especially love the ones of the chickens! I am looking forward to having some very soon.

Don said...

juri: I let them out at about 5:30pm each day and they make a mad dash for all parts of our little farm. When it starts getting dark, they all make their way back into the coop and onto their favorite roost for the night. Occasionally, one of the crested polish hens, who can't see well because of their feathered heads, will be hanging around needing a little guidance. I have not had any problems with them not going back in. I think yours would do the same as chickens like to sleep in the same place every night. If you let them go out ontheir own, I think this helps them go in on their own.

Don said...

Hot Belly Mama: I like your moniker! Chickens are a great source of nourishment for the soul and the "belly."

What kinds of chickens are you thinking about getting?

Juri said...

Thanks so much for your response, Don....I am going to give it a try and will let you know how it goes!

Juri

warren said...

Gadzooks! It is too early for frosts! I have too much to do with the bees yet!

Don said...

juri: Good luck with that. I hope your chickens have fun rummaging around!

Don said...

warren: I hope your hives are doing ok with all of the bee trouble we seem to be having.

Ginnie said...

I had to laugh at you being Ruth, Don! :) You know that YOU can delete those, if you want to. Just click on the trash can (which YOU should have and no one else can see) and then "delete forever." But maybe you already know that?

Anyway, I'm trying to imagine frost these days! It was so hot at our local fair on Saturday. But it IS getting into the 50's at night, so I'm sure our turn will come soon enough.

I love when you catch us up on your fine-feathered friends and your flora and fauna! :)

Bob Johnson said...

My how the kids have grown, they look so cool. We've had lots of frost here, I keep on forgetting to pick up a new scraper, but a cd case works great in a pinch,lol.

jennifer's farmily said...

AHHH! I'm not ready for the FROST! I'm still down with a couple more months of fall. hee hee.

Bob is very nice looking... and only certain chickens can work the combover!! :)

Country Girl said...

Nice looking chicks and your neice is sweet.

Stiggy said...

Frost eh!?

We haven't even had frost yet in Blighty!

It's started getting a bit colder in the mornings - I'm having to wear a woollen hat sometime now.

I love the parade, and the siding will look great once you finish it (you know me and siding!).

Stiggy is looking very handsome - I'm honoured that he's named after little ol' me!

Thanks Don!

:D

Farm Chick Paula said...

Love Stiggy's comb-over!! It kinda looks like my 9th grade p.e. teacher!! LOL
Is this about normal time for you to be getting frost, Don? We usually don't have a good one until late in October, but we almost had one last week... the temperature her got down to 40 Friday night. I LOVE IT!!

Don said...

ginnie: The trees are rapidly changing into their fall wardrobe.

Thanks for the Bogger tip!

Don said...

Bob: Where does the time go? They will be driving soon, and then it's off to the big wide world...

Don said...

jennifer: I know what you mean about the frost and its ominous foreshadowing. However, I must admit, I do like winter.

Pine Pod Farm said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog Don, we had some frost last week too!

Sandy said...

I enjoyed all the photos...

Beautiful flowers and always enjoy seeing the birds.

Claire said...

Wow, beautiful pictures of your chickens. Stiggy is especially handsome. Lovely to see them free ranging.

Charley Pitchford said...

OK...let me just say this is an amazing blog! I love your photos.