Welcome From Hilltop Farm
We live on top of a hill, hence the name "Hilltop Farm". Many people think of Florida as flat land, but we do actually have parts that are rather hilly.
(This page has not been updated in quite awhile.)
Now for my story. My husband had been telling me he wanted some chickens. He brought home the first batch of three day old pullet chicks in a small box and a small bag of chick feed, I thought OMG. We had nothing to keep them in. We were not prepared. Well we went out and bought a brooder and everything that goes with it. When the chicks were two months old we built their coop. The nest boxes weren't added until they were 4 months old. It was a lucky thing we did add them when we did because the following week we got our first egg. The next year I wanted to increase our flock so the brooder came in handy and we started again with new chicks. This time we were prepared and everything went very smooth. We invested in a shed that we converted into a brooder coop. and when they were big enough they were put in with the big girls and then the cycle started all over again. Soon we had to build a new and bigger coop as my coops were nearly maxed out. First I bought a Styrofoam incubator then another, then another and so on and decided to hatch some of my own eggs from my own flock. How Exciting that was. It After a few hatches I came across a cabinet incubator and the price was right so I bought it actually to re-sell it but decided to do a hatch in it so I set some eggs. I loved it. I came across another great deal on another cabinet incubator and bought it. Now with two cabinet incubators I could do some serious hatching. I decided I really didn't need two cabinet incubators so I sold one. We had to build another coop as were were getting crowded. Now we have around 300 birds. I am addicted. Our breeds of choice are Rhode Island Reds and Heritage Rhode Island Reds, both Single comb and Rose Comb Rhode Island Whites, Buff Orpingtons, Red Sex-Links and Bob White Quail. We had Pheasants but a Bobcat and Fox killed our Pheasants. My animals give me great joy. I'm not the greatest photographer but I love to take pictures. Here are a lot of photos I thought I'd share. Welcome to our little part of our world.........
Here are a lot and lots of pictures of my birds and the farm, not in any particular order. Most of the pictures are several years old.
A picture of some of our original Girls.
I initially have the chicks on wire to let the poop drop through and less cleaning and mess for the chicks to get into as they do poop a lot. I have a tray in the brooder with some pine shavings in it so they have something they can scratch in.
A picture of babies in their brooder. Chicks a little older in the nursery coop.
Here are pictures of some babies at 5 weeks In their sandbox "Chester"
A little older at 8 weeks. My young RIR Roo"Chester" a little older.
Fuzzy butts Daisy dog (now in dog heaven)
Buttercup. Old Brown (now in horse heaven)
Neighbors (at Christmas singing)
The quail at their feeding stations, sorry about the fuzzy pics. We have about 30 quail. It won't be long before we have baby quail
Splitting wood Stacking wood
Pictures of the new baby chicks.
Chicks a little bigger
My how fast they grow
Our coops now.
Some of the big girls
More new babies
Some egg pictures from my Rhode Island Reds
Pullet eggs next to the big girls eggs
A fart egg
Here are some pictures of our green house and gardens.
A lettuce bed, one of the birds favorite treats, and watermelon too
This is an area for compost piles My compost piles
Years ago we composted in this 500 gal drum and experimented with a new variety of corn.
I have been selling my produce and eggs to a local feed store and road side markets. I have decided to open my own road side market. So far so good. I now in the process of building a stand. The plans have been drawn up now it's time to get the materials and start building. Here are some pictures of my temporary setup until I get my stand built. I only have a sign down by the road. I'm not getting rich but it's a lot of fun........ It pays for the chickens feed, treats/scratch etc.
Here are some pictures of our tractors. The yellow tractor with a 6' tiller on it, We also use the yellow tractor to move our coops. The red tractor we use to cultivate. The front end loader tractors manage our compost piles.
A chipper/Shredder for composting.
Here are some pictures of my pond. It's an herb garden too
Here are some pictures of the new barn. A new coop was added to the back side.
This is the end of the barn where the new coop will be built.
Here are some pictures of the coops we built.
Here is one of three Bald eagles and a Red tailed hawk that were hanging around.
Sorry about the fuzzy pictures.
A friends horse Chicken jail. Also used as a brooder.
Summer Place. Nursery coop (garden shed) Now a nursery coop again
First coop when it was new Pop doors
Pullets at 5 months, now 6 yrs old. They are no longer with us.
"Blue" my old aggressive hen. She was definitely the alpha
Run gates opened, one on each side of the run. A Drinking bowl,The birds love their bowls
Electric wire. The wire is about 4" above the ground and 6" from the first wire to the second wire, and 4-6" away from the main fence. I have put more wire up since these pictures were taken. The power supply and switch, the larger the better. We bought a line volt tester too. A neighborhood dog dug under the fence before we put the wire up and killed one of my hens.
Introduction of the younger girls to the older girls.
Each coop has a separate run and each run has access with a gate so I can shut the runs and allow either or both into the yard. The chain on the coop is what we pull it with.
Wheels on the run
This where I store my feed, treats, etc. I label the bucket lids so I know what is in each bucket
These are pictures of the nest boxes. I can collect the eggs from outside. Also I re-did the roosts. I use Spanish moss in the nest boxes as it is so abundant here. I also put a golf ball in each nest. So far all of my girls have layed in the nest boxes
For some reason the girls like to share the nest boxes ???
Nest boxes made of scrap wood. Converted rabbit hutch has a wire bottom & poop tray
The frame over the blueberry bushes is for netting so the birds don't eat our blueberry's. Before the netting the birds got far more than we did. The frame is 6 ft tall. First picking this year.
Some Deer we saw when we took a trip to central Virginia.
I'm definitely not the worlds best photographer. I hope you enjoyed my attempt at photography. I am in awe of pictures many of the BYC members post. I'll keep practicing. It's hard to teach an old dog new tricks and it's hard to get the birds to pose or get that good shot... I retired a few years ago. I enjoy our chickens and growing things. Check out our web site, www.Hilltop-Farm.com