How interesting to look back and see how far we have come with raising our chickens. I can see the hypothetical steps we've taken...more like a dance...step, step, glide, leap, step back, step back again, another step forward and repeat. The beauty of wanting a little of every breed in the beginning and being able to try them on for size, has resulted in our profound love and appreciation of a few breeds. I have fallen head over heels for Welsummers and Lavender Ameraucanas mainly. I appreciate the BCM's and the Coronation Sussex, and would like to see where they go in our breeding programs, but the Wellies and Ams have stolen my heart.
We have kept a handful of our first chickens and they are happily living in the layer pen...several of the bitties we just couldn't part with are like lap dogs! My DS has taken over the layer pen and calls them all his girls...he sweet talks them and pets them everyday, on top of feeding and watering. It is hilarious to watch an 11 year old squat in the middle of a chicken tractor playing with the birds. Today, one of his fat bottom girls (a BCM x BO) unexpectedly jumped up on his shoulder and rested...that was a hoot! They all want his attention. He thanked me the other day for raising chickens. I am just thrilled he doesn't view them as a chore!
So, this was the year we ventured into other poultry and the splurge of buying a big ol' Brinsea 380. I had the extraordinary pleasure of hatching out 2 amazing Sebastopol goslings from Jean Ribbeck, and several dozen ducks from the wonderful people here on BYC! I couldn't help myself though, and placed an order of ducks from Holderread's Waterfowl...gorgeous Saxony and Welsh Harlequin ducks arrived in May, 2011. Those Saxony are AMAZINGLY beautiful! The funny thing is, they were all straight run and I ended up with 1 Saxony drake and 5 Saxony hens, and 1 WH drake and 4 WH hens. That would not happen in the chicken world where roosters prevail!!! We have a total of 15 ducks (it was A LOT more thanks to the cabinet incubator) but most found wonderful homes. And something I NEVER thought would happen, did. Two of our drakes became a Sunday meal! (Step, step, LEAP!) The Sebbies imprinted on me right away and followed me around everywhere...they weeded with me in the gardens and rested with me in the shade. They come when called. I'm talking an all out sprint with wings spread WIDE! I adore my geese! They are indeed amazing!
I will gladly update with pictures and more stories when I have the time.