So, this will be my page introducing you to all my family's animals! Note that we never really decided on a farm name, but for me "Promised Land Farm" stuck, so that's what we will call our little place for now.
A little background, I never planned to have chickens, ducks, and sheep. All I wanted to have were horses. That didn't quite go as planned though.
Before anymore, my first animal was an outdoor cat (Snowball) we got when I was six. He only lived to be six years old when he died. During his life, we bought two West Highland White Terriers who live in the house with us. Marshmallow and Coconut, the dogs, are sisters.
The adventure of living and growing up on a farm began later though......
(note that I did not mention when a lot of the chickens died as there were so many, it was difficult to remember for some.)
In 2009, I was young, dreaming daily of having my own horse. Being the only horse loving person in my family, it seemed unrealistic to have my own horse here at home. My dad works as a contractor and gets to know a lot of people. One day, he was talking to someone at work and they mentioned that they had a miniature horse that they needed to get rid of because they were just sick of having him around. I did not know anything about this. One day, my whole family (only four of us at the time) went for a drive. I did not know where we were going, although I kept asking, I got no answer. When we arrived at a house in the woods, the man who met my dad asked if we were ready to look at the horse. He was a little smoky black stallion and I knew I had to have him. Didn't have a clue about how to care for a stallion, but I knew if I didn't get him that the old owners were going to have him put down.
Within a week, we had built a small two stall barn and a pasture on the acre of land that we owned. Having a contractor as a dad, it wasn't so bad to work in the pouring rain for a week to build fence and a barn. That weekend, "Warhawk" came to live with us. There was one last thing though. I didn't like his name. I always liked the name "Elizabeth" and his new name, "Eli" just happened to come into my head one day. Like a sudden light bulb flickered on.... or as my friend calls it, an "epiphany."
I learned the responsibility of feeding and caring for Eli and the barn cat Licorice.
Our family also grew a little once my little brother was born in October that year.
The above photo shows Eli, the miniature horse stallion.
2011-2012 were the years that our home really did turn into a farm. During the two years between 2009 and 2011, we were trying to buy the 21 acres of land across the road from us. The seller was going through a divorce at the time, so it was a bit of a mess with legal "stuff."
One day, the land was finally ours and we now had a total of 22 acres of land. Only problem was, even though the land used to be part of a cattle farm, that was years ago and brush had now taken over where there were once grassy fields.
After a year's worth of work, we finally had some dead trees cut down, a lot of brush mowed down, and bright green grass growing.
That's when we started work on a second small barn. Work didn't get very far before we bought our first chicks (seven Golden Sex Link pullets), then a little later, four Barred Plymouth Rock pullets. We began building our first chicken coop and by the time it was finished, we had bought two Katahdin Hair sheep. The chicks were old enough to move to the coop and the bottle lambs, Honey and Nibbles were almost old enough to be weaned from milk. During that time, we bought four white Silkie chicks. The exterior of the barn was finished and all that was left to do was build stall dividers inside. The Silkies grew quickly and the new barn became their "play pen" as young adults. Something we hadn't pre-planned was the fact that our first chicken coop was not big enough for the Silkies and the other chickens. While the Silkies were living in the barn, we built our second chicken coop. This one was much bigger and roomy enough for at last 30 chickens. We had not yet built the run onto the coop yet, so the Silkies only lived inside the new coop for a few weeks. During all this, we added a large pasture to the new barn and moved Eli to it. Now, the sheep had the older barn and small pasture to themselves. A few more weeks passed and during that time, the run was built onto the new coop and we swapped the Silkies and the other chickens. The first coop now became known as "the silkie coop".
Above two photos show the Silkie chicks.
Above: Barn #1 and pasture.
Above: One of the sheep (Nibbles).
There was very little grass, so we felt the need to move the sheep to the second barn also. I had a bad feeling about putting the sheep with my nippy stallion, but everyone insisted they'd be fine. So, the move took place and everything was going well until almost a month later. We noticed something wrong with Nibbles and realized she had a deep wound on her neck. Eli had bit her, so we immediately took Honey and Nibbles back to barn #1 and called the vet. After several weeks of treatment, the wound finally healed.
We bought six chicks from TSC. Turned out they were Partridge Rocks and they were also straight run. We ended up with three roosters and three hens. These six were in the silkie coop till the roosters began to fight over the hens and were getting aggressive with the silkies. The hens were moved to the big coop with the other layers and the three roosters, we moved to barn#1 and made a small run area outside. The roosters seemed to get along well, but we needed the building they were in for the sheep, as they weren't comfortable in any of the regular stalls and would not calm down. So began the construction of coop #3, the smallest of them all. We didn't have a lot of fencing left, so we used what we had and took a portion of the silkie run for the roosters.
With egg sales picking up, we needed more hens, so we bought 12 GSLs and 12 BPRs along with four rare breed mystery chicks. Once they were around five weeks old, all were moved to the silkie coop till they were big enough to join the layers in the big coop. During that time, I realized that one of the barred rocks was a rooster, even though he should have been a pullet. The chickens were now big enough to move to the big coop, but since the rare breeds were smaller, we kept them with the silkies. The rare breeds turned out to be a Sicilian Buttercup hen (RIP), a Black Sumatra hen (RIP), a Silver Lakenvelder hen, and a Golden Campine rooster.
All three rooster died throughout this year. One had heart failure, one a breathing problem, and a weasel got the last one.
At the end of 2014, Cinnamon, a 20 year old Quarter Horse mare came to live here. She moved into barn #1 with the sheep for now. We got temporary electric fence and set it up in the yard for her to graze during the day.
Above: BR rooster Wings.
Above: Black Sumatra hen Crow/Cupcake(RIP)
Above: Silver Lakenvelder hen Cookie
We moved Cinnamon to barn #2 with Eli and it was rough at first, but they straightened things out and are getting along now. Things slowed down and we started adding more pastures. We got two pastures set up and built a round pen for the horses.
Above: round pen before the sides were added.
We bought four Easter Egger pullets and four Black Austrolorp pullets. Once old enough, they lived in the then vacant "rooster coop", then eventually started mingling with the silkies and rare breeds, then they just all started going in the same coop (silkie coop) at night. Then, one of the layer hens, Clementine started limping. There was no bumble foot, but it appeared that she sprained something. She did not get along with thos in the silkie coop and because of her injury, she could not go back in with the layers. So, she now resides in the rooster coop by herself.
In the end of 2016, I bought a pregnant miniature horse mare (Sweetie) and a week after she came to live here in barn #1 with the sheep, she had a colt (Titan).
Above: EE and BA chicks.
Above: Swetie and newborn Titan.
I will add more information as time progresses, but for now I'll add that we bought four Silkie chicks (one white, one buff, two blues). We had to cull a hen for the first time. She had a bad case of bumble foot.
Above: Swetie and Titan in the winter.
Above: The new silkie chicks.
More to be added soon!
Thanks for reading!