Introduction and Happy Holidays!

VT Chicken Whisper

In the Brooder
Sep 1, 2020
8
47
44
Hello everyone,

My grandma had some banty hens and a rooster when I was growing up, and I started with my own flock about fourteen years ago. When we moved I had to find a new good home for them with a friend, who by coincidence (and a few other moves on my part) is now a near neighbor. And I have my second flock, obtained from our local farm supply store as chicks. I have seven hens and one rooster. Harriet and Henrietta are Noir Marins, Chiquitita and Lipton are Barnevelders, Heidi and Chip are Easter Eggers, and Marshmallow and Dr. Fauci are Lavender Orpingtons. Bart (aka Mr. Fluffy Pants) is a Buff Orpington "rescue" who, after a few weeks of terrorizing the hens, has calmed down and learned to be a pretty good rooster. I used to always wear welding gloves to go near him but we did some training and now we can pick him up bare handed without any fuss. Chiquitita (the runt and lowest on the pecking order) is the tamest and our favorite of the hens (we don't tell the others though). She had some kind of illness in late summer and we ended up taking her to the vet (gulp): in giving her daily antibiotics she got very used to being handled. We trained her to jump up to our outstretched arm for a treat.
They free range within in our back yard which we put deer netting around to (mostly) keep them in. Chiquitita, Lipton and Chip know how to get out, and the ducks were getting out regularly until we figured out where we needed to put more fencing staples in. Happily, all the neighbors don't mind. Actually, they've all made noises like they didn't mind having our chickens in their yards before we had the fence, but better safe than sorry. They were a neighborhood attraction when they were still young enough to wander around without straying beyond our yard. One lady will still stop and talk to us when she's walking her dog.
We have chickens and ducks because, well, I just like them! They are so companionable and fascinating. I go out just to feed them and find myself still out there interacting and observing them an hour later. I also like the feathers. I have made a few feather trees this holiday and they have turned out nicely.
My son requested ducks since a dog is not possible for us at the moment, and I said "sure!" They have been a great learning and living experience for a tween, and it's great to watch him care for and interact with them as well. They are more comical than the hens, albeit more messy. We converted a former koi pond for them, and they just love the water -- they seem truly joyful when they're swimming, diving and splashing and they make us feel that way too. Even my husband, who is stodgy about poultry in general, thinks they are pretty cool (he'll never it admit it though) and took it upon himself to do the necessary weekly pond draining. Ping and Roxie are Pekins, and Vinny (formerly Vinca), Veronica and Viola are mallards. Ping is the tamest, as she sprained her leg at about 3 months and we were dosing her with ibuprofen daily for a couple weeks. I think that is when I found this site, googling how to treat a lame duck. Thanks for the good advice about dosing and medications!
We built our own A-frame coop and run at first, but it turned out that Pekin ducks do NOT like to walk up a 40 degree incline, and we didn't figure out the wheel situation well enough. I hurt my back pretty badly the second time we moved the coop -- a chicken tractor it is not! After *many* discussions with my Loving Spouse, we splurged on an Over-EZ coop and I have not regretted it! (I'm sure LS regrets it every time he looks at it: it wasn't cheap!) It's far more aesthetically pleasing than our first coop, which suffered from DIY-as-cheap-as-possible syndrome, and it's secure and SO much easier to clean. Imagine a 5'3" woman trying to reach across a four foot high platform while standing on her tiptoes from a foot and a half away -- yeah, no.
I am a part-time hospice nurse, part time home-school teacher, and I love to quilt. I enjoy gardening, a good pot of tea, and traveling. One of my favorite trips was hiking the Mendip Way in Somerset (Somersetshire? someone enlighten me) on my own the year I turned 50. When LS and I got married in 2019 we honeymooned in Iceland. Divine, and just in time. It was difficult not to be able to travel this past year. I was going to take my mom on a trip to England in the spring for her 80th birthday and that plan was completely scuttled. Next summer, maybe? At the very least I need to go somewhere. Being in health care I am slated to be vaccinated fairly soon, and I have hopes that travel restrictions will be eased as the world recovers from the pandemic.
We have three cats who mostly get along, having transitioned from two households. Their reactions to the ducks and chickens range from cautious avoidance to acceptance to the occasional teasing chase. The ducks adore one of the cats, and any time she's in the yard they follow her around like a celebrity. We had another celebrity a few weeks ago, when a peacock visited us. He hung out with the flock for a few days and then decided it was time to go back home, which turned out to be a half mile or so away.
Well, that's enough for now: I've attached some photos, which I hope doesn't blow up the thread.
Best wishes,

Tanya
 

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humblehillsfarm

Crazy chicken lady
Mar 27, 2020
3,664
7,205
461
Southwestern Pennsylvania
My Coop
My Coop
Wow thank you for your introduction and welcome to BYC!! I love your flock. VERY cool when teens and tweens express interest in a backyard flock. My stepson pretends to fuss, but I've overheard him making chicken noises to the chickens so I know he doesn't really mind. :) Thank you for the pictures of your adorable flock! You've found a great community for chatting and help when you need it!
 

VT Chicken Whisper

In the Brooder
Sep 1, 2020
8
47
44
I've never heard anyone say Somersetshire, we always stop at Somerset.
[/QUOTE]

Thanks! I am not sure how to parse the areas -- Dorset, Yorkshire, Cornwall,Derbyshire, Lincolnshire, .... how is it decided if there is a shire or not?
I see you are from Wales, Perris: Another favorite country of mine. I cherish memories of a trip that included visiting Tintern Abbey, and Ruthin Castle, and just driving through the countryside when the lambs and bluebells were plentiful.
 
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