Member from NW Washington State

larkflying

Songster
8 Years
Hi everyone:

I've had chickens for years, but I always thought it would be fun to have people to talk to about chickens. My family and friends are a bit tired of listening! I've gotten some good information off of this site and thought I'd try it out.

We have a 70 acre farm in Washington State, about an hour north of Seattle. Most of the land is in organic hay, but there's a few acres of orchard and vegetable garden, plus outbuildings. My chicken population has gone up and down, but we finally have a decent moveable house, a good fencing system, and I can see the population rising in the next year or two.

We have 6 Americauna, 3 Silverlaced Full size Cochin, and one mixed breed Cochin type bantam rooster. The rest are a batch of mixed pullets that I got just for fun - 2 Barred Rocks, 2 Buff Orpingtons, 1 Red Star, 2 white silkies, and 2 black Austrolorps/Jersy Giants -- can't remember what the lady said they were. I think they probably are Austrolorps. I'm going to either hatch out / buy more hens this summer . . . I'm trying to decide what breed to go with, as I can only have so many roosters.

I also have one white Pekin drake, a pair of Rouen ducks, and 11 Welsh Harlequin 6 week old ducks (most likely 5 ducks and 6 drakes, and 7 American Buff Goslings (3 pairs and an extra gander I'm afraid - one of the goslings didn't make it). I'm picking up a pair of adult American Buff Geese on Friday - I can't wait. I'm really liking the geese -- we got them for lawn mowers in the orchard, and to try them out for weeding, but we've enjoyed their personalities a lot! Once I weed out the extra drakes -- I'm waiting till I'm sure who is quacking - I'll be happy to see them all messing about in the orchard.

Our main issues are neighbor dogs -- we lost most of our bantams to them -- the local coyote population - and the ravens, hawks, and bald eagles that are everywhere. Since we moved all the moveable chicken houses into our portable electric fence area, we haven't lost any birds, so we are hopeful we've found a good fit. We also flood every 5 to 8 years, so most of the chicken stuff is all moveable, so we can relocate them on higher ground if necessary.

We also have one wonderful aussie/bernese mountain dog named Oli - he's 9 years old, and amazing. I wish we'd had him young - he would have been an amazing farm dog as he ignores the chickens, calls off the rabbits, and is generally everything I'd want . . . but we are his retirement home, so he lives in the house with us and hangs out with his people instead of protecting the chickens from coyotes and neighbor dogs. We also have two indoor kittens that I shouldn't have gotten, but did in a moment of weakness, several outside barn cats that keep the mouse/rat population under control, a few bunnies in the barn, and one lonely chinchilla. We have raised goats in the past but are waiting till our fencing is more organized before we try them again -- just to eat the blackberries.

I home school 4 kids aged 5 through 15, teach several classes at our home school group during the school year, try to weed/clean/work on our farm projects, run our small custodial cleaning business while my husband supports us all with his job -- although we both wish he could be at home on the farm more. I try to scrapbook in my free time, and we read voraciously and are part of the adult Lego builders groups in the Seattle area.

I'm looking forward to visiting about chickens, ducks and geese, and learning more! I especially would like to find fairly local sources for chicks and hatching eggs . . .

Rachel in Washington State
 

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