Chicken and Animal Updates
Life here in the Love Canal house, as I’ve lovingly nicknamed it, has been increasingly hard. I lost my dog to cancer three days before Christmas last year, I was forced to give up my large breed chickens this summer because my neighbors think controlling others is where it’s at, and the Seramas, who I have secreted away in wooden cages in the basement, have not faired well either. I am down to ten and I have a sick rooster who I am pretty sure is going to die of one of the house’s great mystery diseases. Before him I actually lost three birds to botulism, inside the house! Took me forever to find out why they became paralyzed and died (it wasn’t Marek’s) only to find out there was an infestation of beetles coming in from somewhere who must have eaten an infected animal outside before the chickens picked them off. UGH. Besides them we just have Max, the house bunny, and the four fish we were able to keep alive through some miracle. On the days I am not freaking out because I can’t keep chickens (or guppies!) alive here I am usually walking about, bored and missing having a hobby. I keep looking out at the pasture where my large girls roamed. It’s completely taken over by weeds. It just makes me depressed seeing it standing there next to my former dog’s empty run line. This place has really beaten me down.
Good News! We Found a House!
Well, we searched for a house for what feels like an eternity. We spread our net wider and wider in search of a place, having our hearts tugged at by many old farmhouses who needed far too much work, before we drove up to a small alpaca farm on a two acre lot. Previously we’d found it near impossible to find usable acreage with our budget. Although we’d both prefer to have a nice ten acre lot it wasn’t going to happen. We both figured we’d end up with one acre and have to deal with it. The problem was even the one acre houses had terrible land – one was even straight up a cliff which composed the entire property. It seemed a long and fruitless search. We were both getting angsty about it.
But after expanding our search once again we drove into a place one morning that was already set up for farming. It had a 5 stall barn with tack and hay room, a free standing stall, a shed that’d been converted for goats, and best yet two acres of land that was almost entirely fenced in and used for three separate pastures. Better still the house wasn’t falling to the ground like all the other places we’d favored. It was more than we initially wanted pay but we thought this was too ideal to pass up and so now we’re in the process of becoming farm owners.
Fall is the worst time to try starting a poultry farm. There’s always this huge shortage of hatching eggs to go around… unless you are looking for emus. Sadly the only thing I know about emus is that they look like feathered velociraptors which makes me question their presence on a farm. In any event I am still looking for Brabanter eggs (with very little luck…) in the hopes if I hatch them now I can have them grown up, outside, living through the winter, and laying by Spring. This is probably a pipe dream. What I can do is continue to order Serama eggs from different sources and raise them. Being so small a lot of people keep them indoors for the winter and are happy to sell me eggs. Wonderful. I will work my way up to having smooth, silkied, and frizzle in all sorts of colors.
I will also be looking for a wife or two for Max, my Belgian Hare, who I feel is ready to settle down. And in addition to that I am going to keep my eye out for any unwanted angora bunnies in the area. I want to see if this fiber farming thing is worth it for me (though I really think I will love it – already being obsessed with knitting.) And finally I will likely invest in a bug farm, mainly mealworms – to raise as treats for my chickens.
Spring is when things really start heating up. I will be getting Brabanters, if I didn’t find them already, as well as a few chocolate turkeys, a dozen or less Miniature Appleyard ducks, and MAYBE a handful of Sebastopol geese. That last one’s a huge maybe. As I work to plant grass in the pastures (which are currently bald) I will consider investing in two or three Angora goats. And once that’s all in place it’s time for the topping on the cake – the dog. We’ve agonized over which breed but currently we’re thinking it will probably be a Thai Ridgeback.
Ultimately we’re working towards getting a few alpaca… They seem pretty ideal for both the property and what I am trying to do. Did you know they come in gray? My heart swoons. Of course the gray ones are thousands of dollars. More likely than not we’ll be looking for two bred females. I’m not looking to pay thousands of dollars for ribbons so a cheap utilitarian animal, maybe on the older side, off a smaller farm, is perfectly fine by me!