As the barn progresses, we have been adding animals, so far mainly birds.
There are 7 beautiful adult hens, 3 of which are already laying (almost every day) and the other 4 should start soon. We bought most of these as “mixed” chicks, so assumed some were going to be roosters. We thus got 5 more female Dominicker chicks (who are still very small and run around with the guineas). However, it now looks like the adults are all female. This will make 12 hens in all, which is more than we need. Usually, when you buy small chicks, you lose some or some turn out to be male. Not so in this case. Oh well, there are worse problems to have… mmm, roast chicken!
Of the 20 guineas we got, 20 remain, and they are awesome. Each day, we take them up to the garden, where they will spend a little time eating grasshoppers and bugs. They then make their own way around the property, moving as a herd. They can all fly well and are very fast and alert. The 5 little black chicks go with them, and though they are neither as fleet nor as alert, they always have grasshoppers almost bigger than they are in their mouths.
Our newest addition is quail. We just got 9 females and 3 males. See “Quail and Worms” blog for details of their habitat. They are super pretty little birds that seem very happy in their new home. We are getting an egg a day from each female. Though the eggs are very small (one sixth the size of chicken eggs), they are very tasty and prolific. Quail are a very efficient bird, as far as feed and breeding and stuff goes. Unfortunately, they cannot free-range, as they would just take off.
We still have rabbits, though the few that remain are in their old habitat (or in “tractors” eating grass and weeds). We have been gradually reducing their numbers over the past months, as we are getting new blood for the new barn. We have been offered some great stock by a local university (from when a group of about 20 professors came for a tour around our place), and we hope to go and get them in the next week.
The one downside about all the progress we’ve made on the barn is the kids. They have known about the animals we’ll be getting from the beginning, but now it is all becoming a reality to them. Every day (and I mean EVERY day), Nicky asks if we’re getting pigs today, and then Leo will chime in that he wants to get the goats first, although he is most excited about “his” donkey. To be honest, I’m just as excited as they are. I want to see the empty spaces in the barn fill out, and I do really miss having both goats and pigs. Soon enough, kids!