So far September is better. More guinea eggs in a smaller nest and should be ready to pop around the 25th. Four keets (above video) out of the 75 eggs survived and one incubator keet is now growing up with two Ayam Cemani chicks. Brooders became empty and are ready to be refilled. Birds are free ranging with more confidence as it is predator free now. I am working on another coop and making a new area to move my beehives a bit closer to tend to them easier.
July and August 2022
These two months I call “the death months”. It began on July 4th, when I lost three chickens to a predator. I reviewed my security tapes and saw it was a fox and named him ‘Fantastic Mr. Fox’. I tried everything while waiting for a trapper to become available. Fifteen birds later (chickens, chicks and guineas) at a $1,800 loss and I could not put my heart back together. I neglected my chores and was not able to get motivated after seeing some of my favorite birds get carried away off the farm. My trapper was awesome and was able to get him quickly. It was a hard summer.
Blueberries ripened and I canned a ton of preserves. Ayam Cemani chicks coming nonstop. Two Swedish Flower Hens hatched with two Black Copper Marans. I was able to watch some of my Rooster Roulettes hatch in Oklahoma and turn out beautiful! Yardie, my yard cat, decided she needed to be in a photo with me and two Guinea Hens attempted to hatch more than 75 eggs. Ugh!
The month of May was busy taking care of four beehives and consistently grabbing newborn chicks from the five broody Ayam Cemani hens. All of them went to many great new homes. I met a lot of new customers and now they are beginning their dark side chicken adventures.
April 3, 2022
So much has gone on for the past two months on the farm. I had applied to become ‘Certified Naturally Grown’ in February for both the poultry (as livestock) and the bees (as an apiary) and was able to get the process started. Finding someone to come out to “observe” my bees and chickens separately, scheduling it and answering a bunch of questions for each was quite a task. But I made it happen. During this time, I hatched two more batches of Ayam Cemani with each incubation percentage higher than the last. One pullet out of the January batch has found herself a new home in Tallahassee, Florida with three other hens and are now living a very spoiled rotten happy life. Now I have the fourth batch getting ready to hatch Saturday, April 9th and the last group are steadily growing into their awkward stage of Jurassic Park feathering patterns. I have been notified that I have been approved and “Certified Naturally Grown” for both chickens and bees. One more way that I will continue to raise the best looking healthy chickens on all organic feed, pure sunshine, fresh air and lots of land to go bug catching. I have been working on building a fourth coop just for the Rooster Roulette meatbirds just so they stop tormenting my egg flock hens. NPIP came out to test all 58 birds and they all have their new pink bling bracelets from Ketchum Mfg Co. All the birds tested perfect, again. Spring is more work on the beehives and that I was able to split and make two more hives. I am looking forward to some great tasting honey.
February 28, 2022
My beautiful yard cat, Yardie.
February 25, 2022
When Ayam Cemani provide you with eggs…..you incubate!
February 22, 2022
These Rooster Roulettes are growing like weeds!
February 21, 2022
The Guinea Fowl love Bob. He just chose unwisely for a safe spot.
February 12, 2022
Name Queen Padmé, first hive is. My second beehive looks named General Leia. Working hard, Storm Troopers are! <=(⚫️_⚫️)=>
February 10, 2022
Happy laying day for pure Ayam Cemani.
January 29, 2022
I have some potential in #5 Ayam Cemani cockerel. When he gets mad, his comb goes up straight. I can work with that.
January 29, 2022
When the automatic door closes and you can hear a the sounds of a massacre and have to investigate. I let the Cardinal out.
January 28, 2022
Brandon exploring the creek on the farm.
January 26, 2022
I have one Ayam Cemani rooster that dominates my Guinea Fowl confusion. He loves it and I think they do too.
January 23, 2022
The size of anAyam Cemani chick is precious.
January 22, 2022
Happy hatch day to four Ayam Cemani chicks.
January 20, 2022
Here is Ally gifting her prized possessions to the food God!
January 18, 2022
It takes about eight minutes for one Ayam Cemani hen to move her eggs from the nesting box to the cardboard box. Who knew?
January 16, 2022
Little Girl’s new egg laying spot.
January 14, 2022
The twelve Rooster Roulettes are living comfortably in their new area.
January 13, 2022
I candled the Ayam Cemani eggs and I can already see that hatching during the winter is going to be hard. The odds are not in my favor, so far.
January 7, 2022
I moved the twelve Rooster Roulettes to the chicken house and out of the garage! They are nestled in front of their Cozy Coop heater.
January 6, 2022
I have loyal followers.
January 4, 2022
Bob is home and my ❤️ is full once again! A feral colony scarred nose, TNR tipped ear and a FHV+ eye which he will eventually go blind with age. Love that face!
January 1, 2022
I have gathered enough Ayam Cemani eggs to begin a 2022 hatch.
December 30, 2021
I miss Bob. I take him some food and share some love with him to let him know I am still here. I will be able to get him in three days.
December 29, 2021
Bob is almost hyperventilating. This is the first health problem I cannot fix on any cat. Way too much purring for me, so it is time to go to the vet. Doc takes two x-rays to check on any heart and lung problems, which were both clear. She believes it might have been an asthma attack and wants to keep him for observation over the New Year to avoid any surprises.
December 28, 2021
With Georgia still in short sleeve kind of weather, my Ayam Cemani hens have been laying 6-8 eggs a day. Woo hoo! I plan on gathering their eggs and set them to incubate real soon. Check out this little speckled beauty. She always lays them.
December 25, 2021
She finally did it! After three failed hatchings, #23 Ayam Cemani hen has successfully hatched three out of four eggs and is a new hen mommy. Her eggs are Rooster Roulettes, so time will tell on what they will be as long as she is happy.
December 24, 2021
My experiment is ongoing. I have no idea on the percentage of pullets to cockerels. They are now one month old. Their colors are gorgeous and today they all get their numbered leg bands. Here are the first ten bands.
December 17, 2021
I have that one Guinea girl that preens every Ayam Cemani rooster on the farm. I think she likes their protection.
December 16, 2021
This is painful when stepped on, just saying.
December 12, 2021
We added another member to the family. Meet Nevaeh Seniah’s Brandon Stark. Pure Doberman Pinscher bundle of joy.
December 4, 2021
Here are the Rooster Roulettes at twelvedays old.
December 2, 2021
If I can recycle a shipping box for a useful purpose, I do.
The hens enjoy a nice new quiet area to themselves.
At least four of them lay in it daily.
November 28, 2021
Sometimes you can get your ‘chickens’ in a row!
At least the Ayam Cemani.
November 27, 2021
They are always cute at a few days old.
November 23, 2021
Hatching day. Literally one right after the other. My experiment will either be proven or fail. All pointy eggs set in an incubator set at 98.5°, no less than 30% humidity until the first pip, raise humidity to 70% until completion of all hatches. They are always the cutest Rooster Roulettes and ONE pure bred Ayam Cemani.
November 7, 2021
The keets are now 3 1/2 months old now and are very comfortable with roosting with some of the other chickens. They are getting into the evening grove very well, especially since the temperatures are dropping here in west Georgia. #23 hen is sitting in the nesting box 3rd chicken from the back right. I am hoping another hen will assist with sitting duty .
November 3, 2021
Doyou count your daily collection of eggs to the number of hens you actually have? I do. Today, two of my pullet Ayam Cemani have begun laying. Not in a nesting box. Nope. Why? Because they roost and sleep in a tree and they are the first to free range before the rest of the flock. Well, I have a bunch of garbage bags filled with cedar shavings from a saw mill stored in a “pile” under the pole barn. THIS is where I found the eggs. Two eggs a day from the “trash”, is a whole different meaning on my farm. (And yes, she is laying in the center of the bags.)
October 28, 2021
Do you recycle boxes and use them as nesting boxes? I do. I always grab one or two empty boxes from Costco or reuse shipping boxes. My favorite right now are the Thrive Market boxes being shipped to me. #23 apparently enjoys them too.
October 25, 2021
Today the Georgia Poultry Laboratory Network is coming to the farm to test about 35 birds to keep me certified with the NPIP (National Poultry Improvement Plan). They test my bio security (keep from spreading diseases), avian flu, and a bunch of other long names to keep my poultry safe. Luckily my daughter is visiting to help and learn. We had a blast. Oh, and Ayam Cemani #23 has become broody and is sitting on 15 guinea eggs and 3 chicken eggs. She has already raised chicks earlier this year so I am hopeful for Thanksgiving keets.
October 21, 2021
Today I started another experiment. I removed all 19 guinea fowl eggs from the adult coop since the temperatures were beginning to fall and I saw no signs of either female guinea stepping up to sit for 28 days. I cleaned every egg with my egg sand paper block and buffed off the solidified poop. Took me an hour for 19 eggs. It was evening, so I took them inside to candle them to make sure they were all fertile. Then I thought…..incubator or chicken hen? I go up to the coop and there is a beautiful clean nesting box just waiting for these guinea eggs. I place all of them in there and the temperatures are good. Now I have to wait.
October 17, 2021
Today is day 117 without Blaze helping me on the farm. The only solace I have in the mornings is being greeted by #2 with her sweet talking noises just waiting for a pet from me. #2 sleeps in the tree with 5 other ‘rouge’ birds that refuse to walk in their coops at night. She will walk up with me to each coop to greet every bird that has been inside overnight. Then once everyone is out, she will follow me down the hill as my guardian of protection.
September 1, 2021
Now is the time on my farm when my flock begins their molting. I started to allow all the breeds to commingle with no boundaries in hopes that with more free ranging all together, they would forage through the woods, eating grass and bugs, would help them molt faster. And it has. At the same time when the temperatures began to drop here in Georgia, I shut down all hatching egg sales and just add their eggs to the ever flowing egg production flock. Because they were roaming with all breeds making Rooster Roulettes. A few hens became broody and I had many chicks hatched, some I kept and many I sold.
August 6, 2021
It has been a very busy few months. I have worked on the farm getting it ready for summer, attending weekend trade shows and donating eggs for Seniors in need in the City of LaGrange. Then on June 22, Blaze did not return home from going out to go potty for the night. He was born on Mother’s Day 2020 during covid. His mother, Yardie, still looks for him everyday. It is hard not to have your working cat with you on the farm rounding up birds every night. I will try to post when I can.
May 23, 2021
On March 7, 2021 I filled one incubator up a lot of eggs. I had hoped for a great turnout, but realistically I am perfecting the “recipe” of my incubators, to the room they sit in, the temperature and humidity. It is chicken science. The same day I find out that my first broody hen is sitting in eggs. No clue as to how many. Three weeks later, she hatched seven beauties which only one has her characteristics. #15 is a pure Swedish Flower Hen and is a great mother. She nurtured them to the ripe ole age of three weeks and then she was on her merry way to provide me with her daily eggs. Since they are still young, I believe I have four cockerels and two pullets. Yeah me. (Insert eye roll here). But they are fun at trying to figure out who is the hen and who is the rooster that provided me with these chicks. I was unable to see which chick hatched out of what egg, so essentially, I am at a loss. I know that #32, my only Heritage Plymouth Barred Rock Room only breeds with #23, a Ayam Cemani and you can really see this combination in the testy cockerel (second from right in photo). The others definitely have #33, the Ayam Cemani as the rooster as I believe he was the only one practicing during the month of March. I know I have one Wyandotte cockerel. And one AC Roo crossed with a Cream Legbar pullet since her hair is crested and her tail is all Legbar, but black. I can’t wait to see how she turns out. I think the other pullet might be full AC, but there is no way to determine correctly. Then a cockerel of Swedish Flower Hen hen crossed with an AC. He looks cool with his mulberry waddles. And the last one might be BCM cockerel but I will be patient and see. This phot is all of them getting comfortable prior to the guineas moving them off.
Here is a photo of the 3/28 at nine weeks old.
May 22, 2021
Today was a beautiful weather day with sunshine, not too hot, light constant breeze and the first day the 5/12 Rooster Roulettes will be going to stretch, scratch and grow at ten days old. I purchased some low priced pop up outdoor dog run for a one pound dog and cut the bottom out of it. Used several landscape staples, a few bricks, set food and water and voila, outdoor playground for chicks. I have semi determined out of these roulettes that I have: two Cream Legbar hens crossed with a Swedish Flower Hen rooster, three Black Copper Marans hen crossed with a Cream Legbar rooster (which they all have a white dot on the top of their heads), and the last two are Golden Laced Wyandotte hen crossed with my Ayam Cemani. Here is a photo of the 5/12 at 10 days old.
May 20, 2021
Today, I have a second hen on the farm turning broody and has decided to make her space in the collapsable dog kennel inside the pink kiddie pools. She is #20 a Black Copper Marans with a silvery sheen on her chest. She’s beautiful and stubborn. I know from collecting eggs that I have two yellow ceramic eggs there for encouragement but really? So I’m guessing she is on her one egg she laid and the two yellow ceramics. I allow her to stay and see by night if she is still there or if she is one of the hens that take about 6 hours to lay one egg. I have not figured out if this new hen craze are the hens avoiding the roosters, lazy or this is just their “thing” right now. Night come to lock them up and #20 is still sitting. I feel awful that she is going to only hatch out one eggs, so I give her 8 additional eggs. She was great. She never pecked at me and she pushed each egg under her like a pro. Now wait on her one week later than #19. Here she is.
May 18, 2021
Peanut is not going to make it. It has no thrive to live. Sometime during the morning, I picked up Peanut to check him out and he died peacefully in my hand a few minutes later. Not the best way I care to start my morning, but it happens. The rest of the seven roulettes are thriving. The egg flock has been very productive and the roosters seem to be having way too much fun.
May 17, 2021
Peanut does not want to stay in the sling seat. I am placing him back in it about every hour. Peanut is still eating and drinking today. The rest of the roulettes are steadily growing and beginning to eat everything inside. By the end of the day, I had no idea if Peanut would make it through the night. I will see in the morning.
May 16, 2021
Go out of the house for errands and come home to one dead chicken in the brooder. Failure to thrive…survival of the fittest. I do not like it, but it is an unfortunate part of farm life. The egg flock are producing nicely. The cooler sunshine weather has allowed the Storm Troopers some great foraging around the farm. Peanut is now comfortable sitting in a makeshift swing made out of a COVID mask to rest the one leg that will not bend. Time will tell for it.
May 15, 2021
Peanut is still literally kicking. It sleeps like a dog with its beak on its leg. Now on to farm news outside. Every night I go out and close one big gate on the first chicken coop with 12 chickens. Then I go to the second coop which holds a variety (five Ayam Cemani chicks, six Blue Laced Red Wyandottes, six Rooster Roulettes, three guineas, three roosters and one hen). The AC and BLRW all live at the top of the ramp in the coop house and I installed a plastic fence gate for security. For the past few nights I have had to take my chick stick and coax them towards me so I can catch each one and place them upstairs. Not a problem with the BLRW and four of the AC. But then there is #47. Either a feisty hen to be or an arse of a becoming rooster. One, #47 is the fastest chick EVER! Two, #47 is very smart in dodging, hopping, weaving past me when I have my hands down to catch it. This circle play by play takes about 10 minutes every night. I made the mistake yesterday and forgot to put the coop door down, thinking they would not know what or where this hole would do. Wrong! All five AC went out, walked around the coop and four came back in. Cool, I have four that are smart. I was able to get them up and behind the gate with the BLRW. Then there was #47…..running like a road runner in the woods, under fallen trees, over branches, through limbs that I could not get near. Every step I took, #47 ran ten feet away in every direction. This went on for at least ten minutes. I stepped back and called Blaze, my guardian watchcat, he walked behind the coop and sat. I waited with the large gate open. Blaze moved about two feet towards the gate and #47 ran into the coop. Dang, I own a great cat! I closed the gate, closed the coop door and then began twisting in several circles until I was finally was able to get #47 in my hands. I held it for awhile, cuddled it and we had a little chat. I don’t know if it helped or not, but it made me feel better. Here is a photo of Blaze my farm cat.
May 13, 2021
I woke up to a hatched chick and gave it a couple of hours to get on its feet. When it didn’t, I had to take action and to make a long story short, bath, blow dry and placed in a sock on a heating pad in my lap. I nicknamed it Peanut. Peanut might have splay leg but is doing better. Second hatch of the day was the membrane of the shell stuck on half the chick. I soaked it in a warm bowl of water on a washcloth to easily have the membrane fall off. Now it looks like a black dinosaur in the incubator and will not stop cheeping. Time will tell for that one. As the sun sets every night for the past two weeks, I walk up to the guinea coop to wrangle up the six Blue Laced Red Wyandottes “BLRW” (now six weeks old) and the five Ayam Cemani “AC” (now five weeks old) to tuck them in the coop house behind a gate away from being attacked due to their small size. I have six Rooster Roulettes that are also six weeks old and they are twice the size of all of them. I believe this group has one pullet and five cockerels. I found a stick awhile back that I began to use to wrangle chickens. So tonight, there I am, with my stick attempting to get the BLRW and AC chicks from under the coop house corners and up the ramp, or catch them and put them behind the gate. This goes on for 45 minutes. Why? Because #47 a AC chick begins to run into and out of the woods with the Rooster Roulettes chasing behind it. All the while in my head I’m thinking….there goes a $100 chick. I walk fast with my stick in hand and begin to veer it away from the woods, it completely avoids either gate to the guinea coop and begins to run in and out of the chicken coop, not once, twice but three times as I follow #47 around like an old stubborn lady that won’t give up. The Roulettes have now seen #47 and begin to show their hackles face to face. I believe #47 is most likely a cockerel. My stick is definitely not working, I have one leg covered with, let’s call it mud, and #47 is still running everywhere while every adult hen, rooster and guinea supervise cackle and watch with no help. Finally #47 runs into a corner and I pick it up to hold it, tell him thanks for the exercise and that I won’t let the Roulettes get him. He gets set with the others and life is grand in the guinea coop house for the evening. That gate is not opening until the Roulettes are hopefully sold this Saturday. If not, they will learn a new coop to live in. Part two of my life….I also have a 5x10 covered dog kennel that I have converted for sawdust and hay storage that some of the hens have converted it to a few egg nests. So, yesterday #19 (a Golden Laced Wyandotte) has decided that the popular hay bail is where she is going to become broody over possibly four eggs of which two are ceramic. With lots of online help, I have added four more of today’s laid eggs, checked her leg band number and was able to remove one yellow ceramic fake egg. She was happy. Now, every night I pet her, tell her she is pretty and lock her in the kennel. Then every morning I unlock the door, pet her and leave a couple pieces of lettuce for her to snack on. Now we have a potential hatch date of June 3rd of Rooster Roulettes and will have to keep my eye on the extra four eggs. I am looking forward to see how good of a mom she will be. I have to admit, I feel muscles that I did not know I had now, so I must go to bed. But the kicker…….my husband watched the entire event from the porch!
May 12, 2021
The absolute joy you feel when you see new life born. It’s eggciting! Rooster Roulettes are my favorite because you can tell the breed of the hen by the color of the egg shell, but have no idea who the rooster could be until the chick is born. This morning, the incubator was to be be set on lockdown (those who don’t speak chicken-the humidity gets raised and you remove the egg rotator) but several of them decided against that. When an egg pips (the first peck of the chick breaking open its shell) the seal of the shell has been broken and changing the temperature with the humidity by opening up the incubator can result is egg death. So today, I opted to leave in the rotator, since two chicks have hatched healthy and several of the eggs are pipping. These two chicks will assist the other eggs hatch by walking over all the eggs and talking for the next day or so. Here is the first photo of the two coming out of their shells. Seven of them have moved into the brooder.
May 12, 2021 continued….
One of my coops has an automatic door and the second coop does not, so I have to manually open it. Once I picked up the brick to prop the coop door……one Golden Laced Wyandotte hen ran (more like a waddle) lightning fast down the hill. What is she doing? Where is she going? On sunny days I open the back doors of each house of each coop and sometimes prop the nest door open for more air circulation. A few minutes later I start my walk back to the house and stopped at the ‘dog kennel’. This dog kennel is a metal 5 foot by 10 foot with a cool roof that attaches to keep everything dry underneath. I call this my raffle kennel. I won this kennel for $4 and then had to purchase the roof….totally worth it. During the winter months, I store bales of hay, a collapsable dog crate and full bags of wood shavings that I use in the yard. Also I have two pink kiddie pools stored in there for me to make future dust baths for the birds. There she was, #19, on top of on one of the hay bales just scratching away. Hens have been using this kennel for the last couple of months to lay their eggs in the kiddie pool and on the highest hay bale. I figured she was just going to lay an egg next to the two ceramic fake eggs, so I let her be and leave. Later that day when I went to gather eggs (I usually go check at least three times daily) #19 was sitting. Really, you are going broody now. Do you not realize that you are on ceramic eggs? I checked once more before their bedtime and #19 was still there. I am guessing on two fake and two real. Let’s wait and see, so for now I lock her in for protection. Here is her photo.