In the meantime, here's the other news from my world:
Cindey-Lou and Slim
This past week I was able to provide a home for 2 chickens. I was put in touch with a lovely family who are quite local to me, who had a problem with a rooster who had begun to crow. They live in the city and can't have chickens, but nobody seemed to mind because they were quiet. These chickens had been unwanted and therefore rescued by Anne and her family, who had provided them with a wonderful coop and a lovely yard to roam in. Until last week, all was well, but then "Cindey-Lou" began to crow. Cindey-Lou (yes, that is how you spell it!) is a broiler rooster and he's very, very large and heavy. At present, he's at least 25 lbs, perhaps closer to 30.
Slim is a very pretty brown leghorn hen.
Now, it's not often that I get on a soapbox, but I'm going to go on a bit of a rant here. I am thoroughly disgusted with the poultry industry for the horrors inflicted upon chickens. They are kept in tiny little cages, they don't have room to flap their wings, they are fed minimal amounts required for egg or meat production, and they are bored out of their minds so they pick out their own (or their neighbor's) feathers. Cindey-Lou is a product of that industry. Broilers have been bred for years to emphasize ridiculously fast growth and heavy muscling in order to feed the giant machine that is the corporate poultry industry. Cindey-Lou wheezes constantly, because the pressure on his lungs from his tremendous weight is too much. He has trouble walking due to his ridiculous size. He would be completely unable to mate with a hen. He gets tired quickly and rests a lot. This is NOT a normal chicken. This poor bird is a testament to the greedy hands of industry. Their aims of efficient production in minimal time created this chicken that is hardly recognizable next to his "ancestors." Their complete lack of concern for the health or wellbeing of the animals raised for the food industry is evident in this monstrosity. In my opinion, it's wrong, and it's time to put a stop to it. Don't get me wrong - I eat chicken! I enjoy chicken! But I want my chickens to be normally sized birds who lived a normal life where they could roam about, scratch at the earth, eat some worms, stretch their wings, lay down in the sun, and chase bugs in the grass. Next time you buy chicken, consider buying from a local farm who free ranges their birds. It will cost more, but if you ask me, birds like Cindey-Lou tell the story on why we should be willing to pay more for our food.
(getting down off soapbox now)
Orange Bottomed Girls
The mighty Cragganmore, our beautiful blue-faced Leicester (BFL) (pronounced Less-ter, not Lye-chester or Lye-sess-ter or Lee-sess-ter, please) has been fitted with his breeding harness. His marking crayon is orange. So far, he's been whispering sweet sheep nothings in the ears of Poppy, Oreo and Paisley.
Poppy is a Suffolk-Dorset-Rambouillet cross sheep with a lovely crimpy fleece. She had a single white lamb last year with our Icelandic ram, Blizzard. This year, she'll hopefully have a coloured lamb with Cragganmore.
Oreo is a full registered Icelandic, but this year we decided to breed her to Cragganmore to produce what are called "mule sheep" (BFL sire, other breed for the ewe). They will be Icelandic mule sheep.
Paisley is a full registered BFL ewe who should carry coloured genetics, so we may see a coloured lamb from her.
The BFL sheep that we acquired have all been doing well and they are happily enjoying the company of our sheep, our donkeys, our llamas, and Pebbles the pygmy goat.
Shelter from the Storm
Kelly had help yesterday from the very kind husband of a friend of mine from school. While she and I were studying, Kelly and Mike built a sheep shelter and some new feeders. It was a tremendous help and we are so appreciative of his time and effort! Check out the new shelter for the lambs! The girls in the pasture with this shelter are our lambs who are too young for breeding - Marshmallow, her sister Lollipop, Cirrus the angora goat, and Penguin and Pennyroyal, the Jacob ewe lambs.
They also made some hay-cornstalk feeders against the fence, to prevent waste of hay.
And now, if you'll excuse me, I have to bury my "nose" in the books....