Saturday, October 31, 2009

As My Flock Ages

It's not really unexpected that this will happen.
And it never, ever gets any easier.

Earlier this week, we said good-bye to
Cherrington Elizabeth - born May 20, 1996.
She quietly passed away in her sleep. She had been slowly getting thinner, and this last few weeks - really didn't want to eat. We tried just about everything, but she just wasn't interested.

As a consolation - the day before she died - she went outside and spent a glorious afternoon in the autumn sunshine - she was still quite agile - although very arthritic. I was a bit surprised to
find her dead the next morning - as I was hoping she was going to rebound for us.

At right is a picture of her taken a few year ago (she was terrible for diving head first into the hay).

Bess (as she was fondly called) was one of my first
three original sheep that I got when I started into shetlands way back in 1996. Her sire was Skerryvore Corby, and her Dam was Cherrington Queen Mary.

She was one of those lovely Cherringtons - one of the earliest flocks of Shetlands in Ontario.
And true to the Cherrington Black sheep - even at 13 years old - she still didn't have a white hair on her body. Her fleece wasn't quite as soft as her mothers - but it was still quite soft and crimpy. We are certainly going to miss her in our flock.

At this time, my next oldest sheep are now Kalwa Taure Beatrice and my last Cherrington - Little Dog- who was born in 2000.

Although I've been raising shetlands now for 13 years - it never gets any easier when we have
to say good-bye to one of our beloved flock.

Hopefully my next post will be a bit more cheerful.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

New Babes in the Barn

Technically - they are in quarantine in my studio.
However - in a few weeks, they will be moving out to the barn.

These babies are my latest Avian aquisitions.
For those not in the know - they are LIGHT

And if you've never had the chance to get up close and personal with one - they are BIG birds.

This trio that I picked up today - were born in
May of 2009. They are huge! They make my standard size cochins look like bantams. The two hens weighed in around 5 pounds each, and the cockerel was around 9 pounds. Remember - they are only 5 months old - they don't fully mature until they are around 2 years old. Right now - the cockerel stands almost 18 -20" tall - the hens are probably around 16" tall.

When I move them from quarantine to regular quarters, I will get some pictures of them with some of the other birds to compare the size.

So - why the light brahmas? Well - I'm slowly building up a flock of the different birds that I'm interested in raising. While researching the different types of chickens - I kept coming back over and over to these birds as one of the types I'd like to see wandering my barnyard.

I spent quite a bit of time searching for light brahmas, but because they are such a large bird - not a lot of people want to raise them. A few months ago, I posted an ad on Kijiji, and was contacted by - David Stuart- who just happens to specialize in Standard Light Brahmas - and surprise - he only lives about 30 miles away.

What a treat it was to go to his farm today and learn about these wonderful birds. He was very patient and informative on how to choose a good quality show bird, what to look for in the feathers and colouring and structure.

Then, after much deliberation, I came away with these 3 show quality birds. I haven't named them yet - but that will come.

I also have some other new birds in the coop - I will have to get pictures and post them in the next few weeks.

Until then - I'll leave you with this picture that I took last weekend out in our woods.
It looks like fall is here. I'm sure that winter isn't far behind.

Monday, October 12, 2009

What's New?

I know it's been a while. I have been busier than usual - as a matter of fact - too busy.
Work has been crazy - and I have had had to work a lot of overtime to keep up.

I also have 5 pottery sales coming up in November - so in the evenings, I have spent a great deal of time at the wheel and in the studio. This hasn't left much time for anything else - other than sleeping.

The good news - we did have one of our silver laced cochin chicks survive. I moved the last two survivors up to the brooder box - and one of them died - but this little guy is a survivor.
I call him/her "Peepers" - just cause when you walk into the garage, he starts peeping at you.
(I think it's a rooster - don't ask why - I just think it is).
He's looking really scraggly right now as his feathers are coming in.

This picture was taken in his brooder box - which he really is getting too tall for - when we walk into the garage - he sticks his head over the top and looks out at us - like an ostrich peering at you over the fence.

The other bit of good news is that my friend Alina, has managed to hatch out several silver laced cochin chicks in her incubator in July - and, next week, I am going to get 6 chicks from her.

So Peepers won't be lonely too much longer.

We have some new arrivals in the coop as well.
I will have to get pictures soon. But for now -
at least this is a start.

That's all for now.