Category Archives: farm chickens

New Arrivals

There are surprise babies at Tuppinz Farm!

A bunch of “scrubbing bubbles” appeared in the poultry food line yesterday:


“Help, I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!”

We have 18 new guinea keets!

When the guinea fowl go broody, they do it in secret. We never know if a hawk or fox has made off with one of them (we wouldn’t mind too much as we love the wildlife also), or if they’re not coming home to roost at night because they’re on a nest. Apparently this time it was the latter. I think I spy another hen on a nest out in the sheep pasture… we’ll keep an eye on her to see if another clutch hatches out.

Our tick population is well under control, and guinea fowl are amazingly loud, so perhaps if all of these grow up to adulthood, we’ll fatten a few for the freezer.

Our chicken coop was also home to another hatch of babies – barn swallows:

The parents kept the coop insect-free while feeding their young, so have been quite welcome. Chef Jeff tells me he would give the babies a little pat on their heads each day. Don’t they look like they’re smiling? Having barn swallows grace our farm with their presence is something we look forward to each spring. They zoom around like tiny fighter jets all summer long, catching bugs on the fly. Beautiful birds. We always sigh and know it’s springtime when we see them return.

This is my favorite hen, Pigeon Pie. She is a Quail Antwerp Belgian bantam.

When it’s my turn to feed the poultry, she is first in line, and flies up onto my outstretched arm, or onto my head, or right into the feed scoop to fill her little beak and scatter food everywhere, creating a pile of chickens, ducks, guineas, and geese at my feet so that I can’t take a step. Today, she thought I had something special for her in my egg basket, and flew up to take a peek. Sorry, Pidge, just my work gloves and camera in there…

Weather is perfect here today – sunny, not too hot, breezy. Baby kestrels are learning to fly and hunt. Dogs are napping. Sounds like a plan. Blogger just ate a complete post I had done with it’s “autosave” feature (I hate that feature!) Perhaps they could nix that, and get the autopublish feature up and running again? Sigh.

Advertisements

5 Comments

Filed under animal of the day, animals, farm, farm animals, farm chickens, farm chores, farm guineas, food, nature, positivity, summer, weather

Holiday Weekend

It was a beautiful holiday weekend here in Wisconsin. We couldn’t have asked for better weather.

The Golden Laced Wyandotte chicks were moved out to their netted pasture. They are about a month old now. They’re loving the fresh air, sunlight, grass, and insects. Our broody Wyandotte hen hatched out nine adopted babies, so that little family was also put in the electric netting for “safekeeping”.

In addition to moving the chickens around, Jeff and our Farmhand Extraordinaire, Dakota, got us caught up on goat vaccinations and hoof trimming, fencing, yardwork, hay moving, and a billion other tasks. Thanks for all the hard work, guys!


We had a great time at the Altoona fireworks with our friends, Dakota’s family. Dakota’s brother, Tanner, gave us a private fireworks show in his backyard afterwards. This is his stash. It was quite an impressive display!

We watched Tanner’s fireworks from the comfort of our friends’ new screen porch, which is the ultimate in summer comfort. What a great area to relax with friends! These guys are great hosts and it’s always great to spend time with them.

That’s Dakota there in the center of the photograph. We are going to miss him when he goes off to college this fall. Jeff says that Tanner will have a job here on the farm as soon as he is old enough. Two finer young men can’t be found!


Knowing of our love for fishing, our friends generously invited us to access the Eau Claire River from their property. Chef Jeff and I had a lovely afternoon there yesterday. Though we didn’t catch anything, we enjoyed being out in the woods and seeing the gorgeous scenery.

Afterwards, the Chef prepared the catfish he’d caught last week according to a recipe from this beautiful book, which also included recipes for homemade refried black beans and great guacamole. It was an outstanding meal, though we somehow got our hands on a jalapeño that must have been grown near a nuclear reactor because that thing was HOT – and this judgment from people who use habañero sauce on a regular basis!


We are so glad that Otter is acclimating to her new home. The other dogs love her… well, Molly tolerates Otter, but Molly’s coming along (that’s just her way – growl first, make friends later.)

Otter has Lyme disease so she’s on antibiotics for a little while. She doesn’t seem to have had toys or chews before; she’s finally understanding that baked cow ears are a good thing:

When Otter was found she was suffering from heat exhaustion. We are so grateful to our wonderful vet for taking her in for us for treatment and boarding, despite her history being unknown. We intend to go to a town meeting to see how we may be able to change the policies and procedures of our township in order that stray animals may receive temporary housing and care in a more efficient manner; we are not served by the County shelter due to the lack of a financial agreement between them and our township. There has to be a better way, and we shudder to think what could happen if one of our own beloved dogs went missing.

So yes, now we are a five-dog family. I would think we were certifiably nuts, except that the entire vet staff said they hoped we’d keep Otter because they knew we’d be good parents. And Valentine is getting up there in years and has Cushing’s, so, after all, we may be back to a four-dog family in the not-too-distant future anyway.

But if I had my wish, there would be a loving home for every dog… until there is, we will take in whomever the Creator sends us, sharing our blessings.


In crafting news, I am this close to finishing up my Drops blue alpaca lace shawl… just on the final rows. I started a Koigu “mindless” sock for traveling-to-fishing-holes knitting, and I hope to do some sewing this week before Saturday’s MaryJane’s Farmgirls meeting, where everyone will ask me if I’ve made any progress on my current stitching project (not yet, and it’s already been three weeks since our last meeting!)

I’ve seen a cute sewing pattern made up on this blog, and I purchased a copy here. The construction looks super easy, and I think it will be a neat use for some of my Tanya Whelan/Free Spirit or 3 Sisters/Moda girly-girl, flower fabrics.

Have a wonderful day!

2 Comments

Filed under animal of the day, animals, farm chickens, farm chores, farm fence, farm knit, farm recipes, fiberarts, fishing, flowers, food, gratitude, holiday, knit, nature, pets, summer, weather

This Week In Farming

Busy, busy week at Tuppinz Farm. Here are some of the highlights…

The sheep and goats were finally shorn! They are so relieved to be nekkid, as the days are starting to get very warm. That’s “Fontina” (whom we call “Caribou” for obvious reasons) in the foreground. Need fleece? We have LOTS!

This year’s Largest Fleece award goes again to our Jacob ewe Montana. Jeff tells me the Shetland fleeces are again very nice and soft. I’m looking forward to keeping the two badger-faced Icelandics’ fleeces for my own use – they are identical in coloring so it will be nice to combine them and have enough matching wool for a big project.

I would have preferred that shearing not take place on the same day the farrier and vet were scheduled to attend to the donkeys, but on a farm, you have to roll with the punches. Farriers, farm vets, and sheep shearers are not as easy to coordinate as the business projects I was used to in my “former life”. There simply is no option to have a “Type A” personality on a farm.

Poor Michelle had to have her shearing appointment on a day when she couldn’t even be home! I hear her wether’s fleece is really nice…

Potatoes are up and growing nicely. We’re using this method.

My crazy junk garden is also doing well.

I tried to make raised beds using only materials I could scrounge up around here. I decorated with rusty bits of metal that were found on the property.

I’m growing lettuces, hot peppers, tomatoes, scallions, cucumbers, basil, cilantrol, parsley, three pumpkins, and sunflowers. We had lots and lots of rain this past week and the plants loved it.

We moved about 100 iris plants from the area that became the veggie garden, and popped them in the beds in front of the house. Several of them flowered despite this insult. We have planted echinacea I started from seed, as well as rudbeckia, in one bed, and roses in the other; next year it should be very pretty – all purple and yellow.

Little goats are growing like weeds, too. Here are sisters Elfine and Daisy May, almost all grown up (but still very tiny!)

The purchased Golden Laced Wyandotte chicks have their wing feathers now. Soon they will no longer need a heat lamp. They enjoy the thinnings from the veggie garden – feeding them teaches the chicks to eat greens (which they won’t learn without parents to raise them) and it gets some good vitamins into them.

We had a lovely Wyandotte hen go broody. Unfortunately, before we realized she was nesting, we gathered the eggs she was laying each day for the refrigerator. We then noticed that she – and she alone – was hanging around with our single Golden Laced Wyandotte rooster… the two chickens we most hoped would reproduce. Hobby Farm Mistake #1027 – when the chickens you want to breed actually do, let the eggs turn into chicks!

So as not to waste her broodiness, we collected two days’ worth of eggs which will hopefully become mixed-breed chicks, and stuck them under her. She accepted them readily. Hobby Farm Mistake #1028 – when you have a hen that is broody and you want to hatch out chicks, consider the fact that she is nesting in front of hay bales you will need to access in the next month – not the best choice of locations for anyone involved.

Last Saturday, we went to the farmers market in Eau Claire, at Phoenix Park. It was raining and quite cold, but we had a great time. On our walk back, I saw this Labyrinth in the park – what a neat thing!

On the way home, we stopped at a couple of places to fish for a little bit. Did I mention it was rainy and cold? The only trophy was an ugly thing I caught called a river chub, which went gently right back into the water. We gave up on a fish dinner and went to Tep’s Drive-In in Augusta, for their amazing garlic fries. Got to love a place with carhops – especially in an Amish village.

I ended up the week with a meeting of my MaryJane’s Farmgirls group yesterday. We met at Dee Dee’s Diner in Northfield and had a great time chatting and knitting and sharing pictures.


Dianne, Kayley, Dawn, Michelle

We meet on the second Saturday of each month to just hang out and do whatever… we talk about animals, crafts, gardening, and end up laughing. One doesn’t have to be a “real” farmgirl to join; as MaryJane Butters says, “‘Farmgirl’ is a condition of the heart.” We’re just a bunch of gals out to learn new things and meet new friends.

The weather has turned glorious. First hay cutting this week. Crickets, junebugs, and moths abound (one notices this when one takes up fly fishing…) Baby squirrels exploring their world. The glow of light as the sun begins to cross the horizon is more amazing each and every evening. What a wonderful time of year.

8 Comments

Filed under animal of the day, animals, farm, farm animals, farm chickens, farm garden, farm goats, farm mistakes, farm sheep, fiberarts, fishing, flowers, gratitude, nature, positivity, weather

New Beginnings

This year’s batch of baby Golden Laced Wyandotte chicks arrived today!

Of course we play classical music in the chicken coop… doesn’t everyone?


Hope this makes you smile today!

4 Comments

Filed under animals, farm, farm animals, farm chickens, gratitude, positivity

She’s A Witch!

No, not Ysoldashe is perfectly charming! Although we got to YDK too late to join in the weekly Knit Night, we were able to tag along as Dixie and her gang took Ysolda to The Livery for snacks and drinks afterward. We ordered up a plate of smelt for Ysolda to try, because you can’t come to Wisconsin and not eat smelt, right? She gamely tried them and even took a couple more on her own.

No, I refer instead to our poor dear Delilah, who is recovering well from her surgery yesterday.

You can click the pic below if you have an interest in seeing the actual surgical amputation site (clean, but not for the meek).

Dr. Bender in Whitehall did an excellent job. We are truly grateful that we can always rely on him. Delilah was feeling so much better after the operation that she attempted to gallop out to pasture with her herdmates! No more “dead weight” (ugh) holding her down and making her wobbly.

“Whoa, there, Nellie, you’re supposed to be in recovery in the box stall for three days!” We finally caught our girl (a little loopy on the pain medications she’ll be on for a while) and convinced her that there were fresh dandelions aplenty – along with hay, mineral, kelp, and a cool bucket of water – waiting for her in her private chamber. She’s enjoying her pampering and the hand-picked weeds being delivered to her door. Her appetite is very good, which is a great sign.

Thank goodness Dr. Bourdon had come out as soon as we noticed Delilah limping. He got her on penicillin therapy right away, so that we were able to halt the progression of the disease through the tissue as quickly as possible, saving Delilah’s life! Again, we are so blessed to have yet another good on-farm goat doctor – they are really few and far-between.


Delilah Just After Birth


Baby Samson and Delilah


Delilah and Samson, One Day Old


Mama Tulip, Baby Delilah, Jeff

After consulting three vets and doing research on our own, Jeff and I were still stumped about what caused Delilah’s leg to go bad. There was no sign of injury in a fence or by another animal; the illness didn’t present correctly for “blackleg” (a tetanus-type infection); and everyone was scratching their heads as to what caused the blood clot that destroyed her leg with no warning… until Dr. Bender mentioned something to Jeff.

“I’ve never seen it in practice, but I remember studying it in vet school – ergot.”

“You mean like rye and witches?” asked Jeff.

That’s exactly what he meant (and if you are Dianne RJ, you get bonus points for knowing what I was talking about when I ran into you today!) But for everyone else, I will “‘splain, Lucy”…


Samson and Delilah at Two Months, with Mama Tulip


Baby Samson and Delilah, nibbling on my scarf.

Remember the Salem Witch Trials? And how young girls were murdered for “being witches” – having tremors, being possessed, seeing visions, going spastic? One theory which explains their behavior is that they had ergot poisoning. Though I see on Wiki that that’s disputed, what isn’t is the effects of ergot poisoning on animals.


Delilah at Three Months

We won’t ever know the source (pasture, hay, grain, oat straw used for bedding), but thanks to Dr. Bender’s recollection we were able to look it up in our copy of The Merck Veterinary Manual (thanks forever for that, Pamela! We use it ALL the time!), confirm Delilah’s symptoms and progression, and solve our little mystery.


Samson, Delilah, Mama Tulip

I guess if something completely odd and out of the ordinary will happen, it’s going to happen at Tuppinz Farm.


In other farm news, due to the ground being litterally covered with fledgling birds, barn cat Barley is being held prisoner in the house (confined due to his penchant for beating the crap out of the other cats). He’ll remain indoors until the birdlings can actually fly on their own. The chickens are quite amused by all the little ones and seem to think they are baby chicks that they are supposed to guard.


Baby Blackbird with Sumatran Rooster

Animals are just so… odd.

Have a great day! I get to sit and knit with Ysolda at Michelle’s tonight!!

3 Comments

Filed under animal of the day, animals, farm, farm animals, farm chickens, farm ethics, farm goats, farm mistakes, gratitude, health, nature, pets, positivity

January 13, 9:45 a.m.

Click for big. That’s F, and it is not wind chill.

Chef Jeff put extra bales of straw in the goats’ barn yesterday, and the chickens are locked in their coop with the geese and ducks for extra warmth. There are also heat lamps in both areas. But I’m seriously wondering if the donkeys need coats…

5 Comments

Filed under animals, farm, farm animals, farm chickens, farm chores, farm donkeys, farm goats, nature, weather, winter

Enough With Red And Blue – I Need Green?

You Need Some Green in Your Life

Green will make you feel alive, renewed, and balanced. And with a little green, you will project an aura of peacefulness and harmony. If you want stability, you’ve got to get a little green in your life!

For extra punch, combine green with blue or purple. The downside of green is that it can promote jealousy in yourself or others.

The consequences of more green in your life? You will be drawn to a new life path. You will feel free to pursue new ideas and interests, no matter how strange. You will be released from the demands and concerns of others.

What Color Do You Need?


The guilt won out and I voted. I forgot that I had one more choice. What a country! But I didn’t get cookies and I didn’t get a sticker – I was bummed.

Thought I’d show you the one-room schoolhouse that serves as our voting place. One booth. Five nice ladies who remember who owned our farm 25 years ago. No line. No other voters! But it had apparently been a busy morning, with 36 people voting before we did at 8 a.m. We didn’t have to present any identification – Otter Creek is a small community and as newbies, we kind of stand out (Jeff was voting in a suit in a community where most folks wear John Deere hats.)

Chef Jeff signed up to be a poll worker next year, as his company encourages employees to dedicate a day to volunteer work. The polling ladies were impressed with his Declaration of Independence Silk Tie.

Since there is only an old outhouse behind the “town hall” they have to rent a porta-potty for election day. Hee hee.


Another glorious day here in Wisconsin, so I took the dogs up to the playpen a little early and let them blow off some steam. If you need a quick dog pen, cattle panels and posts are inexpensive, and an easy way to go. I don’t know what I would do without an area where they could all safely romp and get out their P&V. Daily exercise makes them so much more well-behaved indoors, and being youngsters (except for Valentine), they really need to work off some adrenaline every day.

Exercise is a better option, I believe, than crating a dog who suffers from boredom when its “parents” are away. A crate is great for giving a dog a den for a feeling of security, or for playing a role in housebreaking a puppy in-between letting it out every three hours… but it’s no replacement for the daily workout that every healthy dog needs, and which will help prevent him from releasing his energy through chewing up your sofa cushions while you’re at work.

That being said, if you have a young dog, expect some household losses; despite all of Molly and Emma‘s exercise, they still destroyed a recliner in a single afternoon. God made puppies cute directly in proportion to their penchant for mischief.

Our dogs beg to be taken to the playpen at a set time every day. They have some kind of internal alarm clock that goes off (and which has not changed despite the Daylight Savings Time switch, throwing me off), and suddenly they are all jostling me, trying to lick my face, and panting vigorously. One word – “Playpen?” – sets off a frenzy of excited barking, and we are on our way up the hill to the little run. It’s shaded in summer by giant maple trees, and sunlit in winter, being on the south side of the apple orchard on the hill.

Want to see the Tuppinz Pups in action?



Molly is not supposed to dig in the pen but when she’s worn out from playing tug-of-octopus with Emma, she resorts to excavating tree roots. Don’t tell Chef Jeff, but I think it’s funny when she does it. He’s the one who fills in the holes so he doesn’t find it quite as humorous.


What a wonderful fall day! Now that the trees are a bit bare and the fields have been harvested, I can show you the layout of the farm. I took a couple of pics on my way back from voting.

The photo above is a view of our farm from the south:

A – the house amongst the old maple trees
B – the brooder house (chicken coop)
C – the goats’ barn
D – the “long barn”; it’s falling down so only the upstairs is used for light storage
E – the “big barn” which is being repaired; it’s a former dairy cow barn
F – the donkeys’ and sheeps’ current shelter (will eventually be the big barn)
G – Nellie The Tractor’s garage
H – hay storage
I – two more hay storage buildings
J – the neighbor’s cornfield
K – another neighbor’s land; we call this area “Dr. Zhivago-land” because it’s full of beatiful birch trees and looks like Russia.

In the picture above, A is Jazz, Tikki, and Eli; B is a Jacob sheep to the left of a little sheep shelter; C are the guinea fowl; and D is the “basement” of the chicken coop where the sheep have excavated a hole so that they can go under the building in the summer and stay cool. They have a large building and large trees in their pasture to provide shade, but apparently the walk is too far for them, or it is cooler lying next to the rock foundation. In any case, it’s quite a scene when they all decide to pop out from underneath the coop at once.

The white building is an ugly garage with a roof that leaks; it’s going to have to be torn down before it falls down. I will be glad when it is gone because it is hideous and useless, and blocks a beautiful view.

Right. Here we are looking towards the south. A is the road where I took the first photo, looking north. B marks two huge mounds of dirt – a new neighbor is putting up a tractor shed on that site, prior to building a house on that land. C is “Dr. Zhivago-land” along that same road, which curves east and then south from our property. And of course in front we have Tikki and Jazz.

The sumac berries are nice and red. The leaves are almost gone. I think this is the last day of Indian Summer. I’m off to enjoy the afternoon, and curiously await the outcome of the election tonight. Have a good one, and may the best candidate win!

1 Comment

Filed under animals, fall, farm, farm animals, farm chickens, farm donkeys, farm goats, farm guineas, farm sheep, nature, pets, weather