The Long-Awaited Chicken Yard


I’ve had the chickens in the house for a few months now, but there was no chicken yard–because up till then, the farm was their yard. But they kept roosting on the deck and the porches, and it just wasn’t pretty. And I’m planning to plant a vegetable garden in the spring. I want my tomatoes for myself, not the chickens! So. The yard has been under construction off and on for a few weeks.
An addition was added to bring the roof over further, to put cover over where I’m keeping the chicken feed.
It’s a pretty good sized yard, going all the way around two sides of the chicken house.
I have to leave room for trucks and trailers to be able to get up to the alleyway, so I couldn’t build out from the front.
All the chickens are in the house right now except for one renegade hen who escaped while the yard was under construction.
She’s been hanging out in the barn, laughing at all the other chickens who are just excited to get out of the house!
In the spring, I’ll be getting new chicks! It’s been almost five years since I got any new chickens. It’s time. My older chickens aren’t laying much anymore, and I’ve lost a number of them over the years. New chicks. I can’t wait!

P.S. I want to put something over the top of the yard, some kind of netting or chicken wire, but for now, I clipped the chickens’ wings before letting them out so they can’t fly over.

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I wish I was talking about cows. Well, maybe Glory Bee is bred. She hasn’t gone into heat. But! I’m talking about goats now!
We were doing goat hooves last night in the barn, me and my hired men, and checking their udders to see who was bred. They’re all bred except Lizzie, the little short-eared Boer.
Chloe, giving Lizzie a hug.
Pat, pat, you were just too little this time, Lizzie.
With the switching around and rebuilding I’ve done with my goat herd, it’s been two years since I’ve had babies. I’m excited! These will all be straight Boers except for Maia, who will have Fainter-Boer crosses.
Mama Maia!
Maia will be delivering first. I think it will be sometime later this month or early March. I had the Boer girls shut up in the barn quite a bit last fall. They will be delivering maybe a month after Maia. It will be good weather for goat babies, by then. I hope!

Meanwhile, the cows….
….see them in the background here….are still doing NOTHING.

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  1. IMG_4532

    February 9, 2015 - Cows Doing Nothing

    I’d post more pictures of the cows doing nothing, but they’d all look the same!

    The cows are doing exactly the same thing right now as they were doing yesterday when I took this picture. I’ve been watching the cows for days, since I saw Dumplin standing for riding on Wednesday evening. First thing Thursday morning, I ordered semen, which was delivered by Friday afternoon. … Continued…

  1. IMG_4519

    February 6, 2015 - The Chute

    This chute, specifically for vet work (not milking) was under construction yesterday.

    That’s Dumplin in the chute, for measurements.

    Here’s the finished chute today.

    On the sides, the upper board is to prevent a cow from trying to come in the chute from the side. The lower board is to prevent the cow from kicking to the side. (There’s no … Continued…

  1. IMG_4469

    February 5, 2015 - Watching Cows, Again

    As I’m writing this post, I’m sitting in my car watching the cows.

    Watching cows in February is cold business.

    It’s been about three weeks since I had the cows AI’d (artificially inseminated). Yesterday evening there was a lot of attention on Dumplin. Moon Pie and Glory Bee were both trying to ride her, and some of the time, she was letting them. Meaning, she was … Continued…

  1. IMG_4356

    February 2, 2015 - Guilty Faces

    First it was Moon Pie.

    She looks so innocent, doesn’t she?

    She knows how to cause trouble. She broke in through the barbed wire fence separating the back barnyard repeatedly last week. Repairs were no problem–she’d just break through again the next day. And the next day. Then–FINALLY. … Continued…

  1. IMG_4219

    January 21, 2015 - Cow Family

    It was a nice warm winter day here yesterday, with the hoses thawed out and everything, and I was running water in a bucket in the goat yard watching the cows. Glory Bee and Dumplin were licking and washing and grooming and loving on Moon Pie, standing between them.

    It was taking a long time to fill the bucket, … Continued…

  1. IMG_4140

    January 19, 2015 - Double Date

    Mobile vet Clara Mason was back at Sassafras Farm on Saturday (with her “weekend assistant” husband) to AI (artificially inseminate) Glory Bee and Dumplin. Here, she was preparing for the insemination at her truck before going to the barn. The semen arrives in a large container. Inside that container is the liquid nitrogen tank. And inside that is a package that contains the straws of frozen semen…. Continued…

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The Slanted Little House

"It was a cold wintry day when I brought my children to live in rural West Virginia. The farmhouse was one hundred years old, there was already snow on the ground, and the heat was sparse-—as was the insulation. The floors weren’t even, either. My then-twelve-year-old son walked in the door and said, “You’ve brought us to this slanted little house to die." Keep reading our story....

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