Monday, January 9, 2012
Hard to report.
Well last spring was a tough one. We had a bear attack, more like a massacre. We lost all of our chickens except one, which we renamed "Lucky," a salmon faverolle. It was horrible. We unfortunately, or fortunately were not home at the time. We had a pet sitter who did all they could but it was just too late. Living in the high country of Colorado, it is one of those things that we live with. We have black bears here and they can be quite destructive. All I can say is, we were devastated. RIP: Wee-Man (Seen here in the photos), Victoria, Luna, Fav 1 and Fav 2. It has taken this long to be able to write about it. The worst part is not a week before Wee-Man was skateboarding, yes skateboarding! In attempts to curb as much child trauma in the situation we went with what we know best, distraction.
We got chicks soon after at Murdoch's in Grand Junction. It was Spring time and we were lucky to get there when we did; as they were running out of chicks. We bought 6 chicks (2 which turned out to be males), no idea what they were, and guarded Lucky with an electric fence, provided by the DOW. The chicks were reared in my daughter's bedroom in an aquarium under a heat lamp until it was warm enough to be released into the reinforced, slightly damaged coop. Lucky was still too large to be consolidated into the new flock. It was a warm Spring so we were grateful that the girls settled in quickly. Given that this was our second go around it was easy to spot the two roosters. Before any real neighbor disturbing crowing set in, we gave them to Sustainable Settings in C-dale. I think there may have been one 4:30 am crowing and that was it. I had many nights waking up thinking there was a bear, but thank god no return, knock on wood!
After awhile we introduced Lucky to the new girls: Jack (after Jack Sparrow, since she was/is attracted to my rings), Frannie who is a bit darker golden than Jack and the twins, Sara and Melissa, named after a set of twins I grew up with. Lucky immediately established herself as top of the pecking order going after the new girls and they did the flapping, jumping, pecking clawing at each other dance. The girls avoided her at all costs, we put them together in the coop and for a few weeks it was tenuous then things seem to settle down and now six months later, they're all one big happy family.
Mid June we inherited a Polish from Susti. She had been a special order someone had not picked up, and she was being picked on /abused by the flock to the point that her crown was almost bare. Poor thing. We brought her home and released her into the coop. Lucky wasn't having it for what seemed like forever and I was heart broken but then they all seemed to work it out with out any intervention. So Lady Gaga joined the flock. (She is quite the looker! Black and White and her crown is back and beautiful!!!) So we were back up to six girls.
We had a long exhale when Fall finally took over and the bears went into hibernation.
My husband and I are currently working on a new coop design complete with electric fencing... we will start work soon even though it's January I want to get a head start on the bears!
We are also looking at converting our Eglu into a duck run. I'm not sure about Colorado, but the duck eggs in France were amazing!!! Especially in custards... We found a website that allows you to order less than 25 chicks at a time!!! For a fee of course but this is so much more manageable! I think we will get ducks from these guys check it out:
Click & Drag it the link won't post for some reason...
It has been a bit of a mild winter this year and we were so glad to get the snow this weekend! I was fearing a drought was coming this Summer, we still have our fingers crossed about that.
The girls have been munching away daily on veggie/salad scraps from the restaurant. Thanks Romi, Alex, Toby & Scott! The girls are too funny and run towards the bottom of the coop for the fresh snacks. Garden planning has begun and seed catalogues are being rifled through now that the holiday season is finally over and the restaurants have calmed down a bit. Looking forward to finally replacing our bees this Spring! So we are a busy family, working, filtering waste vegetable oil for our car, composting in our new worm bin (more on that later), raising chicks (again), bees (hopefully this Spring), garden planning, washing stinky winter dogs, brushing a spoiled cat, rearing kids, and maybe soon raising a couple ducks!!!