Our Animals

The animals are the lifeblood of our homestead farm.  We just wouldn't be us without them.  We take good care of our charges here - we respect them for the work they do for us, and try to give them the nicest life possible.  Even if their stay here is short, we make it the best we can.  We don't believe in being cruel or even unkind.  But everyone has to pull their weight--if an animal is not doing their job, they get fired, plain and simple.  We don't have the money to support a loafer or a destructive animal.   This has meant there has been some partings in the past, but we do this to try to keep the place functioning, and functioning well.

First to mention are the chickens.  Currently, we have around 70--4 of which are roosters, and a few that are just chicks yet.  Yep, they lay more eggs than we can eat, but several people enjoy our eggs as much as we do and love to buy them from us.  We're working this year on increasing that number so we have fewer eggs hanging around the house. 

In addition to Welsummers, we keep many other breeds.  Speckled Sussex, Copper Maran, Cochin, Light Brahma, Rhode Island Red, New Hampshire Red, Plymouth Rock, Silkie, Ameraucana, Salmon Faverolle, Sicilian Buttercup, English Game, Lemon Orpington, Leghorn, Australorp and Jersey Giant all call Chicken Scratch home.  We love our chickens for their diversity and uniqueness and are constantly amused by their personalities.

We also keep several ducks.  We have Cayuga, Blue Swedish, Buff, Khaki Campbell, Muscovy and Welsh Harlequins.  They are our "lowest maintenance" animals, asking only some food and a place to sleep.  During the day, they go off down one of our three streams and come back only in time for dinner. 

And geese.  We keep them or they keep us, it's hard to tell.  They are excellent for predator control.  Will they keep a dog away?  Absolutely not.   But they keep the hawks off, and have been known to stop a possum and raccoon dead in its tracks.  They also let us know when the mailman arrives, people walk down the street, a car goes by, the wind blows......I think you get the idea!

Do we keep anything without feathers?  Yep!  We keep several rabbits, some of which are excellent manure-makers,
and some that are used for their wool-producing abilities!
Philip Johnny Bob in all his summer-cut glory
In addition, we keep goats--currently 7 of them.  They are, by far, my favorite animal--and that's not an easy category to win.  Five are female and are used for milk.  Their names are Minerva, Lilly, Dulcinea, Cleo, and Cynthia.  The other two, Stewart and Maxwell are our herd sires. 

Minerva, the herd queen

We definitely keep busy!  The animals take up a good amount of our time here at Chicken Scratch, but it's never a chore.  They truly are a huge part of what makes our farm run!
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