Grit Blogs > Adventures on the Homestead

Racing Forward

Monica SmithI can't believe it has already been a month since my last post! So much to talk about and yet I don't want to make this an incredibly long post. So, condensed version right? Haha! Yeah, right, sit back and get comfortable!

At the beginning of May, we got the first of our livestock. I didn't expect to get anything so soon but was pleasantly surprised. I bartered with a lady that lives a few hours north of me and was able to get 3 Angora rabbits, 2 bucks and a doe. I was nervous when I first saw them. I didn't realize how huge they really were!

Red Cliffs and Bob

Except little Ayla. She was 8 weeks old when I brought her home. Still so tiny compared to the bucks.

Our youngest bunny Ayla

The same day, I also received two Ameraucana hens and a Lavender Ameraucana rooster. They are such sweet birds. The hens hardly ever make a sound. The rooster does the crowing and the cackling all on his own. I used to think that the sound of a rooster in the morning would be as annoying as an alarm clock or worse. I was very wrong. I love hearing him in the morning. Right before I roll back over and go back to sleep. No, I do not get up with the sun. I give the sun ugly looks and go back to sleep.

Our Lavender Ameraucana Rooster

Our Ameraucana hens

Two days after bringing all six home, we got our very first eggs! I literally squealed when I saw them. There were two of them, a pretty shade of blue. But a few days later, I discovered from some research that this particular breed is not good for meat. That really was depressing. I want a good dual-purpose (multi-purpose) breed. But I really like these three.

After doing more research, I discovered that Buff Orpingtons would be everything I wanted in a chicken. They are large birds (hens reach around 8 lbs), great layers, and good mothers. They go broody more often than most birds. Surprisingly I was having trouble finding some around where I live. But then I found a lady who has Lavender Orpingtons. They have the same characteristics as the Buffs except for their exceptional color. Once again, I was able to use bartering to get what I needed and brought home these four cute little chicks.

Lavender Orpington chicks

Lavender Orpinton Chick

I took these photos of the chicks today. They are about to be 3 weeks old. I didn't realize just how rare they were when I first got them. In fact, I just found out yesterday. Looking at the online hatcheries, I found they usually sell anywhere from $10-$17. The lady I got mine from sells hers for $6. Good thing I had already decided I would like to get 6 more! She'll have more hatching on 6/10 so here's hoping!

And last but not least:

Chewie the Great Pyranees

This is Chewbacca (Chewie). Our 6 month old Great Pyrenees puppy. He is such a sweet puppy and as curious as their breed is known to be. He's been raised around sheep and chickens already before we got him, however, he does not know rabbits. We have introduced him to our livestock, but he is still too young to be left alone with them.

We couldn't be happier with the direction our lives have taken. The children love helping out with the animals and the garden (not so much the weeding!) and get so excited over each new development!

But sadly, we had some bad news as well. Just three weeks after bringing the rabbits home, both Ayla and Bob died. I am unsure if it was because of heat or fear. I was gone longer than usual on 5/23. We put frozen bottles in with the buns everyday, but when I came home and went straight back there to check on the critters and found them. Red Cliffs had managed to escape his cage and ran off to hide. I found him shivering behind our car shed. When I picked him up, he began clawing wildly at me. By the next morning, he was back to his usual self again and all has been well with him.

We'll miss our buns but we knew going in that this would be a learning process and there would be losses along the way. We have Red Cliffs with a better set up so that neither fear nor heat should be able to get him. I thought I had them set up well before but was proved wrong. I hope I'm not proved wrong again.