I had a friend come by today, and it was such a delight. She wanted to learn how to make Kombucha so that was what we started out with, but she also wanted to spend the day on the farm. We planted potatoes, carrots, beets, peas, beans, asparagus peas, swiss chard, tomatoes, tomatillos and winter squash! We came in and out, throughout the day, dodging rain drops, and we fed Nellie a nice pile of weeds from the garden. It was great fun!
My Speckled Sussex arrived today! This is a “new to me breed” of chickens. I love them. They are so beautiful. A deep mahogany with white specks on the tips of their feathers, and a thin black bar a bit in from the white, gives their feathers interest. They are a dual purpose bird, and have Dorking in their lineage, which should make them an excellent meat bird. I’m excited to get to know the breed. I purchased them from Tony Albritton from Idaho. He was a delight to work with. I prefer to order birds from breeders, rather than hatcheries, because the time put in by a good breeder does so much to improve the quality of the birds. Hatcheries, while important for many reasons, don’t have the time to put into each breed the way a dedicated breeder of just one or a couple breeds are able to do. It’s worth paying extra for well bred birds, whenever you can. I’m excited to see these birds grow out, and will be selecting a breeding flock from them this fall!
But don’t worry little Ancona’s, you have my heart, and while I may go on about the beauty of the Speckled Sussex, don’t think for a moment I don’t swoon over your stark black and white, with that gorgeous red rose comb! You’re large white egg is nothing to be ignored, either.
Today I was clearly reminded of why I LOVE breeding. When you have an animal that you have selected from all the animals on your farm, who goes on to outshine their parents…well, that is what good breeding is all about. I had a rabbit, Edna, who was the daughter of a very excellent doe, who died last summer from heat stroke. I selected Edna, and her sister Eliza from the 6 does in that litter. I selected them for their body confirmation, with the hope that they would also have their mother’s ability to throw a good litter, and keep them alive until weaning. Both Edna’s mother and herself have out shined Edna’s grandmother, Clementine, who never kindled more than 7, and most often only raised 5 to weaning. She was a lovely rabbit, but not what her daughter and granddaughter went on to be.
I have to wait to see if Edna will follow through and be a good mom, now that she’s kindled this lovely litter of 8, but to have 8 on her first litter, is quite amazing. They all seem of solid, and consistent size, too.
I love breeding!