After months of the chickens spending most of their time hunkered down in their coops from the cold and the wind and the rain, they are finally spending more time outside nibbling on grass and hunting for bugs. From late fall through winter, most of the ladies take a vacation from egg laying. I stop selling eggs, and I hoard the eggs that I’ve stashed to get us through the winter. Now with the days starting to get longer, a handful of the ladies are finally starting to lay eggs this year. It will be interesting to see how many eggs the ladies lay per week this year because their egg production drops off as they age, and our flock is rather heavily weighted toward old biddies! Despite trying to add new chicks several times last summer, we only ended up with two new laying hens this spring. One is Pippi, who is on the cover of this post, and the other is Baby Stardust who was raised by Spaceship Turkey Momma last summer. When young hens first start to lay eggs, their eggs are often a bit on the small side, so although these two young ladies are laying pretty green and pink eggs I am saving these to eat ourselves due to their small size. About half of our two dozen hens will be six years old next month. These are the ladies that remain from the two dozen chicks we bought when we first added chickens to the farm, and of course that also means that half of them are no longer with us, having gone up to that chicken farm in the sky from various causes over the years. We also still have two of our original hens from 2010 and the founding members of 5R Farm, Raquel and Rosie. We had a heartbreaking loss at the farm last week when my favorite rooster Ramon passed away. He was a bit off the last couple of weeks, and I found him dead in the coop one morning. So now we’re down to just one rooster, Brown Rooster, and it sure is quiet in the mornings without Ramon and Reuben joining in the morning chorus. Brown Rooster does a good job watching over his ladies, but Ramon was such a fabulous rooster in so many ways that I really am going to miss him. I wish there would have been a way for me to keep Lucky the Rooster that the turkeys hatched last summer, but I just did not have the right housing situation for him at the time so I rehomed him for his own safety.
The turkeys are doing well, and little miss Pumpkin Pie has grown up into a fine young lady. She will probably start laying eggs within the next few weeks along with her turkey sisters, aunts, and momma. We have eight turkey hens this year, so in all likelihood I’ll be selling just as many turkey eggs as chicken eggs this year since our turkeys are younger than most of our chickens and will therefore be laying more eggs per week than many of our chickens. I’m planning to hatch another batch of turkeys this year since it is such a wonderful experience. Although I’d like to add more chickens so that I have more chicken eggs to sell, we probably will hold off on adding more chickens until next year because we have a backyard construction project planned for this year which will likely limit the amount of space we have for the chickens and will involve a lot of large equipment and loud noises, things that don’t really go well with adding new chickens. In preparation for the building project, Sean rented an excavator for a day and dug out four large stumps from the backyard. It was quite exciting, but thankfully when all was said and done there wasn’t too much of a muddy mess and the chickens got some new bare dirt to hunt for bugs in which they found made it all quite worthwhile.
I got the greenhouse cleaned up and started the first seeds of the year – lettuce, spinach, New Zealand spinach, Swiss chard, pac choi, kale, snow peas, broccoli, and some flowers for the bee garden. Every fall I try to save seeds from several of our late blooming flowering plants here at the farm, so that I can add a few more pollinator plants to the garden every year. We’ve got several garden projects planned to help with pest prevention in the veggie garden this year, so as soon as we get a few more sunny days and the soil dries out a bit we need to get started. We need to dig up the strawberry and asparagus bed, line the bottom with hardware cloth to keep the mice and other burrowing rodents out, and replant it. We are also planning to add a low chicken wire fence around the bottom of the electric garden fence in an effort to keep the wild rabbits out this year. I was also hoping to find a spot to add a new raised planting bed for the lettuce and spinach this year that is in partial shade so that I can have better luck growing them later into the summer before they bolt.
While I was waiting out the winter weather I had time to catch up on soap and lotion making and get the online store fully stocked after a successful holiday season. Thank you everyone for your purchases, I appreciate each and every one! I’ve added several new products that I am really excited about. There is a new set of three pretty guest soaps scented with floral fragrances and in the shape of a sunflower, a bee, and a chicken sitting on her nest. I’ve also added three new bar soaps – a new variety of coconut milk soap with ground oatmeal for those of you with dry and sensitive skin, and two new soaps for all of the chicken ladies out there – Cluckin’ Clean and Clean as Cluck. These two soaps have extra scrubbing power and are scented with refreshing essential oils to get you clean and smelling good again. I’ve also added a lotion bar in an adorable bee shape, and lastly a set of three mini lotions scented in lavender, chamomile-bergamot, and our best selling unscented coconut cream (named for the whipped coconut oil it contains). I hope you enjoy these new offerings as much as I enjoyed making them.
I’ve said it many times before, because it’s true. Every time there’s a sad day at the farm, I turn around and there’s something to make me smile again. On Fridays there’s a hashtag called #FunnyFarmerFriday that is a great time to think back on the entertaining events of the week. I thought I’d put together a few of my recent favorite funny photos from my Instagram account, because they’re not always the most photogenic photos so they may not make it into a typical blog post, but they are worthy of sharing nonetheless. Whether it be the cute photo opportunities provided by inquisitive baby chicks with their momma, molting chickens that fall into the so ugly its funny category, the never ending antics of the turkeys and their chicken pasture-mates, or my constant attempts at the perfect farmer selfie, there have been a lot of fun moments on the farm this past year. Whenever I find myself having a bad day, all I need to do is take a break from whatever I’m doing and spend a few minutes with the feathered ladies and gents, and I’m sure to have a smile on my face and a whole new attidtude.
This was our fourth year living at the farm full time, and every year it gets better and better. One of my favorite things about living on the farm is farm babies! We had several turkey and chicken mommas at the farm this year. We had two turkeys go broody at the same time, and I tried a new experiment and gave the turkeys a few chicken eggs to hatch as well as a dozen turkey eggs. They managed to hatch two chickens as well as ten turkey poults, and it was really interesting watching our mixed feather family grow up together (My Two Moms). One of the baby turkeys got rejected by the momma turkeys, and so I raised this turkey poult in the house for a week until she was strong enough to rejoin her turkey family. This little lady imprinted on me, and Pumpkin Pie is the friendliest of all of the turkeys we’ve raised on the farm. She loves to hang out with us and is so very inquisitive. She is also my most cooperative photo model which earned her her very own Flower Child photo shoot.
The repurposed stainless steel dishwasher tub that is in the turkey yard became quite a popular egg laying destination for chickens and turkeys alike, but eventually the turkeys won out and another turkey decided to go broody in the dishwasher tub. I bought three young chicks at the feed store for our third broody turkey, and she raised her chicken chicks in the dishwasher tub for many weeks (Spaceship Turkey Momma). Sadly, only one of the chicks made it to adulthood, and she is named Baby Stardust. She and her momma also known as Starbuck, still hang out together, and Stardust spends much of her days hanging out with the turkeys. Stardust is another of our new favorites here at the farm. Baby Stardust just recently became a woman, and she laid her very first egg on Christmas Eve. We had one more batch of chicks hatched at the farm this summer, this time it was a more traditional chicken momma hatching chicken babies (Surprise Momma). Unfortunately, three of her four babies turned out to be roosters, so despite my efforts to raise up some new laying hens this year, we only ended up with Stardust and one young easter egger hen who should start laying in a month or so.
We had a run of bad luck with predators at the farm this summer, resulting in the loss of one young turkey poult and two young chickens. I never blogged about this because frankly, it was heartbreaking. One of the young chickens that was lost was Stardust’s sister, Sputnick, and for several hours after the attack Spaceship Turkey Momma was also missing, leaving Stardust a temporary orphan without any siblings. Thankfully Spaceship Turkey Momma returned, but the turkey poult that went missing with her on the night of the first attack never returned. Eventually some of our safety adjustments to the turkey yard kept the predator at bay, or perhaps he just moved on, but we did have an exciting night when Lucky the Rooster evaded an attack. Sadly, his sister chicken was not so fortunate. Lucky grew up to think he was a turkey, and he had to be rehomed when his turkey brother and turkey sisters got tired of his would be turkey ways and made it clear that he was not welcome. Lucky further lived up to his name by finding a wonderful home with his own flock on another farm.
It was another productive year In the Garden, despite a slow start to spring and an onslaught of ravenous rabbits, but in the end we managed to have a successful Fall Harvest. Our bee hives had another successful summer, and with three hives now producing honey we have been able to harvest a little more honey each year than the last. I don’t take enough out of the hives to sell, because I believe in leaving enough honey in the hives for the bees to survive on over the winter rather than taking out all of the honey and feeding the hives refined sugar as their winter food source as is the practice of larger scale honey producers. We have enough honey for ourselves and to make special gifts for friends and family, and we are doing our part to help the bees which is the main reason that I got into beekeeping in the first place.
The chickens and turkeys kept us plenty busy this year. It seems like there are always so many chores to be done, and even more so when there are feather babies to tend to and socialize, or injured flock members that need extra care (Sweet Rosie, Rosie and Reuben), but I’m more than happy to do whatever it takes to keep our flock as healthy and happy as it can be because they bring me so much joy. We finally managed to get the back deck coop that our three bantams live in expanded in preparation for adding a bantam rooster to our flock. I sure miss our Little Red Rooster, so hopefully next spring we’ll have a new little man on the farm tending to Millie, Salt and Pepa. On those rare occasions when I’m taking a break from farm chores, you can often find me taking photos of my pretty eggs or else taking photos of my chickens in funny hats! Yes, I’m an unabashed crazy chicken lady, but I’m happy and my chickens are happy and that’s just fine by me.
I cannot believe how this summer has flown by! As much as I wish all of my time could be spent on the farm taking care of the chickens and turkeys, gardening, tending the bees and flower garden, making soap, and putting away the garden bounty for the winter, I actually do have a job, an environmental consulting business that I own and run, that keeps me quite busy most of the year. This year has been exceptionally good for business, which is great, but it has also kept me too busy to keep up on the blog! I promise to regale you with tales of garden bounty, fun times on the farm with the feathered ladies and gents, and also some recent challenges with predators. But for now I’m just going to post some pictures from a photo challenge of seven days of black and white photos on social media that I recently participated in, which got me to thinking about the things that I really do enjoy about living on the farm. I hope you enjoy them, and I promise to catch up with you soon!
One of the things I really enjoy about living on the farm is the change in seasons. After a long cold winter, and many days of mucking about in the rain and mud doing chicken and turkey chores, it is so exciting to have that first feeling that spring is around the corner. Even before the first spring bulbs poke up through the ground, the birds and the bees provide the first signs that spring is in the air.
It is always a thrill to see the bees make their first appearance outside the beehives on the first sunny days in January and February. This past winter was an unusually cold, snowy, and wet winter, and I waited anxiously to see if all of our beehives would make it through until spring. Bees can survive the cold weather we get in the Pacific Northwest just fine. It is the wet weather, and in particular the moisture inside the hive, which poses a greater risk to them than the cold. When I get the hives ready for fall, there are a few things I do to vent moisture from the hives and try to prevent condensation from occurring in the hives. Even though the hives are not very active in the winter, I do check on them after every cold snap and snowstorm to clear snow away from the hive entrance and to clear dead bees away from the bottom of the hive so that the dead bees don’t block the entrance. It is normal for quite a lot of the bees in the hive to die over the winter, and every time I brush the dead bees out from the bottom of the hive there will be several dozen. At times I’ve seen a large pile of dead bees right outside the hive entrance after the bees have done a bit of housekeeping themselves and removed the dead bees from the hive. Even though it’s normal to see a pile of dead bees outside the hive, it does make me worry at times, and so it is with baited breath that I anxiously await the first sighting of bees outside the hive. The bees made their first appearance in mid-January this year, on an unseasonably warm day, and there have been a few other days since then when the bees have also been out. I am happy to report that all three of our hives have survived the winter thus far.
The behavior of the chickens and turkeys provides another clue that spring is around the corner. As the days start getting longer, the chickens start laying eggs again. Many of our ladies are approaching old biddy status, so they are taking a longer vacation from egg laying than they did when they were younger. From early November through January, we were only getting a few eggs a week from the few hens that laid during the winter, but by the end of January many of the ladies were starting to lay again. The chicken yard, which had been pretty quiet during the winter, was now filled with the sounds of the “egg song” as the ladies leave the nest box and announce their proud achievement. Our roosters and Ringo the turkey have begun enthusiastically courting the ladies again thanks to the annual spring rise in hormone levels. The turkey hens should begin laying eggs by March, and soon we will be inundated with their jumbo sized, beautiful cream colored eggs with brown speckles. Turkeys do not have as long of an egg laying season as chickens (which is why turkeys are not used for commercial egg production), but we got approximately 175 eggs from our two turkey hens last year, so we should have our hands full with the eggs from five turkey hens this year. Their eggs are delicious when eaten just as you would eat chicken eggs for breakfast, and they are also great in baking. I am really looking forward to having turkey eggs again, and this year I will also be selling them along with chicken eggs. As the weather allows, I’ve been getting the garden and greenhouse cleaned up and ready for the start of gardening season, which thanks to my birds and bees I know is right around the corner!
At the end of summer, I always look forward to fall, thinking that it will be nice when things slow down and it’s not so busy at the farm. Then fall arrives, and I realize that I’m still just as busy as ever! Getting the garden cleaned up for winter is always quite a chore, but luckily we had some sunny days that I took advantage of to pull out and compost all of the warm season veggie plants that are done for the season. I chopped up and piled them in our jumbo sized compost area in the garden, mixed with layers of the pine shavings and poop from the big chicken coop clean out. The squash plants that always have powdery mildew by the end of the season go into the “B” compost area which is really just a hidden pile of things too big to chop up or diseased stuff that gets tossed behind the cover of a blackberry thicket. We had a large harvest of spaghetti squash this year, which for some reason is the squash I’m most successful at growing. The butternut and acorn squash got off to a slow start, and they never caught up enough to produce anything. Most of the pumpkin and gourd seeds that I saved from last year grew into odd-looking hybrids this year, elongated two-toned fruits that don’t look like anything I’ve ever seen before. But I grew them mostly for fall decoration and chicken treats, both of which they still accomplish nicely. I planted garlic for next summer, and I spread compost in the raised beds, so most of what I wanted to do to get the garden ready for next year is done. The pickles are finally made. I made a little bit of everything this year – garlic dill pickles made with lemon cucumbers, regular cucumbers, green beans, and rhubarb. We even managed to find an afternoon to go mushroom hunting and came home with enough to sauté the extra and put them in the freezer.
We finally joined the ranks of people who have two refrigerators and added a second refrigerator in the garage. In the summer, the refrigerator is crammed full of eggs and vegetables, and by the end of the summer freezer space is in short supply. We now have the luxury of an extra refrigerator to make harvest season a bit easier next year and also give us some extra space for a turkey or two that will in all likelihood be going into the freezer this fall. After putting so much effort into growing and putting away food in the summer, fall is the time we get to enjoy the fruits of our labor and eat delicious home grown and preserved things all winter long – roasted tomatoes, marinara sauce, tomato soup, roasted anaheim chilis, kale and chard, potatoes, onions, garlic, leeks, squash, pesto, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, jam, pear butter, applesauce, zucchini bread, honey, and let’s not forget the home-canned tuna. It’s almost time to wind down for the season, and I am sure looking forward to a bit of winter relaxation!
Summer is winding down here at the farm, and as I write this I am sitting by a cozy fire in the wood stove watching the rain clouds move in. I am glad that I took advantage of the sunny day yesterday to pick as many mostly ripe tomatoes as possible before the rain causes them all to split. As the days grow short, the list of end of summer chores grows long. I harvested all of the good size Anaheim peppers in the garden a few days ago – 7 dozen in all! I will roast and freeze them for making chili rellenos throughout the winter. I also made up a big batch of tomato soup that I need to can this weekend. The pears that we harvested several weeks ago have been removed from the fridge and have finally ripened, so I need to get around to making the long-awaited pear butter. I traded some eggs with a friend that had a much better lemon cucumber harvest than I did, so I can make my famous lemon cucumber garlic dill pickles after all this year. Last but not least, I still need to can some of the bounty of kale in the garden. I may or may not get to it, and if I don’t I know some feathered ladies that will be happy to help us eat it throughout the fall and winter.
The ladies are winding down with egg laying for the year, and most of the chickens have begun to molt. Twitchy and Ruby are having a contest for the ugliest chicken award as they both are going through what is called a “hard molt” when most of the feathers fall out all at once. These are two of my friendliest ladies, usually the first to come running over to me for treats and lap time, but as I enter the chicken yard with my camera in hand to document their sad appearance for the blog, they skulk around the outskirts of the group as if they know they have taken on a somewhat ridiculous appearance. One of our grown turkey hens, Prudence, is still laying an egg about every other day, and I am hoarding her jumbo sized eggs in my stash of eggs to get us through the fall and winter. Eleanor, our other grown turkey hen, has been broody for about six weeks now so she is not laying eggs. Her babies are now fully grown, and despite being too large to really fit comfortably, several of them hang out with her in the small chicken coop that they were raised in, keeping her company. The chicken coop in the upper pasture needs a thorough cleaning before fall sets in since the ladies will be spending more time indoors once the rain and winds arrive, so I like to give it a good scrub down and replace all of the shavings to get it ready for fall.
The bees are winding down the summer too. On sunny days they can still be seen out and about in the fall aster and the last of the fall-blooming flowers. I have several bee balm, echinacea, and calendula seedlings that I started from seed in the greenhouse that are ready to be planted into the bee garden to give them more fall flowers for next year. There is a ton of garden clean-up to do, and of course there is always a big pile of compost waiting to be spread on the raised beds that somehow I never quite get around to. In another month or so, all of the chores that are going to get done will be done, and those that don’t won’t, but either way we have accomplished quite a lot this year and are feeling quite fortunate to have had another bountiful summer at the farm.
I had a lovely day at the farm today. It was the kind of day that doesn’t come along every day, but when they do, it makes me so thankful for the opportunities to see nature close up that we have at the farm. I was in the garden doing some planting this morning. I had been holding off planting a few things until the latest heat wave passed, so that my transplants wouldn’t get as wilted and sad looking as my chard and spinach did when I planted them right before the last heat wave a couple of weeks ago. We have been hearing quail around the farm for the last few weeks, but they can be somewhat elusive. Other than a quick glimpse of them as they briefly landed in the front pasture before quickly flying off, I had not gotten a good look at them this year until today, my lucky day. I was up in the garden just getting started when I heard a quail calling, and I looked up just in time to see a pair of quail flying low over my head. They landed in some short alder trees right outside the garden fence and continued calling and flitting about in the trees. I fancied myself in a David Attenborough documentary, the one where he is narrating as the bird of paradise male flits around above his head doing his elaborate courtship dance.
A little later, the rufous hummingbirds were at it, two brightly colored red males chasing each other about the yard and garden, dive bombing each other in a dispute over territory no doubt. After I had been up in the garden awhile and gotten most of the planting done, the little banty hens decided to come up and check out my progress. Millie was first on the scene, inspecting the spinach bed and thinking maybe it was time to start sampling the fresh spring greens. I had to eject her from the spinach bed in the interest of saving the still quite small plants. But she got the better of me by spotting the first ripe strawberry of the season and getting a few good pecks in before I saw what she was eating. By the time I got over to her to attempt to steal it away from her, I realized there was not enough left to share so I let her have the rest of it. I am a sucker for a cute face after all. By this time, Salt-n-Pepa had made their way up to the garden and were eager to scratch about in the freshly turned soil that I had just planted the leeks and onions in. I had to eject the ladies from this bed too, because even though they are tiny, they can do a lot of damage with those little feathered feet in a hurry! I grabbed a few kale leaves and coaxed them back down to their coop to eat their treat.
I went back up to the garden in the afternoon, and this time I had my camera with me. Much to my delight I saw the quail pair were back. I watched them as they scurried back and forth under the raspberry and blueberry bushes, and then the male was so kind as to fly up on the fence and pose for some photos. A bit later in the day I saw them again in the driveway, the male appeared to be pecking about in the gravel for tasty treats and then the female would come running over to the male to claim the treat, much in the same way that I’ve seen roosters and hens display this same behavior. I am hoping that the quail pair nest close to the farm and raise up a batch of little ones. That would sure be a nice addition to our feathered friends here at the farm.
I always get a bit nostalgic at the end of the year, and looking back at 2015 it was quite a memorable year at the farm. Without a doubt, the most exciting thing to happen at the farm was the addition of turkeys to our flock. We bought four turkey poults from the farm store in April and soon fell in love with their curious and adorable ways (Turkey Lurkey). We had a very enjoyable three weeks of raising them in the house before they became so big and adventurous that they had to move outside to their coop. All four of the turkey poults grew up to be Turkey Boys, and although they were truly a stunning sight to behold when they were all strutting at the same time, by the time they were three months old they had started to fight, so I rehomed three of the four boys. I bought two young turkey hens from a farm a couple of hours away, and now we have what will hopefully be a happy trio of breeding turkeys consisting of Ringo, Dear Prudence, and Eleanor. The turkeys have quickly become among my favorites of the farm family.
We had our hearts broken a few times this year when we lost Coco Puff, Ramona, Squeeky, and Lil’ Red Rooster. I think Coco Puff died from a reproductive disorder (Farewell Funny Lady) as seems to happen all too often with pet chickens. Squeeky died in a freak choking accident while we struggled to help her but were unable to. I’m not exactly sure what the cause of Ramona’s death was, but something seemed to have been ailing her for a while, and one morning I found her dead in the coop. Lil’ Red Rooster went missing in November, and we assume he was taken by a hawk. We went into Lockdown mode on the farm after Lil’ Red’s disappearance and a coyote sighting on the trail camera. We implemented extra security measures including installing automatic chicken coop doors on the two coops in the front pasture, so now everyone is locked into their coops safe and sound at night whether we are here at dusk to close the doors or not. We bought two silver laced cochin banty hens (Little Ones) to be Millie’s new coopmates after we lost Coco, and I’m glad we did or else Millie would have been quite lonely after having lost both Coco and Lil’ Red. Next year I am planning to get a silkie banty rooster, the same breed as Millie, and maybe we’ll let her raise up a batch of banty chicks.
We had a productive year in the garden (Garden Goodness), preserved lots of food for the winter (Putting Food By), learned how to use the pressure canner (Eat Your Veggies), and had our best squash season ever (Squash-a-rama). The ladies supplied us with plenty of eggs throughout the spring and summer for ourselves, our family, friends, and neighbors, laying an all time record of 20 eggs a day on several occassions! Our two bee hives also had a very productive year, and we harvested several pounds of honey (Honey Days). I bought myself a third bee hive for my birthday present this year, and next spring we will do a hive split to establish a colony in the new beehive. We undertook a major pasture renovation project this fall (Fall at the Farm), by rototilling, seeding, and moving the girls off of the upper pasture. By next spring, the upper pasture should be fully revegetated with grass and nutritious legumes for the ladies. Amidst all that happened this year at the farm, we also tried to remember to take some time to enjoy the Simple Pleasures.
Fall has arrived at the farm, and we have been busy trying to finish up our outdoor projects. I’ve picked the last of the summer veggies, planted the garlic, and started preparing my new pumpkin bed for next year. I did the final bee hive inspection of the year which involved removing a few frames of honey from the hive that stored the most honey this year and putting them into the hive that didn’t put away as much honey to make sure that both hives have enough honey to get them through the winter. I also put a piece of burlap covered with pine shavings in the top of the hives to help absorb condensation and keep the hive from getting too moist over the winter. We also got a huge truckload of 30 yards of wood shavings delivered to spread in the muddy areas over the winter. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my chicken keeping adventures, it’s that rain + chicken poop + bare ground can be quite a mess and is not healthy for chickens, and now with the addition of the turkeys we have a noticeable increase in poop! With an especially rainy winter predicted for this year I’ll need to keep on top of manure management, and the huge pile of wood shavings will be an important part of keeping the pasture in good condition.
We added a new project to our fall chores this year, which was rototilling and reseeding the upper chicken pasture. It’s been 2-1/2 years since we started using that pasture, and the constant scratching and pecking by the chickens has definitely taken its toll. The grass has been overgrazed in areas, weeds that the chickens don’t like to eat have become established, and there are lots of bare areas with deep holes from the chickens dust bathing. We decided to move all of the ladies off the upper pasture until next spring or summer when the grass should be reestablished. Half the ladies will remain in the upper chicken yard where there is a large coop and secure run, as well as a smaller temporary pasture that we set up for them. Our favorite ladies will stay up above, these include Rhoda, Raquel, Rosie, Ruby, Twitchy, Squeeky 2, Buttercup, Reina, Grace, and Violet’s chicks from last summer – Rosalie, Dusky, and Midnight (you may notice that Ramona is missing from this list, and I’m sorry to say that she passed away a few weeks ago at 5 years of age from an unknown cause).
We moved the other half of the ladies, basically the unnamed ladies, and Brown Rooster down to the lower pasture where Ramon, his ladies and the turkeys live. The lower pasture has the coop we built for the turkeys that they do not use, and we decided this could easily accommodate half of the flock from the upper chicken yard. The lower pasture is not quite as secure as the upper pasture in terms of predator protection, so we decided to move the chickens that are not quite as friendly down to the lower pasture. There have been a few sparring matches between Brown Rooster and Ramon, but nothing too serious, and I’m hoping that they can learn to avoid each other and coexist over the winter. Interestingly, the turkeys seem to be acting as peacemakers of sorts and tend to break up some of the rooster interactions. Time will tell, and I am keeping a watchful eye over everyone to make sure that this experiment is a success.