Backyard chickens have been a thing in our family before moving to the country. In the city we had 4 reliable layers that supported our mornings and our baking needs. At Rough Canyon Ranch we eagerly acquired several dozen eggs with equipment to incubate them ourselves.
The equipment failed and we had to resort to purchasing chicks. We succeeded in a flock of 50 chickens with about a dozen roasters.
The thought of roasters waking you to the morning sun sounds charming but the reality is there darn birds make a ruckus at all hours of the day. Often they will interrupt the best of nights. These roasters soon graced our soups and taught me a thing or two about processing chicken for consumption.
Laying chicken are best for broth. They are very tough to eat. If you must try to consume them early.
The idea of being self sufficient was very drawing but it is a lot of work to raise your own animals, especially when you try to do it all at once. In 2021 we introduced 2 pairs of pekin and 2 pairs of muscovy ducks, 12 sheep that quickly became 17 in 2 months and 5 rabbits that slowly blossomed to 15 over the summer.
To help with the animals we introduced several loving and gentle farm cats who appeared at our guest house at the age of 3 weeks. The came as if an angel sent them our way. We bottle fed them in the house and when ready, introduced them to the barn to stand guard over the feed.
In preparation for the farm we also brought how Lemon, a Turkish guardian, who we thank and give credit to for keeping away the wild life.
In addition to our 6 horses, these animals do much to help our soil health and enjoyment of the farm (when you look past all the hard work they need). In 2023 we look forward to establishing their living areas in a regenerative manner to allow them to be more self sufficient.