Tuesday, December 24, 2019

O little town of Raleigh,
How loud thy evenings ring!
With rooster crows and clucking hens
And a small sheltie who sings.

The farm is shutting down now.
It's still before the dawn (finally)
But suddenly my clock goes off
Though I do naught but yawn.

The chicks they are a pecking
The college daughter's here (Hurray!)
The kids are up, the husband's home,
The Carolina skies are clear!

But ‘lo what is that looming?
A storm blows violently???
Oh no, I see my hubbie Chris
In a great big cloud of bees!

You know we love that honey
And so do all our friends!
With eggs and bees and art galore,
Production never ends!

Our kids they have stopped growing
In bodies, not in minds
Eloise sings and studies hard,
Kailee climbs rocks (all kinds)!

NC State cares for our money
We send it twice a year! [GULP!]
They teach our daughter lots of things
She really loves it there!

Meanwhile our youngest works so hard
At a theater job each week.
She goes to class, washes her dog,
And sings as much as speaks!

We are now approaching
The ending of this song!
We wish we'd soon see all of you,
We hope it won't be long!

Merry Christmas from Green Grables!

(Hoping you are all feeling much healthier than we are this evening - but we are still thrilled that it is Christmas Eve!)

Monday, December 9, 2019

winter... or not

Winter is here! Well it was here last week. And it did freeze this weekend. It's going to be 71 tomorrow.. and then 40 something the next day. So I *think* winter is here.
How do we winterize?

 Number one, bucket heaters!!! I LOVE bucket heaters. There are several kinds available. I prefer a flat round one that fits in small rubber bowls. I put a hook over the bowl, so when I change waterers, I can just hang up the heater and take out the bowl to scrub it down. Yes, I scrub out my bowls every day. I know. I'm weird that way. I think it happens because I have a terrible mold allergy, so seeing algae build up makes me think of mold LOL.

Next, plenty of bedding. I make sure to really pile up the pine chips for extra insulation if the weather dips below freezing. I'm pretty sure that happens a couple of times a year around here. <grin>
CLEAN - if windows are closed and chickens are pooping, that ammonia starts to build up. And that makes your chickens more susceptible to lung damage. Ten minutes per coop keeps that from happening. If your chickens are lucky and have a huge barn, do what you like - you have plenty of ventilation!

Hmmmm what else? Plenty of vitamins and probiotics to keep those immune systems built up! Plenty of interesting things like cabbage, pumpkin, etc on really cold days when everyone wants to hunker down - keeps them from pecking on each other.

Watch for parasites - crowded dirty coops can hide some nasty little crawly things, so keep crowding to a minimum, keep coops fresh, and check your birds!

Tarps - we breed little bantams, so many of our coops have tarps on the runs that can be rolled up or down and secured. I don't completely wrap anything - corners, tops, and bottoms all have small gaps to keep the air fresh. They really help on windy, cold, rainy days! You can see a coop with tarps in the back left of this photo.

Drainage - make sure you have good drainage to deal with wet, cold, snowy weather. Wet cold conditions can result in frostbite! We have ditches, french drains, berms, etc to deal with water re-direction.

Heaters - ooooooh a hard one! To heat or not to heat! In general, do not heat. Unless you live in the snowy north where it gets super cold. If you must heat, DO NOT USE HEAT LAMPS. Let me repeat. HEAT LAMPS CAUSE FIRES ON A REGULAR BASIS. Seriously. Be careful. Also, don't keep it so warm that if the power goes out, your chickens cannot deal with the cold. Just keep them from freezing. Birds are NOT mammals - they deal with heat in a completely different manner, so believe me, if they have a dry place out of the wind, they will be perfectly fine down to quite a bit below zero. We have never used heaters until this year, and our birds have been totally fine at 11 degrees at night. Here is an article that explains a bit about birds and the cold.
Click here.
And yes, we tried a heater this year. Why? Two reasons. One, I have a small group of very young birds and it went below freezing. They would most likely have been fine without it. In fact, they were fine without it as it turns out.  But I got a Black Friday deal on the Cozy Coop Heater, a radiant panel heater, so I tried it. Did it help? Maybe. My giant blue cochin got her big self up on the roost and plastered her enormous rear end in front of the heater, effectively covering almost the entire heating region. So I'm not certain anyone else got any heat. But the cochin adored it. I've had to kick her off every night since then - of all of my chickens, she is the one who LEAST needs supplemental heat! Second reason, I'd like to hatch a couple of chicks in early spring, so I need some breeders to be laying eggs. Supplemental heat and light can help them get into the swing of things, so it is possible that I will use a heater in the early spring breeding pens - if the girls don't have to use as much energy to stay warm, they can use it to produce eggs instead. But again, use a coop safe heater to avoid fires.

Last but not least... Christmas trees. Collect them, use them. They make wonderful windbreaks. Chickens like to nibble on them and climb them. If it snows, roll them over the next day - the chickens will have paths where the trees blocked the snow, and they can "roost" in the trees. If you live in a place where you have lots of snow that doesn't melt, bless you. I have no idea what you can do other than put down boards for paths and wait until spring - I am a clueless southerner. In the spring, babies use the trees to hide from bigger chickens and as a playground. When summer comes and you have nothing left but trunks with spiky branches, burn them and add them to the dust baths!

So that is all I can think of for winterizing. Stay warm and have a Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Art Sale!

It's time for the yearly art sale on the farm page! 
Hope you enjoy browsing, and have a happy Thanksgiving!

My pottery sale is up on my farmpage!

Here's a preview:

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Pullets, Cockerels, babies and more!

I have some older ladies and gentlemen ready for new homes, along with porcelain babies! 
Check out our available page!

Thursday, October 3, 2019

A Time to Reflect and Give Back.

 Welcome to Green Grables!

Well autumn is upon us, and maybe, just maybe, the weather will dip below the 90s next week! It's been a hot month here! Looking at my growouts, I'm very happy with what I will be starting with next year.

My goal with these sweeties was simple - breed a better frizzle! Most d'Uccle frizzles have serious faults when you compare them with the d'Uccle Standard of Perfection. Long necks, wattles, scarce beards, shallow chests, long legs, narrow heads, incorrect combs, lack of slate color in the undercoat... you name it, they had it! Plus there are genes that modify the frizzle gene (those curly feathers), and result in more of a muppet look instead of the tight curl that I want. I've worked hard hatching this year, and at the end, after maybe 100 or more chicks, I have two girls that I am super satisfied with. Yep. Two. I also have several other girls in the maybe pile. How can I possibly be happy with only two that fit what I was looking for exactly? Well, look at that list of faults - the fact that I have two girls with tight frizzles, slate in the undercoats, nice beards, wide chests and heads, decent color, nice stature, bullnecks, and more is a miracle, really! My "maybe" girls are all missing one thing - one is gorgeous in all respects, but has no slate in the undercoat. She will definitely stay, because color is the LAST thing on my "fix it" list. And a couple of others are too young to judge. One doesn't have a tight curl to  her frizzle, but her personality is OUTSTANDING. She may or may not make it to breeder status, but she will be my pet forever either way. In fact, her name is Pet! Two others seem to have necks that are just a tad too long, and frizzle that is just a bit loose. But we will see as they grow out. All in all, I'm pretty darn thrilled

 Also, I have ended up with five little white d'Uccles. Not quite sure what I'm going to do with them yet. My oldest one has sprouted two feathers that have a bit of orange on them. I'm thinking this is a recessive white gene, so as time goes by, I may make some mille fleur/white splits to widen the gene pool and play around with them a bit. My last hatch finally gave me a rooster (I think). They are cute, endearing little creatures!

 And of course, the boys. I have several boys growing up right now, the clowns of the d'Uccle world. I've kept three mille fleur frizzle boys, one golden neck frizzle boy, two smooth mille fleur boys, and two smooth golden neck boys. All have strengths and weaknesses, so time will tell whether or not they will be used.
And in October, I will be attending the Ohio national. I'm bringing two of my lavender bantam Ameraucana cockerels. Not to win, but for two other reasons. One, at that show there will be a decision made as to whether self blue (lavender) will become an accepted standard color for large fowl Ameraucana. There is a whole long process to that, but the end point comes in November. They have asked that anyone with bantams in that color comes as a show of support, and to show how widespread the color is becoming in the Ameraucana world. Secondly, I do not need three roosters of that color. Cabbage Jack is the best, so he's staying. I will really really miss Fred and George, but after the show, they are going to a new home where they have ladies waiting for them! They will be absolutely thrilled, I'm sure! BUT, the REAL reason I decided to go to the Ohio national is to get some really gorgeous mille fleur d'Uccles from the Vaughn family. They have worked hard over the years and really have some spectacular birds. They line breed, which produces very consistent birds, and they are consistently gorgeous. After years of hard work, their line really shows beautiful patterning - something my frizzles lack. So I'm hoping that their line will not only add to the physical aspects of my birds' conformation, but will also enable me to produce frizzles with proper patterning. It will take a few generations, but that's what I'm hoping for in the end. So I will be returning from the Ohio national with four roosters and four hens from the Vaughns!

Bantam Lavender Ameraucana

 These little darlings are growing so fast! Two have started laying little blue eggs, and the whole group is so interactive. I've NEVER had a group of chickens who wanted to be with humans so very very much!

Cabbage Jack loves his girls, chuckling to them constantly and making nests fro them every day. He and his gals will be moving to bigger digs soon!

 Every time I open the cage, the whole crew attempts to jump into my lap. They love snuggles, chatting, and just being around people!

Jack is really maturing nicely. I have seven eggs in the incubator to check his fertility. I have two other roosters, but they will be going to a new home in November - so I just need to make sure that Jack is doing his job before I let them go.

 I have five girls - Bunnybee, Patches, Lavender, Lemons, and McDade. Lemons is a bit shy, but the others are constantly looking for laptime. Bunnybee is my special favorite. She always looks surprised, and pushes  her way onto my lap at all times. Her beard is always messy - she really dives into that fermented food! Can't wait to see what these beauties produce in the spring!

Silkies and Showgirls

Ah yes, my Seussian characters! I still do not know what Thestral is, other than a stripper (a naked neck silkie without a bowtie - a grouping of feathers on the neck above the crop). But Thestral is a sweetheart and a half! This baby will stay whether it's a girl or a boy. Penny, my dark partridge showgirl baby, is a lapgirl. And hopefully a girl! Crystal and Chewbawka, my white showgirls, are busy raising d'Uccle babies right now, and harassing poor Truffula, my buff partridge showgirl. My white silkie roo looks over the older girls, while Thestral watches over Penny and my two white frizzle girls, a white frizzle silkie and a white sizzle. Everyone is at least half recessive white, so babies in the spring will be pure white or a fun mix of partridges or blacks. 

As for regular farm fun, the last of the broodies are enjoying their d'Uccle babies. I've had a few go broody, but most have visited the broody "spa" until their hormones have cooled off.

 Polly loves her frizzle porcelain!
 Lenore and her smooth mille fleur
 Ping and her frizzle mille fleur
Ping is an interesting case. Most moms quit fluffing out and doing broody clucks by the time the chicks are 3 weeks or so. But not Ping! She still feeds her over two month old baby, and tucks it in the nest box with her at night. She clucks around, puffing up at other hens, and seems to live for nothing else but her special baby! And it is a special baby - I've been blessed with healthy chicks this year, and this is the only one that I've hatched with a defect. It has a crooked beak! Not a scissorbeak, just the whole beak curves over to one side. That hatch had some issues with humidity, which can cause all kinds of hatching problems. Incubation in an incubator is never as good as under a hen, but it can get hard to let a hen sit on eggs when they are in a big group - everyone wants to lay their egg in that nest, so eggs get crushed and dirty if the hen just stays in the main coop.

Oh and my d'Uccles are producing again, so eggs are available! They are $70 for a dozen plus extras, free shipping. Email me at mimosagrace@gmail.com to get eggs! All profits from eggs until December will go towards a program with Compassion International to provide chickens for needy families, who can then eat the eggs, sell the eggs, produce more chickens, and eat the meat. I love the idea of providing chickens for others with my chickens!

I hope you all are having a wonderful fall!

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Goodbye summer!

Welcome back to Green Grables! Summer is winding down, fall is winding up! And hurricane season has begun!

News on the farm.... well, as some of you know, we lost one of our all time favorite girls, Jones, to what was most likely a raccoon this week. We will miss our sweet girl so much. Jones was a wonderful mother, an awesome chicken, and a very comforting lap snuggler. Best girl ever.

As I sit here this evening, Hurricane Dorian is crashing up the coast, three hours away. Thankfully we are just getting some wind and a little rain, nothing like the coast! We (by which I mean my dear husband) did take down some trees that were rotting at the bottom - and were aimed directly at the barn in preparation for the storm. Thanks honey!

Tip of the week:
LOVE this silly thing. I saw it somewhere and of course decided that I NEEDED it - in both large fowl and bantam size! It's a chicken bag! You zip your chicken in, and you can easily carry it with you (to a place to treat it - you really should not take your chicken to the store). I don't use it to carry chickens, but it is the perfect restraint, complete with straps and leg holes! Not, our gorgeous EE girl, unwillingly participated in a photo shoot as I checked out her recently healed foot (it looks like bumblefoot in the photo, but it's a scrape that is finally almost healed up). Not, by the way, got her name because she was always escaping the brooder. But she always knew how to get back. And as "all who wander are not lost," and she was "Not," well the name stuck!
And if you want a nifty bag, here's their website:

Not, the unhappy photo participant 
Not, the now REALLY unhappy photo participant

What's available? We have some great birds available this week! Two lovely five month old large fowl EE pullets, three gorgeous 9/10 week old mille fleur d'Uccle pullets (FRIZZLES and a SMOOTH), several handsome little cockerels, a very limited number of young 6-8 week old pullets, and several straight run chicks, including (drum roll.....) a FRIZZLE PORCELAIN CHICK!

Interested? Check out our website for details!

Have a great week!
(no hatching eggs available at the moment - the girls are all molting or broody!)

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

End of the summer!

Why get a Belgian d'Uccle?
These tiny birds from the Uccle region of Belgium come chock full of personality. Gorgeous feathering, darling foot feathers, and a puffy beard and muffs complete the look of this amazing chicken. If you are looking for a chicken with a huge personality who loves to visit and chat, look no further! Or are you in the market for a 4H-er? D'Uccles make a wonderful starter chicken for showing! Hearty and healthy, these chicken stars love to show off and hang out with humans. 

Mille fleur, golden neck, and one porcelain 

Smooth d'Uccle pullets (MF and GN)
$25 each, or 2 for $40*
***SALE $20 each or two for $30***
Frizzle d'Uccle pullets (MF and GN)
$35 each or 2 for $60*
***SALE $30 each or two for $50***
d'Uccle Cockerels (MF and GN)
$15 each or $5 with purchase of pullets
Both unvaccinated and Marek's vaccinated straight run chicks available! AND FOR THE FIRST TIME THIS YEAR, I WILL BE LETTING SOME FRIZZLES GO IN THE STRAIGHT RUN GROUPS!
$15 each, 2 for $40
SALE: SMOOTH CHICKS $8 each or two for $12
: FRIZZLE CHICKS $12 each or two for $20

Sexed pullets/cockerels are 5-9 weeks old. 
Straight run babies are 1-4 weeks old.
Hatching eggs also available (details on webpage).