South African Boer Bok

Autumn Olive Farms is a family based operation in Augusta County. We have a dual focus model with a singular commitment to the health and wellness of the land, animal and the consumer. We raise the beautiful South African Boer Bok as an environmentally sound method to combat the invasive plant species problem while producing one of the finest and healthiest meats in the world right here in the Shenandoah Valley. The combination of the worlds premier, purpose bred and standardized meat goat with the fantastic forage base of invasive species here in the Valley provides a win-win situation for the land, its owner and the consumer.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Doug has been evicted!

Doug in his "new house." 
Yep, it is official Doug has been evicted from his house by a broody hen named Louise.  He has, I kid you not, moved into a cardboard box!  He is a true homeless cat!  I saw him sleeping in the box that is sitting on top of the nice nesting boxes Clay built for the hens.  Yes, Clay built them very nice accommodations, but they prefer Doug's house. 
"Broody Louise"

It all started when we noticed Doug sitting at the back door even after he had been fed one night.  We looked and sure enough Louise was "spending the night" in his house.  That only meant one thing and that is she is now officially "sitting on her nest."  I reached in to take a look to see how many eggs she was sitting on and she struck lightening fast. Thank goodness she missed.  It was pinch and twist kind of peck!  Donating blood and flesh was not worth seeing how many eggs she was sitting on.  I decided to just leave her alone.  Clay moved Doug's house up on the back porch so she would be safer.  She is a "sitting hen not duck" for a fox or mink.  We have both here on our farm.  We have to push her house against the sliding glass doors at night so nothing can get her.  During the day we turn her around so she can get some sun and fresh air.  Ridiculous, I know!

I noticed that she had some eggs that were rolling out from under her.  Clay said she needed a rounded nest shaped like a bowl.  She had chosen to make her nest in Doug's bed and it was flat from  him sleeping on it.  I decided I had better fix her a proper nest.  I put on heavy leather gloves and my thick winter jacket.  I lifted the roof off the house and there she was like a coiled up snake ready to strike at any minute.  I reached down and grabbed her and tucked her under my arm, so I would have free hands to work.  I gathered the eggs that had rolled out and were cold.  There were about 8 of those.  That left 11 that were still warm.  I lined the house with fresh hay and made a bowl nest for her and put the 11 eggs in it.  I put her down and she quickly accessed the new nest and thought it was acceptable and climbed on.  She looked much more comfortable than before.  I am sure it was hard to try and set on all of those eggs on a somewhat flat surface.
Thelma caught in the act!

I heard a racket out there one morning and discovered Thelma wanting to get on the nest.  Louise said no way!  What I did not realize is that Thelma had been going in there and laying her eggs.  I donned on my protective gear and looked under Louise and now she is sitting on 19 eggs!  Thelma lays her egg and then Louise rolls it up under herself.

By my calculations we should have chicks hatching at the end of the month.  I will let you know how it goes.  Last year a hawk flew into the pen and got the chicks!  We will have to find a better place to keep them this year.  One thing I have learned about chickens is that EVERYTHING wants to kill them! Doug hasn't so far, but that may change....
"Golden Boy" - His job is making sure the eggs are fertile!

Stay tuned.  You never know what these hens will do next!

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