The Hen House at Boggy Creek Farm
Chicken ITEMS OF INTEREST:
BCF Chickens enjoy the trimmings of kale and broccoli leaves all winter long,
plus they are out on the farm every afternoon during the "non-salad" season....
This photo is in the February 2013 issue of Spirit, the Southwest Airlines' on-flight magazine.
Our hens' and chicks' diet: In addition to USDA Certified-Organic veggies, native plants, worms, the hens also enjoy USDA Certified-Organic SOY-FREE Feed, milled in Elgin by Jeremiah Cunningham of Coyote Creek Farm (http://coyotecreekfarm.org/).
Feed, Chicks and Hen House equipment all available at both
Buck Moore Feed ( http://buckmoorefeed.com/ ) 5237 North Lamar (512-451-3469) and
Callahan's General Store (http://callahansgeneralstore.com/)
Hwy 183 South, just south of the Colorado River (512-385-3452)
Pet, Babette, of the Boss Chicks, along with the broom, does clean up in the farm house kitchen.
It is hoped that she will finish before leaving her "calling card."
Babette gets her second modeling job. Here she sports her favorite makeup on beak and toes: MUD.
Photo by Jenna Noel for the Callahan's General Store ad in the Spring Issue of Edible Austin. http://www.edibleaustin.com
Your personal copy is available at the BCF farm stand, compliments of Edible Austin.
Babette will be happy to autograph it for you if you share your croissant!
Babette slurps goat's milk cream from the green cap in the farm stand.
She spends some time resting in front of one of the fans near the cashiers.
Toesy our pet hen is in the CNN.com news:
CNN personnel visited BCF March 12th and fell in love with Toesy and the other hens! So much traffic to this website was generated by the CNN.com article, that Toesy's Hen House is now a member of google.com/places! The Toes Knows!!
Toesy wills Lillian, the Tractor, over to her favorite dining spot: the Compost Pile. Update: Toesy died on the last day of 2011. She is buried around the Graveyard Pecan Tree, near her tractors....See her obituary in News of the Farm, menu at left.
Above: Tootie J.Tootums, RIP August, 2010
Read Tootie J. Tootum's first and last article on fall produce in the Fall 2010 issue of Edible Austin
J.Tootums was a much beloved member of the farm family (hens and
humans). She was mentored by the Dearly Departed Aunt Penny, who
She is survived by her twin sister, Hoppy J. Tootums, who, after the fall molt, is turning grey with grief.
The current spokes-hen for the inhabitants of the Hen House is the personable Aunt Penny. We'll follow her along on a typical busy day on the farm:
Here, she pauses on the entry wire fence, before leaving Rooster Buffy (left) and The Other Hens in the Hen House. Aunt Penny, of course, has no regrets about leaving The Others to their own devices, as she has work to do.
First, she steps out to the wood pile area, to see if the mulched areas are of culinary interest.
If not, then it's out to the back field to see if the Bok Choi (straight ahead) needs pruning.
After the delectable greens, she feels in the mood for a nice, plump worm or two. Staying ahead of the half-moon hoe -- got to watch out for her toes! -- she is able to consume whatever delicacies the hoe upturns. She'll even scratch around a bit to help with the cultivation. So considerate she is.
Carol Ann, looking rather jolly, has the bright idea to let Tootie J. Tootums out of the Hen House to accompany Aunt Penny in her endeavors. This is a mixed blessing for Auntie, who usually does quite well on her own and really wants no competition. But Tootie has been known to find some good worms, and Auntie has trained Tootie to step aside politely so that she can take advantage of the discovery. A bonus: Tootie will eagerly eat those disgusting white grub worms that Auntie so detests.
Above Tootie shows Aunt Penny a prime worm area....next to the stump of the Tornado Pecan Tree. Of course Aunt Penny is well aware of this stump and its digging possibilities. This is an example of how exasperating Tootie can be!
On market days (Wednesday or Saturday, 9-2), Aunt Penny is eager to mix with visitors.....either at the dirt pile, where she instructs children in the art of moving soil (best done with the feet), and helps them eat their snacks. Or, if an adult is in need of quiet company, she'll provide that, at the risk of dozing off of course. Above, she rests on Sean's probably very important papers, but it looks like Sean knows what's really important in life!
At the end of the day, below, when all is quiet on the farm, Aunt Penny likes to rest a spell in one of the rocking chairs on the back porch of the farm house. She is always quite thoughtful about the proper positioning of her, ahem, tail, on the chair.
While Aunt Penny is acting like a human, here's what's going on in the Hen House:
After eating worms and greens, the Hens enjoy a bit of grain. The black&white speckled Hens, both Silver-laced Wyandottes, known as "The Pattys," were raised by Chick Aunt Penny, who was just one month older than they. All three slept together in a small feed bowl, Auntie's little wings draped over the wee Chicks. Auntie says she would rather forget about that dismal period, and still wants nothing to do with them.
Mrs. Bentley's Wee Chicks (The Lucilles) in the nursery pen.
Another view of the nursery pen, here occupied by the late Mrs. Bentley (in gold feathers with white tail) and her last group of Chicks, The Lucilles. Once the Chicks are a month or so old, Mrs. Bentley will lead them out into Hen House society.
Rooster Buffy and a few of his Girls, strolling. Buffy is at his masculine best during the High Egg Season, February through June. During these very fertile months, Buffy is a very busy fellow.
One section of the huge run is occupied by three Meyer Lemon trees. It is the Hens' job to keep the area around them fertilized and well-cultivated. Notice how they do not allow a single blade of grass to mar the soil's surface. After all that work, they love to relax under the shade of the trees.
At times, especially after crops are well-established and not so susceptible to beaks, all of the Hens are allowed out on the farm at large. They are always VERY EXCITED as they exit the Hen House (which is not a terrible place to be, as they enjoy the very large run attached to the pen). Below, Rooster Buffy leads the Hens out for a day on the farm, where they will scratch for worms, eat grass, native plants, and the crops of course. Figs and ripe tomatoes are especially enjoyed!
An Americauna Hen (green eggs) examines the back side of the nocturnal perch/dormitory area.
Here the Hens enjoy beauty and edible tidbits. They will not consume datura (the white blooms) however, as they know the entire plant is toxic. So smart they are!
Oh, how exciting: Figs!
Life on the outside is so good! Especially when figs are in season. Usually the Hens can reach only the lowest figs, but Carol Ann has helpfully positioned the benches so that they can get to additional fruit! Rooster Buffy thinks this is all just too much exertion, but he's happy if his Hens are happy!
Yes! This is just perfect! The Hens wish every day was an outside day and that figs were always in season!
The following photos are in memory of one of our best Hens, Mrs. Elvira Bentley, who lived on the farm from 1996 to 2004. Mrs. Bentley raised three batches of Chicks each of her last five years, always adopting little orphans. She had little use for The Other Hens, as in her opinion, they had no maternal instincts, preferring to be party girls (Aunt Penny is a good example of that). Below she is pictured with her last daughters, The Lucilles (Golden-laced Wyandottes).
Her famously "bent tail" -- a natural feature; some would say it was her best feature -- was the inspiration for her name.
In contrast to Aunt Penny's chatty personality, Mrs. B. was serious, but a fierce fan of grub worms, cut worms, and tofu! She died due to a growth in her throat, during her 8th year of life. To the end, she ate as much tofu as she could swallow. She was a fine mentor to Aunt Penny, who always showed her complete respect. On Mrs. B's last day (and night) in the greenhouse, Aunt Penny came in to say good-bye, and quietly took her leave.
Mrs. Bentley is one of the stars of the book, "Stories from the Hen House." (More information is found on the Book Store page.) Of the four true stories, Mrs. Bentley's tells the tale of her adoption of The Nine Harriets. In this first maternal endeavor (1999), Mrs. B. proved her superior abilities, and later became the chief adopter of Chicks at the farm. She is interred, with the appropriate marker, next to another farm hero, Tubby J. Tupelo, Farm Cat, at the base of a tall pecan tree, close to both the Hen House and the farm house. An inspiring Hen for sure.
This page is dedicated to the fond memory of Mrs. Elvira Bentley and all of the other wonderful feathered friends of the farm who sleep in eternal rest in the fertile bottom land at Boggy Creek Farm. Special Note: Rooster Buffy died in the spring of 2006. After a respectful pause, his replacement, Rusty Roo Rooster, came as an adopted chick. A beautiful rusty/green Americauna rooster, he will begin his roosterly duties in February 2007.
Above: Aunt Penny Barrrock, February 2002- September 22, 2008....
Spokes Hen for the Farm, Head Hen of the Hen House, Feathered Friend of the Farm
Read her Eulogy on the News of the Farm page (menu list at top left)
A portion of the 75 wee chicks 5 days old....Read more about them by clicking on News of the Farm, in the index at the top of this page....
The Chicks, one month old, and feathering-out nicely, enjoying their Big Cage. The "bird cage" inside holds two recuperating chicks (toe injuries). They are happier when they can see and hear the other chicks. The log bench is for visitors who want to watch a bit of Chick TV! Along with their own "chicks" of course....
Above, at six weeks old, the chicks enjoy their attached "run" (the old chicken tractor) and some bamboo perches. (Note the little ramp at bottom left; it goes to their dining room/bedroom in the Big Cage.)
At seven weeks old, the chicks (pullets!) now live in the Hen House!
That's Nosey, with her beak in front of the camera!
Above, the pullets "weather" the 18-degree December 5th and the 9-degree January 9th freezes (as well as many others!), courtesy of their heat lamps...Kind of like sleeping in a furnace....
(Above, our smallest pullet, Toesy, whose development has been hampered by losing a couple of toe tips,
is nourished by Coyote Creek's pullet developer.)
Above: the little white egg at center right is the first egg laid by the pullets!
The other eggs were laid by the matrons....
(Above, The Boss Chicks are inquiring as to their next spot of grain...
or maybe they are just admiring themselves in the window. Notice Babette, the smallest of the Boss Chicks, delicately perched on a mud boot!)