Readying the Roost for Spring Newbies at Better Farm

We're adopting a few of these Barred Rock chickens from a neighbor.
Spring is here, and Better Farm is about to expand its roommates roster to include a bunch of spent hens, baby chicks, and cashmere goats. Here's the who's-who of our soon-to-be feathered and furry friends.

Bard rock chicks.
Spent Hens
We've organized a rescue operation for 20 "spent hens" out toward Lowville; birds who've spent their first year of life laying more than 250 eggs before being discarded when their level of "productivity" declines. The hens who did nothing but lay eggs usually end up in soups, pot pies, dog food, or similar low-grade chicken meat products.

We'll be rescuing about 20 hens from their soup-pot fate at the end of May. The birds are classic bantam whites, who look like this:

Baby Chicks
Two neighbors have offered us baby chicks, as well. One breed is the Barred Rock (pictured above), who look just like our gal Sissy full-grown and lay brown eggs:

We're also being given a few Ameraucanas, who  lay pastel-colored eggs:

Our friend Nils Horning contacted us recently about sponsoring two baby goats for us from Laughing Goat Fiber Farm. We're likely opting for cashmere bucks (pictured above), who we'll take care of and who will clear brush for us in return. We'll shear them once a year and spin cashmere yarn, available for sale and also for knitting and crocheting workshops. The goats will be joining us in June. Check out how cute the babies are:

We'll be housing the goats in the old pig barn on the property, which Matt managed to empty last week. We'll need to add batten strips, replace windows, do a little demo, build stalls, and get a thick layer of hay on the ground:

Stay tuned for more photos of the shed project, upcoming chicken coop construction, and arrival of our new roomies!


Nicole Caldwell

Nicole Caldwell is a self-taught environmentalist, green-living savant and sustainability educator with more than a decade of professional writing experience. She is also the co-founder of Better Farm and president of betterArts. Nicole’s work has been featured in Mother Earth News, Reader’s Digest, Time Out New York, and many other publications. Her first book, Better: The Everyday Art of Sustainable Living, is due out this July through New Society Publishers.