Thursday, August 6, 2009

Short Sheep and short chickens too!

Shady Oaks has a committment to preserving heritage breeds of farm animals whenever possible.

The first thing that caught my eye on the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy list was the name. How could anyone resist having a Dorkie? The more I read about them the more intrigued I became. Dorkies are an ancient Roman breed of 'farm' chickens. They are excellent layers of lightly tinted pink eggs and can be harvested for the table as well. They are primarily egg layers, bug eaters and landscape assistants on our farm. The have an extra toe which perhaps makes up for their short legs. They are lovely chickens to have around, calm dispositions and beautiful plumage too boot.

We also have Japanese Black Tail Buff Bantams to entertain us and provide another decorative addition to the farm. The little JBT's are a hoot. The resident roosters, Bert and Harry are pals who share the harem of hens with good humor. They are good tempered little fellows only becoming militant when their buddy or one of the girls is in distress. Then they are fearless but they don't hold a grudge. Most of the time the troop motors around the property maintaining a continuous gurgle of conversation with occasional celebrations that involve cackles, crows and other chicken laughter.

One of the girls is quite matronly and will hatch a clutch in the spring and mother them until they no longer fit under her widespread wings. Then she starts over. Her offspring have migrated to eastern Oregon, Newberg, Cottage Grove and Estacada. We are always happy to share these little characters. The roosters are magnificent if small (they of course think they are not only quite handsome but also substantial). The little hens are demure and adoring. When new chicks are introduced to the flock the roosters show them the best places to find good bugs and will come to their aid if they are in trouble.

So now you have met the avian contingent of Shady Oaks Shetlands. What's next you ask? How about short goats? The Nigies require a post of their own for equal time. Come back and meet Lilac, Daphne, Poppy, Violet and the rest of the gang.

1 comment:

  1. Your Dorkie rooster looks like the classic rooster in all the old farm rooster scenes! I also enjoy my chickens for their aesthetic beauty and entertainment value ~ which is a good thing since I'm not getting any eggs! (Ann Margaret is too old and Star, Elvira, Oprah and Goldilocks are too young!)