Icelandic Chickens and a Sheepdog

We are traveling for a little mini-weekend vacation on March 2, to Greenbay, Wisconsin. Frank mentioned that perhaps we should drive, so that we could stop in to some of his relatives in Michigan. I remembered that there’s an Icelandic chicken breeder out in Illinois, and maybe we could pick up some chicks or eggs.

chicken144 So, we are definitely going to do that. We are thinking that we will get one rooster, four or five hens, and perhaps a dozen or two of eggs. The breed is really almost extinct, but we find the colors of them phenomenal. They are very varied, and really pretty. So we best get busy getting them someplace to move into when they get home! An 1100 mile drive with chickens in March is certainly going to be interesting.

Because it rains when it pours, I got a very welcome call from Elaine at Frelsi Farm today as well. I’ve been on her waiting list for an Icelandic puppy, and she’s got one for me! When she heard I was going to drive home with Icelandic chickens in March, she asked me to get a couple of hens for her as well, and a dozen eggs. So we’ll take those up to her and pick up the puppy in early March. Now we have to name him!

IMG_0555 She sent pictures of him, and here’s what she said about him: I know you will like him. His face will change as his nose gets black and some of the back on the muzzle fades. His markings are beautiful…had his first solid food today…rice cereal, and he seemed to think it was wonderful stuff. I will send pictures as he grows.

We attended the Vermont Pasture conference yesterday, and learned a lot about pasture raising chickens and pigs, which were going to be on the plan for this spring. Now, of course, we are googling about Icelandic pigs, but not coming up with much. I think we’ll do Tamworth, a heritage breed. We are very deliberately staying very far away from the Icelandic horses. Pretty, but way too much money. On this farm, you have to earn your keep, man.

The sheep are used for browsing and breaking in new pastures. We want to use the pigs on those pastures next, to root out the stumps and rocks, and turn the soil over. The chickens will be used for parasite control help, as well as fertilization, of course. The dog will be my buddy, and help me run the farm. Eventually, I want horses, too, and we are thinking of a draft cross. The premarin rescue organizations have the types of horse that want (smart and strong), but they seem to be a pain in the neck to work with.

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