18 AUG 2018
The summer season is winding down, and breeding season for the peafowl is over. The peahen eggs are no longer for sale (because they aren't laying anymore), but Damien's eye feathers will be in the sanctuary shop for sale soon. He's dropped pretty much his entire train this past week, so I just need to wash, measure, take pictures, and post them in the shop. Still no garden chickens in the shop because they keep exploding in the kiln and I haven't figured out why yet. I am still working on them because I like them and want some for myself. Reusable totes with handprinted designs should be up in the sanctuary shop for fall. Art, all around, has slowed since the pain in my arms and hands have gotten worse this past month. Working with my doctor to figure out why, but it's going to take some time.
This Does Not Make Them Less Than Us
A Flock Between Pastures was started in October 2014. I was 3 months into recovering from a car wreck that should have killed me when a Silver Sebright rooster showed up and adopted me. In August 2015, a yearling Blue India peacock appeared in the yard I had made for the Sebright rooster and the chickens that I gathered to keep him company. After a month of no one claiming him and him not leaving, I bought 2 peahens to keep him company.
Since then, I've had a few chickens die and many more chickens and peafowl come into the flock. While learning about how to care for poultry, I've been working as a disabled freelance artist. I also went back to college in 2015 to finish my BA in art history. Both of these have been difficult to do with the disabilities I ended up with as a result of the car wreck. There have been many bad days since the car wreck, but this need to do something with my life that I find fulfilling keeps me moving forward with my art and with the sanctuary.
When the sanctuary started, I had a full-time job with benefits. As of June 2017, I no longer have that job due to harassment and discrimination against me for being disable. To make sure the birds of the sanctuary keep getting fed, I regularly have merchandise available at our Redbubble shop and our direct shop, Avenoir. To support myself, I have a Storenvy shop and a direct shop, Gnossienne, where I sell my original artwork. I am also open for commissions. Eggs for incubation or eating are available during all seasons except winter (the hens don't lay during winter and I don't feel the need to create conditions that keep them laying year round - everyone needs a break sometimes). I will be selling both chicken chicks and peachicks starting in 2018, but that will only be for people who can come pick them up. I will not ship any chicks out of state.
All estimates are free and flexible according to materials and scheduling.
Quick rundown of the animals that have been/are part of A Flock Between Pastures.
Toki Wartooth (Not A Bumblebee)
Toki is a Shiba Inu/German Shepherd Dog mix that I adopted in October 2010. I adopted him as a puppy from a now defunct group that saved him from a kill shelter in New Mexico, USA. He's a very particular dog that doesn't really have time for anyone but me (with the exception of my grandparents and sometimes my parents and brother), and I think he's still irritated with me for adding Arya to our household a few months after him. Toki seems okay with the birds, especially when they're living in the brooders where he can lay down and watch them.
Odysseus is a Silver Sebright rooster and the bird that started me on the poultry sanctuary path. Since he just appeared out of nowhere, I have no idea how old he is. My best guess would be that he was under a year old or just over a year old when he found me - that's based on what his spurs looked like at that time and from having watched 8 other roosters after him hatch and grow. He is a bit of a shit for a bird that only weights 2lbs. but I have a soft spot for the ornery, cantankerous personalities. He sired two chicks before his hens unfortunately had to be euthanized due to health reasons. Now he spends his time hanging out with the peafowl.
Mercury and Memnoch
Mercury and Memnoch are the offspring of Odysseus and Athena (Mercury) and Calypso (Memnoch). Mercury was named after Freddie Mercury because she is very vocal. Memnoch was named after the devil character from Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles because he is my demon chicken. Seriously. His eyes keep getting redder the longer he lives and the shit lord attitude he inherited from Odysseus keeps getting bigger. These two are very much like Cersei and Jaime Lannister - they stick together a majority of the time and are very bossy with all the other birds (except the peafowl). They are my first ever incubated/hatched birds, and I am thrilled that they ended up with a mohawk that they flare up when they're irritated.
Sparta is a Quail Barbu D' Anvers. She and Nyx were given to me because they were extra chicks that a farmer didn't need for their flock. She is my one of my tiniest chickens, so, of course, she has the biggest personality. Sparta loves snack time and pushes the peafowl off the food or hides under their tails while eating as many of the snacks as she can. She's just the cutest thing I've ever seen and I wish I had about 10 of her. I was lucky to get one offspring from her (so far) and Ronan.
Ava'Dara is a Splash Sumatra hen that I got from a lady at a bird swap. Apparently, she couldn't get Ava'Dara to stop being broody and it was beginning to be a problem since she didn't have fertile eggs. I took her home, named her after the Marvel Comics character Ava'Dara Naganandini, and for the most part haven't had broody issues with her. Lila, Sparta, and Nyx were just leaving the brooder when Ava'Dara came to live with us, so she kind of mothered them. In fact, she kind of mothers and bosses all the chickens around. She has one offspring with Memnoch, so far.
Ronan is a Bantam Phoenix rooster. I named him after the Marvel Comics character Ronan the Accuser because I had read that Phoenix roosters weren't the nicest. He has turned out to be the best rooster I have and the sweetest to me. He is very attentive to his little flock of seven (because of the colour difference, the peafowl wouldn't let them integrate into the main flock), and he likes to perch up on my shoulder to watch the entire yard with me. He runs a pretty tight ship in his pen.
Epiphany and Mazikeen
Epiphany and Mazikeen are both Ayam Cemani hens and they are very difficult to tell apart (the tell is their combs - Pip's has a point that flops over just a little, while Maze's is short and straight up). Both are pretty much hands off hens that will occasionally come up to see what you're doing. Maze, in particular, likes to check out my hair when I change the colour of it.
One Two is the second offspring of Mercury and Memnoch. He is named after the character played by Gerard Butler in the movie RocknRolla. He has a similar shit lord personality to the rest of the males in his bloodline, but is less aggressive towards me than Memnoch and Odysseus. He is growing up in Ronan's flock while I try to get a few Bro Coops set up for all the roosters I keep getting.
Mina is the offspring of Sparta and Ronan and is named after Mina Harker from Bram Stoker's Dracula. She has the same big personality and appetite of Sparta, but is currently growing up in Ronan's flock. Mina unfortunately passed on 21 March 2018.
Fin Fang Foom
Fin Fang Foom is the offspring of Richmond and Damien and is named after the extraterrestrial dragon character from Marvel Comics (I just call her Fin for short). She is my troublemaker and often goes off on her own to check out random things. Much like Sy and Mim, she loves to run up and snatch food out of your hands. She seems to look more like Richmond, except for the pied aspect which is showing up on Fin in different areas than Richmond.
After hatching One Two and Mumbles, I needed to add a lot more hens to the flocks. I tried finding local people needing to sell or get rid of their backyard chickens, but was coming up empty handed for the amount of hens I needed. My mother ended up ordering 15 White Polish female chicks from a hatchery in the hopes that more females would help settle the males. The hatchery ended up sending me 16 chicks (1 was a "mystery breed"), and to my surprise all of them survived the mailing. One died two months later for reasons I still don't know. The remaining 14 White Polish ended up including one White Polish rooster. 2017 was no joke for roosters, I'm telling you. The rest were hens and collectively are called The Beckys. Individually, they are named: Ossa, Antiope, Europa, Iambe, Persephone, Nike, Sappho, Alala, Alecto, Megara, Nemesis, Psyche, and Electra.
Arya is a Scottish Terrier/Yorkshire Terrier mix and is exactly like her name sake (before the end of the first book, A Game of Thrones). I got her as a puppy from one of my brother's friends. Her and her litter mates grew up outside with a calf named Angus. Because of this, Arya loves to be outside especially in the snow. She also likes to watch the birds growing up in the brooders.
Athena, Calypso, Penelope, Nausicaa
Athena, Calypso, Penelope, and Nausicaä were Golden Laced Polish hens and Odysseus's flock. I got them through an ad from a guy needing to get rid of his flock to pay for his new house about 3 weeks after Odysseus came to live with me. He had started to treat me like a hen, and I realized that I maybe needed to get him some actual hens. These four where a great entry into the world of poultry. They all had distinct personalities and where easy to take care of, with the exception of one big health issue. This issue ended up causing enough damage after two years and they had to be euthanized.
Lila is a Bantam Phoenix hen and is named after the Marvel Comics character, Lila Cheney. She came from Boggy Bottom Bantams in Georgia, USA as an egg, and was my entry into the arduous process of hatching shipped eggs from a much lower elevation (spoiler alert: it has a very low success rate). Lila was extremely tiny when she hatched, but had no problem growing into a very nice sized bantam that helps run the flock. She's a very "hands off" hen - she doesn't like to be handled and doesn't like to visit with me unless I have dried mealworms or other treats.
Nyx is a Porcelain d'Uccle and the shiest hen I have. I think she's as shy as she is because she's booted (feathered feet) and that makes it more difficult for her to move quickly. She mostly sticks with Sparta or Lila when the flock is free ranging outside of their aviary, and doesn't stray very far from the cover of the coops and pens. Which is a good idea since we have eagles, hawks, and falcons around these parts. Nyx usually lets Sparta do all the pushing in for access to snacks, preferring not to cause drama in the flock.
Dalton, Richmond, Damien
Damien is an India blue peacock that decided I was going to take care of him almost a year to the day of my car wreck. I came home from work and there was this yearling peacock hanging out with my chickens! I was pretty sure someone would come looking for him since peafowl are a lot more expensive than chickens are, but no one showed up. So, I named him after the character Damien Scott from the TV show Strike Back and started to learn how to take care of peafowl. I got him two peahens since the chicken hens weren't understanding his elaborate displays of love. Richmond (named after Julia Richmond of the same show) is a Spalding Cameo Split Pied (darker peahen) and Dalton (named after Rachel Dalton) is a Spalding Purple Black Shoulder. They are a year younger than Damien.
Lucien is an Ayam Cemani rooster and is named after the Vertigo Comics character of the same name. I call him my chunky monkey because he's a very stout rooster. He almost looks like a bantam version of the Cemani, and I'm not sure if that's because he was hatched from a shipped egg that had been laid at a lower elevation. At any rate, being a hatch/flock mate to Ronan, Lucien is also an extremely well behaved rooster. Also, the camera loves him.
Igor was Mercury and Memnoch's first offspring and was named after Marty Feldman's character in Young Frankenstein because he had chicken scoliosis and a nutty personality. Despite the curve in his spine, he functioned like all the other chickens with no issues. He was killed at 5 months old in a skunk attack.
Mumbles is the offspring of Ava'Dara and Ronan and is named after the character played by Idris Elba in the movie RocknRolla. He is my monster rooster. By that, I mean he's huge and all pointy rooster feathers. I think he might be larger than the two non-bantam roosters I ended up with after he hatched. He is also growing up in Ronan's flock. He currently thinks he's my boyfriend and spends most of his time bringing me bits of grass or corn instead of free ranging or tidbitting for the hens of the flocks.
Syrax is the offspring of Dalton and Damien and is named after a dragon from the lore of the book series A Song of Ice and Fire. She's my fashionista and loves to be fawned over, but loves it more if you have food, something shiny, or nail polish on your fingernails she can peck at. From what I can tell so far, it seems like she will end up looking a lot like Dalton.
Mim is the second offspring of Richmond and Damien and is named after Madam Mim from The Sword in the Stone. I though he was a she for long enough to give him a name, and changed it to Mad Mim later. He had an extremely difficult hatch and was sick the first couple of months. I wasn't sure if he would survive, but he's been thriving so far. He is much smaller than his sisters and they usually do a good job of keeping him close to them. Although, he is starting to become a troublemaker like his twin, Fin, as they get older.
Beeker is the White Polish rooster that snuck into the order of hens we received. It took a very long time for him to start acting like a rooster, and still acts like one of the hens sometimes. He was named after David Bowie's character in the movie Labyrinth, but because he's the exact opposite of that character in personality and is very timid and goofy, he got named Beeker after the muppet of the same name.
Seti is the mystery breed chick that was sent with The Beckys and Beeker. He turned out to be an Egyptian Fayoumi rooster. Yes. Another rooster. The Bro Coops are filling up fast around here. He is an extremely hands off bird, not in an aggressive way like Mumbles, just in a doesn't want to be handled way. I wish he would have grown up in Ronan's flock because he's unfortunately not learned how to be a good rooster by being in Memnoch's flock. Like Beeker, he's still pretty young and his full personality isn't out just yet.
I mostly do illustrations. Since having gone back to college, I've also gotten into book making, pottery, and sculpture. I tend to lean more towards fictional subject matter more than I do towards non-fictional.
The work I do with the poultry is simply to give them a place to live until they die naturally. It's an expensive endeavor as far as the amount of money that goes into keeping them fed and cared for, and it's a rewarding endeavor as far as the entertainment and calmness they give me.
SEE MY work
I'm a freelance disabled artist living in Colorado with a lot of animals. Like, a LOT. I am currently working on becoming an art historian while I continue to learn about book making, sculpture, pottery, and taking care of poultry. So, I mostly spend a lot of time by myself hunched over a drawing tablet, a potter's wheel, or over a random bird I'm trying not to trip over when I'm not doing research for papers. It's not the most chic or trendsetting of lifestyles, but it works for me.