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The Back Forty -

Our Homestead Animal Farm Journal


Why Don't Our Chickens Fly Away?


People see our chickens running around the farm yard and sometimes wonder why they don't all just fly away. Well, that's a good question. Most of today's breeds have been bred for their meat or egg laying ability and have lost their capability to be very strong fliers. Some breeds can fly for very short distances having no trouble getting out of the way of our sometimes rambunctious goats, for example, but they can't fly for any distance to speak of, like their ancestors could. You can find out more about this topic at The Straight Dope.


What's the difference between alpacas and llamas?

 Hummer & Diesel

The main differences are size and fiber (fur) quality. Both llamas and alpacas belong to the family Camelidae. Llamas were primarily bred to be pack animals, (conditioned males can carry about 1/4–1/3 of their body weight) and alpacas were bred primarily as fiber producers. An average alpaca stands 34"–36" at the withers (shoulders), whereas a llama stands 42"–48" at the withers. Alpacas weigh 125–175 pounds on average. An adult male llama will reach a weight of between 300–450 lbs. A full size alpaca can produce 5–8 pounds of high-quality fiber each year.

You can meet our two alpacas, Hummer and Diesel, in person when you visit us here at the Homestead Animal Farm.


How the Donkey Came to Have His CrossMany donkeys have across cross shaped mark on their backs.

Many donkeys have a cross-shaped mark across their backs.


Everyone knows that the little gray donkey carries a cross on his back. Most people don't know the legend of the donkey's cross. The story is told that the little donkey that had been Jesus' mount on Palm Sunday came to the hill of Calvary. Seeing the tragic event occurring there, he wished with all his heart that he had been able to carry the cross for Jesus. He was the proper one to carry heavy burdens.

The donkey turned his back on the sight, but he could not leave. He wished to stay until all was over because of his love for Jesus. In reward for the loyal and humble love of the little donkey, the Lord caused the shadow of the cross to fall across his back and left it there for the donkey to carry forevermore as a sign that the love of God, no matter how humble, carries a reward for all to see.