Monday, August 12, 2013

Chicken Containment Evolution

After a couple of weeks and many chicken pen upgrades including, the Tupperware container brooder, the deck bench brooder, the exercise pen, the ghetto chicken tractor ( built by me) , The other half's awesome chicken house( for indoor use), we built a 8x8 shed.Currently the chickens are free ranging but after yesterdays escape to the "other side" of the neighbors fence.
They will be getting a coop soon and only be allowed free range privileges after our young man gets home from school, I get home from work, or it is a weekend and we are home.

Luckily we have been able to move the chickens up as they mature. When my other half built the awesome chicken house, we moved the barred rocks in with the "ladies in white" Barred rock chickens are mean! Considering that they are 2.5 weeks younger than the ladies, they chased the ladies around, and bullied them into a corner. It got so bad at one point when Chicken Little and Rooster Cogburn were bullying the ladies that I stuck them I solitary confinement for a week and a half and hoped that by then some sort of pecking order would be established and Rooster and Little would be moved to the bottom. When they moved back in with their "friends" their was  some scuffles but for the most part it worked.  The other change this brought about was a major attitude adjustment, in Chicken Little. From the beginning Chicken Little has been a biter. Every time I feed them or watered them or stuck my hand in to socialize with them she would peck me. While in isolation I was able to spend more time with her and we came to an understanding. She now is one of our more friendlier chickens, however many time s this is one her terms and she will only accept pets or hanging out with us when she isn't busy. She behaves like a teenager!

When Chicken Little and Rooster Cogburn were in isolation I stated looking for another rooster. My fear is that Rooster Cogburn will turn aggressive towards us and will then become my other half's first fly tying flies. I want a rooster to protect my flock, we have an extreme predator problem, hawks, fisher cats coyotes and fox, and weasels have all been spotted in neighboring yards. Granted I would probably try to work with Cogburn because he is pretty and after being reintegrated much nicer to the hens. He also needs a full 8 months of life for his hackle feather to come in appropriately.  I am luck enough to live really close to Terry Golson. and I have been reading her blog since I started hatching chicken dreams in my head.

Terry had a little rooster, who she dubbed Mr. Grumpy,  included in her shipment of pullets this spring and was requesting for someone to take this rooster and one of his "friends." Terry had mentioned several times that she was looking for a new home for him, and after some quick math I discovered he was of similar age as my  Ladies in White and I contacted her. I am hoping that because of his meek personality he doesn't turn aggressive.

Here is to Hoping

Monday, June 17, 2013

Getting Somewhere Now

When we first purchased our property in 2011, I had grad intentions of goats, gardens , chickens. Basically my little farmstead in the wilds of the "Backyard."
Since our property is too small for goats according to town bylaws. Perhaps I will have to borrow a neighbors to eat the poison ivy we haven't gotten rid of.  We have tamed the back yard and it is wonderful.
Last year for mothers day we set up some temporary raised beds and I have decided they are now going to be permanent raised beds and we will be adding to them as soon as the seedlings get a little bigger. For now the tomatos and peppers are in but our weather has been wonky and so spring crops haven't gone in as planned and now might become "basement crops" to keep them cool enough so that they don't bolt or wither away. My direct sow seeds are behind schedule and so I better get after it, perhaps tonight after I get home from work, and after soccer's ice cream social.

 I guess it will be probably be Sunday because that appears to be the next day I will be home for longer than to see my bed, and feed the chickens....CHICKENS! Yes we have those too and now that I have them, I have to say chicken math is absurd. I originally was going to order 6 chicks from my pet chicken. my other half and I decided to get plymouth barred rock chickens because he ties flies for fly fishing and their feathers would help offset the cost of buying the pelt in the store. I went into the local Tractor Supply to get brooder supplies when I ordered the chicks. Well Tractor Supply runs this CHICK Days Event around Easter every spring and they had chicks and ducks and they were irresistible. I wanted bantams but some crazy man and his son bought the last 20 of those and then 26 ducks which made me think. IF I DON"T GET THE CUTENESS NOW, I WILL HAVE NONE. Because I, of course hadn't just ordered some online. The chicks they had were a hybrid pullet called tetra links. they are a cross between a Rhode Island Red roo and a White Leghorn.

6 chicks in a boat
 I brought 6 of them home  to one excited child one ecstatic dog and my other half laughing at me. He laughs at my antics often, good thing he likes me. They grew at amazing speeds, so much that when the "original chicks" came in I had to move the "Ladies in White " into a bigger brooder. I also somehow ordered 6 guineas somewhere in this whole craziness....Not sure I even remember doing it. When I went to pick them up we got 7 because they threw in an extra.
Here they are all cute and Puffbally.

For the Ladies in White  only 5 survived. One was lost to an overexcited canine.We are going to say that after an outside adventure was scared to death. The Ladies are generally called by name since they all have distinguishing markings and personalities.

Sidekick, who is my favorite, and shares co-top chicken duties with
Jasmine, who is my sons favorite.
then there is
Loudmouth, Who would squawk at all hours as a chick, luckily she is much quieter now. 
Puppy, who is the dogs favorite and can be found on an adventure with either, Jasmine or Sidekick or leading someone else into trouble.
and Sedgewick, who just is.

For the Barred Rocks their were 4 that were named before their adult feathers came in, we don't know who they are now. We think we might know who 1 of them is but those names disappeared and now we have.


Rooster Cogburn, from true grit. We found out he was a rooster around 4 weeks when his comb started coming in and his legs started to thicken.
His best friend is a small, but a bully chicken, know as Chicken Little.

This is not Zelda This is a guinea

Then there is "Zelda" as my son named her as a chick. My other half and I call her Mustache, cause she has a mustache.

The other three are in need of a conglomerate name, because you really cant tell them apart and they tend to hang out together.They are becoming friendlier but, pretty much tolerate us, and follow the others around.