Archive for Chickens

Christmas Chicks

Our hen house has been empty for months now but our house will have chicks for Christmas! No, not real ones…..these ones.

The pattern is from Martha Stewart. It is very easy to sew. In fact, Mojo made the one on the bottom left. That girl…..seeing her get excited about sewing and the enthusiasm with which she tackles her projects just makes my heart burst!

Our little flock is multiplying. We added another few since yesterday.I think there will be a chicken in every box this year. And, yes, children, these ones can be house pets.

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Murder Most Fowl

A few weeks ago, John went outside to let the birds out and feed them and was greeted by this:

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A missing roof board. This board had been loose for some time but we had wedged it into place and that seemed to be doing the trick. We should not have been so lazy, especially since we knew we had a raccoon in the neighborhood. Yes. Mr. Raccoon was back and he was busy. He slaughtered them all.

So ends our chicken keeping experiment. Maybe by spring we’ll feel up to trying again but after such a dismal end, I’m not so sure. The raccoon won.

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It’s War!

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We’re really lucky to have managed to keep chickens for years without intruders. Our luck has run out. Yesterday, upon awakening the coop door was wide open. Chickens were wandering all over our (and our neighbor’s) yard. In the bird’s fenced enclosure there was a pile of feathers and two feet. Looks like my girls had a nighttime visitor from Mr. Raccoon.

We shored up security in the Egg Chalet. I added more hardware to both the entrance and hen door.

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They will be securely padlocked in at night. I don’t think Mr. Raccoon can manage a lock and key. Take that!

Here’s a photo of the new chicks. They change so much in a few weeks.

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We are down to five chicks. One was smooshed by it’s mates. Another suffered a fall during play with a child. And one became fine dining for Mr. Raccoon. We’re doing our best at this point to make sure these gals make it to maturity. It’s a battle between us and Mr. Raccoon — what will get eaten first, the chicken or the egg — we’re pulling for the egg.

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Rain

It rained this week. Not a soft gentle spring rain but a downpour. My yard flooded.

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The chickens were not amused.

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Nor was I. Especially because it rained inside my house. Yes, the kitchen ceiling had water dripping down. Both John and I were puzzled because our house has two stories and the room directly above was dry. Clearly something is amiss somewhere but we could not figure out where.

It is no longer raining and my kitchen is dry. Can I pretend there is nothing wrong with my roof?

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Chicken Life

We’ve been keeping chickens for 3 years now.

Presently we have six of them. They are easy pets and very rewarding. Each day, in return for food, water and shelter they give us this:

Misconceptions abound about keeping poultry. Contrary to what most think, they are not smelly. And they are not messy. It helps that John regularly turns the soil in the coop area. They also get a weekly addition of yard clippings from several yards tossed in.

We have put effort into keeping their area cute. When we needed to build a bigger coop this year, we made sure that it was attractive.

This was built from a playhouse kit. I painted it to match our house. Their area is fenced in by a picket fence on two sides. The other two sides are 4 ft wire fencing. I clip wings regularly to keep the birds in their bounds but they do like to escape now and then. Two of them have taken a fancy to roosting in my neighbor’s bushes at night. John just nabs them after dark and tosses them in the coop. I leave them out and nothing foul has happened yet. Having a dog in the yard is even more encouragement for them to stay within their fence.

In our town and neighboring towns, restrictions about keeping birds have become stringent. There is fear that keeping poultry brings down property value and leads to neighborhood decline. While listening to my chickens softly cluck and watching their amusing antics, I can’t imagine how this could be. Mine are a positive addition to my yard and their (delicious! organic! free-range!) eggs a welcome addition to my kitchen.

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Clutch of Eggs

This is one day’s harvest from the happy hens.

We haven’t figured out which bird is laying the speckled eggs. And which bird (there are 6) is not yet laying. We’re thrilled that the birds are in full production. Lots of tasty omelets are being eaten in our house…..and in our neighbor’s.

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First Egg

Our spring chickens are maturing. Five of our chicks have made it this far — one died and two grew into roosters and left for new homes. We’ve been waiting to see if there are any other roosters in the bunch. We know one is not because someone laid her first egg yesterday.

Gross, eh? It has no shell — which sometimes happens for the first egg or so. We were laughing that the bird thought the coil of hose was a nest. John and I really need to finish that new coop we’ve been working on and get the nest boxes in place. We are so close.

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