WELCOME TO W8TN4FRESHEGGS
A glimpse of my life with my Girls
Well I have accomplished my goals. Was able to figure out a new run for the girls and it has worked out nice. So much more room. From 6x8 to 11x8. I also had babies that seemed like forever, but now they are grown and with the big girls now. All healthy, except one I lost and I don't know why. Out of the 6 Ihad left, one was a rooster, a banty one, so not so bad. For now he is a keeper, since the coop is far enough away from the house that we don't hear it in the mornings anyway. When we are outside we do, but we have come to love his sound. His antics too. I did order them from mypetchicken. I called and let them know and they refunded me what I paid for him.
As always we are thrilled to have our girls and to add more to the flock for fun and function. My first set of girls will be five in the spring. Josephine, my favorite is at the bottom of the pecking order now. I watch out for her. Thinking of even getting a coop for the retired girls at some point. I don't want them picked on and to live a good life in peace.
Where did the time go? Another Nebraska winter. Not as bad as last year. The girls (7) are doing fine. It seems that most of them are going through a molt, now. Weird to me, since it is winter. They aren't eating as much and are not laying. Out of my original flock from 4 years ago I have 2 left out of my original 5. Josephine, Road Island Red and Anna May, Barred Rock. Bought from my pet chicken.
Anna May(Barred Rock, far left) and Josephine (Road Island Red) standing with Pot Pie and No Name. Notice how she is not as black and white as Anna May who was purchased by Mypetchicken.
My second batch I purchased were 3 more from my pet chicken. They are potpie, leghorn, Potpie 2, leghorn and a banty americana, named Chicken little. She is the favorite of my kids. They are all still around. The third set was girls that were actually ready to lay. I paid more upfront for them from a local guy.I wish I would have kept his name. I wasn't in the mood to start babies off. One was a buff Orphington, a barred rock and some fancy looking one that I still don't know what it is. I didn't name these guys. Other than the buff, called big bird like my other buff. They both have died. So I don't do well with Buffs. The other two are going strong. They are more independent, but I never really handled them either.
My fourth batch was a complete flop. They were roosters or got the meriks disease. Lesson learned. I had a feeling when I was at her house that it was a crap shoot and it was too good to be true. That maybe she wasn't doing things right.
Josephine and Anna May are super friendly and love to come talk to you and be held. They have been such a joy.
So now I am ready for babies again. I have my ordered placed for mypetchicken.com. I have had good luck with them. I know when they will arrive and it is all set. I ordered 7 more. Lots of different ones. Not a buff though. Two silkies females. So I am excited to get them.
I need to make a new run for my Henspa this spring.Will make modifications so that I can have the top open up. I also need to do a deep clean this spring and stain it. When I bought it, it was the only thing out there that was a prefab coop. It is amazing how backyard chickens has grown, and people who are getting chickens. There were only a few of here at first.I would be on here day after day for hours learning. It was a awesome. Not as much anymore, but I do enjoy it when I do.
Myself, my kids and my husband have loved having chickens. My husband wasn't into it at first. Now, he is right beside me, and most times by himself, giving the girls scratch, letting them out to free range,putting them to bed at night, giving them water and keeping watch over them. He loves the eggs too. So I am really thankful for that. It is no big deal when I say I am getting babies in the spring. He just goes with the flow and knows that part of the garage will be taken over by the new peeps.
Today was maintaining the coop. I have the deep litter method. I moved around the poo. Put more pine bedding on top. Added a little DE. Checked water and food. Gave them some kitty food, for protein. A little scratch. Switched out their heat lamp, since they are molting and put one in that will help them keep warmer. Checked nest boxes and cleaned. It only took maybe twenty minutes. I enjoyed every minute of it and was bummed that I was finished. Other than it was a bit cold outside. Chickens are easy to take care of. I take pride that my girls have a clean coop and that they are healthy. What a joy they have been.
What a hell of a winter in Nebraska. The girls have been hanging on and keeping warm. For about a month or so I didn't get any eggs. But that was just fine with me, the poor things had to eat just to keep warm. I made sure I gave them extra scratch. Plan on having a different set up next year for them. As of now I can't get to the inside of the coop because of snow.I had a heater lamp, but I could smell it and turned it off.They would have to depend on each other. They are fine though, because they have food and water. Thier poop and each other is keeping them warm. They look fat and healthy and are laying eggs again. They look better now and are not picking at each other like they did in the summer. Even though they are cooped up and not let out as often. I think they know they have to get along.
The girls are inside on the roosts nice and toasty.
The coop buried. I have a cover over it, most of the way.
Believe it or not, I can still get to them through the run.
Have had a good summer. The girls are doing well. I have had my girls for three summers and don't recall one of them going into a moult. They never have lost feathers or anything that seems like a moult. Egg production is down, I might get four or five eggs out of 9 girls. It really doesn't matter to me, since we have them to enjoy them and the eggs are a bonus. I did lose my favorite Penny. Found her spread out in the coop. Noticed a day before that she was off by herself when free ranging. The next day she was gone. Out of all the babies I bought in early spring I am down to two. Both are Rhode Island reds and the one, I swear is a rooster. He is just beautiful, huge and has the tail feathers that are very colorful. The thing is, he hasn't crowed yet. He is so quiet. Don't really know what i will do, for now he is okay. Not going after the girls yet and is a sweetie. As soon as he crows, he will have to go. Just read my other pages and you will know why. I have the coop back in the old spot in the back yard. I like it better up front. We can see them and say hi if they aren't free ranging. Easier to take care of too. I think they like it up by the house better too. I will leave them be for now. Come late fall, I will move them back up by the house.
Alot has changed since I had written last. The big one pictured below, got sick and died. Have no idea what happened. Two others were roosters. I did go out and get two more Rhode Island reds. They are smaller than the rest. So now I am down to three and hopefully they are all hens. So the ones I purchased in Iowa were mostly roosters. I know mypetchicken costs more, but at least I know what I am getting. Sex wise that is. So I fed these guys for months and get maybe two out of the bunch that are hens. It isn't worth the trouble. Or I can just go buy the hens when they are older. Lesson learned. All is well with the others. Moved the coop back by the garden for the summer.
They have arrived. I got on craigslist and was able to drive 40 minutes to pick up three Americana chicks that will lay blue eggs. I have Penny who lays green eggs and wanted to get blue. I also ended up getting a mutt. Part Maran and Ameicana. She will lay blue eggs too. They were $2.50 each. The only thing is... they may be roosters. I will have to take my chances. There are plenty of peolple around here that would take them. If not, it might be our first try at processing. Even though I don't prefer that route. I strictly enjoy them and eating the eggs. At first the bigger one pecked at the little ones. She spent one nice separatated, but right next to them. She didn't like being alone. I tried it the next day and she has become the mommy to the little guys.
The brooder is now ready. I think I will get four or five more chicks. Have to decide if I want a easter egger bad enough and have to order online or do I just go and get a few at the local bomgaars. Waiting for it to warm up a bit more. I had the chicken hutch for awhile for emergencies. Used it once and it came in handy for a sick one. Then used it again for my last year additon of three young hens. They have done awesome. I added the run just recently in anticipation of getting babies. I am excited to see how well the new babies chicks like it. I will move this outside and secure it for them when it is the right time. Eventually I will move them in with the big girls.
It has been a great move with the coop. The girls are doing great. Spring is in the air. Plan on adding three more baby chickens or full grown ones in a month or so. The three new girls are doing great.
I don' know what kind she is. Can you tell me what she is? She is a nice bird.
I fattened them up. They are still at the bottom of the pecking order. I named the buff after the old buff, big bird. The other two aren't named. I guess the first batch are the ones you connect to, since I got them as babies. Josephine is my favorite now. My brother was right about the rhode Island reds. Glad I name her afte him. Penny and Anna May are tied.
Wow, the site sure has changed. I don't get on as much anymore. Guess I figured it out that nature takes it course. Tons of people on here too. Thousands more when I first showed up. The site helped me tons. In the end though, less is more. Let them be in nature and do thier thing. Water, feed and good shelter and they are all fine.
Besides a mishap a few weeks ago, I haven't lost one yet. No pests, preditors or illness. They are pretty spoiled. One of my new ones a few weeks ago up and disappeared. I chalked it up as my first loss. Figured a hawk got to her. So it goes. It would have been sad, but it will happen someday. Near a week went by and lo and behold there she was out in the field looking at me. The field was her exact color, so she got lucky that way. I don't know if she went broody or what. I would figure she would have been gone longer than a week or so. Perhaps she was taken a break and I found her. Anyway she is back home and doing fine.
The coop has been a blessing. I don't usually move it anymore, if only to move it a few feet to clean under it and let the ground rest. Then I put it back in the same spot. The girls get out daily to free range. So I figure they get plenty of grass and that the coop doesn't have to have it.
Winter is a different story. I just winterized it for the most part. The only thing I have to do is put the light in and get it ready for the cold nights that we get in Nebraska. This year I moved it up next to my garage. I am quite shocked that my husband allowed me to do this. As this means it is basically in the front yard. Oh how nice it is to go out my patio door to collect eggs, give feed and water and just to check on them. Also when I leave in the morning to say "Have a good day Girls". Then they coo back at me.
My huband has come around. He doesn't love them, but sure does appreciate them. He goes on and on about the eggs. We rarley go out to breakast to eat anymore because they are so good. He was there this year to move, clean and winterize the coop. He was also there to help me find the four that couldn't figure out where the coop was after I moved it to the new site. There we were in the dark trying to find the girls. They of course were at the old spot in a tree and on the ground huddled up. I even made them stay in the coop for a few days so they would figure it out. Today I let them out again, hopefully they find there way back. He doesn't complain about the price of the coop. Just the poop that the girls leave behind on our porch. But lovinly of course.
This will be my second winter and I hope I made the right choice in moving the coop. I did it for myself, but also the girls so they are easier to watch. I put bedding under thier roosts and run. Covered the run in clear plastic. Lastly, I need to put in the light so when it is needed it is ready to go.
So far they have been a joy. Nine hens a laying. Most are named. We do love them and care for them. But now I know in order for them to enjoy life a wee bit more is to let them have freedom. Knowing that I may lose a few here and there. It will be sad, but at least they enjoyed the time they had.
Here's to a good winter and that they all make it till spring.
Boy it sure has been awhile. A few things have changed, including that it is finally spring. A cold spring, but it is still spring. I did lose my favorite chicken Bella over the winter. She was egg bound. First time I had to deal with it. I felt so bad for her. She ended up having a heart attack right in front of me. It was so sad. So sad, I didn't want to talk about it.
I knew that I wanted to add back the few that I had lost, but I didn't want to start out with babies. I was so lucky to find an ad in our paper and was able to get three laying young hens. A buff orphington, Barred Rock and something else that I don't know what she is. She is pretty though. I will have to post a picture and have someone tell me what it is.
I had the new girls separated for about two weeks and put them in with the others. They had never been outside before. They were so scared. So I let them get use to being free for awhile. Now they are with the others, but they don't go far from the coop at all.
It has been a little bit over a year since I started having chickens. I love them. It has been awesome. They just center you. Make you slow down and see the little things in life as important. They live in the moment.
The New Girls
Finally a warm day! I think it made it to 37 degrees. The lowest here was -17 degrees. I sat outside with them and watched them take dust baths. They were so excited to sit in the sun and bask. So was I. They are all doing really well, and look healthy. Getting mostly three or four eggs a day out of seven chickens. Bella, the banty always lays everyday.
I have been secretly looking for ways to make another coop or purchase something to turn into a coop. I know I shouldn't be doing this. My husband will flip. I would love to have a little banty coop. Just to be able to build something on my own would be fun. At least I think it would. My brother has a good sized dog house that looks like a barn. It needs work, but would make a cute coop for banties. Silkie banties that is. I have one silky and I think she would enjoy having a few sisters just like her. Am I getting the fever or what? I told myself, no chicks this spring, wait until next spring. It will be hard to do!
I am glad all is going well. I don't want to lose anymore.
Guess what? I lost another one. I can't believe it. This time it was in the coop all laid out flat. It was Sylvia. What is going on?? I did notice that she was off to herself the two days that I let them free range. The one time she was in the nest box. So I really didn't think anything of it. So I made sure to watch the rest of them. Foghorn, was staying off to herself. I put her into isolation for a few days. Tonight, I put her back in with the rest of the girls. Really can't figure it out. Hopefully I don't lose anymore.
It is finally warming up. At least for a little while. So I have turned off the heat lamp and water bucket heater for now. I am sure I will have to turn them on sooner or later. Around here it will stay cold all the way until April or May.
I decided to go to the pet store and buy the girls some grass/straw. I found some called orchard grass. It is a sweet grass and I thought it would be good for them to eat, since they don't have access to fresh grass daily. Also to see if I could find some feed with flax seed or fishoil,omega three's etc. What I found was a container of feed that is for parakeets. It is for reducing stress while mating, molting, traveling,etc. Thought it couldn't hurt. Within a few days I went from a couple of eggs to FIVE. I don't know if it was the grass or the seed, but I was excited. I put the grass in their nest boxes too. Since it is only AstroTurf in there. Something to mess with while laying eggs, plus they can eat it. Not sure what did it, but I do know they seem happier.
For the past two days they have been able to free range. It has been in the forty's here. It is so cute how they come up to the front porch. Go to the kitchen door and stand there waiting for food. Standing there and crying for food more like it. My cousin bought me a door matt that said " Close the door before you let the chickens in" It is so true around my house.
They have been such a joy. I love being outside and everyday I must take care of my girls. Cheaper than therapy that is for sure.
Shortly after Tweety Bird died, I decided to put in a heat lamp. At first it was a 150 red light. It seemed to do the job and take the edge off. Then the temps dipped even more. Like -1 degrees So I bought a 250 red light. The girls are all still huddled under it when I go to check on them. So they must love that I have added it to the coop. I didn't want to, but OH WELL. They seem not as stressed out and have started to lay in the nest box more often. If I lose electricity, I will be having chickens in the house. Or at least the garage. I only have eight girls now.
When the sun is shining and there is no wind I let them out to free range. All but one comes out. Silvia wants nothing to do with the snow. At first they were all scared, but they have gotten use to the hard snow.
Everyday at least once they get oatmeal to warm them up. I am getting just two to three eggs a day. Bella the Banty has laid everyday. The leghorns are also laying almost every day. All is going fine, just downright cold in Nebraska.
Today, was my first loss. I have no clue as to why or what happened. Went out to check on the girls and Tweety Bird was all curled up in the corner of the run area. She will be sorely missed. What amazed me the most was her sisters. After I removed Tweety bird I came back to check the girls over. Penny, Anna May and Josephine, the top hens were standing in the area that Tweety Bird was laying. Later, the rest of the flock did the same. They were all quiet and and calm. It was so somber to watch. You will be missed Tweety Bird!
I miss seeing my girls out and about. It is cold here, ice and snow. I really can't just hang out outside because it isn't comfortable. The girls really don't want to come out either. They know it is too cold too. Still laying a few eggs. I was able to get three yesterday. Sometimes when I find them they are frozen and cracked. It is THAT cold. Bella hasn't missed a day. Usually lays in the evening. The leghorns lay almost everyday too. The rest just here and there.
The girls are all messed up. They lay the eggs on the ground, that is, if I get any. Only a few a day now. Which is normal, since they don't get 14 hours of sunlight. I think I need to cover the nest boxes at night. This is getting frusterating. I did have a light in there, it wasn't on and low and behold they knocked it down. So I was glad that it wasn't on.
The other day Josephine lays an egg without a shell on my sidewalk. Just stood there for the longests time. I put her in quarantine, not knowing what to make of it. She didn't seeem right. I fed her a boiled egg and she ate it. Saw her drink. Let her be for the night in the garage. The next day I put her back with the others. She stayed off by herself for a while, but then she was with the others. Don't know what to make of it. Researched on here and it said sometimes it happens.
Cold here. The lowest so far I think has been 22 degrees out. I haven't let them out if the wind is blowing hard. Otherwise they get to freerange for awhile. I hope they are warm enough. They seem to be doing fine. Other than less egg laying. I would lay less eggs too if it were that cold.
11.16.07I know to some it would be gross. But today with a friends daughter I am watching, we were able to see an egg being laid.I opened the door and there she was, getting ready to lay it. It was pretty cool to me and she thought so too. Thanks Potpie!
Yesterday a friend came over with her two(3 and 5 years) boys. It was priceless when they opened the nest door to find eggs. Total of four. Each took out two and put them in their own egg cartons. I gave them enough for each of them to have a 1/2 dozen. They were so excited. I called my freind this morning and she said right away when they got home they used them. Partly for scrambled eggs and then they made a cake. It makes it all worth while, when you get to share them with everyone. The chickens and the eggs.
Eggs are stil being laid on the ground!! Ahggg. Penny looks bald on her neck still. Otherwise all is well. Thinking of putting in a new door or window or something so I can get to the eggs on the ground without crawling in or lifting up the coop to get them. What a pain! Penny is the culprit as always. It looks like the four little ones are starting to lay. I know for sure that potpie and foghorn, are. Possibly Silvia and maybe Chicken Little. It was soo tiny of an egg, but it wasn't green like her legs so not sure.
The girls gathering around the coop before going to bed.
All is going well as the temperatures slowly dips. Have plugged in the water bucket. I have put plastic on the (north) backside of the Henspa. Put a piece of linoleum under the coop, in addition to a layer of pine bedding. Continue to add pine bedding to roosting area and a little DE. The run is completly enclosed and top covered at night.
Have the light ready, but really, really do not want to use it. I do turn it on when I go to check on them. I did have it on for a wee bit last night just to see and they were all spread out from each other. Fighting a wee bit too. Yes, it will keep them toasty, but what happens when I can't do that for them. Go out of town, electricity fails, etc. I want them to be hardy.
Still getting eggs. Most likely that will slow down. May use the light (lower wattage) a wee bit in the morning before daylight, just to give them more day. But most likely not. I still let them out to freerange, but the time is getting shorter and shorter.
Penny is back to looking bald on her neck area. So Josephine hasn't stopped pecking at her. The good news is that she has laid her eggs in the nest for the last few day. Josephine may have to be put in a separate pen soon.
Yesterday as I was checking on the girls, I noticed Anna May in the nest. Right there almost half in the nest was Penny watching her. I go to check for eggs later and Penny laid one in the nest. Thanks Anna May for showing her the way to do it. Hopefully I find Pennys egg in the nest again today or tomorrow. Penny seems to lay every other day.
This morning I go and check on the girls and for the first time, all nests were being used. It was so cute seeing them all lined up.
Looks like Bella may have become freinds with Chicken Little, my little americauna banty. They have been in the nest sleeping together at night. Also they have been seen hanging out together more. Chicken Little I think is the last of the pecking order. I sure do hope they become friends and hang out together.
Just about ready to put bedding down below the coop area and straw in the run area. Will be getting cold here real quick.
Bella the banty seems to be the boss. She isn't mean or anything, but she seems to look out for everyone. Stays close to the coop and does all the calling out to the girls. Maybe I am wrong. But nobody and I mean nobody messes with her. Here she is in her favorite spot. Most nights you will find her here also, tucked in for bed. I let her be, since she is so little. She will stay warmer in the nest than out in the open. She is sooo cute!
Josephine is still pecking at Penny. I wonder if she is mad at Penny for not laying her eggs in the nest? Penny is the only one that does this. I have a Chicken hutch in the garage, I just may have to put josephine in jail for a few days. I don't want to do it, but I just may have to.
I moved the coop again. Put it back in my favorite spot during the summer. I didn't think that it would get sun in the winter but it does. I can see it from my deck off my master bedroom. To say hello in the morning, to be able to listen to them announce that they have laid an egg. But most importantly, to hear for critters in the middle of the night. The back side of the coop has a big evergreen behind it on the north side. Last year it was amazing when the wind was blowing so hard during a storm. I stood in front of the tree to test it out, and the wind was barely there. So I think it will be a good spot.10/18/07
Keep finding eggs on the ground. Penny is the culprit. Dang her. I keep putting fake eggs in and sometimes she goes in the nest. Most times she doesn't. Then the other follow her. I sure wish they would lay earlier in the day so I can let them free range earlier.
We have gotten tons of rain. Everything is just mud. I moved the Henspa under the deck and have decided to leave it there. I winterized the outside and plan to do a wee bit more. On the inside I will use straw and pine bedding on the ground.
My first problem girl (Josephine) has arrived in regards to pecking. I think she is doing it out of affection for Penny. Not to be mean to her or anything. I need to ask advise here and maybe buy something to deter her from poking at Penny. She is quite the site.
Moved the Henspa today and found 3 eggs on the ground in the dirt. I had moved the Henspa on dirt for a few days and I guess it made a good spot to lay. Oh.... I hope this isn't a bad habit. The good news is that Penny has started to lay. Two of the eggs were green. The third was pink, so that was Bella the Banty. This is sooooo much fun!!
Back on the grass they are and I will put in fake eggs in the nests for a few days to get Penny to learn where to lay. So I have gone from 1 egg a day to five today. The young girls are 19 weeks and of the four, Potpie the Leghorn is laying. So within a month I should be getting up to 9 eggs a day.
I gave my first 1/2 dozen away yesterday and they thought it was so cool. I could even tell them who laid what egg. So far I have brown(BR and BO), speckled reddish brown(RIR), white(LEGHORN), pink (SILKY BANTY), and green colors (AMERICANA).
Well.... I was wrong. I think that huge egg was from my Buff Orpington. She doesn't seem to lay everyday, but when she does it is huge! I have been watching them and Josephine (RIR) is consistent, along with Anna May(BR) and now one of my leghorns starting laying too. I don't think she has missed a day since she started. This past week I started to get a pinkish egg, did some research and that seems to be coming from my Banty, Bella. Yesterday, I tried to pet Penny and she took the stance, so I should be getting blue/green eggs soon. Also yesterday for the first time, the Buff took the stance also. She usually takes off running and fast.
All is going well. Need to figure out where to place the coop for winter. I thought I was being smart by putting it where the pool was, so I didn't have to move it. Well, it rained ALOT last night. To get to the eggs, I had to step in mud. Will need to rethink it. The spot I love, would be too shady for the winter. When the winds come up it is good though. Where it is now isn't good when the wind is blowing hard. Only good for the sun to beat on it in the winter.
4 out of nine are laying.
Josephine, Anna May, Potpie and Bella are giving me eggs now.
The real first egg! Josephine laid her first real egg and not a pullet egg today. It was huge. I am hoping that they continue on being bigger. Now I know what everyone is talking about. It just takes time.
The first part of this week, Anna May has started to lay her pullet eggs. She became a lot more noisy. Like she was trying to tell me something. And yes. you do hear them cackle after the egg is laid.
Penny is now taking the mating stance, along with Potpie. I expect them to be laying in a few weeks. Seems like after they start it, it takes a week or so before you see eggs.
Everyone is doing well. Getting along great. No losses yet. I free range everyday at least 4 hours. They seem to know when there is danger. They stick close to the house.
I knew it was coming. Josephine was acting strange a few days ago. This morning I look in the nest box and there it was. Our First Egg! Cute as could be. I am thinking it was Josephine, but not sure. Can't wait to see if tomorrow brings more eggs. The older girls are 18 weeks. Second batch are 13 weeks.
I can already see that they are trying to figure out who is going to be the top hen. They are bucking each others chest and such. But they still overall get along very well. Real quiet in the morning now.
Did have to give Billy the Rooster a new home. It was him or the husband. It was almost a tie.It will be interesting to see the dynamics of the group now that Billy is gone.