The above statement pretty much represents everyone's reaction when I decided to bring some girls into our family. I live in Indy & not many people around here have chickens. Those animals are for the "farmers" in the country, not the citizens in the city/suburbia...is the common thought. Often, I will either have them visit this wonderful site that we are all a part of, or if they're still not convinced...This one: http://www.eggindustry.com/. Anywho here are some pictures and a little bit of info about my chickens (I only have had them a week, as of today 3/18/09)
First, a "club-house" that our children insisted on having and it ended up being a storage shed
After a little begging & compromise, I convinced my husband to convert this un-used shed into a chicken coop & run...who can resist free eggs & fertilizer for our garden? Here is the end result:
Plus, check out my spiffy door...I can allow the girls to roam their run without having to step foot in the coop or run!
Now, onto the interior. We built 3 nesting boxes (we are supposed to have 12 girls if they all make it okay). We also lined the top of the boxes and the floor with leno, so I am able to clean with ease. The roosting posts are large limbs found in our yard, from our many trees. I sure hope they don't poop on eachother, or we're going to have to move them Here are the babies the first day of their arrival. I ordered from Ideal Hatchery and have been more than pleased! My order included:
- 2 Australorps
- 2 White Rocks
- 2 Barred Rocks
- 2 Silver-Laced Wyandottes
- 2 Easter Eggers
- 2 Gold Sex Links
- 7 "Peanuts" which I have concluded 6 are Rhode Island Reds & 1 Partridge RockMy girls started out in a baby pool brooder, paper towels were used for the first week & regular chicken starter from TSC. I did not add any additional "extras" to their water. They were not vaccinated against Maerks, however, I do use medicated feed.
Just a few more pics of my girls (& boys). After 1 week they were moved to pine shavings. I find a large bag for $6 at our local Walmart.
The 2 on the left are my SLW (very sweet) & a BR on the right checking out the camera!
Sally is my ds' & my fave chick so far. She is an EE & super-sweet!
My 2yo who refuses to hold a "chickie" but will pet...
My 6yo who loves his Sally
I never realized how quickly chickens grow!! I've never seen another living being grow so fast...must be all that food they've been going thru lately! Speaking of food, I bought my first bag of feed @ TSC. They carry Dumor products & then I realized that the feed they were getting was not medicated. So, I swung by a feed & seed store. I even picked up some seeds for my garden...I ran out of that & found a feed store much closer to my home that sells Purina products for about $12.95 for a 50lb bag.
Here are some pics of the girls & boys towards the end of March 09'...They still had fuzzy butts then
Here is our Big Boy Jake. He is an adopted (around 10 months) Chow & Golden Retriever mix (we think). He is now 7 years old and starting to turn white around his snout. He luckily, has been good with the girls & boys. At first I was a little worried, cuz he was actually DROOLING while he paced around the run the first day that they were outside. He now rarely even seems interested in them. Only if I'm bringing out treats, I had better have something for him
Here are the girls in early April. I went to visit family during Spring Break and left the chicks in the care of my dh for 3 days. He was very responsible...though I'm sure it was due to the fact that I threatened his life if anything happened.
My EE, Piper, is one of the most spazziest chicks. Rarely, do I get a shot of her standing still, she's usually running around like a chicken w/her head cut-off. And one of the roos checking out the weather.
"Mr. Photographer, I think I'm ready for my close-up"
Silver-Laced Wyandottes (so far) are my favorite breeds. They are sweet, brave & curious, what a great combination. Plus, they will look gorgeous when they are older!
One of the White Barred Rocks that I am hoping is NOT a roo. The White Rocks are my ds' and he will upset if we have to get rid of one of his chickens
Speaking of tears...Just recently I had to give-up 6 of my chicks. You see, when you order small amount (I ordered 12), they send you these extra "packing-peanuts." Which are almost always Roos. In receiving them, you realize that you do have to give them up. Especially, if you live in an Metro-area suburb as we do, the option of having a roo is just not worth dealing with. Angry neighbors, Zoning, you know the usual. We lucked out though. Instead of re-homing to an unknown place. Our chicks were lucky enough to be taken by one of my dh's co-workers. He currently has chickens (lots) and knows all the ins & outs. I know they will be dinner eventually, but at least I know they will have a nice home until they do. We received 7 Roos, which I am assuming either are all RIR or 6 RIRs & 1 PR.
We ended up keeping 1 of the RIRs. She appears to be a pullet instead of a roo (crossing fingers). Her comb is a yellowish color and not the bright red/pink color of the others & barely any wattles. Plus, her body is just shaped different. Roos are pigs and their bodies prove they eat waaaaay more than those girls! Here she is, hopefully I'm right!!
So, it has been fairly chilly (40ish), rainy and windy for the past several days. Normally, I allow the girls to head out in their run in the morning & close them up after their dinner time. Yesterday, however, it was really cold, raining a lot & so I thought it would be in their best interest to not allow them outside. They are, afterall, only 5wks...BOY was I wrong! I noticed one of our favorite girls (an EE, Sally) had blood on her neck. Then I realized she was bloody, because her feathers were picked out! Poor girl, so we removed her & put her in a Rubbermaid container in our garage, so she can heal. I KNOW they did this because I didn't let them out, they got bored & started to pick, one of the more docile girls. Anywho, lesson learned, I will be opening the door from now on, I'd rather have them get chilly, then pick eachother to death
Here is poor Sally in the "Chicken Nurse's Office"
I secluded her for one day & night in this tub. She was not a happy-camper and kept trying to fly out, only to bump her head...poor thing! The next morning I reintroduced her to the flock w/a little Vicks VapoRub smeared near her wound. I opened the run & have opened it everyday (even on the mornings when it was barely above freezing) we have had no problems w/picking or pecking since.
These girls sure have feathered out quickly...Here they are enjoying their roosts (aren't they so cute, all puffed?) and also a few still enjoying the floor near the heat lamp all
cozy & cuddly.
Onto the subject of treats...Currently my girls have had the following treats:
Yogurt @ 3wks---hit
Boiled eggs @ 4wks---hit (BIGGEST HIT)
Canteloupe @ 4wks---miss
Broccoli @ 5wks---miss
Worms @ 3wks---hit
Now, I know there is a bit controversy surrounding worms for chickens. Whoever knew that earthworms could give chickens worms? I give them as a treat, a few worms for 13 girls, maybe once a week. I may be playing Russian Roulet w/their health according to some, but its a chance I'm willing to take. They love them & this is my first flock, so allow me to have a learning curve
I have finally accepted the fact that one of our White Rocks is most definitely a roo. He has the red comb, the wattles. After some wonderful advice & info from this site, we have made the decision to keep him. As stated before, its one of my son's chickens & he would be completely unforgiving if we had to give him up, before giving him a chance. Per, the advice on this board, I will not be handling him very often. I guess it helps him learn his "place" in the pecking order & assists in him realizing I rule the roost...not him. Also, he's just going to be gorgeous. The quintesssential chicken if you will. All white w/the red comb & wattles...bootiful!
I recently allowed the flock to free-range for the first time. Other than losing some flowers to the chickens, it all went well. I didn't time their "outing" appropriately and ds & I ended up having to catch each one and return them to the coop/run. Here are some great pics:
I also included some additonal landscaping around the run. We received some free creek rocks from dh's friend. I used them to border around the coop, planted hostas & some yellow flower thing. I also added a hanging flower plant. I plan on adding additional plants and filling in with some mulch.
This is my fave...she is so sweet and is always looking for extra treats!
Did You Know?? Chicks born under a waxing Moon, in the signs of: Cancer, Scorpio & Pisces, are healthier and mature faster?? (Well, at least according to the 09' Farmers Almanac )
Well, I had to give up one of my roosters. As stated before I kept one packing peanut in hopes that it may have been a hen...it wasn't. I posted him on Craigslist, thinking that someone would probably eat him for dinner. But, NO a farmer who has 64 acres near where I live, decided to take him! I guess he and his wife picked out a bunch of chicks from TSC thinking they would get some roos. Can you believe their luck that they didn't get one roo? All girls! So they needed a boy and I had a boy. The other roo is still around, although with his incessant crowing he may have to go soon if I receive any complaints, but he sure is pretty and I don't want to see him go!
I wanted to take the time and post pics of the interior of my coop as well. Pat's Big Ol' ventilation page helped me make sure I had enough ventilation and we also installed a fan on those extra-hot days. The chickens, however, are deathly afraid of the fan, so I'm trying to get them used to it.
The rooster on the side of my coop is quite old. I grew-up for years having that rooster in our dining room/kitchen area. My mom must have given it to my Aunt, who then stored it in her attic once she tired of it. The last time we visited my Aunt asked my mom if she wanted it. My mom did not, but she said I would love to have it. I did not have any room in my house for it, so could have I found a better place for it? Ah, NO!