Our Learning Curve Chicken Saga
May 15, 2010 - Yard Chickens?
A friend of ours who had too many chickens and asked if we'd like a few. We built a small coop and that evening my Mom, Dad and 3 year old son went to pick them up. They returned with 2 hens and 12 babies. The white hen we named Big Momma, the orange breasted hen we named Little Momma (creative huh?) We were so excited and the babies are so darn cute!
May 21, 2010 - Garden Chickens?
After about a week in their new coop, we decided to put our brood out in our garden. Our garden is fully enclosed around the exterior so the rabbits wouldn't eat our lettuce. The chickens LOVE to dig in the dirt and you should see them all take a dirt bath in the same hole!It's so darn cute! The babies love weaving in and out of the leaves of my squash and tomato plants. They seem to be doing really good and they are so much fun to watch.
June 8, 2010 - Sneaky Snake
I was looking out the window and saw a black snake going across the yard towards the chicken coop. I grabbed the broom and darted out to the snake, put the broom handle down on his neck, grabbed his neck and started to pick him up... however, it was only me and my 3 year old son at home and my son didn't have any shoes on. I started to pick up the snake and it started to coil it's body around my hand... I didn't know what I would do with the snake after I picked it up, and I remembered the time I pulled a black snake out of my bluebird nestbox, and I didn't want to smell like that again, so I let the snake go... it took off into the trees near the coop. I didn't think twice about it... My husband and I figured the snake couldn't eat a chicken that size... (they are a little bigger than a soda can) but boy were we wrong. That night, my husband was up late watching tv and heard alot of skwaking outside, he ran to the coop and saw the snake with a chicken in its mouth inside the coop... he ran to get me up out of bed so I could help open and hold the coop door open and by the time we got back out there, the snake had strangled another baby. We opened the coop, my husband (again with the broom) pulled the snake out and proceeded to send the snake to snake hell.... we 'rescued' the chicken from the snakes mouth (the feet were all that was sticking out of the snake) and my husband burried them the next day. All the chickens were out of the coop, but they couldn't sleep outside in the run, so I put each one of them back into their coop because they were so terrified and wouldn't move. So that's how we lost our first two baby chickens. My husband reinforced the coop and installed a door so we can lock them in the coop at dusk and open it to the run at sunrise.
June 10, 2010 - Hawk Smack
Well.. my tomatoes and squash were getting big just like the chickens, and well, they were doing some damage to my green tomatoes and my other produce, so we decided to split the garden with a fence down the middle of the garden. The rest of the garden had a row of onions and about 5 pepper plants.. the rest is dirt with not much foliage... We were all outside (my husband, 4 kids and myself) all day, watching the chickens, swimming in the pool (right next to the garden) and just around in the yard all day.... Well, it was time to go in and watch a movie, so I took all 4 kids inside for the movie and my husband went down to the workshop, leaving all the chickens in the garden. My husband came back from the workshop to find one baby chicken dead in the middle of the garden, one missing, and the rest in the plastic doghouse I'd put in the garden for some shelter for them. A stinking hawk got em! My husband burried the one that was left. It had a single puncture wound to his breast.
June 11, 2010 - Sophie flew the coop and our first egg!
All this chicken loss in one week has really upset my husband. For some reason, It's not bothered me so bad because I half expected to loose some of the chicks one way or another... and I grew up with chickens and we lost chickens and eggs to God knows what (we kept them at the barn though.) So, after the snake and hawk attacks, we decided to just leave the chickens in the coop today. My husband was looking out the window at the coop and all of a sudden, all the chickens flew out of their house (their house door was open) and straight into the end of the run... except Sophie, my white and orange chick somehow flew right out of the coop into the yard! (We have small chicken wire on the bottom half of the run and a larger opened wire on the top half of the run.) My husband ran out the door and around the end of the house and Sophie was no where to be found! We think the hawk was stalking them again and took off with her, because she just dissapeared without a trace! My husband locked all the chickens back in their coop until I got home and when we opened the door, we found our first egg! These chickens are something else. I hate we're learning the hard way, but at least we're learning! We have 7 babies left and I hope we can keep these safe until they are big chickens!