My Cottonwood Farm
Thru a series of events and moves I ended up in far Northern California, near Redding. A place very different from where I spent my first 52 years. I grew up, raised a family and never traveled far from Ventura County California. Time passed, jobs and family changed. I married a man who grew up in England and could change locations at the mearest suggestion of a new place to live. I quickly embraced this need to check it out.... So we moved 4 times in 3 years and landed in Northern California. Bought a small plot of land-silightly less than an acre, and embarked on a country inspired lifestyle.
My first "chick experiment" as I call it was a real flop. They all died. I put them outside in this coop that had been left, when they were 6 weeks old.. and they all wiggled through the holes in the chicken wire, got out into the yard and the hawks got them ! I was a complete failure. That summer I tried a garden, which was also a disaster. Things are not the same as in Southern CaL. The 115 heat really doesn't help things grow.
The next spring, I tried chickens again. I decided to get 8 this time. I raised them in a bathroom we seldom used. At 8 weeks they went out into a newly bulit coop. This thing was Hawk and Dog proof ! That summer I learned about Roosters.
I got really lucky and gave one away to a friend. The other one, wasn't so lucky, as he became meaner and meaner attacking me as I came into the coop area. When he began to attack any person who came into the yard, he saw the handwriteing on the fence, and away he went.
The following spring my success with my 5 girls gave me confidence to add more chicks. Again, I tuned the bathroom into a chick nursery. (Pretty smelly and dusty) I bought 7 chicks. And again, I ended up with a Rooster-Charlie-. Charlie was a lovely crower. He crowed in the morning and in the afternoon and sometimes at dusk. But then, he was a bit rough in the procreation department. Only one hen liked him, the rest ran from him and one hen, Owl took to living on the top shelf on the laying box's. She would not come out of the hutch. Sometimes I took her outside the pen and put her in the yard by herself. She had to be fed there and had her own water. She is a Americana and refused to lay during this time. When the weather turned to above 100 degrees I took out frozen packs of ice for her to sit on. She told me she like them ( 3rd year backyard chicken raiser becomes a Chicken Whisperer) The summer wore on and in the fall, my neighbor ask me if I'd like to re-home Charlie. ( I think they were sick of his crowing at odd times ) I said I would and I quickly made contact with another backyarder.,who had a bigger yard and more chickens. Charlie left in a box and is very happy in his new home with more hens.
Spring of 09 I really went wild. My grand-daughter moved in with us and was taking AG class in high school. She needed a project I decided. ( Right) So, we ordered from the local fed store. The chicks were lovely, 2 White Crested Polish, 2 Creveceour, 4 white Cochins, and 6 Americana all raised in the bathroom. They are all out in the run, and sleep in the laying box's instead of the pearch. I don't quite get it. They were perching on the galvinised trash cans that hold the food, but I moved them into the hutch, and they still are crowded into the box's at night. I again lost a few. 1 just died. 4 have been lost to preditors. The biggest problem now is ---What to do with the Roosters !. I know I have at least 1 White Crested Polish who looks to become a Ro. I need to convince myself... that I don't care how cute he is, he will become a rooster with all the not so nice behaviors that roosters have. As the weather is beginning to heat up, I will again prepare the little ice treats for the crew. I also turn on the garden hose to a trickle and put it in the dog dish and it overflows on the patio. The chickens sit around in the shade in the water. ( they said they liked it) I think the heat is much tuffer on them than the cold. I have lost hens to the heat, so I do try to keep them cool.