Earl's Chicken Blog7/15/2010- It all started when a neighbor knocks on my door and said, "Are you missing a pet? There's a chicken in your yard!" Sure enough a big, beautiful black chicken is scratching for bugs just on the outside of my fence. I live next to a park, and it sometimes becomes a dumping site for unwanted animals. This is the second chicken that has ended up on my property. I put her into the cat carrier and start looking for the lost owners, or someone to take her- whichever comes first.
7/16/2010- I am not having luck finding the owners. Since it's too cruel to keep the poor thing in the small cage I dumped out my compost pit (3 foot cube of hardware cloth) and gave the hen more room. She never goes into the cardboard box and she roosts on top of the box, which makes sense. Her wild relatives must roost in trees during the night. 7/16/2010- The temperature is over 100, so I am off to the local farm supply to get a small chicken waterer and some scratch. As soon as I put those in the cage, she laid an egg- right on the ground! It's brown, extra large and made a great breakfast the next morning.. 7/18/2010- After laying another egg yesterday, we decided to keep her. We are now hooked. We named her Raki (Turkish Ouzo) in honor of our trip to Turkey last spring. I am off to the lumber yard to buy materials for a coop. Thanks, backyardchickens.com and Purina for the free online plans. I downsized the 4' by 4' plans to 3' by 3'. We are only allowed 6 chickens in the city limits (and no rooster) so 3' by 3' should be plenty. 7/27/2010- Coop is complete, Raki is in her new digs. Boy, I am coop pooped! We have not seen an egg for a week. Perhaps she needs some friends? 8/2/2010- Finally, another egg, after two weeks of no eggs. 8/6/2010- Raki laid her fourth egg on the floor of the coop yesterday and I am concerned that she is not using the nesting boxes. I built a new roost just below the nest boxes and I coaxed her into the nest boxes with some raw sunflower seeds. Voila! Another egg, this time in the nest box. That is 3 eggs this week after 2 weeks with no eggs. 8/13/2010- Egg #10 today!
8/25/2010- We are getting things ready for our trip to Virginia, so I want Raki to be able to take care of herself for at least a week. I enlarged the run to 8' x 8', so she has plenty of room (we plan to enlarge our flock after we get back). I also built and installed a gravity feed watering system using one of the 5 gal plastic buckets that cat litter came in. I bought some "chicken nipples" from eBay for $9 plus $2.90 shipping. She now has all the food and water she needs for weeks. We only need our friends (Karen and Julie) to come collect the eggs and pay Raki a little attention.
9/3/2010- Egg #20 today!
9/12/2010 Finally decided to get Raki some company. We found an Australorp breeder in Plymouth, CA who was selling 16 week old pullets for $8 each, so we drove out and bought two- Oghi (Left) and Ouzo (Right). We put them in the run inside the "playpen" to prevent Raki from pecking them. 9/13/2010 The "Houdini Twins" busted out during the night. I found all three climbing out of the coop this morning, as calm as they could be. Oghi seems a bit more shy and at the bottom of the pecking order. 9/16/2010- Egg #30 today! 9/19/2010- Oghi is ticking me off. She likes to sleep and poop in the nest box. I am going to figure out how to stop this. I want my eggs to be poop free. 9/21/2010- I put large, empty cereal cartons in each of the nest boxes. Oghi shoved one aside and roosted on the new roost just outside the nest box. Her head was in the box; at least her poop was outside. I remove the cartons during the day. 9/22/2010- I added a new roost over the doorway, but nobody used it. 9/23/2010- I lowered the new roost and I lowered the roost under the nest boxes. Now Raki likes the new roost, one of the twins is with her on the new roost, and the other twin is on the roost under the nest box. No one is using the old roosts. I still don't have this right. I will keep closing the nest boxes during the night for a few more days.