Gavin and Allison's Chickens.........
Allison and I decided to raise a few backyard chickens after she had been talking with her Office Administrator, and after tasting how good the eggs he was selling at work tasted.
We browsed the web, found countless pages and types of birds and finally we decided on Rhode Island Reds. I placed an ad on our local Craigslist to see if anyone had any for sale. Instead of RIR's we ended up getting 5 female Plymouth Barred Rock chicks that were 3 days old. We built a brooder box from a storage box, purchased feed, water bottle, feeder and heat lamp, along with a copy of Raising Chickens for Dummies.
We arrived home safely with our 5 bundles of fluff, introduced them to the brooder box, water and feed, and the "girls" settled in slowly. Constant checking on them for the first few hours, we had placed the brooder box by a window, and we looked in to see them all sat looking at the outside world. The heat lamp (from Petsmart) worked well, at dusk the "girls" settled down to a temp of around 90 to 95.
As the days have gone by we have talked to them daily and placed our clean hands in the brooder box to get them use to our handling them. Now they come as we call when we walk in the room, jump up into our hands and settle down, eagerly feeding from our palms with the food we offer.
Almost the end of week 3 (7/25/2010) and the bundles of fluff are now shedding their molt to newly growing feathers. They all have characters, some are friendlier than others but all "fuss" when we come in to the room.
We have purchased a coop for our girls and with assistance from a very good friend have built a moveable 8 x 6 x 6 run for the girls to grow up in. Currently we are attaching the wire around the home, ensuring that it will be predator proof for our girls.
Today, 7/31/2010, having finished the wiring around the chicken run, attaching hinges on the door and security latches Allison and I took the step of giving the girls their first taste of life in the outside.
The girls - Alan, K-K, Gena, Angelina and Erin, were taken outside in their brooder box, and once we were locked in, gently lifted out onto the grass for the first time.
Within seconds they were running and scratching and exploring their new surrounds. They loved it, grubs were found and th lucky girl would run with her trophy as the others would try to steal it ffrom her. They ate grass seeds for the first time and some "Chicken Crack" which we fed by hand to get them use to us handling them. We gave them an hour in the garden, by this time they were climbing our arms and sitting on Allison's shoulders. They soon got tired and settled down in a group outside, so we scooped them up into the brooder and returned them to the warmth of ther back bedroom. 20 minutes later all were asleep.......
August 4, 2010. So the girls get their first real experience of being outside today..... Have put them out in their run, with water and food etc and they are really enjoying themselves.
Have posted some more pics for all to see............




DW - Allison holding one of the girls........

After a day of not putting them out - severe thunderstorms, rain and hail - the girls had another 4 hour session outside today. Still slighty worried about the heat (heat index over 100), I placed 4 old water bottles that had been frozen overnight, in the run with the girls. After the initial excitement the girls found the frozen bottles and were soon stood on them cooling their feet. A funny sight indeed. Just wondering if I am being silly as they seem too small to put out......​
So the girls spent their first night out..... We fed and watered thm just before dawn, let them out the coop but hey stayed inside. By the time dawn had come they were outside doing chicken things....... So, after work Allison gets home, the girls are fine so she is outside sitting in the run with them. Next I think she'll suggest a radio so they can listen to the music whilst we are at work.....
The girls seem to be enjoying the outside... They had their first full coop cleanout this evening and loved scratching around under Allison's feet as she uncovered fresh soil for them to scratch and peck at......

This one is Erin.............
Erin is the poser......
Here she is again......
And this one is Alan (yes a hen called Alan, why not there was a guy named Sue............. Being modelled by the DW Allison..... Look above a week ago and the difference in size!
So we've decided to expand our run for the girls. Searched through on Craigs List and found 8 10ft long 5ft high chain link panels for sale. Called the seller, went to visit (trailer in tow) and came home with the panels. We have enough to be able to expand from the opening of their present run and also attach 2 over the top to stop the girls flying away and any predators getting in. We only plan to let them out in this new area when we're at home, but once big enough we'll give them this full run everyday. Fed them their first nightcrawlers and mealworms last night! How funny they were, gave them one each as a treat and they loved them!!
So we have put up the chain link tempoarily and it looks good.... I managed to crack open my head on a piece of pipe, a bit of blood and a lump... But it is up temporarily and looks good so far..... Will take some pictures over the next few days...........
So, today was the big effort to "proof" our extra run. We moved panels, attached wire and panels as the roof then put a lyaer of chicken net around the base of the run... As we were securing the run we looked down and there was a "girl" stood with us! Somehow she'd found a hole and came to see what we were doing. Soon caught she was back in the run and we finished securing it.
We also added a pile of dirt.... What fun it was to see them on it scratching for bugs and insects and also taking a bath.....







And that's all for this week folks.............

So the external run is now complete! here are the pictures as promised:





10/1/2010. Today we started the winterisation program of our chickens. The original 8x8x6 run with a coop inside. The run has been boarded in, 2 windows (thank-you Habitat for Humanity in Matthews) and airvents cut into the upper section close to the roof. The roof is boarded with a layer of pink insulation between the boards and the corrugated tin roof. I have yet to build the roosting perches (saturday morning) and to put the wood over the door and cut a hatch to hinge for the girls to get in/out. They still have their little radio playing classical music 24/7 and seem very settled in their new home area. All they did was sit and watch as we did the work..... I will post pics once complete.
10/23/2010 Not that we spoil our girls, but we now have an endless supply of dandelion's in our yard. So, I have been picking 2 or 3 bowls each day for them. Today we also purchased a pumpkin, DW and I sat in the run and defleshed the pumpkin along with seeds for the girls..... Yes, they love it!


This is Erin, not sure if it's a roo or not..................


Erin amongst the bamboo...... they love it, full of bugs!
So, at long last I have finished enclosing our old run. I put up a roosting bar for the girls and am using milk crates for them to lay in when ready. The girls are interested in what we've done so we have left them to view their new home.....



The blue tarp is to give them cover when they wantto be outside and it is raining. Just up to DW now to prime and paste the board now!!!

Today DW and I went to our first Chicken Show, in Greensboro. It was called the Southern Hospitality Show and we had fun. Here are some pictures of our day out.....

DW and the Jersey Giant.

DW and the Silkie outside....


The silkie again, he was so tame and laid back!

Latest pics of our "feathered family"



So, after so many months of waiting we finally got our first egg!!



So, it is perfectly formed, a hard shell and came out clean!