"The Feathered Nest"Well, that was my business name back when I had my aviary down in Florida (pre-'92), so why not...About myself... KI4GOT is my amateur radio callsign. (For more about ham radio, you can visit www.arrl.org.) My name is Karen.
I went to U-Maine in Orono (studied Animal Sciences), and had a mild interest in chickens. Talking to my advisor, Bob Hawes, I learned that he had and showed chickens himself. Well that was the start/end of it all for me. LOL He gave me a couple bantam cochin hens, including a nice mismarked blue that I fell in love with. So I guess it's all his fault. From there I collected a mottley assortment including some Americaunas (escape artists more like it), a couple black sex-links, a Dominique, a couple large cochins and one 'rescue' red hen from next door that was badly plucked by her coop-mates and kept coming over to visit my flock.
I worked for a while with a 4H group with poultry and rabbits (I was also raising Holland Lops at the time), but then graduated from UMO, re-homed all my birds and moved on (with my horses in tow) to an equestrian school to learn things like horseshoeing and training. Long story short, I did become a farrier for a time, until an injury prevented me from doing that full time any longer. I've moved several times, over 3 states since Maine, got married, bought property, and have been itching to get chickens again for several years. Finally my hubby agreed to fresh meat and eggs once in a while, so I started planning ahead.
I've built a smaller movable coop (it's page is here), and will also be working on a larger stationary coop. In addition I had planned on buying some grown birds to start with but the breeder I found turned out to be a flake (or something) who never returned calls/emails. So I ended up with 13 adorable bantam chicks from TSC. I ended up with 5 roos, white crested black polish, porcelain d'uccle, black japanese, white sultan & blue crele oegb. The polish and d'uccle went to freezer camp for bad attitudes, the sultan's walking a fine line right now... For hens, I got 3 dark brahma, 1 buff brahma, silver duckwing oegb, quail d'anvers, RIR and red cochin.
My 'hoop coop' hasn't moved much since I started letting everyone free range, but I did build a larger house for them, as they kind of outgrew the doghouse coop. It will be put back into service for some 'retirees' I'll be getting soon - 4 LF EE hens looking to avoid the stewpot, and possibly a large EE roo too, if the banty roos can't do the job.
Oh. And the other members of the family...
The home 'herd' has changed a bit since Maine but currently consists of my 2 Morgan horses (that left Maine with me), 2 Mini horses, 2 Standard Poodles, a blue & gold macaw, a cockatiel, and English budgie, 3 cats and some fish. Oh and the Hubby too. My Morgans are mother and daughter, Grace (born in '86) and Maggie ('95). The Minis are Merlin ('97), a gift while I lived in WV, and his son Dinker ('05 - dinky = tiny LOL) who was born on the property I own now. My macaw, Baby, I've had since she was 10 weeks old, hatched 5/5/1993, and the cockatiel is my "grand ol' gal" Pippin, hatched May of 1992. Yes, she's 19. Her best friend is the budgie. No idea on his history, he was given to me on a freezing winter day in a local WalMart parking lot this last winter. He talks and sings and chatters, but still doesn't have a name. The cats are 2 Maine Coon cross girls (mom T'yra & daughter Kitten) and a tabby boy (Hunter/Fuzzbutt/hey!) who adopted us at 7-8 weeks old, by climbing a sapling and claiming it as his own.
The Standard Poodles (S'poos) are Shadow (not because he's black but because he WAS my shadow) and Sunny who is white (hubby thought a contrasting name would be cute). Shadow just turned 10, Sunny turned 1 in Feb. I train both of them with a local dog training club, Star City Canine Training Club, in agility and obedience. We don't compete, but train for fun. And because well trained, socialized dogs are more fun to take out and about with you.
And the Hubby? Well, he goes by John most of the time. As the joke goes, he's the best mechanic I've ever married. He's an ASE Master Tech, and a virtual wiz at diagnosing and fixing just about anything - from electronics to transmissions and pretty much everything in between. The only thing he hates and will pass on to someone else is body work. And no, I'm not biased. Oh, and he is accepting of the chickens for the most part, but wishes they'd stop hanging out (and pooping) near the front door. (partly my fault, I was feeding them nearer the house than I should maybe... they know where the food comes from and hang around asking for more.)
Here's a group pic. Wish I could get them to all line up on a fence and pose, but I think that's asking too much. All bantams, they consist of roos: Sultan, crele OEGB, and black Japanese. The hens: 3 dark Brahma, buff Brahma, red Cochin, silver duckwing OEGB, quail D'anvers, and a RIR.
(updated 09.19.2011)October 24, 2011
OK, an update on the happennings. 8)
I bought some silver grey dorking eggs (21), as well as some EE (14) and Marans (7), but thanks to our trusty USPS, got 2 dorkings, 5 EE and NO marans hatched. At the same time, I put in 11 bantam eggs (potential muttbabies) to fill the incubator, and as a test run so I could compare local vs shipped hatch rates... Well 8 of them hatched.
And then Owl, my quail d'anvers, decided to go broody, so I've got her 9 eggs in the incubator due to hatch this week (October 28th or so). I had planned on giving her some chicks, but now I'm glad I pulled the eggs and gave her fakes, as another hen chased her off the nest so SHE could go broody. So the next round of bantam chicks will go to her, if she's still broody when they hatch.
And in the mean time, I've also acquired a trio of silver grey dorkings. Once I have enough eggs, plan to incubate them as well - I just got my first egg yesterday from them.
I've turned into a Hatch-a-holic...