... and so it begins.
I saw an episode of Kate Plus 8 one night, they got chickens and a coop so they could have free eggs
(haha the coop cost isn't exactly free!)
and I said aloud, "We can do that!" ...and that started my lengthy investigation into keeping chickens.
I researched breeds and decided on Orpingtons, Buff are quite popular
(and seem to be my daughter's favorite color)
but then I saw a photo of a blue with lacing and thought "wow".
Then I found out that they are available in black, and that was my choice for my DH's hen.
One for each of us and we'll be able to tell them apart, yay!
It was my goal to get one of each color, buff/blue/black.
It didn't quite work out that way...
I wouldn't mind having one, but I was told by many that it isn't great to have just one chicken,
they like company.
"Birds of a feather flock together". So then the idea was two.
My DH insisted on 3 "in case something happens to one".
May 17th, 2011
I'm a new Momma to young Orpingtons!
We purchased 4 locally, 2 buff and 2 black = hopefully some will be hens.
We chose these names: Sunny, Beauty, Blackie, and Buffy.
(Buffy showing off her buff fuzzy butt)
May 18th, 2011
Sunny appears to have twisted leg, and then there were three...
why did it have to be our favorite #1 name
Our 3 baby Orps ~ Blackie, Beauty, Buffy!
We really hope at least two will be hens...
May 22, 2011
Beauty has caught up to Buffy's size!
They pal around together alot.
Beauty, with Blackie checking out the perch, and Buffy checking out what Blackie might have!
*sigh* Blackie seems a bit small & slow today.
We all 3 and hope Blackie cheers up, she/he seems sad since Sunny left because they were good friends.
May 24, 2011
The sisters are 1 week old today, and we've had all 3 for one week
Blackie seems happier today too, yay!
For their birthday we let them outside in the sun ...
Beauty looks like a Roo
Buffy so relaxed at home, big yawn!
June 7th 2011
The black chicks turned 1 month yesterday and my little Roo named Beauty/Beauford was given away today.
...and then there were 2
... and then there were 3!
After confirming our Buffy is a Lemon Cuckoo I made the executive decision to buy a Buff Orp.
Like magic, on the same day that we gave up Beauty ~ the "new & improved" Sunny came home!
We now have our 3 perfect chicks, all different colors so we can tell them apart & one for each of us
We introduced them outside. When Sunny saw Blackie she was like "huh?"
(because she was raised with 2dozen Buffs). There were no problems and all are friends.
We let them free range in our yard for an hour or two at the end of the days. They luv our yard!
Found something interesting in my garden!
~ and then there were two. We rehomed Blackie the same day he crowed 5x in a row.
Buffy called for him as we left the yard, but when we got home they were fine & settled into being a couple.
Did I jinx it when I typed "a couple"? Buffy is looking a little roo-ish
Sunny has decided she loves me I am so happy! She makes cooing sounds, jumps in my lap & will relax there being petted.
Our Buffy is the most loving bird with a very special friendship with my daughter. I am thankful to have the wonderful photos of them together; we are going to have to rehome "him". I cannot express how much we will miss him, my daughter carries & hugs and sits with him in her lap daily -and he likes it!
Best friends 4ever
Tomorrow Buffster starts his young cockerel life elsewhere. This Blue Orpington pullet will be Sunny's new best friend as of tomorrow:
Wish us luck....
She's here and at this moment in the coop with Sunny!
This is Bonita (my daughter calls her Bonnie) in our sunroom, relaxing after we brought her home.
She is very well behaved and she talks to us.
While we waited for dark we cleaned and rearranged everything in our coop and run to hopefully prevent any territorial feelings. Really rearranged it all! Added a new perch and changed it's location within the coop. Put in a new differenly shaped water bowl, and a large hiding box -just in case someone wanted some alone time.
An hour after dark, we snuck our new pullet into the coop. Sunny was sleeping in the corner of the floor & didn't notice. We played lullabies on the ipod and sprayed lemon sugar perfume to change the smell of the coop.
I waited 2 hours and then I snuck into the coop and gently and very slowly with no words or sounds moved Sunny to the perch, just 2ft away from Bonnie. Lullabies left playing for 1 more hour and then I shut them off. Both sleeping.
So far, so good - we'll see what the morning brings! (the baby monitor is on, I'm sleeping well tonight!)
I also read that you can take the original bird out of the coop and put the new one in for an hour, then put your original bird back in, but I like the idea of sneaking the new bird under the cover of darkness with sleepiness.
In the morning, my DH turned the ipod back on @ 5am so they could wake up to soothing music. "Music calms the savage beast". He reported that they were sleeping on the new perch together = side by side! We had the baby monitor on all night/morning - no squawking, no nothing. When I woke up and went out back they were out in the run together total success story. I gave them blueberries to have with their breakfast, and they shared off the plate.
We let the girls freerange today
After Sunny showed Bonnie around the yard a bit, Sunny wanted to snuggle with me in my lap because I was sitting on the bench.
So Sunny jumped up & settled down for some petting. Bonnie saw this and immediately jumped up too! She hung out on my DH's lap awhile, and then with me. I can hardly believe ~ her 3rd day here and she is in our laps. We have 2 spoiled lap chicks now Happy little family!!
Cozy in the yard
(and yes, they are the perfect lawn ornaments lol)
Looks like my beautiful Bonnie is @ POL!
I could hardly believe it =
our 1st eggs this morning! I am so proud =)
The girls weren't in their run this morning, not unusual - Sunny has been "taking notes" from Bonnie during Bonnie's egg laying sessions. Bonnie lays on the floor in front of the dutch door now, easier to retrieve but still not one egg in the nest box we built. So they weren't in their run, I peeked into the dutch door and there was Bonnie in position - but no Sunny. When I walked in the porch, I though I heard a flutter to my immediate right. I opened the top half of the dutch door - no Sunny anywhere. I thought "nooo, maybe?" and glanced to my right into the nest box and there she was! Practicing! No egg today ... but I'll bet there's an egg photo under this photo tomorrow!
December 25th Christmas Day ^^
We thought Sunny would lay before Christmas Eve, but no ... she gave us her 1st egg on Christmas Day. Specialness!
December 31st ~ Last day of the year.
We finally installed winter doors, a milestone. Our coop and run are done for now!
We are thrilled that the nestbox we worked hard on is being put to good use! Lots of eggs and it seems every egg has been a jumbo size. This year has been a wonderful learning experience thanks to BYC and I am happy with our new hobby and pets.
We are looking forward to many more years of happy & healthy chickens!
Interesting threads I don't want to lose:
Block recipes: https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=111647
Cookie Tin Heater: https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=107951
Mite prevention/Dusting a chicken: http://www.brooklynfeed.com/2011/05/dusting-your-chicken-for-mites/
DE video: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=867362921535089214
About Oxine: http://www.shagbarkbantams.com/oxine.htm
Seasonal Feeding: http://www.backyardpoultrymag.com/issues/1/1-5/Lisa_Jansen_Mathews.html
Feeding Pepper to Chickens: https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=608787
Call of the Wildman (Fox in a hen house) http://www.divxstage.eu/video/a317e4c81f4a5
Yes, our pets make us breakfast ^^
Chickens are both predictable and fickle.
The rule of thumb is they lay an egg every 25 hours, but different
breeds and for that matter different individuals within a breed have
their own schedule typically 25-30 hours. I have some hens who are early
morning layers and I have some who wouldn't be caught in a nest box
before 10am. At the other end of the day they generally stop laying for
the day within 2 hours before roost up for the night. This is where
then whole thing about using artificial light comes in to play in the
winter time to "lengthen" the "laying day". Just stating that point to
give you insight into the biology involved, please not to open the
debate about the pros and cons of using lights in a timer in the winter
time Deal..I won't.
Lets look at a hypothetical chicken schedule. lets say your hen has a
26 hour clock and lays her first egg in her "new" cycle at 9 AM on
Monday , Tuesday she will lay at 11AM, Wednesday at 1PM and Thursday at
3PM ...On Friday you might expect her to lay at 5PM but since this is
getting close to roost up a 6:30PM ..she will hold off and lay instead
at 9AM on Saturday.starting the next cycle. Ahh that explains why I
thought for a while the time was reversing.
Too some degree the hens can decide to hold on to the eggs for any
number of reasons thus delaying and moving the whole schedule to the
right. Let say Henny-Penny is sitting in the nest box at 2:30 pm
thinking about her 3 PM egg when you walk in to do some chores in the
coop..She gets all agitated by your presence, jumps down and runs
outside skipping her 3 PM egg and holding on to it till 9AM the next
day. If I had disturbed Henny-Penny at an 11AM laying she will likely
come back and lay the egg later the same day ( say noon ), her 26 hour
clock is reset by the act of laying the egg and tomorrow she will lay at
Pullets are less predictable to be sure and it takes months for their
schedules to settle in. As I said the cycle time varies from individual
to individuation. You can set a watch by my Australorps who are 25 hour
layers. I have one Americauna who has a 30 hour cycle, and I have a 3
year Buff Orpington with a 27 hour clock who lays 4oz eggs that it
hurts to look at. She lays for a week or two then takes a month break
...lays for another two weeks and takes a break ... I guess I would too,
it cant be any fun for a 7lb hen to be laying eggs the size of goose eggs.
So the only constant is the "no laying 2 hours before roost time" rule
which also gets earlier as the days shorten.
^the above was copy/pasted - tyvm to the chick who typed it out!
These are photos that I have admired from a distance:
These are the beauties I ended up with: