On May 7th, 2014 my life got a whole lot more interesting. It started with a call from the post office at 5:30 in the morning. I rolled out of bed, threw some clothes on, and went to the little building, the air still moist from the evaporating morning dew. We strolled towards the door and rang the bell, and were greeted by an older woman. We told her we were here for the chicks and she shut the door and left. Then we heard frantic peeping getting closer, and closer, and closer. She opened the door once more toting a cardboard box with holes in it and I do believe my heart almost burst from excitement. Five chicks were within, and sprinted towards the morning light when we opened up the top. They had been born Sunday, so they were very tired, hungry, and thirsty. I brought them home, and gazed at them for the next five hours (I didn't move an inch).
Edith (bottom) Mary(Middle left)
Sybil (Middle right) Aida (Top left)
and Elvia (Top right)
Aida, having concerning drinking Wendell the pug being curious
troubles at 3 days old
It was that Saturday when disaster struck. Aida, one of my buff brahmas, was doing something strange when she drank. She tipped her head back and fell over. I asked about it on a forum, and was told it was nothing to worry about, and it may not have been... Then I noticed her vent was misshapen... possibly injured when sexed? Part of it was protruding. Then I woke up that Saturday and noticed she was sleeping under the ecoglow, her head on top of her friend Elvia, not doing anything. She was flopped over, and couldn't even lift her head. She then died in my hands, despite me giving her a warm pack. Her friend, the easter egger, later had the same fate, though I noticed no issues with her vent or drinking. She was very small, and not as active as her sisters. I can't describe the devastation I felt. Perhaps if I had known to feed them electrolytes upon their arrival I could have saved them, but my inexperience caused the death of two of my babies. I made up my mind to keep the remaining three safe, healthy, and happy for the rest of their lives.
R. I. P. Elvia and Aida.
But life went on as it so often does, and I continued to tend my flock. They are now eight weeks old, going on nine this Sunday!! Yet despite their health and happiness, I fear that I, yet again, face devastation. I have reason to believe that two of my sexed "hens" are roosters. So I spent all of this money on these birds, and two of them died, and two of them might be roosters! And then there was one. I have to find a way to get a good home for them, as I live in VERY close proximity to neighbors. I don't think I can bear giving them away though . As we speak my father is working on their coop, trying to get it done because their brooder in the living room is getting a bit cramped. Well, REALLY cramped. They are outside almost all day, but I have to bring them in at night (they're outdoor does not yet include a shelter for them). Well, I think its high time you met them...
Here is Edith, my Buff Orpington "maybe rooster"
Look at those gorgeous eyes!!
Next is Mary, my Buff Brahma. I'm almost positive she is a pullet, thank goodness. She is so sweet!
Last, but not least is Sybil the "pretty sure she is a rooster" Bantam Easter Egger... I need a boy name now...
Stressful rooster possibilities, or not, I will never regret getting these guys.
Now, here is the coop... Its still in progress- I'm painting today!
This is a view of the front of the coop. It is adjacent to our shed. The front part will be used for chicken feed, bedding, & other supply storage. The raised part farther in is where the chickens will be located
This is a side view of the coop. To the right side is a window space, and the left is a cleaning door space. You can see that the chicken coop portion of the building is raised a few feet for underneath access in the run.
This is a back view of the coop where you can see a chicken door space, and the underneath access. The run will be on this side of the coop and extend along our garden shed that the coop is next to
A closer look at underneath
A view inside from the cleaning door on the side wall.
A front view. The roof is covered with a tarp currently to protect the wood from the rain.
Inside the coop. The nest boxes will be in these wall spaces.
A view of two windows and the chicken door. As you can see, the siding needs to be trimmed.
I'll update on both the chickens and the coop. I hope you've enjoyed it!
Friday, August 15th, 2014
I think its time for an update! The chicks are 16 weeks old this Sunday! Wow, time does fly by fast. Two days ago I had to part with my lovely Sid- (used to be Sybil). He was being slightly aggressive, and crowed ALL THE TIME! He went to a good home through CraigsList, and as far as I know is pecking around a yard with three hens under his care. Here is a picture of him before he left.
Edith is in fact a rooster- and a good one too! He did the mating dance for Mary today, and always flies in front of her when he thinks danger is near. His comb and wattles have developed nicely, and his yellow fluffy, round feathers, are being replaced by pointed bronze ones.
Finally, my solo hen, Mary is doing quite well. Last week we had a little emergency when she decided to swallow my hair tie. But despite this she seems fine! She is absolutely gorgeous.
Yesterday I let Mary and Edith free range a bit, under my watchful eye of course. They investigated their future coop (still in progress, by the way) and picked at the clovers that they can't get to behind the fence. I just sat down and watched for about forty minutes, and then coaxed them back. It was so much fun! I just can't get past the idea of how much time I can happily spend simply observing these lovely creatures.
Here is the coop so far- painted, stained, siding trimmed, and two windows added
1. Staining the door (already built)
2. Make, stain, and install cleaning/access door
3. Make two windows
4. Install two windows
5. Make interior wall separating storage and chicken area
6. Make/Install two nesting boxes
7. Make/install interior door
8. Finish up roof (install drip edge)
9. Add on shingles to roof
10. Make chicken door/ramp
Although we haven't finished the main coop, my dad did build a portable A-Frame coop for temporary housing. here are some pics!
Thursday, October 2nd, 2014
Mary (a hen) and Edith (the rooster) are now 21.5 weeks old! Mary is getting to the point where I think she might lay an egg! Her comb has grown, and is bright red. Her wattles are more pronounced, as are her earlobes. Her cheeks a scarlet color too! In her little next box I noticed the shavings were stirred around. And today, she hopped onto my lap and lay perched on my arm. Something she hasn't done since she was smaller than my hand! No egg song yet, but I'm hoping to hear it soon! I'm so exciting I can't even stand it. Edith has gotten huge! Saddly he is much less friendly then when he was little, sometimes when he's in a bad mood he will attack my legs with his beak and spurs. But that's only happened twice, so I'm hoping its an isolated incident. What matters is that I know he would protect his hen no matter what. His crowing has also increased, but my neighbors don't seem to mind. I haven't heard anything about my old rehomed roo, Sybil, but I'm hoping he turned out alright. Edith has tried to mate with Mary quite a bit, but Mary wants none of it, and screams quite loudly.
I've been planning to get a couple more pullets for a while now. The plans are still in process, but I found a local farm with some hens for sale, and the owner just needs to catch them and bring them over. I'll post pictures when I get them!
The coop is coming along slowly, but surely. We just need to put on a roof and a couple windows!
Sunday October 19th, 2014
Last week, on Friday, I bought two more pullets! Meet Mabel and Cora.
Here is Mabel… (Easter Egger)
And Cora is on the right! (a Rhode Island Red)
Boy, it has been a stressful time. A couple hours after Mabel and Cora were dropped off, Mabel slipped through the fence and ran away. I chased after her (a bad decision), but could not find her anywhere. Very upset, I gave up and went inside. The next night, she reappeared at the fence, pecking in the grass, but I left her alone in hopes that she would sleep on a nearby branch.
It went on like this until Sunday afternoon, when I finally tricked her into coming into the run. Since then, there has been a lot of bullying, squawking, and fighting. Edith the Rooster is mean to everyone, Mary is mean to Cora and Mabel, and Cora is mean to Mabel. Thus, Mabel spends her time cowering in the coop, not even daring to come near me. Cora is the opposite.
She climbed on my lap (it was bribery, but still) today, and will eat out of my hand.
The coop is coming along too! I'll add some pictures at some point...
Saturday, January 3rd, 2015
Mary(left) Mabel (middle) Cora (middle right) Edith's tail (right)
New, covered run
Mary's first snow
The finished coop!