My first blog...
August 9th.
No eggs yet. Chickens are not old enough. I tried feeding my older girls a chicken treat that had peanuts and raisins as well as some other things. They didn't like the peanuts. The little chickens, the 6-8 wk ones, they did like all of it. They seem to really like the cucumber peels. If I give them a whole cucumber, they like to pick holes in it to get the seeds out, then leave the rest.
I will give it to them again tomorrow. I bought it, so I want them to eat it. I guess I could feed it to the squirrel that keeps getting in the bottom of the coop to steal corn. The chickens don't even care.
What else... Oh yes, I guess thats it.

August 10th
I let my newest brood out of their enclosure today to wander with my original brood. Only one of my silkies was peckish. The other girls and roos seemed more to herd them, and keep them together and out of trouble. That was so funny. I stood on my deck and watched the little ones come out, wander over to where the other coop is, and then Whitely (leghorn) kept cluckng around them, then Minn Cuke (silkie hen) joined in, followed by her bro's, then Vonna, Vanna, Venna did too! It was so cute. So, I think they are going to be just fine when they all go in the new coop when its finished.

August 21st
I got my faverolles today. I put them in there quarantine house and segregated run and what does my adorable 5 yr old son decide to do? Let the roo out. I was so mad. We haven't even had them for an hour and already the rooster is out in the trees! One nice thing about it however was that his hens were still in the coop so he didn't go to far. YAY! Bad thing, the birds are now all together in the big coop, Why? Well, the darn door on the quarantine coop broke, and I don't feel safe with them in there.
Here is my coop. I guess its not the biggest coop, but for me its big enough. I built it myself. Proud of it, even if it is primative. LOL
This is the Frame. It was squared when I built it on pavement... It wasn't so square when I moved it to the yard.
Its near completion. I still had framing, roofing and painting to do at this point, but the coop was habitable.
I have plans to build a protected run for the winter. Not to protected, but just enough to keep the snow from building to high in the area where they will be able to free range. I also have the idea that I will try and paint this weekend (Labor Day Weekend) if it doesn't get crappier than it already is. I don't think it'd be a good idea to let the wood be unfinished all winter. I don't want to have to build a coop again next spring. I want to build ON to this one in the spring thou.

Sept 3.
I lost one Faverolle hen to my own puggle. Rotten Ruby. That happened last weekend. Was so upset because my mom, who lives with me cuz she's disabled, can't live on her own, didn't think the dog would go after the chickens... She got loose ... THREE TIMES! Darn Dog. SO, now only one laying hen... Looks like a I should have a few more pullets start though, the end of this month, beginning of October. Then, maybe in December, the cochin mixes maybe start... I won't count on that thou.
My 5yr old decided that he wanted to crack open Buff Petunia's egg. He said, "I like to break the eggs to make eggs." I had to explain to him that we only break eggs into the mixing bowl so we can scramble them up. We don't feed eggs to the ground. A few days ago, he buried her egg next to Rosey... He said it had poop on it so it wasn't good... Speaking of poop... I guess I aught to go and clean the poop spots... I am thinking I might get a few tote lids and put them under the roosts. This way, I can just take the tote lids out, scrape em off. Right now I am using a kitty litter scoop to scrap the poop into a 5 gallon bucket. I am saving it up to put into my garden beds before winter. Need some good fertilizer turned in so I get better crop of veggies next year. I hate the idea of buying poopalizer when I have 18 chickens pooping up a storm and providing it for free! Another by product of chicken raising... Never out of fresh S*&T.
If it goes well, I will start painting today. Will post another pic of the project as it progresses.

Sept 12 or 13.. Insomnia!
Well, I have not painted the coop yet. It was a good weekend to do it also, I just ended up with unexpected company. I am not complaining. My kids had a great time, and her kids had a great time, especially when I had to send them over to bring Mr. Fluffers home from Carls. Mr. Fluffers decided to go and chase their chicks away from our yard. He was so funny, Defending his girls territory! My chicken have finally discovered the other side of the house, and were over that way when the groups collided between our houses. Mr. Fluffers puffed up his big old ball of a self, and headed for them making that funny noise that they make when they ain't crowing, but they are letting you know they are heading for you and you better move it! Those poor little chicks ran like crazy, which is always a funny site, and there is Mr. Fluffers standing in THEIR YARD telling them where to go! He's so lucky that Big Bad Bob can not get out of his coop and run, or that would have been a not so nice site! Bob is a rotton BR. Show winner, but MEAN! Carl keeps threatening to cook him. BUT Andrew wants to show him AGAIN. He's won 4H with him top prize 2 yrs now. He really is beautiful... BUT beauty is not skin deep with that sucker. Mr. Fluffers now...
He is a beauty all the way thru! The only time thou that he lets me pet him is when he is on his roost for the night, Then he will sit there and make a funny chitter type of noise while I pet him.
The tote lids are working WONDERS! Its so nice. Every other day, I will take that cat scoop and clean off the big droppings. Once a week, I will just scoop it all to the middle of the lids, and then take the lids out and dump it into the box and WALA! Cleaned. I think I need to get some DE though soon. Don't know if TSC carries it. Will have to ask...
Thinking of switch to pine pellet for a turn... See if I like that better than the shavings. The savings are nice, but I hear the pellets break down faster... More dusty, but thats what a dust mask is for... Will see I guess...

Oct 4...
WHAT A DAY! Blew up my car. (I am pretty sure I need a new engine) Forgot to get my moms meds. Had to go do laundry at 11 pm when I could finally get a ride from my friend. Had to walk to the grocery store a mile away to do shopping, then call for a ride home. Didn't make it to TSC to get my monthly bag of shavings for the coop, its getting kinda low. BUT my chickens are good.
My hen has completely quit laying. OR, she's laying in the trees. I swear... I don't know whats up with that. The neighbors girls quit for a week, but are laying again already. I wonder if Buffy just doesn't like pine in her nest and I need to put hay back in. Chickens.... Gotta love em.
I have not tried the pellets yet. Not sure I will. I really like the shavings. Turns out my coop leaks. I didn't do something right in the roofing end. I had to put a tarp over it to keep water out. Gotta get a bigger ladder and get up there and find the problem. Think I might just do like they do when laying shingles, just add another layer and see what happens. Get the 20 dollar bundle. It only leaks on the one side though. I guess I will not go into the roofing business. HAHA.
Lost a pullet this week to a hawk. RIP Scooter. Skeeter and Scatter don't look right with out you.

Nov 7...
Almost a month has passed since I wrote last...
Oh wait, not poetry! I am down to 15 chickens. I got rid of all the silkie roosters. I had 5 out of 7 silkies turn out to be roos. Some went to Breeders, and one went to be a pet and the loan roo. Funny, cuz he was only about 2 pounds. I don't know how much of a BIG MAN ON CAMPUS he's going to be.
Got new roost in, got the light in, and now I am trying to figure out if I should leave the feed under the coop for the winter, OR leave that one there and add another inside incase the girls do not want to go outside... The one in the underrun will be protected from the elements as well, SO... I guess I can see what happens.
I am working on a winter sun room for them too. I haven't quite got it figured out yet, BUT I am close. I have all these storm windows that were in my storage room when I bought this house that I figured I'd make paintings with, but never did... SO, trying to figure out the sun room... I hope I get it done before the snow flies...

Feb 5, 2012
Been three months!
Well, brooder... Built by me.

Ok... I built this brooder in an hour. .. It is 4x2 box.

I purchased 3- 2x2x8fts, had them cut in half at the home improvement store (LOWES)
And also 2- 2x2x8fts, cut in 2 foot sections. The wood cost was $7 and some change, cut free. I had screws already

Got some chicken wire and card board. Poster board will work, enough to cover all the sides and the bottom. I had an old hdtv box still that made a great back and bottom.

Putting the box together, I built 3- 2footx4foot frames. Put a 2 foot 2x2 in the center of the frame for the bottom and the frame for the top, none for the lid, then I put the last 4 2x2x2fts to the frames to make the box. Is it perfect? not remotely.
I then chicken wired the whole thing, as I have dogs. Then I put the cardboard on the back and the bottom, used posterboard on the sides, and the front I ended up cutting the posterboard into sections to make it like a frame to help keep woodchips in and drafts out. The brooder lamp I hooked to the center 2x2, then was able to raise it as needed. I set the food and water up on a peice of 2x6 to help keep it out of the shavings... I found however, that it doesn't matter. They will figure out how to completely fill the chick waterer with poop and shavings and scratch all their feed out of the chick feeder... SO, I put them in low baking pans to help conserve food. The water... Well, you will see.

So all in all, aprox $8 for wood. $13 for a 25 foot roll of chicken wire. $4 for a red heat light (clear are cheaper, but can be more problematic with chicks picking each other from the constant light, so spend the $2 more and get the red) and $8 from the brooder clamp light, and about $3 in poster board. I can reuse this box for several hatches now, so $36 bucks for the brooder. It held 12 chicks very comfortable for 5 weeks. They are now in their new coop with their heat lamp for a few more weeks till they get used to being outside...

I have also built a new coop.. Will post more of that later.

I have 12 five week old chicks. Five I am certain are boys. Five I am certain are girls. Two I am not sure yet. Also, Leila and Skeeter have both successfully hatched winter chicks. Leila hatched 5, one died shortly after hatching. Skeeter hatched 5, all survived. Such good little brooders. Precious chicks. I am in love. I am handling them carefully as much as I dare so that they will be used to me picking them up and the Mama's are getting used to me touching them. I think they must know that I mean no harm.

I have losses to report also...
Miss Legs was killed by my dogs... so was her sister when she was only 2 months old... And Rosey, a faverolle hen... Only had her a few weeks...
Minnie Cuke was taken by a hawk, as was my beautiful faverolle hen Buffy.
Aster, my black EE, masquerading as an Australorp, I had to put down because of a severe case of wry neck that was not getting better.
We had some excess roosters also from the original 22 birds. All the silkies, Black, Little head, Mark and Black Butt for new homes with breeders. What, (turned out to be a roo), Rocky Rhode, (formerly Miss Isa, turned into a roo), Oscar, (black cochin mutt) all went camping. I decided to not find them new homes, as 2 were mutts, and Rocky was not very good in the mating dept. He was too aggressive and did damage to too many hens heads. He sure was tastey.

I have also added a new replacement faverolle pullet. She is not SQ, but she is friendly and has fit in with the rest of the crew very well. SO, out of my original 22, I have only 8 left. Only one loss to illness.

Things I have learned in the first year of my Chicken LIfe....

1) I want more
2) BYC is indespensible
3) I am never angry when I am with my chickens
4) When they are free, they do not kill the grass
5) If they can, they will get in the back of the jeep when I am not looking
6) Always build bigger. Make sure doors are not a hinderence when cleaning the coop out.
7) Baby chickens are messy. Try not to have them in the house. Try to have them in the garage. Dust covers everything fast.
8) I will never have chicks again in the winter. I am seriously nervous about it getting too cold for them
9) A 60watt black light in a small clamp light attached to the top of the waterer will keep that area thawed.
and last but not least
10) I can not imagine not having chickens. I love them. Even the ones who are not as friendly. I can call them with short whistles and they come from where ever they are.