October 4, 2011
On Saturday, I got my first green egg. On Sunday, I was pretty sure it was Jasper. She and another hen jumped out
out of the boxes and announced they had laid an egg. Then ofcourse all the other hens and even the roosters started
congratulating them. Yesterday, my niece came over and we both saw Jasper in the box. Sure enough, when she jumped
out and started clucking, there was a green egg in the box and it was still wet.
In other news, Pokey was adopted on Saturday. When we put him in the carrier, most of the hens gathered around him,
and poked their heads in as if to tell them they would miss him. I'm sure they will too. I already miss him.
This morning, I was running a little late as I left for work. I heard Beakman crow. (It was 4:40 in the morning and I usually
leave at 4:30 or 4:35) Soon after, I heard Thor crow. I remember knowing it was Thor, and I was wandering why Pokey
wasn't crowing too. It was just this afternoon that I had thought about it and remembered that Pokey had been adopted.
Saturday afternoon, when I put them in the pen, I was going to look for the last bird when I remembered that we only have
12 birds now. It is hard to get used to the numbers changing. And to think... I want to get some new pullets next Spring!
October 11, 2011
This weekend, Rocky landed on the supper table at my parents house. I'm more sad for Bullwinkle than I am for myself.
Bullwinkle has been the last one in at night twice since he's been gone. The first night, she got on the roof of their pen/coop
and was looking around. This evening it was hard to get her to go in too. She always ran to him when she was upset. I don't
know what I'm going to do with her. I'm hoping she will warm up to one of the other boys. I only have 3 boys now. I'm planning
to keep them since I will hopefully be getting more girls this spring.
Earlier this weekend, I took two dozen eggs to my Aunt Charlotte. I was originally going to bring her one dozen, but the girls are doing a
much better job that they were a few weeks ago. I have 5 that lay daily and one that is laying every few days. They are only
5 months old, so I can't complain even if I got fewer eggs. I think they will start moulting soon. I have noticed a drop in the
feed intake in the last few days.
October 20, 2011
Bullwinkle has taken with Thor. So, he now has two girlfriends. At night when they go to roost, Bullwinkle roosts on one side
of Thor, and Little Ann roosts on the other side of him. When I first started letting them out in the fenced-in backyard, Little Ann
and Thor were always off on their own together, half way across the yard from the other birds. For the longest time, Thor was
skittish even around me. A few weeks ago as I was cleaning, I bent down to pick something up, and Thor jumped on my back.
I had assumed it was one of the girls, most likely Esme or Merriweather. When I stood up, he climbed up to my shoulder. When
I saw him, I said, "Oh, hello Thor." This last week, he's been coming to me, and actually looking at me, or brushing against
my leg as some of the hens do.
Merriweather is a joy. Esme used to jump up on my arm when I held it out. These days, it is usually Merriweather who will do
something like that.
November 4, 2011
Daisy and Jasper did not lay an egg today. Jasper hasn't laid the last few days, but I can usually count on Daisy. I'm not sure
if my 8th hen ever started laying or not, because her eggs are probably one of the same two colors the other 5 birds lay. It would
easy for one of them to be laying every other day or so and for the new hen to lay when one of the others isn't. I don't really think
that is the case or anything, but it would not surprise me either. Sneaky birds... ESPECIALLY Bullwinkle! She is getting out of the yard
more often now. Even though she has taken up with Thor, I think she still misses Rocky and is searching for him when she leaves.
That was the last time she saw him. He was leaving the yard. Then again, she could just be in search of fresh greens. I picked
several hands full and threw them over the fence for them. They loved it. They also love the wheat!
November 20, 2011
Last Monday, I had to have surgery. I miss my birds! I'm allowed to walk out to the pen, but I can't lift anything too heavy. Hubby
has had to change the water for me and all the other lifting chores. They've only been out once or twice. We are getting on average, five
eggs a day. My mother in-law has been wonderful. She stayed with me most of the time while Hubby was at work. I can walk almost
normal now, but the no lifting thing is a drag. Also, it still hurts to cough or sneeze, even while holding the cough pillow to my belly. It is
not quite as bad as it was just after surgery, but it's bad enough to make me want to cry sometimes.
This Thanksgiving, I'm very thankful for my life, my family, and my friends who are and extention of my family. I hope everyone has
a healthy and happy Thanksgiving.
November 28, 2011
I have enjoyed being able to take on more of the daily care chores for my birds this week. Yesterday was the second day I was allowed
to change the water without help. We only got 3 eggs yesterday. I kept thinking any day now the birds will start molting. I have noticed more
feathers around the pen lately, but none of my birds really look like they are missing feathers or anything. Daisy is starting to look scragly on
her back from breeding. I actually thought about putting her in isolation, but she was having none of that. She started to panic, so I let her out.
Yesterday, I reinforced the windbreak where they roost. I also added some features that should make it easier to clean the roost area. I guess
I will find out for sure if my ideas are working in the next few days. I have hung one of their water buckets, and it stays much cleaner than when I
had it elevated. It is also less likely to leak or tip over: so long as I have it properly balanced on the rope. I would like to try a chain with a clip on
the end, eventually, but so far I have not gotten around to looking for what I want.
I did my Work Steps today, and "D" said I passed with flying colors. He said some people can't even do the 3 minute stair step. Not because
they are old, but because they are young and lazy. He said they just sit at home and play video games. I play video games, but only when there
is not much of anything else to do. Also, when I lift a 50 pound sack of feed for the chickens, I also have to carry it to the shed. For the cattle,
we can back the pickup to where we are unloading the feed, but there is no backing my car to the shed in the back yard. Also, there have been
times where I have only needed one sack of feed for the cows, so I picked it up and carried it to the truck so we wouldn't have to mess with opening
the gate and backing the truck, ect. Stuff like that always makes me feel strong and healthy. I'm glad I didn't loose too much muscle with the
restrictions I had for the last 2 weeks.
Also, one of my cousins brought me the lastest issue of Hobby Farms CHICKENS when we saw him for Thanksgiving. It's not even at Tractor Supply yet,
where we live! They still have the fall issue out. I also got my Murray McMurray catalog, FINALLY! I have been looking at the Blue Laced Red
Wyandottes, and a few others.
December 15, 2011
It has been busy the last few weeks. We had to put a heat lamp in the pen/coop last week, and this week they haven't needed it. The cutest thing
was that the first night we had the lamp on, I got up for work at 4:00 am and didn't hear a peep out of any of them. Usually by 4:15 I can hear atleast
one of the boys crowing. Nothing. I went outside to warm up my car. When I turned on the ignition, they started crowing. The next night it was cold and wet. Same thing happened, except when I went out and started my car, still not a peep... from anyone! On my way home from work that afternoon, I nearly had a panick attack thinking... "What if a raccoon or something managed to pry their way in and kill all my birdies?!" Then I realized, if that had been the case, Hamlet and Jimbo would have been barking their heads off. Sure enough, when I got home, everyone was fine.
December, 16, 2011
My eighth hen started laying today! When I went to gather the eggs, one was distinctly smaller and "first egg" shaped. It is also an off-white color, but most of my girls who had an off-white first egg, started laying medium brown or pink eggs as they matured. I guess we'll see. The egg was a little misshapen even for a first egg. I don't know if the cold wet weather has anything to do with it, or the fact that she is the last to start laying, and older than the other hens were when they started laying.
Right before my feathered friends were going to roost, I changed out their water and handled a few other routine chores. It just so happened that I forgot how much they hate super bright colors. I was wearing a black wind-suit with a bright pink stripe down both legs. When I turned to leave, Optimus jumped down, ran to me and started pecking the pink stripe of my left leg. When I looked down, I realized why he was "attacking me" and started to leave. He tried to follow me out of the pen, so as I got to the gate, I turned to gently pop his chest with my hand. At this point he "bit" me, which was too much for Beakman. Beakman then runs over, jumps at Optimus, and after about a minute and a half, everyone had settled down and went back to getting settled. By this time I had locked the gate and was watching from the outside of the pen.
Their pen/coop has a good wind-break on the North side, a solid roof and a heat lamp. Hubby assures me this will be fine for the winter, but I keep thinking about last winter when we were confined to our property for a week because of snow and ice. I know he is right, but I think a warm winter coop would be safer for them and easier for me. They would still use their current coop during the summer as it is perfect even when had to suffer through 118 degree heat. (Worst summer I have ever experienced!) On the other hand, maybe going back and forth between 2 different coops every year would be stressful on them. Personally, I wouldn't think so. A fellow chicken keeper told me that chickens roost in the same spot every night. I have found that while the majority of the time, this is pretty true, there are nights that it doesn't work that way. For example, if Jasper goes to roost before Bullwinkle, there is no budging her (as she has senority) and Bullwinkle has to find a different place to roost. Also, if two hens have been at odds all day, they won't always roost in their normal spots. And lately, I have noticed certain hens going to roost much earlier than the rest of the group.
Needless to say, after 8 months of chicken keeping, I am still just as enraptured by their flock structure and antics as I was the very first moment.
December 25, 2011
On the 22nd of this month, all 8 of my hens laid an egg. The bad news is that one of them was a soft shell. I'm guessing it was one of the hens on the low end of the pecking order, because I have oyster shell in a bowl that is inside the hutch that some of them use for a nest. Under the hutch is 2 more nests. The soft egg was laid in one of the lower nest boxes. So, I'm back to making sure there are a few small piles outside of the hutch nest as well.
The next day, I got 6 eggs, but all of them had healthy shells. Trial and Error make some pretty hardcore teachers, but you don't often forget those lessons. Merry Christmas, Everyone!
December 26, 2011
Yesterday, I got 7 eggs. Either Jasper is laying green eggs again, or one of my other hens has switched to green. I miss those weekends where I could spend all day Saturday outside with the chickens, and know for sure who laid what! Yesterday, Hubby and I came home from his parents house to nap until the rest of the family got there. Instead, I went out to the coop to feed my feathered friends, and I ended up staying out there the whole 2 hours, changing their water, dumping old litter from nest boxes and below roosting spots, adding fresh litter and making sure they had plenty of feed for the next morning. Keep in mind that on the 24th, I stayed up till 1:00 AM only to get up at 4:00 AM to go to work. After work, I went straight to my in-laws house to eat lunch and visit. Last night I was in bed by ten I think...
I got a new camera for Christmas. My previous one broke in May when I dropped it while we were on vacation. (Bad timing.) Yes, in the MIDDLE of our vacation. It still took pictures, but you couldn't see the quality of the picture until you put them on the computer, because the screen was cracked. Anyhow, hubby also bought an extra battery for it as well. YAY! New pics coming soon!!!
January 1, 2012
A two days in a row last week, I got 8 eggs! Today I got seven, but I'm not complaing, because 7 out of 8 in January is FANTASTIC!!! I figured they'd all stop laying for awhile when it got cold. One day it was so cold that one of the eggs had the look of cracked glass. It was still sealed and strong, but you could see the cracked look to it when you put it to light. I'm not adding bright lights to "lengthen the day" but on nights it is supposed to freeze, I do turn on a red heat lamp to keep them a bit more comfortable and prevent water from freezing. Happy New Year everyone!!!