How did it all begin? I had wanted to have chicken pets for years but we ended up with a dog, then another dog, then another dog... then a kitten. Well you get the picture. So, when Mother's Day was getting close this year, I thought "it never hurts to ask" and my husband said OK.
Not knowing what we were doing or even how to go about finding chickens, we found an ad on Craigslist from a Lady that builds little City-Chicken small coops. Her name is Constance at Angel Songs Acres Farm in Floresville. She was so nice. She said she would hatch me some chickens and I could take them home and love them and then just return the Roosters to her.
So about 3 weeks and a few days later... we had chickens ... The four larger ones were about two weeks old (Constance got them for us from a friend of hers since only one hatched in her incubator) we named them Angel (all white), Butter (orangish one), Snookie (has a poof on her head), and Skull Crusher (Orange and White). Only one hatched at the farm that day and so that little bitty one is Smidge.
Then the NEXT day, two more hatched at the Farm and Constance brought them, they looked like twins and we named them Logan and Nate Nate after Constance's grandsons who came with her to deliver them.
We got our little Cabin/Coop from Constance, who makes Cabins for small City Flocks like we have. We had them put a little roof top garden on it for us to hopefully, keep it more insulated in the summer and winter. In the picture below, all of the ventalation screens are open but it closer up real tight. Because of the neighborhood we live in, we knew we needed a pen that didn't look like a pen so we decided on a pergola... My husband went to work and I think it came out great ... No one from the outside woud ever know its a chicken pen!
Then a few weeks later, we went to see Constance and she had some new babies that had hatched. There were some really really cute ones, this one seemed closer in size to Logan and Nate Nate, so we brought home another one home. We named this one Shiner Black because we brought the chick home in a Shiner Black Box -- we call this little sweetie Shiney for short.
When we got home I just kept thinking about this little bitty mostly grey/black chick that we had left behind, so my husband said we could go and see if she/he was still there on the weekend... and when we got to the farm, there the little darling was! And there was a little white chick with a little round poof on her little hed, so we took both of them home. We named the dark one Ashes and the lighter one Lady GaGa.
The chickens are so much fun to watch but they do require a little care and alot of knowledge, I spend hours looking up stuff about chickens just to make sure I don't screw things up too bad. When Nate Nate was just a couple of weeks old she (I call them all she until I know they are boys) started sneezing every few seconds. I, of course, freaked out and read all of the horrible things that it could be. I went to the feed store and the man at the counter explained that sometimes they get colds and sold me some antibiotics to put in the water and some chicken gatorade. He told me that Nate Nate should start to feel better in 3 or 4 days... and he was right. During this whole time, I never seperated the chickens, I figured they probably had the same thing since they all slept in a pile anyway. Angel, the older white chicken stayed with Nate Nate all the time and would take care of her. Angel slept next to her and seemed to watch out for her while she was sick. From that point on Nate Nate and Angel were pretty much inseperatable. Nate follws Angel whereever Angel goes.
I love this picture so much... It shows how amazing and wonderful my Angel was and it shows my Ashes' personality... None of the big chickens liked Ashes and GaGa and would chase them and peck at them... but I would take Angel and put her in the box with GaGa and Angel and he would just care for them and love them.
A couple of weeks later, I noticed that Skull Crusher was walking with her head between her legs and would roll over. Again, I freaked out and went to the internet to find out what was wrong. I found a bunch of information on "crooked neck", "wry neck", "water on the brain" and Skully's symptoms matched perfectly. I followed the instructions exactly - predisone, children's vitamins, vitamin e and ..... Skully got worse and worse and could only walk a couple of steps and would roll over. When I would hold her to give her medicine she would tremor and jerk her head around. It was so sad. Then a few days into the treatment, Skully seemed to stop getting worse and stayed the same. I kept Skully inside with us and I just kept feeding him the medicines and then she started to get better... it took about 4 weeks but now Skully is as good as new. It is funny because Skully used to always get pecked by everyone. When I first put her back outside, the others just ganged up on her and would chase her around and try to peck her. I brought her back in and would just bring her out for a short amount of time and only with me and I would protect her. Now, she is the meanest of all my chickens, she pecks everyone and is so selfish - she doesn't like to share and if anyone gets close to her while she is eating, she pecks them... She likes to have staredowns and chest bumps w/ everyone.
I just noticed that it has been a long time since I have updated this little blog...
Of the original eight chickens I brought home, all but one started to crow. Just my luck seven of eight would be roosters. My heart was so broken, I loved them all so much. I cried and cried every day at the thought of them going away but I knew I couldn't keep ten chickens in my tiny backyard.
Three (My sweet Angel, Logan, and Smidge) went back to the farm they came from and Constance said she was going to make a Bachelor Pad but that didn't work out and Constance re-homed them. I got to visit Angel and Logan at their new home, I think they remembered me and let me hold them and sing to them, I missed them so much and cried my eyes out. I think Angel and Logan got killed but I just can't think about it. Here is a picture I took when I got to visit of Angel and Logan at Crystal's place:
Constance says that Smidge is still living w/ a man and his mom in Lytle... I hope so, Smidge was the one that loved me the most - he would let me hold him on his back and rock him like a baby -- he loved treats !
The other four (Nate, Shiner, Butter and Skull Crusher) went to live on a Animal Refuge and Rescue in Nixon Texas. Dorin sent me some pictures and told me they are finding wives! I hope so! I thought for sure that Nate was a girl because he was really tiny but he ended up with a really loud crow. Butter ended up being my husnad's favorite - he looked like such a dork when he walked-- looked kind of like a duck waddle and had just the sweetest disposition - never pecked anyone and just loved everyone. It was really really hard to say goodbye to Skully... he was the one that had crooked neck and I spent weeks inside the house, holding him and nursing him back... He had a hard time working his way back into the group and pecked all the other chickens and they all just left him all alone... It was really sad. But now they are at Dorin's Animal Sanctuary living a happy chicken life... I still miss them with all my heart. Here is a picture, they do look happy!
So of the original eight, that just left Snooki. I also have the two chicks (Ashes and GaGa) that I brought home from Constance in June. Ashes and GaGa stick to each other like glue. Since they were so much younger and smaller than the others, they were chased and pecked at, so they ended up hiding and playing together far from the others. At first, I was worried that Snooki would be lonely since GaGa and Ashes have each other and didn't seem to want to be with Snooki. They slept on opposite sides of the coop and played in opposite sides of the yard for weeks but now, they all play together and sleep in a giant pile. GaGa and Ashes still are inconsolable when they are seperated... skreeching and crying for each other but now they also include Snooki.
In San Antonio, you are only allowed to have three backyard chickens but I understand that you can apply for a variance if you want more. There is also no restrictions on Roosters. We thought GaGa was a boy because she is the youngest but quickly grew bigger than Ashes. Since GaGa and Ashes are so attached, I knew if I was going to have a rooster, it would have to be GaGa... we actually started calling her GaGaRoo. Neither GaGa or Ashes started to crow and they are almost six months old... so maybe they are girls... The other were all crowing by three months old. I don't care, if they end up Roosters, I am keeping them - I just can't go through giving up any more of my babies.
On Nov 28th, Snooki laid her first egg. She laid it in her nesting box during the night. It was beautiful. I am going to do something special with it, I'm just not sure what. Here are pics of Snook's first (little) and second egg:
The first part of Decemeber, Ashes started sneezing and shaking her head and I took her to the Avain Vet. It cost us a fortune ($500+) and she still is not better. I just can't afford to go back so I am treating her with ideas I find on here. I hope something works I am really worried about her and I love her so much. She stays inside with me when it is cold and goes out when it is warm and sunny.
On Christmas Morning, GaGa laid her first egg. For a couple of weeks she had been going down when I approach her, so I kind of figured she was a girl, but it is nice to know for sure! She laid her egg in the coop, in the nesting box, just like she is supposed to.
Snooki, on the other hand, likes to lay her eggs in the nest INSIDE the house. She squwacks and just sits at the backdoor until we let he inside, then she runs like crazy to her inside cage and just sits there until her egg comes. It is just the funniest thing to see.
My Ashes died on Tuesday morning, January 4th... I am devestated. I can't write about it yet. I think about her and I just cry and can't stop. RIP my little princess... love you with all my heart.
Here are a few of the last pictures taken of Ashes.... miss my baby....
Its April of 2011 and I haven't visited this page in a while. I am still very sad about my Ashes and I just break up when I see her little pictures.
A couple of months ago, Constance from Angel Song Acre Farm gave me the choice of her her teen age girls to replace my baby Ashes... I love having day old chicks but wasn't sure I could go through the heart ache of giving up Roos again. So, I now have two more beautiful girls: Oreo and Dilly-Pearl, in our little flock. At first, they didn't really like me too much but now, thanks to lots and lots of treats, they think I am wonderful.
Here is a picture when I first brought them home -- Constance knew I would love Oreo and had been giving Oreo lots of love so she was just a little more friendly. Dilly-Pearl had not been held much and was a little bit of a wild child -- but I just loved the way she looked. She is my only girl w/o a beard and I love the way it makes her little neck look so long and lean. As she has gotten older, she has little waddles that are just adorable. She also doesn't have much feathering on her legs which, to me, makes her look more sleek... I think she is gorgeous!