Not sure what a BLOG is, but I figure I'm going to start this and see if it turns into one......
My name is Tricia. I live in a small town in Ontario, Canada. In July of 2011 I decided I wanted to have chickens. Hens, for eggs,......... you know.
Sunday July 17th, my darling dearest, the love of my life, Peter, was on his way to Toronto for some training for a week. (Job related) He gave me the ok for a couple of chickens. We talked and 3-4 seemed reasonable and we had picked up a feeder and waterer for poultry. No sooner had I dropped him off at the train station, I popped online to our local Kijiji and answered a local add "pet chickens for sale". I got to work changing our screened porch area attached to our garage into an enclosed chicken house, with a roost and nest boxes.
I got the door area framed in when I got the call back to come and see the chickens. I gr abed some boxes and headed 2 county blocks in our little town to see these chickens. Beverly had 10 hens, 1 rooster and 3 chicks in a converted horse barn. She told me she was moving to Montreal and she needed to sell them, because she couldn't take them with her.
I picked 4 red hens:
I Black and White stripped one:
she gave me a Grey one:
and I liked the look of the little black and white chick, so I took her too.
In to boxes all the chickens went, I paid Beverly and off I went home to put my chickens in the unfinished coop.
I still needed to install the chicken fence to the frame and put the door on. My poor chickens squawked and squeaked and carried on for 10 minutes while I quickly stapled the chicken fence onto the frame.
Upon release, my new girls checked out the accommodations. I didn't have a nest box or roost made yet!!!! I worked like crazy to get a roost made as it was nearly dark and I knew I needed at least that, based on some reading I had done on the Internet.
I realized my idea of 3-4 chickens didn't work very well. I was currently at 7 chickens!!
Monday morning, bright and early, I went off to work with chicken on the brain. All I could think about was building chicken nesting boxes, roosts and how to make a little chicken heaven in my back yard. Not a very productive day at work for me; I spent allot of time checking out the Internet and researching chicken coops and accommodations. Right after work I ran to a neighboring town to the TSC and got feed, scratch, and pine shavings. when I got home I scoured the garage for a 3 shelf unit I knew was in there and put a back on it and board across the front. Got a nest box now. All I need is a little riser to bring it up off the ground, built that and screwed the box to the riser, tossed in some shavings and voila, chicken nest box. The girls with need to make due, I was exhausted.
The next day I split out of work early. My research showed me I needed Oyster Shells. My girls needed oysters... so off I go again to the TSC to get oyster shells. The next modification was to lift half the patio stones up from the ground in the enclosed area. back breaking labour, but what fun for both the chicken and I. Every stone I lifted, bugs,worms and all sorts of creepy crawlies. Lots of amusing chicken races, especially the worm race. Made me look for the juicy prizes as I was lifting.
At this time I have a roost, made from an old hockey stick and a shelf piece, I have a nest box made from a old shelf and scrap wood and a large area with lots of dirt for scratching and dust baths.
Wednesday was a wash-up as I had made myself sick with working so hard in the heat. Did I mention we were experiencing 100 degree temperatures Sunday, Monday and Tuesday? Air and rest for me all day Wednesday. I did a little bit of looking on the Internet and found someone selling more chickens... They were about 6 weeks and sooo cute, I couldn't say no, so I drove back out to the county and got 6, yup SIX. I put my young birds together with my old bird.
I found this great addictive website called, backyardchickens.com. From them I learned that I did allot of things wrong this week, I did not quarantine, old girls with young birds....the list goes on.....
So Thursday I also had to drive out to the feed store to get some dust for the birds cause I was bit up on my legs.... FLEAS, might be mites too.. ICKY. I hate bugs.
Friday, I go back out to the feed store to get some magical dirt, DE. Ihave plans to dust all my girls and make them nice and clean for my, lovely, understanding, man. I have since come to understand chicken math had occur ed and my original plan to get 3 or 4 chickens had turned into thirteen (yup, 13). I picked him up at the train station 11 pm at night and had the whole ride home to explain to him how our original idea of having 3-4 hens had turned in to a flock of 13.
Saturday: Introducing the chickens to Peter's kids.... The kids love the chickens! Kira, the daughter and I went branch hunting and curbside garbage picking, to make a play set for the little ones and give the older girls some better nesting space. Egg collecting is now a reward for the best behaved child on the weekends! : )
Aug 5th, 2nd weekend and ..... time to expand the outdoor run area..My sunflowers are now big enough that I think the Chicken velocoraptors will not chew them down.
Welcome to the chicken jungle:
The chickens love it and have started digging for bugs and crawly things already!
It has been several weeks now and we are starting the coop for the winter.
My darling Dearest, Peter is taking on this project. I am very capable with a saw and drill, but I am very pleased with him helping with the chickens. I have made a pact with myself to not high jack his project.
He started with a frame:
We used left over fence boards to do the exterior walls. We picked up some pine paneling at a yard sale and used it for the backing.
Some foam insulation is going between the layers to give some insulating value and cut any drafts.
Windows have been cut, insulation glued in, interior wall layer is installed. (Pete's kids are "helping")
The roof is installed and we have found out the hard way we will need to remove the roof, doors and any interior shelves before moving it into the coop area.
We should be all done by September. Just in time for he cooler weather!
Well.... it's September and the cooler weather showed up overnight here in South Western Ontario....
We had to take the coop back apart to the above photo to fit it in the door. (yes we measured, but we didn't take into account the door... so the doors and the roof had to be removed...
We took out the roosts...
An old corner cupboard turned on it's side became a nest box.
Here it is all installed:
We still have some fine tuning to do on the "fit and finish"
The little girls are being manually loaded at night with Squirt. Princess has figured it out, no problem. (I might keep that bird.) The big girls get the out door roost. They are headed for freezer comp, so the little girls, Squirt and Princess are the beneficiaries of this new winter chicken house.
Squirt is definitely a Roo. He started his Crowing the weekend of Sept 23rd and a nice man named Darryl answered my Kijiji add for a free Roo. He had 5 little red sex-links, that were just a little bit younger than my girls. Squirt was no longer the squirt of the coop. He may have a new name.
They grow up so fast.
I've done a new addition to the chicken house, feeder for the inside of the chicken house:
Thank you to all the fabulous people on this site.
It runs up through the top of the chicken house so I can fill it from the outside in the winter:
The little girls have grown and I should be getting eggs any day now. They hatched approx. May 20th. I am expecting eggs by Halloween at the latest. We found an egg in the dust bath bowls today (Oct 7th) so maybe one of the little girls is laying eggs already.
The big girls are going on outings into the garden to help me with clean up.
Well, summer has come and gone. The little girls have grown. Sunshine was the first to lay eggs. A little smaller than the big girl eggs.
I culled the flock. Billy and the Henrietta's (AKA The Big Girls) have gone to freezer camp, but Princess stays. One of our wise BYC members reminded me to consider flock dynamics in my culling. Princess had a place in with the little girls as a mother hen, den mother or granny, so she stays to keep these girls in line. They follow her every were, so if I can get Princess to go, I can get the flock to go.
I have 3 of the six girls laying now:
I am almost down to the 3-4 hens Pete and I originally talked about. I have a friend at work who may take a couple of girls for laying hens too.
December 30th, 2011 - Winter has finally set in Christmas has come and gone and I'm on the lookout for a hobby farm. I want more. That wonderfully fabulous man in my life is willing to move again. I just have to find the right property. I have found perfect barns and properties, but he's a bit picky on the house. I am willing to keep looking. If he can put up with my chicken addiction, I can find him the perfect house with land and barn. I have sourced out an a breeder for Aracaunas and Marans and emailed performance poultry to see if they ship and if they have a mixed bag of chicks. I want a big colourful flock at the new farm. The lady at work who was going to take a couple of hens has asked if I want a couple of goats in exchange! We are going to trade when I get the farm in the spring. I'm very excited about the chicklette stage. It will be a first for me as my six girls were obtained at 6 weeks old. Happy New Year.
January 2nd, 2012
Happy New Year..... Today we had adventures in Meal Worms. I have heard through BYC that chicken love them. I will not touch them. I don't like creepy crawlies and my chickens help to keep this issue to a minimum. My Darling Dearest Pete said he wanted to buy them when we were at the feed store today and my only condition is that he be the one to feed them....
The girls were definitely eager, even got Princess to come close.
He put his hand out and SunShine was all up there, first to investigate these new offerings.
Very entertaining to watch Pete down there with the girls, talking to them and squeaking, in that guy way, when one took a bit more than the worm off his hand.
Girls loved it and so did we:
January 7th, 2012
Met a fellow Sarnia person through BYC. I am very happy to find others to trade or get birds from locally. Thank you Sue.
We got a whopper of an egg yesterday, and a tinny egg this morning. We believe the whopper is a double yoker. The big egg was 3.35 oz our usual is only about 2.35 oz.
Yup, It was a very tasty double yoker... : )
Jan 15th, 2012
Well I did it. I sent an email to the local breeder and I going to the garage right now to get the brooder set-up for chicks.
The breeder does an early hatch in February and I am hoping to get in on this. Aracaunas show their imperfections early, so I hope to get some of those from her\him from that hatching. I don't want to show the girls, I just want to enjoy them.
An early hatch is very important for me. I need to have them feathered in before May as I am going to be away on vacation for a week and have someone else watching them. I don't want to loose any due to someone Else's neglect.
Feb 3rd, 2012
I ended up with a Broody from my productions girls.... Being as how I want more chickens, and who doesn't, I needed some fertilized eggs. I don't really know anyone else in the area with chickens, so I took a chance on a Saturday morning and knocked on the door of a house that has chickens. I have seen them out free-ranging with a roo off and on all summer.
Met some great folks and came away with two bantam old English game eggs. Now with only 7 days to go, I am getting anxious.
She's being a good broody so far.
I have setup the food and water station for the chicks.
I just have to make a ramp to get the little ones over the lip of the nesting box.
Updates to follow next weekend. (Hopefully some chick pictures!)
February 16th, 2012 - Happy Valentine's Day everyone (I know, I'm a little late)
Well the silly Rosy chicken, although dedicated to brooding, got confused on Monday and set on the wrong eggs in the wrong nest box. By the time I got home from work the egg was cool and as I didn't have peeper yet, likely dead.
On a good note, my Model 1588 Hova-Bator arrived yesterday.
I ordered from BerryHill Limited out of St. Thomas and was very pleased with speed and quality. I have investigated other online chicken sites of a more local and Canadian origin to find hatching eggs. I have found some wonderful people in my area and I may have a couple of day old chicks for Rosy and a dozen hatching eggs for me, by this weekend.
I hear the hatching is addictive. If this is the case than I had better get a move on in finding the farm!
Happy hatching everyone.
February 18th, 2012
I went and picked up a dozen hatching eggs.
12 blue eggs; 4 pure breed Americauna, 4 Easter Eggers, 4 Bantam Easter Eggers
I am so excited.
Rosy's eggs did not hatch. We did an eggtopacy and it was fully developed chick, oh well.
We should have better luck with the Hova-Bator
21 days to go.... brooder is set up and ready to go.
I've already got Polish and Silkie sourced for the next dozen and Millie Fluer for the 12 after that!
Hooked is not the word for it.
I really have to get that farm! I need more space.
March 1st, 2012
I have found someone who will rent me a house and barns on 2.5 acres in the county, with the option to buy in 1 year!
If I could just rent my existing house for April 1st, we can move!
The moons must be aligned just so because my old cross beak hen, Princess, has layed me an egg:
Can you guess which egg is her's?
The turquoise one!
Ok enough goofing around.......time to hunt for a tenant!
March 5th, 2012
We spent 4 hours just cleaning out the outside of the existing chicken coop at the new place!
Looks like someone used the coop as a garbage desposal area.
We have found a different area of the barn to locate the girls until the inside of this "coop" is cleaned properly.
I just can't believe how people keep their animals!
There is likely another 3 days of hard work to clean out the rest of the barn before I will think about moving the girls.
I also need to investigate a fencing option and confirm it is ok with Chuck before digging and planting the posts.
Wish me luck!
March 10th, 2012
Hatching day and the chicks did not dissapoint...
First thing thismorning I was woke up to peeping and pipping....
I answered an add for Freedom Ranger Chicks for sale.
Hatched yesterday! Drove out the hour and back to get 4 other babies to the mix.
The Freedom Ranger chicks are the yellow ones....
They are all sleeping soundly with one egg still in the Hova-Bator. Not sure if it will hatch, but, I want to give it one or two more days before I take it out.
March 14, 2012
I have found a tenant! We are going to start moving this week.
The owner of the Farm said we could move in early if we want to ... DO I...
Whoo Hoooo. you would think this would take a load off my shoulders, but now I am in planning mode for the move.
List is made. Poor Pete will likely need all his patience with me this next couple of weeks.
The babies are doing great. (That last unhatched egg wasn't developed.)
Little feathers are starting to grow from the wing tips and tails.
March 15, 2012
The Babies are 5 days old
We got the Community Standards Officer Come by today and left his card.... I think it is time to move the chickens to the farm.
Good thing we found a farm!
March 17th, 2012
The girls have moved to the farm and I got them a Boy friend for company and protection.
He started out being called Whitie, but Devin (Pete's son) quickly renamed him ""Snow Blazer""
The humans in this equation should be all moved in by the weekend.
April 3rd, 2012
Everyone is doing great.
Babies are growing like weeds
Princess has stopped laying again.
We still have to move all the "stuff" from the garage at the old house.
I'm thinking if we don't need this stuff in the past few weeks we may not need it at all.... I think the garbage will be mighty full after I am done this weekend.
The meeting with the Community Enforcement Officer when very well. The guy is just doing his job and lucky for me, I already had a place to move the girls.
By the time the summer is over I will have a flock of almost 50 birds!
6 red sexlink layers
1 Wyandotte Roo
About two dozen babies from the Sex links and the Wyandotte roo
11 mixed Easter Eggers
4 Freedom Rangers
Chicken math is a dangerous thing! I will do some subtraction this fall with extra roos.
I need keep a couple to set up a rotation of roos so I can have a genetically healthy flock!
I see why people usually specialize in only one or two breeds.
I have cancelled my order for barred rocks and leghorns today and I think I will email the breeders I have been talking to for Jersey Giants, Polish, Millie Fluers and Silkies to let them know I have retrieved my sanity and decided that other breeds can wait until next year!
I'm sure I will change my mind again, but for now the Babies of my laying girls, the Easter Egger Chicks/Freedom rangers(when they are old enough) and Blazer, the new boyfriend should be enough for eggs this season.
April 13th, 2012 - It is Friday the 13th today. I had a chick that didn't look so good yesterday and she looks worse today. Swoolen abdomen, warm.... like she is impacted. I tried olive oil in her vent and in her mouth. We will see tomorrow if she is still alive. Planting posts tomorrow for the pasture. I have been looking up how to run wire fencing. I am getting dark brown eggs by mail next week and I am driving out to get brown leghorns... My rainbow egg basket: light tan green blue white dark chocolate brown still going to get tinted (they are like a pink) from a breeder in stratford..... Next year is going to be so much fun with rainbow egg baskets for sale and a barn full of chickens!
April 17th, 2012 Little Chick still doesn't look good, but she seems more active than before. They batch will be 6 weeks old this weekend. I am hoping to have the coop brooder setup ready and move the littel girls to the barn by Sunday. Little Chick and twist beak shick will stay behind for a bit of extra tlc, I think a bit of antibiotic would help if we have a GI infection. I have Marans hatching eggs ordered and should get them tomorrow or the day after. I am saving eggs from my girls and have a local with Brown Leghorn eggs (white eggs) to pick-up this week. All I need is the pink eggs and I will have a full rainbow basket. I just don't have time to drive to Stratford to pick some up before i set this weekend .... (darn) I think they can wait until next year. (or maybe next hatch) I have plans for the big barn and setting up breeding pens in them. I will have to wait until we own the place because I think the current owner would not appreciate us messing with the masonary of the big horse barn. We will make due with the old barn and make it work for the breeding pens for now. Blazer cannot be put with other roos, so I will need to take the summer to create breeding pens for the roos that I have from the Babies. I am keeping some for breeding and I may have a beautiful Blue Americauna Roo in the bunch that I would hate to get rid of. (I would sell him as he (if he is a he) is from great stock!) Blazer gets to take care of the layers in the summer and winter and the breeder roos will get girls in the spring. That is the plan anyway, we will see how it goes. Happy Spring from CCL Farms...