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    When dark comes, they flock together

    I walked out this evening right before dark and saw an amazing thing. With all the political craziness in our country, a profound image made such a mark on me that I ran back inside to grab my camera in hopes to capture the moment.

    The Merritt Chicks (The oldest chickens) have had a rough time letting the new guys (The Chix) just... "Be". They keep them huddled in the little coop and rarely allow them into the main coop except for when we are bringing out treats. Even then, we have to split the treat giving up into two groups with Joey giving the Chix their treats, and me giving treats to the Chicks.

    Tonight tho, when the sunshine wasn't on them and it was time to settle in for the night, I saw the most amazing thing.

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    Every one of the Chickens were on the top perch. Lined up, all in a row, feather to feather. Their petty differences that are shown during the day under the glaring light, seem to fade away in the cool evening.

    I'm not sure why, but it sure did do my heart good to see this.
    Posted by Heather the Chicken Whispererat 5/31/2011 09:09:00 PM 0 comments[​IMG]
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    SATURDAY, MAY 28, 2011

    Hot and Busy day!

    Well, we started at the the crack of 8am this morning. All three kiddos and I headed to meet my mom at the Statesboro Farmer's Market for some fresh corn!

    Well, we found corn and so much more! We got 4 lbs of snap beans and 4 dozen ears of corn. The kiddos shucked and silked the corn and as a reward, got to swim in Grandma's pool. Meanwhile, Grandma Deb gave me a lesson in canning beans and freezing corn!

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    Perfect portions for a family of 5!
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    So here are the $.50 squash plants we got (6 of them) so we'll see how they turn out.

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    We put the corn cobs in the worm bin for some fresh food and good compost!
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    We're finally seeing the first fruits of the garden.
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    Poor hot babies! See her wallow in the cool dirt, and shake herself off!
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    Ol' Jr. is still at it - he's so hot he's dropped his wings to air his body out. Still too pretty for his own good tho. ;)
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    I took some videos - as soon as they upload, I'll post them.
    Posted by Heather the Chicken Whispererat 5/28/2011 03:21:00 PM 0 comments[​IMG]
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    MONDAY, MAY 23, 2011

    Jr. got hot, so Lexie fixed it

    If you had told me 10 years ago I'd have a chicken in my kitchen that was still strutting around, I would have called ya nutty...alas, here we are.

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    It was 103 when Joey drove by the bank today - in May.
    Posted by Heather the Chicken Whispererat 5/23/2011 05:12:00 PM 0 comments[​IMG]
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    THURSDAY, MAY 19, 2011

    Merritt Chicks VS Chix - let's get ready to rumble

    So, we decided to put the baby chix in with the big chicks to see just what kind of relationship would form. We'd had the chix in the little coop with a sheet of chicken wire covering the walk through to the big coop - so they could get to know each other, but not get 'at' each other.



    Not as bad as I thought it would be...not as nice as I would have liked. I thought I taught the Chicks better than to behave like that, but it just goes to show, sometimes kids rebel.

    On a positive note, Jr. thinks he's a parrot.

    [​IMG]
    Posted by Heather the Chicken Whispererat 5/19/2011 07:16:00 PM 0 comments[​IMG]
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    TUESDAY, MAY 17, 2011

    Merritt Chicks and Cantaloupe: FAIL

    Let me preface this video by saying a few things. It's short and sweet, but let it never be said that I consider "Us Merritts" to be professional chicken farmers. We're learning, as this video will show.

    On Saturday, I bought two ripe, beautiful cantaloupes. Joey said "Oh, good! We can give the rind to the chicks." Sounded good to me, tho my thoughts focused more on "Yay! We can give the rinds to the worms!"

    This evening, the kids were ready to "dig in" and eat their portion as a snack. Joey and Lexie cut and cleaned the cantaloupe in half and then divided the half even further down which created approximately 6 pieces.

    We were quite excited about this, as Joey had been waiting to try his experiment since Saturday.

    Enjoy this very imperfect video, candid banter and all. Let it never be said I don't share my faults as well as successes. Actually, overheard in the video is
    "Sheebus, let me NOT record this right now"...but then I thought...why not make it a blog? So, here ya go.




    Now, what have we learned? Well, this site states that chickens LOVE cantaloupes. (Yeah, we didn't see it).http://blog.mcmurrayhatchery.com/2010/07/20/feeding-your-chickens-table-scraps/

    This site gave a little more detail which included an interesting twist. "Melons: Cantaloupe, Honeydew, And watermelon. My chickens peck it down to the skin of the fruit. " found at https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?pid=6422212

    So...I am not the type to buy cantaloupe and feed it to the chickens when I have perfectly good kiddos who'd prefer to snack on the goodness of fresh fruit. So, worm food it is. Sorry, Merritt Chicks, fresh fruit is for kids!
    Posted by Heather the Chicken Whispererat 5/17/2011 08:22:00 PM 1 comments[​IMG]
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    MONDAY, MAY 16, 2011

    Little Bit aka "Junior" Trained Chicken?

    This was crazy fun for me. I had been talking to Little Bit aka "Junior" and he was feeling a little "cooped" up. I like to sit and watch him just be a chicken, so this was fun seeing the whole "feather cleaning" process and him get a little skittish when the squirrel (heard in the background) started acting crazy because of our cat, Jojo.

    He's been "coming" to me whenever I talk to him, so I purposefully waited to speak to him until the very end. The result made me proud and you can see that "Junior" has sure come a long way from this, the sick little chick-a-bitty that he was.
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    Just look at him now. :)
    Posted by Heather the Chicken Whispererat 5/16/2011 04:56:00 PM 0 comments[​IMG]
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    SUNDAY, MAY 15, 2011

    Chicks and Chix test their taste buds with Mealworms

    Check out the Chicks eating Mealworms for the first time. ( Thanks Linda for the treats!)



    Curious about what those little brown things are:
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    Wait, these things taste GOOD!
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    Rhode Island Red is loving the tasty treats!
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    Little Chix are not quite sure what to make of these things.
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    Eventually, they all get a little mealworm action.
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    Little Bit says "Hey, I want some mealworms! See, I'm a big boy!"
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    Not quite yet, Little Bit.
    Posted by Heather the Chicken Whispererat 5/15/2011 10:51:00 AM 0 comments
    Merritt Chix move next to the Chicks!

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    The Shop/Coop where the Chicks are.

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    The Chix and their new "Big girl" waterer in the little coop.

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    6 Lay Boxes
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    The chicken wire separates the Chicks from the Chix - we attempted to integrate them, but the Chicks were NOT having it and started pecking at the Chix. So, we've got them separated for the time being, but Joey put the wire up so they could "get to know" each other.
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    Lay Boxes with the doors down

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    Little coop with Lay Boxes and some of the big coop

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    Time to expand, the beginnings of the "open coop".


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    Quality time with the Chicks

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    Snack time
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    The Chicks LOVE their bellies scratched.


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    The Chix like their new home so far

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    Little Bit is doing GREAT! She...er....HE is like Snow White....or....like an angel... haha
    Posted by Heather the Chicken Whispererat 5/14/2011 07:11:00 PM 1 comments[​IMG]
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    So, these Roosters are rowdy.

    Now, the Merritt Chicks were comfortable with us and eating out of our hands within a week of us bringing them home. These Chix tho, man, they are flighty and feisty! They want nothing to do with the large hand coming in "after them" and run like the wind at the first hint of the top rising on their home.

    This week, Sparrow got the Roosters, so we were hoping the hens would settle down a bit. After a few days of trying to get them to eat out of our hands, we FINALLY had some success!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=we_2yMSpXNo


    Now, with the Merritt Chicks, we found random caterpillars and they LOVED chasing each other around to get them, they also loved the meaty treat.

    Do the Caterpillar Crawl

    So, seeing as how feeding these 18 mouths is getting somewhat expensive, we've decided to "grow" some worms.

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    Wish us luck, these things are gross. LOL
    Posted by Heather the Chicken Whispererat 5/14/2011 07:03:00 PM 0 comments[​IMG]
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    Snack Time and *SURPRISE*

    Give Us GREENS!

    Little Bit is a White Cochin, we found out by calling up to TBM and asking as that is where the neighbor got her from. So, we decided to look her up online to see what she will look like once she's grown. We've discovered she is deemed an "ornamental" breed of chicken. Not good for eggs (2 x a week) and not good to eat. Joey made a joke about "Well, you can sit on the couch and watch TV with me then." haha

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    So, our friend Ricky taught us a trick on how to tell what sex a chicken is. You basically hold them by the back of the neck like a cat. If they kick and squawk, they are roosters, if their legs straighten out, they are hens.


    Guess what Little bit is?

    You guessed it, A ROOSTER. So, we've decided to give our friend, Sparrow, the THREE Barred Rock Roosters we have, and we'll keep Little Bit as our Rooster.
    Posted by Heather the Chicken Whispererat 5/14/2011 06:58:00 PM 0 comments[​IMG]
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    We definitely have ROOSTERS!

    Raisin, the Feistiest of all, just wanted to say "wazzup".


    Little Bit is doing much better. There are 2 weeks difference between the Merritt Chix and Little Bit. Note the size difference here.
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    One of the Chix Hens babied Little Bit, kept her under her wing and even walked and stayed near her for the first 3 days or so.
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    Little Bit is looking MUCH better these days.
    Posted by Heather the Chicken Whispererat 5/14/2011 06:50:00 PM 0 comments[​IMG]
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    Meet Little Bit, the Rescued Easter Chick

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    This is Little Bit. Our neighbors college aged daughter brought her home for Easter. She purchased her on Saturday. We got her Monday afternoon. The mother had the forethought to know where to bring this baby chick who was clearly not doing well. Having been kept in a closet with the door closed, in a cardboard box and with only the closet light for warmth, by the time we got her she was cold, hungry and dehydrated.

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    She was also VERY tiny.

    I started shoving sugar water down her throat and placed her directly under the warming lamp as she was lethargic and cold. She also wasn't able to stand up. By the end of the first evening, having given her sugar water every half hour for about 5 hours, she was finally able to stand up, tho she was having difficulty walking. Unfortunately, I think she was on that slippery cardboard or newspaper for so long, her legs started to "split" and looked malformed. She was very wobbly on any attempt to walk.


    We were very worried she wouldn't make it through the night.

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    The next day we noticed a marked difference as she was better balanced and able to wobble around a little quicker. She still didn't have a smooth gate, but was at least able to get around where she hadn't been able to before.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lv70rL8vEzI

    Just look at her now.

    There is something to be said about sugar water and a warm lamp.
    Posted by Heather the Chicken Whispererat 5/14/2011 06:47:00 PM 0 comments[​IMG]
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    "We're gonna need a bigger boat"

    With the initial plan of having only 10 chickens being blown out of the water by what I like to call "Empty Nest Syndrome" - Joey realizes it's time to expand the coop.

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    We now have 6 lay boxes for 20 chickens.....but wait. There's more....to add to the coop.
    Posted by Heather the Chicken Whispererat 5/14/2011 06:37:00 PM 0 comments[​IMG]
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    The Merritt Chix plan an Easter Escape




    We definitely have some Roosters in the mix. Check out these combs.

    [​IMG]
    Posted by Heather the Chicken Whispererat 5/14/2011 06:34:00 PM 0 comments[​IMG]
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    Meet Raisin and the crew

    Merritt Chix - Meet Raisin and the crew.

    Black and white are Barred Rocks (5). We got straight runs this time, so there is a chance we got some roosters.

    We also got 5 pullet (all hen) Americana's, which lay "easter egg" colored egg.

    Posted by Heather the Chicken Whispererat 5/14/2011 06:32:00 PM 0 comments[​IMG]
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    Merritt Chix, and Merritt Chicks!

    Merritt Chix - Meet Raisin and the crew.

    Black and white are Barred Rocks (5). We got straight runs this time, so there is a chance we got some roosters.

    We also got 5 pullet (all hen) Americana's, which lay "easter egg" colored egg.



    Treat Time for the Merritt Chicks aka "Big Girls"

    Chicks

    Merritt Chix aka "Little Chicken Biskets"

    Chix

    PS: I think we have some roosters in the mix - they are very flighty and feisty.
    Posted by Heather the Chicken Whispererat 5/14/2011 06:23:00 PM 0 comments[​IMG]
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    The Big Chickens

    Grown

    My, oh my, how they've grown.


    I miss them being in the garage so much. They used to greet me in the morning before work, and welcome me home in the afternoon.

    I think I need to get a few more babies...er....chicks. We'll call them "The Merritt Chix"
    Posted by Heather the Chicken Whispererat 5/14/2011 06:18:00 PM 0 comments[​IMG]
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    Merritt Chicks move into their new home

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    I'd say they approve.

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    Joey added a perch into the main coop. They love to get up there, especially if its raining.

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    A Birthday Present from my mom, Grandma Deb knows what happy chicks want.

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    Joey, feeding the girls. They come running to us expecting food.

    Merritt Chicks move into their new home


    You may hear screams of pain, the chicks are pecking the skin on my hand. You'd think after a bit I'd be more prepared, but no. It hurts every time.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uekPV9yR-ag

    Treat Time: The Merritt Chicks get Honeysuckle
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gK_FqNs0JXo
    Posted by Heather the Chicken Whispererat 5/14/2011 06:16:00 PM 0 comments[​IMG]
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    and the beat goes on, coop needs finishing

    So it's time to get the coop done and ready.
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    The little coop almost done.

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    Torri checking out the lay boxes.

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    Luke looking in before the wood got put up.

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    Easy grab eggs from the lay boxes back side.

    Merritt Chicks getting bigger every day


    The Chicks are escape artists (much to our surprise)


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    Merritt chicks are going to love their new home


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    Tho, maybe not as much as Luke does.

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    We had to lift the food up off the pine shavings. The Chicks kept scratching off and putting pine shavings in their food.
    Posted by Heather the Chicken Whispererat 5/14/2011 06:03:00 PM 0 comments[​IMG]
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    Merritt Chicks start spreading their wings

    Getting bolder and used to their home
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1xIIjx0y6Qk
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    We saw a need for perches as the chicks are beginning to feel more adventurous.

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    Day 5
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1xIIjx0y6Q

    Lexie and Mama Fun with the Chicks
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5qyqSGdAvoE

    Joey gets the babies "eating out of his hand"
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b8M4euGSB0g

    We really wanted them used to us and comfortable
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZjeEERRg0Ck

    The Kid and the Chicks hang out
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3D38NBsm0ac
    Posted by Heather the Chicken Whispererat 5/14/2011 05:58:00 PM 0 comments[​IMG]
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    Little brooder....Little Chicks

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    Luke welcoming the new baby Merritt Chicks home


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    Merritt Chicks in the smaller, more closed in area of the brooder Mrs. Phyllis gave us.

    You'll see the brooder is made of plywood and we put newspaper down on the bottom. A lot of information we've gathered has come from Mrs. Phyllis, who states "Don't put new chicks on newspaper. It is to slippery for their feet to stand firmly on and their legs will "split out" and it will ruin them.

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    So we bought some Pine Shavings and the chicks enjoyed those much better.

    When we put the chicks into the brooder for the first time, we set up the water and food. We dunked each chick's beak into the water so they could find it when they got thirsty.

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    They had no trouble finding the food.

    Day 2
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D64brNfmSAM

    Day 3
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B-Pbh9Ho0vA

    Day 4
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3wq_vVT7gmI
    And so it begins...

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    Behind the shop is a nook where Joey used to grill. We deemed it the perfect spot to begin a coop.

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    The plan is 10 Hens and 3 lay boxes with a perch in the closed in or "back" coop.

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    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dHZMB_veWBA

    5 Rhode Island Reds and 5 Golden Commits

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