I suppose I should make a page for my gals, as I have made a page before of their coop!
I've loved the idea of having chickens since I was a child. I loved the farm life. Living in a rowhouse in Holland, that was not going to happen though (my mom was concerned about neighbors). I visited a farm frequently and I just lived vicariously through the little bantams at the petting zoo. As a teen, I volunteered at that same petting zoo and got to clean their cage, as well as the VERY scary leghorns (they had a few roosters in a large area with 2 dozen hens or so...) Honestly, my run-in with the scary leghorns cured me for a good long time of my desire for chickens.
It wasn't until many years later that I recalled my love for 'farm life'. I had since moved to the US and purchased a house. I planted one little peach tree and had a little veggie patch.. from there it grew. Bigger vegetable patch, more trees and bushes.. We went to the newly opened Tractor Supply to purchase some fencing for our dogs and I found that they sold chicks! Curious, I read up on the city ordinances and found that we were allowed to keep chickens in the town. For about a year, maybe even two years I played with the idea of getting chickens. My fiance doesn't do anything unless it's done right, so months of planning later, we finally decided to do it. I had scoured the internet looking for all the breeds available. I made a wish list and researched hatcheries and breeders.
On February 10th, 2012 I came home with 6 little chicks from Tractor Supply *laugh* my wishlist went out of the window, I had just gotten 2 of everything they had available: 2 white rocks, 2 Australorps and 2 Rhode Island reds. I knew we wanted about 8 hens, so I decided getting 10 chicks would leave room for a rooster or two (which I knew we could not keep). The following week I got 4 more chicks: 2 'sex-links' (seriously, that was all they said. Turns out they were partridge rocks *laugh*) and 2 Jersey giants.
We now had 10 little peepers in my bedroom!
At 2 weeks I realized one of those Jersey giants was a boy for sure. And in the next few weeks it became even more obvious. There were a few more birds I wondered about, but I never knew for sure (until they all laid eggs, that is!)
At 5 weeks the coop was functional (although not quite done) and it was time for them to go outside.
At 8 weeks Mr.Roo started crowing (or well, it sounded more like a dieing giraffe, really) and harassing the girls.
By 12 weeks he met the soup pot, as he had gotten VERY loud and was giving the girls a hard time. Funny enough, a week later the code enforcer came to my house with a rooster complaint.. not the fastest, clearly. I told him Mr.Roo was no more and showed him my girls. He was happy to see my coop was nice and clean and no roosters to be found.
Mr. Roo in the middle of his flock.
The ladies liked picking on the smallest girl, 'Baby'.
At 20 weeks I got my first egg from one of the white rocks, 'Jadzia'. A few days later the other white rock, 'Ezri', laid her first. The other girls waited several more weeks.. but from day 1, Jadzia has been laying almost an egg a day (about 6 a week, on average).
Store egg vs. first pullet egg
Now we get about 6 eggs a day, from 9 pullets. Jadzia got attacked by a hawk, but managed to survive. Ezri became broody for 5 weeks and then went through an explosive molt. Jadzia finally started laying again last week. I am not sure if Ezri has started laying again. When everyone was laying I got 5 to 8 eggs a day.
Jadzia after hawk attack.
Jadzia, almost fully healed. About 2 months later.
Jadzia on the roost, Ezri underneath. Jadzia has a full comb, Ezri has a sad little thing. Also, Ezri has darker legs.
Baby. She's supposed to be an Australorp, but she has yellow feet, like a Jersey giant. My smallest bird of the flock. Sweetest little chicken.
Beverly, the Rhode Island red (or well, more of a production red). She's a character. When free-ranging, she's the one to come to the backdoor to let you know she wants food. If you don't respond, she will sit on the window a/c, tapping on the window. Very chatty chicken.
Beverly and her sister. They're scrawny things. Beverly is a little darker and has a few black tail feathers.
I name my birds by personality, so some don't have a name. Beverly did not get her name until she started nagging at me all the time. They all have Star Trek themed named on top of that, so I have to find a character to match.
Unnamed partridge rocks. One has yellow legs, the other has grayish legs. The one with gray legs has very thick legs and is prone to bumblefoot. Their feather patterns are a little different. The one with yellow legs gets dirty butt feathers all the time because they're so darn fluffy. They're really pretty, good foragers but not very social and they are territorial to smaller/younger chickens. They're VERY heavy for their size, I nicknamed them 'the turkeys'.
The Australorps. One was supposed to be a Jersey giant, but it's not, because these two look IDENTICAL. I can tell them apart by their wattles. One has uneven wattles. The other was pared with Mr.Roo and since his demise, she's grown spurs and attempted to crow. She lays eggs, so she's a girl... *laugh*
My chickens don't have much of a pecking order. They never fight. Food is a free-for-all, whoever gets it first, just runs like crazy.
The latest addition to the group has been two little chicks. A boy and a girl.
When Ezri went broody I tried to break her, but it didn't work. I finally got 6 blue eggs from a BYC member. She sat on them until day 19, then she just walked off and never looked back. I took the eggs and placed them under a heat lamp. It's the best I could do at that time. I had 4 pip, but only 2 made it out of the egg sadly. Those two have been doing very well and they're almost two months old now. I will be keeping them both until the girl is old enough to roost with the flock. The boy can stay until he gets too noisy.
They have lived in the coop behind wire since they were three weeks old.
I have been letting them roam with the flock for a few hours a day for the past few weeks and they're getting a little more confident. The partridge rocks have not been very nice to them, but it will be much easier for them to live in the same flock if they start out early.
Once she grows up, that will put us at ten girls. That's really all I want for a neighborhood subdivision coop.
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