First-time Chicken Wrangler

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by Liddy, Aug 1, 2014.

  1. Liddy

    Liddy Chirping

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    I'm so happy to be here!

    To make a long story short, I'm living the life I believe my late mother would have wanted me to. This winter I moved to a half acre in Tiny Town, northern Maine. (Names have been changed to protect the innocent and unwary.)

    She lived with me for the last three years of her life, and almost weekly asked for a puppy and "Can we keep chickens?".

    In late April, I drove south to civilization and brought back my rescued puppy. On April 25, I stopped at a TSC to buy him a smaller harness and the chickens were half price. Once they sold out, there would be no more.

    Folks had warned me that I would lose a few along the way, so I splurged and bought a dozen New Hampshires, a dozen Brown Leghorns and a dozen Dixie Rainbows. All straight runs, because I want some in the freezer.

    I have a large house that held just me and two cats at the time, so an unused bedroom was designated Chicken Central. The chicks went into a kiddie pool and spent less than two weeks there.

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    They grew like weeds. None died. I had to move them to temporary quarters in the garage until the coop was finished.

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    They continued to grow at a prodigious rate. None died.

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    Finally, the coop was done and the chickens successfully transferred. None died, although the move was fraught with peril for a few of the more uncooperative individuals.

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    The Dixie Rainbows grew faster than the others. Here, in the outside pen, are two of the cockerels, which became known locally as "Godzilla chickens". With them are a pair of the Brown Leghorns.

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    I created a large yard for them, beyond the 8' x 12' (hardened) pen that is covered on top with chicken wire. The pen and the hatch to the coop are closed up at night. I love how the chickens tuck themselves in so all I have to do about a half hour before full dark is drop the door and fasten the pen door.

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    Two weeks ago, the Godzilla cockerels were starting to peck me and do real damage. I slaughtered 4 of the 5, as well as the two largest Brown Leghorns. The dressed weight on the Godzilla was around 5 pounds each, the Leghorns about 3.5. I learned several lessons. 1.) Slaughter on Fridays, so the trash goes down to the truck at the fire hall the next morning. 2.) Six is too many to do at once. 3.) Do not enlist the help of a thrilled 12-year-old with a hatchet. (It all got done but it wasn't pretty at times.)

    (ETA: The flock is much calmer without those bullies.)

    Last weekend I enlarged the yard to almost 50' x 50'. I know it's big enough for them because the barren ground of the former smaller yard is greening up. The other morning, when I opened the hatch and the chickens poured forth, I was able to count the pullets. I had figured that if 40% of the 36 straight runs I bought turned out to be layers, I'd be pleased. I counted 18 pullets, so I am officially delighted!

    The photo on the right was taken seconds before Skeets, my puppy, got pecked on the snoot. He ran faster than a scalded dog. That cockerel is Big Sir, the remaining Godzilla chicken and one of the two I plan on keeping.

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    Last evening, only 14 weeks in, I found my FIRST EGG! It was on the floor of the coop. I suspect a Brown Leghorn has been promoted from pullet to hen.

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    And that brings us up to today, when I joined you all here. :D
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2014
    1 person likes this.

  2. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend Staff Member

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    Hello there and welcome to BYC! [​IMG]

    Wow, what a lovely intro. And your flock is lovely! You did a great job raising them and now you have your first egg!! Congrats on the egg!!

    Make yourself at home here and if you have any questions, feel free to ask.

    So pull up a roost bar and we do welcome you to our flock!
     
  3. Papas Chickens

    Papas Chickens Songster

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    Hi and [​IMG] Very nice introduction you have there, I would have loved to see that 12 year old with a hatchet in his hand getting ready to dispatch a Roo. Kodak moment lol. [​IMG]
     
    1 person likes this.
  4. Liddy

    Liddy Chirping

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    What makes you so sure it was a boy? ROFL

    Actually, I have a video of him chasing a flopping cockerel around the yard, yelling either "Oh, God!" or "Die! Die!" while hacking at it to complete the dispatch. This, from the kid who claimed I tortured the first one by hanging it on the clothesline by its feet and slitting its throat over a bucket to bleed out slowly. I suspect my method was too simple.

    The definition of "death throes" should have a chicken as its illustration. No chicken ever died quietly.
     
  5. Papas Chickens

    Papas Chickens Songster

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    Oh Lord lol. I dispatch my chickens by hanging them as well that way the blood drains and they wont be gamey. [​IMG]
     

  6. Liddy

    Liddy Chirping

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    .Thank you for the welcome, TwoCrows.

    I do have a question about the gender determination of my New Hampshires, but I will take that to the appropriate thread once I locate it. This is a fascinating place to browse!

    BTW, I think the 18 pullets don't include any NH. *huge grin* I can't imagine that all of the NHs are male.
     
  7. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend Staff Member

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    My Coop
  8. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member

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    I really enjoyed your intro - you are a very good writer. How about contributing some more at "Stories and pictures of my chickens." I don't think I would want to be around when a child is swinging a hatchet tho. [​IMG] Maybe that's just me.
     
  9. Mountain Peeps

    Mountain Peeps Change is inevitable, like the seasons Premium Member

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    Welcome to BYC! Please make yourself at home and we are here to help.

    Great intro!
     

  10. Kelsie2290

    Kelsie2290 Free Ranging Premium Member

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    Hello :frow and Welcome To BYC! Wonderful intro! Congratulations on that first egg! :ya Looks like you have put together a nice flock, love the "Godzilla chickens"
     

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