Hello from the MD Eastern Shore!

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by katiegrant, Dec 4, 2014.

  1. katiegrant

    katiegrant Hatching

    Dec 4, 2014
    Hi all! I'm Katie Grant, a MD Master Gardener with a little farmette on the eastern shore of MD. I've currently got 8 chickens, down from my original 20 (sad!) after giving away 3 roos (we kept two, one standard and one bantam) and dealing with a stray dog attack and neighborhood hawk. We're now left with the remaining flock: two Buff Laced Polish (Vanilla and Ice), two Bronze Laced Polish (Fred and Ginger), one Dominique (Pepper), one Blue Laced Red Wyandotte (Houdi, nicknamed Fluffy Butt), and our roos, a Japanese Black-tailed Buff Bantam (Yoshi) and a Partridge Wyandotte (Mr. Handsome). Yes, the poor bantam roo is the only bantam left. I'm currently pregnant and due in April, so raising day old peeps in the house is out of the question this spring (too much dander and possible bacteria), but we'd like to supplement our flock with some more girls. I'll be looking into pullets, so if anyone has any information on the best place for getting them (my original order was from McMurray's Hatchery) I'd be thrilled to hear your advice!

    Chickens have been a learning curve for my husband and I. I've learned that my dog's favorite treat is fresh chicken poop (gross!!), and that he loves the chickens as much as he hates the squirrels. I've also discovered that, even with my raised beds, I should fence in my garden, especially when the seeds are starting to germinate. The flock was moved from the brooder to their coop and allowed to start free ranging last spring, after most of my crops were started, so while they got into the greens pretty badly, they left the established plants alone (yes, even the tomatoes!). However, when I planted my cold crops and cover crops this fall, I discovered freshly turned soil almost daily, and inevitably ended up with no crops to speak of. The girls seemed delighted with the tender green treats though, so I let it go and made a mental note for next year. A fence is going up around the beds this coming spring.

    Some things I don't have to worry about (anymore) are freezing water and locking the girls up at night! My brilliantly innovative (and super frugal) hubby balked at the price of poultry fount heater bases and self-operating coop doors (both of which were on my Christmas list), so he decided to make them himself. With great success!!! The heater base is constructed from a metal cookie tin, which he cut a hole into the side of and inserted a lamp assembly into (pulled from an old lamp that was going to be yard sale material). A 40 watt bulb is sufficient in keeping the water from freezing, and we're not a penny out of pocket for it. It does have to be plugged in and unplugged when needed, but I just purchased an outlet timer to keep it on only at night time (our only sustained freezing temps this time of year). As for the coop door, we previously had a door cut into the large shed door of the coop, with hinges on the bottom and a locking mechanism on the top, that we had to manually open and close daily. He rigged an insulated hose from our pump house to the outside of the coop wall (the pump house is connected to the main house, which is connected to the shed that was turned into a coop, so the hose runs directly under the house and won't be able to freeze), and poised it to empty directly into a five gallon bucket. The bucket is hung from a rope, through a series of pulleys, that connects to the coop door. He put an adjustable timer on the faucet in the pump house so that every day, just after dusk (and after the girls have gone to roost), the hose turns on for 60 seconds. That's just enough time for the bucket to fill and drop to the ground, pulling the rope that pulls the door closed, and locking it as it bangs shut. Brilliant! The only drawback is that in the morning we still have to go out, dump the bucket (or use it as fresh water for their founts) and open the door. It's worked seamlessly for a number of weeks now, and he's started talking about a timed drain-down valve to attach another hose to the bottom of the bucket, so that it will drain down and reopen itself in the morning. I don't hate the idea ;) . I should mention, my husband is a master plumber. Anyone who wants to try to replicate this system, feel free to email him at [email protected] with questions.

    That's about it for me. I hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving and is looking forward to the rest of the holiday season!! I can't wait to get more involved with this forum, I'm sure I'll learn more than I anticipate :)
    1 person likes this.
  2. familyfarm1

    familyfarm1 Crowing

    Jun 9, 2013
    Northern Virginia
  3. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Bird is the Word

    Mar 21, 2011
    New Mexico, USA
    My Coop
    Hello there and welcome to BYC! [​IMG]

    Sorry about all your losses. But it sounds like you have got things set up nicely for your flock! Lots of members use the cookie tin warmer for keeping the water warm all winter. You can turn it off at night when the chickens are sleeping as they aren't going to be eating or drinking in the night, and keep it up on bricks or something. Never keep it down on bedding as it can start a fire.

    Good luck with your flock! Make yourself at home here and if you have any questions, feel free to ask. Welcome to our flock!
  4. Yorkshire Coop

    Yorkshire Coop Moderator

    Aug 16, 2014
    Yorkshire, UK
    My Coop
    Hi :welcome

    Glad you could join the flock! Sorry to hear about your losses :hugs I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your intro and all about your chicken journey so far.
    Wishing you the very best of luck with your remaining birds in the future and hope you enjoy BYC :frow
  5. petrel

    petrel Chats with Chickens

    Welcome to BYC!! Sorry to hear about your losses. Sounds like you are getting things under control now. Best of luck with your flock.
  6. Wyandottes7

    Wyandottes7 Crowing

    Jul 24, 2013
    Welcome to BYC! [​IMG]We're glad to have you.

    I'm sorry for all your losses! [​IMG]
  7. BantamLover21

    BantamLover21 Crowing

    Jul 24, 2013
    [​IMG] Glad you joined us!

    I'm sorry for your losses. [​IMG]
  8. Mountain Peeps

    Mountain Peeps Change is inevitable, like the seasons

    Apr 23, 2014
    My Coop
    Welcome to BYC! Please make yourself at home and we are here to help.

    So sorry for your losses![​IMG]
  9. Michael OShay

    Michael OShay Crowing

    May 14, 2014
    Welcome to BYC! Glad you decided to join our flock. You have a very good and thorough introduction. I've sorry about your losses. Please feel free to ask any questions you may have. We are here to help in any way we can. Good luck with your flock.
  10. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years.

    Aug 26, 2009
    Out to pasture

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