Updates on my little flock

TwoCrows

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BYC Staff
Premium Feather Member
Mar 21, 2011
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New Mexico, USA
My Coop
So yesterday I rigged up the ramp that came with the coop (its too flimsy to attach it if its being moved regularly) with a couple bricks on either side to block off the area under the house from the main open area, with enough room for the two little ones to get in and out but Cashew can't follow them. I watched them closely for the first few hours and they were fine, then checked on them every hour or so the rest of the day. They were totally fine, and for the first time were actually in the house in the evening (normally they sit at the door to wait for me to take them inside) so I think they followed Cashew inside. It was pretty warm inside and cashew was chilling on the other end of the box, so I decided to check on them a couple times before bed before I made the decision to put them inside or not for the night. It was still warm and they were fine so I left them in overnight and they were totally fine first thing in the morning.

Today Ive checked on them every couple hours and watched them for a while, and it seems they understand that the closed off space is for them and come and go as they please. I've seen Cashew peck at them when they tried to use the food or water at the same time as her, and they dart back into the closed off area.
I gave them leftover spaghetti at around lunch time and cashew didn't seem interested initially until Butter and Coriander went nuts for it. I put some in both ends of the coop and once they had finished theirs, the little ones went for Cashew's spaghetti and that earned them a peck.

Here are a picture of how I blocked it.
View attachment 2009670

Also as a bonus, not chicken related, my best friend gave me a late birthday present. Its artwork of the same character (Its not from anything, I designed it) as in my profile picture. We realised it has two left paws and so she is going to message the artist to fix it. I love it so much regardless ^-^
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Edit: Just found BF's cat Boi like this. Silly Boi
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Cashew sure is cute! The cat looks pretty comfy there. :lol:
 

Zemeraire

Songster
Jan 17, 2020
137
654
126
South West Australia
Today I decided to take down the barrier as I wasn't seeing very much pecking from Cashew towards butter and Coriander. In fact, I saw butter sitting under cashew to keep warm! (Its cold today, very wet). I've kept a close eye on them and their behaviour hasn't changed.

They also got a nice treat in the form of around a dozen snails. Being wet today, they were everywhere. So I gathered up a bunch and gave them to them. They love it XD
Butter and Cashew are really on the mark, and able to get into the snails, but Coriander isn't even trying. She just follows butter around and tries to steal her meal.

My phone is a little bit dead right now, but I'll get some photos and post them.
 

Zemeraire

Songster
Jan 17, 2020
137
654
126
South West Australia
Its been a couple months, but it has been a crazy time in the world right now. I hope everyone is doing ok and is safe and healthy!

Today my Mum and her partner gave me a hand setting up a larger temporary run, as the world situation has delayed my plans to clear the permanent coop location of unwanted trees and improve the fences. Its still far from ideal, but they have gone from the coop and a 2m square run (constructed from an animal play pen and a tarp, i hated it but it was so hard to get hold of anything else) to the coop and as large a space as I could cover with the materials my Mum could get hold of.

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I'm still working on getting a better feeder, but i got a more suitible water container. Also, Mum got me a bunch of meadow hay from a local farmer for her rabbits, and got me 2 bags full. She had emptied one bag into the old run before she knocked on the door, so I left half in the new run and half in the coop, and they are loving it.

Nobody has started laying yet, but Cashew should be starting soon and I am hoping the extra sun, space and enrichment will help convince her its a good idea.

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I have been transitioning their feed from the wheat (and kitchen scraps) I could get early on, to combination of a commercial mix, a local mix, layer pellets, meat meal and scraps I am getting from food bank (they give boxes of vegetables and fruit that is no longer suitable for human customers to me for free ^-^ ), and each day it rains I fill up a container with snails for them.

All of them just went through a moult, their clipped wing feathers regrew and the damaged and weird looking tail feathers on Coriander and Butter I was worried about have grown back in as normal hen looking tails :D Coraider also has little spread out feathers with copper colouring on her breast and neck, but you can't see it in the photos.

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I'm still not entirely sure what colour butter is, but my best guess from everyone's prior advice and google is columbian? I'm not sure it shows up well in the photos, but she is primarily white with a creamy wash over the feathers on her back, with some darker brown and black spots. I'm hoping with the larger area her foot feathers will stay in better condition after her next moult so I can see what colour they are.

Also Coriander chipped the very tip of her beak off at some point (I honestly don't know when, I noticed it last week). Its not too bad, hardly noticeable and just looks a little blunter than it was when she was little.
 

Zemeraire

Songster
Jan 17, 2020
137
654
126
South West Australia
So I was weak and got a new girl this week. $15 and a box of fresh lemons for her was too good a price to pass up.

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Meet Toffee! She is a blue frizzle who is currently in moult and angry with the world. She is getting along well with my other girls, but is a hand pecker.
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In other news my landlord came to inspect the trees in the location where I want to put their run. He organised for a professional to come remove several trees, take a more informed look at a very sick plum tree and see if it can be saved, and lop a few branches off the very old lemon tree. He also gave me permission to turn the smaller shed into a hen house (will need a fair amount of work), install a proper wire fence in front of it, and run a fence alongside the back fence to connect that area to where the run will be. Yay!
During his tree inspection he poked the plum tree and a huge chunk of the base fell off. It was full of snails and slaters. Guess who got a fun new toy that attracts new snails every day?
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And it only took my girls less than a week of having an open air run set up to figure out how to jump onto their little house. Coriander was first, and after the second time she jumped up all three were having fun jumping up and sliding down (this was a day before I got Toffee).
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The shed in the background of this image will be their new coop.

And a non chicken picture for fun. Casper was lying in the hallway looking cute. I tried to take a picture. The flash woke him. I think my cat is possessed guys 😂
caspernoooo.jpg
 

Zemeraire

Songster
Jan 17, 2020
137
654
126
South West Australia
So much excitement today!

I got permission to have a rooster so long as he has a crow collar on, so I found a local post offering free 6 month old silkie boys. I arranged to get one of them around 4 days ago, originally for the next day but there were severe storms for 2 days so we put it off till today.

Today she dropped off my new boy and a bonus free older hen (around 4 - 6 years old Barnevelder who is still laying around 3 eggs a week) because she saw a prior post of mine asking if anyone had any older hens who needed re-homing and were still laying.

And while we were chatting, I noticed that Toffee my frizzle wasn't coming outside and was making noises. She laid an egg! My first egg!
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My hands are tiny so the egg looks much bigger than it really is lol.

And here are the new flock members.

Moose the Barnevelder
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And Croweley the Silkie
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And check out his toes!
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He has an extra end on his 5th toe!

Anywho, Im in a great mood today. Im going to go watch my chickies again.
 

Zemeraire

Songster
Jan 17, 2020
137
654
126
South West Australia
Croweley has been doing a great job ^-^
He has taken right to the girls, keeping an eye on them and preventing squabbles. I have only seen him trying to court one of the hens, Toffee, who is also the only one laying right now lol.
4 eggs total so far.

I got a good picture of him today so I thought I'd share it. I also set it as my profile pic ^-^
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Zemeraire

Songster
Jan 17, 2020
137
654
126
South West Australia
Big update. I have been lax in updating lol. See bottom of post for cute pics!

Update on me.
I have had a pretty rough time lately. My assistance cat almost died from liver failure, and the general state of the world made life a lot harder for a while there. All my savings got drained to save my cat, and I ended up having to take a loan for it too. It really sucked especially because I was saving to upgrade the coop, so I have ended up having to use cheaper material and do it all myself rather than buying what I wanted (the chicken netting mesh that comes with poles and can be easily set up and moved).

My nan did help me get new glasses ($650 AUD!!! Nan is a saint!) and they have helped so much! They are transition lenses so I can go outside for longer without getting a migraine! I can now just sit outside with my hens for pleasure rather than only spending time with them when I was doing chores.

The Coop.
The Shed is their permanent coop now, with the old little coop inside for (spoilers!) mamma hen and babbas. Just a few days ago I extened their run the whole way around the grassed area of the yard, including around the washing line. Hopefully the older section's grass can get a break for a while lol. I am not entirely happy with the new fence but I did it myself and I had no idea what I was doing so at least it stands up and works I guess. Its a bit ugly though XD

Additions and Losses
So Moose was a lot older than I thought. She deteriorated in health over time, loosing weight and mobility. She spent most of her time sitting alone in the sun, and ate very little besides her favorite snack of sunflower seeds. Vet visits occured, there was no disease issue or apparent physical issues. Eventually she stopped being able to get onto perches and slept in the nest boxes, then was unable to get in or out of those on her own. I had to make the hard decision to put her down. That day I spent 6 hours cudding her as she slept in my arms before my pop came around to do it. It was the first time I have had to make this decision and it was very hard on me.

A couple weeks later there was a local poultry auction and I attended to see if there were any silkie hens. There was ONE and I was quickly outbid. She sold for $75 AUD, the second highest for the day (the highest was a Pekin hen who sold for $120 AUD!!). I bid on a few other hens and pullets, but got outbid on most. I brought home a 2 year old gold spangled hamburg hen and a (between 1 and 2 yr old) silver laced wyandotte. Both were used for breeding and are missing a bit of feathers from their old boyfriends (and possibly sisters), with the wyandotte missing most the feathers from her back and tail. They are named Caramel (hamburg) and Oreo (wyandotte).

A few days after bringing home the new girls, Toffee hatched her first chick. She abandoned the other eggs that were pipping, so I had to put her in chicken jail inside until a few days after they had hatched (stormy weather that night and the next couple). She hatched a total of 4 chicks. Unfortunatly the first night back outside one of them got tangled in Toffee's feathers and died. Tears were had, and Toffee got a feather cut.

Toffee and her brood have two areas to live in depending on time of day and the weather. Indoor coop inside the main coop, and a little pen within the run with a basic shelter for day time in nice weather. They are getting so big, and the other hens are fascinated with them! Eldest chick (Pickle) is 12 days old today, and the other two (Popcorn and Pine) are 11 days old tonight.

All three chicks have homes lined up among my SO's family. SO's brother's girlfriend (who I went to Uni with) is taking Pine and Popcorn for no fee but a discount on an "indoor hutch" I am going to convert into a brooder. SO's other brother is super keen on getting started with chickens so is buying Pickle (was going to take the other chick that died) as well as some from the next clutch I will have.

I also have a deal with the person who I got Crowley off. She moved and can have more chickens, and really wanted chicks from Crowley. So she is incubating 18 eggs from my flock, and will keep her choice of 4. I am getting any others that hatch. I might choose to keep one or two but I will likely be selling most or all of them. I have a pretty tight budget so I plan to hatch and sell chicks until I can afford the locally (imho) high prices for a silkie hen!

My hope is I can get two or three silkie hens, hatch and sell their chicks and sell eggs from the rest of the flock. I am hoping to be able to at least have the income from the chickens cover their living costs, with a little extra for any improvements to the pen or unexpected vet bills.

Pic spam below!

Update pic for Butter and Cashew. They are so friendly, almost lap hens now!
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Update pic for Coriander and Crowely
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New girls! Oreo and Caramel. They made friends with each other but not so much with the rest of the flock yet.
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Toffee and babies in their outside playpen. Toffee was desperate for a dust bath thismorning!
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Cute pics of babies! Pine is so tiny! They are the little brown one. Pine also has an adorable little floofy head with tufts of fuzz in front of their eyes.
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