Our Chickens

February 2017.  Our new Rhode Island Red, Pretty Pru, is far more adventurous than any of our other chickens.  She walks all the way around the house, ventures into our neighbor's yard and even crosses the street.  By contrast, Stardust, our Welsummer, is pretty chicken. 

January 2017.  Two new girls for the flock.  Our friends the Sheppards who started their chicken adventure around the same time as us just moved into a new house and brought Stardust Lightning and Pretty Pru to our coop. That was perfect because we wanted to add two hens to replace Scarlet.

August 2016. We lost Scarlet.  After recovering from an illness earlier in the Summer, we found her laying dead on morning.  We will miss our red, most photogenic hen.  We have also battled all summer with both Maggie and Petunia being broody.  They seem to take turns. 

April, 2016.
 

March 26, 2016. The chickens are enjoying spring.

February 21, 2016.  Working in the garden.

January 23, 2016.  More snow.

January 17, 2016. The girls got out to play in the snow before it melted.

October 26, 2015. Neither of our blue egg layers are producing currently.  It has been weeks since we last saw a blue egg, but the other four are still churning out brown eggs for us.  I made some great omelets over the weekend, Amy used some to bake a pumpkin cake and I gave 18 away to friends at church. 

October 9, 2015. At first the hens were terrified of our new puppy River.  But things soon reversed and it is now the puppy that is afraid of the chickens.

September 20, 2015. Petunia was only broody for a couple of days this time. 

September 14, 2015. Our tomato plants have stopped producing, which means I will no longer be able to walk out the backdoor and get all the ingredients for my garden omelets.  And like clockwork, another month has passed and Petunia is once again broody. 

 

August 30, 2015. We still get 4-6 eggs a day.  Maggie and Scarlet still sleep in the coop, hen house, but the four Aracaunas roost on top of it where it is a little cooler. 

August 4, 2015. Petunia is now in the Broody Buster for the third time.  I am starting to think that it is just in her nature to sit on eggs.  She seems to get broody almost once a month now.
June 21, 2015
. If you ever wondered who would keep the seat, if a chicken and a cat both decided they wanted it, the answer is the chicken.

May 30, 2015. The Broody Buster worked, Petunia is back to her normal blue egg laying self.

May 25, 2015. We moved Petunia out of the coop and into a wire kennel which will hopefully fix her broodiness.  The idea is to keep air flow moving under her, while not allowing her to have a place to sit.  Hopefully it will work, because if it doesn't, then we might just have to relocate her to a farm with a rooster. 

May 17, 2015. Petunia is still broody, no progress at all on that front, even with multiple ice water baths.  The rest of the chickens enjoyed some extended free range time over the weekend. 

April 30th, 2015. Petunia is still broody.  Amy dunked her in a bucket of ice water today, but it did not help.  We take her out of the nesting box every time we go outside, but so far we have not managed to change her mind about sitting on the eggs.

April 28th, 2015.  We have a broody hen.  Petunia refuses to leave the nesting box.  We move her out multiple times a day, but we continue to find her trying to sit on the eggs, even when none are out there. 
April 11th, 2015.
Spring is here!  The hens spent over 4 hours roaming the yard today.

March 28, 2015. Our first 6 egg day!  And we had two in a row.

February 26, 2015.  Prior to this latest snow, I put a tarp out in front of the run.  This morning I pulled the tarp up, giving the girls a place to play. 

February 22, 2015.  It finally warmed up enough for the hens to want to explore a little.

February 16, 2015. Snow Day!  The hens were not a fan.  I opened the door to the coop, but they had no desire to go outside.  They did lay 5 eggs though.

February 7, 2015. The temps hit 70, so Amy let the chickens enjoy lots of free range time.  They spent at least an hour in a dust bath below the willow tree.

January 31, 2015. Amy with Petunia, who escaped while Amy was cleaning out the coop.

January 15, 2015.  6 months after the other 5 hens started laying, Mary has decided to join them.  We now get 6 eggs a day when all 6 lay at the same time.  Production has stayed around 4-6 eggs a day this month, which is great considering the time of year.

December 25, 2014. Amy has been baking around the clock, so we have been very pleased that the hens have been on a steady stream of 5 eggs a day.  The eggs that we have not used, we have given away as Christmas presents.  For their present, I let the girls out for a stroll in the sun on Christmas day. 

 

October 27, 2014. This month has brought perfect weather for sitting by the coop, enjoying the company of friends, sunshine, the changing colors, a glass of wine and the entertainment of the hens, who have been busy catching up on their dust baths. 


October 14, 2014.  The girls at 6 months old.

September 24, 2014.  The days are getting shorter and there is a chill to the air, but the hens are still in full production, turning out 4-5 eggs a day.

 

September 15, 2014. Three consecutive 5 egg days, not bad for 5 egg laying chickens. 

 
I transplanted the stalks growing under our birdfeeder to our garden and we now have our own, home-grown birdfeed to give the hens.  They are crazy about it. 

September 8, 2014. Things have been going well with the chicks.  We thought we would have multiple hens laying blue eggs, but only Petunia seems to have the gift.  They are all laying now, with the exception of Mary who probably will not ever lay.  And recently we had our first five egg day.  We cook omelets every Sunday morning, I cook eggs for breakfast at least once during the week and we were even able to give away a half dozen.

 

August 6, 2014. We found an egg for the second day in a row!

August 5, 2014
. First Egg!  We suspect that it was laid by Maggie, but are not positive that it was not Scarlet.

August 3, 2014. Four Months Old! Laverne and Shirley turned out to be Lenny and Squiggy.  They are living inside our dog kennel, which we placed inside the run.  They will soon be transported back to Deana and Martin's house.

July 21, 2014. Maggie suffered an eye injury this month and had to go into quarantine for a few days, but she made a full recovery and was integrated back into the flock.
 

Saturday, June 28th, 2014. Our six big girls at 3 months old.

I added a raised feeder for Mary and it has helped out a lot.  She immediately started to gain weight.  We were worried that her cross-beak would prevent her from surviving, but she is doing quite well.  Amy even took her to a vet to have her checked out.  So far, so good.  She cannot forage with the others, but other than that, I think she seems happy. 

We have started bringing Laverne and Shirley out during the day.  Mary seems the most interested in them, along with Scarlet. Perhaps because those two seem to be at the bottom of the pecking order.  I make that assumption because the other four take up the prime real estate when roosting. 

Friday, June 27th, 2014. Back on June 9th, Daisy crowed for the first time, confirming what we had believed since he was just a baby.  By that evening, Daisy was living on a farm in South Boston, Virginia with two hens.  On our way back that night, we picked up two new chicks from Deana and Martin's farm.  Laverne and Shirley are Bantam chicks, their dad is an English Game Cock, so more than likely they will be slightly smaller additions to our flock.  They are now three weeks old and already enjoying some play time in our raised garden.  All the other hens are doing great, even Mary, and definitely enjoy their free range time in the mornings and evenings.    The fact that we picked 6 out of 7 hens when we got our chicks is phenomenal.  Combine that with the fact that I started saying that Daisy was a rooster at three days old and I am feeling pretty good about our chicken picking skills.  Hopefully we were just as successful in picking out the latest two.

    

Thursday, May 22nd, 2014. For six straight weekends I worked on building a chicken coop in the backyard.  My idea was to re-purpose our old swing-set.  That project is now complete and we are really pleased with how it turned out. 

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014.

April 15th, 2014. The chicks continue to dominate a lot of what is happening around our house.  The last four weekends were spent working on their coop and it still is not finished yet.  It is getting closer though.  Leia continues to be Amy's pet and still likes to sit on her shoulder.  The chicks are growing rapidly and change daily.  I continue to read and learn more about the chicks.  For instance, I now know that Golden Comets are sex linked, which means that had we picked the brownish chicks, they would have been hens.  That also means that Mags and Daisy are almost definitely roosters, as they were perfectly yellow when we got them.  Wish someone had told us that when we bought them.  It is still anyone's guess with our four Aracauna chicks.  (Petunia, Leia, Sparkle and Mary).  Mary suffers from cross-beak syndrome, which is genetic.  From my research so far, she/he should be able to adapt as long as we keep a deep dish food bowl out.  And then there is Scarlet.  She has lots of red feathers poking out now and I have no idea whether she is a pullet or cockeral. 

April 9, 2014. All of the chicks are doing well, but one in particular has turned into a favorite.  Whenever the net is pulled off their box or whenever we take them outside, Leia flies onto Amy, walks up her arm and sits on Amy's shoulder.  It is something to see.  The coop is progressing after three solid weekends of work, but it needs to get finished soon as the chicks are growing rapidly.

April 1st, 2014.  Amy's chicks continue to grow and to do well.  The weather has been nice enough this week for the chicks to enjoy some outdoor time.  Their first outing was in the yard, all subsequent outings have been in our raised garden bed, which serves as a nice play pen.  And we have 7 chicks now!  4 Aracauna (Petunia, Princess Leia Egg, Twighlight Sparkle and Mary), 1 Golden Comet (Scarlet) and 2 Amberlink (Mags and Daisy).  If I was a betting man, so far I would say that Mary and Daisy are roosters, but time will tell. 

March 28th, 2014
Yesterday Amy picked out 4 baby chicks, today she added three more!  It should be a fun adventure for the family.

 

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