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Posts Tagged ‘Chicken’


Yesterday, we brought Cocoa into the house. She’s 20 weeks and 4 days old today. We brought her in for a few reasons- she was plucking others and screeching. Yep. Screeching. If you’ve ever had the power steering pump go dry or go out on your vehicle, you know this sound.

Ear. Piercing. 

Louder than my roo was. 

Funnier than heck.  😆

But very, very loud.

We let her out with the others as usual for the evening and let her spend the night outside. This morning, she wasn’t as noisy, but still pretty loud, and still thinking about plucking. So in she came again!

All of the girls are at the POL, or point of lay. Basically, this means they are technically old enough to start laying eggs. This is not a precise science, of course, and some don’t start laying until they are closer to 40 weeks.

Cocoa, you may recall, was one of the second batch of chickens, the result of chicken math (read Oops, I Did It Again to see how chicken math got me again!), and was a mystery chick. We had been told they thought she was a Dominiquer. However, we know for certain that she is NOT a Dominique; she is another Barred Rock.

This morning, she was still pretty screechy, which is good for lots of all-out laughing. She was also going in circles and squatting. Really, they are pretty much all practicing the squatting. Just for grins and giggles, I was going to try to find a shoe box for her (for a nesting box). Never got around to it.

Right as I was getting ready to head out this afternoon, I heard the news: there’s an egg!! Cocoa is the first to lay an egg!

One thing to know about new layers is that the egg may be thin shelled and quite small. Generally speaking, it can take a few months of consistent laying to get the larger eggs. I’m not picky.  😆

Here’s the surprised chicken with her new egg. 😆  Since I was on my way out, I took a picture with my phone. I had an appointment, so couldn’t linger to get my camera.

Interestingly (and a relief), she hasn’t screeched since. She quieted right down into her sweet, clucking self.

I wonder how she’ll be the next time she needs to lay…..

I have to say, I never thought I would be this excited- nay- giddy– over an egg. I mean, really, this is what they are supposed to do! Still, I can’t help myself! It was a perfect little egg; good shell and all. 

Hooray!

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He had a vision. I had a vision. But he was building it. So I kept my mouth shut.  😀

It started off simply enough- we agreed to 3 chickens.  Both of us were bitten by chicken math pretty early on.  As any good builder knows (at least in our case :lol:), you put your plans together, and then you build bigger than you think you really need.

That meant I could get more chickens.  So then we planned on 6.  And he built bigger.  😀

By this point and time, I was in full addict mode, chicken math  and oops, I did it again having fully taken over.  And, to be fair, hunny was too, although you won’t get him to admit it right now.  😉

His vision was a chicken tractor that looked like a barn.  The upside to a tractor is that they are mobile, which means you can move them around your yard, making clean up easier, whilst giving your chickies fun things to do in the grass.

Work began. 

Then a bit of paint. 

Once it was finished, we moved it into place on the other side of the yard, next to the garden.

Long story short, we needed to add a run.  And probably another nighttime roost.  Plans for a silo to attach to one side were discussed and pondered. Materials for a run were acquired. Research was ongoing, and my “wouldn’t that be nice” list continued to grow.  😆

My big concern has been predators.  While I don’t think we’re going to get bears and coyotes in the backyard, I couldn’t emphasise enough how devastated I would be (never mind the kids!!) if something got in and took off the heads of my chickies and scooped them out one handful at a time.  More research was done.

This morning, he says to me, “I really ought to just build something else entirely.”  Can you see the jaw drop and the eyes bugging out of my head in sheer delight? (clap clap clap) So, we designed and priced, and off they went to get materials.

We moved the barn tractor back to the other side of the yard, so they can build in place. While I’m going to miss our little barn and its features, it’s going to a *very* good home. 😉

You can’t see it well, but the ladder is on sort of a pulley to close the ladder up at night.  Both sides of the roof open for easy cleaning.

I know that last one is redundant, but I can’t take enough pictures of the chickies!  😆

Round 2 is well under way.  The two oldest are out there (yes, in the 100 degree heat) pre-drilling holes and screwing things down.  My oldest dd is more inclined to this kind of work than my son is, which is interesting.  I think the only thing he really likes building is computers.  😆

Let the round two chicken fun begin!  😀

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Yep.  I confess.  I did it again.  I really had no intention of doing it again, given my track record, but I simply could not help myself. I figure, hey, I got permission, right? So now at least I know I am not in this alone- I have an enabler.  😀

Chicken Math strikes again.  I got more chicks! 😆

Tuesday, I decided to head to Tractor Supply. Hunny had gotten me “chick starter kit.”  The feeder that came in that set was not the kind I had in mind, but thought I’d give it a try and see how it went.  Butternut had gotten her foot caught, and flopped out backwards.  Had this happened slightly to the left, she could have landed in the water and drowned.

After the foot incident, I decided I should try the other feeder. It didn’t even occur to me that it was Tuesday. Tuesdays are the days here when my TSC gets the new batch of chicks during chick days. Normally I have things to do Tuesday afternoons, but since it was the week after Easter, we had the week off.

Can you see me drooling over the chicks down there?  😆  I spent a good bit of time looking at them. Earlier, I had decided that I wouldn’t get my chicks there, because they didn’t know what breeds they were, and I had some specific breeds in mind. As it turns out, they had some chicks there the likes of which I didn’t have already.  And they were cute.  REALLY cute.  😆

I also spent a good bit of time talking with one of the girls who was working there that afternoon.  I told her I had more chicks on order, and really could not take another 6. She was wanting more chicks, but not another 6 as well. We were able to split the 6; she getting 3 and me getting 3. (disclaimer:  normally, TSC won’t let you do this, BUT, they know me down there, and they know I already have chicks.  They know that I am not getting them for Easter gifts for my kiddos, and that I’m adding to an existing flock.  ;))

I called Hunny – well, my dd called Hunny because I was scared 😆 – and then she turned the phone over to me.  I presented my case, and he agreed! It was my lucky day! 

I got one more EE, to keep things balanced, in addition to two others that they aren’t sure of breed.  We think one is a Black Minorca and the other is a Dominique.  I am not sure on the Black Minorca, mostly because the feathers coming in are white-ish, but we’ll have to wait a few weeks and see.  I am hoping (again) that they are all girls. There’s another very nice girl working there who said that in the event I end up with a boy, she will re-home him to her nephew’s farm.  I feel much better having an “out.”

If you able to identify Jasmine, please leave me a comment! 

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Yes, it’s true.  There is such a thing as chicken math, and I have completely fallen victim to it.  😉

I can’t say enough how much we loooooooooooovvvvvvvvveeeeeeeeee  ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ our chicks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

By Friday, Hunny had decided thy weren’t as dumb as he thought they would be, and was carrying them around the house. He also agreed that getting a few more wouldn’t be a big deal.  😆  Since I had only gotten 1 Barred Rock (BR) (Rocky) and 1 Buff Orpington (BO) (Butternut) and thought they were awesome, the initial plan was to get 1 more of each.

But then I got to thinking (and this is where the chicken math kicks in 😀 ), that K had gotten a Producing Red (which is an mix, as I understand it, between a Rhode Island Red and a New Hampshire Red) and it was cute and friendly. So now I want one, too.  😆 

Since the red lays brown eggs and is a higher egg producing hen than my Easter Eggers (EEs) (which lay blue/green varitey eggs), combined with my BR and BO, who will also both lay brown eggs and are higher producing egg laying birds, I figured I should also get another EE to balance things out.  😆  (EEs are the hatchery version of the Ameraucanas. When doing research, it seems that if it comes from a hatchery, it is an EE, but is wrongly tagged as the Ameraucanas.  While it carries the blue egg gene, it is not true to the breed.  Knowlegeable chicken folks will tell you that if you want *real* Ameraucanas, which are rare, you need to find an approved breeder.)

Down to the livestock store I went, getting there bright and early by 7 am, hoping they had some left. Well, shucks, they had sold out all 1,5000 chicks by 2 pm Friday, the first day the sale “officially” started.  “You can order them,” I was told.  Because there were others ordering as well, it was not a problem for me to have a total order of 4 chicks;  1 of each different breed.  Yippee!!

Now, if you have researched getting chicks, you will know that hatcheries have a minimum order (mostly because chicks need to stay warm during shipping, although there are some that will ship lower numbers but charge you significantly more).  Tractor Supply (TSC) has a minimum order of 25 chicks total, although you can mix breeds in increments of 5.

To bring them home from TSC, I would need to get 6. I had been to my local TSC on Thursday, and they had some chicks.  Problem was, they only had a straight run (which means boys and girls) and they had no idea what was in the tank.  Interestingly, both TSC and the livestock and feed store get their chicks from the same hatchery.  Why one place knows what they are getting and the other one doesn’t is a mystery to me.

But I digress.  🙂

So, ordering from the feed store made sense to me.  My question was, what kind of time frame are we looking at?  When I had gone online at the hatchery early in the season, everything I wanted wasn’t going to be available until May at the earliest, and since I hadn’t ordered then, it seemed to me (without checking, of course) that a new order would be even later in the season.

This would mean that I would have two set of chicks that were very different ages, which would necessitate a second brooder and worries about integrating “flocks.” After talking to the folks at the store, though, they seemed pretty certain that they would get all the other ordered chicks in about two weeks, based on years past. I couldn’t help myself, and took the plunge.  😆

Now that a few days have passed, I figure, even if it takes longer for them to get here, I would not be too worried about getting set up for another brooder.  Given the way this batch of chicks has grown, I am not too sure that it will last them until they are ready to be outside, so chances are good that we’ll need to make them something bigger anyhow.  And if that happens, I’ll have an empty smaller brooder, perfect for baby chicks.

See!  It all works out!  Chicken math is something that folks going into chickens need to be aware of. 😉 My hope is that I don’t end up with roos, because I’m pretty sure that would be a problem.

There is nothing like hearing the cheep cheep cheeping from my girlies.  I also think there is nothing quite as fascinating as chick tv, either.  On the second day, they were trying to fly, and it is crazy how fast their wings grow!! By the time I had them for a day, they were trying to perch.  Even though the perch wasn’t that high, there was much falling off, and limbo practice going on. As you can see in the pictures below, roosting has been conquered, although they don’t do this at night yet.  Lately, there has been much bickering and shoving to get the “sweet spot” on the perch.  😆

♥♥♥ my chicks!!!

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