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A New Arrival

..we have a new member in the chicken family. We had been hearing chirping the last couple of days..so we went under the hen to check and it’s a new chick…the problem was that once we got her off the nest she and the chick had no interest in going back. At this point we decided to separate the chick from the hen in the hopes of her going back on the eggs.  Momma freaked out. She was as mad as hell and she didn’t care who knew about it. Once we got the chick out we quickly created a comfortable box with shavings, water and chick feed in it. For heat we use a 7 watt cfl light..it is not super warm but the chick nestles up close and stops chirping and starts sleeping. The chick seems active and comfortable so far..we are going to wait until Wednesday to see if more chicks are born then put her back either way…we cannot use a big high powered light bulb due to limited offgrid power…but with the temperature in the chick area at a comfortable level everything seems fine.

..I hope there is more..it sucks being an only child.

With any luck the rest will be born today and we can put them all back with mom. With no luck all of the rest of the eggs don’t hatch..

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Posted by on July 19, 2011 in Fowl

 

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New Chickens

..are in the works. Our hen has been broody so rather than fight it we have chosen to embrace it.

When we first decided to let her sit we had no idea what would be entailed..but chickens have been hatching for decades without our help..ok more than decades.  When chickens are sitting on their eggs they do not eat or drink much..they spend all of thier time keeping the eggs warm and adjusting the eggs..but they do need thier own area to grow up in saftey away from other hens and roosters. Other hens will sometimes kill other chicks so we needed a small coop at ground level. With us we wanted it to be:

  • small
  • easy to set up
  • easy to move
  • easy to dance to
  • secure
  • done quickly

..that was all of the criteria we were looking for..since last year we have had a doghouse that someone was giving away..basically 4×4..I had turned it into a Chicken Hospital last year but that plan is to turn it into a ‘hen-den’ over a couple of nights…I have 1 night completed now and 1 more to go.

I actually need to hurry up..I noticed that the other non-broody hen is still laying eggs in the box with the broody hen so its going to mess up the heat and we will probably end up with many unfinished eggs when she is done sitting..usually a day or 2 after the last chick hatches. I figure it will be done tonight and I will post something up then with how it all shook down.

Its actually funny..I read many blogs about small-time farming, off-grid and other related topics and 4-10 I read daily are doing versions of the same thing now themselves..some bought and some are going au natural…great to have so many references to go by!

 
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Posted by on April 29, 2011 in Animals, Construction, Fowl

 

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then there were 3

OK, so we are now up to 3 hens. Its been snowing more than usual so the chickens are not ouside as much as they have been in the past..a couple of days ago it was snowing and when we got home we were not feeling up to shovelling..When we got home from work the next day we checked the chickens and looked for our usual egg or maybe 2 since we missed a day ( she lays 2 over 2-3 days so its not unusual to have none )..well we hade 4 eggs. Being at home that weekend we checked often and decide that we have 3 hens. Well that was a week ago and we are amazed at what even 3 hens produce. You think,’..neat a couple of eggs a day.’…then you notice after 4 days that you have a dozen eggs. More egg dishes are in order!

Jango loves them too so we always know who is willing to eat any extras that come his way.

..get the eggs every day when its too cold outside..2 of the 4 were cracked due to freezing.

 
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Posted by on January 17, 2011 in Animals, Fowl

 

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which came first..I KNOW!!



OK..so some exciting news this weekend while we are varathane’ing the floor..our chickens are finally laying eggs!

my first egg..it didn't hurt me at all!

Its been 4 months since we got these little bad boys and now they finally start producing eggs..just in time for the winter so they can stop laying eggs. Its Dec now so its sort of a miracle that its been warm enough for them to lay in the first place. I was out grabbing a tool from the shed and I noticed that there was only 7 chickens..I thought that a fox or something had gotten tot he chickens so I went to the coop to look..and did not see any chickens feeding so I went to the back and opened up the nesting box…there was the chicken..and it moved outside..but when it moved I peeked over where it was sitting and there was our 1st egg! I had been waiting for this and every day or 2 but it was really nice when it finally happened. So I brought the egg inside to show A* and she thought I was trying to trick her..after I assured her that it was legit we did a small photoshoot..then I went to show her which box the hen had laid in..when we got closer we noticed that the hen was back in the same spot..so when we opened the roost she took off outside again..and there was another egg!! Wow..from none over 4 months to 2 in 1 day!

Well, that was on Sunday..Monday I fried up the eggs on the cookstove with some butter and had some toast with them for breakfast..delicious!

I was so proud when I ate these it was almost like I laid them..

I know that it will not be that exciting in the future but it felt great getting that new egg…like we had finally accomplished something with those little squawk boxes..now that I have something good to report I will also report the bad..the roosters will be crowing no more soon..I cannot take it..the can and do start up at anytime and can go for 2 minutes to 2o minutes..’COCK-A-DOODLE DOO’..that will spell death soon to guys..there IS too much of a good thing and the time for finding the noise amusing has passed. Since I do not heat the coop in any way I am going to try to replace the roosters with hens so the heat in the coop stays above freezing for the most part..and more eggs..but that may have to wait until spring…no, waiting for spring is not going to happen for most of the roosters…1 will survive..and I suspect it will be the final rooster I catch that is spared..I do love elusive fowl!

I also got another egg on the day I ate the first 2 eggs..I have 8 chickens..imagine if hey were all hens..I would be swimming in eggs!!

a birthday gift from A*..good timing birthday! ;)

 
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Posted by on December 7, 2010 in Animals, Fowl

 

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Chicken Dreams – to build a coop

Dreams are turning to reality! A* and I have wanted to have chickens for a while..neither of us have ever done it and we have no clue but we have never let things like facts or knowledge stop us..so a couple of weeks ago we bought materials for beginning construction on a chicken coop for around 4-5 chickens…today was the day the weather improved enough to begin construction..

Materials:

  • 8 – 2×6’s
  • 20 -2×4’s
  • 3 thoughts of eggs
  • 2 1/2 nails ( a whack )
  • wood preserver
  • 1 vision of chickens
  • 2 sheets of osb
  • 6 patio stones
  • bad mood
  • surly attitude
  • beer

OK, so I know in the next little while I am going to be building a chicken coop..I have some ideas as to what I want for a floor size..I am going 4×8..so that will give me almost 32 feet of room..minus the walls interior. The land that we own is QUITE hilly, rocky and sloped so the very frist thing I need to to is to place down some patio stones..but even before that I need a level area to put them on..so out comes the good old shovel and pick..then back-filling with some rough gravel..this is so I have something consistant..not that the coop will not shift with the frost. After the patio stones are in place I assemble the ‘joists’ from some 2×10’s that I treated with preservative. Getting the thing level was an exercise and a half..I understood what I had done wrong after I started..I had never done this part of construction before so there was much to learn…but I eventually got it ‘level’..with a slight slant towards the door so that water would run-off when it was cleaned. After the joists were on and level I put on the plywood flooring…that was it for day 1.

Lessons Learned:

  • making the ground level takes time..like 2 hours..and its hard work
  • I am an idiot
  • how to square a structure: measure from corner to corner..if its the same it is level.
  • sealing softwood from mositure and mold – bought some wood preserver from the hardware store..applied liberally too all boards and cuts that will be on the outside of the structure in the form of support..
  • I am still an idiot

Outstanding questions:

  • will the chickens like the color I choose?
  • how do I do a roof?
  • how much more wood will I need?
  • am I qualified to do this job?
  • would drinking beer fater help improve the project or my mood more?

the 'level' floor of the new coop..the area in front was our compost pile..we added some rocks to note for a future flower bed.

 
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Posted by on April 20, 2010 in Animals, Construction, Fowl, todo

 

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