Saturday, March 7, 2015

New chicks

I find it interesting the response my chickens have to t he new chicks. Whenever i feed and water the chick they go to the end of the pen curious as to what is making all that noise.
They have bhai ecome incredibly jealous of the chicks also. They are used to having mu undivided attention.  They growl and make all kinds of noise to let me know they were here first.
I did notice that the food i was given for chicks was not actually chick food. It's important to know what to look for when getting food.  I know i ordered chock food but i wasn't used to the new bags and misread what i was getting. Unfortunately, i think i lost 6 chicks because i had the wrong food. 7 if you count the chick that i lost before the new chicks came to live with us.
By october, i should be able to start selling eggs. That will be nice.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Growing greens

I have been working on providing the greens for my chickens so that to they stay healthy through our grey winter days.   I have sprouted oats and they didn't want the greens; they wanted carrots. They do like Brussels sprout greens so i'm going to try to mix the oat greens with the Brussels sprout greens.
They are growing. At the end of the month I will have a rooster to roast and two to sell. The smaller two will make better yard roosters, I think.
They still love the alfalfa and the worms so I at least have good protein besides their food to give them.
I used to play my videos for them, and I think they miss that, so I'm going to take music out to them. They sure are curious when the Coast Guard helicopters go over us. We are in the flight pattern.
I still laugh at how my mother-in-law's dog won't go out to go poetry in the yard when the roosters are crowing. Comical.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Nesting boxes

My dad made these beautiful nesting boxes for the hens. During our storm, we hung them in the pen. The chickens treated them the same as the perches. I had to take them up to the boxes. Now they seem quite comfortable with them. Someone is nesting in them; although, I find my roosters tend to do more of that than the hens. What a funny group they are.
I put way too much hay in the pen so they are having a blast scratching through it. I'm not sure what they are searching for. I feed them, but they are hard at work. 
Is there a chicken whisperer who can help me understand my crazy birds?

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Sprouting oats

I cleaned the pen today since the power was out and it was raining.  When I opened the bag of oats the chickens started singing. It was the funniest thing.
I started the oats soaking so we'll see how that goes.
I also found out that grated carrots worked wonderfully to keep the chickens in the pen while I cleaned it. This is very good to know because they think there's food out there and I don't want them to get hurt.
Giving them oats is a pain in the neck. Well using the same whole oats anyway. I read that you can't, or shouldn't, give them the shells. So without anything but a rolling pen to crush them so it took me an hour. Or two. I lost track of time.
But they loved them so it was worth it.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Chicken nutrition

Because I live in rain country and have ridden and helped take care of horses, I have been looking for ways to give my chicken vitamins and minerals.
I read that they will eat anything so you have to be careful what you give them. My growing room for vegetables is limited so I will have get creative, but it was recommended to give them greens for nutrition because it is less harmful to them.
It was also recommended to sprout oats. Since I have never done this it will be interesting.  The Grange only had a 50 lbs bag so I have lots of room to make mistakes.
I  did learn that my chickens love ground up carrots.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Building a temporary pen

My father and I have been building a temporary pen to hold my chicken until I can repair the area they will be living in.  It has been quite an adventure. As soon as we started putting the chicken wire on the four pieces, it started to rain.
My cat, Binx, supervised the laying out of the wire. We tried using some old fencing but the staples wouldn't go in far enough to hold it on.  So we got some chicken wire, and Binx decided, as all good supervisors do, that he would govern from the safety of the carport
Once we realized it was easier to work with on its side, plus the use of a power stapler and motivation of the rain, we got the individual pieces finished quickly.
The out side of the pieces are fenced so that when they are put together they will create an inner pen with perches that will allow me to create a nesting area for the hens when they are old enough.
So tomorrow I will clear out their area, and we'll put the pen together.
This spring they will go outside so I can start growing some more chicks. It's a process. But the eggs will be worth it for sure.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Bringing home chickens

September 16, 2014

I have been trying to find the right bedding to use in the cages for my chickens. Once they are large enough I will move them out to the coop I haven't built yet. I still have to clear out a bunch of weeds where they are going to go. It's the perfect spot to protect them from the wind during the summer (the Oregon Coast is not the warmest place to spend your summer). I am trying to figure out a good design for the coop, so that I can get to the eggs and move around to clean but not have to build them a barn.

But I am getting ahead of myself.

I bought four chickens at the beginning of the month, and because the lady wanted to get rid of the chicks she gave me the other two. I am going to have to get a hold of her again to find out what breed they are, since they are a mix and I am quite new to this. I have fed chickens for friends but never kept a coop of my own. So when my neighbor told me that I could have chickens, I got excited. Hey it's a small time. I need something to do.

I started with two Rhode Island Red Hens, and before I could get a proper cage for them, the... well a different neighbor's cat is getting the blame... cat had a small feast. I was going to wait until Spring, but I found this lady near Roseburg who needed to get rid of her chicks. I just happened to have an appointment in Roseburg. I live almost two hours away, and I can tell you, with six little chicks suddenly separated from their mother, it was the noisiest ride home I have ever been on.

I put them in the cage (which was huge for those little guys), and my dad said, they're getting out. I went back into the garage and saw that they were small enough to fit between the bars of the cage. So to quite them down and keep them inside until I could get something to wrap around the sides, I covered them with a tarp. My mother-in-law's dog didn't know what to make of the noise coming from the garage. She decided she really didn't have to go pee that bad after all and went into the house. The dog, not my mother-in-law.

It has been two weeks now which means they are almost two months old, and they now can't figure out why they can no longer squeeze through the bars. I go into the garage to feed them and four heads pop out between the bars. It is quite humorous. I have placed to perches in the cage for them to start perching on, and have discovered that this creates a mess underneath.

No, I didn't lose count of my chickens. Last Saturday we went to Florence, and I wanted to feed and make sure the chickens had water. When I opened the cage door, two of them came running to me to rescue them. The larger of the young hens had been pecking at them mercilessly. I went and got what I could find on the fly (a pet playpen), and some dishes so they could go with us to Florence. They seem to like their new environment so I've kept them there. Not sure what I will do when I have to put them all back together in the pen.

In city limits, you can't have roosters and I think these two guys are roosters. So I may be finding a new home for them. Of course, I may get lucky and the neighbor's won't care. If they don't complain, I might be able to keep them. Fresh eggs, you know.