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.