Thursday, January 31, 2013

First egg of the new year!

On last Monday, January 28th, one of our hens laid the first egg of the new year.  You may know that here at Limping Chicken Farms, we don't force our hens to lay during the Winter, so it's always a nice surprise when they start up on their own.

Daisy, the new chicken is doing well, and is not picked on as much as she used to be.  We are anxious to see what color her eggs are.

The Winter has been mild and we only needed to worry about frozen drinking water for a week so far.

The hens are quite tolerant of rain, and unless it is really pouring, they just do their thing in the rain.

We have now had chickens for three years (hard to believe).  One of our original hens, Lily, is still going strong.  She is at least 4 years old.  The three middle hens, Darla, Buffy, and Carmen, will be 2 in March.

We're not sure how old Daisy is, but my guess is she is under one.

I know it's not Spring yet, but there is hope it will be here soon.




Friday, December 7, 2012

List of Chickens


Name
Breed
Hatched
Died
Gloria
Buff Orpington
2008?
2010
Dolly
Rhode Island Red
2008?
2010
Lily
Buff Orpington
2008?

Buffy
Buff Orpington
3/1/2011

Darla
Dark Sexlink
3/1/2011

Carmen
Gold Sexlink
3/1/2011

Daisy
White
2012

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Daisy (not duck) chicken

We were happy with our colony of four hens. One aged one and three youngsters. There was peace in the Gallus Domesticus land.

One day a strange SUV pulled up in the driveway. A mother and teenage daughter emerged. The young woman held a chicken. They had found it alone and using modern technology found our hen house. They asked if we would take her. I though “why not”, and placed her down among our regulars.

The top three hens ignored her, but the bottom (up till now) hen Carmen, attacked with extreme prejudice. Despite this, I assumed the new one would fare better in my backyard then in the outside world, so we kept her.

It took a while before she would sleep with the others in the comfort of their sleeping chamber, but peace has once again settled on the land. Daisy, as she is now called, is young (her comb and waddle are smallish). She is quite the flyer, and does not run for the hills when she sees me now. Looking forward to Daisy eggs in the Spring.

Merry Christmas to all, and may your molting wait till Summer

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Chicken intelligence

I’d like to add my 2 cents to the chicken intelligence debate. The consensus is that chickens are dumb. I disagree. They have been around in their current form for at least 8,000 years. The fact that they have survived that long is testament to their natural intelligence. Granted, people have been protecting them (not for humane reasons) all that time, but they still have the survival tools of their predecessors the Red Junglefowl.

One of my hens, Darla, has learned to get more feed by pecking the feeder, which causes feed to settle down into the feeding area. The feeder is poorly designed, and Darla has figured out how to make it work better. I think this shows great use of her brain.

Label me a “fan” of the chicken.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Winter 2012

Darla, Buffy, Carmen, and Lily are still doing well. Lily, the oldest and only original bird we have, continues to hang in there. The other three hens, 10 months old, are laying as many eggs as they did last summer. Maybe it’s their age, or the sunnier than normal weather.

Buffy is second in command, just waiting for Lily to pass on so she can take over. Darla is third and Carmen is at the bottom and still my favorite. I give her sunflower seeds whenever she is alone.

My wife Mary Kay single handedly fought off some raccoons the other morning and managed to get all four girls back in the coop before mayhem happened. She’s a real Farmer’s wife, like from the song “three blind mice”.

I had to take drastic measures last fall to get the girls to go in the henhouse at night. I removed the outside perch, and this was not met with approval. It took several nights before they all went into the house.

I have no big plans for the chickens this coming year. I’d like to design and build an automatic door opener/closer, but I’m not sure how to get started. I am an electrical engineer, so it should be something I can do. 27 years in aerospace will dull those skills for sure.

I’m enjoying working at the Seattle Farm Co-op twice a month. Stop by some time and I’ll show you around.

Here’s wishing you all a happy and healthy 2012.

-Mat

video

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Autumn 2011

Fall is here, and for Darla, Buffy, and Carmen this is their first experience with cold weather. Lily is used to it, but she is really showing her age. I doubt she will make it through the winter.

The three young hens are doing well and laying lots of eggs.

Buffy the Buff Orpington is the top hen and is downright mean to the others. Her obnoxious squawks can wake the dead. Hard to believe she was once my favorite chick.

Darla the dark sexlink is not as loud, but loves to fly up onto the deck and eat my tomatoes. I can’t bring myself to clip her wings.

Carmen the golden sexlink is my favorite. She is petite and sweet and lays big eggs, often with two yolks. She coos like a dove and is often alone in her ramblings.

The young ones still sleep out of the house, but I hope they move inside when the temperature dips into the 30s. I don’t think Lily would mind the company.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

ChChChChCh changes

A lot has happened since my last post. For starters, Dolly has died. I found her dead in the coop one day. She didn’t appear to have been attacked, I think she just expired.
About this time the young hens were being introduced to the backyard scene. The two older hens were bullying them around the yard. Now that Lily (or “Diamond Lil” as I like to call her) was the only grown hen I hoped that she would ease up on the youngsters. Thankfully that is just what has happened! The four of them now have formed a flock, and most of the time they are together. At night Lily sleeps in the hen house, and the youngsters sleep perched on a post outside the house, but in the coop where they are protected from nighttime marauders. I hope that by fall, they will all be inside the house at night.
The pullets are growing fast, and are nearing full size. No eggs from them yet. Buffy aka “dad” and Darla are inseparable, with Carmen being the odd-girl out. She is quite sweet and has become my favorite. Buffy still likes me a lot and comes over to say hello often.
For a while they wanted to sleep perched on the fence, but each night I carefully put them in the coop, now they go in the coop on their own.