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.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


The chicks are growing fast. On those rare occasions when the sun shines, I roll their home out into the sun, and they go wild. I look forward to the day when they can wander the backyard like their older brethren do.

Lily and Dolly are doing fine and laying lots of eggs. They started not roosting at night, rather sleeping in the pine chips like I think they should always have done. I took the opportunity to remove their roosting pole out of the house. I’m going to install a new one which will have room for all 5 hens on it. I’m going to go natural and use a tree branch instead of a wooden dowel.

Lily has started a new behavior which I find interesting. She sleeps at night facing out the door and watches the nighttime activities.

Dolly was spotted on the deck for the first time! Lily has been climbing up there for a while, but Dolly is new to it.

Monday, March 21, 2011

World expansion

The three chicks were growing quickly and starting to fight, so I decided to expand their world. I cut a door in the box that they had called home. This gave them the ability to roam out into the enclosure. At first they did not want to, but since I moved their food and water out of the box to make more room for them, they were forced to go out. Soon they were all over the place.

I also installed a stick for them to practice their roosting skills.
One of the lighter colored chicks can fly! I don’t mean jump, but actually fly around and around. It’s truly amazing.

Darla the dark chick is starting to look like a little crow. I’m sure she’ll soon turn into a good looking hen.

They are adverse to human interaction, but my neighbor and two of her friends came over, and after an amazing amount of persistence managed to get all 3 chicks to snuggle up against them. Thanks girls.

I also installed a wooden border around the bottom of the pen, in an effort to keep Mr. P from sticking a claw through and snagging one of the girls. In time, they will get big enough to keep him at wings length. The border was my spouse’s idea.

Pine shavings have replaced the paper shreddings that I used at first and that has helped the odd smell to disappear. I look forward to the first sunny warm day when I can take them out to see the big world. For now they will have to live with the sunlight that comes through the garage windows and of course the heat lamp.

Monday, March 7, 2011

The next generation

I have begun raising my next generation of chickens. My two adults are fine, but I know they have a limited lifespan.

I got a Buff Orpington, a Black Sexlink, and a Gold Sexlink. I made a cat-proof cage for them to live in. It is the garage. It has a brooding lamp which keeps the area under it about 85 °. They have enough room to move out of the warm zone. The have water and food, and lots of paper shreddings to root around in.

I’m hoping to introduce them to the adults in late April. Fingers crossed the introduction goes well. I’ve read that it doesn’t always go smoothly.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Winter eggs

We are getting eggs again! After a long eggless time they started showing up again. It must be the longer days.
Dolly’s feathers are back; she looked funny for a while with her skin showing through the new spindly feathers. Why she had to molt during a cold snap, I don’t know.
I put new bedding in the coop today, and the girls went wild; looking for grain in amongst the straw.
I’m in the planning stages for a pen to raise some chicks this spring. The hardest part will be making the pen Poco-proof. It will be a challenge. The pen will have wheels, so I can roll it outside on nice days and get the older hens used to the idea of interlopers in their midst.
Watching the girls patrol the backyard, I can’t imagine there is a single bug left.