Friday, December 7, 2012

List of Chickens

Buff Orpington
Rhode Island Red
Buff Orpington

Buff Orpington

Dark Sexlink

Gold Sexlink


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.