Doin’ a HAPPY dance!

It finally happened!  We got our very first egg.  I am just soooooo egg-cited that I could jump for joy.  My little 4 year old said he was so excited that he wanted to cry!  Surprisingly, our first egg is from our youngest, Peep, the Ameraucana.  The egg is about 2 inches long with a beautiful pale blue color and a very nice hard shell and shape.  I had to go congratulate her personally.

My Red Star, Betsy, decided to climb into one of the nesting boxes and shift some straw around.  She then sat down for a couple of minutes to test it out.  I waited, holding my breath, thinking that we were going to get another one laying and that I would witness her first egg, but she got up after a while and left the nesting box empty.  I think we are getting close though!  She was maybe giving that nesting box a test drive.

Yesterday my husband and I built a little shelter for the girls’ dust bath area.  It is about 36 inches wide and 18 inches deep.  The highest point of the roof is 28 inches tall.  This will give the girls a little shade and a wind break while they are in the hole full of dirt that they bath in.  I mixed in some sand and DE with the dirt for them to roll around in.  They were very curious and had to explore the new little addition to their run.

The girls checking out their new bath house.

While I was sitting out with the girls early this morning, Peep decided she wanted to cuddle a little and popped up to my shoulder to say goodmorning.

"Goodmorning Peep!"

I guess the perch I made for the chickens in their run is not just for chickens.  This little guest decided to visit this morning and sit on the chicken’s perch while eating some of their food.

Squirrel sitting on the chicken perch.

The girls sitting on the sidelines watching the visitor sitting on their perch…

The girls didn’t quite know what to make of the little squirrel eating their food and sitting on their perch so they decided to go into their new winter home (garage coop) to get away from it all…

The girls climbing through the window into their coop in the garage.

Cluck, cluck y’all!

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And the winner is…

Congrats to Laurel for winning the “Chicken Bawk” necklace!  (She was the randomly picked winner thanks to my son picking her name out of a hat.  Please email me your address Laurel.)

Here’s a question…

Does anyone else find that chickens have their own little quirks when it comes to foods they like to eat?  I try different foods on them according to lists of acceptable things to feed chickens and also what I hear other chicken owners say their chickens like.  But I am finding that it is pretty hit and miss on what they will turn their beaks up at.  I found out yesterday that they love kale and mustard greens, but not alfalfa sprouts.  Everyone has been saying how their chickens like watermelons, but not mine.  No sir…they turn their beaks up at watermelon, blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries.  Maybe my girls are just not that into fruit, which might explain why they don’t care much for tomatoes.  Are my chickens just weird?!  They do love corn more than anything.  I have heard many others say that they scramble eggs for their chickens and that the protein is also good for them, but do my girls like scrambled eggs? Not much!  Do your chickens have any food favorites or eccentricities?  I would love to hear what strange things other chickens like to eat.

We are starting to think about winter-izing the chicken run.  The girls have an indoor winter home in the garage that they have access to all day, but when they want to be outside in the run they have no retreat from cold winds and wet weather.   We are considering our options on this newest task.  Should we cover part of the run in plastic or tarps?  Should we build a little three walled shelter to block the wind with a roof to keep off rain and snow?  Should we get plexi-glass to wall in part of the run?  So many options, but trying to decide which is best cosmetically and financially is the trick.  The first thing needed is to get an electric heater for their water bowl since the temps will be in the low 30’s in the next few days.  My husband is beginning to think that it will never end…and I guess my girls are quite spoiled!

Talk about spoiled, here are some pics from this morning that epitomizes spoiled…

Betsy loves to snuggle.

Snuggling in for a nap!

Cluck, cluck y’all!

 

 

 

My First Give-A-Way…

I have decided to combine two of my passions…chickens and jewelry making.  To celebrate this great combination, I spent several hours working on a cute little necklace that I would like to give away to one lucky person.  As a chicken person myself, I find myself constantly on the lookout for all things chicken from jewelry to home decor.  If you can’t find it…then make it!  I will be making more “chicken” jewelry in future, so check back again for more one of a kind unique pieces.

Now for the give-a-way…

Leave me a comment on this post and I will select a random winner in one week from today (that’s Oct. 15th) to receive the following “chicken bawk” necklace.

"Chicken Bawk" necklace

This little chicken was hand cut from 22 gauge copper, textured, and then patina’d to make the metal appear aged. The word “BAWK” hanging from the chicken was added with metal stamps and also patina’d. I strung the pendant on brown leather cording with a handmade copper clasp.  A cute accessory for any chicken lover!

Good Luck and cluck, cluck y’all!

Summer Home…Winter Home

Been very busy lately finishing up the girl’s winter home since the weather is changing so fast.  I am excited to present the new winter home for our chickens…

New coop made from used "Energizer Battery Display" we got from a grocery store.

Nesting boxes made from stacking storage trays nestled under an enclosed work table.

Ramp to the top of the work table.

My husband was able to get a used “battery display case” from the local grocery store where he works, which he modified with a new floor, ceiling, and door.  He also left me some storage space at the top.  The inside has a nice roost for the girls to perch on.  This new winter home for the girls is actually in our garage (takes up about one third of the space), and we removed one of the window panes with a ramp to the outside chicken run. The open window has a removable door that covers the opening at night to prevent predators from entering.  The girls can come and go all during the day until they come in at night to roost.  They will have lighting on to give them extra light for the shorter daylight hours which we will put on a timer.  The coop floor is lined with pine shavings and the concrete floor of the run is lined with straw.  We even have a little heater for the garage in case it gets too cold.  Now the girls have something that even we don’t have…a summer home AND a winter home!

My husband working on the new coop in the garage.

We also built a frame and door with poultry netting to enclose the garage coop so that they can’t wander around unsafely in the garage.

The girls in their newly completed winter home.

My great-niece came to visit with the chickens.  Here is a picture of Lily and Danny feeding the girls some scratch.

Danny shows Lily how to feed the chickens from his hands.

What is it about children and chickens?! They are both so adorable!

That’s all for now…

Cluck, cluck y’all!

Fried bugs, anyone?

For numerous reasons, I purchased and hung a very nice (and big) bug zapper for the chicken run a few days ago.  I wanted to cut down on the flies that were drawn to the chicken feed (and to their droppings).  An added bonus would be the yummy protein in the bugs that the girls could eat. (And they wouldn’t even have to run around and try to catch them!)  The zapped bugs are supposed to fall down to the ground below so I don’t have to empty it out for them.  After 3 days hanging, as I was sitting in the enclosure with the girls, I heard the bzzzzzt! of the zapper, (made me jump), and 2 of the chickens immediately ran over and started searching the ground under the zapper for the dead bug.  Wow, I was stunned at how fast the girls realized what that sound meant!  It was like a dinner bell, or a treat bell at the very least.

My husband and I were sitting watching the girls do their chicken thing when all four of them froze.  They stayed like statues for well over a minute and we started laughing and wondering what was up with them.  It was such a freaky sight to behold. All of a sudden, all four of them made a mad dash into the coop and stood there watching out the door. I heard my husband exclaim and I twisted around in time to see a huge hawk swoop down and fly along the fence of the chicken run right past us. Bold little bugger!  After 5 or 10 minutes, the girls felt safe enough to come back out by us.

Peep and Betsy sitting on my lap.

Amazingly, Peep has become our most friendly girl almost over night.  We got Peep about 2 months ago as a pullet from a feed store where she was housed with at least 30 to 40 other pullets in a small fenced in area.  Since we didn’t get her as a baby chick, she was very skittish and not used to human handling at all.  She slowly became used to us but would have a fit if you tried to touch her in any way.  So…we just left her alone and didn’t try to force anything.  In the last 3 days she is acting almost like a different chicken.  She jumps up on my lap and shoulder constantly and allows me to pet her. She chatters away at me like she is telling me something very important, and even gets up on my husband (who doesn’t spend as much time with the girls as I do).  Today, my 4 year old came into the run with me and Peep started following him around.  When Danny stopped, Peep stopped and just stood there and watched him.  When Danny ran around, Peep would run around right beside him.  It was hilarious to watch and my son was enchanted with the game.

Peep and Danny playing.

Peep standing on the back of Randy's chair.

If there is one thing I have learned about chickens…it is that they each have their own quirky little personalities and traits. And each and every one of them is my favorite!

Cluck, cluck y’all!

Happiness is…Chickens!

I love Shutterfly!  I have used the Shutterfly website to create many photo books for my family.  Of course you knew it would have to happen…yes…you guessed…I made a new photo book of my lovely girls!  It is titled “Happiness is…Chickens!”  Here is a link to my Shutterfly share page.  Hope you like it!

http://youngpour.shutterfly.com/

Sadie at 17 weeks old.

Betsy at 17 weeks.

Frannie at 19 weeks.

Peep at 14 weeks old.

Peep is only about 14 or 15 weeks old at this point, but the other 3 girls are at that age when they could start laying eggs at any time.  I anxiously check the nesting box every morning, but the only thing I have found each morning so far is the fake wooden egg that I put in there to show them where to lay their eggs.  Many chicken keepers are aware of the fact that a fake egg, small ball, or even a golf ball put in a nesting box encourages chickens to lay in the box.  I keep thinking my girls will take a hint and produce one of their own.

fake egg

Check out this chicken decor that I painted.  (Actually, re-painted.)  It was a great (cheap) find at a Goodwill Store that was painted atrociously with dings here and there.  It is heavy plaster and only cost me 50 cents.  After painting it, I gave it a wash of light taupe and then sealed it with a glossy varnish.  Isn’t she just too cute?!

Cluck, cluck y'all!

Short and sweet…

This post will be short, but sweet.  Not too much new going on right now with the girls.  We are loving the weather though…mid to upper 70s all week long!  Just enough of a chill at night to sleep comfortably.

The girls love a good corn cob pinata! It is every entertaining to watch and they even try to start timing their pecks with the swing of the cob.

Even with several perches just for them and a wooden bench at their disposal, where do they always want to sit??? Hey girls, that’s my chair!

It amazes me that you can have a whole yard of grass and weeds available to you, but when one of us picks a piece from the ground they all come running and want to eat it from your hand!

CHICKEN TIDBITS…

Q: Why does a chicken coop have two doors?
A: Because if had four doors it would be a chicken sedan!

There are more chickens on earth than there are people, over three billion in china alone.

Chickens are the closest living relative of the tyrannosaur.

Chickens are sociable animals ,they form firm friendships preferring the company of chickens they know whilst avoiding those they do not.

Well, that’s all for now.  Hope you learned something interesting!

Cluck, cluck y’all!

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