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The Rest of the Story

My final trip down to the chicken coop on the day when I destroyed the girls favorite place to deposit eggs in secret, I found this! A beautiful sight! Little Red finally gave up the fight and “settled” for the old fashioned good ol’ nesting box! Yay! Tomorrow (although this will be yesterday by the time you read it) I’m going to keep them all in the coop till afternoon, so that they haven’t much choice where to leave their eggs. After that, I believe, they’ll be back on track. And from now on when the goats are on the prowl, I’m just going to move the chicken feed out of their reach. 🙂 Lesson... read more

She’s nothing if not tenacious

This chicky that I have named “Little Red” is desperate for a place to lay her egg. I’m not sure how long chickens can actually “hold it” but apparently they can for awhile. 😉 Poor little thing. She was trying to get busy on that coal-bucket nest when I discovered it. Apparently once they get that “gotta lay and egg” thought in their little birdy brains it is the ONLY thing they can think of. I tried to distract her by taking down some special treats to the coop area, and it kinda worked. She ate a few pecks of oatmeal and then hopped into the coop. I was optimistic that she’d discover the nests in there are just as good. And just in case she simply HAD to have the bucket, I took it to the coop too. Alas, no. She explored the coop, found it wanting and took off like a shot back toward the yard. I’d closed the gates though, so I thought ya know, maybe the effort will convince her to find an easier (coop) place to lay those eggs (coop) like the well fluffed nests of the chicken coop!!! Or bucket even if you must! But a few minutes later I looked out the window and the crazy hen was running back and forth outside the fence trying various spots to stick her head through, and finding that her body wouldn’t fit. Eventually she gave up on that and flew to the top of the fence and over. Yep, sheeeeees baaaaaaack! She has a good sense of geography though cause she keeps coming back to the exact same spot, but she’s so confused that the “perfect nest” was gone. She even attempted to go under the folding chair to see if that would do. 😉 I don’t think it did. Poor Lil Red! Hope she figures it out soon so she can get some relief, and we can get some breakfast! The saga continues… can’t wait to find out what becomes of that... read more

Brilliant Deduction!

Yesterday I collected a measly 3 eggs from our nesting boxes. I had this nagging thought in my mind that maybe the makeshift nest that the girls were driven to use the other day had become the preferred nest. Oh dear. 🙁 So I tidied up their coop to make it as inviting as possible. Spread a fresh layer of pine chips and fluffed up and filled the nesting boxes too, and added some yummy chicken scratch as well. (not to the nest but the coop floor) I had high hopes that it would work but alas today when I went down to the coop I found only 2 eggs. Granted some of our girls are late afternoon layers, but still… So I walked around, followed by a parade of chickens because they assumed I was going to give them some treats, looking under and around the low growing Junipers that I sometimes see them scratching around. I was thinking all the time, “How in the world am I going to find some random chicken nest in all this space?!” Then I suddenly remembered that I’d been hearing some rather loud ‘bocking’ as Myles puts it, right in our very backyard. Hmmmm…. usually that kind of vocalizing is reserved for egg laying and for informing someone who is taking up the nest for too long that they had better hurry up and move. 🙂 So I started looking in all the places that I’d consider good for eggs in our yard. Under the woodpiles, nope. Behind the trashcans, nope. I considered the kids play set, but never actually got around to checking it out because as I went down the sidewalk I noticed this… What is it, you may rightfully wonder? It’s actually the plastic tray (and a divider) that goes with the crate we got to haul the goats from Phoenix. Yeah, it was plenty gross by the time we got home with them, and then it was frozen and then… well, lets just say it’s on my list of thing to clean and put away, but the hose isn’t out anymore, ya know? Well, it’s been leaning up against the house now for awhile, and I suddenly though, “That’s a kinda cave like sheltered place.” Which must have been exactly what the chicks were thinking because behind the plastic was… Yep, that’s what I found. This is a coal bucket that I’d used as a planter this... read more

A hunting we will go

Yesterday when I went to the chicken coop, basket in hand to get the egg “haul” of the day, I discovered only one egg! Boo-hoo! What I believe happened was this. The wily goats have discovered the chicken feed in the coop. And they like it! Mucho! Which is fine, it’s organic, no problem well except that little goaties shouldn’t be eating a lot of grain, and can in fact gorge on it and cause themselves some pretty significant issues. So to avoid that problem, when the goats are out (because we let them out nearly every afternoon for browsing and exercise) I close the outer door to the coop to keep them out of the grain. Apparently yesterday when I did this, most of the gals hadn’t laid their eggs yet. *sigh* So I imagine they found someplace that would “do” and dropped them all there. Arg! I kinda wandered around and glanced at some of the places the girls like to hang out, but didn’t find anything. Oh well. We’ve still been getting 5-7 eggs a day from our 8 remaining hens. I have plans to get some chickies to enlarge our flock hopefully sometime in February. I’d like to get them settled into the brooder in the garage and growing well between when our goats kid. I’ve been looking on the My Pet Chicken website and have pretty well decided that I want to get Easter Eggers as my next batch of layers. They are called that, you may wonder, because they lay eggs in a variety of colors, most often blue and green, but also cream and pink even! How fun! With 15 of those we’d have a colorful egg basket for sure! 🙂 As for the goats. I’m getting nervous! We are within a week of Polka’s possible due date! And guess who gets to be midwife? US! Ack!!! It’s weird but I’m more nervous about helping these silly goats have kids than I was having my own… well, sorta. Anyway, I didn’t have to be on the “catching end” with mine. 😉 I’m looking forward to seeing what and how many babies we get! It’ll be fun to have bouncing kids around. What I’m not looking forward to is having to disbud them. 🙁 That means burning the “buds” where the horns would grow in. Not fun, nopers! But having a goat with horns is not good either. They are hard to rehome,... read more

A Post About Chickens

Well, we’re down to a flock of 10. *sigh* We are learning about this whole process. Still no definitive answer on the puppy. My gut says that he’s going to have to go, but I still hang on to a sliver of hope that he’ll learn to leave them alone. But back to chickens… I’ve been so humored by these cackling, little egg-laying creatures! We save our kitchen scraps for the hens. They LOVE them! And any time they see me walking toward the coop they all come running from different directions to see if I brought them any goodies. 🙂 And then there’s a feeding frenzy! Here’s Plucky Lucky! She seems to have healed fine and integrated back into the flock without any problems. I haven’t “catched” (as Qade would say) her to examine the spot, but I’m sure she’s fine. This is why we have these gals! We want fresh free-range (or pastured, the new “it” word for birds that have their freedom) eggs! Yum! Check out that itty bitty one! I haven’t cracked it yet, but the last one I got that was that little didn’t contain a yolk. Funny! So I finally got smart and put the girls to work on keeping their own coop “clean.” I’m attempting the “Deep Litter Method” for their coop this winter to help keep them warmer and to cut down on littler costs as well. The concept is that you let the junk kinda decompose in the coop and it provides extra heat. You’re supposed to “turn” it every so often so there’s not a build up of poo. And add extra layers of fresh litter every so often too. Well, I was getting tired of “turning” it all the time! Those gals can create quite a mess under their perches! So instead, I’ve started to toss a little chicken scratch under the perch every day or so and the chicks go for it like candy! This makes them “scratch” at the bedding and effectively churn stuff up and keep it nice and tidy! Albeit dusty! Here they are searching for the scratch. Hen bottoms always remind me of old fashioned women’s clothes with tons of petticoats. 😉 And voila! No visible poo! 🙂 Good job ladies! And that’s about it on the chicken front for now. I’m researching how to “grow” our own meat chickens for next summer. I have high hopes for this! I’d love to stock... read more

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