Why Chickens?

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NH, United States
Last year, I bought a chicken coop that was made by someone that I love dearly and decided to raise some chickens. Well... we'll see how this quest develops as Spring fades into Summer and the chicks arrive in early June! Check out my YouTube channel www.youtube.com/fbideas for the most recent videos I've posted!

Monday, July 25, 2011

4 1/2 weeks and feathering out! At least most of them are

Most of the chicks now have names and they are content to be living in their new coop and run.  They are feathering out now and loosing the "down" that they were born with when the feathers start to come in and grow.

The Columbian Wyandotte's seem to be feathering out more slowly than the other breeds, and that has me concerned as to whether they're slower, or their getting picked on when I'm not looking.  Time will tell!

How we separated the hens from the chicks INSIDE the coop

Working in an 8x8 space isn't easy to separate. We built some panels to keep the hens with the nesting boxes and the chicks got the rest of the coop.
The hens have water and food inside their section of the pen and so do the chicks.  The chicks get to use the roost area and the hens have the nesting boxes.  I think the height is a little intimidating to them at times because they are laying eggs on the floor of the coop instead of in the boxes.

I thought Henrietta would be more bothered by the chicks than Gertrude, however Gerty is certainly more vocal towards them at this point.  She also is NOT HAPPY that THEY are using her ramp and door out to the run!  She is really stressed about this all.

It's been about 11 days now (it's already 7/25) since everyone is in the same areas of confinement and Gerty's eggs are either really soft shelled, or membrane only 80% of the time!  I'm hoping that once we get them all together and they haven't killed each other that her egg shells get harder again.  I'm not sure if stress can deplete calcium levels or not, but she's certainly off her game!

The rest of the story!

I feel like Paul Harvey.... actually I guess I left a few people hanging with my last post and they all wanted to know how the chicks did with letting themselves into the coop for the night.

They say Chickens "come home to roost" and even though the chicks aren't utilizing the roosts in the coop yet, they do successfully let themselves in one-by-one.  The hens aren't as lucky since they don't currently have direct access into the coop, so I only have to chase two chickens each night to put them inside instead of trying to herd a bunch of chicks!

Living with the Big Girls! 4 weeks old

Tour of the run and coop and how everyone gets into the chicken coop at night.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Meet the 3 week old chicks!

It's amazing how these little chicks are being stretched and pulled this way and that and the once cute little balls of fluff are looking more and more like little tiny dinosaur like creatures!  Feathers are growing in from all angles and depending on the bird, at different lengths.  No two are alike which makes it kind of fun.

We've had to raise the feeders and water onto platforms because they keep scratching pine shavings into everything!

More than 1/2 of them have names now.  The Buff Orpington's, Buff Chantecler's and the Cuckoo Maran's are still hard to tell apart since I have two of each.  I can't go by size because it seems like from day to day they swap places!  Temperment and shyness seem to be the easiest for me to determine between the sisters.

The two Buff Orphington's are the sweetest and most gentle.  When I put my hand in the pen, they'll come right up and let me slide my hand under them and lift them out.  Of course, feeding them the "mealy worm" treat for behaving doesn't hurt :)  It's amazing how quickly they imprint the reward with the action!

The two Blue Laced Wyandotte's are now two different shades of blue feathering.  I've named the darker colored chick "Miss Blue" and the lighter one is "Missy".  They're right behind the Buff's for the worms, although I have to be careful when returning them to the pen since they want to fly back in on their own and from a distance theycan't see the deer netting I have over the top to keep them contained.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Day 8 - Changing the Brooder Bedding

This video shows the first time that I changed the bedding in the little chick brooder that I started out with. It's a good tutorial if you're going to be getting chicks, and shows how to apply the Diatematious Earth that REALLY has kept the flies and odors under control for us. 
This is becoming such a learning experience!

So Tiny the day they arrived!

This is Luna, the Blue Cochin, the day she arrived in the mail.  She was so tiny and her legs were covered with the same fuzz that her body was.

At 3 weeks old now, she is still as timid with us as she was the day she arrived.  For awhile, I was sure she was going to be at the bottom of the pecking order, but  she's holding her own with the rest of the girls.

This is Oreo, one of the Columbian Wyandotte's.  She is still the smallest of all the chicks,  but she is always one of the first to come to my hand when I reach into their pen.

She is the one that Sierra chose for her chick.

Meet Kyleigh's chick.  I'm not sure she's settled in on a name for her, but she is growing like a weed.  She's one of my "candidates" for the most dominant chicken.  She seems to keep watch over all of the others when I check on them during the night, and makes sure everything is OK.
This is Silver Lily, the Silver Laced Wyandotte, Eleora's favorite.  The markings that she originally had on her back that made her look like a duck are almost all gone.  She now is more black than brown and also she is getting very large.

This little Buff Orpington gave us a run for our lives on that first morning!  Before we captured her in the planter on my porch, she almost lost us in the tall grass and we had to find her quickly.

She is now one of the softest of the chicks and climbs up onto my hand willingly while pushing everyone else away so she can be the first that I pick up!

They all have such different personalities!  What a wonderful way to spend a summer!