Archive for the ‘Chickens’ Category

* chicken attack

Posted on October 19th, 2011 by maitreya. Filed under Chickens.


File under texts you don’t want to receive when you’re 3000 miles away from home in an all day meeting:

cooproofhole

That is a giant hole that something tore in the roof of the chicken coop  :O

The picture was quickly followed by “Everyone is ok btw.”  Whew.  I hope the chickens weren’t too traumatized.  They’re molting right now and looking pretty pathetic as it is.

The raccoon we spotted down the street the other day is the prime suspect.  The roof was apparently totally rotten.

A few hours later he texted me this:

cooproof

A new roof, made out of cedar fence slats, our favorite building material.  Yay Mark!

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* broody Sue

Posted on May 27th, 2011 by maitreya. Filed under Chickens.


I leave the chickens alone for 36 hours and Sue goes broody.  Poor dumb thing.

Here’s a shot from the chicken cam.

broodysue

I keep tossing her out of the nest box, but it doesn’t take long before she’s right back in.  Tomorrow I’m going to put her in solitary and see what happens.  It’s kind of amazing what a behavioral switch it is: her body is noticeably warmer, she keeps her feathers fluffed, she makes a funny little clucking noise.

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* out and about

Posted on May 14th, 2011 by maitreya. Filed under Chickens, Home and Garden.


Big day in the garden since it’s super pretty.

  • Collected the remaining daffodils

daffodils

  • Planted this mix of flowering annuals all along both sides of my fence

climbmix

  • Planted artichoke and eggplant starts that I broke down and bought last weekend since the slugs got my lone surviving artichoke started from seed :'(
  • Ate my first salad of the season.  Arugula, lettuce, 2 types of radish, and green garlic.
  • Set out calcium supplement for the girls.  I sadly dropped one of Sue’s eggs today and Lester started gobbling up the shell bits.  I’ve been meaning to put out crushed eggshell as a calcium supplement for them, but have never gotten around to it even though I’ve accumulated like a giant bag of it.  Poor things have probably been craving it, what with all the eggs they’ve been laying.  I rigged up a feeder consisting of a small tupperware screwed down to a piece of leftover decking so it will be hard for them to tip over.  After a few minutes of extreme suspicion, they decided to go for it.  Sorry it took so long, chick-chicks!

chickencannibal

  • Started hardening off my squash, tomato, and cucurbits seedlings.  They’ll go out next week.

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* 2 eggs

Posted on March 25th, 2011 by maitreya. Filed under Chickens.


I’ve been traveling, and Mark emailed me this photo while I was away.  Sue has started laying!  I was getting worried.  Her eggs are a lighter brown than Lester’s.  Every morning for the past few days they have left us two eggs side-by-side in the nesting box.

2eggs

I boiled them and ate them for dinner dipped in a little pile of salt and pepper.  Such good girls.

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* collapsible, adjustable chicken tractor

Posted on March 11th, 2011 by maitreya. Filed under Chickens.


We want to put the chickens to work weeding.  They seem to think the lawn is very tasty, unfortunately, so they need to be corralled to a certain spot.  Just the job for a chicken tractor!  Mark had the brilliant idea of making it collapsible so we could easily stash it out of the way when not in use.  We came up with this hinged design that folds up plus allows you to adjust the width to accommodate different areas of the yard.  He designed it and built it all in an afternoon.  It’s essentially 2 frames with plastic fencing stapled on.  The frames are joined by hinges.  The endcaps are pieces of rigid fencing that install on hooks.

P3060957

It turns out that Lester is a little escape artist and was able to fit through the endcaps, so Mark ziptied more plastic fencing and added extra hooks to close gaps.  That contained her for a while, but she was still able to escape.  This weekend we plan to do an experiment to see how she’s getting out.

Note that the purpose is to keep the chickens in, not to provide any serious predator protection.  Despite the photographic evidence below, The Chup does not seem to be much danger to the chickens (he’s scared of them).

P3060964

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* poor Hester

Posted on February 25th, 2011 by maitreya. Filed under Chickens.


I went to let the chickens out this morning and Hester was dead in the nesting box. :(  She was about to start laying any minute (doing the crouch thing the last few days), so I bet something was wrong with her insides.  Now Sue is doing the crouch thing too, so I’ll be worried about her until she successfully produces an egg.

Here’s a night vision photo of her right before she pecked the camera.

nightvisionhester

Sorry, Hester.

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* Lester laid an egg!

Posted on February 19th, 2011 by maitreya. Filed under Chickens.


Eggwatch 2011 is in full swing.  Lester won, laying the first egg this morning.  I just happened to be cleaning their coop when I noticed she was sitting in the back and making a new clucking sound.  The last few days, she’s been crouching when I come near, which looks like a mating behavior, so I thought her time must be close.

egg

I probably seem crazy to any of my neighbors who might have been watching.  As soon as Lester got up and looked at her creation, I said LESTER YOU DID IT!  Then Hester saw the egg and of course started pecking it.  I said NO THAT’S MY EGG and grabbed it away.  It was warm, and is a pretty good size.  I’ve read that they’ll get bigger.

Who will be next?  Will Hester step up, or will Sue come in from behind?

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* Hester’s growing up

Posted on February 13th, 2011 by maitreya. Filed under Chickens.


One day I went to the coop and it seemed like overnight Hester’s comb and wattle had come in.

hestercomb

My girls are growing up.  I guess it’s time to sit her down and discuss the facts of life.  Eggwatch 2011 has begun!

ETA: or she’s a rooster.  I’m a little worried about that alternate explanation.

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* chicken tether cabbage

Posted on January 25th, 2011 by maitreya. Filed under Chickens.


I’ve gotten home late the past 2 nights, so the poor chickens have been cooped up since I’m totally paranoid about raccoons now. To help keep them from getting too bored, I hung up a cabbage core. I just jabbed a skewer through the base, tied kitchen twine to either side (those supplies sound familiar), and knotted it to keep it together. The chickens were very suspicious of it initially, but when I got home last night, this is all that was left.

tethercabbage

And then tonight, there’s just a nub.  Looks like the chickens enjoyed it!

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* raccoon tracks

Posted on January 13th, 2011 by maitreya. Filed under Chickens.


Oh no, the raccoons have found us!  Don’t worry, the chickens are alive and well.  This morning when I went to let them out of the coop, I found these tracks in the snow leading from the sidewalk right up to the fence and then back to the sidewalk.  I guess we’re on the raccoon’s patrol route.  No tracks inside the fence, though.

tracks

I consulted my Storey’s Guide for confirmation.  Here’s a nice page that has a good picture.

tracks

The tracks leading back to the sidewalk are clearer to see the big back feet, but they were also meltier.

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