Thursday, July 31, 2014

Cabbage, the Unifier

In a rare moment, all birds were happily eating from the hanging cabbage.  It didn't last long, and I am glad I was there to see it.  The chickens continue to ignore one another for the most part, sticking to opposite sides of Red Door Coop.  We have the North Side Oldies and the South Side Newbies.  Fortunately, there was a brief moment today when they were unified.  Thank you, cabbage.

The Day After the Big Day

We woke to a beautiful sky.

The birds popped out of the coop: Lou, Bill, Weezy, Fitz..........BB stayed on the roost contemplating the meaning of life, or something.  She wakes up with everyone but seems to enjoy lingering on the roost for alone time.  

Weezy did a flying chicken jump up to the top of the small brown coop.  This seems to be a comfortable spot for the new birds right now.  Over the next week I will move those food and water dishes closer to the other hens.  For now, it is a good spot for the young ones to adjust to (escape from) the old hens.

Lou, Bill, and Fitz checked off their morning to-do lists.

BB lingered on the roost.

The rain never stopped yesterday and it grew dark very early last evening. The old hens went to bed around 7pm (early for the summer) but Weezy and BB were still scratching around the coop.  When I returned about an hour later, expecting to show the young hens to the roost, they were already perched there next to the old girls.  The little chickens found their way.  I was so pleased!

While it will take time for these five hens to settle in as a unified flock (doh!  just heard big squawks from the coop!) progress was made yesterday.  Here's to happy chickens today!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Big Day

It was an early morning.  We didn't get up much earlier than normal, but Papa Hen had to head to the airport and Mama Hen was heading into Red Door Coop for The Big Day: introducing all the hens with no barriers between them.  

I was ready to go with all tricks of the trade outside the coop.  

I remained quiet, not wanting the birds to wake up early and argue before they even hopped off the roost. Did I mention it's been raining cats and dogs since yesterday afternoon?  For this reason, our morning was darker than usual. When the coop door finally opened around 5:45, Lou was the first to come out.

She had some alone time to scratch and peck and explore how we moved things around in the coop.  Extra food and water dishes, tree stumps rearranged, and a new low plastic table all made the coop different enough that the old girls would be slightly out of sorts.  I hung a cabbage and hid strawberries.  

Finally Bill and Fitz appeared.  

Then things got a little wild.  Good thing the new girls can jump high and move quickly.  The old girls did their jobs of enforcing the current pecking order, defending their territory, and showing the new girls who's in charge.  It sounds fierce and maybe it is, but it is all normal chicken behavior.  

The new girls are holding their own and have discovered some of the hiding spots we created: on top of and under the brown coop & on top of the tree stumps.  I even hand fed them some strawberries.

I feel bad that they are hiding, but Weezy and BB look so darn cute and they will venture out soon.  I will be watching closely in the late morning to be sure they get to the nesting boxes to lay their itty-bitty eggs. 

At one point, Bill decided to take a dirt bath next to BB and Weezy.

Bill has not jumped into the nesting box yet.  We are hoping her broody phase has passed.  Thanks, Miss C, for your advice!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Meet an Extraordinary Farmer

Five Chickens in the Yard

We are slowly introducing the girls to one another in safe environments.  Last night we had supervised yard time.  Fitz and Bill demonstrated their authority, but we didn't see anything other than the normal pecking order establishment behaviors.   There are definitely chicken cliques: old girls and new girls.  Hopefully they will soon make new friends and keep the old.

Bill will be sent back to broody breaker-hood tomorrow for some reinforcement.  She was acting a lot more like her old self today but needs more encouragement.

BB is very photogenic.

Monday, July 28, 2014


As you may know, we name our chickens after our guy friends.  The friends each have a little chicken mascot and some find it more amusing than others.  We recently rehomed Bruiser, a Black Star hen, who caused strife in the flock.  There was no question that we wanted another Bruiser, but one with a name she could make all her own.  

Introducing BB (short for Bruiser B.).  She is a fluffy Buff Orpington.  So far she has a mild demeanor and has quietly been exploring the coop.  Well, she was not quiet after she laid her itsy-bitty egg yesterday.  That feat obviously called for a celebration.

And next is our lovely Barred Rock hen, Luis.  We'll call her Weezy for short.  Luis, the human, was visiting last night and he chose his namesake chicken with pride.  So far she is also quietly exploring the coop.  Her most stand out characteristic at this point is that she is a loud chewer.  Or gulper.  What do chickens do with the food in their mouths?  Whatever it is, Weezy does it loudly.

Here are a few more pictures I took while sitting in the coop observing the new birds.  

Here is another look at the eggs they laid yesterday.  They are in the tray with the mature (in age, not behavior) chickens' eggs.  

See how they barely fill the egg tray?  BB and Weezy may not lay today after their traumatic day yesterday, leaving the only life they've ever known.  We'll see.  

After egg laying time has passed I will put the chickens all together in the coop with some in the dog crate and some free in the coop.  They need to all start seeing and smelling each other.  It'll be a loud affair, I am sure.


Sunday, July 27, 2014

Little Eggs

Within an hour of arriving at Red Door Coop, the new birds each laid a tiny little egg.  The most delicate little things.  

From the size of their eggs, you'd think they'd have small voices, but no.  

We have all the birds in two enclosures and will move them closer and closer during week until they are all in the coop together.  For now our coop is squawk central.  One can only imagine what they are shouting at one another.  This could be a day that neighbors complain!  

New Birds

We just returned from a backyard farm in Byers, Colorado, with two young hens to add to the flock.  One Buff Orpington (tan) and one Barred Rock (black and white).  They are around six months old and just starting to lay.  This week my hobby will be integrating the flock.  Wish me luck!  

Friday, July 25, 2014

Yard Time

In the late afternoon, before the rain, the three hens came out to play. 

They were all happy to get out for a stroll, especially Bill, since she has been cooped up in the wire cage.  Will her broodiness ever end?

Rhyme Time

Mama Hen finished a little sewing project for school yesterday.  With preschool and kindergarten students, it is fun to use a flannel board to illustrate a rhyme, song, or story.  This one, Eggs for Breakfast, just happens to feature eggs!
As you can see, I made a carton of eggs and a fry pan too!



After what seemed liked hours of teasing thunder and lightning, the rain came.  I was happy, Papa Hen was happy, and the chickens were happy.  Apparently, the sky was happy too.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Garden

While I was at The Farmy last week, our garden grew and grew.  Soon we will be munching on many varieties of tomatoes, yellow beans, cucumbers, zucchini, carrots (maybe), and peppers.  We've already been eating lettuce and radishes.  The lettuce went crazy while I was gone, and not in a good way.  I pulled out the overgrown plants and will plant more in a few days.  

Here's another peek at Lou Lou.

Quiet Day

There wasn't any fussing about the coop today by Mama Hen.  Papa Hen is in charge.  He took some sweet pictures of the chickens this morning.

Good morning.
Bill is still a broody chicken so we have her back in the wire cage today. 
And here's Lou, supervising everyone and everything in Red Door Coop.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014