Thursday, June 12, 2014

OOPS, I Did It Again!

Spring time is NOT the time for a chicken addict to go to the feed store!

Meet Faye and Edna along with my accomplices, Mom and Bailey.  We intentionally left Brian at home.

Faye is the blonde, Edna is the black one.  I got them when they were just days old, but these are obviously more current pictures.

They are named after women who ran the Chicken Ranch in LaGrange Texas.   There was a movie made about their fine establishment. "The Best Little Whorebouse in Texas."

They are adjusting well and are outside 24 hours a day now.  Although still a little skittish around the more tenured working girls, they hold their own pretty well.  I don't think it will be long before Edna climbs her way to the top of the pecking order.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Extra Eggs

I think I'll do this next time I have extra eggs laying around. 

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Flew The Coop

Hello!!!  I don't want anyone to think I flew the coop!   I'm still here and still have the girls; however we have had a few staffing changes.  I am going to try my best to get this blog up to speed and then my intention is to keep it updated regularly.  Wish me luck!

Since the last entry in March I adopted two more hens from the feed store.  When I say "I," I really mean I called mom while I was about to board an airplane and had her do it.  We got them from the feed store we frequent.  They were surrendered by their owner.  Millie is all black and is named after a working girl from Silver City, New Mexico.  She was quite a spit fire in her day.  Millie lays brown eggs and she's a pretty steady layer.  Dollie was an gold and gray Americana mix that laid almost blue eggs.  I can't remember who she was named after.  You will find out later why I am referring to her in the past tense.

WARNING:  This next paragraph is liable to make your head itch.  One third of my yard is fenced off for the chickens.  This is to protect my plants from chicken attacks.  They are relentless when it comes to scratching at the plants' roots.  Eventually, the plant concedes (and so do I) and dies.  Since my dirt is clay there is no where for the birds to take a nice dirt bath and they don't really use the sand box, so they got lice.  I don't know if you are familiar with lice on humans, but it's 10 times worse to get rid of on chickens.  For a while we were giving FIVE chickens baths every night.  I'm pretty sure they've been traumatized.  I finally decided that maybe they would be healthier if they were able to roam my whole yard and take dirt baths where they please.  It worked!  At this point in time most of my plants were mature and the chickens enjoyed hanging out underneath them.  As a side note:  Mom and I are still lice free!  Bird lice doesn't like human heads...thank goodness.  Lice doesn't easily come out of curly hair.

The summer was pretty hot to I bought a mister for the girls.  It lines their run and they liked it.  It's amazing how cool it made the area.  Tes, mom's dog, would also reap the benefits because she would lay as close to the fence as possible to feel the mist.  Coming inside to get out of the heat just makes too much sense.

Man down!  Dollie was a a very WiLd bird.  There was absolutely no way she would let you get close to her.  The only way we could catch her is to trap her in the coop at night when she's asleep.  Well, after about two months she started acing kind of weird.  The other birds would push her aside and we had to take special care to make sure she got food.  I also noticed she would fall asleep while she was standing.  Chickens will do this at times, but not all day.  One evening, I was putting them away for the night and Dollie let me pick her up.  I knew something was wrong.  Like any chicken farmer, I took her to the vet. haha! (Actually, I think she would have been dinner on a real farm.)  $300 and 3 days later the vet called to tell me she had CANCER!  At this point my bedroom became a Chicken Hospice.  We made her comfortable with pain meds while she lived in a dog kennel in my bedroom.  She passed away and Brian, aka the undertaker, buried her in the cemetery.

Egg Hunt:  As I mentioned earlier, Millie is a great layer.  All of the sudden she quit laying.  I didn't know what was wrong.  Come to find out it was nothing.  She was hiding them under a plant.  We found about 9 eggs!

Another Man Down!!  Chickens are sitting ducks at night.  They become very Zombie-like once it gets dark and they go in to roost.  It's very important to lock them up every night so they are not preyed upon by other critters in the area.  Oops.  I had gotten pretty lazy with it.  I kind of thought since they were in my back yard they would be fine.  I thought wrong!  One morning I went out to feed them and I noticed the inside of the coop had more feathers than normal and I was down a chicken.  I figured Pearl had gotten up earlier and started eating.  After a quick search of the yard, I turned up nothing.  I looked in the alley way and found some clumps of feathers.  Something came in and stole my chicken!!  I felt horrible, but it was completely my fault.  Pearl was the protector and probably put herself in harm's way to save the other hens...much like a rooster would do.  That evening, the girls didn't want to go roost.  Mom had to get them off the porch and put them in the coop...and LOCK THEM UP!  Thankfully, Mom has been keeping up with that.  You think when I have children I'll remember to lock the doors at night??  (kidding!)

The chickens survived the Great IceStorm of 2013.  I think Millie is a cold tolerant chicken because she was out daily.  She would come hang out by the back door most of the day.  Jane and Kitty stayed cooped up in their house...very similar to what I did in my house.  Twice a day we would feed them warm feed and make sure their water wasn't frozen.  It's nice to see them running around the yard again.  They don't know it, but they are getting my flowerbeds ready for planting season again.

Production Lull:  The girls aren't really laying now because the days are short.  Last year I was lucky because we had eggs regularly all through the winter.  This year...not so much!  I refuse to buy eggs from the grocery store (partly because I don't want to support factory farms and partly because I feed these fools expensive feed.  The least they can do is feed me an egg or two.)  I found a place in Dallas that has eggs from a local farmer so IF I get desperate, I can go there.

This pretty much sums it up.  I am down to three working girls due to terminal illness and "relocation."

Friday, January 11, 2013

One of These Doesn't Belong...

This could be titled "Damn Chicken" as well, but I think I already have an entry with that name.

Pearl has molted her feathers so now she's running on a full set.  This means we have to host a "spa" day again and clip a wing.  In the meantime, she's just going to take the liberty to come and go as she pleases.  I'm so happy I took a weekend to build a fence to keep them confined to one area.  It's working out great.  NOT!  Let's just pray she doesn't find my carrots.  They are the only successful plant I have this season.

I'm glad Polo is using restraint

Tes isn't too sure.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Back From Egg Laying Hiatus

Mom had a nice surprise when she went out to check on the chickens...a brown egg!! Pearl has been molting, growing new feathers, so she stopped laying eggs to allow her body more energy for making feathers. Well yesterday she ended her break! This is very egg-citing. Her eggs will be a bit scrawny until her body gets used to laying eggs again. It's going to be nice to see extra color in our egg cartons.

I wonder if this egg would be thrown out if she were on an industrial egg laying farm??

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Should We DNA Test?

Just a little funny to hold you over until I get home.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Mange No More!

As we all know, Jessie was less than romantic when it came to his girls.  After a while the girls all had bare backs (think about it...)  Anyway, after Jessie went to be with the Lord the girls didn't grow their feathers back as I had expected them to do.  All of this time I've had mangy looking chickens.  They looked like something you would see rescued by the SPCA. Well, I am happy to announce that all of the girls are growing their feathers back!  Pearl even has some tail feathers coming in. I'll post pictures soon.

Evidently they were "molting" and this is to happen every year.  So if you happen to stop by my house during the Fall don't judge me, and I won't judge you when your kids look sloppy. ;)

Everyday is Easter

I'm not sure what's gotten in to the girls these days.  Maybe they are rebelling, but they are NOT laying their eggs in their nesting box.  They will lay an egg next to it, but not IN the box.  This makes it very difficult to gather eggs.  Production has already gone down due to the shorter days and now we have to hunt all over their yard to find the few eggs we do get.  How do you turn this into a positive??  Mom has decided it's like an Easter Egg hunt everyday...without the giant rabbits and Peeps.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Afternoon Delight

I wasn't sure if the girls would enjoy spaghetti squash, but the squash was past its freshness. I wasn't about to eat it so I cut it up and put it outside. They were hesitant at first, but by the end of the evening only the outer part of the rind was left. I'd say that was a success!

Spa Day

The Bumble Feet are healing! Tonight, after we gave the girls their pedis, we took extra precautions to save my plants. We clipped the girls' wings! Suckas!! Tomorrow we'll see if they can still fly over the chicken fence. If they yard is forever screwed. If they can't...I can have a normal yard!!