Sunday, September 1, 2013

The Flock

Feeding Time

I would have loved to take pictures of the babies as they grew up but due to a certain rooster (who is now gone) I couldn't go in the pen without being attacked.  Now all the babies fear me because of him.  I always had to take a broom in the pen with me to wart off his constant attacks.  It is now a pleasure to feed the little ones!  I just feel bad that they are scared of me, I guess I'll have to prove them wrong and let them know that I am not that bad person they think I am!  We now are down to 14 baby bantys, 2 buff orpingtons, and 6 full grown bantys.  So we have a total of 22 chickens and of course 2 peking ducks.  Not so much a fan
"Bruce" a  Japanese Bantum

The Ducks  Waddles & Paddles
of the ducks.  I hope we don't have to winter them with the chickens our coop is not that big so I will have to find someone to take them over the winter.
My hope is that since we only have two big chickens and rest are bantys I won't have so much poop to clean.

Pictured to the left is Bruce, he is pretty calm as roosters go, he refuses to crow.  I've taught the other roosters (including the babies) to crow on command...but Bruce is still holding out on me!  Maybe someday he will have something to say.
Until then I will be happy with the ones that do.

And to top everything off we have two ducks, while they are very cute and cuddly, I really wish they were somewhere else.  They are very messy and they just don't seem happy in the chicken pen.
They pretty much stay together and don't really have anything to do with the chickens.  Once in a while you will see the male duck chase one of the chickens, but no real fighting.  We did get a duck egg the other day!  They are really kind of big, and they are kind of waxy too.  Since I don't know much about ducks I'm not sure how often they lay eggs I'm pretty sure it's not like a chicken.  Hopefully they will be gone before it gets too cold out.   I really don't want to winter them here, a nice farm would be great!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

The Big Boys and Girls Are Now Gone

Today we said goodbye to our 7 "big" chickens.  Keith our Blue Andalusian was getting so aggressive and attacking me (actually anybody that entered the pen) every time I went into the pen to feed them I was totally sick of it and called the farmer that used to take the chickens over the winter.  We decided that it would be best if we only kept the bantys actually we did keep 2 Buff Orpingtons that grew up with the bantys so we went from 30 chickens down to 23 which is much more manageable.  We also have 2 ducks that I really wish were not there they are so messy, they are cute, I will give them that, but they really need to be in a pond!!!

I will be posting more pictures of the flock soon, now that I can enter the pen without fear that I will get spurred! Hopefully I will be able to make friends with the baby bantys instead of scaring them to death by carrying a weapon in with me.  We still have not named all the babies still waiting to see which are roos and which are hens. I'm sure that their little personalities will come shinning through now that the big ones are gone.  More later........

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Finally....Pictures!

These pictures were taken the beginning of spring before we put the baby bantys in the pen.  It is also prior to Keith our Blue Andalusian continuously attacking me.  I know his breed is very aggressive and had I known he was an Andalusian I would have done things differently.....mainly I would have made him have respect for me, but instead I made friends and we were great friend to point of  doing  "Hugs & Kisses" which is Keith on the roost giving me soft pecks (through a screen door). Actually he still wants to do that even though just a split second before he drew blood on me.  I will NEVER understand him!!! 
=
I will have some more pictures soon I just keep forgetting to bring my camera when I go to feed them.  Of course I have to have someone watch out for Keith because he is a sucker puncher and if I turn my back on him he will attack!  I am hoping that when we "thin the herd" all of the "big" chickens will be the ones to go.  I have 30+ chickens and 2 ducks (actually I would love to see the ducks go they are messy and a big pain in the butt!)  My dream would be to keep all the bantys because cleaning especially in the winter will be much easier to clean and less poop!  Small chickens =  less poop!  Oh so I'm hoping so!  I will miss the "girls" but I will still have two Buff Orpingtons  Hilda May and Hazel.  They grew up with the bantys so they have to stay some of the bantys think they are "Mom".

Well I'm off to feed the crew so more later........

Sunday, July 21, 2013

It's Mid Summer

I can't believe how incredibly busy I've been this summer!  Both my grandkids birthdays are in the summer and that requires a 5 hour drive to Omaha, Ne!  We have already gotten Parker's birthday done and over with but Zoey's is coming up in August, she will be 2 yrs old already!!

I have not been neglecting my chickens though!  We have lost another one of the girls, Oreo, she is a Barred Rock she passed away last week, so sad.  We also lost another one, Spottie, she didn't die, but my Dr.'s wife came over and let the two ducks out to swim (yes the ducks are in with the chickens, I don't really care for it but that is the way it is).  Well, she absentmindedly left the pen door open and Spottie took off.  She has always been a runner, but this time she really did get away.  What irks me about this whole thing is she was the last of the first flock we had she was 9 years old.  I'm sure a critter has gotten her by now since our coop buts up against a bean field.  Spottie was a Silver Spangled Hamburg she was so sweet.  Just gotta look at the up side things I guess, she is probably with her twin sister Dottie now.

We are a little banty heavy this year.  We have 4 banty roos, 2 banty hens...and 15 banty babies and we are not sure what the ratio is roos/hens for sure, but I know we have at least 5 roos just because they are now crowing!

We have only 4 big hens and 2 big roosters.  Keith our Blue Andalusian has become extremely mean especially to me and Doc.  I want him gone for the simple fact that I don't get to enjoy the chickens we have because I'm always on guard.  Without fail I am attacked several times while in the pen trying to feed and water.  He just needs to go!  

Doc wants to "thin the herd" so we only have about 20 in our flock, less mess, less stink.  I am bucking for the all the "big" ones to go and maybe some of the little ones as well. I really don't want to get rid of any of the bantys I just love these chickens!!!  We shall see how this all plays out in the coming weeks.  Hopefully I will remember to take my camera and get some good pictures of the "girls".

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Time Flies

Wow, can't believe it's been this long since my last post!!!  Unfortunately I've been laid up with an injury from February and life just gets in the way sometimes.

Our baby banty chicks are now 2 1/2 months old.  My how they have grown!  We are now seeing which ones are roosters.  We know for sure we have at least 3 roos, a White Crested Black Polish, a Black Frizzle (He is way too cute!) and an Araucana, and I'm almost sure our Mottled Cochin is a roo too!

It has been raining so much here that the poor chickens are water logged!  The pen has flooded a few times and boy does it stink!  I think some of that is from the dopey ducks Dr. Andersen decided he had to have.  While they are cute I'm not a fan and I don't think the ducks are impressed with the chicken either.

I would have pictures but for whatever reason I can't find my camera!!! I'm sure I put it somewhere for safekeeping but the big question is WHERE????
As soon as the pen dries up and I locate my camera you will get to see the babies!!!

Monday, April 1, 2013

We Have Baby Chicks!

Our baby chicks have arrived!!!  The are so cute!  Banty chicks are so tiny!  I can't wait each day to go out and check on them!  I wish I had some way of keeping them at my house but I don't.  I am heading over to the office in a few to check on them and  see if the powers that be will let me bring them into the break room while I shovel chicken poop out of the coop!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Out of Commission

I have not posted in awhile because I slipped on the ice a few weeks ago and separated my AC in my shoulder......very painful injury!!!  It is way to hard to type with an injury like that, hence no posts!

I am on the mend but can't type for too long with out searing pain....so I will keep this short and sweet!

I am so excited!  In two weeks we will have 15 new baby bantams and I just can't wait for them to arrive!  I will be getting the coop ready for the babies in the next couple of weeks.  They are supposed to be delivered right around Easter....how appropriate!  We ordered to late to "pick out" what sex we wanted so we are prepared for lots of roosters!  Unfortunately they will have to be given away since we already have 2 big roosters and 4 banty roosters....a very delicate balance that I DO NOT want to disturb!!!

I will post pictures often of the new babies.....as they grow and they grow fast that's for sure!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Rest In Peace.....Lucy

I lost one of my favorite hens yesterday.....Lucy our Araucana who laid green eggs.  She will be so very missed.  She had enough personality for 10 hens!!!  She always greeted me at the door when I went to feed them.  She also was known to fly up and sit on my shoulder when I was in the pen.

Lucy 2-20-13
Out of all the chickens we have I would have never thought that she would go first.  We have a Silver Spangled Hamburg hen named Spottie who is going to be 9 yrs old in June, she is the one that I looked for her to pass first.  She's still alive and kicking!

Lucy was so gentle and liked to held and loved to be pet.  The night before Lucy's passing she did as she always did and greeted me at the door, came out of the coop and hopped up on the bin with the food in it and started eating!!!  She was so funny!  I am surely going to miss her.  I never got a really good picture of Lucy so this one will have to do....Sleep well little girl!


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Ice Skating Chickens

On Sunday it was pretty warm out the entire pen was standing water from the snow melt.  The chickens were not impressed with their new swimming pool and didn't really venture out.  On Monday they had themselves a skating rink!  What was standing water the day before had transformed into a thirty foot skating rink!  Between the frozen pen and the ferocious winds the poor things were slipping and sliding everywhere!
While Dr. A thought it was funny (I did not probably because I'm a "mother hen" so to speak (pun intended) when it comes to the chickens) to watching them try to run on the ice. Thankfully they didn't hurt themselves.  Hopefully today it will warm up and get rid of the ice rink!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Battle Royal

Ok, I know that 6 roosters in the same coop could be a problem, but for the most part they all get along with a squabble here and there but either last night or early this morning Chub-a-lub a banty rooster and Big Red a full sized rooster when at it but good!  At first I was feeling sorry for Chub-a lub until closer inspection.....he beat the stuffing's out Big Red the poor rooster's comb was black and blue, as well as his waddles he has no tail feathers and blood on his beak...it's really kind of sad.  Usually they face off and go at each other a couple of times and then things are fine for months....not sure what happened today.  I think that being cooped up for more than a couple days  makes them stir crazy....at least I hope that is what is going on.  After all this is my first winter keeping the chickens so it's on the job training.!!!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Can It Get Any Colder

It has been absolutely the coldest winter that we have had in several years!  When I went to work yesterday morning it was -8 below!!!  Of course the first thing I did when I got to work was to check the temperature in the coop, it was a balmy 32 degrees, we decided to put a space heater in for the day hoping that our roosters combs don't get frozen off.  We have not let them out unless the temps are close to 32 degrees.  I am going to have to surf the net to see what I can find out about rooster combs freezing off, I know for a fact that one of our old hens had frozen off her toes....the guy that takes care of them in the winter brought her back like that.  I felt so sorry for her.  We didn't get her back the last time they went to the farm for winter.  The guy does take good care of them but he does let them out even in below freezing temps.  All of  his chickens are free range.

I have learned so much about how to winter chickens that I will have a better plan in place for next year.  I do love the new grit and shell dispensers that my hubby put up in the coop.  I got the idea from Grit magazine  I tweaked their idea a bit to work for what I needed I use a two in pipe, and a four in cap for the dish and found a flat top cap instead of using a regular two inch cap. They work great!  I will have to get a picture of them when I go to feed them today.

I'm still having problems with the waterer, for whatever reason they like to kick up the straw and it gets in the waterer, or the other problem is they get on top of the waterer and poop in the water, it's so frustrating!!!!  Why can't they keep the waterer clean?  I know it's like asking why a kid won't keep their room clean!!




Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Missing The Family

Well, here in Iowa they say to wait for awhile and the weather will change.....it's true!!!  Sunday we had an ice storm and everything was covered in ice.....it was time to go feed the chickens so I went to my car to get it warmed up and I didn't make it to the car I slipped and fell on the ice!!  I really hurt myself, and ended up at the doctor's office.......I have a separated shoulder!!!  I haven't seen the chickens in two days and I'm missing them a lot!

It is now Wednesday and I'm going to try to go into work not sure if I can do anything with a "broken wing" but I'll try my best.  At the very least I get to see my babies!!!  I'm sure they were wondering where I was....Dr. Andersen has had to feed them the last couple of days....it's not that the chickens don't like him they just don't know him.  I'm sure they will be crowing when they see me!   I just love having my pets at work!!!


Sunday, January 27, 2013

Brave Chickens

I was not sure if  the chickens would even come out into the snow but we had a few brave ones that had to check things out.  Not all of them decided to brave the cold but here is pictures of the ones that did!

 In this picture we have "Big Red" he is our Red Leghorn Rooster in back of him is "Frank" he is a White Japanese Bantam rooster I call him the "overseer" he keeps everyone in line! On the ramp is "Oreo" she is a Barred Rock hen.  She is so gentle and sweet.  In the fore ground is our Salmon Faverolle "Ethel" she is a bearded beauty, such a nice hen and she will let you pet her!!!!  She is so fluffy it almost looks like she had fur and not feathers!  She is best friends with our other bearded beauty "Lucy" who is our Araucana,
In this picture we have the back end of  Ethel and  our Lt. Brahma banty "Chub-a-lub Jr".  He is the trouble maker of the bunch!  He is a fighter for sure!
He likes to pick on the "Big Boys" I would not take on a opponent three times my size but for whatever reason he thinks he can win, and the funny part is he does win when it comes to Keith, our Blue Andalusian. Keith is not full grown so come this spring we shall see how tough he really is, maybe Chub-a-lub Jr. will have met his match!   I have to say though, we have six roosters and for the most part they get along great, there is the occasional fight but nothing to the death, just a small dispute over who is king of coop!

I sure hope when we get the new babies there are not more roosters than hens....I'm not sure that the delicate balance that we have now might get upset by adding more to the mix.  Hopefully if we do get a bunch of roosters I can find good homes for them!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Baby Chicks Coming

Last week I ordered 15 banty chickens it's a straight run so I'm sure many of them are going to be roosters (like we need MORE roosters!)  They did include a mystery chick.....this is most definitely a rooster!!!  We should have them around April 1st, I need to find a place in the coop to put them.  I've never seen what baby banty's look like I wonder if they are smaller than regular size chicks.  This will be fun, Dr. Andersen usually keeps the chicks until they are big enough to go into the pen.....so this will be another learning experience!

We are going to have to modify the roosts we only have two roosts as it is, and that is not enough room for all of them some sleep in the nesting boxes (which I don't like much since they poop in them) and some make a nest on the floor of the coop.  With the new additions coming we will have to do something soon.


Monday, January 21, 2013

Spring Cleaning

Saturday was beautiful!  52 degrees so I thought I would clean out the coop....got the poop removed put down new straw cleaned out the nesting boxes.  I use hamster bedding in the nesting boxes and of course they like to poop in there.....since I have cats and have to scoop poop at home I thought it would work for the chickens!  I was right I just pick up the poop and shavings fall through, it's great!  I'm constantly learning when it comes to winterizing the chickens!  Next year will be so different from this year!!!  My husband even got to put the grit and shell dispensers up for me, now I just have to figure out a better way to feed them I hate the feeding bin we have I would love to either move it up on the wall or get rid of it completely.....I'm thinking moving it up off of the floor would be the best solution.  I just hate to clean it out every time I feed them. I don't know how they do it but get straw piled in it!

I sure hope the chickens are warm.....I woke up to -3 degrees this morning!!!!  I did prepare for this cold snap, I put an extra heat lamp in the coop this one is hanging over the roosts, with 17 chickens and two heat lamps we should be good to go.  I did put a thermometer in the coop just to make sure they were warm enough.  I can't believe the tempature difference from Saturday to Monday!!!  I guess it's still winter and mother nature is just reminding us that she is in charge!!!

Hopefully this cold will not stay long and I can let the chickens out to "play" I'm sure they get cabin fever being locked up for several days at a time.  I just want to make sure the roosters combs don't freeze off they look silly without their combs!!!


Friday, January 11, 2013

Is It Still Winter?

Wow, for the last few days it's been feeling like Spring has arrived, I know this is just a reprieve and it will get colder sooner than later.  The "girls" have decided they don't like the cold at all!!!  I have one hen, Fiona that refuses to brave the great outdoors. Seems like the "boys" are not having a problem with it, as a matter of fact they were all out strutting their stuff, actually I think they were glad to get out of the coop and stretch their legs.

I took a picture of our coop and the pen that we built.  Our coop came about when we were talking to a patient who just happens to be a home builder who showed up a week later with his drawing of a coop!  Dr. Andersen tweaked it a bit and had the guy build it and delivered it.  Our chickens live in the lap of luxury, the coop is insulated, has electricity, and every thing a chicken needs to live the high life.

 Our coop also has storage, in addition to the chicken food, scratch grain, grit, & shells.....I can also store food for the birds and brooms, shovels, etc.  When the pen was built, we made it 30 feet long so it could accommodate up to 20 -25 chickens.  We have had as many as 26 chickens in the pen at one time.  We are thinking that we might order chicks for Spring delivery but with such a delicate balance of  roosters to hens I am not so sure introducing more chickens (with a great possibility of more roosters) is a good idea.   With so many hens starting to show their age I think we should wait until
next year and see if we lose any of the "old girls" before getting any new ones.......Just sayin'.......of course that will be strictly up to Dr. Andersen whether or not we get new ones.  Gotta love the baby chicks though.  They are so cute when they are little, I love when they chirp! How can you NOT love that!  I do have a request if we do order.....I would LOVE to have a couple of  Light Brahma's, I kind of like the "big girls", even though I am a banty lover, it would be fun to have some really plump ones as well!  I even have names for them already....Snowflake and Snowdrop!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Keith...... Soon To Be King Of The Coop

The temps here in Iowa have been darn right cold (10 - 12 degrees) but the last few days it's been warm enough for some of the chickens to come out of  their coop.  The really brave rooster was Keith.....he was the one outside most of the time.....the others not so much.   I noticed that Keith has been trying to crow, this is a good thing because he won't crow if Big Red is anywhere near him. For what ever reason Big Red lets the other roosters crow, but he doesn't really like to hear from Keith at all he chases him every time Keith opens his beak.   I think as Keith matures and figures out he is the biggest rooster in the bunch that Big Red will be dethroned and Keith will take his rightful place as "Leader of the Flock"!  I just hope he doesn't forget that I am the alpha!!!!  That is something the other roosters already know!!!

Keith is the black and gray rooster in the middle of the picture
Today when I go feed them my hubby is going to put some hooks up in the ceiling of the chicken coop so I can hang a suet cage up for them.....don't want them to get bored and start picking on each other....I know there was some kind of  disagreement a couple of days ago because there was blood all over the waterer, either that or someone ripped off a toenail.  It's hard to tell just what went on in there. Everyone seems fine now.  The only thing I'm worried about is our Salmon Faverolle, Ethel has a constant sneeze and I've treated with antibiotic for the last three weeks and she is not really getting any better, I'm sure she just as something chronic because she does this every year.  It will be a question for my father-in-law the town vet.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Whimpy Chickens or Smart Chickens?

Today I tried to clean out the coop, mind you that it is only 10 degrees out!!!!  I had to MAKE the chickens go outside so I could clean.......they were NOT happy campers!!!!!  My husband said they lined up on and around the ramp until I let them back in.....I'm sure they were not harmed by spending 10 minutes in the cold.weather but boy did they pile in when I opened the door!!!  Even putting food outside didn't fool them too much.

I was grossed out though, there was a mouse in the hen house......ICK, ICK ICK.....I HATE MICE!!!! My hubby did come in and "get" the mouse out, I hope he or she does NOT come back!!!  I did notice that the layer food and the scratch grain had holes in the bags.  YUK I get so grossed out by those little gray things!

Now I will be on guard for mice....hopefully there will be no more of this!!!  I'm so "FREAKED OUT"!!!!

At least the coop is better than it was and I put more straw down so hopefully it's warmer in the coop for chickens.  I'm still having a problem with the chickens getting up on the watering can....they poop when they get up there and everyday I have to clean poop out, I don't really mind, my concern is how long has the poop been sitting in the water??? I hope it happens right before I get there to give them fresh water and not right after I have changed it!!!  I can only hope, if it wasn't so dang cold out maybe I could hang the watering can....but @ 10 degrees, I don't think that's going to happen.