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.