The Secret Chicken

stories of a secret chicken

Holanda, Holanda

May10

The entire purpose of this post is to show you a ridiculous video of my chickens eating a popsicle.

Yeah, that’s it. Nothing else.

Oh and the sounds you are hearing are a combination of the music on my MP3 player, the chickens hootling, traffic on the road going by our house, and an occasional exclamation or giggle from myself (the exclamation being from when one of them nibbled my toe off-camera).

Gorgeous Shiny Chicken Machine!

April18

No, not this one. My sister sent me this picture from when she went to the Emu-Z-Um this month.

It would be a great addition to my household, I think. I could put one in the front yard – think of the money I’d make!

Meet the Young Ladies

April15

Yesterday, I brought home a roll of chicken wire and used a couple of pallets to build a more secure enclosure for the girls to hang out in while they get used to being outside.

Since the enclosure is attached to the coop, I wanted to make sure that the older ladies would be ok with them – I’ve heard that flock integration can be a bitch at times.  I’ve been taking the younger ones out in a cage and spreading scratch, giving them all a chance to eat together without the danger of being physically in the same space, so I was pretty sure it’d be ok.  But you never can tell.

I decided to put all of them into the garden enclosure and spread some scratch, to make sure no one got picked on if they were together.  This video is some of what happened.

Yeah, just a little goofy. But they seemed to be getting along pretty well, so I left them out there last night.

I’d put a large dog house with bedding in the enclosure, but outside of the main coop, with their food and water dishes and the heat lamp. This morning, all seemed fine. The older chickens did exactly what I expected – ate the little one’s food. Otherwise, the younger girls stayed close to the enclosure while the older ladies roamed the yard.

So, Stage One Integration complete. Eventually, I’m hoping the younger ones will move into the coop itself, and we’ll no longer need the outer enclosure or dog house.

And hopefully, they’ll figure out what to do with worms.

Herd of Chickens?

April4

Well, of course I’ve heard of chickens!

A herd of chickens, complete with chicken-herding cat.

Spring, when a girl’s fancy turns to…chickens.

April1

Over the winter, I got pretty lax with the whole posting thing.  But Things Did Happen.  We got snow, which the ladies didn’t like at all.  I’d love to show you photographic proof of this, but it would be a pristine snowy yard, with nary a footprint in site.  They refused to come out of their covered area.  In fact, they weren’t too keen on coming out of the coop until I brought them treats.

The "Club House" sign is in front of where the ladies are hiding out.

I did give in and put up some interior lights in the ladies coop, which did indeed jump-start the egg production.  Not-Henery was concerned, at first.  But I think that the choice of rope lights made it less intrusive and less of a jarring, sudden light when they come on.  I put them on a timer, so they turn on around 6ayem and go off around 7:30pm.   In the evening, when they go in and the lights are on, it looks like they’re having a little chicken party when you look through the window.

In other news, my mother made a decision to move to Eastern Oregon, and to take a small flock with her.  She had me house 12 barred rock and 2 bantams for her until she moved.

Of course…I had to get a couple for myself.  I ended up getting two Black Stars (aka black sex-link) and two black turkens.  I think that I will only be keeping one of each, the other two will hopefully be going home with a friend who is starting her own Adventure in Chickening.  This is good – I really thing 10 is pushing the boundaries of good sense.

We do already have names for the new ones – a tribute to Soul Eater.  Black Star and Tsubaki.  As such:

I’m going to have to do some modifications to the coop to allow for the additional ladies, but I’ve got a several weeks before that becomes and issue.  Good thing, it’s nothing but mud back there right now.

The ladies have done a great job keeping the garden area free of weeds and well fertilized over the winter and this early spring.  Hopefully I’ll be able to return the favor later in the year, in the form of tomatoes.

I suppose that’s about it for now. When the weather is better, I intend to get some great video of the new chickens learning about grass and sunshine. Can’t wait.

Baby, it’s cold outside!

October25

It’s just over 52°F right now, according to Weather Underground.  Cold.  I’ve yet to break down and turn the heat on inside, but I do feel sorry for the poor nekkid chickens out back.

Turken, molting

Turken started out with a naked neck, but now…she’s pretty ridiculous looking.  In fact, Houdini and Sprinkles went through awkward molts this year as well.  Not-Henery just magically changed from old feathers to new, gradually.  No sign of molt yet for Henery or Buttercup.  In fact, Buttercup is the only one still laying eggs.  It’s really too bad, since bartering with eggs is how I get my front yard leaves taken care of…

Oh well.  Guess I’ll go rake, and treat the ladies to some leftover lasagna.  That should warm them up a bit.  Myself?  Maybe after raking, a nice hot Ovaltine.  With a dash of vodka.

Sprinkles, molting

Crazy Talk

October11

This is awesome.

Deputy Mayor Rosemary Kelleher-MacLennan said she opposed allowing chickens and other farm animals in urban centres when Trent Hills is “a very vibrant agricultural” community with farmers who are “trying to make a living”

Huh?

“Sir, I know you have a perfectly good wife at home, but there are prostitutes out there trying to make a living!”

I don’t get it.  She wants to force people to buy when they can grow or raise their own? That seems kind of…Un-American, somehow. I thought self-sufficiency was something we were supposed to strive for.

Goodfeathers Update

October3

The pigeon we brought home recovered nicely, as previously noted.  He’s integrating nicely with the six lovely ladies in my back yard.

Ok, he’s actually kind of annoying them, but he’s trying and they’ve stopped being actively aggressive towards him.  He started molting around the same time as Sprinkles, and looks pretty goofy (as does Sprinkles, as you can see – she’s the one in the front right there).

Cool thing though – today, I heard him do that funky gurgly-coo that adult pigeons do. Up til now, it’s been nothing but awkward “eeeep”ing. It was pretty cool. He came flying over when I went out to give the ladies their evening scratch, and sat on his ledge cooing.

As you can also see in the picture, he’s terrified of the pug. Ok, no. He actually likes to tease the hell out of the pug. He flies from low perch to low perch, just out of reach of poor Oscar, just enough to keep him running and barking.

I’m sad that winter is coming, if only because my time with the ladies (and gentleman) is going to be so limited from now on, and more so as the season progresses. I’ll be lucky to see them three days a week, come November.

Oh well. The cats are in more now that the wet weather is here, and they’ll keep me company.
(and for those who don’t know Goodfeathers, click.)

A New Kind of Flock

August24

The pigeon has decided that it doesn’t care for being shut up in an enclosure.  It would prefer to be flying free – if not far.  So we decided to let him (I’m guessing “him” because of the coloration) try staying out one night – and he did just fine.  He went to the top of the hen house, about a foot away from Henery, and went to sleep.  It’s been two nights now, and so far so good.

Pigeon & Henery at rest

I’m not sure what he’ll do when it starts getting colder, since Henery will eventually start sleeping inside.  I may try making a nesting type arrangement for him over there.   Something like this, maybe. I’ve got the supplies, so I may as well try it.

In other news, I’ve been collecting pieces and parts to make a new hen house, or at least upgrade this one.  It’s very sturdy, structurally, but not very pretty.  I got some vinyl shutters for ventilation, a glass pane window that I think will replace the nesting box door, and lots of Ideas.

It probably won’t start coming together until mid-September, so I’m hoping the weather cooperates with me somewhat.  I don’t seem to be very awesome at making things like this look pretty, unfortunately.  I find myself really wishing that my more artsy friends lived nearer, so I could bribe them with fresh eggs and baked goods in exchange for their skills.

I mean, I could barter.  That’s what it’s called, right?  Non-monetary exchange of goods and services.

Not a chicken

August3

It’s a pigeon.

Last week, my daughter found a mostly-grown pigeon on the ground beneath an overpass.  It didn’t try to get away when she walked close, so she was a little concerned.  She pulled a piece of fabric out of her Bag of Holding and wrapped it up, then brought it to me.

We took it home, poked and prodded until we were sure there were no broken bits, but realized that it couldn’t move it’s legs. They just dangled there.  So, no way we could set it back out in the “wild” of the underpass.  We dusted it with DE, fed it, watered it, put it in a clean pet carrier…and named him “Flipper” *

After several days of taking it out for exercise, it seems to be getting its land legs a bit.  I enclosed a shelf on the potting rack outside for it to live in, but we take him to the yard as well to hop in the grass.  At first, its feet just dangled there.  But I think it’s getting better.  I am pretty sure I saw it push up to sort of walk, indicating that the legs are at least partially functional.  The feet are still flopping there at the end, but it’s progress.

The hope is that at some point it will be able to push off enough to catch air, maybe fly around the yard.  I don’t know if it will ever be able to live “out there”, but at least get a little adventure in.

 

* Not my choice of names. My daughter found it, so she got to name it. I was suggesting Johnny (as in Eck) but she didn’t like it.

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