Wednesday, 30 November 2011

The Chicken coop from stage 1 to.. Finished!

After a few months, a lot of money and some 'fun' work :)  The chicken coop is FINISHED!!!!!   



The Frame.  Dimensions are 6ft by 14ft 


We added insulation between the outside wall and inside wall


The front and windows are up


Here's are door to make cleaning more easy and so I can collect eggs.


Putting the doors up. 


The painters of the sunflower nesting box


The coop fully painted and we put linoleum in for the flooring! 


Adding the wood shavings. 


Almost finished. I just need to hang up the feed dish put in the water dish and attach the light.



All Done!!!!



The girls exploring there new home.




--Zoë



My Presentation


My chicken story starts in an unlikey place,  when my sister and I wanted a pet,  a cute little dog or cat that we could cuddle with.  We tried hard to convince our parents but our parents said, “No,” and that was final. Final that is, until one day when we were at the farm of our friend Ute. Hearing about our ‘Pet Predicament’ she asked if I wanted to look after two of her chickens during the summer. I said “YES!” and my parents said yes to.   As well, my dad even helped me build a chicken tractor.
(A chicken tractor is a movable coop that is usually used during the summer or in places which have a warm climate year round.)  A few days later we brought two Plymouth Rocks home.  One was a Cockerel that we named Pirate and the other a Pullet that we named Fraidy. A cockerel and a pullet are the technical terms referring to a rooster and hen under one year of age. That summer even though I didn’t get any eggs from Fraidy (she was too young, Pullets don’t lay until they are 5-6months old) I got to hear Pirate learn how to crow! At the end of the summer when I gave Fraidy and Pirate back to Ute I gave them back knowing that they had taught me many things. 1. Chickens are fun and quirky animals 2. Ideally you don’t want to have one cockerel and one pullet alone cause the rooster will bug the gal 3.You can’t lead a chicken around the yard with a rope tied to his/her leg :0 4. Next summer I want to have Layers and I did.   For the next three summers I had layers and read about chickens from the book Raising chickens for dummies. 
Early this spring, however, I decided that it would be fun to build a year round chicken coop and have a few layers and get eggs! I also decided that instead of starting with full grown hens I would get chicks: 1 Rhode Island red, 1 black Plymouth Rock and 1 barred Plymouth Rock.  And so the reading began. I read and read and read until I felt as prepared as I could be and after the reading there was the  doing, so to speak, where I had to get everything ready. So my mom and I went shopping for brooder material. When we got home this is how I set up the brooder. 
 1. first I put out the plastic storage crate I got from Zellers 2. I attached a wooden pole to the crate and clamped a light onto it. The rest of the material I got from the Buckingham co-op 3. I put in wood shaving 2-3in deep and after (this is the crazy part) I covered the wood shaving with paper towel cause you don’t want the chicks to think that the wood shavings are food 4.I washed out and filled up my chick waterer 5.  I filled up my chick feed dish with chick feed.  6.The last thing I did was stick a thermometer into the brooder to see if it was the perfect temperature which is 90F.
A few days later I drove over to Ute’s house (we had combined our chick order) and Ute showed me the 3 chicks she had picked out for me. They were soo cute! Super excited I picked up the box the chicks were in, drove them home, carried them up the stairs, picked them up one after the other and put them in the brooder. Whate I did first was I dipped the chicks’ beaks into their water dish to show them how to drink. After that, I watched them as they got acquainted with their home.   The girls ate, drank, pooped, peeped and fell asleep. 

For the first week I let nobody pick up the chicks but after that I picked them up and showed my sisters how to hold them. Even my older brother who doesn’t like chickens said that the chicks were pretty darn cute (Yes!). The chicks grew so fast.  After 6 wk they were fully feathered!!!   At that point I brought them outside for an hour everyday (kind of like hardening off tomato plants) and then once they were acquainted with and acclimatized to the wide world it was moving day. 

I got my chicken tractor out, the main chicken coop wasn’t ready yet, and we put the girls outside. I breathed a sigh of relief they weren’t fully grown (and they wouldn’t be until they were 5 months old) but they were not babies anymore and their susceptibility to illness had certainly decreased. 
Well the saying, “don’t count your chicks before they hatch” is probably a good one.  I shouldn’t have been so sure that everything would work out perfectly, cause when the gals were 2 months old my mom said one day around lunch that Medly wasn’t moving and looked uncomfortable.   I went outside and my mom was right. Medly was not moving! I picked her up and she showed no sign of recognition.  Worried I phoned up Ute and she said that I should give her water with a dropper cause Medly didn’t want to drink by herself. So I picked Medly up and did just that. I repeated giving her water many times that day.  In the evening I felt like she had improved but when I woke up the next morning and went to check on her I found her dead. Crying, I buried her feeling like I had let her down.  But I realized that with life there is death and Medly had always been the smallest of the 3 girls and the 2 other chicks were still alive. The 2 others did survive and at 5 months they laid their first egg.

It was as exciting as I had thought. But I wasn’t too surprised cause the girls were acting strange all day jumping in and out of the nesting box and running around clucking. The next morning I went outside hoping to find more eggs ( I had gotten the egg fever!) but that day and the next there was nothing. Wondering what  was wrong I phoned Ute and she said to get a light into the coop because hens lay eggs when they think the hypothetical babies will survive. (You see we were already starting to have shorter days.  It was the end of September and chickens need 14 hours of light if you want them to lay.)  I set up a light and it worked.  The next day when I went outside there were 2 eggs in the nesting box. In fact at this point my chickens are laying at least 6 times a week. I started giving my chickens sunflower seeds cause sunflower seeds give chickens calcium so the shells of the eggs they lay are stronger. Also chickens like sunflower seeds.  They are like treats.  Chickens treats also include, pasta, oatmeal, rice, and fruit.  I give my chickens treats every second day.  I also try to spend special time with them apart from the time when I look after them. So now my chickens are super friendly and they even come when I call them! Everybody isn’t perfect and there is one time when they don’t come.  That is when they’re dust bathing.  
 It’s more like dirt/sand than dust but the reason they dust bathe is the same reason we have baths, to keep them clean. Dust bathing keeps chickens free from external parasites so if you ever find a hole in your lawn that a chicken is sitting in don’t get angry cause the chicken is keeping clean. Also this week I moved my chickens into a new coop that my dad made me.  One of the many things I LOVE about it is the dropping board under the perch, and how easy it is to clean the whole coop!                                                                                                                                                                             
I am happy to be able to tell you about all of my adventures.  If I, at fourteen, can look after chickens, feed them, move their tractor, collect their eggs, raise chicks in a plastic tub in my bathroom, keep an eye on my girls while they run around my yard I am sure you too can do the same and enjoy fresh golden yolked eggs like me! It really is lots of fun.  




Hope you enjoyed reading my presentation!
--Zoë

Monday, 21 November 2011

Expert!?

I have been asked to go and talk about backyard chickens.
It will be held on November 29 Tuesday and will be from 6pm-8pm at the Fox and Feather on Elgin St. in Ottawa.
Hope to see you there :)
Zoë
p.s if you can't come I will try and post my presentation here!

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

And then there's a Dozen

 I organized the eggs so Demeter's are on one side and Papagena's are on the other.   Can you guess who's are who???
      I'll give you a guess: What comes first in the  alphabet P or D?
And the answer is Demeters eggs are the ones on the far side and closest to words like this. And Papagena's eggs are on this side and closest to words like this. 

Exploring

One day while Papagena was in the nesting box laying an egg. 




Demeter decided that is was time to let her explorer side come lose. 
 Her mission for today was to figure out what that big thing at the end of the yard was. So of she went. 




When Deme got there she looked up and up and up!!! But she couldn't see the top. 
 To fix that problem she flew up into the unknown. 
And landed perfectly. How proud Deme was!!!!

Were getting close to the end!!!






Light in the coop


After Demeter laid her first egg we got no more eggs for 3-4 days. Wondering why, we phoned Ute and she said "You need to put a light in your coop." The reason is that chickens lay eggs when they think that there "baby's" have the best chance of survival and when it starts getting darker the survival level drops and they stop laying eggs. So therefore if you want eggs throughout the winter you need to put a light in your coop. So that's what we did 
and now the 'girls' are  each laying an egg practically everyday!

Papagena's Egg!!!!

And  aprox. a week after  Demeter laid her egg Papagena Laid hers!!!!

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Demeter's First Egg!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



... There it is, as beautiful as you imagined it would be! The first egg has finally arrived!"
 Quote from Jenna Woginrich's book: Chick Days




The girls have been acting strange all day running around clucking, pulling hay out of the nesting box and jumping in and out, in and out.
And then later that day...
Seamus comes running into the house screaming "THE CHICKENS LAYED AN EGG, THE CHICKENS LAYED AN EGG. We run outside and there in the chicken coop is one beautiful egg.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Poll

And the Winner from the poll (If you got a chicken what type of chicken would you get?) is...                                                       Rhode Island Reds!!!



                       

Pic's of the Gals'


This picture totally Cracks me up :D

                                 Papagena Posing for the Camera
  (you can tell in this picture that Papagena's wattle and crown haven't totally finished growing)

                                            Exploring:

Building the Coop

My Dad, Grandpa and Brother were able to get most of the frame up for the chicken coop.
The whole coop is 5.5x14ft. The coop part is 5.5x7.3 ft.


                                                From the Front...

                                               ...And from the back.  

                                               Already exploring the chicken coop

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Chickens

I have decided that If we are going to have more chickens we should get tons of different breeds. The few I have picked out are listed below....
The chickens Below are(in order from top to bottom) 
Ameraucana


Dominique

Leghorn (White)   

Welsummer     

Wyandotte                                    





















                                                                                              







And a little bit about the breeds below (curtsy of My Pet Chicken Website)



Ameraucana
The Ameraucana breed was derived from blue egg laying chickens, but they do not have the breeding problems inherent to Araucanas. In addition, rather than ear tufts, they have muffs and a beard, and are very hardy and sweet. They lay eggs in shades of blue, and even have blue (or "slate") legs. Less rare than Araucanas, they are still quite rare and only available through breeders at this time. They should not be confused with Easter Eggers, which can lay blue and green eggs, and do not conform to any breed standard. However, many hatcheries continue to call their Easter Eggers "Americanas" (and other various misspellings).    


Dominique
Dominiques are considered a "heritage" breed of chicken in that they've been around for hundreds of years and are now critically endangered. Some people can't tell the difference between a Dominique and a Barred Rock, but the trained eye will notice that Dominques have a rose comb versus the Barred Rock's single comb. Dominques are a wonderfully cold-hardy dual-purpose bird, and hens make very caring, nurturing mothers.



Leghorn (White)
Remember Foghorn Leghorn the cartoon? Yep, this bird one and the same. (Seasoned pros know that Leghorn is pronounced "Leggern".) The White is separate from the rest because they lay large, white eggs practically every day! Other varieties aren't nearly so prolific. Whites are said to be nervous, but ours have been the sweetest, most tame of all our chickens! So give one a try and find out for yourself. (In winter, use petroleum jelly on the comb to prevent frostbite.)



Welsummer
The Welsummer is a beautiful breed from Holland famous for its deep reddish brown egg color. Many of the eggs are also speckled! Hens are a nicely proportioned partridge pattern, with hints of gold around the neck, medium brown on the body and tail feathers tipped with a rich brown, while males are the stereotypical vision people have of roosters. They're the rooster portrayed on the cornflakes box, and their colors are stunning. Welsummers are good foragers meaning you'll save on feed if you allow them to range freely!


Wyandotte
Wyandottes are a favorite amongst backyard flock owners for their dependable egg laying, easygoing nature, hardiness, and the great variety of beautiful feather patterns available. Silver Penciled, Golden Laced, Blue, Columbian and White Wyandottes are all rather rare. 
















Monday, 22 August 2011

Introductions...

We are trying to introduce Figaro to Demeter and Papagena. And to make sure that everything goes 'swimmingly' we have a water gun and the hose.  

AFTER.
I have to say Figaro has done nothing to make me trust him with the Demeter and Papagena.
after hanging out on the deck he sprinted down and when he was 5-8ft away from the chickens the kids sprayed the water gun and hose, and Figaro bounded off into the forest. The problem with that is I don't know what Figaro would've done if he had gotten closer. I guess that means the 'Introduction' is not over yet.

Zoë 

 

Saturday, 20 August 2011

If you got a chicken what breed would you get?

The breeds or arranged in alphabetical order, there is no 'right' answer!
Also, there are many more breeds of chickens (obviously!) I just picked a few that I know are friendly :)
Below you can find out the characteristics of each breed.


Ameraucana




http://www.mypetchicken.com/chicken-breeds/Ameraucana-B5.aspx




Orpington




http://www.mypetchicken.com/chicken-breeds/Orpington-B80.aspx




Plymouth Rock


http://www.mypetchicken.com/chicken-breeds/Plymouth-Rock-B85.aspx




Rhode Island Red


http://www.mypetchicken.com/chicken-breeds/Rhode-Island-B97.aspx


Silkie Bantam 


http://www.mypetchicken.com/chicken-breeds/Silkie-Bantam-B100.aspx


Have Fun!
Zoë

Friday, 19 August 2011