Saturday, 24 November 2012

Two funny little story's

Nefi:   Today when the chickens were outside I couldn't see the chicks anywhere, so I walked through our forest to our nieghbours house.  The chicks were over at the nighbours again.  I picked Ellie and Freyja up (yes at the same time!!!) and carried them across our nighbours lawn. Nefi followed me to the edge of the nighbours lawn and then started scratching in a pile of leaves.   I put Freyja and Ellie in the coop and started walking back through the forest to get Nefi.  Suddenly Nefi started making a surprised clucking noise while staring at the leaves she was digging in. I quickened my pace in her direction and watched her turn and start running through the forest back to our lawn I scooped her up and walked over to the place she was scratching and pecking. There in the leaves lay a dead mole!!!!  It had scared her.  Holding Nefi I walked back to the coop.

A cute thing about Nefi is that when you hold her she sticks her neck out and if you hold her against you, you can prop up her neck with your arm. It is adorable and makes her such a pleasure to carry!!!
A weird thing about carrying her though is that if you offer her a treat while you're carrying her she doesn't eat it, it's almost like she kinda zones out while you hold her :P

Ellie:  Today when Ellie was laying in the coop I walked over and opened up the egg door to see how everything was going.  I looked in the bottom nesting box, no Ellie,  I looked in the top nesting box, still no Ellie!!!  Then I turned and looked to my left and their she was looking in the wood shavings. She was looking at a feather.  She then picked it up and put it on her back she then turned and started walking towards the nesting box while meticulously picking up wood shavings and feathers and piling on her back, well the ones that didn't fall off.   It was really funny, but in a super cute way.

When chickens are laying they will pull wood shavings, or other nest materials, around them building their nest in the nesting box.  I guess Ellie was just building a transportable nest... on her back ;)


Eggtastic photos

Here are some long awaited pictures of eggs from when the chicks just started to lay. You can see that their eggs are super small compared to Deme and Poppy's!!!  

Different shapes sizes and colours :)   

I thought the eggs were pretty, zeke thought they were kinda gross :P   What do you think???

Eleanor's Egg 

From Left to Right:   Freyja,  Nefi,  Ellie,   Una?  (or it could be Ellie again)   

From Left to Right:  Ellie,  Store bought egg (Leghorn breed)  and Demeter!!!!


Friday, 23 November 2012

I need another nesting box.

I have been finding eggs all over the place today:    One on the ground in the run, another in the remains of a crushed egg (ewww...), one in the top nesting box :), and I just went outside and found an egg on the poop board. Eww, eww, ewwwwww!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  The verdict is that Poppy is being a pest. She is chasing the chicks constantly so they can't even lay in the proper locations :(
I am hoping that if I make a new big nesting box that all the chicks could all lay in together their will be strength in numbers and poppy won't bother them. The only thing that could fix Poppy being a pest is if one of the chicks stands up to Poppy and stops letting her chase them around.  If they don't do that, by next spring Poppy will have to go :(
That is the sad news, the good news is that my hormonally screwed up pullet is not hormonally screwed up anymore!!!! That's right,  I am almost 100% sure that Una is laying :D


Saturday, 10 November 2012

Chicken Mating

If you don't want to here about how chickens mate don't read on.  

Close-up of Una 

As most of you know, chickens mate by having the Rooster mount the hen.  And hens don't mount Rooster's. If you didn't, you just learnt something new!!!   So you would probably understand my confusion when I say Una run over to Eli and mount her.  I pretty much freaked out. Una ran away and so did Eli.  What confused me is that I was almost 100% sure that Una laid an egg the other day.
I went on the computer and did some research. What I have found out is that dominant hens will do that to show who is boss. AND that dominant hens might also feel like it is their responsibility to fertilize the other hens eggs.  I obviously didn't want this to happen because when chickens mount other chickens there will be pulled feathers and it could get really bad.  To fix this situation you have to be the rooster around the coop. And if you see your rooster/hen mounting other chickens you push her down and wiggle her tail at the base.   She will think you are a rooster.
So pretty much I don't think my brother's can call me the chicken lady any more. Maybe the rooster lady??? 



***Before I start this post I just want to clarify that even though the batch of chickens I got this year are NOT chicks anymore (they are pullets).   I will still call them Chicks and the older hens Hens and both groups I will call Chickens (cause they are both chickens :P)  *** 

I did NOT want to put the chickens together it scared me (I am a chicken at heart ;)   But to make myself feel like I was actually doing something while totally stalling I came up with a plan of how to integrate them gradually.     This is what I did for a stress free, integration that turned out having the chickens live together happily ever after. Sadly, that last sentence was totally false. There is no such thing as a stress free, happy chicken integration. BUT the good news is that it is possible to have a integration where no chickens get hurt (read: blood)  and with minimal stress if your not that stressed out of a person to begin with.  So, finally, here we go....

Step number one---  Let the hens see the chicks but not be able to touch them--- I would let the hens free range while the chicks were in the cozy coop. What happened was Poppy would run up to the chicken wire and scare the chicks and she would do that all the time but after a week are so the chicks would stop cringing when she would run. Deme didn't really care about them that much. 


Step number two--- Let the chicks and hens free range together while supervising--

I armed myself with a water gun and let them out together. The worst thing that happened was that Deme pecked Ely super hard and pulled some feathers out. After that they stayed far away from each other.    After you make sure that the hens won't kill the chicks or vice versa. It would probably be a good time to introduce other animals a.k.a Figaro. Figaro was actually spectacular in the fact that he only fooled around a bit with them and then afterward ignored them and hasn't bugged them at all since!!!   

Step number three-- Supervise them in a closed in area-- the run. I again armed myself with a water gun and put them together.  At the beginning there were some kerfuffles but in the end the chicks stayed on one side and the chickens stayed on the other. During that time I introduced them to the coop and showed them how to climb up and down.  They figured it out really quickly and they also found the perch after a few days to. 

Step number four-- Make the Integration final--  I bucked up one day and decided that it was time. I put the chicks in the coop in the evening, closed the door and walked away feeling stressed out   happy and care free.  When the light went out in the coop I went outside and put the chicks on the perch manually. They didn't go up by themselves.  I felt like they caught on fast though and a few nights after they were making onto the perch all by themselves. But the sad thing was that after two nights of happiness they started screwing up. Not all going on the perch or perching in the wrong places.  So every night I would go out and make sure that they are all up properly.  Last night when I went up they were all up on the perch so I am hoping that it will stay like that.  I have found that after they all lay eggs for the first time the older hens seem to except them more.  

And you are done.  Your chickens are now BFF's!!!



Monday, 5 November 2012

GUESS WHAT?!?!?!?!?!?!...

... Freyja or Nefi laid an egg!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Rachel told me she had been in the top nesting box during the morning. I didn't think much about it. But then when I went out to do my every second day clean up of the coop, there it was laying in the wood shavings on the floor.  It wasn't in the nesting box but whatever, this was her first time.  I picked it up, it's a greeny/bluey shade, and ran to the house with a giant grin on my face :)