Monday, 23 September 2013

The bad side

Everything in life has a good side and a bad side. I generally talk about the good side on my blog (baby chicks, fresh eggs, delightful personality's, the above picture ;). . . etc.)  But lately I've been thinking about the bad side.

 It is horrible, when your chickens are sick or injured! But, I think the bad side of chicken keeping is death. Death, is the downside of having pets in general, but having to decide when your chicken is going to die, making a date for chickens death, that's the ultimate 'bad side.' You're probably wondering, why would I ever do that? Why end your chickens life if they are still healthy and could live for another number of years? Well, the hard cold reality is, that even though chickens ca live for up to 15 years, it's only their first two to three years that their laying is the best. After that you are down to one or two eggs a week if your lucky. And even though they have gotten older and their laying has decreased, that doesn't mean they will eat any less, I even would say they eat more!
If the whole reason you got chickens was for pets, then for sure, let your chickens live out their full life! But, for me, I knew when I got my chickens, that even though they are my pets, I wouldn't keep paying for feed if they weren't laying enough eggs to 'pull their weight'.
If you haven't made the connection yet, my two eldest chickens (Demeter and Papagena), are just over two years old and have both stopped laying. Deme entirely, Poppy one egg every second week. Other than their laying being decreased, they also beat up the younger chickens a lot. Both Una and Nefi have bald patches from being 'hen pecked'. And when they're worrying about being pecked all the time, it adds a lot of stress and lowers their immune system and egg production to a certain extent.
So, I decided that Deme and Poppy's time was here and asked a friend of mine who had butchered their meat birds earlier in the summer if they would help me butcher mine. So the date is set. . . Sep.8th


Saturday, 15 June 2013

Fantastic Mr. Fox

Early Riser

I was awoken this morning around 6:30am when I heard my chickens freaking out!!!! My sister woke up as well. We ran to the window, lifted our curtain, peeked outside, and saw a fox, quite healthy looking, circling the coop. The chickens were really scared,  throwing themselves into the chicken wire, sprinting to the other side and repeating.   We scared the fox away and the rest of the morning the chickens looked shell shocked, standing in a circle and flinching at any noise. Currently though, they are bopping around the yard and look okay other than the fact that their combs are all bloody from throwing themselves into the chicken wire.  I'm hoping to remede that situation by going outside and put a natural healing resin on their combs.  I hope that fox doesn't return!!


Monday, 13 May 2013

Sunflower Coop

I wrote an article about my chicken coop and posted in a coop contest on the Backyard Chickens website! You can check out my article below:

It all started a few years before when I wanted a pet. . . Who thought it would turn into this chicken addiction?? 
 Thankfully, my mom was on my side and convincing my dad was a breeze.  He was the one who made this coop for me. We had no plans and no experience in building. Pretty much, my mum and I just told him what we wanted, fetched tools, and my dad worked the whole summer making this coop for me, Thanks dad!!!! We had two pullets I had gotten in the spring as chicks, added incentive to finish the coop before the winter.  With out further ado, the Sunflower Coop!!! 

Aerial view of the coop taken from an airplane!!! (Okay, actually from my bedroom window, but still. . .)  

It took a lot of work to flatten the ground, but I love the location. Fairly dry and south facing. 
The frame is now up!

Checking out the construction of their new home. 

Two walls up and insulated (they are the only walls that are). The ceiling is up as well. 

Tail up, eyes sparkling, I think we are on the right track. 

We decided to make the back wall two doors, so it will be easy to clean and access the
water and feed dishes. 

Front door for collecting eggs! 


Painting the coop. (I know, white is very original ;) 

The nesting boxes!!!  Thanks to my siblings for the artistic talent. 

We finished the floor with linoleum. The chain is to hang the feeder off of and, you can see on the roof, one of two 1ftx1ft ventilation holes. 


And it's done!!! People and Chickens are happy!!!


Now for the Grand tour. . .
We used tin for the roof and have put rocks on top of chicken wire that was lain flat on the ground to keep predators from digging into the coop. You can see the rocks through the chicken wire on the left hand side of the coop.  

Outdoor perch and east facing side of the coop.  

In the winter we had trouble with snow and ice building up by the door and keeping it from closing.  To fix that problem we cut about a foot off the bottom of the door and nailed a board there. Problem solved!!! 

Back of the coop (North facing)  

You can't see the rungs of the perch in this picture but, we have two perches attached to the cross piece. 


We put plastic around the bottom of the coop in the winter. So the chickens have somewhere snow and wind free in the winter. 


My Girls!!!  
- Nefertiti (aka Nefi)  Ameraucana. 

- Freyja  Ameraucana. 

- Eleanor (aka Ellie)  Silver Laced Wyandotte.  

Our cat Figaro has learned not to hurt the chickens after he was chased by them when he got too close. 

- Papagena (aka Poppy) Barred Plymouth Rock.

- Demeter (Deme)  Rhode Island Red

- Una  Black Australorp 

Coop: 5ft x 7ft
Run: 5ft x 14ft 

Key Things I like about my Coop
- The poop board. A must for any coop! I get free paper from a newspaper company that I put on the poop board. It makes cleaning that much easier.
- That the back wall is two doors, it is super easy to clean the coop. 
- A removable board that keeps the wood shavings from falling out when I open and close the door.
- I have a heated water dish for the winter.

Things I would have done differently
- I would have made the run bigger.
- I would have gotten windows that could open.
- I would have put windows on the east facing wall of the coop. 

Cleaning the Coop
I use the deep litter method
-Every second day I change the poop board, stir up the wood shavings, and refill the water dish, feeder, nesting boxes when necessary. 
-Twice a year I do a full clean and wash the coop.  

I love my chickens and have learned so much from BYC these past few years. 
Thanks for Reading!!! 


Sunday, 10 March 2013


She is my Una babuna. She gets pecked on the worst, and the reason why?  She is super timid, shy and so pretty that all the other hens are jealous ;)  Poor little Bab-una-ella!!!  But even though she gets pecked on, she still loves all the other chickens! And whenever I bring her into the garage to put vaseline on her comb or to fix up her cuts she is fairly calm but always likes to be back with her   friends :)

Friday, 1 March 2013


When Nefi is laying an egg she gets all puffed up and she looks super fluffy and I always want to hug her!!!! Well, who wouldn't want to hug a super cute chick?   And that's not the only reason she is cute.  Whenever a chicken comes close to the nesting boxes, when Nefi is in one, Nefi does this super funny growly purr noise. When I hear her growl I always crack up. It's so funny, little cute Nefi laying an egg.  And then she makes this crazy growly noise.  To cute!!!

Friday, 22 February 2013


My number one word of advice for you if you ever get chickens is:
Never wear black nail polish.   I was stupid and did.  The result, Ellie always pecking at my fingers when I walked into the coop. She thought they were sunflower seeds!!! It would have been really funny if it had been someone else...  ;)


Thursday, 14 February 2013


 If you didn't think chickens could fly, then you haven't me Freyja.  The other day when I brought out compost to the compost pile I saw her looking at me from inside the coop, suddenly she flew all they way from the door to the compost pile which is an approximate distance of 13 meters!!!!
It is really stunning to watch creamy white Freyja fly over snow.  Even if it is to the compost pile ;)


Monday, 11 February 2013


Even though she isn't very kind to the chicks ( she will peck them when they get between her and food) Papagena is super nice to Demeter.  When Deme was sick and in the garage Papagena looked confused and would always be looking around trying to find her.  And after I finally brought Demeter back to the coop will cozy up beside her and keep her warm. It is super cute!!!


Tuesday, 5 February 2013

You need to evacuate

I played a game outside with my younger siblings today. At one point in our game we had to evacuate some villages because a storm was coming. One of the villages I was trusted to evacuate was the Sunflower village (the chicken coop).   I had a nice conversation with Ellie who was perching on a board in front of the door of the coop.

Me:  "You need to evacuate"

Ellie:" brawk, b-brawk???"

Me: "Yes you really do."

Ellie: turns her head "brawk, brawk?"

By this time Una has come to the door and is staring at me

Me: "I'm sorry but it is true"

Ellie: "brawk, brawk, brawk???"

Ellie turns around

Me: "You need to evacuate"

All the chickens are staring at me. Ellie jumps down into the coop.

I turn and leave.  One village done, one to go...


Monday, 28 January 2013


After christmas time Deme got sick.  I am not sure exactly why, maybe she was sick of the snow,  feeling depressed, or had stuffed herself with to many treats over the course of christmas (she is quite the glutton). But, she was just not her usual happy self.
So, I set her up a house in the garage gave her food, water, yogurt, and warm baths.  A few days later, she went from being on the verge of  conking out to being outside with her friends healthy and happy :) But, this is not the end, a few days later Demeter started molting, losing her feathers and growing new ones.  Obviously Deme has to pick the middle of winter to molt :P


Hello from the 'North Pole'

It has been so cold up here lately and has barely risen above -20C for the past few days, and dropped down to between -30C and -40C at night!!!   But, my chickens are super chickens, and have persevered.  At this point in time none of them have frostbite!!! I have been putting vaseline on their combs and I have found that it helps, because it hydrates there combs, keeping them healthy, so it is hardy for their combs to get frostbite.   The bad news though, is that the Nefi and Una have been getting hen pecked this winter.
 Due to the fact that they can't go outside and explore the great outdoors 'cause it is to cold.
To try to remede this situation I am going to buy some hay or straw for them to play in and have made a toy for them today.  I am not sure if this toy will work but it was worth a shot.  My toy is a bottle with holes in the bottom and sunflowers inside hanging from a string in the run. What is supposed to happen is that when they peck the bottle a couple of sunflower seeds will fall out.  This toy will provide hours of fun for the entire family.  Well, hypothetically.   We shall see if they are smart enough to figure out how to use it.
In my posts coming up I will focus on one of my chickens and something about said chicken  that is either amusing, cute, noteworthy or heroic.