Sunday, September 25, 2011

That Chicken is not Chicken!

As I mentioned I was in a business trip all last week.  I got home Friday late afternoon and let the chickens out to free range.  We do not let them out when we are not home to keep an eye on them.  We were all settling in to our normal routine when we heard the chickens having quite the time outside.  I happened to look outside, and that is when I saw a dog in the chicken run!  I yell DOG! and run for the mudroom to get my boots on and scramble outside.  My son and husband rally the weapons, ready to strike should this dog harm my chickens or me.  Outside I start yelling and waving my arms around like a crazy woman trying to distract the dog so the hens can scoot into the pop door and be safe in the coop.  It was a tense few minutes but I managed to scare the dog away, unharmed, and all the hens were safe and unhurt.  We did not make a big deal of it - we live in the country, dogs slip off their collars/ happens, so we watched toe dog and learned who it belonged to and went back to our lives.  Fast forward to yesterday, we had the windows  open since it  was a nice evening.  We were just about to watch a movie when I heard the hens cry for help.  Apparently, the cluck line is out of order in the coop so they just yelled for help.  I will have to look into that.  I look outside and again see that same dog after my chickens.  I am very irate at this point.  I tell my husband to get the gun and run for my boots and out the back door.  When I rounded the corner of the house, there was a child in my yard watching the whole ordeal of this dog and chicken do a dance of death.  I distracted the dog and the hen got away.  The small boy was able to get the dog and drag it back home.  We later stopped at the family's house and my husband talked to the parents to reinforce that they need to keep their dog tied or inside because it now immediately comes to our yard after our chickens.  Hopefully that is the end of that situation.  No dog or chicken was harmed in these incidents....yet.

Yesterday I heard the girls having a fit and thought oh no not again.  I peeked out the window to see a hen on the roof of the coop!  This coop is 8' high at the front and it slopes down to about 6' in the back.  There on the top was a Whyndotte happy as you please.  She was probably the one that the dog was trying to get so she devised an escape route.  You know just in case it comes back.  Who said chickens were stupid?  ok they are pretty dumb but they learn and can be cleaver.

This hen hopped up on the feed barrels, then up onto the next box roof.  There she looked, paced, and planned.  Finally up she went to the roof of the coop!  What a goofy chicken.  Now if she can remember how to get up there when danger presents itself on the ground again will be the question.

Since the other seen this chicken who was not chicken to jump up on the roof, they all want up there.  I was in the coop filling their food and I heard this "THUMP!"  I walked out of the coop to see an Easter Egger on top of the nest box roof.  I said, "Get down from there!"  she she pouted and replied, "But SHE did it....!"  "Nope - get down"  and she flew down.  Then the Whyndotte was up there again.

Oh these chickens are something else!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Miniature Eggs

My new hens have been laying for a few weeks now and things are progressing nicely.  I am now getting 15-20 eggs a day.  I seem to be in the miniature egg business now.  I am not complaining at all, mind you.  I would much rather have my girls lay small tiny eggs and slowly progress to larger normal sized eggs as their bodies can handle it, than have them start laying huge eggs right off the bat and prolapse.  My Comets did that - it was not pretty.

Thing do seem to be progress very slowly.  The first Easter Eggers layers are still laying tiny eggs.  Some have not caught on to the concept of laying their eggs in the nest boxes.   I am finding a cluster of 3 to 4 eggs in one corner of the coop every day.  I even found an egg under the hedge bush yesterday!  I try talking to the girls and telling them in a gentle tone that they need to start laying their eggs in the nest boxes and ask if anyone has any questions.  They all nod their head in agreement they they got it and no one ever asks any questions so I think I am getting through to them.....maybe not.

I had one hen hop up on the helper perch below the egg boxes look around in each nest box nod her head, look up at me and say "Oh!  I see. Nope I still don't get it."  and hop down.  Goofy bird.  Most of them are getting it and doing well with laying in the nest boxes.

I was on another business trip all last week.  I had to go to our site in Virginia to so some audits.  I got to meet some of my co-workers for the first time.  I work with some fantastic people and we have a very busy productive week.  I came back home to a full egg fridge!  Almost all of these are the miniature eggs.  I am still getting a few regular sized eggs from my old hens.  Now I have to scramble and fry up several dozen of these to give back to the hens.

I also have to make cupcakes next week for a school picnic.  I have to figure out how many mini eggs equal a regular jumbo egg.  I think I will go with 2 to 1 ratio.  Since it is still early here and my boys are not up yet I could fix breakfast for them as well.  "Here honey, I fried you up a half a dozen eggs for breakfast!"  :o)  We are used to it here, but it is a funny scenario to suggest to someone who buys our eggs.
Have a great day everyone!  Maybe I should approach the egg council to do some recipes/promos for them.....hummm...    :o)

Friday, September 9, 2011

Free At Last

I have kept the chickens all locked up in the coop and run for a few weeks after we introduced them.  I went out to the garden by the coop and all the chickens were out in the run clanking their little tin cups on the bars of their run crying "Atticus!!"  I think it is time I  let them out.

I went to the door of the run and they all came running over dropping their cups in the mud.  I could see in their eyes they were staring at the green lush carpet of foliage that lay just out of their reach from inside their incarceration.

I opened the door and all the hens tumbled over themselves and threw themselves down on the green grass right outside the door.   I heard sighs of pleasure and freedom.  Goofy birds!  They just went right outside the door and immediately started pecking and going crazy over all the green stuff to eat.  I had to shoo them to get them to move beyond the doorway!

I really like these birds.  They do not wander off like the Comets did.  They all stay in our yard and don't wander into the neighbors.  They also come running when they see me round the corner of the house on my way out to see them.

These birds are very chatty also.  They like to talk and talk and talk.  Sally will talk your ear off if you stay out there long enough with them.  yack yack yack!  I love them all.  I am still dealing with some pecking issues but nothing like I had previously.  They are doing much better now.  The ones that were pecked really bad are healed and are starting to grow their feathers back.