12 August 2011

In the Coop

On our fourth year of having chickens I finally feel like I am getting the hang of it. We have our routines down and everyone is getting on well. I have a few people that buy eggs from me. Not for much but it does help to offset my chicken feed bill. We were up to 22 girls and two roos this year. Lou Lou La Roo has been the most amazing rooster ever. He is so patient, sweet and protective of both me and the chickens. His eye mostly healed from Frank's attack but he will never fully regain his sight. Flower was our first hatch here and he was the cutest snuggliest little rooster. More on him later...Our resident brooder "Momma" Cuddles hatched two babies last fall. I named the first one Pumpkin because she was soooo tiny! Art named the other Baby Spice. Pumpkin just wasn't strong enough and didn't make it but Baby Spice is one of our most adorable bantams. Her Daddy is Flower and her Momma is Cuddles. They were a nice fall treat. This year I had her sitting on some leghorn eggs but when we went camping our pet sitters unknowingly took the eggs away just shy of their hatch date. Cuddles is mad and won't sit again so I am not sure if we will have any new fall beaks hatched here.
Baby Spice at five months. Super sweet and snuggly.
We got a turkey for Thanksgiving from a our local farmers. It was a 36 1/2 pound beast! I brought poor Flower in to pose with it. He was a little nervous- can't blame him!
This spring I placed my order from My Pet Chicken early. We got the babies in late March. It was still really cold so I set them up in our shower stall. Everyone got a big laugh out of that but I loved having the adorable little beaks right there! I was also able to introduce Zdeno to them and teach him to lay down and be calm around them.We spent hours playing with the chicks and he would always help feed and clean their space :-)
I spent a great deal of time taking him into the coop on a leash and teaching him to be calm around the chickens. He is pretty good now. I won't take him in without a leash yet but he is good at letting them be. He does have a special relationship with one of our Andalusians- Ashleigh. She will go right up to him and peck around his toes and let him sniff her. It is pretty cute.
It has been a really sunny and hot summer so I thought I would try letting the chicks out to munch on grass in the shade of our yard. It worked great for a couple of months but then someone moved into the brambles behind the greenhouse. We live in a pretty rural area so we frequently have predators. We thought it was a fox at first so we loaded the gun and went on the lookout. He had taken our primary girl, a RI Red named Rhonda and also one of our new babies. Next he took sweet Flower. Also both of our baby Leghorns. The next day Art saw a Bobcat run across the road. We can't do anything about that. They are protected and someone in town told me that chickens are considered fair game for them.
So everyone is in lock-down in the greenhouse. I pick weeds to bring in to them. We are re-doing the front of the greenhouse to make a parking space for the (machine) Bobcat and the tractor. After that is done I will be able to put up their fence again so they can go outside. Turns out the fence wasn't to keep them in it was to keep the predators out.
I am hopeful that Cuddles will get broody again so I can hatch more leghorns but if not I will probably go to a chicken swap in September to try to get our group back up to at least 20 and try to get another rooster. We have too many predators and poor old La Roo just can't see as well as he used to...

No comments: