Monday, May 30, 2011

They're Here!!!

Birth Announcement!!!!

Parents- Mille and Fleur D'uccle  
Mille and Fleur are happy to announce the arrival of 8 baby chicks! Less than twenty-four hours after being born,  the five girls and three boys have been moved from ICU ( incubator)  into the nursery where they will be watched over carefully by a full time nanny (me!) for the next few days.  All baby chicks are doing well and are expected to be ready for their first trip outside in about three weeks.   

The babies first photos:

The boys have the stripes the girls are darker colored.

Already you can see the puffy cheek feathers!

All worn out after a rowdy 15 minute eat and drink session.


Friday, May 27, 2011

The Rooster News Report

Part of the buzz going around the coop is  about the 3 day weekend.
I am not sure how they all found out.  Must be The Rooster
News Report- It's what  we hear every morning, afternoon
and evening as all the roosters in the neighborhood call to
each other spreading the daily news, folklore and  gossip! 

Making my rounds this morning, I listened with interest as the Rooster Report made it's way through each yard.  Aside from the daily chicken stocks and egg counting these were the leading stories....

Bets are being taken as to if and when the broody hens' eggs will hatch.  Apparently the hens on the next street are already shaking their heads and  gossiping how the young mother's  husband has been seen lately,  hanging out with the other 4 hens, feeding them and dancing.   

Squirrel paparazzi  have reported no recent  sightings of Luci Lu and there are now conspiracy theories involving her disappearance from the
coop.  One expert claimed she was in rehab following a wild
and uncontrollable partying binge, while insiders point to the recently
published pictures in the tabloids of Luci Lu's sister, Gertie, openly dust bathing with Luci Lu's leading man Mack Black. Another grim theory reports that Luci Lu was last seen trying to cross the road.

Concerns are growing over the group known  as the Fab 5.
Sources say there has been some fighting lately among the members
over their public image.  Questions have arisen
 over pictures that were said to have been
touched up so that some members of the group would be able
to conform to the American Poultry Club's Standard of Perfection.
The group has not issued a comment at this time.


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Ugly Duckling, I mean Chicken

You have seen chicks, right?  If you are like me, the first chick
I remember seeing  live and in technicolor was at a feed store
when my kids were little. It was Easter time and since we
were living in the country we decided everyone should have
  chicks and  ducklings to go with their baskets. It was a big hit
with the kids!  We just couldn't get over how cute those babies were.
It is quite a few years later, but I still get excited when I see chicks, because, well let's face it, they are teeny weeny, warm, fuzzy balls of cuteness that fit in the palm of your hand.  Pick one up and hold it and you will have a big sappy smile plastered on your face, guaranteed.  

Take for instance, the group known in my chicken kingdom as the Fab Five.  The Gold Laced Cochins are  my favorite flavor (color)  of Cochin.  They are the friendliest, sweetest and most vocal of all of my chickens.  Though most tend to stay on this side of  cute  as they grow , every once in a while there is one who, for whatever reason, crosses over to the side of .... ugly.

It's a bad hair day!  Definitely at an awkward stage with feathers coming in and refusing to lay down flat.  Nope these feathers are going to stick straight out. 

Rumor has it that she is going to turn out to be a beautiful gold laced Cochin, but at this point in time, I am not so sure.  So, in honor of her awkward stage-  her name is officially Rumor.  The first of the Fab 5 to get a name :)

As the youngest, she gets picked on,  is the last to venture outside and the first to high tail it inside at any sign of trouble.  I am hoping she ends up like the swan of another story and ends up being the prettiest of them all.  But if not, maybe she will have a great personality.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Chicken Romper Room

After putting some of his carpentry skills to work on the chicken complex ( It is now too complicated a building to be referred to as simply a coop in my opinion) Jeff declared that I was well on my way to having room for 400 chickens. " I am not going to have 400 chickens!", I exclaimed while I quickly turned and looked the yard over, mentally dividing it into sections for runs and coops.  Hmmmmm......

The Chicken Hilton Inn

New and Exciting Improvements- Chicken Romper Room!!
 The little chicks, having outgrown the top floor of the  brooder,  needed more room and  a space where they could also go outside.  So like any good parents, we gave up the storage space on the bottom,  enclosed it, then build an addition onto the outside of the coop, but inside the main run.    This gives them double the space and they can go outside and interact with the bigger chickens without being bullied by them.  Eventually, when they are bigger we can let them loose to run with the big guys.  My two level brooder, now 3 floors,  is  referred to as the Chicken Hilton Inn :)   I am so thankful my main architect and carpenter ( husband Jeff) does not stress easily as the designer for this modification( Me) changed her mind 3 times.  After much drawing and discussing the outside result works great.

Outside Chicken Romper Room from the front.
Outside Chicken Romper Room from the back.  This is the door section or will be once I go buy a set of hinges and handle today.  For now, it is simply screwed in place.

In Other news....

Luci Lu has been put into isolation due to a left leg injury.  I found her wedged tightly between the fence and a crate yesterday afternoon. I could tell she had been struggling so apparently there was some rough housing going on while I wasn't around.   After gathering all the chickens together and asking what happened, all I got was a lot of " It wasn't me." and  "I don't know"  Luci isn't talking either.  I couldn't find a break anywhere and am hoping it is a pulled muscle, tendon or a sprain.  She has her own private  room on the top floor of The Chicken Hilton and will receive room service and occasional,  in home, movie viewing privileges with me until she heals.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Flight School

It's Saturday!!  After the morning infusion of caffeine I made my
 way out to check on the chickens.  It was early and apparently  I was late for class at Chicken School!  Chicken School you ask?  Yes-  all that clucking and bawk, bawk, bawking is not mindless.  Young chickens have a lot to learn in a short amount of time in order to survive. My chickens  have already  been busy taking important classes teaching valuable life skills , such as :

*Working your way up the Pecking Order without Walking on Eggshells
* The Hen house and Something to Crow About
* Use your Bird Brain to build your Nest Egg
*When it's time to Fly the Coop

                                                          Today's Lesson- Flight School!!

After a brief demonstration, Mack lined everyone
up and began to give instructions. The goal was to make
it to the top of the dog crate I had put in earlier this week
for the little chicks.  Everyone must at least try and those
who don't make it will have to take remedial classes later.
Big Bo Blue stepped up first  to give it a try....

Together two more nail it on the first try!!

Just keep flapping, Just keep flapping....

Thursday, May 19, 2011

A Picture is worth a thousand words

Some days as I am going through my pictures
That worm was THIS big!!
 I see one and it just screams
 " Place Caption Here!"
 Here are a few of those pictures with things that
 came to my mind- What would your caption be?

Do these feathers make my butt look fat?

Ewww!  Did I just step in  poop?!

To Infinity and Beyond!!!

Last one in is a rotten egg!!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

All in a Day's Work

Running a sucessful chicken kingdom, though filled with lots of fun, games and laughter, does require some work.  Being royalty is great and all, but eventually there comes a part of the day when you just have to roll up your sleeves and get the chores done. This is the part of the day when I really would love to have Mike Rowe of Dirty Jobs visit, but he's already been to someone else's chicken kingdom and it was a LOT dirtier. 

As I went into the coop to check on my littlest babies, I was suprised to see I had walked in on an' invitation only ' executive director  power breakfast. " What do you mean I'm late?!  I am the Executive Director!, I said pointing to my slightly askew royal crown ( Tony Stewart baseball cap)  As they had already begun discussing the prices of feed, building supplies and future projected egg outputs I was usherred away from the Focus group and asked to check my email later for updated spreadsheets and memos. 

Continuing on I stopped to pay a visit to the D'Uccles.  A wonderful young newlywed couple from Belgium. Mille, though shy at first, warmed right up and now likes to quietly gossip about the other hens and things she sees when I am not around. Fleur is loud and boisterous, insisting on attention when ever I pass by.  Though he likes to play hard to get, once caught, he does enjoy being petted and will amost fall asleep in my arms.  My husand had recently built them a nice nest box and though they had checked it out, they had not seen fit to use it yet. 
Mille had been laying eggs, but lately the past week she has stopped.  As I inquired as to why she had stopped, she looked at me indignantly and then pointed to the condo above hers.   Those neighbors ( The Fab 5- my gold laced cochin babies )  leave the light on all night, and all five of them stomp and jump about , keeping them up for hours.  They barely get any sleep let alone feel any need to .. WHOA!  This is a G rated blog!  I get the point.  Of course I didn't have the heart to tell her they were about to have more upstairs neighbors as soon as the new batch of eggs hatch.  But to try and sooth over their feelings, I did give them a day vacation away to the spa corner of the coop so they could get away for a while.

Guess now that the chores are done, and I've talked to and checked on everybody, I need to head back inside and check my email for the updated spreadsheets and any memos. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Chicken Scrimmage Match

The sun is shining bright today and with temperatures  hovering about 61 degrees it almost feels a bit like fall.  Apparently, I am not the only one feeling that way as a few of the boys decided it felt like the perfect morning for a quick game of football.  You may be thinking quietly to yourself that chickens do not play football.  Well not the  same game you are used to watching.  However,  they DO have a game they play regularly that is similiar.  One chicken finds something, a bug, blade of grass, flower, leaf, etc. and excitedly clucks over it to let everyone else know they don't have what he has.  The others happily  respond by chasing the chicken and trying to get the so called 'treasure'.   There are interceptions, blocking, and  running from one end of the field to the other.    Following, are the highlights from this morning's game :)

The team captains' came forward, shook hands, and waited  for the coin toss.  The Blue team gets the ball first!

The ball ( leaf ) is snapped and the Blue team goes
wide to the right,  finding a hole and easily outrunning the Black team.

With the Blue team hard on their heels, the Black team responds admirably.  Taking the ball ( leaf) into the end zone straight as the crow flies.  Score is now 1 - 1.

The Blue team hands off to their golden boy.  All of a sudden he gets slammed late, after hitting the sidelines!

PENALTY-  Personal Foul!!
 (pun intended ) Unsportsman
 like conduct and the Black team
                                                           looses valuable yardage!!

That hard hit definately got quite a few feathers ruffled!   These two players seem to have quite the disagreement over what consitutes a late hit.

The Blues waste no time, handing off to Big Bo Blue. This time he goes wide left.  Breaking past the tackle he takes it into the end zone a second time!  Looks like this kid is scratching his way up to be the MVP.  Score : Blue Team 2- Black 1

Not ready to toss in the towel yet, even with triple coverage, Mack takes it up through the middle and then hugs the sidelines on his way to the goal.  He- Could- GO -ALL- THE- WAY!!

TOUCHDOWN!!  Score is now even at 2-2

As they line up for the last play of the day, the energy level has not dropped at all, and emotions are starting to run high.  If the Blue team doesn't score on this play, the game could go into overtime.

It's handed off to Big Bo Blue who amost gets blocked at the 80 yard line...

He cuts to the right, running across the field, and has help keeping the Black team off his tail.....

SCORE!!!   He walks it into the end zone as the clock runs down!   The Blue team wins!             Blue team 3- Black Team 2

Good Game Everyone!  Good Game!!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Oh How They Grow

Looking over my flock this morning I was impressed at how much they have grown in such an incredibly short time.  
Here they are at four days old when I first brought them home.  They lived inside with us in a brooder until they reached about five weeks of age.  With no room left in the brooder it was time for them to move to the big house.

I thought it might be fun to show share a few " Then and Now"  pictures.  This is your only warning- the cuteness factor is about to go sky high....

Ruckus at 1 week old.  Out of all my babies this one chirped louder and more frequently than all the others put together.  Maybe it was because it was the only buff one, but even now I can recognise it's chirp apart from all the others.

Ruckus at 8 weeks. Still raising a ruckus and making more noise
than anyone else some days.

This is Eagle Eye at one week old.    What a stare!  Already exhibiting such attitude at being taken away from his food and water for a photo shoot.  I should have known then he would be a roo!

Eagle Eye today at 8 weeks old sitting next to Ruckus.Already done eating for the morning, not nearly as much attitude for this photo shoot. :)

This is Paisley at a week old.  He was my favorite out of all at first.  He didn't mind being picked up and held, and as he got a little bigger he would come over, I could pick him up and he would settle in my lap and go to sleep.

 Paisley now at 8 weeks old.  Since they have gotten used to being in the outside pen, he has given up my company for the sake of his 'friends'.  Typical teenager.