Saturday, June 25, 2011

Rooster Report 6.25.2011

Events are quickly developing for Big Daddy Roo.    Rumors are  swirling about that he is being forced to retire this week amid controversy over results that stemmed from a random fertility test.   Insiders state that despite free health care and palatial living quarters the big red rooster is no longer able to secure the development of future generations and replacements are already being considered.   Fans of the early morning crooner are insisting he be allowed to spend his remaining years in the art field, or in this case- being art in the field. ( AKA yard art)  Critics, however,  are suggesting he would be better adapted at entering the  kitchen  and trying his luck at a savory pot of chicken and dumplings.  We will keep you updated as this story progresses.

 In other news, the Orpington twins were spotted networking and eating with members of the Fowl Weather Friends Society. The FWFS  recently hosted an exclusive" by invitation only"  styled benefit.  The proceeds of which  go to support the expansion of research and development of leading pig farmers as well as marketing strategies.   A spokesperson  for the group stated  that," with  the economy forcing people to eat out less and cook at home more, it was important that- pork, the  other white meat- be kept in the forefront of the public's mind."


In our next report we will interview an up and
coming financial analyzer named Ruckus, the author of How to feather your nest while working for chicken scratch.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The 21 Day Countdown

Brinsea Octogon 20 EX package
I like the idea of sustainable resources.  The more I think about it, the more I like the idea that with a little investment and some time you can get a continual return on something.  ( After having four kids I would really like to use them as an analogy for sustainable sarcasm, but I figure that is mostly genetic and  this is a blog about chickens!)    So, it was only natural, as my ideas evolved, I would start searching for the perfect incubator!    Here is my dream incubator, the Brinsea octagon 20 EX.  It is completely digital, completely automatic, completely out of my price range even on sale at $399.    Brinsea makes some awesome incubators and always get rave reviews, and they do have less expensive models.  I just figure I would share the one   I would buy if I had  unlimited funds.  You can check out more information on their incubators here -  Brinsea

Even after checking out the classifieds a used incubator was hard to find and the prices ran from $50 to $120.   After a couple months of searching I found one for $10 !!  Once I got home, I washed it with soap and water and plugged it in to test it out.  It took a few days of playing with it to get it stay at 100 degrees, but once it was set I couldn't wait to start collecting eggs to put in it.   Having gathered some eggs from our Rhode island reds and a few from the mille fleur d'uccles,
I grabbed a color pencil and put X's on one side and O's on the other so I could keep track while turning them 3 times a day for the next 21 days.   I was so excited to put them in the incubator I dropped one, breaking it and cracking another!  GAAHHH!!!     I did eventually get 12 eggs safely inside, resting at a warm tropical 100 degrees.   After getting everything done I sat down and pulled out my calendar to calculate when they should begin to hatch.  Funny, the date is July 4th- Independence Day .   I'll take pictures and keep you updated as the hatch progresses!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Chicken Fashionistas

Bald back caused by over breeding by rooster
Breeding season has been in full swing for quite some time now and as I surveyed my chicken kingdom I noticed  that a couple of the hens are starting to look worse for wear thanks to some over active roosters.
When there is a low hen to rooster ratio, roosters can begin to over breed the hens, causing all kinds of damage to the feathers from breakage to loss.
 Eventually the hen can end up with bald patches on their backs and shoulders.  Though this is cosmetic and causes a less than attractive looking chicken, other problems can arise such as sunburn or skin infections from scratches or pecking.

Tools of the designer clothing trade- OK-, stuff from my sewing room

So what's a girl to do?  After all, it's early summer and there are parties to plan, gala's to be invited to and premiers to be seen at!  A girl can't go out without well dressed feathers!    No, she can't.  So being the responsible purveyor of all things good in my chicken kingdom, I sent the girls to a designer to get that special something that no girl should be without for the summer festivities!

A measurement here, a snip and stitch there, some elastic for comfort and a little applique for that special sparkle and a wave of Cinderellas' god mother's wand and.....   TADA!

                                               You look MAH - VA- LUS  Darling!

                                  Fresh off the sewing machine- I mean runway in Paris! 

                              All the girls want one and try to find out how to get their own!!

These are super easy to make, I am going to start making and selling them. If you have a special girl who needs an outfit for protection from marauding roosters or something spectacular for that special event let me know!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Meet Mr. Boots

Mr. Boots

 It wasn't that  long ago when the hen house received their first leading man, Big Daddy Roo.  However, due to differing opinions on courtship, favoritism and manners Big Daddy Roo was rejected and sent packing.  For the next couple of weeks the hens settled into a  quiet routine awaiting the Bird of their dreams.    Today, the  hen house is all aflutter with excitement !  Early this morning the hens flocked to the fencing, eagerly  pressing  against one another to get a look at their new leading man, Mr. Boots, a gorgeous Standard Buff Cochin.

Unlike his previous predecessor who ruled with an iron first, Mr. Boots calmly stepped into the middle of the pen and began a sweet gentle conversation with each of the girls.  Quickly the hens gave in to his soft spoken demeanor and gathered around, stars in their eyes.  In less than five minutes he had gained their attention, and captured their hearts with his display of fancy footwork and courting abilities.  While  all the hens sighed with delight, I left to give them some privacy as two of the hens threw themselves at his feet in surrender.

 Look out-
There is a young, new rooster in town and his name is Mr. Boots!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Confessions of a Chicken Addict

innocent beginnings
It started innocently enough.  One of the girls I knew said, " Hey, try it!  You'll like it! There is nothing better on this planet than farm eggs."   Having never tried them before, I figured a little experimentation couldn't hurt. According to her, it was the health food fad and all her friends were doing it.   When she  offered to set up a meeting for me with her contact, and pay for my first time- I didn't want  her to think I was chicken, ( sorry, couldn't resist!) so I gave in to peer pressure.  I barely got through the first time and was already craving more.  I was hooked.  It wasn't long before white eggs no longer gave me the same thrill.  I moved up to brown, then tried the blues and even worked my way up to the shades of pink and green.

baby chickens
I had to stop using my friends' contact because they couldn't keep up with demand.  Luckily, that contact introduced me to something better,  and I moved up to baby chicks.  I started with a few of the babies, and to hold me over until they started producing, I got some older ones too.   It all sounded so logical at the time.  If I could grow my own, that would cut out the middle man and I wouldn't have to spend my days hunting and  worrying about where my next batch of eggs were going to come from.
  Next thing I know,  I'm buying and selling full grown chickens.  And to support my own growing chicken habit,  I  became a pusher of healthy  farm fresh eggs myself.    I didn't care where I was.  Schools, restaurants, even in church I was pushing the fresh home grown stuff to the masses.

Hova-Bator 1602N incubator
Spiraling ever more, I got even more deeply involved and began hatching out what I was growing.  Now not only could I get new people to try the eggs, but I could supply them.  And when they were looking for their next healthy hobby, I could supply and introduce them to the world of baby chicks.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Odds and Ends

       Jeff got the new nest boxes put up!!  It is so easy to lift the lid and grab the eggs now, I should never have a reason to complain.  If you look in the nest box all the way to the right, you  will see the girls like them too, and wasted no time in using them.

Remember Rumor, my ugly duckling, I mean chick?
He is becoming quite handsome as more feathers are filling in.  He might even end up being nice enough to show at the fair, fingers crossed!

Eagle Eye 4 weeks old
Eagle Eye 4 months old

Wow!  What a difference a few months make!   He is growing and filling out beautifully.  I can't wait to see what he looks like in another 3 months. 

Friday, June 10, 2011

The Rooster Report 6.10.2011

In this weeks headlines :

Piper of the Rhode Island Reds

Piper, of the famous Rhode Island Reds family, was arrested and charged with two misdemeanor counts on Wednesday.  The charges stem from  an altercation with one of  the Orpington twins, who you may recognize from their voice over work on the game Angry Birds.

The Orpington Twins

Witnesses say the three had passed each other in a tight walkway when Piper began accusing the twins of being flighty.  In a flurry of feathers they ended up on the floor, with Piper standing over  Buffy holding her by the back of the neck.  When authorities arrived, Piper tried to flee the scene adding  the charge of Resisting Arrest  to the charge of Assault and Battery.  She is now in custody and awaiting a trial date to be set.

Big Daddy Roo

In our next story,  Big Daddy Roo has cancelled the next few days of his sold out summer tour.  Known for his  cover of the Beatle's song, "Good Day Sunshine", Cat Steven's "Morning has broken" and more recently " Walking on Sunshine" by Katrina and the Waves.   Insiders say over use of the songbird's golden voice has cause a strain on his vocal cords  and he is unable to crow as loudly for now.  His publicist issued a statement that with a little rest, he is expected to make a full recovery.

Construction on the newly added North Wing has been completed for now with only one or two more things planned on being added at a future date.  Residents applauded the use of shade cloth in the heat and joyfully discussed the plans of the automatic watering and misting system that is now being designed and developed by the Chicken Little Corp.  A spokesperson for the corporation said there are already  plans in the works for doubling the size for the new wing.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The key to a chickens' heart.

Watermelon.  It's so simple it's brilliant actually.
Watermelon was the key that unlocked it all.
Over the course of the past couple of months as they became old enough,  I have tried offering various treats to the Cochin chickens.  Sunflower seeds, fresh shoots of grass,  alfalfa sprouts,   and grapes to name a few.   The first few times I brought something they would crowd around and peer at what was in my hand.  Nervously they would jostle for position until inevitably someone would get pushed forward only to squawk in sheer terror and run to the back of the run before returning to look over the shoulders of everyone else.   If I so much as flinched, everybody fled squawking with fright to the furthest corners of their universe.  Unfazed,  I would pick up the offending food monster and toss it in with the big chickens, who at this point will devour dirt if I toss it in the coop.
Semicircle of suspicion

  As time went on,  I would arrive and offer the treat,  some would form the semicircle and regard whatever vile thing I held in my hand with the deepest of suspicion.  Once the leg cramps set in, I would drop it on the ground and they would run amok, screaming something about how the food was going to eat them. 

The same thing happened with the watermelon, at first.    I walked in and knelt down, everyone gathered and stared at it waiting for it to jump up and attack, dance, do the funky chicken maybe.  Then they simply walked away one by one, not in the least bit interested or impressed.  I even broke off a few pieces and scattered it around  the large piece, and sure enough, one or two did peck at it, but then walked away.   Having already dropped a piece off in the big chicken pen, I decided to leave it there and went inside.  Later that evening Jeff noticed they had ate the watermelon down to nothing but the very outer rind.
Now when I go in the pen, I don't even get a chance to put my hand out before I am being rushed from all sides. They have discovered they like rice, squash, zucchini and noodles too.  But nothing is better than watermelon!

Monday, June 6, 2011

I wanted to be a Vet when I grew up...

 This is Jackie, one of our silver laced wyandottes.  Jeff named her Jaquelyn but like most parents I'll only call her that when she's in trouble.   It was hot this weekend with temperatures hovering around 95.  I had gone outside to do a water check and to make sure all the chickens were fine.   Upon entering the run of the newly integrated flock, I noticed Jackie looked like she had a spot of blood on her back, near her tail.  Thinking she had been picked on by the older hens, I scooped her up and  called my husband over to look as I made my way out of the pen.  Upon closer inspection we found an inch long gash!   Jeff thought it looked like she had been spurred by our big rooster.   I could see INSIDE my chicken!  I am NOT supposed to be able to see INSIDE my chicken unless it's dead and ready to be cooked!!  (  Don't worry, no graphic pictures included)

After a brief yet thorough freak out, I brought her in to the operating room ( my dining room) and had my assistant nurse ( my 14yr old son) scrub up and apply anesthesia ( rag over head and hold on!) Cleaned her up with alcohol, super glued her skin back together and put some antibiotic ointment on it when we got done. She is now resting on the top floor of the chicken hilton, receiving luxury room service,  for the next couple days so I can make sure it's healing.

And Then..


Such a cute chick you exclaim.  So tiny....So fuzzy....So sweet...


WHAT THE???  Who put the Jekyll/ Hyde chick in with the others!!

So this little girl somehow got a scratch on her eye and it has swollen to MONSTROUS proportions.  I went to my vets office to pick up the eye drops and patiently endured all the laughing and looks I was getting from the other people.  A Real chicken? ( snicker, snicker)  As in a pet?  ( snort, snort)   Yeah.  I offered to bring one by so my vet could have a picture taken with it.  Then he can put it next to the ones of him with lions, tigers, horses, cats and dogs.  It would make him appear more well rounded.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Getting my Ducks, I mean Chickens in a Row

You know, some mornings I wake up and am able to make  everything to fall into place so  that  I actually can get all my chicks in a row.

But some mornings, no matter how hard I have prepared for the day there is always ONE joker who wants to make faces and mess it up.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

It's all in the Updates...

The babies are up and moving around more today.  However cute, they are typical babies.  There are only three things in their lives that matter at this time :  eating, drinking and sleeping.   I also  have to deal with a fourth thing- the pooping.  At least paper towels on the floor make for an easy clean up.

  After many days of scrambling, jockeying for position and hanging out in the highest trees,  the squirrel paparazzi finally captured this intimate shot of Luci Lu and Gertie in  deep discussion and point to the disgusted look on Luci Lu's face as a sign that
tensions in the family are still present after the tabloids ran the story of Gertie and Mack Black.   Henny Penny, Luci Lu's publicist shrugged off the speculation stating that it was Luci's first day out after recovering from a tendon sprain and she  was feeling a bit tired at the time.

Those betting that the broody hens' eggs would hatch this week will be shocked to find out the eggs have been removed from her custody.  The first time guardian of 9 has been accepted back into the flock after trying unsuccessfully to hatch the eggs.  Investigators are releasing little details of the tragedy stating that it will take many weeks to get back any results, but no foul ( fowl) play was suspected.   The lead investigator was heard remarking about a fickle Mother Nature before reporters were shown the door.