POST COYOTE VISIT
A coyote and I just had a standoff at the front chicken pen. It didn’t take me seriously until it noticed that I was carrying a gun. Then it bolted. Lucky that those little birds, make a racket and got my attention.
You can tell by the photo that they are over the attack and have returned to foraging. Only the Nankin Roo far right seems at all concerned.
The front pen is my most vulnerable. It’s an 8x12’ chain link dog run that has a Mickey Moused tension wire and chicken wire roof with a tarp thrown over it. It’s in an unfenced area, though set up 4 feet off the street. For well over a year now, no predator has gotten in, I don’t say that with pride as much as with surprise, and delight.
Currently residents are six Nankin bantams and one standard Cochin (shown above), as well as the Mama Silver-Laced Wyandotte hen with her brood of eight two-week old chicks - they are enclosed in a coop.
By the way, the coyote was gorgeous, with a beautiful coat, and I only use the gun to scare them off.
Welcome Daylight Savings…
So last night, I rounded up all the roosters and put them in cages with their favorite hens and covered each one so that my neighbors wouldn’t be waking up at 3:30am to rooster crowing — and be wanting to kill me. I went over and above so that we’d all have a peaceful night’s sleep.
At 2:30am three raccoons* showed up and despite dog barking, me yelling and banging things to scare them off, and finally shooting (not to kill them) but to make noise, they didn’t leave the property until close to 5:00am.
So, though we have an extra hour today, it still feels like 11:00am rather than the 10:00am pictured on the clock. In other words…I’m exhausted.
*Raccoons and coyotes are my biggest fear here. Raccoons will take out an entire flock of hens just for the hell of it and can get into nearly any enclosure that a human can.
So, while I was traveling in Europe, “Dude” my house sitter thought it was cool that one of the hens became broody and started sitting on a clutch of eggs. These 8 chicks, of unknown parentage, are the result. They are cute as can be and thriving, though I really didn’t need any more birds. Since I don’t know what breeds they are, I’m not certain that I can sex them as chicks and I’m already maxed out on roos. Side note: The gold chick on the far left has feathered feet and looks like a Buff Brahma - a plus as they are my favorite breed.
Sep 07 Reblogged
I’m not sure this is a Black Australorp. Mine all have very dark eyes and are solid black. With the rust on the chest, this looks like a Black Sex Link or Black Comet. I have 4 Black Astralorps, and a Black Sex Link hen in my flock. All have the irridescent sheen to their feathers. I like that the little Australorps will sit placidly on my lap and whisper to me the secrets of the coop. They are such awesome little creatures.
Big Black Beauty by ienemien
DANISH BROWN LEGHORN Rooster @12 weeks
This is the only rooster I’ve ever intentionally purchased. He’s got so much color coming out and his gorgeous but is so very, very flighty. I don’t know if he’ll ever calm down. He runs around the pen shrieking if he finds himself stuck in a corner, or if there’s another bird in his way, or if something moves suddenly and startles him. Argh! Plus he steps on the other birds and is starting to pull feathers even though he gets plenty of protein in his diet. I think I’m going to give the other birds a break and move him, along with his 5 hens into another pen where they can live in their normal state — panic mode.
This is Smokyback, the hen that started laying blue eggs earlier this week. She’s an “easter egger” mutt, witch some Aracauna DNA which shows up in colored eggs. From the chicken list I learned the following info.
- The pattern on her feathers is called “duckwing” - I have no idea why.
- The dark color is melanistic overlay - meaning dark color laying over more the more traditonal light patterning—like a black panther is black over a spotted coat. Oh, and her feathers are irridescent, like an oil slick.
- Some people are STICKLERS on hen ID - Apparently she’s a lesser specimen because she doesn’t have feathers growing out of her ears. or a beard and muff…for my part I’m excited to see her cool blue eggs.
This morning I went in the feed the birds, and heard the distinctive call of a hen laying an egg. I look around and everyone seems to be accounted for and is minding their own business, going about life as usual. I do a quick count and realize that the hen above is “missing”. Since the greenhouse is fully enclosed, I know she’s in here somewhere, but where? I look for a good 5-10 minutes skipping the inverted basket stuck in the corner which I believe that ONLY the quail can get into.
Finally I move the basket exposing the squawking hen, who is not at all glad to see me. She waddles off in a huff leaving two eggs - one blue (but cold so not from today) and one brown…which means that two hens have been using spot in the previous 24 hours. As I’m leaving I see her make a beeline for the back corner. 15 minutes later I return, she’s scratching around with her pals. I tip the basket and there’s a beautiful sky blue egg - still warm.
Aracaunas - These are the Aracaunas, probably mixed with Rhode Island Red, but the color and pattern on their feathers is gorgeous. They are bossy things, and peck the smaller chicks, but they are growing on me and probably about old enough to start laying eggs.
The people I got them from are Vegans which is great if you are a person, and not so great if you are a chicken. Chickens need a lot of protein. In the week I’ve had them, I’ve upped their protein limits and now their wattles are turning red and they are coming around. I hope that they will start laying by the end of the year.
…of Hay and Birds…
How may Weight Watcher points is it to wrassle a full bale of hay about 100 yards and then up a staircase? It’s got to count for something, amiwrite?
The hay is now on the doorstep, leaning against the front door covered with a tarp and black garbage bags. Not pretty but functional. I’d like to note that the enormous orb spider that lives there was scornful of my pitiful flailing and didn’t so much as move off his web when I rocked the bale in just below it.
The flock is a flock divided tonight. All five Aracaunas* are roosting on an enormous basket pretty as you please, while the original nine chickens* are crammed across the top of the wooden coop. It’s entirely possible and highly probable that one or more will slide off during the night.
The quail are getting bolder and coming out for treats when the chickens are occupied with fighting over tidbits and too busy to chase them. I toss them bread and greens and they grab them and rush back into their area.
It’s 6pm and I just realized my shirt is on inside out.
*I keep calling the original chicks “my chicks” and the Aracaunas “the new birds”…this bothers Kevin for some reason and he keeps reminding me that they are ALL my chicks.
The Greenhouse/Chicken Coop is finally finished and the fowl have moved in. A little tour: under the wooden coop is the quail area, lower right is a hutch with a half dozen Japanese Coturnix or button quail - the rest is all chicken territory. I moved the final five hens in at sunset last night, and am hoping this morning that they will start to merge into one flock…without too much bloodshed. They are nearly full grown Aracauna mixes (and gorgeous), and a new pecking order is likely to take place.
Of Chickens, and uhm, Quail?
So I think I’ve figured out how this whole livestock thing works.
I have a pair of bantam Seabright chickens, one of which is a rooster as it turns out (not ideal when all the other chickens are fulled sized and I’m not keen on dozens of tiny eggs. So, I post to my chicken list that I’m looking to rehome both Seabrights.
- My first response is from Georgia which is geographically challenging
- My second response if from Texas and I consider meeting this woman in New Mexico until Kevin reminds me that this is a $3 investment.
- Today I find a locat taker - and he’ll take the pair. He’s only an hour away
- however, I need to take four of his quail. o_0
This all smacks of the ex-BF’s brother who was constantly doing livestock trades many years ago — three geese for a half blind goat, the half blind goat for the three-legged calf, the three-legged calf for ram that wore diapers and lived in the house until it started head-butting the dryer (it didn’t like the sound). Finally, he ended up with an emu, who died.
Now he raises olives.
I’m STILL living with Chickens living in my guest room…Ben Franklin was right “Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days.” The coop/greenhouse is 85% completed and Kevin has managed to get in a day of sailing both weekends. I can’t complain it’s been grueling work.
Oct 01 Reblogged
I DID IT — I BOUGHT CHICKENS!!!
BLACK BARRED ROCK
Gallus gallus domesticus
I bought chickens today! They are a month old and look kinda gangly, in fact give of them look exactly like the Black Barred Rock chicks pictured. I didn’t want day old chicks as they are too much work. These guys are a little easier, but will still be living indoors for the next few weeks which will give me time to finalize plans for the coop and pen. I’m so excited!
Here’s what I got:
5 Black Barred Rocks
3 Buff Orpingtons
2 Golden Seabrights
1 Black Cochin (with feathers on its feet)