Showing posts with label chickens 2013. Show all posts
Showing posts with label chickens 2013. Show all posts

Introducing our Broiler Chicks


Rory's phone rang this morning at 6 am and it was the post office letting us know our chickens had been delivered. Rory just finished the coop last night so the timing was pretty perfect. When we came downstairs there was a whole lot of cheeping coming out of the bathroom.

Now before we go any further, you need to understand these are Broiler Chicks. Emphasis on the Broiler. As in, their fate will be our belly. We have 6-8 weeks to enjoy their company, and for them to enjoy their sweet life on our farm. Rory has tried to coach me the best he can to not grow attached. He recommended that I maybe don't name the chickens this time. Or take so many pictures of them. Or hold them late at night after the kids have gone to bed.

But I'm already attached. I was when the phone rang at 6 am and I squealed because 30 baby chicks is a very exciting delivery. So I am going to name them, but with names fitting their ending. And to any vegetarians out there, I flat out apologize. I want you to know these birds will be given the nicest life on our farm, in a beautiful brand new chicken coop built just for them.

Without further adieu, let me introduce our newest farm animals:



I could go on and on. But here's the thing. They are identical. And move around a lot. So at any given time, any chick may be called Fried Steak or any other delicious meal to come.

news from the coop


It's been a long time since I've done a chicken update. I think the last time I wrote about them was the day we said goodbye to Almonzo, Eggs and Hamburgerpoopedonthecarpet.

We had three chickens then for quite a while.  But a few weekends ago we went back to Terri, our awesome chicken lady and got three more hens. I'd like to introduce you to Zinnia, Nana and Denise.

Zinna is the other black cochin. We wanted to give her a name that started with z, like the other black cochin, Zumbrota. For a while she was going to be Zeta, named after Catherine Zeta, but we chose Zinnia. And hopefully having named a chicken after my favorite flower, I will now learn how to spell Zinnia without an e. That was a bummer.

Nana got her name for a few reasons. My nephew Simon told me he was a Mexican Banana for Halloween. I asked him what that looked like and he said, "a banana with a sombrero." I wanted to honor his clever costume in some way. When I told Rory he said, "well, Elsie can say Nana." So we named a chicken a word that Elsie can say.

Denise. Driving home discussing names Rory said, "How about Denise." I nearly spit my coffee. A chicken named Denise. That's just hilarious.

Introducing the three new ladies to Big Rooster Legos and the other two hens has been sort of hard to watch. The animal kingdom bothers me. And though Rory tells me to stop projecting coop hardships, I can see what is happening. Legos is aggressive and rough. And sweet Zumbrota, who used to be the uncool chicken in the coop, suddenly made it into the popular clique and is rude to the new kids. Come to think of it, the chicken coop plays out a whole lot like high school cliques.

We are getting two or three eggs a day, and after they are done molting, expect all five hens to start laying. Five eggs a day equals a whole lot of frittata.

to market, to market...


Well, I believe a morning like this morning separates the men from the boys. Or at least the carnivores from the herbivores. For sure the hens from the roosters.

Early this morning we took three of our roosters to be processed. Or as we told Ivar, "to a friend's house." I am sad to say goodbye to Almonzo and Hamburgerpoopedonthecarpet. They were awesome roosters and behaved nicely. I was sorry to see them go.



But I wasn't sorry to see Eggs go. Eggs is a bully. I called him jerkface for the last week of his life. He tried to attack me three times so that I started carrying a stick. And as he'd flap his wings towards me, scratching my legs with his talons I had a bawk of my own and screamed, "I am the alpha wolf!!!!"

It's too bad though. If Rory and I were the type who entered birds into illegal cock fights, and if we were looking to make a lot of money fast, I think Eggs would have been our ticket.

So on the menu this week: chicken, Hamburger and Eggs.

I don't know if I'll be able to do it though. Well maybe Eggs. Though Rory said, if his insides reflect his outsides, he is going to taste bad.

cock-loo-da-doo




Ivar will tell you that Roosters say, "Cock-loo-da-doo"

Roosters begin Cock-loo-da-doing as early as 4:12 in the morning.

But Roosters don't just Cock-loo-da-doo when the sun comes up. They do it all day long. Maybe even 7:12 pm. Just because they can. And truthfully, if you're not trying to sleep, it is sort of a cool background sound for our little farm.

Roosters are hard to photograph, as are all chickens. To get these shots I was laying in the grass, trying to coax them my way by calling their names, "Almonzo, over here. Look at me, Hamburger."

Roosters are so cool looking. I really like them. And their waddle is so wiggly. Their tail feathers are beautiful and their combs are awesome.

All that said, if you're looking for a rooster, ours our listed on craigslist. You know, for the people who need a 4:12 alarm clock. Or a chicken dinner.

chicken update

I've heard that I've been slacking in the chicken posts lately. I think the reason I've slowed on my chicken reporting is because now that they are outside with a fence, they don't require a whole lot of attention. They are the easiest animals on the planet. We give them new feed and water every morning and hook the door closed in the evening. And they're happy. And they love us. And they continue to entertain our children.


So up top there is Hamburgerpoopedonthecarpet. A beauty.


And this here is Eggs. Eggs is quite aggressive. I think he is a bully. And I also think he thinks he is at the top of the pecking order.


But here is Almonzo flapping his wings, who I think actually is at the top of the pecking order. He just has confidence like that. I think Eggs is insecure and gets into other chickens business to exert his wanted authority. But Almonzo really is the Alpha Male. Sort of a whole Scar versus Mufasa thing.


I don't have much to report on Zumbrota. This bird sort of gets lost in the bunch, beautiful and black, she or he doesn't seem to need too much extra attention.


Still the favorite is Legos. Our delightful niece, Josie, is here for a few nights and has confirmed that Legos is the most social. Legos lets Josie hold her and is always the first to come out to say hello when she goes for a visit. Plus, just look at how awesome and fluffy this bird is!


And finally, below is Butterscotch Cookies, another bird that doesn't make too much of a scene. Butterscotch is pretty chill, and reminds me a bit of that one guy Bull on that court show that used to be on channel nine on Saturday afternoons growing up. (thanks to a google search: the Bailiff Bull Shannon on Night Court) I'll get a close up and to a comparison another day.


We're thinking we've got a good number of Roosters in the bunch. Which is a total bummer. Because we were going for eggs. But the boys still aren't too loud. At the moment their morning sounds are more like chain smokers barking out a "rook-a-doo" first think in the morning.


But they'll get louder I'm afraid. And when the full on cock-a-doodle-doo comes, we'll have to figure something out since we like our neighbors and want them to keep liking us.

Having Josie here has been a blast. Last night I used her as a model for the picture I needed for The Soul Sisterhood post that went up today. Be sure to go over and check today's post on the importance of a Strong Finish. 

a fence for the chickens



We had a few hysterical moments trying to get the chickens back in their coop when we had to leave to go somewhere. These birds are fast and they are big and they can turn on a dime. So Rory built the fence and now they can be in and out all day long, and when the sun goes down we go out and close the door to the coop, keeping them safe and sound throughout the night.


They seem to like the set up and spend lots of time going up and down the chicken run. Or hanging out at the door.


Ivar visits the chickens many times a day, bringing them lots of snacks. He gave them carrots and snow peas and those remain right where they landed. But the bread and cheerios were better received.


The chickens continue to grow. And now we're waiting for a cock-a-doodle-doo. I hope that doesn't happen too soon. I do love these birds.


the chickens are outside!






Elsie delights in the chickens. They make her laugh, they hold her attention and basically we can set her near them and they serve as six little babysitters, scurrying about to keep her content.

The thing that surprises me most about the chickens is how pet-like they are. If they hear my voice, all six come running to me what are you up to? oh you're going over here. we'll come too. so you're painting the trim on the shed. alright. oh careful not to step on us. here, we'll just stand on your feet while you paint. it looks real nice. we like you. a lot. glad you came outside again. 

They are much more like mammals than birds, in this way. And I can see how people can quickly become crazy chicken ladies. I believe I am well on my way.

a tour of the coop with Ivar









Today the chickens got all settled into their new coop. But before we brought them outside, Ivar got to play a bit while his dad worked on a perch for the birds. That box sticking out on the side will be divided into three nesting boxes, and we'll lift the lid to get our eggs. The little square door on the other side is the chicken run that has a ramp leading to the great outdoors. The screens are for cross ventilation, and the front doors swing open so we can change the food and water (and the bedding every so often).

Rory made up his own plans and figured every part out as he went along. He blows my mind. Sometimes I rub my eyeballs with both fists and scratch my head and think I did marry a computer guy, right? So who is this guy?

The chickens are out there now and they love their new place. And after today I'm pretty sure the next item on the 'to build' list is a playhouse for Ivar with lots of doors and windows.

the lovely ladies, four weeks old

Zumbrota continues to impress with her feathered feet. 

I often get the strong sense that Butterscotch Cookies wants to eat me.

Eggs is going through an awkward adolescence.

I have no idea, but I'm thinking Almonzo is a boy. Which makes me sad, because we were going to call her Almonza if she was a girl. And that would have been awesome.

Legos is still Ivar's favorite. 

In this picture I think Hamburgerpoopedonthecarpet looks a lot like 
those rubber chickens clowns throw at people.

The ladies got a huge box thanks to our neighbor who bought an electric jack hammer. 

Rory made them two levels to perch and at one point we found all six ladies side by side on the taller perch. It was adorable. But I couldn't get to the camera before Ivar got to the chicken box. 

Zumbrota found a third perch tonight: the top of the box. I think we're going to have to use some chicken wire to keep the girls in the box until the coop is completed. We may use the same on Ivar's crib, who had a victorious escape tonight and found his dad in the garage while Elsie and I were out with friends.
Rory asked, "Did you fall out?" "yeah." "Did it hurt?" "yeah."

feathers and chicken feet

The girls are growing. They change every single day. Mostly they're loosing their fluff and growing feathers. But I cannot believe how quickly this happens. Feathers literally grow overnight.

We got our chickens from a woman named Theri who sells fresh eggs as well as baby chicks. I feel so fortunate that we found her. I wrote to her about how the chickens seems sort of restless in their box and she emailed right away explaining that they would go through a stage of being kind of spazzy. That they're teenagers now and will be a bit flighty no matter how we've spoiled them. And that they get restless too because they do a lot of itching when their feathers come in. It was helpful to know. We've exchanged many more emails and I'm learning so much.

If you're considering ever getting chickens, I highly recommend Theri. Her email is: prairiechickpoultry@gmail.com 

Here's Butterscotch Cookies. Look at how she's growing! 

And now, for a chicken confession:
I have this funny thing with the chicken feet. I can handle the flapping, the pecking and the pooping. But I guess I sort of have a fear of chicken feet. Talons, if you will. I can't look at them when I'm holding the chick. I can obviously have them touching me. They're soft and sort of tickle but if I look at them while holding the chickens, I freak out a bit. As in, Ivar comes running asking, "Mama, are you okay?" And Rory asked if there was a crow in with the chickens because apparently that's the kind of sound I make when I look at the chicken feet on my hand.  They're sort of wormy to me. Reptile like. And I have a real fear of reptiles and... worms.

Anyway, it's silly. In my head I can recognize how ridiculous this is.  But in the moment I pit out a bit and have to look at something other than those little feet resting on my hand.

So now you know. I am phobic of talons. And the reality I am trying to wrap my head around is this: they are only going to get bigger.

the chicken coop


Rory is a doer. I've said that many times before, but it always amazes me to watch him in action. We knew we were going to build our own coop, but then Rory decided he would draw up his own plans. This is the final sketch and it will be awesome. At the moment he is out in the garage, finished with the base and legs and now beginning to build the walls. I'll have much to report on Monday.

Speaking of chickens, I entered Legos into a chicken competition. No fighting in this one, just good looks. If you would, stop by the Backyard Farmer to vote for Legos (it's a great blog...I just started reading). In all honesty, the chicken Legos is up against is really cute too (her name is Ugly Stepsister. So funny.) so it will be a tough win. But with your help, little Legos might stand a chance. Go and vote now.

On Monday I'll be back with pictures of our chickens at three weeks old. I am taking pictures of them once a week...I can't get over how quickly they change.


And speaking of change, Elsie is also growing before my very eyes. She is army crawling with great speed and now says, "Mama." It's my favorite sound in the world. She screams with delight at the chicks and if close enough, tries to grab them. It's pretty adorable all the way around: chicks cheeping and babies squealing.