Thursday, April 30, 2015

Access Denied

I used to let the hens wander in the veggie garden thinking
they'd help with the bug population.
However, I learned pretty quick
that all they seem to do is eat my cabbage and kale
and scratch up newly planted seeds.
So this past Tuesday evening,
I put up a fence.
They weren't happy. 
But perhaps this year I'll be able to try out 
my homemade sauerkraut recipe.
And in other news, 
I now have 2 chickens who think sitting on me is fun to do.
Henny Penny (on the left) and Royal Farms (named by the 8 year old)
both came over to visit.  
RF learned that getting a scratch under the chin is pretty nice.
They enjoyed sitting on my arm.
Since they're the closest thing I'll ever have to a hawk,
I'm thinking I should get a couple of those falconry hoods for them to wear.

(a quick chicken update: Penny was pecked pretty severely yesterday evening and is once again in the house in the old brooder.  It's a little touch and go but she made it through the night and was up eating and drinking)

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Why, Yes, That is a Chicken on My Head

I went to check on the chickens Monday evening.
Well, really I just wanted to check on Henny Penny after her first night in the coop.
I wanted to make sure she hadn't been pecked
to the point of bleeding again.
Apparently she missed me.
She was chirping the moment she saw me 
and proceeded to jump on my head when I crouched down.
And she sat there for several minutes.
I let the little ones out for a bit
so they could have a reprieve from the bossiness of the other hens.
I've renamed the 2 Jersey Giant chickens.
They stick together all the time 
and they remind me of the 2 magpies from those old cartoons
named Heckle and Jeckle
so Heckle and Jeckle they're named.
 Now I need to finish painting the coop
and build a fence around the veggie garden.
There's been too much work put into the garden
to let the older hens go in and mow down my cabbage plants
and scratch up the seeds.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Henny Penny

Meet Henny Penny.
She is the pullet I got to replace the rooster I ended up having 
in the group I had been raising.
While the person I got her from said she was the same age as the other 3 pullets I had, 
she was at least 2 weeks younger than they were.
So when I put them all in the new coop, 
she got picked on more because she was the smallest.
This resulted in her getting pecked to the point of bleeding.
Because chickens are drawn to the color red,
little Henny Penny would have been pecked to death because of the color of her blood.
So she had to come back home and stay until healed.
She got her name from this book that I loved as a kid.
It's about a chicken named Henny Penny 
(seen on the cover in the stylish head scarf)
who gets hit in the head with an acorn and thinks the sky is falling
and along with her friends Gander Lander, Goosey Lucy and Turkey Lurkey
rushes off to tell the king.
They meet up with Foxy Loxy who tells them about a "short cut"
in the hopes of getting some dinner.
I won't spoil the ending.
Anyway, I thought the name was a good fit
and so did my son who thinks she is similar to the color of a Penny.

So Penny stayed inside for another week while her wounds healed 
and her feathers started growing back.
This past Sunday, I finally put her out with the rest of the girls.
I was working in the garden so I was close by 
to monitor her and make sure she didn't get injured again. 
As I worked in the garden, 
every now and then I would hear chirping and see Penny come running to me
looking for me to pick her up and give her a scratch under the chin.

She even came and sat with me in the sun when I took a break.
Needless to say, 
she's my favorite.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Locked In

I went by the "homestead" to check on the chickens
and get some more seeds planted in the garden.
I love how the new chicks come running to me when I get close to the coop.
So I went in and sat down with them for a bit
and spent time feeding all the chickens some dandelion greens. 
My husband found this amusing.
Moreso when he locked me in the coop 
and went inside the house 
where he spent considerable time chatting with my mother.
While I was locked in the coop.
The little chickens were pleased,
they used me as protection from the big chickens.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Renovation Day

This past Saturday was a gorgeous sunny 75 degree day
so we decided it was a good day to move the new chickens in
and upgrade the old coop.

The plan consisted of moving the side of the coop 1.5 feet
to add more floor space.
Martha Stewart was not happy about all the noise and bailed out of the coop.
In fact, there needed to be a couple of "egg breaks"
so the hens could lay their eggs. 

The other part of the renovation was adding 2.5 feet to the run
and making the run the same height as the coop.

Here is the mostly finished project.
All I need to do is paint it 
and make some "chicken furniture".
The new chickens were moved in
and that meant everyone is stuck in the coop 
for a few days until the new girls get used to the new home.
Bertha, the Queen Bee of this coop, was not very happy 
to find the old doorway was now closed off.
She's also not very happy that there are new chickens around.
In fact, I had to take the smallest chicken back home
as she was pecked and was bleeding.
She's now back in the house recovering.
Hopefully quickly!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

A Little Fresh Air

This past Sunday was gorgeous here.
Sun was shining
and the temps were in the 70's.
I took the new pullets over to spend some time outside
since they'll be moving outside once we get the coop upgraded.
Of course, I end up discovering that my favorite new pullet 
is actually a rooster.
And since no roosters are allowed at the Wannabe Farm 
(because the neighbor's Roo is loud enough without one in the backyard)
He needs to find a home. 
Luckily, I found him one and also found another pullet to replace him- same breed and everything.
Hopefully I won't have to worry about raising new chicks for a while.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Prepping the Garden

The husband was hard at work Sunday and Monday
getting the veggie garden ready for planting.
This past fall we dumped quite a bit of composted manure
onto the garden- something we neglected to do the year before
and we paid for it in lack of production.
So Big E went to work tilling in the compost.
He also went to work making the edges perfectly straight.
Finally, he limed the garden good.
We have one more bag of lime we need to finish up one corner
but for the most part, it's done.
 I spent my evening making a to scale drawing of the garden
so I could get an idea of where I wanted things to go.
We wanted to make sure we rotated the various veggies
in the hopes that it would help with squash bug issues
and that rotation and added compost would boost our crops.
I paid special attention to companion planting 
and spacing (something I never really paid much attention to).
I ended up having a little extra room for a small herb garden-
on paper at least.
We'll see how well I planned once it's time to get the seeds and plants in the ground.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015


Yesterday was a beautiful day in our neck of the world
and since an injury has me sidelined from the gym and from my usual hike training,
I figured it was time to lay out a plan for the coop renovations.
Because I brought home 1 chick more than I was supposed to intended,
and 2 of the new chicks are Jersey Giants- the largest breed of chicken,
it was evident that we needed to make the coop a little larger 
to accommodate all the girls comfortably.
I had already planned to redo the run of the coop by making it the same height as the coop itself.
This would let me enter the run to clean it
and allow me to hang a waterer
and add some perches.
The plan has morphed into adding  1 1/2 feet to the existing coop
(which requires cutting large openings in the existing wall), 
adding 1-2 windows 
(which may require the need to relocate a support beam
and/or the existing perch)
adding 2 feet to the run
making the run the same height as the coop
and replacing the small door with a door big enough
for me to enter the run.
My husband is thrilled.
Bertha was interested in the goings-on 
and came to check it out.
Truthfully, I'm pretty sure she was looking for me to give her food.
Over the weekend they got some strawberry pieces
and that means (to them) that I might have strawberry pieces each time I come to the coop.
She and I had a talk about being nice to the new arrivals when they move in
as she is the boss of the coop.
She might have a run for her money 
as one of the new Speckled Sussex pullets is asserting her authority in the brooder.
We might end up with 2 rival chicken gangs like 
the Sharks and the Jets.
If I see any of them snapping their fingers
and singing I'll let you know.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Child Labor

My grandson came to visit for the holiday weekend, 
so I put him to work.

You've got to start them when they're young!