Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Chicken Girl Problem # 4: Egg Laying

Chicken Girl Problem # 4
Egg Laying

My chickens have finally reached the perfect laying age and it was probably one of the happiest times of my whole chicken raising experience. Since we have 28 chickens we were very excited to be getting several eggs a day, however, we were very hesitant since we knew the winter months were fast approaching and their egg production would drop.

I am happy to report that we have been getting about 14 to 16 eggs a day! As a family, we figured that it is safe to assume the chickens are laying about every other day! I am also very proud to say that out of all the eggs we have harvested there has only been one soft shell. We do not have an egg breaker (cross my fingers) and no animal has stolen them! However, we have had the issue with our chickens laying their eggs in random places outside.

This is my beautiful girl Pearl and she is a sweetheart. But (yes their is a but) she has been escaping the safety of our yard and running to our neighbors house (yes I literally mean running) and laying her eggs underneath our neighbors swing set! It is easy to spot her missing from the front yard since she is our only white chicken but it has not been fun venturing to our neighbors yard 5 to 6 times a day to retrieve her.
I wish I could tell you that we have found a way to keep her in our yard but that would be a lie. Instead, we have found out that if we keep all of our pool gate doors closed she isn't smart enough to either fly over it or just walk around to the back and sneak out one of those doors.

I have found that there are several things that have contributed to us having healthy chickens and delicious eggs. These things go as follows:
  • Clean Water
  • Adequate Food
  • Adequate Supplements such as Oyster Shells
  • Clean living environment and adequate space
  • Free Range time whether it be for a few minutes to a few hours
  • Healthy Treats to keep their treat obsessed minds occupied. The best treat chart is this one from backyard chickens
  • Love and Attention, dead serious. I have some very cuddly chickens whom love being loved
Have any things you would like to add to the list?! COMMENT BELOW!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Chicken Girl Problem # 3 Predators

Chicken Girl Problem #3


Good Afternoon Everyone!
Since my last chicken girl problem was dealing with death I figured I should go back to the topic of predators. I know I briefly talked about it on my last post but it is so very important that I feel I need to go over it again.

Backyardchickens.com is literally my favorite website for anything & everything chicken! I recently read a post that was put on a forum and it goes over in detail what every kind of predator will go after and how you can figure out who is stealing your chickens or trying to. This is the link Poultry Predators this forum helped me understand what I was going up against and how I could try to fix it.

I understand that some people like to be a bit more aggressive when it comes to revenge for their killed chickens but that is not the way I like to operate. However, for those of you that do here is another link that talks about state/federal laws on eliminating hawks or owls. It is important to keep in mind that laws will be different in every state so it is important to do more research if you don't find your answer on this forum. To Eliminate or Leave alone?

Because of our recent hawk attack our chickens are no longer able to free range all day long. Instead after working a 10 hour day I come home to sit in the yard and let my chickens free range from anywhere to 1-3 hours. I honestly think the more time the better but if that cannot be done then an hour would be great for there overall health. I couldn't imagine being stuck inside all day!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Death of a Loved One

Chicken Girl Problem #2


One of the things that I have always hated about having pets is that eventually they do have to die. However, sometimes its nice to know that when a pet dies it is because of natural causes and that they had lived a wonderful life before their time was up. Its kind of a different situation when a pet is taken from you before its time was due. I guess my issue is that I have never had a pet long enough to have it die on me, besides the occasional fish death.

Septemeber 10 that all changed for me when I came home to find my sisters and mom surrounded by the baby chickens outside! However, they aren't really babies since they are 15 wks now but they are 7 wks younger then our older group of chickens. My family told me a story of how a hawk payed a visit to our chickens today while they were outside free ranging. Unfortunately, the hawk was able to get one of our chickens and we could not save her. Her name was Buttercup and she was the most beautiful, fluffiest, sweetest golden bantam ever and she was be deeply missed.

The hardest part of Buttercup passing away was telling my boyfriend mostly because this was his favorite chicken and he truly loved her with all of his heart. My boyfriend is an animal lover by nature so honestly any kind of animal death is very hard for him to handle. I couldn't blame him though because I had a really hard time dealing with this as well. For me it was because I felt like I had let my children down because I wasn't there to protect them from this predadtor. We literally have never seen a hawk in all of the months that these chickens have been free ranging. It really caught all of us off guard but it was a great lesson learned.

Just because you do not see a predator does not mean he/she is not there. Hawks are very good at what they do and it is mostly because of their outstanding eye sight and great hunting skills. This terrible event has helped us become more cautious and aware of the surroundings in the environment. Another positive aspect is that only one of our chickens passed away out of our original 30. We do have a crippled chicken Hops which I mentioned in a previous post and it would have been even more devasting if he passed as well. I am sad about the death of Buttercup but glad that is all that it was if that Hawk had wiped out more of our flock it would have been even more difficult to handle. 

The one thing that saved the rest of the chickens though is that they had an adequate amount of space to hide and our reaction time to saving them and throwing rocks at the hawk helped to get him out of the yard.

So everyone please be very careful with your flocks of chickens and be very diligent about looking out for them. Predators will catch you off guard and kill all of your chickens if they can. It can help to you so be prepared.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

They Grow Up So Fast

Before I knew it I no longer had 26 chirping babies but instead I had a group of young toddlers who were up to causing trouble! 

However, they make up for it in how adorable they are! This little girl Speckle was a sweetheart from the beginning and loved to cuddle!

Cream-sicle and the others loved to eat watermelon and it really is a great treat that helps them stay hydrated in the hot summer! They also love eating grapes, blueberries, strawberries, blackberries and raspberries! You also cannot forget yogurt and rice! They are not shy at all when it comes to trying new food.

Unfortunately, I am the mother to a special chicken named Hops. He was always a very fun loving chicken that would "hop" on your hand when you would play with the chickens. However, one day we noticed that Hops could not walk very well and was having a hard time standing up. What we found out was that Hops had been born with a defected hock joint. The hock is the back of the chickens leg, to the naked eye its the ball on the back of the chickens leg. The growth plate in that joint was off to the right side of where it should be. This was causing Hops tendon to not be able to stay in place. Therefore, this rendered Hops right leg to be useless.

$200 later I had an x-ray and some tape around this little guys leg to hopefully fix it! Unfortunately, it did not do anything which as the vet had told me what could happen. We put another splint on but this time he used a popsicle stick, cotton balls, and more tape! We hoped that this would do the trick this time but unfortuantely it did not do anything! After a month of going back and forth to the vet and draining my savings account the vet informed me that all I could do is give Hops the best life and hope for the best. That is exactly what I have been doing and he is doing great now! His leg is still very much deformed but he has grow up so much and can get around on his own.

I am really hoping that he continues to do well and is able to live a wonderful and happy life! I would like to conclude with that this was probably the hardest chicken girl problem that I have run into so far!

Chicken Girl Problem #1

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Love at First Peck

The first group of four chickens included 3 hens and one rooster. However, at the time we had no idea that the first chicken pictured would be a rooster! We decided to name them in order Mystery, Layla, Mantequilla, Buttercup and Ollie. They lived in our garage for a few weeks until they were old enough to tough out the spring weather in the chicken coop that me and my father built for them.

This is the coop that we built for them to live in! As you can see in the second picture we added a lid over the nest boxes so that we would have access to the eggs that they will eventually be laying.

They grew up fast and by the time they were living in their new coop we were starting all over again with 26 baby chicks!

They lived in our garage for several weeks until we had figured out where we were gonna put these little girls! We knew we wouldn't be able to fit so many chickens into one coup that was built for 7 chickens! So my father and I transformed our shed into a chicken coop for all of them to live!

Please mind the mess in the coop! My sister accidentally tipped the water jug over in the coop so I had to remove a lot of the shavings!

Now that we got all of the chickens settled into their coop it seemed like the hard part was over! Now, all we would have to do was feed them, give them water, fresh air and plenty of grass to fed on! Oh boy was I wrong! Chicken problems happened or maybe I just made them up in my mind!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Chicken Girl Problems

May 30, 2012
Welcome! My name is Haley and I have chicken girl problems. To define a "chicken girl problem" I would say are things that people with chickens have to deal with. The moment that my father and I decided to raise chickens I really had no idea how much work would need to go into it. We started off with four chicks that were about a week and a half old from McMurray Hatchery in April. After we got these guys all settled in my father and I wanted more chickens because we felt that four was just not enough. About one month later we had 26 new baby chicks at our door! Our two groups of chickens are about 7 weeks apart and this really makes for a significant difference. 

Thirty chickens entitles a lot of "chicken girl problems" (We had 31 but unfortunately one of them ended up being a rooster and we could not keep him in our neighborhood. Don't worry he went to a great farm). For the most part this blog with document the problems that I have run into with being a new mommy to so many babies and talk about how I raise my chickens. I take pride in the way I raise them and am very excited to share my experience with all of you.

 Questions & Comments are ALWAYS welcome!