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Monday, September 7, 2015

Buttercup and Daisy needed to get saddles

This Spring Cinnamon and Jubilee began tormenting Buttercup and Daisy.   Cinnamon jumps on Daisy's back and Jubilee charges and pecks her head.  Daisy barely has feathers on her wings.  Her little head is featherless.
I have researched this problem on the blogs that I follow and all have stated boredom, pecking order, and just mean.  I thought about all the ways I could  alleviate boredom.  I strung up some lettuce, corn, and even a carrot.  The corn and lettuce were hysterical to watch.  Jubilee couldn't be bothered one bit with such a childish game of eating.  The three RI Reds had a blast.  The lettuce took about three hours to be down to the root head.  The corn was cleaned to its cob in roughly an hour.  The carrot was not even touched.
I could tie food to the top of their coop run but seriously I don't think this is feasible.   I continued to research the other ways of stopping this tormenting behavior.  One way was let the two younger ones free range all day.  Well that would be awesome if I lived on acres of land.  The two hawks that fly over head are just waiting for the girls to be loose.  I once read on mypetchicken site that there is a woman who makes hen saddles for nasty roosters who dont leave the hens alone and also for pecking aggression issues.  I placed an order with Louise's Country Closet for two saddles, $5.00 each.  We put them on the girls backs, holding their wings gently.  They caused a little bit of a ruckus for a few minutes.  The woman who makes them included with the saddles a note explaining how to put them on and what they might behavior like.  Indeed they had a tantrum so to say.  The best was when the Cinnamon and Jubilee so them in the coop run with their new saddles on.  Well, they strutted around look at me, we have protection.  Daisy and Buttercup heads were definitely higher and their chests were pushed out a bit.  Unfortunately, that lasted for about twenty-four hours.  Jubilee and Cinnamon realized we can still torment and chase.
Stay tuned for next obstacle we need to challenge.
Year to date-----573 brown, beautiful, and delicious eggs

Difficult Summer in the Coop

Good evening and where has the time gone?  I apologize for not keeping up with the blog.  All four hens were doing wonderfully.  Going about their strutting and digging.  The little ones from the neighborhood came every Thursday to check on the girls.  At times they were able to snatch an egg from the nesting box.  I often shared some pellets to the little ones to feed them.  All the girls were back to laying perfectly.  Of course each one would take a day or two off to think about laying.  Hey I get it -It is hard work just like labor.
In mid July, we saw a difference in Cinnamon our RI Red Hen.  She began to sleep more under the coop.  She was not eating the pellets.  She wanted me to hand or spoon feed her.  At night,  in the coop, she began to sleep downstairs and not roost with the others.  Jubilee would carry on- c'mon get up Cinnamon but she couldn't.  Many of a night,  I would go out late to check on her in the coop.  I would bring some yogurt and a flashlight.  She would eat like no tomorrow.  Next morning back to sleeping.
In the beginning of August I was off to meetings all day.  She was digging her hole to rest.  I spoke to her and she ruffled her feathers in disgust.  I came home and checked on her.  She winked her final wink. Five years and one month.  Well over 1200 eggs.  RIP Cinnamon- Spunkiest Hen We loved so much.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Some December pictures to share




Chickens or Bees?

Yesterday I was at Williams -Sonoma and began a conversation with a lovely saleswoman about bees in the Spring.  She had thought about chickens but was under the impression too much work.  I shared our experiences and told her about our blog.  I said we live in the city, all of our ladies are cold hardy,  and the eggs are wonderful.  I talked about all the goodies we feed them: yogurt, oatmeal, lettuce, and bananas.  She asked how many do you have?  I responded, "five ladies and no roosters."  She asked "Do your neighbors mind?"  I said "No, we share our eggs, when we have an over abundance."
As I was driving home, I was thinking of so much more I could have shared.  But on the other hand, her manager was eyeing our in depth conversation to be out of the ordinary.
I should have shared the day the first group arrived by the Postal Woman.  How we raised them on the front porch as if they were our newborns.  How Ginger, our Springer Spaniel loved sitting by the bin and watching their antics.  How each one of us had layed on the couch with the chicks in our arms rubbing their crowns to sleep.  
I should have shared all the books that helped us to raise five hens.  All the websites and magazines we read to further our expertise.
I should have shared how Michael built the coop in the garage and had to devise a  way to get it in the backyard.  I don't think we have pictures of him rolling the coop from the garage on aluminuim fence posts, similair to the way the  Egyptians lifted and  moved the blocks and materials to build the Pyramids.
I should have told her about the hypnotic viewing for hours on end in the backyard by all family members and neighbors.
I should have shared making the coop a better, cozier, and more enjoyable place for three hens to live.
I should have shared coming home from work and hearing the girls squeal.  Actually, they were hoping for some delicious treats.
The most joyous day was when Michael came home and found our first brown egg in the nesting box.
The joys of Chicken Keeping in the City can't be shared in every post but they are more exciting.
I should have told her about cleaning the coop weekly,.  Oh it isn't bad.  The spirit and uniqueness of each hen is totally different.  One is very bossy. One is timid. One loves to be held. One loves to eat out of your hand.  One enjoys sitting on your shoulder, All three love the kiddie pool on hot summer days.  And yes they need vaseline on their crowns to protect from frostbite.
But my family truly has embraced all five ladies as much as the other pets in out lives.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Part II coop

Enjoying their new coop in the city

New coop design


Bigger Coop for the Ladies

A few weeks ago Michael moved the coop to a better position. This new position gave the Ladies an extra fifty-five inches more to graze, sleep, or gain some privacy from the two little energetic ones.
Daisy and Buttercup started laying eggs the second week of October.  Jubilee is currently molting.  Year to date we have 490 beautiful brown eggs.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

A new lesson learned so I thought I would share

  • Cited from Backyard Chickens
                Many of these events occur weekly.  I often forget to post them.

  • Most hens will lay eggs in the same nest box as flockmates, so it’s not necessary to have a nest box for each hen.
  • Some hens like to lay their eggs in private and others will join their sisters in the nest box. Often two or three hens will crowd into one box while another nest box remains empty.
  • Sometimes a hen will sit on previously laid eggs and add her egg to the clutch. Another might prefer to sit in another area and deposit one egg by itself.
  • Often a hen will sing “the egg song” before or after she lays an egg. Some will sing during the process of laying. It is a cheerful song that seems to be a proud announcement.
  • Chickens learn by example, so a fake or real egg left in a designated nest box may encourage hens to lay there instead of on the floor or outdoors.
  • Unconfined hens may lay eggs anywhere outdoors if they don’t want to return to the nest box. Sometimes a free-ranging hen will go missing and reappear weeks later with a parade of chicks.
  • Chickens like to eat eggs, even their own. An egg that gets accidentally broken will likely be eaten by one of the chickens. If you occasionally find pieces of shell or egg yolk in the nest box, it’s usually nothing to be concerned about.
  • Some chickens become habitual egg-eaters that break eggs open and eat them. An egg-eater should be culled from the flock if you wish to have eggs for the kitchen. Not only will that chicken continue to eat eggs, but others will learn from watching and you may end up with several egg-eaters.
  • Holes in eggs and cracked eggs do not necessarily mean there is an egg-eater in the flock. A hen can accidentally crack an egg in the nest when she sits down or adjusts the nest to lay her own egg. Sometimes curiosity or boredom leads a chicken to peck at an egg without the intention of eating it.
  • Chickens can be fed their own or other eggs either raw or cooked. Eggs provide protein and the calcium in the shell is beneficial for laying hens. A potato masher can be used to break boiled eggs into pieces of egg and shell.
  • Empty eggshells from the kitchen can be fed back to chickens as a calcium supplement without concern for developing egg-eaters. However, to be safe, crushing the shells or running through a blender is a good idea.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Joyous Evening

Last evening was a joyous one, all five ladies slept in the front window of  the coop together in harmony.  If you haven't been following lately please read previous entries.  The evening temperatures fell to about 86 degrees Fahrenheit.  There was an occasional breeze to cool the air.  After we had an enjoyable dinner al fresco, we checked on the girls in the coop.  I peeked in and no one was in the nesting boxes.  I said to Michael,  "Can I see your flashlight?"  He came over to the coop and much to our surprise all five ladies were snuggled together resting peacefully enjoying the gently breeze and gazing out at their keepers.  The dragonflies were fluttering about munching on a late night mosquito snack and Ginger was lounging on the chair.  Michael, Margaret, and Michael were discussing the days events and the journey we have planned in ten days.  The smiles were brought to our faces when we learned finally all has come together with the two newest ladies, Daisy and Buttercup and the mature ladies, Cinnamon, Jubilee, and Pepper.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Buttercup and Daisy are here to stay!

Buttercup and Daisy have been sleeping in the coop this whole week.  Yes, they wait until the Ladies are in their positions.  Here are a few pictures to show you how cute.
Our newest pictures to share with you.  Buttercup is the gentle, little one.  Daisy is the tall and strong one.  Ginger is our Springer Spaniel who loves all the girls.  The temperature reached 93 degrees fahrenheit yesterday.  Margaret decided to take them for a swim.  How they enjoyed cooling off.Buttercup on the left and Daisy on the right

Saturday, July 6, 2013

One week later

The little girls have been more courageous and daring.  They are sleeping all night in the nesting box.  They hop from side to side when the ladies aren't looking.  All and all it seems better.  Remember Rome was not built in a day.
I personally am getting impatient because of the morning ruckus.  This too will pass and be a blur I'm sure.  It will be like growing leg pains, sore braces, and sleepless nights from croup.
Their names will be disclosed by end of week.
Stay tuned for new pictures tomorrow.  All will not believe how big they are.
Good night Ladies who follow Cooped up on the East Side