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Dec 23, 2009

Chickens as Amazing Pets

Not too many people find the time to observe free roaming chickens for hours on end; I do in the spring summer and fall.  I was awestruck at their intelligence, strong loving relationships, bravery, and playfulness.  I only have three of my chickens left to observe at this time.  I had no choice but to find a good home for the rest of them, which I did.  I still love them, and my five ducks, which I still miss daily, they are so loving to watch.

Nov 30, 2009

Downsizing My Lovelies: Sad Heart

I have to find a good home for my two roosters (father and son and get along) and all but two hens. I know and love them all but simply do not have a proper chicken house for them.

We built a beautiful white little house with peaked roof and windows on east and south side.  Had marvelous hatch door and nesting boxes.  We placed linoleum on the floor for easy cleaning.  They were safe and happy in that house but was not able to move it to where we moved so . . .

Note: Think I found a good home for them with a lady in Weaubleu MO about 25 miles west of us.  She loves and understands chickens too and has a very good home.  She understands the need to keep the little chicken family together so will take all. Dec 2009

Sep 3, 2009

Chickens Venture into Front Yard First Time

Rocky Rooster and his group adapted to their new home location faster than I anticipated. Chickens and ducks do not like change. If I change anything in the hen house, I do it while they are there to watch.

If I do it while they are roaming around somewhere else, they throw a fit when they come in that night to rooster. Chickens are intelligent and they like to know exactly what is in store for them.

When I put in a new roost, I do it while they are on their high roost. They all pay avid attention to my every action and they express their like or dislike immediately.

One of the chickens will fly down on the new roost bar, checks it out and then flies back to the others and tells them to check it out. One or two more will land (this is before I am done with the project mind you).

If they approve of what I'm doing, I finish up and close their door, which is a storm door and I can see them easily.

Aug 27, 2009

Chicken Ladies and Their Roosters

You might think a rooster selects his hens and you would be right half the time. But there are some hens that choose their rooster. We have nine hens and three roosters. I know. I know. Everyone says that's too many roosters and they will fight and generally cause trouble. Not so.

Rocky, the oldest rooster and grandfather to one rooster and father to another one, rules the roost as far as the roosters are concerned. But ultimately, Marilyn Monroe, a pretty white hen and Rocky's sweetheart for several years, rules Rocky.

Aug 23, 2009

Chickens Walk Upright on Two Legs

I went out to throw some vegetables scraps to our chickens this morning. I call out "Here Chick, Chick, Chick" and they know something good is coming. This morning they were extra hungry because they ran towards me. Each chicken ran straight towards me and each chicken appeared to have a straight upright body. I could not see the tail feathers and fat little butts since they were directly facing me.

That is when I realized that chickens actually walk like humans do. Straight and tall. It is only when they eat or look for food that they bend over.

Aug 18, 2009

Unable to Take Our Chickenhouse When We Moved

Our little bantams went to roost one quiet summer evening about 3 weeks ago, thinking it was just the end of another day. But we had set out three travel cages behind the door of the chicken house and were just waiting for them all to calming go to roost.

When they did, I went into the chicken house, picked up a rooster as calmly as possible, and started the process of handing the twelve chickens out to Gary, who put each one in a cage for transporting them.

We were very disappointed that we could not take the chicken house Larry and I built from scatch, custom made for those little chickens. It was so perfect down to the five nesting boxes.

Now the chickens live in a tin shed. No windows like their pretty little house before. No hatch door. No nesting boxes. Just one long roost for now.

Jun 3, 2009

Twilight Time Hens Roosters Roost in Peace

Our twelve chickens love their house.  The have a dining area, cozy nest for brooding time complete with red and white checked curtains over top of the nests.

They have a window on the east, south, and west sides of the building with roosts that allow them to great the morning sun.

On left, Fuzzy Top, an attractive hen, is being followed closely by Darth Vader, a rooster.

May 31, 2009

Ducks Love Winter

December 23, 2008 Ducks Love Winter (Y360-1)

We were surprised at how much our five Cayuga ducks enjoy freezing weather. For several nights when it got down to 4 degrees much of the pond froze over. However there was a small two-foot square area where the waterfall flows into the pond that did not freeze and all five ducks tried to squeeze into that little water hole.

I stayed up most of the night checking on them, afraid they might get frozen into the ice. Eventually they all got out of the water towards morning and got into the duck blind we built for them and tucking their heads under their wings, they all went to sleep.

Feb 26, 2009

Ducks Adopt Baby Chick

I having coffee on my screen porch and watching the ducks and chickens do their thing in the yard.  Each morning when I open the hatch door to let the chickens out to play in the yard for the day, the ducks line up close by the watch for the little tiny chick to peep his way down the hatch door.

The mother hen and her chick usually stay close to the chicken house while she trains and teaches the chick how to scratch the dirt and find food.

The ducks seem to love to watch the hen and chick and will lay down in the straw for a few hours just to enjoy the scene.

Feb 20, 2009

Peek a Boo

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Feb 19, 2009

Rooster Dives at Duck

This morning unlike any morning before this, our main rooster, Rocky, apparently got fed up with Daffy Duck, our largest Cayuga duck.

The five ducks are extremely territorial and their territory keeps expanding.  Rocky and his gang of eleven Bantams stroll up from the chicken house each morning to see what I've thrown out the back door for them.

I buy lettuce especially for them and have plenty of sunflowers seeds so they usually enjoy breakfast.

But today, when Daffy started toward the hens to shoo them off, Rocky jumped high and did a kind of dive bomb on him.  Daffy had a startled look on his face, kind of a "what the h--l" look.  Why don't they do that stuff when I'm holding my camera.
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Feb 7, 2009

New Baby Chick Born Feb 4

When Gary (my brother in law) entered the chicken house early morning on Feb 4, he heard a tiny little peep peep coming from under the white hen.  We knew she had an egg under her all this time and that there was a good chance the little feller would hatch out soon.

However, the weather was so frigid (10 degrees) and dreary, and we always thought baby chicks were only born during spring and summer and fall but never winter.  We were wrong.

We have twelve chickens now and all our pets, but pets that lay nice healthy eggs.  However, our five ducks give us about a dozen eggs a week and duck eggs are ten times tastier than store bought eggs -- 

Jan 25, 2009

Winter Eggs

Chickens lay eggs during the summer without a problem. It is not the warm sunshine, it is just the sunshine. During the summer chickens get over 14 hours of sunlight a day. We heard about this last winter. Our chickens stopped laying eggs as winter set in, but we kept their house a comfortable 65 degrees with a thermostatically controlled heater.

After we found out that they might lay eggs even during the winter with enough sunlight, we turned on their light at 5 am until the sun came out and after dusk, we turned it on again until 7pm. It only took one day of this to get eggs again.

Chickens also stop laying eggs if they get frightened over something. We experienced this one day when a raccoon tried to attack our hens and chicks during the daylight hours. I frightened the raccoon away and we later had to kill him (we've heard raccoons who come out during the daylight hours ((this one came out at noon)) are usually rabid.

Anyway, our chickens stopped laying eggs for over four weeks due to that frightening episode. One even went broody -- the one closest to the raccoon. All the little chicks disappeared after the attack. We could not even find a feather for hours. Then, by accident, I saw one laying under a Hosta plant and broke down bawling. "Larry!" I cried. "There . . ." I said, pointing to the plant. "They're all dead!" I said and stumbled into the house and flopped on the bed and let me heart break.

Larry came into our room, smiling, and holding one chick. "They were pretending to be dead. They are all alive and well." It was and always will be for me, a perfect miracle.

Jan 11, 2009

It's a Dog's Life or It Used to Be

The little red house you see belongs to our dogs, Buddy, Buddy's Buddy, and Missy. It has a front porch and is raised up off the ground about 10 inches on cement blocks. It has one window on the west side and shingles on the roof and is completely insulated, even the floor.

The Buddys' can see out their window and look down our driveway ever watching for a errant car to try to enter their territory. They love company to pull in because they can strut their stuff and bark like they mean it.

Anyway, about the little red house for the dogs. The chickens and ducks have taken it over during the day. The chickens stand on the front porch and it appears to us like they are just enjoying the scenery the same way we do from our screen porch.

The ducks do not want the chickens on the dog house porch and all five ducks will waddle with an attitude in a row, quacking loudly, toward the chickens and the chickens, at first, would scatter off but with dignity, as if that is what they wanted to do all along.

The rock area you see between where I am standing with the camera and the red dog house is our water garden with koi and goldfish. For years it has run clear and the morning sun and the fish swam like gold jewelry under the water with gold pebbles as a backdrop.

Then came the ducks. Momma Duck and her four little ducks made it home. Now the water still runs clean but it is never clear because the ducks purposely churn the water. I haven't seen the koi or goldsih for nearly three months. They are there and no one has died or I'd know. We built a flat rock island in the center of the pond for the ducks. They sleep on the island and feel safe.
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Artic Nights Ahead

We are not worried about our chickens in frigid weather because they have a very nice house with heater, windows, fresh hay, water, food, and plenty of things to play on, like a step ladder and hay bales.

We are concerned for our ducks. They will not sleep in a warm chicken house with the chickens. They are adament about being near the little water garden. We are expecting a high of 12 degrees in a few days. Can they survive?