Custom Search

Aug 27, 2010

Today is the Day to Get Fertilized Eggs for Bantam Chicken

I have decided to visit my neighbor down the road and buy some fertilized eggs from her for my lonely little Bantam chicken, Henny Penny.  Henny is so depressed.  I miss all my chickens and ducks running around clucking and quacking and having a wonderful time roaming the property.  Smiles were never in short supply.

Plus with all those peaceful critters running around I also had a Koi pond water garden.  We have dug a new small pond in the back and yesterday I bought Bentanite (clay granules that expand when wet) to seal the pond. 

Larry is working to get his 1973 Satah tractor running good again and when he does (he thinks today), he's going to work the bentanite into the clay soil.  Then we fill it with water and start over with new fish.  My other Koi were 15" and it took years to grow them that big.  Who knows? Maybe someone around here has more Koi than they want and will give me one or two.

Aug 19, 2010

Henny Penny -- Our Lonely Little Hen

Her name for several years was Quail -- because she looked different from the other Bantams we had.  She didn't have the puffy top on her head.  But now we call her Henny Penny.

The weather heatwave has gone, and this and that projects are done, so we are going to improve her henhouse and make room for her to hatch some fertile eggs.  I think she will be so much happier with some children to care for. 

Jul 20, 2010

Darth Vader is Gone

We only had Darth Vader, we loved him dearly, such a character, but he disappeared two days ago.  A bench in the yard was over-turned and there was one black feather.  We can only guess that a hawk took him.  We can only now talk about it.  Now we have only a small Bantam hen and she is very lonely.  What to do?

Jul 6, 2010

Ford Tractor Parts Catalog 1917-1974

Larry has an old Satoh tractor that uses ford parts and found this catalog. If you need some information from this book, please email larry at

Time to Build a New Chicken House

Our first chicken house was perfect but it was so much work and materials cost $1000.  Someone stole that chicken house within a week after we moved to our current place.  Now we have to get a bit more creative and build a decent chicken house with basically material we can find on our property.   We have been gathering usable material for several months and next week looks promising weather-wise.  Planning the design is my favorite part.

This is where DarthVader and HennyPenny live now.  Not secure, not warm in winter, and not very comfortable for these two chickens.  We had to find a good home for all the rest of their family but kept these two.

Before we had to move, the white chicken house on the right was their home.  I used the outhouse-looking red building to store straw and supplies.  We may never get completely over losing that chicken house.  Larry and I worked three long weeks building it.  It is made like Fort Knox.  We didn't want to worry about raccoons, possums, or other predators getting them.

Apr 9, 2010

Dedicated to Rocky and the Gang

My babies.  I miss them all so much.  We were not able to provide a good home for all of them after our move but we did keep Darth Vader and Quail.

Rocky II, the one of the far left, used to spend his entire day keeping DarthVader, not in picture, away from the group.  Guess he figured two roosters for seven hens was enough.

That's the only good thing about all this change:  DarthVader now has his own sweet little hen, Quail.  I told Larry we would try to get all our chickens back after we built another chicken house big enough for them all.  He doesn't think we should.  So we decided to let DarthVader and Quail hatch out their eggs this spring and we'll all start over, much like Job did in the Bible.

Mar 2, 2010

DarthVaders Aura

DarthVader has a strong aura; Rocky Rooster never hurt DarthVader but he did not want Darth to claim any one of the hens.

Darth and Quail, a hen, and another hen, Fuzzy Top, were all good friends and they would slip away from the group whenever Rocky was not paying attention.

Darth is still recovering from the horror of watching a big dog attack and carry off FuzzyTop.  Larry and I were on the scene within moments and did make the big dog drop FuzzyTop; however she didn't make it through the night; Darth nested by her side the entire night.
Posted by Picasa

Mar 1, 2010

DarthVader, the Sad Black Rooster

DarthVader, the black rooster in this photo, and Ms Quail, on her roost at this time, are suffering from a great loss, their friend FuzzyTop.

It was a tragic incident for all of us, including the big dogs I'm sure.  But the end result was losing our beloved FuzzyTop.

DarthVader and FuzzyTop were life-long friends, life-long best friends.  He is taking her loss hard.

We, Larry and I, are taking it hard too. FuzzyTop had a great personality and we sure enjoyed her antics over the years.  In case you're new here, FuzzyTop is the fourth chicken from the left in the heading photo above.

Feb 25, 2010

Benchmark Chickens

bantam roosterMeet DarthVader. Darth, a rooster, and Quail, a hen, were once a part of a large bantam chicken family living in a beautiful apex-roof chicken house complete with five perfect nesting boxes, two functioning glass windows facing south and east.  Rocky was head rooster; all of them shared 64 sq ft and with 5 roost levels.  They were completely happy and so were we.

But today's benchmark is:  We had to move. We kept Darth, FuzzyTop and Quail but the rest of the chicken family were given away to a very good home.

That was a tough adjustment and severe loss for us and Darth and Quail.  But gradually we got used to only seeing Darth, Quail, and FuzzyTop roaming around our property.

About two weeks ago two large hungry dogs took after our chickens and caught FuzzyTop before we could reach them.  We screamed, yelled, and threw rocks at the dogs and the one that had FuzzyTop dropped her to the ground and ran away.

Larry put FuzzyTop on soft straw in the small chicken coop they now lived in.  We did all we could for all three of them since Darth and Quail suffered shock over the experience.  Then night feel and upon rising the next morning, Larry went to check the chickens and tenderly because he thought it might be too much for me, he held me and said "FuzzyTop did not make it through the night."

Sun Comes Out and Life Looks Better

Posted by Picasa

Feb 18, 2010

Ideal Poultry 412

We had kitchen curtains made from this very material when I was a little girl living in Lawrence, Kansas back in the 1950s-60s.

I would have this material made into kitchen curtains for my kitchen alcove today and will if I ever see enough material like this.

After raising backyard chickens for nearly three years now I can say with all confidence, chickens are the ideal poultry to raise.

We also raised five Cayuga ducks which I miss very much and still love dearly.  But ducks need a big pond and lots of tender leaves to eat (but not my flowers).

This material with its eggs, picnic basket, pumpkins, white fence, straw and hay, so completely captures what I love to see in on our land as I stroll around in the morning that I wonder I didn't paint it myself.

Feb 15, 2010

What My Chickens Love to Eat

We buy good chicken feed without hormones and mix it with cracked corn and sunflower seeds.

This is not what you would want to feed your chickens if egg production is paramount to you.  Here's why:

If you want lots of eggs you need to feed your chickens only egg layer pellets or crumbles; if you also feed them sunflower seeds or cracked corn, those foods will clog up their egg laying ability.

Eggs are important to me but I want my chickens happy and healthy first.  I also give them diced cheddar cheese, lettuce leafs, carrot shavings, peas, grapes, and things like that.

I save these table scraps up all day and the next morning when I let them out, I call "chick, chick, chick" and toss out the buffet on the ground.  They thank me with sweet noises and we start our day.

Feb 11, 2010

Rooster's Hen

My heart is still heavy with sadness at having to give up our chicken family; they were so comfortable and happy with us. 

I had known each of them since they were born,  I knew which chickens were best friends, I knew how much Rocky loved Marilyn Monroe, the pretty white hen.  I knew Fuzzy Top and Darth Vader were best friends.

So when I had to let most of the chickens go to a bigger hen house than we could provide, we kept Darth Vader and Fuzzy Top and her friend, Quail. 

This sadness will end this spring.  We plan on letting them hatch out their eggs this spring.  Young chicks will brighten up their day and ours.

Feb 8, 2010

Hatchery Life for Baby Chicks

On the Backyard Chicken Forum, a member inquired about Meyer Hatchery and asked if anyone knew anything about them; I didn't so I did some research on Meyer Hatchery.

This is a photo of some of their chicks so that tells me they take good care of their birds.  Meyer Hatchery started up in 1985; they are located in Polk, Ohio.

They have a nice website where chicken owners can order nearly anything you might need to raise chickens.

They offer a simple but informative FAQ page and answer popular questions about raising chickens as laying hens or as meat; how old a chicken must be to lay eggs (varies from 17 months to 30 months old) and much more.

Feb 1, 2010

Urban Backyard Chickens Outlawed

So many city folks are raising their own chickens on their property that city authorities in a number of states are trying to outlaw backyard chickens.  I wonder what the city counsel members are using as a reason: I could list a half dozen possible reasons here but I don't even think its worth the effort. 

With the economy the way it is and truthfully, it will get worse, families need to be thinking of ways to keep food on the table.  Fresh eggs are, for me, as valuable as the 'golden egg' of the Goose.  Fresh eggs are as different from store-bought eggs as the sun and the moon.  I will add here that Cayuga duck eggs are ten times better than fresh chicken eggs but not everyone has a small pond available for ducks.

But chickens are so much easier to care for.  We let ours free range from dawn to dusk; at about dusk they go into their chicken house and roost.  All we need to do is keep the chicken house clean, keep fresh water available, and a bucket of chicken feed out.  We count our chickens each night after they go to roost.  I should say 'we used to count our chickens each night'  -- now we are down to only two chickens so no need to count anymore.  But it is a good practice to get in to.

Jan 28, 2010

Backyard Chickens Forum

Backyard chicken forum sites are not that many and if I had the time, I'd create a backyard chickens forum myself.

I have found several chicken forums. One of them is called simply Backyard ChickensBackyard Chickens is a popular forum that has been around for years.

However, it may just be me but I find that forum difficult to use.  I still haven't learned how to do photos and can't get my profile page to look decent. But the members are so helpful it makes up for that one small problem.

I went through about five blogs and sites before I came across another chicken forum that I think is top-notch: Urban Chickens.  This forum is easy to use, for me.  Try both chicken forums and determine for yourself which you prefer.  I am a member of both Backyard Chickens and Urban Chickens.

Forums offer such good information about backyard chickens, how to raise them, what to feed them, and more.  Plus the information you receive comes from another chicken lover who has already used the knowledge and found it useful.  Let me know if you know of a chicken forum you think is useful and I'll tell our readers about it. -- Susan

Jan 21, 2010

Fuzzy Top is Gone

Bantams (Pet Owners Manuals)Our sweet Fuzzy Top Bantam chicken was mauled by a neighbors dogs and she passed away in the hen house during the night.  Fuzzy Top is in the center of our logo banner above -- see her fuzzy little head, fourth chicken from the left.

Her best friend since they were little yellow chicks was Darth Vader, our black rooster.  When she came back wounded, we placed her gently in the hen house in a wooden nesting box on fresh straw.  We were not sure how badly she was hurt but her wing was broken.  Darth, her best friend, stood outside the nesting box all night guarding her.

Now all we have left are Darth Vader and Quail and both are traumatized by the loss of Fuzzy Top during the horrible experience of having two large dogs chase and attack them.  Larry blasted his 12-gage shotgun into the air to scare off the dogs and then we gathered up our little frightened sweeties and as I said before, put them all in the hen house.  Sad day

Jan 17, 2010

Brave Chickens

One of the first things I noticed about chickens is that chickens know no fear when it comes to protecting their young.  We watched, fascinated, as Henny Penny and Marilyn Monroe, our original two hens, protected and instructed their brood of young (9 of them).

These two wise hens trained their young well and that training saved their lives.  We allow our chickens to free roam.  We also live near woods that have plenty of wild life that also free roam.  Apparently these hens also realized the potential danger in the woods because while the chicks were quite young, one hen or the other would put out a high pitch whistle sound and all the babies would freeze.  If a chick had one leg in the air, that leg stayed in the air until the hens gave the okay sign.  I saw them hold their frozen positions one morning for a good five minutes.

But that training paid off one day around noon.  A raccoon came down out of a tall tree while the chickens were scratching around for insects.  It all happened so fast I would have to say it was all over in 20 seconds.

I was on the screen porch.  Suddenly Marilyn Monroe shrieked loudly and feathers started flying.  I ran towards the chickens screaming and trying to scare off whatever had hold of her and saw a raccoon run off.  Marilyn lay as still as death and there was not one sign of any of the other chickens.

I picked Marilyn up and Larry and I placed her safely in the chicken house, then we started searching for what we were afraid would be dead baby chicks.  We combed the area, we looked up in the trees, after one hour, I broke down crying and gave up.  They were gone.  I went into the house and laid down, broken-hearted.

About 15 minutes later, Larry came into the bedroom, smiling.  He found them.  They were alive but in the frozen state their mothers had taught them.  Amazing as it sounds, they were so still we couldn't see them.

But the bravest thing of all was Marilyn taking on the raccoon so the baby chicks could get away and hide.  Marilyn went broody for six weeks after that incident.

Jan 4, 2010

Below Zero Chicken House

I had to give away most of my beautiful little chicken family but did so to a very good home.  I kept three chickens.  I had to downsize my chickens because when we moved, we were too old to move the chicken house we had built for them.  It was the most perfect and secure chicken house in the world, to us.   It was insulated and large with two windows.  They loved their home.

But anyway, we no longer have even a decent chicken house now but we'd had to make due. Then the weather turned frigid reaching 0 degrees and lower at night.  So Larry found a red heat lamp and put it over the water and apparently it is working.  No frozen water this morning.  But I do wonder how the chickens feel about the red light; can they see okay?  They have such bad eyesight anyway.