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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

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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.