Archive for the 'chicks' Category

Garden/Foster Farm Update

The rain has finally subsided for a few days!  I am overjoyed!  So overjoyed that I actually acquiesced to a bike ride with the hubby and kids (in the bike trailer) today.  It was beautiful.  If only it was summer in Portland all the time.

Anyway, this was a garden update!  I was talking to a friend the other day, as we played in the park on a rather partly cloudy and sixty-five degree day, that maybe this year isn’t quite as bad as last year as far as rain goes.  My roses are not molding.  But, it is rose festival time and do I have even one rose blossom?  Not a one.  So, they aren’t moldy, but they are just non-existent.  But, the irises are coming in!  Remember that we planted a TON of irises last year after the birth of Miss Nancy Iris?  Here’s the first of them about to bloom!  I’m so excited to see them.  I don’t even remember what colors we planted!
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I have pretty much all of my vegetables in the garden now. There are carrots (seedlings are just starting to show up), kale (a new veggie… I’m hoping to make kale chips that the girls will love), brussels sprouts, swiss chard, lettuce, cucumbers, squashes, zucchini, pumpkins, green and yellow beans, and Clara also convinced me to plant corn, which should be exciting. I got rid of all of my sunflowers last year because they were a pain in the butt to try to keep standing come late summer, but preschool sent home some seeds to plant, so I guess we’ll have some of those as well. I also planted some peas and tomato plants around the patio, in hopes that the hotter spot will get me more tomatoes (although it can’t get much worse than last year).
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Oh! And my chives are back and blooming. I just love chive blossoms.
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The chickens are finally all living together outside in the hen house. It was a little rocky there for a while. I had the little chicks in a chicken annex run outside every day for a month before I actually tried to put them all together. The first time didn’t take. Curry tried to peck their eyes out. So then I let them free range together for a few days and finally just locked them all together at night fall. They survived. And it only took a month of that for the big chickens to let the little ones roost near them.
Here’s Clucky, a beautiful Americauna. I just love her coloring.
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And here’s Sugar, a Buff Orpington.
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And the big girls, Buffalo, an Australorp, and Curry, a Buff Orpington.
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New Homemade Chicken Feeder

It’s very interesting to me that in writing this blog, I have written 156 post on various topics (parenting, crafting, chickens, gardening, stocking a freezer, etc.), and consistently, the most popular post, the one that is looked at by the most people, is this one about my homemade chicken feeder.  Therefore, it is with great hoopla that I announce, I have made a new chicken feeder of a different design!  Hooray!

My previous chicken feeder was wonderful.  The feed lasted between two and three weeks depending on how much free ranging my chickens were doing and it held up really quite well, but since I am introducing two more chickens to my flock in the next couple of weeks, I realized that feeder was taking up way too much space in my hen house.  I needed something smaller, more compact, and out-of-the-way.  I will still use the old one when we are out-of-town on vacation or visiting the grandparents, but for every day use, I made a new one.

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It is a design I blatantly stole from our friends Courtney and Joe. You need very few pieces and all of mine were recycled/repurposed. I used a length of drain pipe that was sitting in my garage and the bottom of a 2-liter bottle that I cut in two parts. I (with Adam’s help) drilled and screwed the drain pipe to the inside wall of the henhouse. While screwing in the bottom, I jammed the 2-liter bottom on the bottom of the drain pipe and screwed in tightly. Then, I poured in some feed. Below you can see my new feed scoop. You may be able to guess where it came from.
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Voila! New chicken feeder is finished. This was a pretty easy project once I found the right screws. Now all I have left to do for the new chickens is install another roost in the hen house to keep fighting to a minimum and eventually build one more nest box. I’ll keep you updated about how the introductions go.

New Chicks!

Meet the newest members of our family!  They are adorable and Clara thinks that they are just her new best friends.   Nancy screams happily every time she sees them and tries to poke them.  Clara picked out the names Sugar for the yellow one and Clucky for the brown one.  The yellow chick is a Buff Orpington (the same kind as our older chicken, Curry).  The brown chick is an Americauna and will lay blue or green eggs.  So, we’ll have four chickens for the time being and possibly go down to two later in the year after the older girls stop laying for the winter.  I’ll make sure to update as I introduce the new chicks to the older chicks as that should be an interesting process!
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The Coop: Finale

Well, the drama is finally over.  The coop is done.  Adam claims that he thinks I did a good job.  I’m not so sure.  I do know one thing.  Next time I say that I’m thinking about building something, some one needs to slap me first and tell me I’m crazy.  Kristen, you’re in charge of that.  

Here is the finished product. This is the view from the house/patio:
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Here is the view from the rose garden/veggie garden/ lawn:
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Here is the side view of everything, but especially the step that Adam built me (love it and thank you tree toppers for that) and the post and gate that had me in tears:
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The girls are loving it.  They spend all day outside in it right now and then I have to chase them down to get them in the bucket to come back inside at night.  I can’t wait until they can live outside all the time.  Adam has warmed up to them considerably now that they are outside most of the time (they were too loud inside for him) and has been bringing them worms to eat.  They love them and yesterday when Adam gave them a six inch long night crawler, they fought over it, running back and forth, stealing it, then having it stolen for a good five minutes.  Their favorite foods are watermelon rind, strawberries, slugs, and worms.  Yum.  

Curry and Maize:
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Buffalo:
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In chick related news…

Things are going just swimmingly… or maybe flyingly…with the chicks.  They are growing like weeds, literally twice the size they were when we got them.  Here are pictures of them as of today.

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Clara is still in love with them and tells them, “Morning!” every morning.  She loves to take them outside to play during her snack time.  They love it too.  Their favorite thing ever is running around pecking in the grass. 

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On Saturday morning I woke up earlier than the rest of the family and went downstairs to read and surf the net.  I was disturbed by a loud squak from the chicks and immediately went to investigate.  This is what I found:

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Buffalo’s wings seem to be quite functional.  Too much, in fact.  She is constantly flapping and trying to get somewhere.  They now have a wire cover over their tupperware brooder box.  Wouldn’t want to lose the feisty one!

Lastly, today we finally finished the hen house.  I’m glad that at least part of this project is over.  We still haven’t moved it to its final location (as we may be topping a tree that it will sit under) and I still have to plan and execute the building of the run, but at least the biggest part is over.  

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It seems to be waterproof (at least there’s none leaking in) and all the doors are functional.  It is larger than I was imagining, actually, and I really like the clear roofing for letting light in despite what  a pain in my rear it was to cut and install.  I would still use it again, especially since it means that the chickens will get light as soon as the sun comes up without me having to go out at the butt-crack of dawn.  Also, can I just say that I have the best husband ever, helping me to make this.  He was very patient with the fact that I had no idea what I was doing and I think ended up being impressed by my quick learning skills at least as far as nailing things together goes.  

Chick Art

Clara and I had our group of friends over for Freeschool today.  I did a little lesson on chicks.  First we sang our hello song, then we sang “Old MacDonald,”  then we read This Little Chick by John Lawrence with the felt board as a helper.  After that, the chicks came out and oh the excitement!  There was flapping and petting and dancing around.  Everyone, the chicks included, was thrilled.  Once the chicks went back in their box, we made our own chicks out of play clay.  They were some what abstract.  The kids each got a lump of clay, some pipe cleaners, googlie eyes, a foam triangle (orange), and as many feathers as they wanted.  Clara took her clay, pushed a bunch of feathers on top and then cried because the feathers stuck to her fingers, as she had clay all over them.  Then she took all of the feathers off her clay and decided to make pizza instead.  That was closely followed by licking/pretending to eat the clay.
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Some of the other kids had better experiences with making a chick.  Here are a couple of examples.
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They turned out pretty cute and nonrepresentational, don’t you think?

More chick pics

Here are more picture of the chicks.  They have real personalities now…  Buffalo is the naughty one, who loves to test out her wings, jumping and flapping.  Curry is the sweetest and never minds when I pick her up.  She loves cuddles and kisses.  Maize is the littlest and the most shy.  She is just adorable.
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Buffalo, with Curry in the background

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Curry and Maize

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Buffalo and Curry

Here are what the girls will look like as adults, probably within the next five months.  

Curry is a Buff Orpington and will look like this:
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Buffalo is an Astrolorp and will look like this:
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Maize is a Barred Rock Plymouth and will look like this:
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