Monday, April 7, 2014

Update on the Chickens

It has been a while since I posted about the chickens.  I know, I know, it is not about my rotten dogs. 

The girls are all around seven weeks old now, and growing like crazy.  They now look more like small chickens than cute little baby chicks. 

On Saturday, they moved from their brooder box inside to the big girl coop outside.  For the next week, they are being "coop trained".  During this time period, they will not be allowed out of the coop.  It is so that they learn that the coop is home, and a safe place.  Next weekend I will allow them out to range some, with the hopes that they make their way back to the coop before or as dusk approaches.  If I have to wrangle chickens, more coop training is in order.

Neeko has been exposed to the chickens.  She was mildly curious.  Faolan was a little too curious.  Little boy has a high prey drive, and will not be allowed around the chickens.  Bruce has not been exposed to them except through the door of the room they were in, and he will not be allowed around them either. 

I have seventeen chickens.  Three Barred Rocks, three Buff Orphingtons, three Silver Laced Wyandottes, three Easter Eggers, three Rhode Island Reds, and two Welsummers.  I had three Welsummers, but lost one two days after I got them.  The Welsummers and Silver Laced Wyandottes were straight run, meaning I could potentially have roosters, but I hope not.  The others were all sexed as pullets, which is 90 percent accurate.

Anyways, I have included some crappy cell phone photos of the girls in their new coop.  Les and I put many hours of hard work into it, and I am pleased with it.  We he built it into an existing barn bay.

Barred Rock next to a Rhode Island Red.  The Barred Rock is not really that much bigger, it is just a skewed camera angle and posture.

The girls checking out their new home.

Practicing roosting.

Top row L-R: Barred Rock, Rhode Island Red, Silver Laced Wyandotte.  Bottom row, L-R: Welsummer, Barred Rock, Silver Laced Wyandotte, Easter Egger.  This Easter Egger is Les's favorite, and she is named Big Bird.  I love the blue on her.

The coop.  The windows slide open, and have screens made of hardware cloth.  The gable vents are also lined with hardware cloth.  Ventilation is incredibly important for chickens.  We still have to put a window on the back side of the coop, near where there is a window already existing in the barn, and cut out a chicken door.

Fermented chick feed, fermented grains, and grit.  I have been playing with lacto-fermenting their food.  Supposedly it is incredibly healthy for them, much like fermented food is good for our digestive health.  I offer their food dry free choice.  Hopefully in a week or so, they will be out ranging and eating bugs, worms, and various plant matter as well.
Darla, an Easter Egger, next to a Buff Orphington.  I believe Darla has some chicken syndrome that caused her to have a scissor beak, no neck, and to be tiny.  She has the funniest and best personality though. I will continue to do whatever I must to ensure that she thrives.
The girls will hopefully begin laying around the middle of June.  All will lay brown eggs, with the exception of the Easter Eggers, who will lay blue, pink, and green-tinted eggs.  The Welsummers are known as "chocolate eggers" because they lay a beautiful, deep, dark brown egg.

I have not yet decided what to do if I have any mean roosters.  If they are nice, they can stick around, but I have read horror stories of roosters being abusive to hens, and attacking people unprovoked.  They could easily be human or dog food, but I just do not know if I have that in me.


  1. They're adorable (kinda)! You have some great breeds. I have Wyandottes that are the same age as yours! Two Golden and two Silver. They're already really pretty.

    1. Thanks DM! Maybe someday I will have a menagerie of animals like you. I certainly hope so, anyways.

  2. They are so cute! I love reading about them. They have a really nice coop. We had a rooster when I was a kid. After a little while, he became really aggressive and we had to give him away to our vet who took him in. He would chase and peck us and stuff. But, I have met some very nice roosters too.

    One man brought his hen to our clinic who had been attacked by a raccoon. His rooster actually died fighting off the raccoon, but the rooster was able to kill the raccoon in the process. Kind of sweet that he protected the hen.

  3. They are great and wow you are going to have some colourful eggs. We so wish we had some chicks. Have a terrific Tuesday.
    Best wishes Molly


Thanks for the howls!!