New Baby Black Australorps

We decided that out of all the chickens we’ve had our favorite was the Black Australorps. They were sweet, quiet, easy to hold and had a different kind of sound to their clucking that seemed more like talking. How sweet is that?!

Cluck Norris is half Black Astralorp and has a great personality so we are hoping one of these 10 babies is a rooster. I’m sure we will find out!

Since this is a smaller batch of chickies than we have done in the past we started with a tub and hung a heat lamp over it. We have a table style brooder panel but it didn’t fit in the tub. Also, the heat lamp was too hot in this small of a space so we bought a water trough instead which gave a good amount of space and the temperature stayed more stable. We need to start at 95 degrees and then decrease 5 degrees per week.

It’s really stressful knowing their little lives are in your hands during this initial time when they are only 2 days old! They are so delicate at this age it’s hard not to worry!

The cuties seem to be doing great on their first day. THEY ARE SOOO ADORABLE!
Check out their first drink in their new home and then their first food on their YouTube Channel!

Garden Leftover Snack

What do you do when your garden grows too many vegetables or the lettuce overgrows and is a little bitter? You make a rockin’ Chicken Snack! We just string the vegetables together, hang them up and let the ladies have at it.

One again the girls are nervous like they have been with other treats but they finally relax and eventually strip the string clean! YUM! What a special and healthy snack!

Greens are especially good for chicken health. They love them too!

Check the ladies out eating their snack on their YouTube Channel:

Chicken Tractor

If you have been keeping up with What the Flock, you probably noticed our ladies have gotten more and more nervous and scared. That’s because some of our chickens are mean girls! They peck on each other and sometimes pull feathers out! These poor four chickens with a lot of feathers missing are getting a break! You can see a couple of them are wearing what we call saddles. It’s just a little canvas cape that can stop other chickens from pecking, pulling feathers and scratching them.

We built them their own chicken tractor! The tractor is sitting in the back yard. They get to spend time away from the chaos and get fresh grass and bugs! It’s kinda like them having a Spa visit! Once they are done chewing up all the grass and bugs in this space we move the tractor to another spot. They leave behind their poop and their poop fertilizes the grass!

It’s a win win for everyone!

See the girls in their chicken tractor on their YouTube Channel:

Cabbage Snack Scare

If you saw my last blog entry you would have seen our ladies NOT try our delicious apple treat we hung in their run. Why you ask? Because they are chicken! No, I didn’t call them chickens….. I called them CHICKEN!

COME ON LADIES!

We tried to give another treat to you today but when we tossed little flakes of the cabbage for you to try, you RAN AWAY! WHAT’S UP WITH THAT ?!!

Oh well. Maybe next time?

Check it out!

Chickens Scratching Grass

We found that letting the chickens out in our back yard results in a complete disaster of a lawn. Every chicken we’ve had scratches up not only the grass, but also every plant and root within their reach. After destroying one of our flower beds we made the decision to bring unwanted grass and weeds to them instead!

Whether we have grass clippings from mowing the lawn or weeds that we pulled out of the garden beds, we toss it in a pile in the chicken run so they can have at it. I’m sure there are a lot of tasty bugs in there too since we never use chemicals in our yard.

See them scratch away on the ladies YouTube channel:

Digging Out of the Snow

The ladies have been stuck in the coop and driving each other crazy!

The thing is I know these ladies better than they know themselves. They act like I’m keeping them prisoner or something! The reality is if I opened that chicken door they would take a step out, stick their neck out, and turn right back around and go back inside. Besides, they are too snooty to get messed up in the snow and mud. We are talking 6 inches of snow and precious little chicken feet here!

So now we have to snow shovel our drive way, our side walks, our path to the coop and NOW we have to shovel snow out of our chicken run! There isn’t enough time in the day to get all of that snow out.

The easiest way to keep our ladies happy is to push a bunch of snow out of the way of the chicken door and build a wall out out of it to keep them from wondering too far. Where we cleared out the snow, we lay down hay to keep those little chicken feet from touching the ice and keeping their little tootsies warm! Nobody wants those precious tootsies to get frost bitten!

Just a few hours of freedom from the coop gave the ladies an attitude adjustment for the better!

Check the ladies out of their YouTube Channel:

Playing in the Poop Bucket

It’s just after new years and the snow has finally melted. That means giving the run a good cleaning! When there is snow we put straw down so the girls little feetzies don’t get so cold. Then on a dry day we rake it all up and throw it in the compost pile. But the girls apparently don’t like us picking up all their nastiness! It’s so fun to play in!

What should take 20 minutes takes an hour! When I’m not forcing them out of the bucket, I’m trying to stop them from scratching and kicking around the piles I built, trying to load them in the bucket!

But how can you get made. They are just too cute!

See the girls playing with the poop bucket on their You Tube Channel:

First Snow for RI Red Girls

This picture is actually mouse tracks leading to the chicken run door! The first snow our girls experienced started with a scroungy little critter trying to find shelter in last nights storm! It managed to squeeze it’s way through the corner of the run doorway, up the chicken ladder and somehow through the corner of the chicken door into the coop!

Call us surprised when we went into the coop to refill food and water to find a mouse darting around with the chickens chasing it! It was still pretty dark so the chickens were sleepy but trying to catch the little monster! After about 5 minutes of a game of chase I opened the chicken door and let the scared to death vermin out!

Needless to say we are now making sure that at least the coop door is super tightly closed at night.

As the sun came up the girls finally got to experience their very first snow outside. I don’t think they were very impressed. They wouldn’t even touch it! Avoiding anything white! It didn’t take long for them to starting back into the Tajma coop where it’s always toasty and comfortable.

Frozen Treat to Beat 100 Degree Heat

Its going to be 100 degrees today and luckily I’m home to help the chickens make it through the day. They have already made it through the last two days of 96 degrees. They are very tough birds! But then again I picked Rhode Island Reds because they are known to tolerate both extreme hot and cold. And today they made it to 100 degrees and still managed to chase bugs without skipping a beat! Impressive!

Last year, with the old flock, I made frozen treats with berries. RIP old flock that had a run in with a fox. I admit, we snacked those ladies too much. They grew so fast we had problems with heart attacks in the heat. So this flock will not sucker me into given them a lot of cracked corn. Too much candy! Anyway, these girls are going to get only the best! Fresh organic veggies straight from the garden! Today’s menu consists of chopped zucchini and lettuce covered with water and frozen into a cake pan!

Of course the girls were fascinated by the treat but too scared to eat it! I was so frustrated and concerned with them cooling off! You can hear it in my voice in the video!

But after I left them alone, they finally realized how good it was, because the tin I placed it in was completely beat up! It must have been a hit!

Fox in the Hen House

Unfortunately not everything can be fun and games with our chickens. It was a sad day when we came home and found that a fox had gotten into the ladies corral. He killed 4, injured 2 and gave another a heart attack! He only took one of the hens with him when he left. For those of you who remember Sweetie, she was the one with a broken toe who was injured the first year we got the ladies. She obviously couldn’t run very fast so was the fatality that left with the fox.

This solidified the fact that although the barn is large, a perfect temperature, and the fence is high enough to keeps a lot out, the Tajacoop and run’s full coverage of 1/2 inch wire cloth is the only thing keeping our girls alive in this wild, wild west!

Next plan……..adding an electric fence. Nothing like a good zap to negatively reinforce that we don’t want you varmint in here! The yellow pieces in the picture are holding 4 hot wires. Oh….we tested them. They won’t kill you but it’s sure to give a nosy fox a good reason to find easier prey!

I just happened to be looking out the window last week when I saw the fox trying to rush the gate and went ballistic on him from the window! It was enough to make him turn tail and run so fast we couldn’t find him once we got outside. He wasn’t quite giving up yet.

My last ditch effort was to make this scarecrow. It was just some bright colored clothes I put on a hanger and hung from the tree, but it makes me and the hubby do a double take thinking someone is there. If it fooled us it has to work on the fox…right? I’ve been changing the clothes every now and them to make it seem more real.

After putting in the electric fence and the scarecrow together we have not seen the fox again, thank goodness! The old ladies are safe for now. Cross your fingers for them! They love their new home so much!