Cub Scouts Visit

So we were harvesting vegetables out of the garden when our neighbor called and said they had boy scouts on their property looking for arrow heads to earn a badge. She asked if they could come by to see the chickens so they could collect an agriculture badge. Of course we said “SURE! Come on over!”

So much excitement! Everyone wanted to touch a chicken so hubby held one while everyone took a turn petting. We explained how chickens lay eggs and that they don’t need a rooster to do it. We told them that chickens can lay lots of different colors of eggs and no, we don’t paint those colors on! We told them they lay an egg every 24 to 36 hours.

We showed them the inside of the coop and the new high tech nesting boxes and they were impressed at how happy the girls were just hanging out inside. They laughed when I explained that the Tajma Coop was meant to be roomy and cozy! And then I had to explain that all the feathers on the ground were from the girls molting like they do in the fall to get their new winter feathers. Each kid asked for a feather to add to their collection or to attach to their badge.

After the kids started to walk away the adults grilled us on how we treat the girls. “Do you let your chickens free range?” “Are you sure you have enough space for those chickens?” “How do you sell the eggs?”

We answered all the questions honestly and of course our girls get all the things they are supposed to get, plus a little more petting than most!

We were surprised a couplet days later to get this card from them. All the kids signed the card and on the inside they wrote…..Thank you for letting our cub scouts come over and visit your chickens. We all had a blast. We were so grateful for all the time you spent with them. Letting them pet one was the highlight of their visit.

The girls were happy for the visit too. The kids all pulled a few weeds and fed them through their fence! A Win Win for all!

Bye Bye Blue Bird

I know this blog is supposed to be rated PG 13 so if you take offense to chicken 3 ways you may want to skip this post.

When we got these chicks 3 years ago I fell in love with a beautiful blue girl who truly glowed when she was younger. I named her Blue. She stuck out like the celebrity she was. Unfortunately at some point she became the meanest of mean girls and took on the nastiest of personalities!

Not only was she pecking at every chicken in her path, she also started to do something I have never seen before. First, she sucked up to Stewart the Rooster who actually let her take over his reign in a way! I knew Stewie wasn’t all that smart, but come on!!

As Stewart was wooing one of the ladies Blue came running up, knocked Stewie off the hen and then jumped on her herself! What the Flock??!!!!!! This on top of a number of peck wounds on all the ladies backs! Everyone was getting stressed out!

At one point one of my neighbors asked me if I wanted to get rid of any of my chickens because he had lost a few. I took this as an opportunity. Here is how the text messages went:

Me: Still interested in a egg layer? She sucked up to the rooster and is beating up a few girls. Thinking a change in flock might knocker her off her high horse.

Neighbor: Sure. Some night after they go to roost we can bring her into the coop and put her on the roost next to the others and when they wake up they will have a new friend.

Me: Is tonight ok? I’ll do it myself.

Neighbor: Your guys are welcome to.

If you have never heard of a chicken Ninja you have now. Chickens turn into zombies in the dark. It’s like when you try and wake up at 3 am in the morning and are not functioning. So after dark as the chicken Ninja, I carefully peeled away Blue from Stewart off the roost and carried her to the neighbors coop. I placed her right next to the rooster and snuck out. Next text……

Me: Package has been delivered!

The next day I walked to the fence line to get a look at the neighbors chicken yard and I didn’t see Blue. What happened to her? Now I was a little worried but decided to give it a day. Next text…….

Neighbor: Blue is doing really good. Slow first day to come out but yesterday you’d never know she wasn’t an original part of the group.

What a relief. I’ve visited blue a couple times. The neighbors chickens are mostly giant Brahmas so there is no way tiny blue will ever create a problem there.

Bye Bye Blue Bird!

Digging for Chicken Gold

We spent a lot of time creating a nice predator proof but beautiful looking base around the ladies Tajma Coop! Lovely decorative rock that’s also functional. So what do the ladies do? They dig! They look like they are digging for China but what they are really looking for is worms. Apparently the best worms are under 4 inches of expensive rock! this digging has gotten so bad that they have literally blocked doorways with mounds of dug up stones. We had to get some landscape blocks to cover the rockery and keep the doorways accessible.

Crazy ladies!

Watch one of the ladies digging on their YouTube Channel:

The Chicken Pied Piper

The ladies have a habit they learned early on.
I have the snack bucket! And when I don’t have the snack bucket, I MIGHT have the snack bucket! In either case they will follow me wherever I go.

I don’t think it would ever be possible for me to lose one of the ladies. Even free-ranging they never lose sight of their source for cracked corn, sunflower seeds and meal worms! When I do have that infamous yellow bucket in my hand I’m like a magnet drawing our girls in any direction I wish to go. It makes you feel powerful!

Even though I have nothing in my hands, watch as the ladies follow every move I make on their YouTube channel:

Begging to Free Range

It’s been one small snow storm after another and the ladies are fed up! Every time I go to refill their outdoor water they are crowded against the door begging to get out! Since the only area that’s been clear of snow is this part of their run, I’ll open the door, they’ll get a foot out until they hit the snow and screech to a halt. Then it’s impossible to get them back in! Poor ladies!

But today is a different day! The temperature is over freezing and there is a clear trail up to barn where the heat radiates and creates a warm, dry spot right in front of it. Yay! So today I don’t have to say no. I don’t have to look at those disappointed faces and I won’t get pecked as I’m changing their water. That’s right, being COOPED UP is a saying for a reason! These little monsters take out their frustration on you!

Anyway, there will be no further delay…….AND THEY’RE OFF!

Don’t Touch the Snow!

Winter is not a good time for the girls. It’s usually too cold and/or too wet for them.They are a fair weather flock. Even after enticing them with sliced carrots they still only eat the ones they can reach away from the snow.

I always see pictures and stories about how chickens tolerate cold weather and even in places where temperatures have dropped to -20 degrees! Chickens can be comfortable until it reaches 20 below. The only minor issue that can happen is when their comb or waddles get frostbite. It’s minor and superficial, peeling off in a week or so. So while chickens all over the world are free ranging in a few inches of snow, my chickens refuse to touch it! They would rather crowd each other until they get on each other’s nerves and then start pecking on each other.

Oh, I suppose I could shovel more snow out of the way but the ground below is too frozen and not good on their little feet. Besides, there is so much to do around here that it always falls to the end of the list.

Suck it up girls! Spring will be here before you know it!

What the ladies avoid the slow on their YouTube channel:

3 Hens in 1 Nesting Box?

Room for one more?

While the coop was in the process of being remodeled, we pulled out a few nesting boxes for them to lay eggs in. If we didn’t give them with something to lay eggs in who knows where we would find them!

The thing that’s always fascinated me is how jealous chickens get. Don’t believe me? Did you know that you can give hens over a dozen nesting boxes to choose from but once one of the ladies pick a nesting box to use, all the other hens HAVE TO have that same same box! There are 10 beautiful boxes wide open, but noooo…….they want the one box that SHE has!!

Taking a break from the remodel, I caught what I thought was these 2 hens having a standoff for the nesting box. When I got closer to take a picture I found there was already one of the ladies in the box who was facing off with these 2! This is a first! Must have been uncomfortable having 3 hens in 1 box!! Then to top if off, this little Easter Egger comes by contemplating if she can fit in too! Of course she gave up pretty quickly but the stand off of the 3 hens lasted about 20 minutes before the interlopers finally gave up.

See the action for yourself on the ladies YouTube Channel:

The Buff Clique

Just like high school the chicken run is a competitive place. And are there popular girls? You bet! The Buff Orpingtons are the biggest, fluffiest and unfortunately the Meanest girls on the block.

Every morning they hog the biggest table in the run. They are so big once they get 6 of them on the table they start to push each other off. The other girls stay out of their way. If they get to close to a buff they get a little peck from one of them. Even amongst themselves you will see them pecking at each other to keep the order. You will see it in the video.

While having a mix of chickens makes the coop look fun, it’s clear that just like high school, if you don’t look like the girls on the top of the food chain you are going to get beat up!

So what’s the plan? As our girls become too old to lay eggs we will start adding Rhode Island Reds and have them eventually take over the coop.  Why Rhode Island Reds? They are one of the first breeds used in America and are considered a Heritage chicken. They are all around hardy birds that lay more eggs than our Buffs. And if they all look alike, hopefully they won’t feel the need to pull each others tail feathers.

Until then it’s a pretty dynamic group!

See the girls on their YouTube Channel: