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!

Cluck Norris Fixes Mean Hens

Breaking News! Chuck Norris fixes mean hens! All of us are finally getting some peace! Any time one of the ladies squawks from being pecked, Cluck is on the scene breaking up the fight, and sometime chasing down the perpetrator! All fights are now quickly put to an end!

If all the girls are starting to get out of control he chases every single hen back in the coop and then blocks the door so that nobody can get out. We’ve seen him block the girls for up to an hour until they calm down. It’s actually pretty amazing!

In the morning, Cluck also insists on getting the first drink of water and the first bite of food. If one of the hens tries to jump off the roost to join him, he chases her back up. When he’s done he stands blocking the doorway and allows the girls to start eating or letting them jump into the nesting boxes to lay eggs. Then, when he’s ready, he will move out of the way of the coop door and let them go outside.

A side effect of his militant attitude has resulted in the beaten up hens getting a break and feathers are starting to grow back! They look like long dark shafts at the moment but will soon open into glorious red feathers once again!

Yay Cluck! You not only have done your job, you are a miracle cure!

See Cluck taking control and then the calm that has finally settled the hens on their YouTube Channel:

Meet Cluck Norris

The ladies have gotten so nasty to each other we decided it’s time to get a rooster to lay down the law and start keeping the nasty hens in line!

Meet Cluck Norris! He’s a Black Austrolorp mix. Young and beautiful! He also has a soothing cluck to his voice and we are able to hold him without too much trouble.

After we bought Cluck from a local farm we put him in the barn by himself to keep him in quarantine for 2 weeks. We will keep checking him for any diseases before letting him play with the girls.

Once quarantine was over Cluck was brought into the chicken run while the girls were stuck inside the coop. We wanted him to get comfortable with his surroundings before we let out the mean girls.

It didn’t take long for him to clue in there were hens inside the coop. He was acting like a teenage boy, listening to the door, posturing and making soft, intent clucking noises.

Check out the vid:

So we opened the door and out came the girls. It didn’t take long for the mean girls to run up to Cluck asking “WHO ARE YOU” and “What do you think you are doing here?!” Cluck quickly put them in their place. So much so all the ladies ran back into the coop!

See the mean girls fight with Cluck:

Cluck decided to take a stand. He went into the coop, drank some water, ate some food and sent all the girls up onto the roost or into the nesting boxes. He had officially taken control!

I can’t wait to see the changes over the next couple weeks!

See Cluck make himself at home in the coop:

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:

Coop Cleaning Day

Today is officially coop cleaning day. Like my threads? Next step, hazmat suit!

How it works is we kick the girls outside to their run and close their chicken door. While they peck on the door saying “Let me in!” I laugh and remind them that if they would clean up after themselves they wouldn’t have to go through this every 3 months!

We have to pull out all the pine shavings and tractor them out to the compost pile. Then we sweep the walls and floor. Then, I pull out a shop vacuum and vacuum all the surfaces including the windows, vents and roof peak.

The girls leave a lot of dust floating all the time! It collects so fast it’s crazy! Everything gets covered in dust within a day.

Now it’s time to take water, a couple drops of toxic free light dish soap and vinegar mix and wipe everything down. Feeders, waterers, roosts and nesting boxes get a good scrubbing. I RARELY use chlorine because it’s not good for the ladies respiratory systems. I only use it if I’m cleaning an area where there was a sick chicken. And then I rinse the heck out of it!

Now we replace the food and water with fresh stuff in clean equipment. Then toss in fresh pine shavings. I like to put the shavings in a big pile. Then the girls like to come in and dig around in it, spreading it around on their own!

See how the girls react to their clean coop 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:

Hanging Apple Treat

UGH The ladies are still at each other’s throats! We are having a tough time stopping them from pecking at each other! I thought since it finally warmed up and the days had gotten longer they would have more fun time and enjoy life!

But NOOOO, they would rather stalk each other and grab a mouthful of feathers instead!

That being said we are researching ways to keep these crazy chickens busy! So today we are going to make a Swinging Apple Treat! First, tie a string from the ceiling. We have a wood beam in the middle of the run we tie rope around. Drill a hole through or core an apple and put the string through it. Handy hubby cut a piece of wood into a round disc and drilled a hole through the center. So now you take that string and put it through the top of the apple, down through the hole in the disc and tie a knot at the end so it holds the disc under the apple. If your string is too thin you can tie a stick at the bottom to keep it from slipping back out.

Anyway, once you are done you pick a few pieces off the apple so the chickens can have a taste, then let it swing!

Of course our jumpy ladies are scared to death of anything they haven’t seen before! Oh well, back to the drawing board, looking for more things for them to do!

Watch the ladies on their 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: