Chickens

Well I guess summer is finally here. For the last few days we have been at or above 110 degrees. Because of this, I consider myself fortunate that I have not lost any chickens to the high temperatures. However, I have done a few things to help them stay cool.

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We got a small pool for them so they can climb in to cool off a bit. I thought the duck would be all over this. As you can see from the picture above, she hasn't gone in yet. I may have a duck that is afraid of water...LOL. In her defense though, other than the water basins, she hasn't had the opportunity to be in water yet, but she is only 7 months old.

In addition to their water, I have added a couple foot soak tubs with water so that they can at least get their feet in the water to try to cool down a bit. I have been told that chickens don't like to stand in water, but mine seem to have no problem with this.

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You can see the one standing in the water tub. Many people get the tub and add a brick or two so that the chicken can stand on the brick to cool off (I guess the water in the tub keeps the brick cool so that when the chicken stands on it he or she will cool off). I have not had to do this though.

Finally, every hour or so, I go out and spray down the chickens and the run to try to help keep them cool. Thankfully as the week goes on it's supposed to cool down (in cool down I mean not over 110) so keeping them cool shouldn't be as bad. I just hope the duck (Meena) will start to use the pool.

Have a great day!

Renee

Better Week

So far this week has been much better. My daughter started a new job (hopefully this means she will continue to live in town rather than moving back out here soon, but we shall see), we haven't lost any more chicken, and Aarron (the hubby) is able to start putting weight on his leg again.

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The doctor said his leg is healing really well and he is allowed to start using it again. I hope to have pictures of the most recent x-rays later today, but that depends on if Aarron remembered (or was able to) take them.

Kira started a new job on Monday. It is close to where she is living so hopefully she will actually grow up a bit and be able to live on her own (or well at least not at home with me...lol). I have to say though, after 24 years of always having at least one kid with me, it is very strange to now find it is just me and the hubby.

Kira at the lake

My dad also turned 82 yesterday. Surprisingly he is doing real well considering we almost lost him a year and a half ago. He is now pretty well back on his feet and wanting to go back to work. Which by the way he was working full time up until his trip to the hospital in January 2015.

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This was actually taken on his birthday last year, but he still looks the same.

As for the chickens, we still have 6 female and 1 female duck so I am still getting a lot of eggs every day. We still are not sure what happened with the other 3, but whatever it was doesn't seem to be affecting the others. Hopefully all will continue to go well this week.

Have a great day!

Renee

Chickens

Taken 5/5/16
Taken 5/5/16

My girls are growing! I am not getting between 4 and 9 eggs a day, which isn't bad with 9 laying hens and 1 duck. These ladies are so sweet. They even like to be petted which I thought was pretty odd, but pretty awesome at the same time. If you remeber the coop upgrade there are 2 doors in the box and the area closest to the ramp is hard to get to. I will have to take pictures of this next time, but let's just say it's hard to get to by the ramp. These new chickens like to lay in that area so I have a difficult time getting the eggs...lol. Oh well, at least I am getting eggs.

taken 5/5/16
taken 5/5/16

I had 3 red hens but I had to get rid of them because they were so mean. They killed one of the ducks and when I let these ladies into the pen (even though they had been living right beside them for months), they started picking on them too. They drew blood on a couple of them so I put them outside of the coop. They did not like that. Finally, I gave them to my neighbor because she asked about them. However, one of them still thinks this is her home....

Taken 5/5/16
Taken 5/5/16

She is constantly jumping the fence between our property and the neighbors property. So, when she is over, I still feed her and she still want back in the coop. She will follow me around the yard when I am doing the feeding and watering in the mornings. I think she still still thinks she belongs over here. I'm not sure how to get her to stop jumping the fence and staying where she is supposed to. I guess I should have sent them farther than the neighbor's house.

The only problem I have now is finding enough recipes to use the eggs. I have so many of them I can never seem to use enough. So, if anyone has any good recipes that use eggs please share!

Have a great day!

Renee

Chickens

Rhode Island White Chickens
Rhode Island White Chickens

A couple weeks ago we got some new chickens for the coop, however I am finding that putting them together may be an issue. We got 9 Rhode Island White chickens for the coop. They are only about 2 months old. This means that we have about 4 months before they will start laying eggs.

New babies to the coop
New babies to the coop

I think even though they are simply white, I like them. The others that we have had for about 8 months and they have been providing eggs for probably almost 3 months as we have been on a huge learning curve here. We were under the assumption that if we had them in a pen with something to lay on, they would lay eggs. This is not the case. They have to have a box, which is why we did the coop remodel about 3 months ago.

Rhode Island Red
Rhode Island Red

We have 3 Rhode Island Red chickens at about 8 months old. The ducks have been raised with them since we got them. We thought we had a male and a female duck, but apparently we have two female ducks because both are laying eggs now. At the moment we are getting 4-5 eggs a day. The eggs are AMAZING!! You can totally tell the difference between them and the store bought eggs.

This is meena
This is meena (My daughter calls her Meleena. She started as Milo)

These ladies (every one of them) are being raised on layer crumble, scratch, and kitchen scraps. They seem to like the kitchen scraps better than anything else though. I will have to try to get pictures of them going after the kitchen scraps. It's kind of amusing.

This is Tina
This is Tina. (She started as Otis)

So far all of the chickens are doing good. I am looking forward to the Rhode Island White chickens getting bigger so we can try to introduce them to the bigger cage with the box. We shall see how that goes though at a later date.

Chickens 101

Have you ever wanted to raise chickens? I would love to tell you that it is easy, but guess what? It's not. There is so much that goes into raising chickens that it's not for the faint of heart. I have to say, that I should have done a lot more research before starting with my flock. It would have been easier if we had been better prepared. Let me show you what we started with.

original coop

Let me tell you, cleaning this coop was not easy as you could not stand up straight. What a pain. So, my first tip on how to raise chickens is to have a coop ready before you get your chickens that you can stand up straight in, because you will spend much time cleaning and maintaining the coop. This is what we have now:

coop now

As you can see, the chickens now have a condo instead of a pen (or at least that's what my husband calls it). You can see, we made our own coop and it cost about $1000 from start to finish. The first coop only cost about $100, the rest went into the remodel.

The next thing to remember is the food. Let me tell you, this is not cheap! We are spending about $30 a week to feed 12 chickens and 2 ducks. Finally, you have to decide if you are going to look for older adult or teenage chickens or if you want to start from chicks. If you are going for teenage or adult chickens, they can go right into the coop. However, if you start with chicks, you have to have somewhere warm to keep them until they are at least 12 weeks old.

Baby chicks are adorable! But, they take a lot of work to get them big enough to move outside. We started the first set with the help of a rabbit cage. We kept them in the house with a warming light on them for the first few weeks. As they got bigger, I started turning the light on less and less. This was our set-up for the first set of chicks we brought home.

Babies square
About 3 day old chicks and ducks

Now they look like this:

chickens now pinterest

I will say one thing: Fresh eggs taste so much better than store bought eggs. Even the duck eggs are good. I will not go back to store bought eggs if I can avoid it. It is hard work to get them though.

I am slowly learning all that it takes to care for chickens and this post is just the bare basics for starting. This is simply some of things I wish I had known before buying my first set of chicks. If you have any question feel free to drop them in the comment box or send me an email. I will answer every one. I hope this was helpful for anyone who is currently raising chickens or thinking about starting. The benefits far outweigh the work involved in getting started.

Have a great day!

Renee