Month : November 2010

Chickens Stories from Our Nest

Updates from the Coop

Well it has now been about a week since Dolly, Autumn and Meesha were introduced to the flock.  The transition has been surprisingly smooth.  They are quickly reestablishing a new pecking order.  I think that Feathers is the happiest.  She is no longer at the bottom of the order.  She is even doing a little pecking herself.  When I do notice the pecking, it is rather gentle, much like a reminder.

Chocolate is thrilled.  He is no longer as bossy to the girls and he seems to be content.  He now has seven girls to harrass at any given time.  He has shown off his rooster dance to every girl.  However, none seem the slightest bit interested.  Instead, they just go about their business.  As far as I know, he has not tried to hop on anyone’s back yet.

Tilly still is head hen.  I’m glad.  She is maternal-like to the new girls.  It is nice to see.  She will peck them now and then but it is usually to say, “Hey I’m standing here at the water.  I will not move but you are welcome to stand next to me.”

We have also had 2 silkie eggs laid.  I scooped another one out this morning.  I think it is Dolly that is laying.  I am hoping that she will influence the others to lay soon.  They should start anyday now.  It is really just a waiting game.

Finally, tomorrow night is the Barnstable Agricultural Commission meeting regarding rooster regulations for the town of Barnstable.  I have done my best to rally together all the chicken owners that I know.  We are sure to attend.  I am thinking that I will mostly observe at first and try and gauge people’s postitions on the matter.  Wish me luck!


Book Review: Minnie Lovgreen’s Recipe for Raising Chickens

Rating *****

This book is one of the sweetest and most clever books I have ever read about chickens.  In 1888, Minnie Lovgreen was born in England.  As one of 18 children, she learned to work her family’s farm.   At age 11, she supported herself by becoming a mother’s helper, eventually moving to Canada and then the United States.  While in America she met her husband and together they started a dairy farm.

She lived until 1975 and over the years had experienced the joy of raising chickens.  Her book is a memoir about her life with chickens.  She dictated her book to a close friend who transcribed her every word onto paper.  Her book is charming and witty.  She knew alot about chickens in those days and shares her knowledge with us through this fantastic book.

I read this book in one night.  It is a fast and easy read and highly enjoyable.  If you enjoy keeping chickens, this book is a great addition to your growing library.  I am glad that she took the time to write the book.  It is a terrific piece of Americana in 2010.

Chickens Eggs Stories from Our Nest

Our First Egg

Our first egg

I went out to the coop this morning and this is what I found, a small Silkie Bantam egg!   I think that Dolly laid it because I saw her sitting in the nesting box this morning.  I am very excited!  The egg is absolutely adorable and about half the size of a regular egg.  I can’t wait to check for more tomorrow.

Chickens Stories from Our Nest

Sweet Dreams

I was worried about the first night for the three new girls.  During the day, the pecking was minimal but when night time came around, would they go up into the coop at night?  Would my old flock allow it?  So as dusk grew near, I kept checking.  Finally they went into the coop.  I did not see anyone in the yard, but I had to be sure.

Outside I went.  As I walked over to the coop, I saw that everyone was up inside.  However, I wanted to get a bit closer of a look.  I climbed into the run and peered into the little half moon door.  Those chickens never cease to amaze me.

From all the horror stories about flock integration on the internet, I was sure that at best I would find my original flock sleeping in the nesting boxes and expect to find the 3 new girls in the opposite corner on the roost.  Instead, I discovered a situation that even I would never have imagined.  Inside mid-coop was Oyster Cracker.  She was pacing back and forth, much like a soldier guarding a castle.  As you know from my previous posts, before we knew that Chocolate was a rooster, she was taking on the role of guard chicken.  Now, she was showing me that she still was a guard chicken.  She was pacing and growling.  So funny.  I instantly thought that she was keeping both flock separate.  I looked in the corner closest to me expecting to find the new girls but they weren’t there.  I glanced over to the nesting boxes.  I found all of the chickens old and new mixed and huddled in the nesting boxes together!

I could not believe my eyes.  Was the integration going to be this easy?  Time will tell.  I think that Oyster Cracker was patrolling to be sure that no other new girl would enter the coop.  I promised her not anytime soon as we now have a full house.  I closed the door for the night, feeling confident, successful and incredibly joyous.  We are one step closer to a unified flock.  Even though they are different colors and breeds, they are all snuggled together despite their differences.  What a fabulous reminder of tolerance and acceptance from my girls especially during the holiday season!

Findings Gardening Uncategorized

Happy Thanksgiving

I have so much to be thankful for this year in my life outside of the chickens.  However, I do have a lot to be thankful for regarding the chickens as well.  Our family has been blessed and is incredibly thankful for all of the the wonderful things that the chickens have brought into our lives.  We have had a fabulous times raising them from little chicks and we have learned so much from them since this past Spring.  They have touched all of our hearts and we have learned life’s lessons from them as well. We are thankful for their presence in our lives and are looking forward to many more chances to grow together as a family in our chicken adventures.
Have a wonderful Thanksgving!

Chickens Stories from Our Nest

New Chicks on the Block

I found a local woman who is selling Silkie pullets and she lives about 5 minutes away from me. Ironically, our paths have crossed before but I did not know that she had chickens!   This past Spring, she ordered straight runs of various colors of Silkies.  They were born in May making them about 4 weeks older than my current flock.   I had been thinking of adding to the flock since we had to re-home Peanut and Chocolate turned out to be another rooster.  I wanted to have more hens.  Plus, Chocolate is really starting to assert his dominance over my existing pullets.

So after I picked up my son at school yesterday, we journeyed over to her home.  My friend also wanted a few Silkies so within a matter of 15 minutes, my car had 2 boxes of little Silkies.  Last night while my flock was fast asleep, I decided I would integrate the new pullets.  I quickly gave them a dusting of diatomaceous earth and then I brushed them with a dryer sheet.  Yeah, I know it sounds weird.  I thought that I could try and make the new girls smell like their human family.  Some people even spray them with their perfume.  Perhaps, it would make their transition and acceptance easier.  I did not want to have any horror stories like you find on the internet.

This morning, I waited until 7:30 am to go outside.  It seemed like I was waiting forever.  I opened up the coop.  Immediately, Chocolate was the first to dart out.  Then the rest of the old flock followed by 2 of the new girls.  The third remained in the the coop and eventually came out into the run with some gentle coaxing.  Overall, I was pleased.  No one was dead, bleeding or missing hoards of feathers.  In order to spend more time outside, I cleaned out the coop.  It needed it anyway.  Overall, there was some mild pecking but nothing that I would not expect.  I also gave them yogurt this morning and filled their treat ball, all attempts to distract from the newcomers.

So, you ask, who is new?  Well they are lilac or lavender in color with some black streaks.  I would like to introduce to you, Dolly, Autumn and Meesha.

Chickens Stories from Our Nest

It’s Official, I’m One of the Girls

I spent this weekend doing my least favorite thing, fall clean-up.  We typically rake the leaves six times during the fall season.  This weekend was no different than any other year except for the occasional chicken that wandered by.

Since we have had a few hawks in the yard this week, I had tried to entice them back to their coop with scratch and their treat ball.  I was worried that if I moved away from the girls, a hawk could swoop down and catch dinner.  I had finished raking near the girls and needed to move on. Unfortunately for me, they were just not ready to go back.  Instead, they were content under the gigantic rhododendron bush at the top of the driveway next to the garage.  I kid you not, I think it is about about 25 years old and is about 12 feet wide by 10 feet tall.  I could hear them underneath scratching at the leaves and calling to one another to show off their finds.
So nervously, I decided to rake about 50 feet from the rhododendron bush near their coop.  As I was cleaning leaves and debris to the side, my neighbor who I had not seen in ages struck up a conversation with me.  Distracted by our conversation that had gone on for about 5 minutes, I did not notice a little friend at my feet.  It was Chocolate.  He was scratching, puffing out his feathers and talking.  It took me a second, then I realized.  Chocolate was trying to tell my neighbor that I was part of his family.

I scooped him up into my arms, gave him a nuzzle and a thank you then gently set him down.  He continued to stay by me.  As he stood with me, along came the rest of his flock, no coaxing necessary.  He has made it to top chicken.  Although little, he has gained respect of all the girls.  I was glad that much like a guard dog, I had a rooster by my side!  Who would have thought?  I now know that they think of me as part of their family.

Eggs Main Dishes Recipes

Mediterranean Quiche

One of my best friends brought a homemade tomato pie to our house one day.  It was so delicious that I decided to create a recipe based on that dish.   One of my friend’s chickens just started laying eggs.  She had six yesterday and was in need of a recipe. May I suggest this mediterranean quiche?