The flock is now seven and a half weeks old. They were quickly outgrowing their temporary brooder. The Salmon Favorelle, Golden Laced Wyandotte and Easter Eggers were now the size of Silkie Bantams. It was time to begin their transition.
Today I thought that I’d share another peek at the chicken coop. The landscaping is beginning to fill in and the edible chicken garden is a very popular place. I picked up two plastic garden stools from Home Goods that the kids enjoy sitting on both inside and outside of the chicken run. Wood chips fill in the garden path ways. I find they are much easier to rake back into place after the chickens scratch around in them.
We’ve had lots of excitement here. This past week, we’ve been working with our friends over at Briggs Landscaping to help prepare the area for the new chicken coop. We decided to place the new coop in the same area as the old one. So, we moved the girls and their existing coop and run to an area on the driveway. We brought in fill and lots of it! We were working on a slope.
They’ve named it Hercules.
I’m not sure what to think of the first big snow storm of 2014. Living on a man-made island that juts into the Atlantic Ocean, the forecast is always variable and unpredictable. Sometimes, the forecast is for record amounts of snow and we get a dusting, other times it is the complete opposite. Regardless of the forecast, it is always essential to be ready for anything.
|Fresh herbs and flowers dry along side mini-potatoes and garlic on vintage flower bulb drying trays.|
Like most chicken keepers, I love spending time in the garden. Each year I plant and grow plenty of herbs for the family and the chickens. In the summer, the girls enjoy nibbling on the fresh herbs. However, as the season begins to come to a close, we harvest what remains in the garden before the first frost. We then dry the herbs prior to future use. We use a few different techniques to dry the herbs and flowers based on their moisture content. Once dried, we use the herbs in cooking and also in the chicken coop! Adding a sprinkle of dried chicken-safe herbs to the coop helps keep insects, mice, and parasites away. Plus I think it soothes the girls during their egg laying. To learn how to add herbs to the chicken coop read on.
|Oyster Cracker gives me the stink eye!|
A huge winter blizzard is heading our way. I took the time yesterday to clean the coop, cover the run with some plastic and refill all the feeders and waterers. This morning when I opened the coop, the winds were beginning to whip and a wet light snow was beginning to fall. Surely the chickens sense that the storm is coming. Just what do they do when there is an impending storm?
They scratch in the run.
They lay eggs.
They eat their fill of chicken feed.
They fluff their feathers.
They take dust baths.
They snuggle together on the outside roosts.
They take naps.
They peck at the head of cauliflower in the run to prevent boredom.
Oyster Cracker gives me the stink eye when I can’t snuggle at the moment.
Hmm…seems just like what they do every day.
I don’t think the chickens care that the blizzard is coming. They are acclimated to the weather and to them, this is just another day in chicken paradise, at least until they realize that there will be no free-ranging for a bit due to snow up to their eyeballs that the weather man is predicting!
Photo Credit: Tilly’s Nest
|Sunshine, the culprit|
If your chickens are like mine, they enjoy eating. As we have a smaller coop, I use the Little Giant 3 pound hanging feeder for the girls. It fits great in the coop and I only have to fill it every couple of days or so, that is when the girls are behaving. The chickens enjoy “scratching” around in the feeder as they sort out and pick the best morsel to eat, even though all of them look identical to me. When the girls scratch around, they inevitably scratch some of the food right out of the feeder. To minimize spillage and waste I did a few things.
Keeping chickens happy and healthy, requires a bit of maintenance. Often I tell people that the requirements are somewhere between keeping a cat and a dog. The other day, I was glancing at the latest addition of the Martha Stewart Magazine. Each month she proudly shares her private calendar with her readers. She details everything from yard work, travel and yoga lessons. I thought it might be easy to create a similar guide for backyard chicken keepers like myself.