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I am a 50+ yr old stay at home wife of a scientist/Military man.  I raise chickens for eggs, rescue dogs & cats & spoil them all.  I am a silver/metal smith & stained glass artist.  I, at one time was an secondary art teacher & Social Studies teacher.  I am sorta a eclectic earth mother who recycles everything I can get my hands on.  Enjoy working with power tools & even built my own 10ft by 6ft chicken coop.  am pretty much interested in learning everything I can thur books, magazines & friends. I enjoy veggie gardening & doing gardens just for the chickens. I also sew & love making pioneer style comfortable clothes for myself & adding vintage lace when I can find it. I am pretty easygoing, but need my coffee first before I am ready to face the world & day.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Babies!

Hello everyone!
Since my articles are never in order, by the time you read this it may already be winter, but that never stops me from writing. As you know from a past article, I had to get rid of my 2 roosters because of their aggression. The day before I had to give them up, one of my 2 year old girls, Ginger went brooding. So I put eggs from both roosters coops under her, hoping she would stay on them & not get bored after a few days. Out of the 6 eggs, I am happy to say 3 hatched & I got 2 beautiful Welsummer mix babies & 1 Buff Orpington mix baby. As of today they are about 3 weeks old & just the cutest little things you ever saw. Ginger has proved to be a wonderful protective Momma to them. Since it is now July (2010), the weather has gotten quite hot & humid, so about 2 weeks ago I took out the dividing wall out between the 2 coops & did the same with the fencing in the run so that all the girls could be together. I only had one few second fight between Cinnamon & Abigail, both the lowest of the pecking order on each side. My poor Abigail backed off, so she is now the lowest of them all, but I make sure to give her a bit of attention as well as make sure when there are treats she gets some personally from me without having to do without. I am so thankful I knew someday I would open up the 10 foot by 6 foot coop into one space & only put in a very thin wall between the two. But I should have paid attention to how I put in the nails! Some were on one side, some were on the other so it was a bit tricky to get the wall out. I have a beam in the wall I left so that I could keep both perches.
For some silly reason they are all crowded onto one but with the new babies the other will soon be used as well. I have a small fan in the coop that has two fans in it that you use for a window. It's not super powerful so it works perfect in there for them , no big time drafts are created by it, so I can keep it on at night for them. If its 90 degrees outside, the coop can be close to 100 degrees without the fan. On super hot days I go out to check on the girls in the run & end up finding them all in the coop wings spread enjoying the fan. Since I live in the upper part of Massachusetts near New Hampshire, we don't normally get a lot of humidity but this year we got a lot of rain, so the humidity is higher than normal. I have a neighbor who fed her chickens frozen cooked pumpkin when the temp rose so since she & I froze our pumpkin together I was glad to see her hens loved it & ended up giving mine what I had left in the freezer when it got to 97 degrees one day. I am down to 1 package but have found they also enjoy frozen brussel sprouts, frozen bagels & frozen mixed vegetables as well. I also freeze plastic containers of ice that I can pop out into their run water buckets. Yes, I may be overdoing it but its so pitiful to see all my girls panting with wings spread trying to cool off. Yesterday I opened Gingers big cage I had set in the coop so the new babies would be protected and Ginger was able to get all her kids out into the run. I was so surprised when I went out there to see her & the babies just playing up a storm in the dirt hunting for bugs. Ginger had a few scratches on her comb from probably protecting the kids, but by the time I got out there everyone was calm & going about their business not paying any attention to the new kids. So I took out the big cage from the coop & put in a small rabbit cage with the door open & food & water for them if they wanted to sleep there. When I closed up the run & coop last night Ginger & kids were in there sound asleep. I have gotten 2 more very small chickens, one's a silkie mix & the other is as tiny as a quail, who I might add started crowing yesterday! I gave them the names of 'Porgie & Bess'. I have them in the house in a large rabbit cage since I know they would have a very hard time in the coop. Pippi La'Roo, the frizzle I got a month or so ago is doing well, though Bowzer still chasing him around the dining room, but no longer pecks him now that he is crowing as well. At least with these 2 very small roosters I do not have to worry about the attacks, but Pippi has tried to peck me so I push him away & he gives up. I am also a dog foster mom & just adopted one of my fosters who is a Aust Cattle dog, mainly Dingo in breed. Rosey from day one never paid any attention the the in-house chickens & even follows me into the run & coop. Now the outside girls aren't too thrilled when Rosie shows up with me but they are slowly calming down if they see her. I think they see her as a big cat! Frankie, my 6 yr old cat has wondered into the coop & run since the girls were little. For some reason Frankie thinks she belongs out in the run with them sunning herself while the girls wonder around her. Hopefully that will happen with Rosey as well. I love the fact I have good pets who get along with each other whether they are a chicken, cat or dog....sure makes my life easier. For some reason I was not into my gardening this year like I normally am, but did plant bibb lettuce along with the tomatoes. I just took the last bit of lettuce from the garden for the hens. I tie it up on a piece of plastic clothesline for them to jump at to get the lettuce. I will tell you, it doesn't last long! Nor does the lambs quarter, I planted a few years back. When it gets too tall & tough for us to eat, I break it off & tie that up for the girls as well. Its like watching popcorn pop, especially when I first put it in for them, they get so excited they are falling all over themselves & each other to get to it. Since the hens can't free range here because of all the dogs, cats, hawks & turkey vultures in the area I have decided to extend their 9 foot by 20 ft run since it is now down to dirt. I think doing a rotating run idea where I can plant untreated grass & wheat seeds each fall would work well here. Each year they will have some fresh grass & wheat to eat on when its up high enough they have to work at it. This way one area gets to rest like the way farmers used to do their crops to insure they soil didn't go sterile. It will give me 2 areas for the hens & encourage bugs to come around their area again. Right now with just the one run, they have wiped out everything including bugs. Yeap, I am always thinkin' about what I can do to make sure my girls are happy & healthy. Well until next time ...have a happy Chicken day!
footnote: Porgie & Bess are now in the coop & run with the big girls & are doing fine. I thought with the new babies being small it might work getting Porgie & Bess our there so the 'big' girls would just think they were babies as well. I was surprised at how well it worked.

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