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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.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Chicken antics

                                 Chicken in a basket!!!!!

Good day everyone!

As you well know by now, I keep my injured or sick chickens in the house, so in this house 'watch out for the chickens!' really means just that.

The picture above is of Gertie, my white leg-horn hen who came to me after getting injured last summer.  Since she still limps & from the looks of it always will, she have a cage with Piper (another limper) in the diningroom.  For over 2 1/2 years now there is always at least one in the house at any given time & I love watching them.

Gertie is very curious & loves to lay in front of the woodstove so I thought a basket might be nice for her.  She climbed into it long enough for me to get the picture & that was it.   She prefers the indoor/outdoor carpet to lay on in front of the fire.

Piper has picked up a funny but bad habit of trying to clean the dog, which means in chicken words.....Peck...Rosey will allow it for a bit before she can't take it anymore & moves off.  I honestly think Piper does it because Rosey is hogging the front of the woodstove & she wants to be closer.

A few weeks ago I had to bring in Porgie & Bess, because CeeCee the big rooster was picking on Porgie & Porgie was not eating...well since he is tiny & Bess is also tiny I brought her in a few days later because she was getting picked on by the big girls since Porgie wasn't there to protect her.

For being such a small boy, Porgie has decided if it moves like a hen he is going to try & mate with it...yes that includes Jasper, the male Call duck.
Now, he doesn't mess with Gertie cause she won't put up with his 'boy' ways but Piper can't seem to get rid of his attention.  She is quite larger than him so he grabs her neck & yanks her down to his level.  Of coarse she is not having this so she  drags him across the floor as he's trying to climb on her.  I have noticed in the last few days he has smarted up so to speak & waits til she is laying down to sleep & then grabs her.  she still drags him across the room until he is left with only a beak full of little feathers.

Bess has learned to get as high as she can so he doesn't see her...she hangs out on the back of the rocking chair, happy as she can be, cause she's out of sight & out of mating range.  But Jasper has also taken a liking to her since she is small so when he can find her he tries to romanic her as well as Porgie.  I don't think he understands that Porgie is a male yet.

My newest kitten 'Macy' is still learning that if the dish full of food is meant for the chickens she can't have it.  I love to watch Bess chase her clear across the room.  Macy has also gotten her head pecked for sticking her nose into the chickens dish but still she tries.  I am just waiting for Gertie to tell her off, that I am sure will have a big impression on her little kitty brain.

My kids in the basement coop are holding up pretty well with this cold weather.  I put in another red het lamp for them when it got to -27 here a few days ago.  Yes they are well protected by the brick walls but since the walls get so cold I wanted them to be comfortable.  Pippi La'Roo seems to be keeping them all in line & with the extra warm food all 4 hens are laying eggs daily.

I also set up another red heat lamp in the big coop even though there are 11 chickens in there.  I hate having them stay in the coop 24 hours a day but they do not like the snow or cold.  They are down to 1-3 eggs a day but thats understandable since they are mainly hanging out on the roosting bars & sleeping. 

I do know next year I am setting up a different heat system instead of all the lamps.  There is a new heat bar system that doesn't overheat & sends out better radiated heat throughout the coop.  With all the heat lamps its stays about 45 degrees in there even when below zero but I worry about a chicken flying up & hitting one of the lamps & breaking it.  Then you know they will be on the floor trying to eat the red glass pieces. 

I will do lots of research on the new system before I buy it because I want something safe.  The basement coop will get this system also since they also have lots of heat lamps that can get broken if they decide to fly up & hit one.

The herbal recipe I put in the last blog article I made up & gave them for 3 days.  Not because any were sick but being 'cooped' up I felt this would be good for them & not hurt them in any way.  I love the fact you can still eat the eggs....which I did not notice any 'earth' taste to them at all.  I even gave some of it to Jasper since I knew if the chickens could have it that it would probably be good for the duck as well.

With it being so cold here, I have gotten a lot of sewing done plus am dreaming/thinking of what to plant in my garden this coming spring. Since I will be here by myself this year I have decided to do most of the garden for the chickens/duck  I will plant at least one tomato plant since I adore fresh tomatoes.  But I think it will be a lettuce, herb garden for the 'kids'.  I am also hoping to plant another small apple tree in my beginning little orchard.

This year a privacy fence will be going up so that I can free range the chickens in certain areas of the back yard plus keep all the free running neighborhood dogs out of my yard.  Right now I have 5 dogs (not mine) who think my yard is their bathroom & I am tired of cleaning up their mess that their owners won't/don't take care of.  I look forward to the fencing because I can freely walk around barefooted again plus not have my nosy neighbor watching my every move...lol

Well until next time have a great chicken day!

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