Tag Archives: more chickens?

Babies, babies, and more babies

7 Jul

Being the only chicken lover in the family, I started this blog to have somewhere to go to “talk” about my girls.  Somehow I got sidetracked and started talking about other things and well, went a little south of chickens-in-the-garden.  What do you do when that happens?  You start another blog to talk about all the things that sidetracked you from the first blog.  Lord help me I now have more than one blog,  ssssooooo let’s get back to the chickens in the garden.

Three years ago, I started out with a flock of 6 Dominique.  That was after all, the chicken of choice for my husbands mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, so I figured I would follow in their footsteps.  Then I rescued a Barred Rock from the neglectful hands of my neighbor and named her Georgia. (6 + 1 = 7)  A year later I went in the feed store “to buy feed” and came out with 6 Rhode Island Reds. (7 + 6 = 13)  I just couldn’t resist those fuzzy little balls of cuteness!  My husbands co-worker donated a nice Buff Orpington Rooster bringing the grand total to 14.  Due to my own stupidity we lost 1 RIR to a raccoon, do a head count next time you close the coop door at night! (13)  Much to my surprise Georgia decided to go broody 5 days after we started our incubator with 20 eggs inside.  Between the incubator and Georgia we ended up keeping 8 more hens and 1 rooster. (13 + 9 = 22)  We also put 7 roos in the freezer.  Last October a friend called about a flock of hens that had been abandoned by some irresponsible person and we took in 6 Leghorn. (22 + 6 = 28)  Two more random deaths due to unknown causes, which I attribute to 1 being egg bound and 1 to being ravaged by our 2 male Peking ducks which are now also in the freezer. Bringing the grand total to 26!

You would think that would be enough and I would be satisfied with my flock and leave them to do their chicken thing.  But no, not so.  I began talking to other farmers with chickens, comparing notes, egg size, temperament.  Just for fun I began researching other breeds, where they came from, dual purpose vs. fancy, the rare, the endangered, the watch list.  In-between planning the latest wedding, tending our huge garden and taking our produce to the Farmers Market I was dreaming of fuzzy little balls of fluff.  I placed multiple orders online only to delete them before they were completed, knowing that if I got baby chicks before that wedding I would be in the dog house for sure.  I mean come on 26 chickens should be enough for any “small” farmer right?

Then one day on FB several weeks before the wedding, a post slapped me right upside the head!  A small farmer, not unlike myself, was down to 1 hen and looking for more.  They had ordered baby chicks but couldn’t wait 24 weeks to once again have those wonderful yard eggs.  Did anyone have any hens they were looking to get rid of?  Hhhmmm, I thought, better to rehome a few of my older hens than have to send them to freezer camp.  I sent a message, offering very honestly, 5 (3-year-old) Dominique who were now laying approximately every other day, and 3 (2-year-old) Rhode Island Reds also laying every other day.  I would, of course, have to keep Georgia our broody Barred Rock rescued from the neighbor, Beatrice the Dominique who keeps coming onto the back porch to let me know what everybody else is up to, the 1 RIR who sweetly let’s me take eggs from under her (name to come), the EE’s who are still young and the Leghorn who are younger still.  If they took me up on my offer baby chicks here we come!

It took a lot of nail-biting not to place my order the day they accepted my offer.  Between their schedule and my schedule is was another 9 days before they could come pick up their new hens.  After they left I immediately called the hatchery and placed my order for 12 Buff Orpington day old pullets and 1 Buff Orpington day old male, with a scheduled delivery date for the week “after” the wedding.  Okay, my “baby fix” was about to be met, and all was now well with the world.

Two days later on Father’s Day weekend newly married (October 2012) daughter #3 presented her father with a teeny tiny pair of garden gloves and a teeny tiny set of garden tools.  Yep, you guessed it, we’re having a baby (due Feb 2014).  Yippee!

In all the excitement of Father’s Day weekend I neglected to notice that Georgia had apparently decided there were not enough hens in the coop and was setting on eggs!  Okay didn’t we go through this last time I ordered day old chicks?  I marked the eggs (6) so that I could remove any new arrivals as soon as they were laid and made a mental note that she would have to be separated soon.

Exactly 4 days “before” the wedding of daughter #4, daughter #3’s had her first prego appointment.  A sonogram was done to confirm the pregnancy and lo and behold WE’RE HAVING TWINS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I just might be in shock.

The wedding was awesome, and now we are officially “done with weddings”!  The honeymooners are back in Texas after an exciting adventure filled week roaming the mountains of Colorado.  The chicks arrived on July 3rd (a Wednesday) after spending ALL day at the post office because somebody transposed my contact numbers, this after being shipped out on Sunday!  We lost 1 pullet a few hours after they arrived and another the next day  :(.  Thankfully at the moment the remaining chicks are doing great!  Here they are shortly after they arrived:Buff babiesAren’t they adorable!

Then on July 8th Georgia presented me with this:Sweet Georgia girlI have since removed the nesting container so that junior can get in and out easier.  As of an hour ago Georgia is still fluffed out over the remaining 5 eggs, so apparently somebody else is trying to hatch out.

While I was writing this post I canned 10 jars of new potatoes, 9 jars of chili jam and I have 4 jars of jalapeno jelly in a water bath waiting on the timer.  As soon as that jelly gets done I might have to go out to the coop to see is Georgia has any more babies running around.

Thank you Lord, I am in baby heaven!  Not only have You blessed us with an abundance of fuzzy baby chicks, You topped all that off with a set of baby TWINS!!!

Chicken rescue

19 Oct

A few days ago, I received a phone call from a friend (M.) that does home health care.  Seems her patient, a woman with early Alzheimer had, well basically been taken advantage of by some jerks.  She had allowed them to live in her rent house free of charge PLUS paid them $100 a week to take care of her, run errands and cook meals.  In exchange they had every so nicely ripped her off of around $30,000 writing checks on her account she did not authorize.  Nice people huh?  While they were living fat off the hog, they also talked her into building a chicken pen and letting them keep chickens on another piece of adjacent property.  I don’t know the entire story, however these users disappeared some time ago, hence the need for my friend to come in and take over the job.  Yes, M. works for an agency and let me tell you, she takes care of her people.  Lovely as these people were, they of course left the chickens behind.

That’s what the phone call was about, the chickens.  They had been left for several weeks with nobody coming back to feed and water.  M. had been doing her best to help when she made her home visits.  But let’s face it, 20 some odd birds eat and drink a lot and her main concern was with taking care of her patient.  The birds had to go.

As they were waiting on a call back from animal control I was contacted as a second option for a new home for these poor birds.  As I pondered how many I could take on myself, I made some additional phone calls to potential homes as did M.  We soon learned Animal Control  would charge for removal and I suspect put down all birds as there are no facilities for unwanted fowl.  Unfortunately that’s life.

Adding new birds to an existing flock when you have no idea of their health condition, is not an advisable adventure.  For one thing you could be introducing disease into your own flock, for another you mess up the entire pecking order and you may find yourself with a few injured birds on your hands.  Fortunately I have two separate pens and could use one for quarantine.

Now I have rescued animals before and spent oodles of money bringing them back to health.  We even rescued a puppy once, only to find out the poor thing had distemper, $400 and several trips to a vet later the poor thing died in our laundry room anyway.  So I am a little hesitant to knowingly bring disease onto my property.  I made the decision to “take a look” at this flock of unwanted birds.

I arrived at the location to find 20 chickens and a rooster in a pen probably 10 feet by 10 feet, 3 waterers bone dry and not a morsel of food to be found!  I do not understand people at all!  Somehow the birds looked pretty good, skinny as all get out but “clean”.  No doubt in part from M. periodically bringing bird seed and giving water when she made her home visits.  Since she had found another home for the birds in addition to myself, I decided to take the 6 Leghorn as I do not currently have this breed.  I caught each one relatively easy  and quickly assessed they were all in need of a good meal.

I also noticed that every comb was very dusty looking?  Supposedly these are “young” birds, not yet laying eggs according to M.  Since there are absolutely no eggs or even egg shells in this tiny pen I have no reason to doubt her assessment.  But why the dusty combs?  I’ll have to research that one.

They are now happily ensconced in our small pen.  Good food and vitamins applied, I will be making a health assessment over the next couple of weeks.  Later they will get a good worming and a dose of antibiotics for good measure.  I don’t normally medicate my birds unless absolutely necessary and since I don’t know what the previous owners did I’m not about to “over” medicate these scrawny little things until they have had a few good meals under their belts.

LOL, these are some of the most skittish birds, let me tell ya.  They are as frightened of me as a mouse of a cat on the prowl.  I can only assume it is due to lack of human contact.  Perhaps in time they will come to trust me and greet me at the gate like our other flock.