Monday, September 28, 2009

Summer's over... I'm preparing the coop for fall weather.

Richard built a feeder out of PVC piping and wood that we can fill from the outside. It holds several days' worth of food.

Today I made some curtains that can be let down to keep rain out on really bad days. Keeping the coop somewhat dry will be healthier for the chickens. All of the bedding will be allowed to build up in the coop over the winter to compost and provide heat. (This is called the deep litter method) I dig it up and add fresh wood shavings and diatomaceous earth on top every week. This week I used our first fall leaves for bedding.

The chickens in the foreground of this picture are Mohawk and Fancypants Johnson.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Here's a recent picture of Stinky (see my older posts to see this one hatching from an egg). He's looking like a rooster -- hens don't usuallly get red combs this early.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The chickens are big enough to run out freely in the backyard now, although one of us stays outside still when they're out of their coop. One of the neighborhood cats seems a little too interested in them and stalks them right in front of me.

We're down to 8 now -- yesterday I sold the last two small black bantams (probably hens) to a family who lives on a farm. This was through craigslist and we had a much better feeling about this sale than last week's auction experience. So the remaining chickens are Stinky, Mohawk, Vulture, Fancypants Johnson, two Penguins, and the two large dark ones now named Walter and St. Elmo. We'll wait til we know which of these are roosters before we decide which 4 we can keep long-term.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

We're down to 10 chickens now. At the rate they're growing, the coop was getting too crowded with all 14. So Sam and I went to the poultry auction this morning with the four small roosters. It was a terrible time to take them -- twice as many birds were for sale as usual. Someone was saying that people try to get rid of lots at the end of the summer. Anyhow by the end of the auction, full sized roosters were going for $2 each. Ours were so tiny they went for $1 for all four! We really had no choice but to get rid of these guys, but I was just sick that nobody really wanted them. Here's a picture of Sam saying goodbye to "Ninja".

Saturday, September 5, 2009

The chicks have been in the coop for a week now. (They were in the kids playroom and the house was starting to smell way too chickeny...)

Friday, September 4, 2009

Fourteen chickens will soon be too many for our coop, so the bigger they get the sooner we'll have to make some tough choices. This weekend I may take a few roosters to the auction. Anyhow I thought I'd take pictures of them all in the same groupings as last month so you can see how much they've changed. First - Stinky who we hatched from an egg. Hen or rooster? I still can't tell.

The Penguins: These two are still calm and easygoing. They seem like they'd be good egglayers to me, but I still don't know if they're hens or not.

The Pretty Boys: Fancypants Johnson and Roadrunner. There's hope that Fancypants (on the left) is a hen, but I can tell by Roadrunner's early red comb and aggressive behavior that he's a rooster. Both of these are favorites of the family since they are unique looking and friendly.

The Bosses: Mohawk (on the left) is clearly a rooster and has been identified by my friends on " as a "Lavender Polish Cross". Vulture (with Sam) is I hen we hope, and may be an "Easter Egger". This breed lays green, blue or pink eggs.

The Dark Horses: Now called St. Elmo (on the left with the gold on his wings) and The Other Black One. These two have gotten huge, and are both quite skittish. We still don't know if they're male or female.

The two brothers: They've gotten over picking on eachother, but both are looking like roosters...

Big little men... I'm hoping the two on the left are bantam hens actually -- both are friendly and one will fly up and land on my arm when I go in the coop.

Finishing up the coop... The chickens have been sleeping outside in their halfway finished home for about a week. The roof was on by the time it started raining at least...