Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Moulting feathers

Two poor birds are moulting their feathers right now. Fancypants Johnson (pictured) started a few weeks ago. It's a cyclical thing -- they moult about once a year and stop laying eggs during that time. It's supposed to take a month or so for them to grow back. You can see the new shafts coming in on Fancypants. Looks itchy! Their roosting area is filling up with feathers and they've brought some of the big ones into the nest.







Tuesday, September 7, 2010

About washing eggs

In a previous post, I mentioned that we don't wash or refrigerate the eggs from our backyard chickens. People occasionally express concern, so here's a recent article about how eggs are naturally protected from bacteria, etc.

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=129472951

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Chicken tractor


Here is our new chicken "tractor" -- a portable enclosure that we can move to different spots around the yard. With this, they'll be able to get their fill of grass and bugs, and we'll still be able to enjoy the backyard. Yesterday was their first day in the tractor -- they spent about 5 hours out there and the rest of the day in their regular run. Penguin even laid an egg in the little nest box.

Richard built the tractor earlier this week when we were wanting a place to separate Vulture for a while to cure her of her early morning crowing. She had started at 7am Monday morning, so Tuesday she spent several hours away from the others and hasn't crowed since. They say that separating a chicken takes them down in the pecking order, which I think would be good since Vulture can be pretty mean.
Anyhow, I hope that a change of scenery will be good for all of them!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Crowing hen!

video

Without a rooster around, Vulture has taken up crowing. This video was taken this morning.

She has always been the top hen; she's a couple weeks older than the others, will sometimes peck on Penguin or Fancypants, and won't let me pet her like the other hens. I hear that it does happen occasionally where a hen will crow as part of the dominant role. In some cases however, crowing's a sign of a hormonal imbalance and a hen may even stop laying eggs. Hopefully she's just doing her thing and will continue laying eggs for us!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Broody - with update


Must be time to hatch some eggs -- Fancypants Johnson won't leave the nest. When we come near she puffs up her feathers and growls. Should we get some fertilized eggs for her to sit on?

Update: We decided not to hatch new chicks right now. So after a few days in a separate cage with no bedding, she came out of her broody state and is back with the other chickens.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

New chicken run



The chickens eat every blade of grass that grows in the yard, so I was losing hope for a vegetable garden this year. The solution we came up with was to move the coop to behind the shed and fence off a run for them beside the deck. In this area they'll have the compost piles, raspberry bushes, and a dust bathing area. With any luck they'll eat the dandelions and raspberry shoots that were going wild back there. The top of the coop still backs onto the deck so that we can collect eggs and refill the food and water drippers from up top.

Urban chickens are getting a lot of local press these days since Vancouver passed a bylaw allowing chickens. There's controversy around a city proposal to build a wing of the animal shelter (at $20,000) for abandoned chickens.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

First Spring Photos







-Walter and Fancypants deciding who gets to go in first to lay an egg.

-Penguin on the nest box.

-The flock of 4 demolishing our lawn. With all of the rain and chickens scratching around, parts of the backyard have turned to mud. We're going to fence them off to the sideyard later this month so I can plant the vegetable garden.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Eggs!

The hens are finally laying eggs -- this past week we were getting 3 a day. Mary gave me this antique egg basket which I love sitting on the counter. Fresh eggs don't need to be washed or refrigerated.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

The first egg!


Happy New Year! We got our first egg.

Are you wondering about the golf ball beside it? They say that if you put a golf ball in the nest box it gives the chicken the idea of where to lay their eggs. How amazing that the chicken got it right the first time. (Update - the hen first to start laying is Fancypants Johnson.)