Chickens!

Well, I went out in the afternoon hoping to get some good chicken photos. They are hard enough to photograph, with their constant movement, but the afternoon shadows did not help. Next time I’ll try earlier in the day.

After I found a home for the first two roosters, this guy appointed himself king. He is smaller and so his crow is higher. As long as he behaves himself, I might let him stay.

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This is one of my French Maran hens. I say hen with great optimism. She has a pretty pronounced red comb and wattles, but I googled Maran hens, and some of them look like this. Fingers crossed she never crows!

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The little king better watch out. These two boys are a lot bigger.

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Baby continues to do well. She is an eating machine! Trying to make up for lost time, I suppose. I still think she is one of my prettiest chicks. I love her soft silver color.

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This is baby’s big sister. She is a darker blue color. Very pretty also.

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Buddy likes to stand quite close to me. See how his comb is different than most chickens? That is called a rose comb.

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And just another of the cochin hens. This week I changed over from baby feed to layer feed. High hopes that a few eggs will be coming soon 🙂

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All the chickens like to take turns standing on these pots that I left in the coop. Its really interesting to watch the feather development on the roosters. If only they didn’t crow and fight and want you-know-what all the time, I would love having roosters.

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I am still really enjoying  being a chicken “farmer.” I just love watching them, and I even enjoy cleaning up their house a bit and doing those farmery things.

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And Back to our Regularly Scheduled Program

Here is a big long picture-heavy post to catch you up on the garden and the chickens! The garden hasn’t exactly suffered this year (since we put in a watering system,) but it hasn’t had my full attention either. Next year will be a better year in the garden. Here’s what’s blooming this week.

The Zinnias are finally starting to grow and bloom more. Behind them is the gaillardia, blue salvia, and a geranium.

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A nice mandevillia vine. MLG built me a little trellis for it to grow on. They are not frost hardy so it will be an annual. Most of the plants I buy are either six-packs, or a gallon sized plant for $7.50. To me that is a nice price for a summer’s worth of blooms.

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This is a new plant for me. It looks like I plopped a bouquet in the garden. It is a rudebekia Prairie Sun. Huge yellow flowers. Its supposed to be a perennial, and I thought it would look nice between the wild pink rose and the small blue perennial (don’t know the name but the bees love it.)

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Here it is in context:

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Liriope. I have several of these, and several were transplanted this year. This one is doing the best of all of them.

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And now for the chicken report! I was glad that I had the chickens to amuse and distract me after my surgery. I loved going out and sitting and watching them in the late afternoon. Chickens are attracted to anything red, and I think they have a sweet tooth too, so they really love watermelon. Since they are still so young, I am careful to not give them too much fruit. Do you see who is in the very center of that picture? BABY!! She is doing so well. Goes in and out with the big girls, and doesn’t let anyone pick on her. She knows to just stay out of the way.

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Buff Orpington, with a Dominique behind her:

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New Hampshire Red:

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And here is Baby in action. She seems to know how to get exactly what she wants. She looks the situation over, and chooses the path of least resistance.

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Speckled Sussex. I am still a little hopeful that this is a hen that just has a rooster-like appearance.

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This IS a rooster, darn it! Both of the polish chicks turned into roosters.

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These are the Delaware chickens. I really like their delicate lacy black neck feathers. They seem to be very peaceful chickens.

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All the chickens take turns sitting on/standing on/laying in these pots.

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Pretty sure this guy will turn into a rooster. He always comes and stands by the fence right where I am sitting on the other side. I started calling him Buddy. If I keep a rooster, this will be the one.

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Can’t you tell by Baby’s stance that she is saying, “I’m cool. What’s that over there?” I am so happy with all the forward movement she’s made by herself. I’ve even seen her get up on a lower shelf to roost the past few nights.

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And now you are all caught up with the chickens. Today I stopped at a nursery and got a few more plants to fill in a few places in the garden. What can I say? I like pink. These are snapdragons, a Pentas, and dianthus–small, but has a definite carnation smell!

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And a Vinca–three colors in one pot!

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And that’s the garden report for this week.

 

Chicken and Garden Report

Baby goes outside! One day I looked out my window (whenever I am near the studio or kitchen window I always look out to see what’s going on in the chicken yard.) I was SO SURPRISED and excited to see Baby out in the yard. She seemed to be enjoying herself, running here and there with her little hitch, checking out the greens I had thrown out there, and mixing in with the big girls. So far she has not gotten picked on–you know, the pecking order. I have a feeling she will know to just stay out of the way. She also has a couple of “friends” who seem to stick close by. And of course, she didn’t know to go back into the house at night. It was so cute–one of the buff orpingtons had settled down next to her in the yard. Anyway, got them back inside and all was well. I think it was maybe a little overwhelming, because she hasn’t gone back outside since then…

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Another day I looked outside and there was something very large and brown standing on top of the bird netting that MLG had put across the top of the chicken yard. I ran outside–it was a HUGE hawk, who was not at all afraid of me, and was bouncing up and down on the netting to try to get in! I was SOOOO glad that I had had MLG put that netting in place. He did a very secure job. If I had done it myself, it might have been much easier for Mr. Hawk to get inside! He hasn’t been back since then, so fingers crossed that he thinks its a lost cause.

Here is the view of the garden that I enjoy when I sit on my fake patio.

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The volunteer petunias have returned, although a much smaller batch of them. along with some weeds…

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Phlox.

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Most of the oriental lilies came back. I had kind of forgotten about them, so that was a nice surprise.

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Mr. Bougainvillea is doing very well, and I love having it.

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Close-up. Aren’t those little white centers a beautiful detail?

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The Jackson Perkins rose that I complained about last year. It is doing very well, and I do love the color and the smell of it.

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The hydrangeas are doing well, but I’m a little stumped as to why the flower clusters are so small.

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This is that rose that is grown on its own root stock. Its kind of wild and crazy. I think it might need a little fence support behind it next year. Lots of little blooms.

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And that’s the garden and report and chicken update for this week.

 

Chicks at Seven Weeks

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Well, its been a little over a week, and that is a long time in the life of a chicken! Here’s the latest report from the ladies.

Remember this one? Last week I captioned her picture “a very self-assured chicken.” Well, the day after I wrote that, I was out watching their antics, and “she” crowed. Yes, the first rooster has made an appearance. Dang. I only had one of these Spitzhaubens.

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This here has become a piece of prime property in the chicken coop for the past few days.

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This. This little scooped out place in the dirt is prime property.

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And this is why. Chickens love to take dust baths. I guess the dirt was just right there next to the automatic waterer I added this week. The waterer has a top to it that will hopefully keep out dirt, and for sure will keep out chicken you-know-what. I just wanted to make sure they knew it was their water before I put the big scary top on it.

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Whaddaya say? Whaddaya say? I bet the plain girls are so jealous of our fancy hairdos.

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You know how when you chop down a little oak tree more branches grow back? Yes. This is all that’s left of a pretty hefty clump of branches. The funniest thing they do is to jump up and grab a branch and then stand on it so they can peck at the leaves.

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They really like their new water dish. (I do too, as it  saves me a lot of time.) I believe that this is another rooster in the works. No crowing yet, but he’s got a bigger comb and fancier feathers than the other two Speckled Sussex.

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A good close-up:

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Hey what’s going on out there? Is it safe? Anybody? Anybody? Tell me its safe.

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Hey, you were just inside the house. How did you get out here? (I was inside the henhouse and ran outside to get pictures of this one coming outside. I love the look on her face.)

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And the Baby report. Baby is the queen of the hen house. Because she stays inside and does not go outside yet. Today I held her up to the doorway, and she did seem very interested in what was happening out there. But I will let her decide when to go out. She is starting to get more real feathers now.

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Here she is in one of her little hidey holes.

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This is their new feeder. They seem to have adjusted to it fairly quickly.

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And there you have it. The chickens at 7 weeks of age. They still have to eat baby food for another three weeks. And only greens for a while longer. I can hardly wait to be able to give them watermelon and cantaloupe rinds–they LOVE them!

 

Chickens Move Outside!

I love my chickens, in case you couldn’t tell! I’m so happy I went ahead with this project. They provide a lot of enjoyment for me, just sitting outside watching their antics–chicken TV 🙂  They now look like little miniature chickens.

MLG came over Monday and helped (well, he did the whole thing) to put bird netting over the top of the chicken yard. I wasn’t worried about adult chickens, but the babies were still so small, I was worried that a hawk might decide they were easy pickin’.

So then we opened their little door to the yard. Nothin’. They are afraid of anything new. Later in the day, I carried four of them out to the yard. And threw four of them out their little door. Pretty soon others were curious. And now, four days later, they are LOVING their new yard. They scratch around in the dirt, run from one end to the other, check out anything moving, and eat any vegetation they can find (the planters of pansies I had put out there are stripped bare already.)

This morning I thought I would bring them some offerings from the garden. Oh boy–such excitement!

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This one in the picture below has stayed out past her bedtime for the last two nights. Chickens automatically go back inside their house when it starts to get dark. They are blind, as far as I can tell, at night. So I’ve had to go and rescue this little girl before I close their little door each night.

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A very self-assured chicken:

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Don’t panic. Its not a dead chicken. This is what they do to relax. They stretch out on their side in the sun.

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The same day, I had some leftover lettuce leaves. I decided to give it to the chicks that stay in the house. My favorite Baby is still going strong, and I was hoping she would get some of the lettuce. She has not ventured outside yet.

This was so fun–she grabbed a piece of lettuce and ran around like a crazy woman, going  to all her hidey-holes, and stopping once in a while to take a nibble. But mostly just running around 🙂

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And that’s the chicken report for this week. I keep saying I won’t post chicken news every week, but I can’t help it–they are just so darn cute!

Summertime!

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Glory be! Its HOT here! I just spent a couple of hours in the garden weeding and checking the watering system, and fixing the timer. Fun times. And here are my words of wisdom for you this week:

Growing old is not for the faint of heart.

And that’s all I got to say about that.

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When its so hot its hard to work up any enthusiasm for going to the nursery, much less actually buying plants and bringing them home to try and keep them alive. So right now I’m more focused on garden equipment LOL. I got a new hose THAT IS AMAZING. I got so tired of the Costco “kinkless” hoses constantly kinking. So I asked Sallye at the garden center if she would order me a good hose. She ordered me the same hose that they use at their nursery, a Gilmore Super Duty Flexogen. It was expensive, but so worth it for the lack of frustrating kinks. And Sallye says it really lasts a long time.

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The chicks are growing quickly in this heat. First I opened up the whole house to them. And then I turned their lamp off when it started getting so hot. They are almost fully feathered now, and look more like tiny bedraggled adult chickens. I watch them closely for signs of rooster behavior (I ordered all hens, but they don’t guarantee 100% accuracy.)

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That one that I claimed was a Rhode Island Red rooster the first week? That is my new best friend. So I’m hoping against hope that he is a hen 🙂 He comes running to the door when I open it, and enjoys hopping up on my hand and getting an aerial view of everything.

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They are fascinated by anything shiny, which I guess includes light spots.

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I was proud that I figured out how to build them a lower perch. And I found scraps of wood to make little steps for their ramp. They would climb up the ramp halfway and then slide back down.

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Of course, its always fun to find a higher spot to roost on…

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And they still do the same thing–“oh look, there’s something fascinating here, come look! come look!”

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And that’s how it goes around here. I am (literally) limping towards the finish line. I guess that’s a good thing. Because if it didn’t hurt to walk, I would probably back out of the knee surgery. They moved my pre-op appointment up a week. It will be good to get more answers to some of my questions.

 

The Chicks, Week 3

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At just three weeks of age, the chicks have entered that gawky teenage stage. That’s what I call it anyway. Feathers are coming in, but not all the way. there are still odd patches of down here and there. Just enough to make them look unkempt. Not so cute anymore. But they still provide me with hours of fun, just watching their antics.

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Look everybody! There’s something very interesting here.

Remember how all the chickens were trying to escape their yard in Chicken Run? That’s what my babies are like. constantly straining their necks to try to see over the top of the cardboard. They “fly” up to the top of the waterer and try to see over the top. They run and flap their wings.

And then this happened:

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Yes, one of them, well, actually several of them, made it to the top of their cardboard surround. So that made my decision a little easier. I HAD to let them out of their cardboard nursery, and out into the big world of the chicken coop.

I still have a cardboard barrier to keep them away from the door, but that will probably go tomorrow. One of them has already flown over the top of it.

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After they got over the shock of their world being made larger (there was lots of squawking and carrying on as I worked as quietly as I could to fix up the coop and take away the cardboard,) they were VERY interested in this big new world.

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They are endlessly interested in climbing the ramp (that will eventually allow them to go outside.)

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They still find “things” to be fascinated with, and they do love scratching in their pine shavings.

My favorite baby is still alive, and she eats and drinks regularly. She just isn’t growing as fast as the others.

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And that’s the chicken report for this week.