Monday, May 24, 2010

Feast or Famine (updated)

It seems that I'm either posting twice a day or I'm not posting at all. I don't even know what my excuse is - I guess I can only post when I'm inspired to do so. I just can't force it.

The outside chickens are really looking like grown-up birds. They're even starting to cluck a bit, although they still just mainly peep. They don't especially like to be caught, but they're pretty calm once we've got hold of them. Sarah and I clipped their left wings last week.

Here are the boys with their pet "raptors:"

Ummm, guys? You do realize they walk around in their own poop all day, right?

Brian's surprisingly fond of "his" chickens.

Two orange ones got out of their enclosure last week, but they didn't go far - they only went across the yard, and came running as soon as Conor went out to feed them. That was a relief, since there is a busy street out front. I was hoping that they'd stay largely in the yard.

The wild chicken went broody last month, but she's back to laying and we're collecting one little white egg a day. They're tasty, too.

Here she is, taking a dirt bath behind the onions. This is her favorite hangout.

She thinks we can't see her.

In our makeshift chicken coop, I put an old metal folding table support in the house for a roost. Actually, Brian and I constructed a wooden roost, and I was using the table support to clip a light for warmth on the colder nights. But then the nights got warmer and I found out they were jumping up to the highest rung anyway. I didn't know that they wanted to roost at the highest point possible. Huh. Live and learn.

At first only five chickens could fit, and it was usually Bad Luck Cluck who was left alone on the low roost. I nudged things around a little bit tonight, and now all six can fit on the roost. It's so cool - once the sun starts to go down and it's almost twilight, the hens don't want anything else to eat. They start making their way inside and jockeying for the best roost position.

There are really six on the roost, but the white ones are crammed together so closely that you can't tell.

The three orange ones are Ben, Fluffybutt, and Bad Luck Cluck. Fluffybutt is my favorite - she's so pretty! She's the biggest of the orange ones, and looks like she's wearing a ruffled petticoat under her feathers. I haven't gotten a good picture of her yet - it's too difficult through the netting.

The three white ones don't have names yet, because it's too hard to tell them apart yet. They're going to be called Link, Zelda and Ganendorf, but we don't know which is which.

The younger batch stayed in a brooder in our kitchen for two-and-a-half weeks, but the smell was so awful that I moved them out to the garage for the nights, and into a makeshift mini-pen adjacent to the ghetto for the daylight hours. Chick poop smells so much worse than chicken manure, even using sawdust for bedding.

Old meets new. The older ones largely avoid or ignore the chicks, but they will peck at them if the chicks poke their heads through the gate.
The new enclosure barriers are comprised of a 6-ft. porch swing and rubbermaid tub. There's also a baby bathtub in there, inverted for shade. It's where they huddle after the sun goes down.

The black ones are Barred Rock pullets, the brown striped one is a Partridge Chantecler pullet, and the rest are the packing peanuts - the male Buff Brahmas.

Partridge Chantecler pullet - such exquisite feathers!
The two Partridges are Chip and Dale.

Buff Chantecler pullet
The two Buffs are Holly and Yellowy.

A male Buff Brahma chick. They aren't named, since we'll probably be eating them.
Natalie calls one of them her "Grayey."

Hmmm. I guess it might be time to put a roof on the enclosure.

Yesterday was my 42nd birthday. Instead of cake, I made myself a Cappuccino Mousse Trifle. So pretty and so delicious!


  1. Look at you, all expert with the chickens! Your kids have got to be learning so much about chickens and how to care for them. And to be able to eat fresh eggs . . . I'd love for my girls to see the connection firsthand between food on our table and how it gets there.

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! Forties are the new thirties, so enjoy this decade thoroughly!

  2. I love your chickens. Cute pictures!

    Happy Birthday to you....even though I am very late. I hope you had a really nice day!....and your dessert looks fabulous! yum!