On Wednesday I was out shoveling snow (geesh, will winter ever end?) and heard the noisiest, most raucous clucking I have ever heard come from out chicken coop.  I’ve grown used to Cupckake’s crowing from down until dusk, but the new noises were hen noises.  Instantly I thought, “That must be a hen in labor!” and as soon as the noise petered out I sent Brenna back to check.  Here is what she found:


The first eggs!  It has taken a few days for us to figure out who they were from, but now we’re certain.  The lighter one is from Austra.  In the photo below she’s the black and white Barred Plymouth Rock looking out the door.  The darker one is from Chubbles, the yellow Buff Orpington.  Like clockwork Chubbles has sung her “laying song” and left a brown egg in the nesting box between 9:30 and 10:00 for 4 days in a row.

Barry wasn’t quite sure he believed egg laying could be so noisy, so this morning he went out there a little after 9:00 to hear for himself.  He even made a record if you want to hear it too.  There’s quite a bit of crowing and cardinal songs before the laying gets going, but it’s unmistakable.

It took several rounds of this kind of work today.  The egg didn’t show up until 10:00.  I wonder how noisy it will be when all 5 hens are laying regularly?!

he’s 5?!

It’s been almost a month since my sweet, snuggly, love-bug of a boy turned 5.  The chubbiness of his hands is starting to stretch out– even those cheeks of his are a little less round.  His sweetness and cuteness remains, though.  He is constantly drawing and dressing as a super hero.  He is always wanting to snuggle and give me a kiss.  I am so thankful to be his mama.

We celebrated by making the dreamed up cake with layers of strawberry and chocolate cake with green frosting.

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And even did the math to figure out how many days old he was.

DSC_0036 DSC_0043 DSC_0038 DSC_0046We had friends over (the other homeschoolers in our ward) and Hunter’s friend gave him THE robot Hunter really wanted to play with last time he was at their house.  It lights up and makes noise and all the things the toys at our house don’t do.  Super fun!


“she” is a “he” (and a coop tour)

DSC_0030It has long been suspected that our dominant chick, the purebred blue Ameraucauna hen that would lay blue eggs, was really a rooster.  I have been in denial– hoping my positive thinking would really make this chick that was clearly the boss of the flock, who charged with its chest out at the others constantly, who was curious and led every expedition of adventure to the bushes, who grew a bit faster and taller a hen that laid beautiful eggs with blue shells.  Well, Cupcake is a full fledged rooster now.  Crow and all.  My goal this week is to find a new home for him.  He is beautiful and friendly, but we don’t need a rooster.


And while we’re on the topic of chickens I thought I’d show you our finished coop.  It has been done since September, so it is well broken in now.

DSC_0004We used the Garden Coop plans and we’re really happy with the finished structure.  The chickens can come and go from the henhouse to their run as they please (which means no one has to go out at the crack of dawn to let them out). Humans can come and go easily too and the henhouse is super easy to access and clean.

DSC_0005Here’s a view of the inside of the henhouse with the human access door open.  I’ve been using sand as the litter in there and I highly recommend it.  Every couple of days I scoop and sift out the poop and dump it in the compost pile.  It makes for a stink-free as possible arrangement and takes me 5 minutes to do.  I had put hay in their nesting boxes, but they just pulled it out and made a huge mess with it– making the sand hard to scoop.  They are just about old enough to start laying, so I need to figure out some nesting box solution that won’t ruin my sand littler.  I ordered some plastic nest pads so we’ll see how they go.  I want eggs clean and coop care simple so things don’t get out of hand disgusting.


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Their food and water is out in the run.  I’ve made a 2 gallon bucket into a nipple feeder with these poultry nipples and the feeder is made from PVC pipe and a corner litter pan for rabbits.

Hens usually slow down their laying during the cold months, so I’m not sure when my chicks will start laying.  I’m pretty excited about it, though!!  I can’t wait to find that first egg.  I will be so proud :)

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the sun came out



DSC_0041It has been rainy and dreary for several days, but the sun came out today and it felt so good!  Our normally dry creek is full of water and ready for leaf dam building and stick floating.  It is hard to get the kids to go outside.  We’re a family full of homebodies, I guess.  Overcoming inertia is hard sometimes, but once we get out it is always so refreshing.  I can’t quite figure out why it is hard to convince some of my kids that getting out in the fresh air and the woods will be worth it.  Invariably they feel better once they’re out there and often gripe when it is time to come back in.  I’m learning that a great deal of life as a parent is like that– always resistance, always resistance.  The trick is to flow with it and not get too bugged by it.

I feel like our new year officially starts tomorrow.  We’ve been lucky to have Barry home for several weeks, but he has to go back to the grind tomorrow.  It has been so wonderful to have him home.  He is such a do-er!  Our downstairs bathroom got a new sink, toilet, light fixture and paint.  I’ve got to figure out how to take photos of such a tiny space so I can show it to you.  We’ve started a new habit of meeting with the older kids to help them plan the week and we’re learning more of how to tweak the process as we go.

And I just heard it again– there is something that roams our back yard at night screaming/ barking/ yelping/ calling… I don’t even know how to describe it.

A neighbor says it is a female fox in heat.  Maybe we really know what the fox says!  Just what we need back by our chickens.