It has been so easy to take photos and post pictures on Intsagram and Facebook with my phone that I have really neglected my blog. Taking time to write a post, however disjointed, is a birthday present to myself today. I’m 36 and that sounds old to me. It’s much closer to “late 30s” than “early 30s”. I can still claim “mid 30s”, though right?
The past two days have been super hot– high 80s with high humidity. The mornings are gorgeous. I should record the morning birds around here so that you can hear them. It is a full orchestra, I tell you! The woods we live in are bursting with life.
Logan found a newt on the walkway by our deck. Such a cute little red guy.
Our smallest chicken, Hunca-Munca, hatched 2 Cream-Legbar eggs last week. The chicks are super cute. It is so fun to watch the mama hen teach her babies to eat and explore. She has a language of clucks that say, “I’m right here,” and “I found something good to eat!” and other things I’m not quite sure what they mean. I’m really a chicken lady. I think I can honestly say they are my favorite pet I’ve ever had.
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?!
It 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.
We 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.
Here’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.
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