grandson helping wake up the chicks

grandson helping wake up the chicks

Monday, February 21, 2011

Time Flies!

Everything was settling down in the world of our new chickens.  All five were accounted for, and Joan Rivers alerted the others whenever I came near the hen house.  I would go out in the morning and open the door and make sure it was shut at night.

Then, a good friend of mine, Kathy, came to visit and said I really didn't need to let them out and in because they were secure and they'd do that themselves.  I was a little bit worried about it, but followed her advice and sure enough - the chickens knew what to do.  They even would appear to wait for me to come home each afternoon to bring them scraps.

Each day, I would change into my "muck boots" to head out to see my birds. They'd pile on top of each other at the gate and "talk" to me, especially the larger ones. I would sit out in the grass and toss them scraps and watch the funny ways they'd steal treats from each other. I found they really didn't like citrus but LOVED anything with grain in it....corn bread, hardened bread of any kind, and such.  They also were fun to watch when they'd eat a peach or a pear....sweets seemed to be their favorite.  I was learning more about them each day.

Before I knew it, we had graduated from crumble "Start and Grow" to laying feed, since the chickens were at the age to lay.  Gary and I waited eagerly for our first eggs.  We'd check every day but still no eggs.  As the days went on into months, and our birds were now seven months old and still no eggs. I read that sometimes they find strange places to lay so I looked around the chicken yard....still not a one.

I talked to a gal at work who said her husband was the "Chicken Whisperer" and could tell us what was going on.  I agreed and Kelly and Steve made the trip out to our place. They said our chickens were beautiful birds and they thought they knew why they weren't laying.....we had only two hens but THREE roosters.

Gary was convinced we'd have to get rid of a couple of the roosters....but I insisted this was not necessary.  But, day after day, not one egg. Then, one day our neighbor Julie said she heard our "chicken" crow. I questioned that and said "Are you sure it wasn't yours?"  She answered, "Well, unless ours can throw his voice, no. It was definitely yours."

The next thing I knew, I'd wake up and hear a chorus of crows. First, the neighbor's rooster would crow, then get 1, no 2, no three back! looked like we found our problem....too many roosters in the nest.  I was going to have to find homes for two of these cockerels!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

An Attitude Adjustment

Finally, all of the five young chickens were home. And, I had been treating the previously missing one with bag balm on the back of her head for several days.  A funny development had come up....whenever I went in the chicken area, the one that had been found started to get hysterical. She'd run around behind the others as if to warn them that I was coming. She didn't want to be caught and was very noisy. I didn't know what to think of it, but continued trying to catch her so that I could "doctor" her.

Meanwhile, one of the larger chickens chased her and started to peck at her. No matter where she went, the other chicken went after her and cornered her to peck at her wound. Even though I had been told that chickens will kill an injured one, I couldn't help try to help this wounded creature. So, I scooped up the big chicken, held it up and told it to "KNOCK IT OFF!", and then tossed it outside.

Now, the logical side of me knew that what I did would probably not make any difference in the actions of chickens, but I had to give it my best shot....which is what I did.  I proceeded to doctor the hurt female and talk to her as I did so.  Then, I released her and she ran outside of the chicken house, while vocally letting the others know I had been there.

My actions appeared to help the reacceptance of the hurt chicken (or they accepted her coincidentally at the same time frame....whatever) as she started to heal and hang out with the others without being attacked.  She still would, however, act hysterical whenever I came out to see the chickens.  With all of this in mind, I decided that this girl would need a name.  What do you name a chicken that is hysterical, wounded, and marching to her own drummer?  I decided that Joan Rivers would make there it was. The first named chicken would be Joan Rivers! Whala!  What would tomorrow bring?

chicken house1

chicken house1
Our masterpiece ready for the chickens