Coop #2

This is a post that I had been preparing since the fall…Due to my absence in my writing I had not quite had a chance to finish it. I am wanting to share this with you now, but am letting you know this just so the timing is not to be confused. This is written in the context of the present, but was actually several or more months ago now. I have updated some points in it that since have been changed, so I apologize if it appears a little jumbled.

It seems these days, that just as soon as Tim’s able to get a project under control, I’m just as quickly adding one! Or even maybe two… ­čśë

With the little chicks that we had done in our┬áOur first Adventure in Incubating, they certainly are quick to grow out of the brooder! So, this in turn resulted in us (mostly me…totally guilty), wanting to make a smaller separate coop that is still somewhat attached to our original run. We decided to follow a basic coop plan, and found that this one was the winner:┬áThe Tangled Nest; Our Urban Chicken Coop Plan.

It was a good sizing, though we did increase it to fit to the width of our run, simple build and already designed as a coop (our last one was a shed we converted in the plans…see it here: The New Chicken Coop).
We liked the fact that there was shelter directly underneath for our rainy days and season, as well as some more extra space in the open. This system allows us to do a “See but no Touch” method of integrating the two flocks together. This worked great, we had them in this method for about 2 weeks, then after that allowed the younger ones and older gals and Mr. Gimpy to mingle a bit. Since then, months later we have now got them all together as a flock. Still a little shaky here and there but overall this went so smooth! We have since, butchered all the Roosters that were in that hatch as our Mr. Gimpy was having none of them, and honestly, his personality┬áis outstanding.

It can really be a gamble with roosters…some can be nasty and sometimes you just get the perfect one. It really all depends on the roo, we really lucked out with Gimpy, he has such a great temperment, great with the ladies, good protector, fertilizes eggs well, and is fine with us, Nathan, the dog and the cat. Don’t get a much better rooster than that!!

Anyways, I thought I’d share our process of coop #2 building and let you all see the set up ­čÖé

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We’ll be making a few adjustments on this, since having our first young set in we realized that the placement of the ramp and trap door will need to be adjusted. It wasn’t quite enough room for even the young ones to get up and down (at least of the Maran breeds and crosses, cause well, their quite big birds as is) other than Jazzy and Pepper.
We’ll need to increase the run around that coop in order to do this so it will be a little bit till were finishing this one up. But, overall it worked great for the purpose of what we needed it.

Out of the 12 chicks that hatched, we have kept 6 pullets for adding to our flock. Of these are: Pepper the Swedish Flower, Jazzy the Wheaton Ameraucana (the muffs and beard are missing though), Belle the Blue Copper Maran, Juniper our Olive Egger, and Pheobe & Rachel our two Black Copper Marans.

We’ll see if we end up keeping Pheobe and Rachel though, as they both hatched from lighter eggs then I would desire from our Black Copper Marans, because they were from Blue Copper Eggs. If not, we’ll be rehoming them to someone who doesn’t really care about that but just wants some tasty eggs.

 

Advertisements

Our first Adventure in Incubating

Well, I found a chicken breeder in our area who does a lovely job of breeding some wonderful rare and pretty birds. Among them are, the swedish flower hens or┬áblommeh├Âns in Sweden.

They really are quite pretty birds, resembling a landscape of wildflowers, hence how they got their name. These were just one of the breeds that caught my attention. There is also Blue Wheaton / Wheaton Ameraucanas, Blue Copper Marans, and Olive Eggers that we incubated to hatch.

All of which I was extremely excited about doing for our first time.

Out of these four breeds we did: 8 eggs of the Swedish Flower Hens, 6 Ameraucanas, 6 eggs of the Blue Copper Marans, and 4 eggs of the Olive Eggers.

I decided to do only 4 of the Olive Eggers just for fun and I did the Blue Copper Marans as just an added bonus for some lovely dark eggs, as our MaranX chickens we have now only one of them lays a darker egg.
The two I’m really excited about are the Swedish Flower and the Ameraucanas…very pretty birds and the blue eggs from the later I really couldn’t resist.

Continue reading

Maran X chickens and their pretty eggs

Well, as you know, we purchased some baby chicks this year to replace our older hens as they are no longer laying consistently for us (although they have had a revamp since meeting the younger ones…coincidence I think not!)

IMG_3186

These little chicks were all Black Copper Maran X’s as the rooster himself was a Black Copper Maran, though the hen mothers were unknown (there were quite a few in his flock of varying kinds). It was so neat to see them grow up, something we missed out on with our rescue birds though we love them just the same, even when it becomes time for the stew pot.

Well, the little chicks are certainly not so little anymore, and the pullet hens are even starting to lay their pretty eggs! Being cross birds, it was unsure what colour of eggs they would lay. We certainly were hoping for at least one or two of them to lay the dark almost burgundy eggs that the Maran’s can be known for. We were not disappointed!

Amber, our most BCM looking girl, is definitely living up to her heritage. Looks and all! She is laying some pretty beautiful dark shelled eggs, I get excited flutters every time I lay my eyes on one.

IMG_3153 IMG_3272 IMG_3143

Some of the girls, like Maggie May and Lynx have started laying some double yolks, making them seem like normal large to extra large egg sized. Regardless of how big their eggs are or how little, they are delicious!

The New Chicken Coop…I mean Mansion!

Tim has been hard at work for the last little while to get the new chickens their new home.
We got these little guys at 4 weeks +/ – and being now 16 weeks +/ – we finally have it done!

He took the plans for a backyard shed and converted it to make it a lovely coop home. This took a little while as this is the first structure he’s built from scratch himself, let alone convert from the original structure to work as a different building!

I must say, he’s done an absolutely amazing job, I couldn’t be more proud of his skills and hard work he puts into everything he does! It’s wonderful to see our plans manifest and see the progression from what we started with to the projects nearing completion.

IMG_2704-1

Soon Nathan will be helping Dad around the Farm, but for now he’ll just match him in his own carhartt overalls!

We’ve put the little chickens (but not so little anymore) in their new home to get acquainted and settled. We finished the run for them this past weekend just in perfect time for letting them out of their new home. We’ll be doing the finishings on the coop, siding and pretty little touches, etc. throughout the summer slowly on a smaller budget so we’ll be going week by week on those things. By the end of august / ┬áseptember we plan to have it all completely done.

Here is the progression we have so far for the coop and run!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

…and here are our lovely Girls and Roo in their new home!

IMG_2384

We’ve already gotten a couple eggs from them, the first one (top) had a soft rubbery shell, the second one was a teeny tiny lovely egg (bottom 2 photos).

IMG_2687

 

Our First Baby Chicks

This definitely is a little bit late, considering that their almost all grown up (except of course for our rooster – Gimpy) ┬ábut I guess it’s better late than never! I want to share with you the exciting process of our little chicks growing up, and what we found as good indicators to determine the sexes of them (luck be had, we were right about all of them!) I like to believe that it was these observations – and really not just only luck – that led us to gain the sexes that we wanted, 7 hens and 1 rooster.

Gimpy our Rooster!

Gimpy our Rooster!

Continue reading

Pickles and Casper; Houdini Chickens?

We’ve been doing some great progress on our indoor renovations, first the bathroom done and then the first of three bedrooms. With the good spring and summer weather coming on though, now is the time for our outdoor projects and garden tasks to get done!
We started this back in February, we’ve been so busy between the pregnancy / our baby’s birth, getting the garden started, and starting the chicken coop (let alone all the everyday tasks and work days!) I haven’t had much of a chance to share what we’ve done; ┬áSo this is only the beginning with more posts to come.

First on the list has been to start on our garden rows; tilling, weeding, and building up the rows all from scratch converting a grassy patch into a beautiful abundant (hopefully!) vegetable garden. We have a few starter rows set up and our field tilled and ready for other rows to be put on, though we think we’ve let it sit barren for too long and we’ll most likely be re-weeding / ┬áturning the remaining area all over again. Having tilled in February and it now being the beginning of June (soon to be hubby’s birthday), you can see why that is.


With the garden being started this left the chickens a problem, especially being free-ranging our yard they were especially attracted to our newly made garden rows and plants that were sprouting and the fresh soil hoping for some bugs.
Since then we’ve fenced them into a large area instead of having it around our first rows we started. Of course with chickens you get the mischievous ones, and we’ve had some escape artist problems with Pickles and Casper almost doing it daily.

We finally had been able to figure out where they were escaping from and remedied the problem. We had to put additional barrier above the wire fence with lines of fishing line, as well as put rebar staked in at certain areas of the fence where they were sneaking underneath. We also clipped Pickles and Casper’s wings (only one) to help discourage them from flapping their way over, although easier said than done with Casper (She still managed to make it over once, luckily wasn’t too hard to get her back in; Pickles is no problem, she’s far to heavy to flap over!!)

Finding out how they did it was a frustrating one I have to admit, having a 6 week old baby it was near impossible to keep a full eye on them to see if I could sneak a glance at how they are getting out, I was far too occupied and with Tim at work that left no back up to keep watch! We did finally figure it out, though it was a little tough to accept the fact that these two chickens were not only outsmarting us but baffling us all the same. Pretty impressive I suppose…

So with the pretties all penned up, we’ve started adding more rows now to the garden which has been pretty exciting! Having it be beginning of June, we are quite late with a few things for planting but hopefully the summer will be a bit of a longer one to help extend the growing season and the harvest period. We shall see!

DSC06138DSC06125
For now we’ll be content knowing that we’ve got some good potential for some lovely nutritious fresh food and the beginnings of building a strong foundation with our soil.
To the new relationship with the ground we walk on, here’s to new adventures too!

Perhaps with the nicer weather our cat, Oblivion, with get less lazy and join us for some quality outdoor time ­čśë

IMG_1228

 

Our very first Chickens

IMG_0132

Our Very First Egg!

It’s certainly exciting getting our first chickens! We’ve had them since last fall, and their all settled in; Enjoying our large backyard to their every whim before we build their new coop and run this spring, I’m sure they’ll have a few arguments against that.

I have to say, you hear from everyone that if you let them free-roam they are just going to destroy your yard and make it a mud pile! Well, we thought this great as there is a large portion of it that we want taken out to plant our garden area…problem being, they only ruin the areas THEY want to, not the ones you hope they do. Pretty obvious I guess, right?

So it goes, we’ll have a little repairing to do, and more work taking out the garden area than intended but so it goes! Were just happy to finally have them, our very own chickens!

We rescued six older ladies, their about 2-3 years plus is our understanding, through this winter we were getting between 1 to 3 eggs a day (though 3 egg days were pretty rare).
Typically at their age, their egg laying declines heavily, younger girls would be laying regularly one a day. To us though it’s just the thought that our very own chickens are giving us eggs which makes this all so wonderful!

IMG_0244

A few weeks into having the Chickens and  realizing they have Scaly Leg Mites

When we got them the poor things had something called ‘Scaly Leg Mites’, so I researched high and low on how to help them and make them feel better. Most mites you suffocate with tiny particles of dust, which is why supplying a dust bath for your girls is very important to keeping them healthy and happy. These mites though are a different story, living on the legs and burrowing under the scales lifting them up, they need to be suffocated by completely coating them in an oil substance that won’t just get washed away.

unnamed

The worst of their Scaly Leg Mites

We tried, olive oil, oil and tea tree, etc., and it just wasn’t doing it. Luckily for us, having only six chickens makes the ordeal of treating them a whole lot easier…I couldn’t imagine dealing with more! We finally came across the solution of using vaseline on their legs, as well as some warm water and soap soaks and light gentle scrubs to loosen the dead scales. Oh boy what a difference! We were relieved to notice improvements on most of them within a week, but some of the others were more persistent. Eventually, and finally, we were able to battle them gone… Phew!

IMG_0994

Our Happy Well-Fed Chick-Chicks

From what I could gather, they get them from wild birds and where they were raised as well as us got plenty of those, especially making sneak attacks into the shed we converted into a temporary coop to steal some of our chicken pellets (we suspect). Hopefully with the new coop this won’t be an issue, but you never know I guess.

IMG_0212

Getting Acquainted

Little miss brown really enjoys it when we rake up the leaves! She even tries to help with her little feet ­čÖé