Chicken Update

OK, there’s been some questions about the chickens, mostly from Wendy.

There are two chickens. (Important to start small I’d say, although my wife were discussing 2 or 3 for a long, long time) I have no idea what kind they are. My friend stole them from her dad’s flock of 50-60 birds. They were just hatched about 6 weeks ago. As you can tell they are brown and white. And we are fairly sure they are both girls. If one or both isn’t we’ll trade them in.

No names yet because the kids haven’t had time to name them yet, but they are excited to name them. I was trying for a variety of names. Kentucky for one and Fried for the other. Foghorn Leghorn is a possibility, but there’s trouble since they are both girls.

The chickens are solely for eggs.

I have some observations.

They are very skittish. This could be because they are new, I’m not sure. They are certainly, um, chicken of me. he he

I’m amazed at the amount of poo that comes out of them. And we already have a ton of flies back there, and it’s only been two days! If anyone has any tips on this I’m all ears. I’m using shredded paper in the coop for bedding (the advantage of an office job is a ton of shredded paper) and eventually the run will be lined with either straw, leaves or grass clippings, depending on what time of year it is.

I’ve been trying to bribe them with lettuce and such to get them closer to me. They aren’t taking. Anyone know of any good treats for them?

They seem to like their coop, which is good, but I’d like them to forage a little more. My friend says they won’t eat the creeping charlie, but I’ve seen them chomp it so we’ll have to see what happens there.

I was having a problem with the paper getting in the water dish, but I hung it from the ceiling tonight, so hopefully that problem is solved.

I love them already. When I go back there they scoot around and they make cool sounds.

We had our first escape attempt yesterday. Our dog busted through/under the door to the chicken run (admittedly it’s not very sturdy) and was going after them when I made her “you’re being naughty” noise. (it sounds like the horn of a Renault) She hit the brakes and hit the ground and got totally submissive. (why you take them to obidience school) But in the meantime one chicken flew up to the fence post and then jumped down to the neighbor’s yard. I hopped the fence and with my wife’s help we corraled it back over the fence. We didn’t look too silly chasing it around. The other one landed in the potato patch and it was trapped by the fencing so I just put it right back in.

Needless to say the dog is escorted out for now and I’ll be upgrading the door shortly.


8 responses to “Chicken Update

  1. Straw or hay works really well in our coop to keep the flies down.

    If they were raised in a flock of 50 or 60 chickens, that would explain why they are skittish – not enough human contact. If you were to get day-old chicks and brood them yourself, with your kids to handle them on a daily basis (although some people advise against holding too much – I could never find a definition of “too much” when it comes to chicken handling), they would be like a pet dog and would come right to you when you called AND allow you all to handle them and pick them up. They probably still will, eventually, once you all get used to each other ;). It just takes time.

    My chickens will eat just about anything, but some favorite treats are cottage cheese and berries. I hold raspberries in my hand and the chickens will come over and peck them right out. I love the look on their faces when they’re trying to figure out what it is I’m holding.

    I know of what you speak re: chicken love. We have six laying hens and a pullet we’ll be introducing to the flock in another couple of weeks. They are so fascinating.

    I’d recommend a couple more, though. Most breeds with which I am familiar lay about an egg every other day. I’ve found six chickens give us more than enough eggs (about two dozen per week). I’d have more, because I just like the chickens, but we don’t have space for them … I’m thinking maybe a couple of ducks … ;).

  2. When the chicken got out, I was honestly afraid of it. I truly thought that when I went to pick it up that it was going to peck me to death. Come to find out it was just as afraid of me as I was of it.

    I am glad the girls are in the back corner of the yard where people can’t see them or smell them. As Matt knows, the stink and poop has to stay away from the pool or the chickens are gone. So, if ya’ll have any pointers for him on keeping them clean, please let us know!

    I am sure our boys will really enjoy the girls. Especially after they name them and get to take care of them more. I like the idea of them being able to hand feed them and pet them.

    Our girlfriend says it would be a good learning experience for them to actually kill them, pluck them and cook them. However, if they become more like a pet, this won’t happen. This being said, we will probably have these girls way past their egg laying days……

  3. Oh, Matt, you just think you didn’t look too silly. Chasing chickens is always silly.

    Our old neighbor had chickens and she wasn’t too effective at keeping them in her yard. She thought it was fine to let them run around the hood.

    Of course, we lived on a busy street and my husband always felt compelled to chase them back into her yard since she had already gone to work for the day. Needless to say, silliness ensued.

    Wifey – The only way to keep them chickens clean is to pluck them and dip them in a pot of boiling water 🙂 But it sounds like you will be opting for a couple of geriatric chickens instead!

  4. I would love to get a couple of laying hens. I am working on honeybees right now though and my poor husband can only handle one crazy idea at a time. Good luck with the chickens.

  5. I agree with the previous poster that a few more is generally a good idea. Most people who have a small flock have 4 to 6 chickens (I’m not most people – I have about 30).

    Treats our chickens love – spaghetti (pasta in general), rice, any leftover veggies. In fact, our chickens get all of our kitchen scraps – who needs a compost pile? About the only things they don’t get are eggshells (some people even crush these up and feed in place of oystershell for calcium) and coffee grounds. Oh, they don’t seem to care much for potato peels or cucumber peels. They’ll riot for watermelon rinds.

  6. cantaloupe seeds are the summer chicken treat here.

  7. I found that they seem to really dig green bean plants. I figured if the rabbits love them so damn much the chickens would to. They do. They are getting less skittish when I come out there.

  8. I am really enjoying your blog. I was directed from Sharon Astyk’s blog. I have about 30 chickens, 14 of which are 3 weeks old. I agree with a previous poster, straw is the only way to go. We don’t have any smell and very few flies.

    Vancouver, WA

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