Broody Buckeye Hen – Sitting For 10 Days & Counting
As of yesterday, our broody Buckeye hen has diligently been sitting on 15 eggs - for 10 days. She gets out of her nest box only to eat, drink, and relieve herself; and has only once signalled a desire to leave the broody box (see Building A Broody Box). We let her out and she took a quick dust bath in the pasture; and then climbed right back into the broody box and back onto the nest. So far, she’s exhibiting all the behaviors of an excellent mother hen, and we couldn’t be [...]
Continue reading Candling Broodies Eggs
I’m so excited – one of the Buckeyes has gone broody!!! Raising the Buckeyes was a great experience (see Raising Day-Old Chicks), but I was hoping the Buckeyes would retain their instinct to go broody, and raise their own young – I’d rather they perpetuate the flock (why should I do the work if they’ll do it naturally?). So, when one hen showed definite signs of broodiness; Randy quickly constructed her a broody box inside the coop.
How To Tell If She’s Broody
In many chicken breeds today, the instinct for raising young has been bred out; because “broodiness” was considered undesirable in factory laying hens. However, some of the [...]
Continue reading Building A Broody Box
In the US today, we’re being offered more and more choices in food quality; and it’s because many of us are demanding locally grown foods that are antibiotic, hormone, and pesticide free. In terms of eggs quality, it’s not clear sometimes what the choices mean – here’s a rundown on the different types of eggs:
Commercial or “Factory Farmed” Eggs
These are the standard grocery store eggs; and unfortunately, the “farms” that produce these eggs are typically poultry houses where the hens are housed indoors in tiny metal cages. They’re routinely debeaked (part of their beaks are cut [...]
Continue reading Choices in Egg Quality
The more I learn about chickens, the more I think they are truly remarkable creatures. Just before laying an egg, the hen adds a protective layer called “bloom” or cuticle to the outside of the egg. This coating seals the shell pores, prevents bacteria from getting inside the shell, and reduces moisture loss from the egg – all designed to make the egg last longer.
Unfortunately, because of conditions at some large egg operations, commercial eggs are washed right after collection to make them appear clean and presentable. Of course, this destroys the protective egg bloom. To try replacing natural bloom, [...]
Continue reading Egg “Bloom”
One of the Red Comet pullets laid her first egg, so we can’t be far from having good eggs again. It’s amazing how a few chickens change your perception of grocery store eggs. They don’t taste right, they’re watery, and they look anemic too. The eggs from backyard chickens are sooo much better.
The combs and wattles on all of the pullets are starting to turn red, but we think it was this girl’s egg because she’s redder than her sisters. If these chicks were six weeks old when they arrived, then the first egg appeared at a little over seventeen weeks. It was a little sooner than expected, so we’re quickly switching over to layer [...]
Continue reading First Egg!
Thirteen Weeks Old
I picked up one of the chicks last night, and did a double take. She was a lot heavier than I expected – those sneaky little girls are growing up!
We don’t know exactly how old they are (they were a surprise with the new coop), but think about thirteen weeks. We got them at five weeks, and first kept them in an old Eglu while we painted the coop interior. At eight weeks, we slowly transitioned from the medicated starter feed they were being fed to non-medicated grower feed, and didn’t observe any problems.
At nine weeks, they moved [...]
Continue reading Growing Pullets
After the new coop arrived, Randy wondered whether we should “paint the inside” to protect the wood, and make it harder for chicken parasites to hide-out. Not knowing the answer but thinking it sounded reasonable, I asked on the Backyard Chicken forum, and the response was unanimously in favor of painting. Everyone noted how much easier to clean, better-looking, and pest resistant coops were if treated before being put to use.
One responder to that post (thank you!), also suggested that Minwax (Helmsman) Spar Urethane was a product that they had researched, was safe, and would be good for protecting the inside of a chicken coop. We did [...]
Continue reading New Chicken Coop Protection
On Friday, June 11, our new chicken coop was delivered. It has some nice features: it’s elevated, has eight nest boxes accessible from the outside, three operable windows, a built-in roosting area, chicken hatch that can be opened from the human door, and back ventilation hatch. It’s 8′ x 10′, and they even used dimesional shingles on it that match the house.
Coop Front View
Here’s the back wall ventilation hatch (can be adjusted or closed), and the roost area that’s built in:
Roosts & Back Ventilation
Below is the coop after we got it moved into place:
Coop In [...]
Continue reading New Chicken Coop (with surprise)
As I was taking pictures of the garden this weekend, I noticed a lump in the field. It wasn’t until I got pretty close that I realized it was a goose trying to hide on a nest. We’d noticed a pair of geese hanging out in our field for several days, but had no idea they would build a nest. It’s smack in the middle of the field, can’t imaging why they would want to put a nest there. Anyone familiar with the nesting criteria geese use? Later when they were both off the nest, I looked to see if there were [...]
Continue reading Spring Goslings?