Thursday, March 14, 2013

Back to Blogging!

Winter slipped by quickly and uneventfully. Snow drifts, slippery roads, school delays... this winter was much like any other. Except that, on the mornings where winter winds bite at your nose and freeze your pant legs stiff, I still had to trot out to the chicken coop (along with my trusty yellow sidekick) and take care of the chickens. Is it worth it, you ask? Just for a few eggs a day, is it really worth it? Yes. It is. Because when you find eggs in the coop.... makes you feel, well, proud. Proud that you raised these four chickens from babies to grown hens.

And they didn't die, and they lay fresh eggs for your family, and you get to teach your kid a little bit about where the food we eat really comes from. So, yeah, it's worth it.

A few facts about this winter:

1. The Girls are laying eggs on a regular basis now. We average 3 eggs a day.
2. The hawk is back. I spotted him several times last month, drool dripping from his beak as he eyed the coop.
3. The hens have taken to pecking each other's feathers out and eating them. Not all the time, but still...

... it's slightly disconcerting. I think I better talk to my more knowledgeable chicken farmer friends about this nonsense.

Here are a few more fun pix.

 Until next time,
The Chicken Tenders

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Cluck Cluck Saves the Day!

Thanks, Mary Ann, for sending me the link to this story.

Cluck Cluck is this family's pet chicken and it saved them from a house fire. Yeah for Cluck Cluck!

Here are two thoughts that went through my head after reading the article;
1. I hope no one mispronounces that chicken's name.
2. Very creative to have your chicken sleep in the basement in cold weather. I mentioned this to my hubby. He did not like the idea too much.

No news here regarding our Girls. Why, you ask? Because they won't do anything in the snow. They won't go outside when there is snow on the ground. They won't lay eggs because we aren't providing them artificial light. They're just staying cooped up in the hen house, by choice. Maybe tomorrow I'll try and trick them into going outside.

The Chicken Tenders

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Chickens' First Snow

Snowy Coop

The Girls saw snow for the first time this past Monday. They had mixed feelings about the powdery white fluff that covered the ground of their chicken run.

Karana was the first Girl brave enough to take a peek, and the only one brave enough to venture outside.

One other Girl stuck her head out, but she would not join Karana for a winter walk.
Shortly after, Karana went back inside the hen house and that's where all the Girls stayed the rest of the day. It's going to be a very long winter for them if they don't get used to the snow. And this wasn't even much snow at all, just a dusting!
The snow came one day too late for our family, though. Instead of a snowy day for our annual Christmas tree farm visit, we had a rainy day. A dreary, chilled-to-the-bone kind of rainy day. At least the horses didn't mind giving us a ride. And the farm had a little shop where we could step inside to warm up and grab some yummy hot cocoa! 

 The Chicken Tenders

Friday, November 16, 2012

And We Meet Again

Who got to meet again? Was it Toby and the chickens? Mr. Red Tail and the chickens? Or was it all three?

If you guessed all three, you're correct.

Last Sunday, a few days after Hawk Attack #1, we decided to let the Girls out of their coop to free-range, except we stayed with them the entire time and even brought the yellow dog outside with us, thinking this would definitely prevent a 'hawk event'.  (White dog was not invited, since we're almost 100% sure she would eat the chickens faster than the hawk would.)

We were a bit leery since Toby and the Girls haven't mingled side-by-side before, but that part actually went very well.

First, he just watched from a distance.

Then, he got a bit closer and got pecked.

And once he got pecked, his feelings got hurt and he didn't want anything to do with those sharp-beaked birds.Watch the series of pictures as Karana comes closer to him.

So Toby stayed by the tree, a few feet away, watching the chickens peck, probably wondering how we could stand to be near those meanies.

We were outside close to an hour when one of the chickens, Ethel (she's the weirdo), started doing her strange flying dance. Guess what? She's not so weird after all. She's alert. And ten minutes after she acted strange, Mr. Red Tail made a guest appearance, looking for lunch.

Apparently our presence did not deter the hawk from trying to snatch a chicken. We started yelling and Toby started barking, which I think ultimately scared the hawk away. So now the Girls can't free range in the yard at all.

The verdict: Until Jason builds a chicken tractor (a movable cage that travels around the yard), the Girls are stuck in their pen.

The Chicken Tenders

Friday, November 9, 2012

A Brush with Death

If you've been following the blog since the beginning, you may remember the trouble in the tree from this past spring. We had a different kind of trouble in the tree yesterday. Only the trouble dive-bombed the Girls!

I let the chickens out of their run to peck around in the yard, went inside to pour a cup of coffee, and luckily I looked out the kitchen window at just the right moment. Mr. Red Tail swooped down from the sky and made a grab for his breakfast. 

The Girls scrambled under the big pine tree and I ran frantically into the yard, screaming like a banshee as Mr. Red Tail flew away without any breakfast. One lucky neighbor witnessed the entire scene.

I quickly scooped up the Girls and locked them safely in their run. Yikes.... this was a close call.

The Chicken Tenders

Friday, November 2, 2012

Flew the Coop

The Girls flew the coop, but not permanently!  A few days ago we hatched an idea; we let the Girls roam wild and free in the yard. After the dogs were securely locked in the house, the chickens experienced a freedom they haven't had since their wings grew big.

At first they stayed by their coop door, but soon realized a great big world of grass and bugs and berries awaited them. 

We haven't let the Girls wander in the yard since they were small because we were afraid they would fly away. And we haven't trimmed their wings because, well, what if they couldn't fly up to their roosting pole at night.

So, after talking to our 'mentor' chicken friends (shout out to the Vandercars), we decided to give it a try without clipping wings and let the Girls out of their coop.

We had some chicken photo ops and watched the Girls scratch for bugs under the big tree in back. The dogs watched from the porch windows, wishing they could join the fun. When it was time to go in, we lured the Girls to the coop with a trail of breadcrumbs. It worked perfectly!

 Until next time,
The Chicken Tenders

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Henhouse Happenings

Here's the latest happening in the henhouse:

The big egg on the left turned out to be a double yolker! Yeah, Girls!

Right now, the basket on our counter holds just over a dozen eggs. However, that's not because the Girls are suddenly laying lots of eggs each day. That's because the Chicken Tenders were gone last week, and none of the replacement Tenders ate any of the eggs that they collected (i.e., my mom and dad). I'm not sure why. Maybe because they wanted to eat poorer quality, store bought eggs?

Not to worry, the Girls seemed perfectly fine while we were gone. Here's a picture my dad sent the first day he watched them. Notice the new insulation inside the coop that will (hopefully) keep the Girls a bit warmer since colder temps are headed this way.

The dogs were a different story. They were quite sad when we left. This is another photo Dad sent. Note the sad puppy dog eyes. Also note that the dogs spent quite a bit of time on the couch while we were gone.

The Chicken Tenders flew the coop for a week, but where did we go? Here are some hints.

If you guessed Florida, you're right. Back in March we won this trip to a resort in Orlando. Jason bought a $10 ticket and apparently it was the lucky ticket!

The trip was splendid. One Chicken Tender flew for the first time (and loved it),

 All the Chicken Tenders ate sweet treats (and loved them),

Visited with exciting creatures,

Rode rides and won some games,

Met a few interesting characters along the way,

Winter the Dolphin

And had a roaring good time.

The dogs were quite happy to see us come home, especially the white one, who usually doesn't care one way or the other.

 And, we came home to a clean house and homemade lasagna and soup. Thanks, Dad and Mom, you rock!

 The Chicken Tenders