Friday, March 24, 2017

I'm a chicken whisperer

I think I can officially call myself a chicken whisperer.

This morning Coco was bagawking.  She'll only do that when there's a problem.  So I go outside and she's standing at the top of the ramp, looking into the coop and is clearly very upset about something. But what?



So I peek inside the coop and found each nest occupied by a hen quietly, laying an egg.


So I go back inside the house.

But Coco will not stop bagawking.  And each time I go outside, there she is at the top of the ramp, looking inside the coop.  You're probably thinking, she had to lay an egg and was yelling at them to hurry up.  But Coco hasn't laid an egg in months.  She's 6 1/2 years old and probably done laying.  So I knew that wasn't the problem.


Coco loves to talk to me so I went out and knelt down to get at her level.  I asked her what the problem was and she gave me an ear full.  So I got that there was a problem.  But what?!?


I went back in the house but she was still screaming about it so back outside again and this time I brought treats.  Which she readily ate.  But continued to scream.

This went on for over an hour and when I went out for the hundredth time, both of the Buff Orpingtons had finished laying and were back out in the run.  But Penny was still in her nest.  And when I went to feel under her for an egg, she screamed and pecked me.  Ah, Penny has gone broody.

And Coco does NOT like broodies.  Not sure what her issue is there.  Does she not want anyone to hog up a nest?  Or does she really understand that a broody could bring in babies and she doesn't want any more minions to have to boss around?  But Coco does not like a broody hen.

So poor Penny is now in the broody breaker in the garage.  And Coco has finally calmed down and is quite.  It took me a bit to sort out what she wanted, but finally after 6 1/2 years of listen to Coco speak, I feel I can finally understand what she's trying to tell me.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Birthday Hug

I got a big hug from my sweet Coco for my birthday last week.  She's such a sweet bird.  She's not really cuddly but she'll tolerate me picking her up every once in a while.  Which is difficult for me to respect because she's by far the softest bird in my flock and I just love petting those glossy, black feathers.

 

She always tucks her feet up under her when I hold her.  My other hens let their legs dangle down but not Coco.  Maybe she feels safer that way.  I'm not really sure why she does this.  But she always does and so I try to get them up under my arm so she feels more secure.

And then we left Coco and her sisters behind for a few days while we went to Yosemite to celebrate.  Below is a photo of me trudging through the snow.  It's so beautiful to watch when you don't have to be anywhere and don't have to drive in it.


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Saturday, February 18, 2017

No chickens in the house

We don't wear shoes in our house.  I want to be able to walk bare foot in my house and still have clean feet at the end of the day.  Not to mention, you can track in all kinds of stuff from the world into your house on the bottoms of your shoes.

So naturally, we don't let our hens inside the house.  For anyone who has hens, you know they have no boundaries and will step in poop and just not care.  Not to mention, they will poop in your house too.

But I also like fresh air in the house so I like to have the slider open when I'm home.  Which means we either need to keep the screen door closed or only crack open the slider 4 inches.  No more.  Any more, and we'd have chickens in the house.

Marigold is my problem hen and desperately tried to come in and see what's cooking.  You can see here that she's nearly able to squeeze through.  But not quite.

I'm sorry sweetie, but you need to stay outside with your sisters.


Saturday, February 11, 2017

Blue Poop


If you feed your hens purple cabbage, they will thank you with turquoise colored poop.  It even stained the pine shavings in the coop as they were eating it before bed last night.  Blueberries will also give them blue poop.

It's a good reminder that what they eat really flows right through them.  And into their eggs as well.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Turkey Mom


Anyone who's ever had a broody knows exactly what this is.  It's when a hen puffs up every single feather on her body to make her look three times her normal size and is used to intimidate the other hens.  Someone on my favorite chicken Facebook group described it as "Back the Cluck up Bitch" mode.  And while some may find that offensive, it really is a great description of what the hen is thinking.

This is Marigold yesterday.  She was on day two of being in the broody breaker trying to get her to rethink her broody ways.  I put her out in the garden to stretch her legs and hang out with her sisters.  I also wanted to see if she would attempt to get back into her nest box.

Today is day three and while she's still making the broody, chuck, chuck, chuck sounds, I did get her to roost with her sisters tonight so I think she may be over it.  Fingers crossed that she's back out in the run like normal in the morning.  It breaks my heart to isolate her in the broody breaker.  But letting her brood when there's no chance of her having babies is even more cruel.