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.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

First broody of 2017

I came home from a work trip to one VERY broody hen.

Marigold is 9 months old.  For the last 3-4 months, she has walked around making the chuck, chuck, chuck, broody mama sound.  She'll even puff up and go all turkey mom on any of the other hens if they get close.  But she never quite tipped over into being fully broody.  She continued to lay eggs and roost at night.  So I just let her be.

But last week I felt she was acting a little more broody than she had been.  And I was right.  When I got home last night, she was nestled into a nest box as happy as could be.  I scooped her out, gave her a big hug and put her up on the roost.  Ten minutes later, she was back in the nest.  I thought, it wasn't quite dark and now that it's dark, I'll try again.  Nope, off the roost and back into the nest.

So this morning, I moved her to my dog crate/broody breaker in the garage.  It breaks my heart to isolate her like that.  But I'm not in a position to let her brood, so breaking her is probably the most humane thing to do.

I suppose I should get used to this as I've got 3 more young Buff Orpingtons and 2 Cochins and all are prone to going broody.  So as we head into spring, this is not the last time I'm going to have to deal w/ this.

I know people say you should tip the dog crate onto its side but I've always had good luck doing it this way.  They like to stand on the big block and it kind of blocks them from nestling down into the towels.  Hopefully, she's over being broody in a day or two and I can get her back out with her sisters.