The chickens had an afternoon visitor!

Today while the girls were doing their free-ranging and we were doing some yard work, the chickens got a couple visitors.

First we heard the sound of a hawk screeching in the trees near our house. We saw it fly over, though not too close. Then we began to hear the hoot of a large barn owl! There were actually two of them in different trees near our house, talking back and forth to one another. Then the hooting got louder as they got closer to our house. Suddenly the hooting was right above our head. Owls were checking out the chickens.

Of course our girls were totally oblivious to the threat. They never even acknowledged the hoots of the owls, or the screeches of the hawks. Plus our dog Bailey was standing guard ready to protect them if need be. 😉

But seeing an owl so close was pretty cool. Check it out!!

~jeff

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Cooped up on a Sunday afternoon.

All of the girls were in the coop laying around, enjoying a lazy Sunday afternoon and the beautiful Carolina weather outside.

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And so was our dog Bailey.

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Blue eggs vs. Brown eggs

One of the most fun things about having chickens is getting fresh eggs every day! When we decided to get our own chickens, we couldn’t decide which kind to get, so we got a wide variety of different chickens for our backyard flock.

One thing we knew for sure was that we did not want white eggs. Not exactly sure but basically the idea was that white eggs are just “regular eggs” but brown seemed the the color of “farm eggs”. Once we started exploring the different breeds we found that there were a couple of different breeds that laid blue or bluish-green eggs, and that seemed really fun. So we got eight chickens all of which lay brown eggs except for two. Those two are a breed called Easter Eggers and they lay blue/green eggs!

A lot of people ask the difference between the blue eggs and the brown eggs. I explain it is simply a difference in the color of their shell. It comes from a different breed of checking the egg itself is exactly the same. No difference inside at all in look or taste.

Here is a video to show you, in case you are curious.

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Hunting Easter eggs in November!

So this morning, we decided to give our girls a little bit of time in the yard since it rained and that would give them a great chance to find some goodies in the grass and leaves. Almost immediately one of our Easter Eggers, Tigris, wandered off to her hidey-hole under the wheelbarrow. Later, when my daughter was sharing her Bojangles biscuit with some of the other chickens, we noticed she wasn’t around. I went to check up on Tigris just time to find a big blue surprise!!

And yes… don’t adjust your screen… Yes that is a blue egg. 👍😁🐓🐣

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Wynonna lays the first egg!!

Well after the last few days of not finding any eggs at all, we were beginning to think it might be weeks before we would get some. The girls are 18 1/2 weeks old at this point, so we know it would be fairly early for them to start laying, but still we had the fun and excitement of checking the egg box every day in hopes that that first egg would be there. Day after day all we found were the golf balls we left in the nests to give them the idea that they needed to lay their eggs there. So this morning when I headed out early to check on the girls, I didn’t really expect to find an egg. I let them out to do a little free range scratching and pecking, and honestly didn’t count to see if all eight girls were in the yard. As it turns out when I checked the egg box, Wynonna was sitting in there! It startled me to be honest. I’d never seen any of them get in there. I felt terrible too, like I walked in on a woman getting dressed or sitting on the toilet. I quickly closed the door to let her do her business. A few minutes later I saw her in the yard, so I checked the egg box. We recorded it so you could share the first moment with us!!

~jeff

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12 weeks old!! (No eggs yet)

Anytime anyone asks us about our chickens, the first thing they wAnt to know is, “do you have eggs yet?” The short answer is no, but we will very soon. Hens begin laying eggs between 16 and 20 weeks of age and ours turn 12 weeks old Monday. So between Halloween and Thanksgiving we should be getting our first eggs. We will get mostly brown eggs, but our two Easter Eggers (Tigress and Minnie Pearl) will lay green or blue eggs!

Here are some updated pictures. Their 12week shots. 😉

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Free-range foraging in the backyard

Slowly but surely, we have been letting our girls out of the coop for short little jaunts so that they can enjoy pecking and scratching around in the grass. We have eight hens. but right now, because of very nearby hawks, are only taking a couple out of time so we can stay with them. They really seem to love it but the other girls are either very jealous or very confused when they’re out!

Check out the video!!

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It is finished.

It is finished.

It took 4 weekends of hot, sweaty, back breaking, mind challenging work, but it is all done.  The chickens will in the coop full-time, and as of tonight, they are spending their first night inside the henhouse.   And not a minute too soon, as they turn 6 weeks old tomorrow and had completely outgrown the cardboard box they were sleeping in…  Only 10-14 weeks till FRESH EGGS!!  🙂
~jeff

 

Here are the last few things I did this weekend:

I finished laying the wire around the outside (to keep critters from digging in) and installed landscape timbers along the edges (nailed down with HUGE long nails!)  That wire will get covered with grass/sod and monkey grass soon.

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with some vinyl flooring remnants that a friend gave me, I was able to put down a good base for the henhouse.

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I installed a window at the back end of the hen house that we can leave open for ventilation until it is colder weather.

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I installed a couple of good roost poles in the hen house so they will have a place to hang out and sleep at night.  Two of them so all the girls will have a spot and both at the same height so they wont have to fight for the highest one.

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I temporarily covered up the access to the nesting boxes since they do not lay eggs yet – that way they will not get in there and starting making a habit of sleeping in them.  Once they get closer to egg laying I will open them up.

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We got sand in the floor of the run.  They did not know what to do with it at first, but seem to really like pecking and scratching around in it.

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Newly painted and reinstalled ladder for the henhouse.

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Kinda crude but a quicky plexiglass window so we can see in the henhouse and they can see out (and get more light in)

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We still have to landscape around it and do some more painting but this is it.  Hope the girls like it. 🙂

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Chickens figure out new watering system FAST!

Our girls are SO SMART!!

They figured out the new “nipple” watering system in literally just a few seconds after I hung it up. This means instead of constantly refilling a small quart sized bottle they drank fast, knocked over, and walked in… I now have a 5 gallon sealed container that they can’t mess up and lasts for days!!

Pretty cool use of a bucket from Tractor Supply!!

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Coop building – Weekend #3 (almost finished!)

Well another full weekend of nothing but coop building. I am so close to being finished, I can taste it! It really is complete and ready to move-in except for some little details. We want to get them all in the place before we put the girls in full-time. But either way it was a very productive busy weekend.
We finished and hung the door to the coop. The hen house portion of the tube is complete. The egg box is built and added onto the side. (And before you ask the list is getting very long for those that want eggs… Plus we won’t get any until around Thanksgiving, so be patient!) We added a large limb for them to use as a roost. The wire inside the run above our heads is now secured. We build and test ran the ladder to get the chickens in to the hen house. Everything is been painted and we are almost ready to have the girls move in, even though they been spending their days there already.

Here are the pictures that show the progress for weekend number 3!

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And next weekend after I finish all the details on the chicken coop and get the girls ready to move inside, I will be spending at least two or three days cleaning and organizing my garage back the way it was!! Honestly that might take longer than it took to build the coop!!

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