Chicken Beard Love

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Lady GrayBeard, my favorite Easter Egger

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Finally, some progress!

I have many photos to post soon, but for now at least it’s an update!

The chicken camper is finished and the girls are being coop trained. We will install the nesting boxes later this spring and my daughter and I will paint the camper.

The ladies will be getting their first taste of the outside world in the next few days when they get to explore their run for the first time. They have grown from the little fluff butts to gorgeous, glossy girls! So far only two have names since they are the only two I can tell apart from their breed mates.

Their run is fenced and will be seeded this weekend. We still need to work on hawk deterrent as there is suddenly a hawk flying around a few times a week that has never been here before. The top of the run will be reinforced this weekend.

It’s been a busy few weeks at the homestead. I’m pretty sure my son is going to grow up thinking everyone has a backhoe in the backyard!

We are anxiously waiting for Big Momma Harriet to calve at the Red Barn. She looks quite the sight at the moment with her heavy belly and half of her winter fur shed out. Last year’s little heifer, Rosabelle, grew like wildfire over the winter. She is nearly as big as her Momma. She is going to be rather cranky when it’s time for Momma and the new calf to move to their own pasture.

We took the kids over to the red barn last weekend and put them both to work. They helped me scrub the summer water tanks, muck the last of the winter manure out of the barn, helped their Papa clean the hay loft, and rode with their Daddy to push the cows to spring pasture. It was a wonderful day of family play without any gadgets or gizmos!

The sow at the farm on the mountain is ready to deliver any day. I love those first few days of new piglets when those little babies are shiny and dainty!

Our plans for this years large garden are under way, with minor setbacks. We started the tomatoes, peppers, brussel sprouts, and broccoli indoors last month then moved them out to the enclosed greenhouse with the rhubarb, strawberries, and currants. We jumped the gun and lost the tomato, brussel sprouts, and peppers last weekend when the temperature dropped suddenly overnight. I’ll be replanting those this weekend.

The Camper Coop is finally getting started!

The chicks are getting big fast, and their 2 sq ft a chick in the brooder is getting small FAST! My Mountain Man has started gutting the camper to turn it into the chicken camper.

Or at least, we started gutting it then it started snowing every day. I am so weary of winter. Spring is tantalizingly close, but winter just keeps hanging on and on.

We were given the camper for free last summer when it was headed to the scrap yard. We parked it at the Red Barn farm until we could figure out a project for it, and it was enjoyed by wasps and mice over the fall and winter seasons. Now it is time to gut it, patch it, and create the Chicken Camper!

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One month later!

Tomorrow the chicks will be a month old! We lost four that first weekend after arrival, but the remaining 21 are growing like crazy. They are fully feathered now, only a few still have any down left on their backs. They have about 2 inches of tail feathers and most of them have combs showing. I’m still a little nervous that I might have a few Roos, time will tell.

I’ll be taking their 1 month photos tomorrow to post. Quite a change!

Poopy chick water dishes are GONE!

Yay! My brooder bottle caps from The Chicken Fountain are here. Took less than ten minutes to open the package, assemble and hang the bottles and teach the chicks to drink! No more poopy water dishes! I was already impressed after chatting with the owner on the phone. Now I’m absolutely a devoted brooder bottle capper, and I’ll be ordering the Mega fountain for the big coop later this spring. I’ll post pictures tonight.

No more poopy water dishes!

Most things about having chickens are just plain awesome. Poopy, bedding filled water jugs are not awesome. Even the chicks can fill their little red screw on waterers with bedding and poop in about 10 minutes flat. So, I just ordered 4 brooder bottle caps from The Chicken Fountain. I have been reading about them on The Chicken Chick blog and couldn’t wait to try them, especially with the free shipping right now.

Brooder Bottle Cap

I would like to eventually order the Mega Fountain for the coop.

Mega Fountain

You can see more about the fountains and brooder bottle caps at The Chicken Fountain website or look them up on Facebook. I have seen the red nipple pieces sell for more in a catalog than the whole Brooder Bottle Cap sells for and I was really excited to learn that The Chicken Fountain business is located in North Carolina, where a Dad and his sons assemble and create the fountains and bottle caps at their own farm! It’s always good to be able to support a business that is actually in the USA and backed by a real family working together. I will be posting more about them as soon as the caps arrive and we can get them in the brooder.

Vanity, thy name is chicken.

I love watching the baby girls preen and groom their feathers. They are more intent than a teenage girl in front of the mirror.

The chicks are getting big enough to start playing and flapping around to land on each other. It makes me laugh when a chick finally gets comfy to fall asleep and a couple other chicks put their little heads together, like they are plotting, then pounce on the one that is sleeping. They run away so fast you can almost hear them saying,” Neener Neener Neener…”

I’m happy to see they are getting used to me. They still go into their high alert huddle when I open the brooder lid to clean their dishes and fill them up. But, they are getting used to me talking through the top and they don’t startle when I stick around for a bit to chat with them.

I have been trying to figure out which chicks are which breed. We ordered 10 EE, 5 Welsummer, 5 Silver Laced Wyandotte, and 5 Speckled Sussex. The chicks that arrived have three distinct patterns; brown chipmunk, black chipmunk, and almost all black. We lost two brown chipmunk and two almost all black. The remaining chicks are 4 black chipmunk, 1 almost all black (but with the same head markings as the black chipmunk) and the rest are various shades of brown chipmunk. The 4 black chipmunk are the SL Wyandottes, but not sure if the little black one is a SS or SLW. Thankfully, some of the brown chipmunks are developing green legs which will make it easier to pick out the Easter Eggers.

Any tips on how to figure out which chicks are which? The hatchery photos for SS, Welsummer, and EE all show chicks that look like brown chipmunk. Not helping me figure them out!