Monday, October 15, 2012

Adding young ones to an older crew.

 This baby was one of the lucky chicks I happened to find wandering in the yard.  Hatched by one of my "missing" hens.  Her hatch mate was eaten by the flock :(  I know!  Very sad, but it's the life of a chicken.  In fact I had to chase a chicken around who had this chick in it's mouth about to eat it.  She is an Ameraucana/Barnevelder mix and is super adorable! (her daddy is to the left of her actually calling her to come see what he found to eat).  She is fast, she is very fast...she has to be yet.  When she is the same size she will fit right in though.  
Adding young chickens to your already established flock could be big trouble and it should only be done if you have some time to watch how it goes.  If you don't have the time it simply should not be done in my opinion.  You will end up with a dead or at the very least very injured chick.  My hens have ate bigger prey then this little girl. Adding new ones to a free range flock is MUCH different then adding to a caged flock.  I have done both and let me tell was horrific adding to a "non free range" flock and I did not get good results. And this is after allowing them to see the newbie through wire for weeks and weeks prior to adding.    If I were the type of person who would just throw and go  I would have had dead chicks/pullets on my hands.  Only the strong (or fast) survive but they usually don't look pretty when it's all said and done.  I can't do it and never will after seeing what I have seen.
What I recommend is to add the babies to an outdoor "free range" flock and I'm here to tell ya.  It goes MUCH better!  IF you have no choice but to add to an enclosed flock then I would not add anything until they were the same size (which means waiting until the newbie is at least 5 months old).   I have done this MANY times now and I have consistent results from my flocks in both types of settings.  
The first few weeks (about six or until chick is  fully feathered for sure)  I do keep the baby in a smaller cage with it's food/water while the others check it out.  Then on day one (of adding to a free range flock)  I open the door and allow the chick to explore on it's own (and be sure you have time to watch what's going on) I just grab my lawn chair and a book and I wait...hrs...I wait, and I watch.  The first day I only allow it out for a few hours (or as much time as your willing to give that day) and each day I go a little longer.  IF the chick wanders outside with the others you will most likely have to pick it up and put it back in at dusk.  For some reason (maybe the big ones won't allow it in or maybe it's that their instinct to roost is not all there yet) but the babies never seem to go in the first two or three days on their own.  After about two or three days they finally get the message.  When I have to put the chick back in I put it back into it's cage if I don't plan on letting it out right at sun up so it doesn't get picked on.  The smaller the coop the more it will prob get picked on.  My coop is huge so there are plenty of hiding spots (which baby does use).  It's been a few weeks now since adding baby and as you can see from the picture she has now been excepted into the flock but is (and there is no doubt about this) on the bottom of the pecking order and prob will always be unless someone gets sick.  But she's thriving and doing wonderfully :D

Our ducks are laying!

They started on Oct 6th.  Today we got a shell less one which is common for new layers.  The back one is shell less.  We fried it and fed to the chickens.

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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Have my ducks, I mean chickens all in a row.

Here are ny four bantam Cochin all grown up and out with the crew.  Everyone was very respectful of them, thank goodness.  Here they are in the coop at bedtime.  The roo with them is my "surprise" roo from Mcmurray.  He's a dark Brahma.  He's a good boy but I just can't keep any more roos :(  So he has to go to the stew pot but letting him live here until winter so he at least gets a few good months.  I feel bad but I would rather have him go for food then to someone who will fight him.
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Sunday, September 16, 2012

Are ducks digging these holes?

Yes they are! And they dig some pretty deep ones I may add.  The deepest one would prob be six inches deep and a good 12 inches wide.  They dig all different types of holes (looking for good bugs). What they do is dig a bill full of dirt and run to the pool and swish it around looking for the bugs that float to the top of the water.  Smart really!  I am learning SO much about them just by sitting out there and watching them. 

 My ducks love me.  They made me this heart.

This is their favorite of all holes...the one that's filled with water lol

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

It's been a while! Here is my crew :)

My boy finally got his tail curl!  About two weeks ago :)  still no eggs but I'm thinking real soon! 

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Thursday, June 7, 2012

The four bantam cochin chicks at around 12 weeks old as well.

Added a total of six posts today so scroll back to see the other pictures :D  Can't figure out how to add all on one post through my android...will try to figure out if there is a way.

Anyhow these four are from a friend of mine and are getting nice and fluffy for only being 12 weeks old :D  Not sure yet what I have but possibly four girls?  I hope!  The splash over to the right has the biggest waddles but still not as big as my other roos did at that same age. I will let you know what I end up with.  They are enjoying their enlarged brooder now that the ducks are out :D  However will be dividing it again once I add the new baby chicks in there.  

The lil chicken crew at 12 weeks old

Here is the crew at 12 weeks old (on Saturday).  They are getting nice and big and still have plenty of room.  In a few weeks they will be set out to free range with the others (they will be about the same size then).  They are getting pretty darn friendly, I will actually set a chair right in the middle of the coop and spend time with them.  They LOVE their treats I bring into them as well which makes them my best friends.  Still thinking I have at least one roo (I could be wrong and I hoping I am) but can't tell 100% yet.  Still no crowing.  Everyone is getting along and I have not had to remove anyone else :D

More new babies!

Here is my D'uccle hen after hatching out her new babies a few days ago.  There are three...two lavender bantam Ameraucana (over to the right of her) and one Partridge Wyandotte bantam (to the left of her).  They are so sweet!  I will eventually take them and add the four of them (these three chicks and the other lav chick from the orp hen) together in the brooder.  That way I can put the boys back in with their hens and have two less coops to feed and water.  As it is now, it takes me over an hour every day to take care of them all.  Which in reality is not bad and I don't mind it.  But with more hours at work this will save me about 15 min...I'm tired when I get home and the less work the better!  
NOTE:  Check out the previous posts...added more pictures and someday I will learn if there a way to add ALL the pics on one post from my android.  That way I won't have to add 5 posts a day!  

Do we put food and water in the coop?

another view of the hallway and you can see the windows also...same on both sides.

NO, we absolutely do not put food in the coop.  Why?  Because it would be a HUGE mess and unless you want to clean a coop on a daily basis I would recommend not putting water in the coop.  If you don't have water do NOT add food in the coop.  They cannot have food without having water, they may choke.  
I know a guy who has raised ducks for 20 plus years and he said that ducks don't need food or water in the coop and he has never put it in there from 4 weeks on.  He has never lost a duck yet. 

So I put the ducks in the coop about 8:30 pm last night and let them out at a little before 8 this AM.  They lived and yes, they did go right for the water but they were ok.  
I was a little worried and told him, "but everyone is saying that ducks NEED water 24/7" Then he told me something that really made sense.  He said, in the wild when the ducks are hatched by the mother there are times when the ducklings have to go a whole day without water.  They can surely live 8-12 hours without water.  Totally made sense to me.

Our fenced in "hallway" and Bedding info

This is the "hallway" we put in to make it MUCH easier to herd the ducks to bed at night. We got them to go down the hallway easy but they didn't get to go up the rubber mat, we had to help them out last night...wonder how tonight will go.  Ya, the hallway doesn't look pretty but it does the trick.  They love their nice new large home.  It's not insulated and it does not have power (it was only suppose to be used for meat chickens which I was not able to go through with) so I hope they are ok in the winter here in WI.  Everyone says they can handle winter really well so we will just make sure they have a nice hay pile to dig into to stay warm.  We use pine shavings in the rest of the coop. I did move them earlier then planned but glad I did now.  I can put my mind at ease knowing they will be just fine!. 

Bedding update:  

When I went to clean out the brooder after removing the ducks, it was needed.  Before that I had just been emptying their 16" X 16" water station (every third day) and putting fresh bedding on top every day...just a little, to cover any wet looking areas, which was pretty much the whole area.  I only cleaned out the whole thing once for the 3 1/2 weeks the ducks spent in there and they were in the garage and it was not horribly smelly.  But like I said, I did keep adding a fresh layer of bedding (pine shavings) on top daily.  AND without the watering station (I do have pics, just scroll back) it would have been SO bad and I would have been changing that bedding every day (not kidding).  In fact when they got older and drank more I could just hear the water dripping down into the water catch.  And there was a lot of it.  It was always over 1/2 full on the third day when it was time to empty it.  

Ducks at almost 4 weeks old. First night in their coop low 40's

Here they are at almost 4 weeks old (on Monday they will be 4 weeks) and last night was their first night in the new coop and it got down to low 40's and they were just fine.  There is also two large windows that are not closeable (yet).  I have to admit, I was a little worried but when I let them out early this morning they were very active and happy to get outside to their pool.  As you can see Phoebe is still with them and she is loving the free ranging.  Today it's pretty warm so they are all hanging out in the shade under their kiddie slide.  

Friday, June 1, 2012

Ducks at 2 1/2 weeks

I think only people who have ever owned ducks can really understand that, when someone asks if you replaced your ducks overnight you get what they are talking about now.  These things literally grow over night!  My husband come in one day and asked "what happened to the ducks?"  I got worried and said WHY, what's wrong?  He said, they just grew 2 inches while I was away at work. lol My plans today is to get the cochins out into their new home, then stir up bedding again.  The bigger they get, the more of a mess they make. 
My two LF Blue Cochin girls disappeared two days ago...looked all over for them.  Yesterday one of them showed up (she was in the shed because when I opened the door, there she was)  NOt sure where she was hiding, I thought I looked everywhere...guess I didn't.  Still missing one.  Then this morning, opened the door and there was the 2nd missing cochin.  I'm assuming they are broody together since they do everything else together.  They are like twins.  SO happy they didn't get ate though!  I was wondering what sort of predator was lurking.  We have never had one yet!  I believe it's because I have the two huge dogs (a boxer and a choc lab) who chase everything away. They only pred we have had to deal with so far is the neighbors dog who killed 12 of my chickens the first year we started with chickens. The neighbors were great about it, paid us for the chickens and we never seen their dog again in our yard.  We do see him running in their yard but he no longer comes over.    

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

My tough little hen.

Here is my tough little hen (blue bantam cochin) with two of her boys.  She is a sweet girl, her name is Kate (named after John and Kate because of her attitude lol)  She is even boss over my LF chickens who free range.  SHE eats/drinks first before all others! I'm almost scared to introduce the four others to their crew. 

My young bantam cochins

These four are getting adorable and they are the ones I have to find a new coop for.  They are kind of naughty though...have to work on handling them more.  The splash like to attack me when I put my hand in there LOL.  They are tiny yet but really filling out :D  Just love them!  Can't wait to get them outside with the other four (three roos and a hen)  I know that sounds like a lot of roos (and usually it IS way to much) but SHE is the boss and doesn't allow them to mate her often at all.  She looks really good and no bare spots and she has lived with them for almost three years now :D  She is tough little girl for sure.  

Monday, May 28, 2012

The Ducks and picture of my "bungalow" coop.

The ducks all of a sudden just grew up over night!  LOL  Just like I remember the 4 Pekin doing.  They are making more of a mess (seems like that happened right at two weeks).  Today the "new bedding" I put in was already looking quite messy (this was from the poo not because of the water) I stirred it up and were good to go again.  I figure I need to stir up the bedding every day now. Ducks poo IS 80 % water so it does wet the bedding pretty well after a few days.  It's time to open their brooder and give them more room which means I have to move the four cochin babies out.  Will have to do some thinking on that one.  I have the bungalow coup, I may move them there but it needs to be cleaned out (it's a coop I made inside my large coop above the nest boxes (no wasted space) and I totally made it myself :D  I needed help putting the doors on again (not very good at doors!)  Here is a picture of it: Of course its the small coop above the nest boxes.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Here is what bedding looked like on cleaning day.

As you can see only the top of the bedding was wet...more then 1/2 of the shavings underneath were dry.  I still removed all and put fresh in...they are two weeks tomorrow so we have two more weeks in the brooder and then they move out to their permanent home. It was VERY hot today and I did not LIKE cleaning this out but it had to be done. Plus had to get a lot of other regular daily chicken chores done.  They are happy now and clean :D  I was trying to just skim the top of the bedding off but it was NOT working well for me lol.  It was so packed down from the ducks it was all coming in big clumps. 

The ducks had their heat lamp off all day today (and will keep it off tonight (only suppose to get down to 65 and it will stay even warmer then that in the garage overnight) it was in the upper 80's and they were panting.  They prefer cooler weather like I do!  We tried having them swim in a little foot soak tub but they were having none of that! They did enjoy eating some grass though.    You can tell that they do not have their oils yet (being hatched in an incubator they won't yet) the water soaked them and did not run off. If they are hatched by mom then they can go in the water on day one. 

My new chick. Got a picture.

This is our new bantam Ameraucana Lavender.  I sure hope it's a girl :D  The hen just let me take her out from under her :D  The other two eggs have not hatched yet.  I have another AM Lav and a Partridge bantam wyandotte egg under her yet.  Hope they hatch soon!  If they don't hatch by tomorrow I will candle them to see what's going on.  This little one is pretty calm. The other hen is due to hatch hers soon (within the week) as well and she  is laying on five eggs.   

Escape artist and a video (not related)

Updated my blog just a little bit, don't worry, the picture will be smaller (just can't change it here at work). 

Yesterday when getting home from work I seen one of the lil crew chicks (an EE) out in the yard with the big birds.  She must have pushed on her door hard enough to squeeze through it (and I shamefully admit to leaving the hook off the latch).  She was sitting on top of the wood pile anxiously waiting for me to "save" her.  Poor thing had all of her tail feathers pulled out by the big girls.  Not sure how long she was out there but sure glad she made it!  She looked very happy to see me. All I thought about was finding the purple spray and applying it to her poor raw rump so the others wouldn't bother her bare area (NOTE:  it was NOT bleeding...if it were I would have kept her out until healed) and didn't even think to take a picture of her sitting so peacefully on the wood pile...what a great picture that would have made! :(  I grabbed her up quickly, treated her, and got her back in by her lil crew who she was VERY happy to see!

Just wanted to share my video of the lil crew just a few days old when they went to their larger brooder.  They loved it!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

One baby has hatched!

Do you see the empty shell to your left? I didn't want to bother her so waited a few hours and went back, lifted the wing, and there it was... A beautiful bantam lavender ameraucana. :)  will try to get picture tomorrow. Two eggs left to hatch.

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A couple of my pens

This used to be a huge work shed which was turned into my chicken house (I have four of them now).  And I added the walls/doors myself (not bad for a girl huh?)  I had a little help with the doors (attaching them) but otherwise I did it myself.  I was pretty proud of them!  This is two pens and the other area to the left has my pens for my pairs.  You can kind of see one in the back under the window (it's pretty long).  It also has a wood stove for cold winter nights and very large windows.  I LOVE my chicken shed :D  The white basket is a make shift nest for my lone Ameraucana girl who was being picked on (she used it once)  Now not sure if she just stopped laying in frustration, or if she found a new spot outside.  
I finally counted my chickens and here is what the results are:
60 total chickens
12 of those are bantams 
8 chicks (still in shell about to hatch)
13 ducks
For a total of 81 peeps
My limit (for my own sanity is 100)  I cannot go over that number. If I do go over that, then it's no longer "fun" for me, then it turns into work.  I like 80 even better :D  50 would be a GREAT number to stick at really.  But don't plan on getting rid of any (except possibly those two "maybe" roosters I have in the lil crew. OR any new roos that hatch out from the eggies. I'm at my roo limit of a dozen.  And still not sure on three of the bantam cochins I have...they are still very young yet.  None of them are really looking promising.  I sure hope I don't end up with 4 roos!  If I do I guess I have 7 bantam roos running around the yard and hope everyone gets along!

Did they go back home?

They did go back home!  SO more days of freedom they will get :D  I was so proud of them.  Chubs (my very chubby Blue laced red wyandotte) was giving me a little grief and she wanted to go to the shed but I think that's because she was being lazy and did not want to walk all the way down to the coop. So I picked her chubby butt up and carried her down there.  The next night she went down on her own. 
I have run into a problem though which MAY lead me to move chubs back up to the shed.  She is an egg eater and she breaks the eggs.  I do NOT want her teaching the others to do this so I may have to remove her. I just want to be sure it wasn't an accidental breakage before I do that.  Although it has happened two days in a row now and she would eat her own egg after she laid it in the big shed...she never used the nest boxes in the big shed but she does use these ones in the coop.  
Need to change the litter soon in the duck coop now...starting to get smelly (a little) may go one more day.  
Still no babies as of last night for the Orp bantam :(  Hope they hatch today.  I though that it may be an extra couple days possibly because she would have a prob with keeping all the eggs under her ALL the time so it's prob slowed them down a bit.  

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Very full crop

As you can see by the large crop of the barnie she is enjoying her time of freedom today.  If they go back home tonight they will have another day of freedom tomorrow.


This is Bambi, my little bantam orpington, laying on her eggs which are due tonight.  As you can see by the scab on her little head Thumper was very active.   Now that he's away that will give her time to heal up too, poor girl!  They have a nice large home all to themselves so I hope to get another little girl to add but it won't be THIS hatch...she is not laying on any of hers anymore.  She come with three eggs but they didn't hatch out for her :(  I put fresh ones under her shortly after which are the ones due to hatch tonight. 


Meet Thumper, his girl Bambi is in their coop about to hatch out three little chicks (due tonight) I wasn't sure how he would do with the chicks so I pulled him out for the night.  He's not real happy with me but better safe then sorry.  He will only be in here over night until I find a larger area for him.

Thumper got his name because he loves to mate, constantly, at all hours, and while she was laying on her eggs.  So because he took the name Thumper I thought it only appropriate to call her Bambi.  They are new to our crew here but SO sweet!  I'm so happy I got them :D  They will be lifers here like all my other pairs/trios.  He really is a good boy...a little skittish but very good.  I will work on getting him used to me while he is in the cage in our garage.  I have easy access to him, and he's at my level up on our garage counter.  

Checking out the nest boxes.

They are even starting to check out the nest boxs :D  Hope they are a good crew and use them!  My cochins refuse to use them...I think I'm going to try making a lower one for them.  They don't like to jump often.

Lil crew at 9 1/2 weeks old.

Will be adding lots of pictures today so scroll back for some cuteness :D  
This is the "lil crew" at almost 10 weeks old (will be on Sat) and they spend their days dustbathing as you can see.  And they LOVE when the sun comes through the winder for them.  I can now see who's who and what's what.  I'm still 90% sure I have two roosters (that makes me sad because I can't possibly keep them).  One would be a leghorn and the other (my surprise chick, the dark brahma).  So two out of 26 isn't bad.  My "blue ANDALUSIANS" are white...guess I prefer that then black but was really hoping I would end up with a blue. Loveing one of my EE's (she is blue looking but still has that EE feathering with darker feathers also)  And also like how my salmon Fav is looking (she is pictures at the bottom right on the floor).  can't complain... so far everyone is healthy and looking good!   

The door has been opened!

I put the big girl crew of 13 down in the hen house (8 foot X 8 foot) that was not used over the winter because they all moved themselves up to the shed with everyone else.  Well, there is not room in the shed now that the lil crew is in there (well, I guess there IS room but these girls have decided to roost WAY up on the wall of the addition I made for the little ones and they poo on them in the night AND worse yet, they poo on the netting I have over the top of the addition and it's not easy to get that off of the netting... so these girls had to make a move BACK to their original home.  I put them in there on May 8th so it's been a little over two weeks now. Figured it was time to let them out, I felt so bad watching them beg at the door.  They LOVE free ranging and I LOVE the eggs that come of that.  A couple of them are hanging out in the run yet while everyone else has scattered around our yard (mainly where the deep trees/shade is (it's 84 here today and HOT/sunny).  My hope for today?  That they will go back to bed in THEIR home and not in the shed.  I will let you know how that turns out.

The ducklings new addition.

Remember Phoebe?  She will be 10 weeks old on Sat and she is at 100% health now and I have been adding her to the ducklings for a few hours here and there every day and today is her first day ALL day in with them and so far so good.  They still keep her in line with a peck here and there but she has not pecked them even once so that is good news.  I have an egg due to hatch today under a bantam mommy so I wanted to remove her rooster (don't trust him yet, the bantam orp pair are new to my group) so he has to have Phoebe's home for the night until the mother is able to bond with her baby and then I'm not even sure I will add him until the baby is ready to leave mom.  I've had a few chicks eaten before, but I did manage to save two of them (live and learn) and I really don't want to go through that again.  Not fun stuff!  \
Yesterday I cleaned out the "water catch station" and again, there was a whole lot of water! Took a little bedding off the top again and added some fresh stuff after stirring.  No smells yet (besides the "normal" duckling smells) so will wait to clean the whole thing out.  I have been considering moving the four bantam cochins on the other side of the boxed area and opening the entire brooder to the ducks, at least until they are 4 weeks which is when they move to their bigger home with pool/yard.  I have two and 1/2 weeks to go and I think they would enjoy more room.  They do have enough room now so still thinking on that.  More to come later!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Introducing Harley & Davidson

My son is holding Harley, he is a black bantam cochin and he will be six very soon.  He was one of my first chickens (not THE first but one of the first) IF i had a "house chicken" he would be the one I choose. He is THE sweetest chicken I have ever met and no matter what were doing he comes over to be pet and picked up.  This is no doubt my favorite chicken and I love him to death! He is spoiled rotten! He even walks with us down to the bus stop but he does expect me to carry him back.
He came with his brother Davidson who is a blue bantam cochin frizzle. They are like Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Davidson sneaks up behind you and flogs you if he gets the chance.  However he ONLY does this to me.  If I am facing him he wanders around like nothing is wrong and as soon as I turn my back he comes running right to me and gets me every time!  All I tell him is he's VERY lucky he's so darn cute!  I have grabbed him and held him for a long while (that didn't work), have booted him in the butt (that didn't work...OH that REALLY didn't work!) I just figured I would leave him be as long as he doesn't decide to start flogging my son.  For some reason he has a grudge held against me.  I've been nothing but nice to him...I'm assuming he's jealous of his brother.  

This is Davidson:  I was not lying when I said he was cute was I?? 

Leg bands

Just a reminder:  Don't forget to remove the leg bands from the ducks right after you get them because they do grow really fast!  It was harder then we thought to get them off so we just used a tiny pair of scissors and that worked great. 

NOTE:  Two people needed for this job...they are squirmy little things! :D  

Ducklings are now a week (and a day) old.

They are getting pretty big already!  They are all doing great and enjoying their life so far.  Replacing the gallon waterer every day but the pine shavings are still staying pretty dry.  Tomorrow I will be removing some of the top again, stirring it up and adding a little fresh stuff.  Still have not had to replace ALL of the bedding yet. 
I just absolutely LOVE these little crazy ducklings!  Tomorrow I'm going to try to take some really cute photos of them.  Lets hope they cooperate!   

Monday, May 21, 2012

Just a little update on bedding mostly. Readers? Take note :D

Yesterday I took out just a little of the bedding (little off the top) that got wet.  Was expecting it to be wet throughout but it wasn't :D  Still have not taken out ALL of the bedding and replaced yet.  Saving loads of money on pine shavings having our little water system in place!  All I did was stir up the shavings and add a little to replace what I took out, which was about two dust pans worth is all.  Taped the access hole the ducks were using to enter the tub which is catching all the water (they are not happy with this, they keep pushing on it because they want to go under there and swim!)  It's pretty funny really.  
The gallon sized waterer is lasting all day so just having to water once a day is great vs the four times a day I was doing previously.  No other changes...except their growth!  Man, they grow fast.  I will take another picture tomorrow and post it. 

I see I'm getting a few readers here and there so if your seeing this please leave a comment so I know ur reading :D  I LOVE the comments and if you have a blog I will come read yours, I'm a blog lover and would love to read yours as well! Happy Blogging to ya! :D   

Just a note:  The other day I was redoing some posts (correcting spelling errors etc.) and I deleted a post.  Then noticed that as I clicked the delete button that there were other posts that were "checked" so I HOPE I did not delete those as well.  I can't tell if there is anything missing so if you do have a blog here let me know if that's how that works. :) I'm new to most of this so....  

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Ducks swimming where they are not allowed

Because of this small access area they manage to slip in there and swim around in the water below (which would be kind of cool IF it were not poo mixed in WITH that water).  I will have to fix that today when I get home from work.  Little stinkers are getting just big enough where they still manage to slip in but it's not so easy getting out anymore.  Plus, it's just gross water down there.  That is on my to do list today.  I cannot believe the water that we have been catching under there...enough so the ducks can actually swim in it lol. One thing I did today was upgrade to the gallon sized waterer since the small one was having to be replaced with fresh water at LEAST three times a day, prob 4 most days.  

Bedding:  When I got the ducks I put them on newspaper for the first day (laid it right on top of the pine shavings) until they knew what/where food was.  So the waterer was just on a small brick...well that soon ended up being a HUGE mess with 13 little ones and the litter had to be changed that night already.  Because I had the four "practice" ducks before I was expecting this, so we had already been to Menard's and purchased the items needed to prevent this.  After that day I have not had to change the litter once yet so it's really working well.  I see all the water that WOULD have ended up in the bedding though!  Amazing is all I can say.  Our money was very well spent! 

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Friday, May 18, 2012

Blue Swedish duckling

A just for fun photo because I just couldn't help myself :) She is just too adorable!  
The water station is working super! (see last two posts) Just a few hours later, dry bedding and at least a cup and 1/2 in the catch tub :D  YAY!  So happy that it's working so well!  Looks like I will be rinsing it out once every two days? Which will be pretty easy since I just have to walk over to the hose and rinse. 

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Duckling watering station

This is the station all ready to go and the ducks are able to get up on it easily and time will tell how it all works out.  I'm really hoping this will eliminate all the messes they make and how quickly they get the bedding all soaked (just one day without this) I'm hoping that I can clean it out once a week now instead of once a day! Keeping fingers crossed.  
I already notice a difference in their size in just one day.  I took their leg bands off yesterday but I have to double check today to make sure I didn't miss anyone. 
A BIG thank you to my first reader :D  Welcome John and thanks for the comment!  I was beginning to wonder if anyone was seeing this ;)   

Watering station items ready

Hoping this works well after I get it put together.  We paid 9.00 (on clearance) for the "Christmas ornament storage tote", and about the same for the Steel 16 X 16 pegboard both from Menard's.  And we also got a jug of zip ties (only used four) so for under 20 bucks we made something that is gonna keep my bedding MUCH dryer (I HOPE).  Time will tell....OH and this took a whole 5 minutes to put together seeing that the four holes I needed to zip tie on the steel pegboard were already there! :D 

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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Water time.

Not 15 min in their new home and you can see how much water they drank. Thirsty baby's!

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Miss nosey.

Just look at miss (I think) nosy pants checking out the ducklings.  I think she's upset that they stole half of her huge home.  Lol  she can see them if she stretches way up.  She's so cute.

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Duck delivery!

13 in total, they sent me some extras. I just hope they're not drakes because I know if there's any extra drakes they will be hard for me to get rid of because I will get attached to them. I did order 1 but that's all I want.

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Monday, May 14, 2012

Dust bath in compost pile.

The chickens totally think they own the compost area.  My husband gets it all nicely piled up and is about to water it when they all come running and flatten it all back out with their dust bathing party. As you can see there is a lot of shavings in there from cleaning out the coops LOL  The green grass will be added shortly and then they will really love it! We also dig holes and add our foods that are compostable but the dogs seem to scarf that up before the chickens even find it.

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How much should I sell my eggs for? Questions to ask.

I get asked this A LOT, since I have owned chickens (going on six years now).  The newbies(people I talk into raising chickens (cuz I'm just trying to pass on the love)) always ask this. BTW the eggs in the picture above are all from my chickens (many different colors and sizes and even some interesting ones where the color was transferred all over the entire egg but smeared around instead (top left)) Sometimes you can even wash the color off.

So...Today I was on my way to work and it hit me. There was a sign at the side of the road saying "nightcralers 2.00" (yes, it was spelled just like that!) Lets just go back in time here a little...three days ago I was driving down a different road (same area) and seen a sign that said "Farm Fresh Eggs 1.50 a dozen". 

So do you see what I'm getting at here?  For one thing, do people really think that night crawlers are worth more then farm fresh eggs?  That lead me to this:  

I'm going to do a little project to see exactly what it cost to raise chickens...ya I know!  I should have prob done this BEFORE I got chickens but their cuteness won over and I just didn't care, plus who cares what it cost...I have FARM FRESH EGGS every morning for breakfast and they ARE to die for! To us it's all worth it. (will get my findings out here later for you as well). 

Ok so I'm guilty as well: Let me share my story~

We did buy eggs from a farm a long while back (before I had chickens and realized what all goes into it) and we were paying 1.50 a, I'm ashamed of that!  We did give her 2.00 most of the time but still...yes, still ashamed!   I made a promise to myself that if I were ever at that stage in my life when I had to give up my chickens and had to resort back to getting "farm fresh eggs" again that I WILL pay fairly.  I honestly do not think that people realize what goes into raising healthy chickens (which is what I want my eggs to be (healthy).  If your chickens aren't healthy your eggs aren't healthy, simple as that.  

I won't buy from anyone who thinks their eggs are ONLY worth 1.50 a dozen...I just won't.  If they don't think their eggs are worth more, then why should I?  You get what you pay for, isn't that what they say? 

What we need are people out there who realize what our eggs can do for them.  Tell your customers how healthy they are compared to store eggs (will get a link to that later).  Make them realize how the factory chickens are kept (Watch the chicken factory videos!!!) Wait.... don't say "OH I can't watch that!  It's TOO sad!"  You have to make yourself watch it so you know what your feeding to your children and to yourself. Yes, it's sad but maybe after you watch it you know WHY those eggs are a buck a dozen at Kwik Trip.  It's NOT humane and it's NOT healthy, simple as that!  

When I did my research on chickens (did research on chickens for a year BEFORE getting them) those videos are the first things I watched. It was hard, they made me super sad and VERY angry that in this world that is even allowed, but now I know I will NEVER buy store eggs again EVER. PERIOD.  They had me at hello.  

SO...when buying farm fresh eggs you want to ask questions to know your eating safe eggs. And I know if anyone came up to my farm and asked these questions I would LOVE them for caring!  Anyone who is decent is not going to mind you asking or taking the time to answer your questions.

How/where are your chickens kept?  They should have NO problems showing you their coops at any time (the coops should NOT smell of ammonia) if they do...move on, these are not the eggs for you.  Yes, they will smell to chickens but chickens don't really smell that bad if your keeping it clean..honestly, they don't. 

Are your chickens allowed out to free range?  Important if you want the benefits of the extra vitamins and omega 3's  Chickens kept in a coop and fed grains/feed and not allowed out are still healthier then the store eggs but not much. You want eggs from chickens that are allowed to free range (that is where ALL the goodness is :D) If it were me I would ONLY buy from people who allow their hens out to free range.

Are your chickens medicated? I know for selling my eggs I do NOT medicate ANY of my chickens (except using DE (another post in itself)) DE (Diatomatious Earth...this should be an ALL white powder NOT tan/brown looking) is an all natural, organic way to keep your chickens healthy without the meds.  And I rarely have to use that!  It's ok to medicate them if they need it but wait the allotted time before selling eggs again.  I just don't sell the eggs from that chicken because I just feel better that way.  She is retired if I have to medicate.  And when I say retired I don't mean killed ;)  Just to make that clear. 

Ask how many sq feet each bird has. It's important that hens have at least 3 sq feet per bird but they recommend 4 sq ft. Very stressful for birds being confined in less of an area than that.

Check out the chickens and don't be afraid to ask to see the coop.  Do you see tails down? (sign of sickness) do you see missing feathers? (sign of infestation of bugs or stress) are their eyes/nose clear? 

Ask how often they collect eggs.  Eggs 'found' outside or on the ground I boil and feed back to the chickens.  I only collect from the nest boxes for selling and only clean eggs, any dirty eggs get washed and we eat them ourselves. My eggs are not washed (again, another post). They are gathered twice a day in hot weather and once a day in cooler weather.  I have roosters (my eggs are all fertile) so this is why I collect every day or twice a day. Any questions on this just email me  I know there are a lot of questions about this as well.  And to answer the most common questions:  YES, you can eat fertile eggs, they do not taste different, look different or fry up differently.

I'm sure there are more questions that I could come up with but those the most important ones. 

SO my theory on "How much should I sell a dozen eggs for?" That would be at LEAST $3.00 a dozen but I would love to see $4.00 We KNOW they are worth more then Night Crawlers!  And if people can get 2.00 a dozen for Night Crawlers then I know we can get 4.00 for a dozen eggs!  Right??  I have NO problems selling my eggs for 3-4 a dozen and people are always wanting more.  I never have enough eggs to go around.  You just have to find the people who appreciate them like WE do! Now, all eggs are not created equal so be sure to ask those questions and take a close look at the farm your chickens live on.  And when they get the "passing" mark by you then pay a fair price.  Just my two cents! Sorry it was so long. 

Saturday, May 12, 2012

My little polish hen

Trying to get her some outside time but she can only be out when I have the time to sit with her and babysit. She is new to the crew. Hatched her here but at a different time and her family died so she is now alone.  I thought she was going to be protected by my Frizzle Cochin (long story will share later) but that didn't work out :(  It sure did look promising though!  Note:  The LARGE cochins are great with her!  BUT the new wheaten ameraucana and the bantams are not! 

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She's doing much better in her new little home.

Her tail is up now and she is getting fatter.  Before you could feel her breast bone (which is another reason I removed her) the others were not letting her eat or drink.  Every time she would get close to the food/water she would get pecked.  Even after moving her to this cage she went to the water and was going to take a drink but then she freaked out and ran to the back of the cage.  Took her a few days to realize that she could drink without getting attacked.  I now have her used to my hand without her her going into freak out mode :D  I hope I get her calm enough before the ducks get here.  And I hope SHE leaves THEM alone!  Sometimes owning chickens is hard, especially if you actually care about them.  I know ppl who say, "if they can't make it with the crew then that's their prob" and just let them in there to die :(  I can't do it. 

Where do chickens dust bathe you ask??

Why, next to the house, that's where! I'm not happy with them but what can I do...just look at how sweet they are! They have a pretty good hole going here. My husband hasn't noticed this yet...not sure HE can chase them away any more then I can ;)  He's a sucker for itty bitty animals! Funny how the white roo is 1/2 brown and her back end is white.  He has been standing there while they throw dirt on him!  I guess he thinks that's good enough and NO energy needed.

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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

My Wheaten hens new freinds.

This one is of my 2nd Ameraucana girl (she is the tan one in the left of the picture) who is now living with the cochins although she has been a bad girl and wandered off to the neighbors house and she comes back when she feels like it.  The only problem with that is they have a dog who LIKES to eat chickens so she is now in a cage again until I can trust that she won't wander off.  Good thing I have great neighbors!  
UPDATE:  She is now staying in OUR yard and laying eggs here! :D Good girl! I think the reason she went over to the neighbors was because they had a shed that looked like her old home.  I think she thought she was going back home.  

Blue Wheaten pair

This is a Blue Wheaten Pair, it was a trio but they did no like the other hen so I let her outside to roam with the Cochins.  They liked her and things are going ok so far.  Now we will see if she will go to bed tonight or if she will try roosting up in a tree. There was a lot of action in this coop until I removed the freaked out third chicken.  Now this pair is starting to relax a bit. The hens are new, got them from a friend of mine to go with my lone roo.