Saturday, October 30, 2010

Meet the Flock!

Boy, am I having fun!  It's my birthday weekend (Halloween) and my wonderful parents drove up here with my flock for my birthday present as a surprise.  They brought me 7 hens and 1 rooster and they are all 8 months old.  I was adamant about not getting a rooster before but then I started too feel sorry at the thought of him being left behind and probably ending up being someone's stew.  So, I have a Rhode Island Red rooster named Jack, 5 Rhode Island Red hens and 2 Delaware hens.  The RIR hens are being a little mean to the 2 Delawares as they were separate flocks before.  Jack was initially mean to them also, but he has now accepted them.  I'm hoping this is normal and they will all get along soon.  No feathers missing, so that's good!  Jack doesn't crow at night and that's my favorite part!  Also, he's not mean to people is and actually quite curious and social.

The Delaware hens are named Eunice and Bokie (pronounced "bow" - like bow & arrow and "key").  The RIRs are named Maude, Theodocia, Talula, Miss Henny Penny & Haughty.  I haven't decided which RIR hen is who yet because I want to observe their personalities more and also they are hard at this point for me to tell apart!
Eunice & Bokie (Bokie has black)

Yesterday (Friday) was their first day and I already got 2 eggs!  I thought because they were most likely stressed, it might be a couple days before I saw any eggs.

First 2 eggs!
This is a short post, but just wanted to get the flock up on line and show that I FINALLY made this thing a reality!  It was worth every bit of it.

Unloading the girls in their new home!

Eunice & Bokie got their spots for the night

Monday, October 25, 2010


I can't believe it... the Hen House is finally done!  I started back in May and worked on it during the weekends when I wasn't riding my horse Mickey or taking care of other stuff needing to be done.  I feel like I just took my last final exam or something!  Ha ha.  Short of a little "chicken landscaping" in the run and a bit more shade covering (which can wait till late Spring if I am super lazy) and adding the shavings inside the coop for the deep litter method and hanging the feeder and waterer, I'm finished!  Now, I have to find my chickens!  And, thank goodness for Craigslist.  Since I've been working on this for months, I want hens that are gonna lay NOW!  I will get at least a couple this Friday or Saturday and hopefully more.  My dogs and neighbors will be happy soon and I'll get the enjoyment of keeping them.  I, myself, am vegan and don't eat eggs.  Actually, I have nothing against eating eggs raised like this, but I have never liked the taste of eggs since I was young.  Bummer for me, I guess!  But, since I make all my dog's food from scratch, it will be a wonderful source of protein for them. 

The coop itself is 10 feet long, 6 feet wide and 6 feet high.  The run is over 300 sf and the girls should have plenty of room to roam and do their thing.  It has chicken wire across the whole top and about 6 inches below ground.  Where the chicken wire ends underground there is a 9 inch horizontal sheet of lathe layed in the trench which is supposed to cut the paws of coyotes if they try and dig under.  I think the girls will be safe.  If not, I wouldn't know what else to do short of just not having chickens!


Inside, I have two roosting bars going across the coop and two corner roosting bars up where the top roosting bar is.  The ladder leads up to the lower roosting bar.  I won the cool nesting box from a giveaway on the blog of "Life on a Southern Farm".  I'll be so excited when I see my first egg in there!  I'm buying a waterer, but am making my own feeder out of an old VW hubcap I've held onto and a piece of stove pipe I bought from the hardware store.  I got the idea from Storey's book on chickens and it'll save me some money and will be fun and quick to make.

The art work is just for fun and is made out of plywood.  The two coyotes are howling for the other coyotes to stay away!!  Ha ha.  Putting a good coyote vibe out there.

Well, I really hope my next blog post is of my chickens...  I'm just so relieved it's finished and considering I didn't have any plans and just made it from the top of my head, I'm pretty pleased.  I learned a lot and would do some things differently if I did it again, but that's the case with anything you do for the first time.  It was a fun project.  So, for now - JUST ADD CHICKENS!!

and here is was 5 months ago!!  Whoo hoo!  Progress is fun.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Three Great Things...

On our way to Laughlin, NV as I type... in the RV for a long weekend.  I don't like crowds or noise, but for some reason, I love Laughlin and Vegas.  I've always loved to gamble and can do it without getting myself into any finanacial trouble.  Plus, being in the RV on the river is better than a hotel.  Our own food, bed and even dogs.  That's the first great thing - on our way for a long weekend!  My parents will be there and about 12 other RV's.  My folks have a yearly get together with their friends, and we join them when we can.

Second great thing is that my partner's scan results came back negative for stage 4 melanoma!!  The doctors thought it had metastisized to the liver or abdomen area as a pet scan showed positve, but with further scans, it is not cancer.  What a relief!! Big difference between stage 3 and stage 4.  Good recovery from surgery that occured a few weeks ago (modified neck dissection) with no complications. A lot to celebrate this weekend and makes for a lot more fun.

The third great thing is that Troy, the wandering desert Chihuahua has adapted just perfectly.  He fits in so well and we are considering keeping him.  Not a bad habit so far, perfect manners and an all around great little dog.  He is even starting to play a little with my one year old Pug, CJ.  He has an appt. at the veternarian's on Tuesday where we can have his eye checked out (looks like his haw has an infection or is inflamed at the least) and get a blood panel to rule out any serious problems. 

So, getting away from the High Desert and gonna brave the crowds, get wet in the river, ride my motorcycle and try my hand at many a nickel slot.  Right now we're on old route 66 almost to Amboy, CA.  With health being the biggest issue, we have a lot to celebrate and be grateful for this weekend.  Hope everyone has a good weekend as well!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

The Vagabond Chiahuahua

We have a new temporary member of the family today.  We have named him Troy for now.  Sure to be a coyote's meal, Troy was found wandering the desert yesterday afternoon.  He is Chihuahua - old, not nervous or shaky, and pretty tough putting my Boxer and Pug in there place quickly.  He is pudgy and certainly spoiled.  He has definitely been someone's pet as he thinks the couch is where he belongs and the outdoors is for lower class dogs.  A neighbor has gone all over asking homes if they lost a dog, and so far has not found anyone to claim him.  In 30 minutes he was alpha, snipping at my dogs if they got too close as he didn't want to be bothered while napping.  He has a camouflage collar but no tags and the only thing I am in disapproval about is that his nails are much too long.  We'll have a trim session later.  Hopefully, someone will post some signs saying they are missing a dog, but if not, we will find a good home.  Troy is a lucky dog.  Lots of coyotes around here.  He's a character indeed!  Is troy just senile and was able to find his way home?  was he suicidal wandering out to the desert to never return?  was he fleeing from domestic disturbance?  hhmmmm.......

Monday, October 4, 2010

A Motley Crew

Oh, the chicken coop is so close to being finished!  I'm waiting to put pictures up of when it is all complete.  I only have about 6 or 8 hours of work left on it.  Exciting!  And, I've been thinking more seriously about the boarders I'll take on... 

Because I live in the High Desert of California right now, I have a limited selection of chickens I can choose from due to the high heats of summer.  It's not unusual to get to about 100 degrees and it's been known to get hotter.  Winters aren't bad with an occasional few inches or dusting of snow, and I mean very occasional!  So, I've narrowed it down as my choices are limited.  I'll probably only have about 5 or 6 chickens.  With the 10'x6' hen house and the large run, they'll be pretty happy. 

Most likely, I'll get all my chickens as adult hens, but hens that are young.  Since this is my first chicken experience, I'm not confident enough to raise chicks and want to make sure everything works out smoothly before venturing into more complicated endeavors!  With craigslist, there's always people having to get rid of their young hens for various reasons.  Gotta love craigslist!

Rhode Island Reds will definitely be some of the residents.  They are good hearty breeds and good egg layers.  They can be a bit on the persnickety side, so I'll make sure they are friendly when I get them. 

The Turken (Naked Neck) is another breed that I think you either love or hate.  I like their ugly duckling look and they are known to be great in heat, friendly and good egg layers also.

The Silkie is one I want cause it's just too adorable.  They are very broody so if I ever want to purchase eggs, she can raise the chicks.  They lay small eggs and are a bantam and aren't too difficult to find. 

The Frizzle would just seal my little flock with a kiss.  The Frizzle may take some more looking to find, but I have seen them on craigslist as well.  The Frizzle is not a breed but actually the name of the chicken due to a genetic mutation where their feathers curl outward instead of laying close to their bodies.  The Frizzle can occur in any breed of chicken.  I just love the way they look.

Well, you can see why they would be a motley crew, ha ha.  If anyone has any good suggestions on chickens that are good layers and do well in the heat, feel free to let me know!  Residents are open to change...