Monday, December 22, 2008

A Tour of Castle Snow

Juliana is a well known artist.
She holds the paintbrush in her beak.


Mouse's room has a window with a view of the sky.
Her suit of armor is kept on a stand.


Coronation ceremonies take place in the lovely Royal Gardens around Castle Snow.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Nearly Baked Mouse

Our new house and our chickens' new house.

Do not put heat lamps in a HenSpa. Ever.
We used one for the first (and last) time last night and nearly had cooked Mouse on our hands!
Our wonderful new HenSpa has two floors, retractable wheels and special nesting box which rolls eggs out of a curious hen's reach.
If you add a heat lamp it is held less than five inches from the roosts.
Evil Mouse parked herself directly under the heat lamp last night and this morning her feathers were significantly shorter and browner.

We love our hens and our HenSpa, we have stopped using the heat lamp.

Don't worry--everyone is still alive!

[Jane's note: I just want to mention that the HenSpa folk very clearly told us that a heat lamp was a bad idea! We now agree with them!]

Mouse -- with that evil, cute look about her. She is our Stupidest Chicken Of The Year!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Green-Egged Ameraucana!



If we had to choose just one breed of chicken to keep, this would be it!
Ameraucanas are smart, colorful birds with fluffy beards that make them look cheerful. They are quite friendly and love to fly up on just about anything
(including their human friends!).

Our Ameraucanas are from Cackle Hatchery.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Breed of the Month: Salmon Faverolle

What can we say?
Faverolles are just about the coolest chickens ever!
Wacky movie stars with crazy feet, no flock is complete without these unique novelty chickens!
Juliana started out being a whitish "dirty chick" she is now desert brown with black-and-white highlights. Wow!


Don't worry if your birds are ragged

We know a lot about molting because our chickens have done it twice in two years
(yes, they aren't supposed to molt in the first year!).
We just ignore it.
Here is Sleeve Eater's charming backside.


Our Advice:
Just pretend that your hens are fine!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Kooshie's cool eggs!


Well Amri's Ameraucana, Kooshie, has finally started laying.
She layed her first beautiful light blue-green egg on October 29, 2008!
Here she is, all grown up!




And here's Gwynne's Buff Orpington, Mookie.
She has been laying for a while now.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Some random pictures of our flock!

These are
out of
date photos.
They're fun!










Saturday, October 18, 2008

Breed of the Month No.3!


Black Star

This hybrid sexlink is the chick of a Rhode Island Red cock and Barred Plymouth Rock hen.
This makes black pullets and barred cockerels (please don't ask us --we don't understand either!).

Personality: Silly, intelligent, wise.

Notes: Black Stars are very available and fun to have around.
Not the friendliest birds ever but nice anyway.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The second Breed of the Month!

Red/Bronze Ranger

Personality: Silly. Cheeseball is mostly quite gentle but sometimes she likes to peck at our clothing.

Feathers: Lovely rich gold.

Size: Pretty big.

Available from Freedom Rangers but think before you buy; the absolute minimum order is fifty and you can`t get them sexed.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Baby chicks are calling

Yes, we have finally gotten around to updating this blog with the latest news:
WE HAVE NEW CHICKS!!!
The pullet in the photo is Kooshie.
She`s an Ameraucana (no, I did NOT mean Araucana).
The other chicks we are keeping;
Mookie, a Buff Orpington.
Juliana, a Salmon Faverolle.
Turtle, another Ameraucana.
And Trespassers, a Partridge Cochin.

They are very cute (just look at the picture!) and we love them!

From Jane: Right away, the birds have been showing a lot of personality! Mookie, the Buff Orpington seems the sweetest and mellowest. The Ameraucanas were very inquisitive and energetic from the start. The white wyandottes (the "dots", our meat bird cockerels) are very loud cheepers. Juliana, the salmon favarolle captured our hearts. She is the tiniest, but is into everything -- a zippy, fun little bird. Trespassers seems to be more aloof. She'll take a little taming!

Back to Amri:

About Faverolles: This breed is worth mentioning again!
Faverolles have five toes, feather feet and beards! Bet you never knew that!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Breed Of The Month














This is our first breed-of-the-month posting and your reporters have decided that there could be no better breed to start with than
Gourmet Black!

Some information:

Size: all we know is that this breed makes most other large breeds look small.

Attitude: Greedy, silly. Fun to be around.

Feather color: Gray and light gray barring. Very pretty.

Great examples of the breed: Snowneck, Sleeve-Eater, Bluestar, Mouse, Cutie-Pie

Friday, April 18, 2008

Happy Birthday, Hens!

















Last year our birds hatched on April 18 (we think, since they were day-old baby chicks).

They were fluffy and VERY cute.

"Peep, peep, peep!" they said.

We are going to give them a birthday present this year.

They deserve it because the main problem we've encountered is "what to do with all these eggs?!"

The people around here all have chickens or a steady supply of local eggs.

So you see that chickens are a good idea (maybe there are people who can eat your extra eggs nearby!)















Books for the possible chicken owner:


Keep Chickens!
The most friendly chicken book available!
Informative and funny with three amusing true stories and
photos of beautiful hens and coops in the back.


Hobby Farms: Chickens
Another useful book.
Full color photos and a page of information to help you choose
a great breed for "pleasure or profit!"

Saturday, April 12, 2008

A Great Website!

A great discovery beyond imagining!
Someone who loves chickens as much as we do!
The creator of My Pet Chicken!
Your excited editor found everything there from books to baby chicks~the place has a very reasonable minimum order of three to five chicks.
And the chicks aren't just white Leghorns, either.
(Think more in the direction of Cochins and Chanteclers, Wyandottes and Buckeyes) They sell a selection of rare birds will impress you!
All the chickens are sexed so you won't have to eat a single one.
They have diapers for the indoor chicken so you won't need to deal with poopy furniture.
Find out what breed is best for you~they have a useful "which breed" quiz to help you discover your dream breed.

Now go take a look. My Pet Chicken

Saturday, April 5, 2008

The Artistic Egg

You have probably seen an egg.
What you probably haven't seen is a farm-fresh egg.
A truly farm-fresh egg left the chicken less than an hour ago and has never
been on an airplane in it's life!
No two eggs will look exactly alike either (one speckled, another pale brown, a frosty whitish-brown...) it is quite unlikely that such snobby eggs
are available to you.
Ah, well, guess I shouldn't tell you about the rich, flavorful yolk, that
wonderful smooth texture.......Oops!

Three eggs; Left to Right; cherry tomato size, ordinary size, enormous size (sometimes these things are so big we can't close the egg carton!)

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Started pullets and Seramas

"What is a Serama?" You ask.
A Serama is a very tiny bantam, the smallest in the
world, actually.
These chickens can weigh as little as 12 ounces and stand
a mere 6 inches off the floor!
Cute but not useful.
If you want to see pictures (stop being so demanding!)
you can go to the website Little America which
originally carried miniature horses but now has Seramas
as well.

We recently discovered started pullets.
If, say, you suddenly needed eggs really badly
and all the fuel in the world had just run
out, you could send an order to McMurray Hatchery and
have those layers in half the time of raising chicks!
Wait, that wouldn't work without fuel, would it?!

Monday, March 31, 2008

Oystershell grit for softshell hens

Chickens require calcium for strong eggshells.
When they don't get a sufficient quantity the birds lay eggs with thin or even no shells (which is bad news for the owners!).
So they need oyster shell grit!
The problem is, our babies don't seem to like it, they even seem to be scared of the stuff!
Maybe they'll figure it out.

One of the neighbor's hens, Blackbird, hates one of our hens, Cutie-Pie, who hates her just as much.
They have dueled twice, totally ignoring the fence that separates them.
When chickens battle they run at each other holding themselves erect with neck feathers raised.
It's sort of intimidating, I guess.

Friday, March 28, 2008

The SnowHens!

Sleeve Eater, Snowneck, and Cheeseball: Chickens in snow

Chickens don't like snow.
It makes their toes cold so they stay under the shelter all day.  Today was like that.
The birds were all eating and talking quietly together.  It was very peaceful.
Some ducks were wandering about and the neighbor's chickens were sitting under their house on stilts (the house, not the birds).
Occasionally a hen would start eating snow!
And, as if they think we might eat them, they laid us five lovely eggs!
Have you noticed that our chickens can be quite inspirational?!

Combs and Wattles
In response to the question, "What are wattles? How many does a chicken have?" we present Snowneck's head for your education.

Wattles: Are those two red flaps of skin hanging
under a chicken's beak. Snowneck's are especially lovely.

The Comb: Is the other large, red piece of skin except
these stand up. They do look a bit like your plastic one, don't they?

Ears: We think the red folds of skin behind the wattles are ears.

The chicken's face is quite beautiful, right?

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

You Don't Have To Have Chickens To Enjoy Looking At Them

Extraordinary Chickens
photographed by Stephen Green-Armytage

You might not want chickens right now but they're really
fun to look at!
This book shows some very amazing (and amusing) breeds!


Pocketful of Poultry
by Carol Ekarius

Colorful photos of chickens, ducks, geese and turkeys adorn almost
every page of this informative and interesting book.


Some of the most beautiful and/or funny birds are:
Ameraucanas
Appenzellers
Mille Fleur d'uccle bantams
Campines
Cochins
Delawares
Hamburgs
Naked Neck (if you think turkeys are cute)
Orpingtons
Polish
Seramas (the smallest chicken in the world)
Buttercups
Silkies
Welsummer

You can Search these on the web or read about them in
Pocketful of Poultry (think your library might have it?)

Friday, March 14, 2008

Take Me Out To The Chickens

The Editor is rather annoyed by the lack of chicken songs which are fun to sing so she composed one.
It goes to the tune of "Take Me Out To The Ball Game"

Take Me Out To The Chickens

Take me out to the chickens,
take me out to the hens!
Buy me some chicken feed in a sack,
I don't care if I never come back!

'Cause it's cluck, cluck, cluck for the chickens,
cluck, cluck, cluck for the hens,
and it doesn't matter
if I never come home
again!

If you are more of the riddle sort here's one for you;

I'm black or white,
I'm gray or brown,
I give the table something round.
What am I?

And here's a hint;

If for an answer you are stuck,
I wear fine feathers like a duck,
but don't say "Quack" but rather "Cluck!"


answer: a chicken

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Field Guide To The Flock

Special Note: If you haven't read our "Can You Help Us" post, please do so! - Thanks, your chicken reporters.
Our Flock

Snowneck
Nickname: Burping (really!)
Breed: Black Gourmet
Distinguishing features: Large, grumbly fashion statement. Snowy, elegant chest and neck.
Favorite pastime: Eating. also inspecting human creations.
Story: She's the main inspiration for some stories that we're writing

Mouse
Full Name: Bellatrix LaMousemeat, also Bellatrix LaCuddly and Bellatrix LaTerrified
Breed: Black Gourmet
Distinguishing features: A funny comb (see photo). Completely terrified
Favorite pastime: Worm hunting
Story: One night I was turning on the electric fence, and Mouse was still wandering about. "Good night, Mouse," I said, and Mouse went off to bed.

Yikes
Nick Names: Little Old Lady With No Teeth and Booping
Breed: Black Star
Distinguishing features: Black feathers with streaks of brown.
Favorite pastime: Pecking shoes
Story: One day Yikes was complaining. She was standing on one leg, and each time she changed pitch, she wiggled her leg.

Cheeseball
Nicknames: Cheesie or Ball
Breed: Red Ranger (we think)
Distinguishing features: Large, fat, and waddly.
Favorite pastime: Staying away from Snowneck
Story: When we feed her, she looks at us expectantly, yearning for more, and sometimes leaps for food in your hand.

Cutie-Pie
Nickname: Cutie The Beauty
Breed: Black Gourmet
Distinguishing features: Very stripey, with bright yellow legs and feet; chalk-pink tiny comb and wattles.
Favorite pastime: For awhile it was sitting on eggs (or horse chestnuts that we stuck in her nesting box in place of eggs that we took).
Story: One day while Cutie was broody we kept turning her around to pet her beak, and then leaving. We opened the nesting box flap, expecting her to have turned back, but there she was, glaring at us!

Sleeve Eater
Nicknames: Sleeves and Eater
Breed: Black Gourmet
Distinguishing features: Says "Booboop!" when you grab her.
Favorite pastime: Acting wise and saying, "Hm."
Story: One time Cutie-Pie was sitting on Sleeve Eater in the nesting box. Eater had her head squished under herself. She just looked like a body with no head.

Bluestar
Nicknames: Little Blue and Little Paper
Breed: Black Gourmet
Distinguishing features: Stripey neck. She says "peep peep peep" and is very inquisitive.
Favorite pastime: Being held and having her wattles stroked.
Story: How she got her name: One day she tried to climb up the slanted metal shelter propped against the hen house. We had been reading Warriors, and Bluestar was a leader in that series, so the name Bluestar seemed perfect.

MORE BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS:

See How They Grow: Chick. Photographed by Jane Burton.
Not very useful, but extremely cute pictures.

Funny Frank by Dick King-Smith.
A tale about a rooster who wants to be a duck by an author who knows chickens. Great for all ages!

Friday, February 8, 2008

Catching Up On The News

Cutie The Broody, in her motherly anger


Wow, we have so much chicken news that we'll just send this incomplete summary of our chickens' antics, and perhaps fill you in on additional details later. The following news items were written over the course of the past four
months.

NEWSFLASH, October 17, 2007

IS CUTIE BROODY?

Broody; when a hen tries to hatch her eggs.
Cutie-Pie; the highly striped hen.
We believe that Cutie is broody. Why?
One. because we have been finding stripey down in the nesting boxes.
Two. Cutie was in the nesting box all day yesterday.
Three. She left when we removed the eggs from under her.
Four. She is in there today.

So there you go. No, we did not get a rooster. There will be no chicks (the editor is sad to say this).




Look where Snowneck wanted to lay her egg!






WHY KEEP CHICKENS

1. They are very amusing.

2. Nothing beats fresh-farm chicken eggs, with their brilliant orange yolks

3. Much cheaper than other birds you can buy

4. Many of them don't fly away, unlike other birds you can keep

5. There are a wide variety of colors to choose from

6. There are a wide variety of egg colors to choose from

7. You can compost their poo up -- makes great compost for your garden!

8. All natural control -- chickens eat bugs!

9. Chickens scratch the soil -- good ground-prep for a future garden

10. You don't need a rooster for them to lay eggs

11. There's nothing so beneficial as home-laid eggs

12. Chickens are very cuddly -- especially the fatter breeds

13. Chickens are cheaper than landscaping and just as decorative