My brother is so freaking awesome!

My brother updated the little Flash video he made me (which probably doesn’t show up for anyone because I can’t figure out the flash). Check it out. I am so in love with this!

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Fun, quick little chicken movie!

 

My brother has always been great at doodles and sketches. Recently he’s taking classes at Shoreline CC. He made me this quick little movie using some of his new skills. I think it’s perfect, don’t you?

Another favorite of mine:

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Ginger and Penney Update

Ginger and Penney by stephk
Ginger and Penney, a photo by stephk on Flickr.

They are now 11 weeks old. They don’t peep anymore. They’re still afraid of the old ladies but everyone coexists ok since G&P sleep in their own coop. The old ladies sleep in the first of the chicken tractors we received. It arrived damaged, but usable. The manufacturer sent us a second chicken tractor that arrived in perfect shape. So we have space for a few more young birds. I’ve been keeping my eye out for some fancy hens. I can’t tell if the young birds are male or female, but I know I want them to have friends in case one of them has to find a new home. Ginger and Penney are totally inseparable. It’s really very cute.

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Two eggs

Two eggs by stephk
Two eggs, a photo by stephk on Flickr.

This photo is from today. Yesterday I found three eggs in the one nesting box. Everyone’s up on how to use the new coop. Life is good.

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Success!!

All three of my old ladies are tucked away in the upstairs section of their tractor. I’m not sure if they made it last night, but today I found that both nesting areas had been checked out. One had two eggs, the other had none. One egg was on the ground, broken. One egg was on the ground, not broken. So two of them laid eggs today. I’m so proud of them!

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My little chicken students

Training your ladies on the ways of a two-story casa when they’re accustomed to a rambler is more challenging than you might think. Today is the first day where all three of them have gone up the ramp to the upper section. I finally realized that I should put an egg in the nesting areas and that really seems to have done the trick.

Jazzy went up the ramp, found the training treats I’d left at the top. She then went back downstairs, freaked out a bit and headed up the ramp again (extra credit!) and found the egg I’d placed, then decided to check the upstairs area out. Now she’s in the other end (darker in that nesting box) and I assume she’s working my breakfast. Yay! [update: no egg, but definite signs of nesting, based on how the straw had been worked.]

One of the cochins was able to get herself out each day. She escaped today and immediately circled the eglu, which was closed up with the chicks still in it. The little ones thought for sure she was trying to get them, but really she was just trying to get in so she could lay an egg. That’s where she’s at now.

Yesterday, Mark let the last of the three out the side because she couldn’t figure out the upstairs thing. This morning, she got herself out and stopped and checked out the nesting box where the egg is sitting. Yay!

So we’re making progress, even if it’s slower than I’d expect. Jazzy is clearly the star student and will hopefully influence the other two.

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Photos of the Chicken Tractor

We took delivery of the new tractor on Thursday. Admittedly, I had envisioned the hens having more space to roam, but it will still work well.

A nesting box sits at each end. The roosting area is the wide area in the middle.

Upstairs in the Chicken Tractor

Back side of the tractor. Not super exciting.

Backside of the Chicken Tractor

The tractor is a lot more portable than the eglu. As far as looks go, I think the eglu has its competition beat. They both look good in our yard.

Eglu + Chicken Tractor

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New coop and more!

The new coop arrived today (there’s a story to be told) so the chicks are in the eglu and the old ladies are in the new coop, trying to figure out how it works (it’s a tractor, so they have to climb up into the upper section to roost/lay).

BUT… I’m too tired to go into details. I’ll take pictures and post them this weekend. It’s supposed to be gorgeous and I can’t wait to get out in the dirt!

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Jazzy let me hold her!

For a lot of folks, this isn’t as exciting as it is a normal occurrence. A lot of folks with chicken pets talk about how they’re able to hold their chickens fairly easily. I’ve never really hand-reared my hens. When we had chicks the first time, we raised them in an opaque gray plastic storage container. Every time we approached them, they’d scatter and freak, and it was never something they got used to.

Once we put them outside and eventually let them range around in the backyard, I was excited to find that they’d come to our feet and hang out while we sat and read or talked or thought. Eating treats out of my hands was the best and that’s as far as I went with trying to socialize them. They got used to me bringing them snacks and would run at me when I headed outside. Occasionally (rarely), I would try to pick one of them up if they were lingering around my feet, but I’d often just freak them out.

Today, Jazzy was in the cat’s run (no cats were present) and I had unintentionally cornered her. I picked her up and held her! It didn’t seem to stress her out, in fact it felt like she kind of relaxed after a minute. How cool! She’s really beautiful – even at four years old. Her comb and wattle are still so nice and bright.

The chicks, Ginger and Penney (who I am suspicious of as they both remind me a lot of Goldie, who was a rooster), don’t seem to freak out as much when I try to hold them. I haven’t decided if I want to totally hand-rear them to the point of being able to hold them at any time. I’ll be quite happy if they run at me when I go out to visit them. It’s always nice to feel welcome – even if it is a chicken making you feel that way. 🙂

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This is your chickens on grass

This is your chickens on grass

This is your chickens on grass.

 

The eggs on the right are organic and came from Smith Bros Farms. The carton shows the pack date as 5/13/2011 (how do I know this?) and they taste delicious.

The eggs on the left came from my back yard and are also delicious.

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