Monthly Archives: August 2011

Bragging bites you in the butt

A lady recently came over and was amazed that I don’t have my chickens closed-in more to protect them from predators.  I told her how I have only lost a couple over the years….in the winter months when food is scare.  That’s the bragging part.

So, I go outside and check on my chickens yesterday morning and one of my baby chicks that was only a week old and an egg were missing.  The momma and her three babies and four eggs were in a “maternity ward” that is 4×4.   I just have some fence up in front of it for easy access for me and it is held closed by a brick on one side so it would be easy for an animal to squeeze in.  It just seemed odd to me though because they are in the center of my Silkie chicken yard.   There is another yard with chicks that are about 3 weeks to 8 weeks old and there are 19 of them.  That chicken yard is on the  outside edge so I would have thought that would be the easiest to get to.

I hope it isn’t my neighbor’s cats that are bothering my chickens.  I recently saw one of them in my chicken yard lurking around.  I assumed it was in there to drink some water.   I hate outdoor cats. One of her cats was lying in my chair on the back porch the other day.  If they aren’t climbing on our cars and leaving foot prints they are roaming around on our property and making my dogs bark.

But, I do love my neighbor….she’s the greatest and she loves all animals big and small so you take the good with the bad.  I must admit, I did shoot at her cat with my little bb gun but I probably couldn’t hit one if I tried.  I just tried to shoot near the cat to scare it.

So, back to my story.  I shifted my chickens around and put the momma and her two babies and eggs into a 4×8 chain link cage and put a lock on it.  I am fearful for my 19 babies now but I will have to wait until the weekend to do anymore safety precautions.  I need my husband’s muscles.   Oops, I forgot he will be working on our riding lawn mower this weekend.  It has been broken for a couple weeks and trying to get the parts…well, hopefully this weekend our lawn will be mowed, too.

Morale of the story:  Don’t brag even if it is the truth.  I should have added how blessed I am not to be losing my chickens.  You think that would have helped????   lol

New place to buy and sell

When I was on Craigslist, I found a chicken swap site.  It has been great.  I have sold a few chickens and chicks and some fertilized Silkie eggs.  I am getting more eggs ready to sell, too.  Two more people want some.  I am excited about selling the eggs because I like to think of all the baby chicks that will be hatched out.

The bad part about this site is that it makes me want to buy more chickens.  I keep seeing so many pretty chickens that I have never heard of and wish I had.  But, I have to finish up what I have started before I start adding more yards and chickens.

Since getting rid of the eleven roosters, I am going to put the Americauna and Barred Rock hens together in my largest chicken yard (approximately 60 ft x 60ft) which is presently the BR yard.  I let them free range on about 1/2 acre.  I have 11 Americauna and 11 BR hens so that is not too many to have together.  I know they will peck and fight a little at first to get the pecking order but hopefully, they will adjust.  If I see one is being really aggressive, then I separate the mean one from the group for a little while (in a cage).  So far, that has worked for me.  Basically, I will put her in “time-out.”  I told you they are like kids to me, didn’t I?

The Americauna yard has two nice, large trees (Maple and Pop Corn, not the real name).  Since it opens into my Silkie yard, I can just open the gate and let the Silkies run in there for relief from the sun.  Their yard is newer and doesn’t have the shade that the two trees offer to the Americaunas.  I let the Americaunas free range into another part of my two acres so they don’t usually stay and enjoy the trees in the hot part of the day anyway.

So, that’s my new plan…move the Americaunas to the BR yard and open the Americauna yard to the Silkies.  I swear, the Silkies are definitely creatures of habit and I have a hard time getting them to move into new areas.  I guess I will have to throw little pieces of bread to lure them into the larger shaded yard. That I should video….

Prepared for the hurricane?

I am so thankful that hurricane Irene did not hit us.  We are very blessed.  My husband said the last time Jacksonville, Florida area was hit with a hurricane was 1954.   But, we have had lots of rain and some winds from nearby hurricanes.

So thinking the hurricane was coming, I went outside and started figuring out how I could secure my chickens better.  None of my yards really close up except some cages I have that are 4×8.  I had decided to bring the babies back inside and put them in the tub that we never use inside the house.   Of course, it was a really bad storm, we would leave town because we live in a single wide mobile home.  We would take our two dogs but there is no way I can transport 120 chickens.

I have three sisters and one brother who live in the Atlantic Beach/Morehead City area in NC so we are closely watching the news.  Jeannie, in the Mill Creek area near Newport, NC said she lost electricity at 1:30 am this morning (Saturday, Aug 27).  My sister, Bonnie is really get hit harder and she lives inland in New Bern, NC.  She has lost three trees in her yard.  Jacksonville, NC had winds of 115 mph which is fairly close to New Bern.  I can’t reach her on her cell phone so far today.

So, this has made me realize I do need to finish up my projects in my chicken yards to protect them from being blown away.  Or drowned.   I had already told my husband we needed to finish up closing-in the chicken houses in the Silkie chicken yard before the cold weather gets here.  I have lost a chicken or so over the years during the cold weather.  Not from the weather but from predators.

I moved my dog yard closer to my chickens, too.  Their barking would discourage predators hopefully.  One of my dogs is 12 years old and I think her hearing is going downhill.  Not sure she would be a lot of help but I have a hound dog (Olivia) that would probably make a lot of noise and wake up Cassie, the older dog.

I hope my chickens are smart enough to get up on their perches if their yards get flooded.  I have milk crates upside down in the Silkie houses, too.  They perch on top of them at night.  Gosh, I can’t imagine sleeping sitting up and especially perched on a pole. The roosters perch on the pole but the hens like the crates or just sit/stand in the corners or along the back of the house.

We originally had about 300 plus  pine trees on our property (2 acres).  Calvin said it was a part of a pine tree farm.  So in 1999, three years after I moved here, I talked him into letting me find someone to cut the trees down.  So I did and we sold the lumber and we actually got a check for $1000.

Our yard looks entirely different now.  We have Mimosas, Magnolia, Dog Wood, Crepe Myrtles, Red Tip Maples, Oak and what we call Pop Corn trees.   We only kept about 18 pine trees and we lost three of them from lightning.   Tall pine trees in Florida.  Duh?  I know of at least two that my neighbors have lost, too.

We wanted pretty trees and shady trees.  It was one of my first priorities to plant some trees because they take so long to grow.  You can plant bushes and flowers and even get a nice lawn, but those trees take a lot of years.

I must admit, I have a couple trees that have really grown fast and of course, they are in my chicken yards or along the yards.  That chicken manure is so great to make things grow.  You definitely have to dilute it down when putting on plants or bushes.

I am going to get back to the CNN channel and find out about the hurricane in NC.  I just heard one person was killed in NC from the storm.  No details.   I am going to say a prayer for those in the path of the hurricane.

In the meantime, I need to get breakfast ready for my hubby.  A neighbor is over helping him with our riding lawn mower problem.  Gotta love your neighbors.

I need chickens in my life

When I was outside today cleaning and caring for my chickens, I was thinking how much work this many chickens are and how I should really sell some of them and make less work for myself.  I was thinking of other things I could be doing with my time.  I could do volunteer work. I would at least be with other people and making new friends.

I realized the reason I love having the chickens so much is because it is a time consumer.  When I am in the house and feeling bored or maybe a little lonely, I go outside and do some kind of work in my chicken yard.  Sometimes I go out and do some planning.  Move this chicken over here and put up fence here and stuff like that.

The great part about having a hobby that is in your own back yard is you can just walk right outside and there you are.  No dressing up and go into town and spending money on gas.  Not that feed is cheap.  But it is right there….to feel my empty minutes of my day.

I say all of that to say, I appreciate the importance of having a hobby  that gives me so much pleasure…..and eggs and baby chicks, too.

Record Egg Day

Wow, I can’t believe I got 22 eggs today.  If the girls keep doing that good, I may be able to sell enough eggs to pay for their feed.  Wouldn’t that be nice????  YES

I am saving my eggs from my buff colored and my white Silkies because someone wants to buy them to incubate.  I hope the girls don’t let me down because I only want to save them for 5 days….to ensure they will actually hatch.    I am keeping them in a cool place and rotating them side to side twice a day with the fat end of the egg up.

If for some reason she decides she doesn’t want the eggs….she lives in Orlando, then I will just have to hatch them myself.  Love those baby chicks.