Monthly Archives: October 2011

Winter preparation

When my husband wakes up this morning, I have a long honey-do list for him to help me with today.  He retires in two months.  When his friends ask him what he will do when he retires, he tells them his wife will keep him busier than the job did.  That is probably pretty accurate except I do allow for afternoon naps.  I only nap on weekends when my husband is home but I do love a good nap.  Especially when it is so hot and you have been outside for a few hours trying to get stuff accomplished before the heat of the day.

Well, the heat is practically over here in Florida and it is time to start planning for protection for the cold for my chickens.  I am still in the process of selling some chickens and I am down to 97 from 122.  I keep thinking I want to keep them all but I know it is too many chickens to ask anyone to help take care of while my husband and I are off traveling and visiting our relatives.

I really do enjoy planning out what to do with my chicken yards.  I know I mentioned I am constantly moving or adding chicken fencing.  I want to separate the different color of Silkies to produce solid white, black, dark blue, buff and splash chicks.  I have had a number of people mention they would like some Splash chicks.   But all this involves building more 4×4 chicken houses, putting up separate fences, and netting over the top of the yard.  I have to use netting so the chicken hawks don’t get the small breed chickens.

The main thing we will be doing today is moving chickens around so no one house is too crowded and closing-in a couple of the houses so I can lock the chickens up if there is a need.  Just hope it doesn’t rain all day like it did yesterday.

I am going to sit down and make a list of supplies we need to pick up for our chicken projects today.  Since most of the houses we have built recently are open in the front, we will need to enclose this area to keep the cold winds out.  But, you also have to keep a good ventilation system for the houses, too.  And make it easy to clean the bottom of the coop.  I am thinking hinges to pull the bottom of the board up so I can rake and collect eggs.  I don’t like the idea of dark coops and reaching in to collect eggs and perhaps running into another snake.

I will let you know how the day goes…so many projects and only so many hours in the day.  Let’s see what we can get done today.  Good thing it is a three day weekend for my husband.

Guinea chicks (keats) hatching

My little buff hen has patiently sat on the Guinea eggs for close to 30 days and four keats hatched out yesterday.  They all looked fine when I brought them inside and put them under the heat lamp though two were rather sluggish.  I assumed they were just hatched out and were tired and sleepy like the baby chickens I am use to raising.

I went back an hour or so to check the temperature and they were fine but after four hours or so, two were dead.  I was so sad.  Their perfectly formed bodies just lying there limp.  It was a mystery to me why they died.

Now, when I brought them in and put them on the towel in the bottom of the box, I did notice maybe five or six ants had been on them.  I am wondering if they could have bitten them enough to put poison in their systems.  I know when ants bite me, a get a nasty pimple with white pus.  If I get too many bites at one time, I actually feel sick and run a low grade fever.   My body is a whole lot larger than a chick’s so I can only imagine how bad a baby chick could feel with multiple bites.

As soon as it is daylight, I am going out there to check on the eggs and bring the keats inside if any are hatched.  Maybe I can get them before the ants start moving around.  With chicken feeders filled with food, it is difficult to keep the ants away from the chicken yards.  You would think the chickens would eat the ants.  I guess when the egg hatches and there is material left in the egg shell, it attracts the ants to the nest where the momma hen is sitting on the chicks.  With four hatching at one time, it could be difficult for the momma to dispose of the egg shells.  Sometimes, part of the egg shell is eaten or missing before I realize a chick is hatched out.

Well, I am thinking about getting outside and working on getting my chicken houses ready for cold weather but that is another post so I will end this one now and start that one.

Selling chickens this week

As much as I love my Silkies, I have decided it is time to let some of them go to other homes.  It was a difficult decision because they are my fuzzy butts.

One lady bought a Splash Silkie rooster and she lives in Tallahassee so she definitely wanted the rooster.  She drove from St. Augustine where she was visiting relatives to get the rooster.  I like to think my chickens go to good homes that will take good care of them and love them as much as you can love a chicken.  ha ha

A nice Russian lady came today and bought two Silkie hens.  I really liked the little grey hen I sold her but she seemed so nice and I decided she could have my special hen.  She bought two so they will have each other even though the environment will be unfamiliar.  I am going to call her when I have another Splash chick hatched out.

Another mother and adult daughter bought 6 baby chicks, two Americuana hens about 2 months old, and two Silkie hens (one splash and one black).  She is going to breed them and I believe she will take good care of them, too.

I made a few bucks this week and made a little more room in my chicken yards.  Guess I could call it a good week.