Monthly Archives: October 2012

Daily Routines Raising Chickens

I never really get tired of taking care of my chickens.  Do you?  There is always something to do in their yard.  I am relentless when it comes to changing fence lines and moving things around.  My husband is so patient with me.

Now that my flock is down to 44 chickens, life is easier for me.  I moved my 19 small chickens…Silkies and Silkie/Americaunas in one yard with netting over the top of most of it to keep the Chicken Hawks out.  Their yard was without grass so I moved them to another spot that is twice the size with plenty of grass and I can see them from my kitchen window.

My grand daughter came to visit this past summer and I let one of the hens hatch out a couple Silkies eggs so there would be baby chicks here when she came for her visit.  I kept the mom and babies in a separate yard for the first 6 weeks or so and I have very small gauge fencing added around the bottom two feet so the little ones can’t get out.  But I wanted to let mom back in with the other chickens in the new grassy yard and let her two babies go with her.  I had three and one went missing so now the two are in a  protective 4×8 cage where they will remain until they are big enough that they can’t fit thru the fence holes.  The mom can’t keep the babies safe when they are wandering on the other side of the fence and the new yard is too big to put two foot fencing around the bottom.  It would probably cost me a hundred dollars to do that.

I took down a lot of fencing in the back where my Barred Rock and Americauna chickens are now.   I am letting them run together on the fenced in one acre but they still have two separate houses that they can perch.  Oh yeah, I also have four purebred Silkie roosters and one Barred Rock rooster that are in the flock of 25.  Of the four Silkie roosters, one is pretty old and the other three don’t seem that active so I hope they don’t bother the hens too much.  I added the Barred Rock rooster recently and he is still young so he doesn’t show much interest in the girls.  Since I am not hatching eggs, I let them stay together.

I throw scraps to the chickens usually after dinner time and collect eggs (except for the summer, I collect eggs twice a day since it is so hot).  I try to get out in the mornings fairly early so I can give them scratch, oyster shells, egg pellets and  starter for the babies.  I don’t feed them a whole lot of pellets since I really don’t care how many eggs I get anymore.  A lot of the chickens are getting older.  I just enjoy the chickens but I must admit, fresh eggs are so much better.  I still probably get somewhere between 6 to 12 a week so that is plenty for the two of us.

I empty the water buckets for the chickens about every two or three days and scrub them and refill them.   Then I rake out the bottom of the chicken house every two weeks or so and add the manure to the compost bin or dilute some to use as fertilizer for my yard or plants.   Then the nests need cleaning out some since a chicken or two will perch on the edge occasionally.   I replace the hay every two or three months with fresh hay and put seven dust in the bottom before adding the new hay to keep the mites down.   I occasionally sprinkle some between nest changes, too.

I also found if I store the scratch in a plastic trash can out in the yard, it saves me time.  I keep the starter and pellets in my shed since moisture wouldn’t be good for them.  I feel like the Piped Piper of Hamlin when I go into the chicken yards because they sure do follow me around…..until I throw them scratch.  ha ha

It is good to just spend some time out there in the yard watching the chickens making sure they are healthy.   I look to see if any of them are walking funny or acting slow or tired.  Certainly if any chicken doesn’t act interested in eating the scratch, that is an indication there is a problem.

My chickens are my pets and they are dying due to old age, I hope.  I just lost my 13 year old dog, Cassie on Friday, October 12th.  She was such a sweet dog and so smart.  I will miss her but my dog, Olivia is alone now so I bet she will miss her even more.