Monday, June 27, 2011
Sunday, June 19, 2011
Aaron spent the majority of father's day installing the coop. We sank some blocks into the ground for our foundation and to deter and digging predators. We did the same thing around the run... which is small but it's only for when we aren't home. Since I am a stay at home Mom, this isn't too often. We will be fencing off our side yard for them to free range but will also let them out into the entire yard when we both Aaron and I are home. There are still a few things that need to be done before the chickens come but we are well on our way. We also purchased some supplies this weekend such as the feeder and waterer for the chicks as well as some chick starter. July 5th is coming up fast and I want to be sure we are ready for out chooks!
Friday, June 17, 2011
All early spring we watched a Robin build her nest in a bush in our backyard. Then we watched her sit in that nest for a short while. Then we found little blue shells in our grass. Then we saw little beaks in that same nest. Then little heads and necks were attached to those beaks. Now, within 2 weeks of seeing those little beaks there are big birds that barely fit in that same nest. One decided to land on our window sill for a while. Then Mommy came and they flew off into our yard together. Right after Mommy fed Baby a worm. Love Birds!
Thursday, June 16, 2011
The coop is fully assembled and caulked. Aaron and I just need to figure out how we are going to lay out the area in the backyard.We cannot decide where to put the coop or compost bin. I think we will need to get the coop out there and move it around and see what looks best.
Sheer laziness had prevented me from starting my seeds... until today! Only 5 days left of spring and I actually went and planted my seeds and have them under the lamp. I may move them from the basement to outdoors during nice weather, but today it is raining so I will leave them in for now. I didn't turn over any more of the garden today since we have rain but it WILL get done. Once the dirt is turned over we will get some compost and add that in. Once our seedlings get going we will move them into the garden and then we will be in business!
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
I am making, what I consider, good headway on the vegetable garden. I have successfully turned over half. I had my little helper Owen and we tackled one side of the garden. My arms feel like gumby since I haven't done that much yard work since before having my kids... its funny what 4 years of pregnancy and nursing will do to a woman. It did feel good to get some work done, my goal is to finish turning over the dirt and plant within the next 2 weeks. It's always better late than never!
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Myth # 1) They are noisy.
Reality: Chicken hens are one of the quietest domestic animals. They cluck softly from time to time, and will often cluck to let you know they recently laid an egg. Unless they are in danger, they do not squawk. They sleep at night just as people do and are completely quiet from dusk to dawn. They are quiet because they want to be left alone to hunt and peck and do not want to attract attention to themselves. Roosters, on the other hand, can be quite noisy as this is their role in the flock.
Myth # 2) They are dirty.
Reality: Chickens are very clean animals. They will occasionally give themselves “dirt baths” but this is actually in order for them to preen their feathers and keep themselves clean and cool. Their droppings usually do not smell, especially if they are allowed to range freely in a grassy yard and are not caged or confined in a small area. The droppings are easily hosed off and break down into an excellent fertilizer for the lawn. Just like all pets and animals, chickens need responsible owners to keep the area tidy and clean out the living area from time to time.
Myth # 3) They are “3rd World creatures”.
Reality: Chickens have been given a bad rap. Because they are so low maintenance and cost so little to raise, many people view them as a social status symbol of the uncivilized or uncultured class. This is completely an image issue. Some areas of the world have problems with stray dogs. This is not because dogs are inherently “3rd World creatures”, but rather because the animal control laws of those countries are not adequate.
Myth # 4) They carry disease.
Reality: Chickens are just like any other animal including humans, dogs, cats and others when it comes to disease. They are not any more likely to carry disease than a dog. If they are well-cared for, fed, watered and kept in a clean environment, then they are more likely to stay healthy. Diseases are much more likely to be harbored in confined animal feeding operations due to their sheer size and tight conditions than in a healthy backyard setting.
Myth # 5) They attract pests.
Reality: To the contrary, chickens love to eat insects of all kinds including worms, beetles, grasshoppers, earwigs, mosquitoes and their larvae, fly larvae, ticks and more and are one of the best methods of insect control. Chickens have even been known from time to time to eat small mice! As long as their feed is properly stored just as dog or cat food should be, it will not attract added pests either.
Myth # 6) They attract predators.
Reality: It is true that predators such as foxes, skunks, racoons and hawks often eat chickens if they can catch them. However, these same predators might eat cats, rabbits and even small dogs if given the opportunity. Chickens do not attract predators any more than these other animals. They have instinctual defenses that protect them from these predators, such as sleeping in a protected area (coop) at night and making very little noise. Most family dogs and cats generally leave chickens alone and throughout the ages have all lived together in harmony.
Myth # 7) They need a lot of space.
Reality: Free range chickens need very little space. Most poultry associations designate that chickens need about 3 square feet of ranging area. Of course they will do even better with more, but an average-sized backyard would easily accommodate 4-6 chickens -no problem. Chickens are completely content to peck around in a fenced yard and have no reason to flap over fences, especially if they are not able to look through those fences at scrumptious bugs on the other side (privacy fencing works best). A small coop to sleep in at night is required. This can be very small if it is only used for sleeping. A coop that is 3x3x3 feet for about 4 chickens would be perfect if they are allowed to roam feely during the day. A coop of this size is about the same size as an average dog house.
Myth #8) They require a lot of equipment, work, or time.
Reality: Chickens are very low maintenance. They simply need water, food and shelter. They do not need to be groomed, washed, pet, walked, spayed, neutered, or trained. You can spend as little or as much time with them as you want. Their bedding area should be cleaned out about once a month which is not much of a problem.
Myth #9) Chickens are dangerous to have around children.
Reality: While chickens are thought to have evolved from the Tyrannosaurus Rex, chickens are definitely not dangerous. Most chickens have no interest in humans unless they are feeding them. They have no teeth and could not hurt a child as a dog or cat might.
Myth #10) You need a rooster in order to have eggs.
Reality: Roosters are unnecessary in the laying process and, in fact, are unnecessary to raising chickens. Chicken hens will lay eggs with or without a rooster. The only difference is that with a rooster, the eggs may be fertilized. Without a rooster they are not.
Info taken from lifetransplanet.
and one more myth to bust...
Myth #11) All chickens carry Salmonella.
Reality: Sometimes chickens, just like other animals, can have Salmonella bacteria. When hens are detected with the bacteria only a small number of hens seem to be infected at any given time, and an infected hen can lay many normal eggs while only occasionally laying an egg contaminated with the Salmonella bacterium. Here are just some of the other animals who can can carry salmonella: lizards, snakes, turtles, hamsters gerbils, birds, dogs, cats, ducks, horses and even Humans!
More info see Salmonella.org
Thursday, June 9, 2011
I simply have to mention that this spring we had a mother duck make her nest in a bush around our pool. We watched her sit for 2 weeks and then one faithful morning I looked out into our yard and there was Mommy duck and 11... YES 11 little ducklings! The kids both got to see them and watch them take their first swim in our pool. So cute. The celebration quickly changed to concern when they ended up stuck in our pool. I had to hop in and get them out with our skimmer net. Needless to say, they didn't stick around after that. I am sure they made their way to the river a block away or maybe the pond across the street. Either way, I did my good deed and saved them from drowning in our pool. The whole experience was part of the reason we are getting chickens.