Monday, August 29, 2016

Chicken Update: Turning to Pasture & New Baby Chicks!

             Hey folks! Am I totally throwing you off with having the weekly homesteading post on Monday instead of Thursday? And two “regular” posts last week? Or did you even notice? Ha! If it's all the same to you, I think I'll try out having homesteading posts on Mondays and regular posts on Thursdays just because it works out better for me. Anyways, on to today's post...
             I've had a bunch of homesteading post ideas lately...but I was afraid they would be too boring, so I've been putting them off. But who doesn't love chickens, right? (Except for my cousin Kristen who's weirded out by them for some reason. C'mon, girl!) So here we are again, with a focus on chickens. First off, I have a confession to make...

             Yep. More baby chicks. Against our better judgment. (Sort of.) Yes, we have a problem. “Hi. We're John and Alicia and we have a chicken problem.” * In unison from crowd * “Hi, John and Alicia.” Yah. THAT kind of problem! But, in our defense, here was our logic behind buying yet another round of baby chicks (Round #5 in one year! Seriously!):
             We lost FOUR in a little over a week...Really, three in a week. And one of the Cornish Crosses before that. (I haven't talked much about our meat birds on here, but, again, you can keep up with all of our chicken shenanigans in “real time” on my Instagram account, if you like. We also have a Facebook page for our farm now too!) So, naturally, our justification for buying more chicks was that we had lost some. However, we bought twice as many as we lost. Lol We're suckers, though, and feel the need to buy chickens like we're stocking up a Moses' Ark of chickens and buy pairs of the same breeds most of the time. Both so that they will have buddies and just in case one of them croaks. (Sad, but very real possibility.) Plus, Rural King had some “fun ones” in that we had never heard of before, so that was extra tempting for us, shame on them. So, what are these fluffy little guys? (Well, hopefully they're all girls since we already have THREE roosters!)
             We have....2 Blue Andalusians, 2 Javas, 2 Golden-laced Wyandottes, and 1 Buff Brahma. The first four I had never heard of, therefore really know nothing about them, to be honest, but...They look pretty as adults. Ok, truthfully, I partly wanted the two Golden-laced Wyandottes because I think they are pretty as adults too. Plus, we have now lost ALL of our Silver-laced Wyandottes. :( (More on that in a minute.) The Buff Brahma was pretty much all for John because he has an affinity towards Brahmas for some reason. Plus...
            Our female Brahma was one of the ones we lost in a week. She was part of the “Three Amigos”, as we called them: An Easter Egger (who turned out to be a rooster), and two Light Brahmas, one female and one rooster, it turns out. So, we thought we would give Ivan (the Brahma rooster) a new buddy, hopefully...Although he does seem to have an affinity towards both of our Buff Orpingtons, as it turns out, but that's a story for a different time! So, I guess it's good we got a Buff Brahma? Ha ha!
             At one point in time, we had at least 3 or 4 Silver-laced Wyandottes...And they were one of my favorite breeds that we had, as far as looks go. If you've not been following along with our chicken journey for this year, we lost Lacey fairly early on to what we think was a bird of prey. She was SUPER PRETTY. Seriously. She made the Silver-laced chickens at the 4-H fair look like hobos. In fact, she was so pretty that we had a hard time appreciating the beauty of the remaining silver-laced wyandotte that came with her, Victoria. But, alas, Victoria came to an uncertain death the same week (in fact, the same day, I'm pretty sure) as the Brahma. (Hubby thinks it's a fox, but more on that in a minute.) After Lacey's demise, we bought two more silver-laced wyandottes, but they perished within the first week to “natural causes”. (If I remember right, one got “squished” beneath the other baby chicks and the other looked like it died of dehydration...even though we had plenty of water for it, honest.)
             And last, but not least, we have one of the two Easter Eggers from “The Fellowship” (aka Gandalf's Crew) that perished in the same week. Actually, upon further investigation, hubby figured out from her feathers scattered about everywhere that it is probably a fox that is killing off our chickens. :( At least now we know and we can do something about it! They kept disappearing during the day while we were gone with no signs so, until that point, we thought someone was stealing them!

             So, with one of the main reasons obviously wanting to be to keep our remaining chickens safe, we built an enclosed area for them. We had talked about it off and on for several months, intending it to be one of our longer-term goals. However, we were lucky and recently came across some “extra money” and decided it would be a great time to enclose them. Plus, we were really tired of them pooping all over the place by the back door and walkway (some of them are cat food fiends!) and getting into the garden and pecking off things they shouldn't be, so it was a much wanted and much needed time. We still need to work on a “real gate”, but my husband and his parents managed to accomplish all of this in a few hours time! 

             Not bad for a few cheap landscaping timbers and off-brand fencing, eh? We'll expand it eventually, whether it's with extra electric fencing or something more permanent like this, but this works for now, whether the chickens are crazy about or not. So far we've only had one escapee who had to get her wings clipped. ;) (Gandalf's always been a cheeky little thing.)

            What's been going on around your yard/homestead?


  1. My mother's best friend does homesteading and she's always got something going on. I think she's getting turkies for thanksgiving if she hasn't alrwafy. A pack of like 15 of them chased me to my car a few years ago. Hah. The fence looks great!

    1. lol! Not gonna lie: Turkeys freak me out a little bit, but we are definitely going to get some next year.