Friday, January 28, 2011

The Chicken Coop Makeover

 I want to start by saying, I know that our coop with the dirt floor and cardboard over the windows for winter protection is no where near the nicest. Or even the cleanest around, but it's our coop and when it looks good we are so proud! Through our research into why our chickens are attacking each other we learned a few things. Bored chickens attack each other, the two young roosters are terrorists among the flock, a clean coop keeps the birds happy. Chickens get bored when it's cold outside and they stay indoors a lot(by choice, the door is always open).

We added some alfalfa hay bales to the coop today in order to add surface area to the coop, keep the chickens busy with new distractions, and to add new floor cover.
The chickens loved it right away. They went straight to digging and pecking for treasures.
 Pierre's nest got some extra straw.
 We made some nice holes and hiding spots in between the bales to offer extra living space.
 The one in the center there is going to be a major egg laying spot, I just have a feeling.
This is another spot. Nice and roomy. 
 If you have ever seen a happy chicken, then you know how the flock was acting when we put these hay bales in. They were crazy.
 Even this goose was happy
 Lots of happy curious chickens
Digging, scratching, and pecking for treasures.

It's amazing what 36 dollars worth of hay can do for the coop. It smells wonderful, the chickens are happy, and hopefully they will stop hurting each other now.

We also had a small memorial service for our chicken with no name. Henry and myself dug a large hole in the back field and laid her to rest. A cat is as good as another shovel around here.

Thanks for reading

Injured Chicken Update #2

Despite my best efforts, the chicken with no name has passed away sometime in the night. She was looking pretty good last night too. Had one eye nearly open. Thanks for all of the comments.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Injured Chicken Update.

The hen that was injured yesterday is doing fair today. I got her to drink about 1/4 cup of water. I also removed the scabs covering both of her eyes. I washed the exterior of both and when I opened her eye lids, both eyes contained a large amount of pus and debris. I cleaned them out as best I could with all of the swelling. It looks like her left eye will be ok. The eye lid is open slightly and will help the infection get out. Her right eye is still too swollen for the lid to open and stay open. Ill have to check it and clear out the infection until she can open it again. Poor thing.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A sad past few days on The Halpern Homestead.(Graphic Content)

We have had some real trouble inside the coop over the last four days. Kelsi and I tried again to mix some young chicks in with the flock. One-Eyed Jack, who was hurt a couple weeks ago, was hurt again a few days ago. She really is one-eyed now. Her good eye is gone and now all she has left is her bad eye. This Delaware hen below was hurt pretty bad today. When I got home from work I found her hiding in a corner shaking.
She had been pecked pretty good and her eyes are swollen shut.
She is also missing most of her facial feathers. 
I put her in the bath and washed all of her wounds as best I could. She looks so miserable. 
She is now inside a big tote in the office underneath a heat lamp. I think she will be ok once the swelling goes down. Her swelling has increased a great deal in just a few hours.
She has been drinking water which is a good sign.
We have also isolated a couple of young roosters whom I believe are responsible for the attack. They are available on CL if anyone wants some organic chickens.

We also need a name for this young lady. I figure a name for a sick chicken is good luck. Any suggestions?

Thanks for reading

An itty bitty egg.

We are still having record egg production around the Halpern Homestead, this particular record is BIG news. 
Our little silkie named Cashmere or 'Mere' has been laying some pretty special eggs lately. They are a perfect shade of cream an nearly flawless, every one of them.
I think with the hair, we might be twins!
 These eggs are so little! That's a half dollar for comparison.
 The scale is hard to read, but it says 1 and 1/4 oz
 The little guy barely fills the holes in the egg carton
 Looks even smaller next to a friend
Just a little guy, trying to get by in a big egg world.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Sophie and Pierre? Who's the boy? Who's the girl?

Kelsi and I have a lot of birds, birds that have names, birds that have distinctive cackles and yells that we can tell apart. These are Birds that we know very well. That all changed last night when I found Pierre our "Male" goose sitting on a very large egg in a makeshift nest. A goose egg was under him. Sophie is our "female" goose, and I believe she laid the egg. But, Mr. Pierre sat on that egg last night, and again tonight, when I went to close the coop I found Pierre again sitting on giant eggs. 
He is very protective of his makeshift nest created in the center of our coop.
He yells when we enter the coop, very loudly too.
This in turn gets the other webfooted friends in a fury.
Lots of Yelling
Hissing at our feet
Oh, and biting. Hard bites too. Immediately after this photo, he grabbed onto my finger instead of my shoe and bit down. He has a very strong jaw.
Sophie was also on guard. She kept stretching her neck out to make herself look extra big.
Keeping a close eye on me.
Pierre on his little nest from above.
His bounty.
I haven't ever seen him so aggressive and territorial.
Ahh, that's better.

So, Kelsi and I don't know that much about geese I guess. Do male geese set on the egg? Or should we rethink our geese's names? I know male penguins incubate the egg while the female goes out to sea to feed. Is that what Pierre is doing? Either way I miss my friendly goose that I could pick up and hug. This 
 guy is in no mood to be hugged lately.

Even with the crazy geese commotion today we still got 19 chickens eggs and 2 duck eggs. We have also found a few really nice egg customers from Craigslist despite my doubts! So that's good. We usually sell out every few days!

Thanks for reading! 

Thursday, January 13, 2011

We Really Don't Like Cats

When Kelsi and I first got together a few years ago, we were both very much dog people and still are. We never thought we would own a cat, I mean what's the point? They just nap all day right? That's not all true, they mouse too. We found a need for a cat this fall when our produce was being eaten by rodents. We first enlisted the help of Henry who was introduced a couple months ago. He get's a lot done in the day. Little nap in the corner over here.
A nap with Juliette over here 
* Please excuse the unmade bed, it is hard to make when the animals think that it's their bed too.
 Maybe a nap in this big brown bag? I bet Juliette wont fit in here.
 She may not fit, but she'll try.
 Henry's a little crazy, but he has been pretty good to us and has really made us appreciate cats. He likes to be near us, he catches a lot of field mice, and he comes to his name when we call. Couldn't have asked for a better cat.

So, since Henry was so good to us we decided he needed a friend. Meet Walter. He doesn't photograph well because he is so dark. We adopted him from the humane society. He is a quite, reserved young man whose trust is earned. 
 Henry wasn't sure about him at first. Started out with a few hits
 Then some high speed chasing.
 A few more hits.
 Best friends for life. 
Now Henry naps with Walter instead of Julies. Although this is Juliette's bed
 Best picture of Walter I could get!

Thanks for reading!
The vegetable storage rack that Kelsi and I got for Chanukah is working out great.
It's a little empty, as we are starting to run out of our summer savings.
We are nearly out of onions!
The potatoes are ready to plant.
I guess they forgot spring isn't for a couple months still.
The storage rack has really turned out to be a great addition to our preserving goals. The shelves are removable so you can take out a shelf to accommodate larger items. I would recommend one to all of my gardening friends. I want another one (or 3). They are sold here. Or if you are crafty and want to come over and measure, that's all right too. Although it is a bit pricy I think it's a nice product and well built. They also go on sale periodically.