Time to Redefine our Lives in Oregon

Archive for the ‘Buff Orpington’ Category

From Brooder to Chicken House

Still catching up….

About 10 days ago, we moved our 4 “untouchables” to their new home…the lavishly designed chicken house. Who are the 4 “untouchables” you ask, and why am I calling them that??  They are the 4 originals…the 4 amigos (although 3 are amigas)…the 4 never to be seen on a dinner plate, soon to be leg banded so no mistakes, named after Shakespeare’s, “Much Ado About Nothing”  male character roles even though 3 are hens, first brood of chickens our family has ever raised.  I feel very parental over these fine, feathered friends!!

Benedict (the rooster), Claudio, Don John, and Don Pedro - The 4 "Originals"

Benedict (the rooster), Claudio, Don John, and Don Pedro – The 4 “Originals”

Don John, and Don Pedro

Don John, and Don Pedro

Claudio

Claudio

Penni, our Great Dane, must have been a little concerned too.  She HAD to get into the chicken house and count her babies.  As soon as she found everyone accounted for, she relaxed and left the newly designed home with her approval.  She hasn’t needed to get in there since, so I guess everything checked out to her liking… ;O)

Making sure all is right with her little puppy-chicks.

Making sure all is right with her little puppy-chicks.

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Their first night out of the brooder in the garage was a rough one….for me!  I worried all night about raccoons or coyotes, were they warm enough, did they have enough light filtering in from the outside shop light.  I had read that chickens like some sort of dim light in their house…that they are scared of the dark…really???  So I worried that they were cold, afraid, and vulnerable……am I the only one who thinks this way??

I think this is what you get when you move from city life to country life….an over exaggerated tendency to want to keep everything under your own roof to keep it safe.  Maybe it stems from always needing to know where your animals are when you live in the city.  If they are not within earshot or sight, they are at risk for getting hit by a car, picked up by animal control, or barking too loudly and disturbing neighbors.  Dogs must always be leashed, confined, and controlled….cats, although given a bit more freedom, better not be choosing a neighbors freshly dug garden as an area of interest or they risk mysteriously disappearing.  Always, always know what your pets are doing….since I have not been removed from that reality for very long, I am still working my way around the city confinement vs. being able to stretch the boundaries a bit more.  I’m trying not to view the chickens as pets….but I think I have lost that battle with the 4 “originals.”

Me and my buddy, Claudio!!

Me and my buddy, Claudio!!

Despite my worrying, the chickens have done well.  The last couple of nights have been cooler than I’m comfortable with since they don’t have any type of heat source.  A light bulb or the heat lamp may be something we add today.  I’ve read varying advice on that.  These 4 are not of egg laying age, and although feathered out nicely, they don’t yet have the body fat (I’m guessing here) to keep them as warm as they should be.  I am not sure if that is true or not.  But they are not yet roosting, and they huddle together on the floor in a corner during the night…that tells me that they are a bit cold.  I’m not okay with that, so we’ll see what we can do today.  If anyone has insight of this, I’d be happy to get your advice!!  The chicken house is not wired so we’ll have to run an extension cord…hhmmmm.  I’ll have to figure out how to get an extension cord through a wooden wall…I may have to drill a hole…..sorry Tony!!!

First time contemplating walking down the ramp to the great outdoors.

First time contemplating walking down the ramp to the great outdoors.

They made it!!

They made it!!

I'm not sure why we thought closing the chicken door was a good idea.

I’m not sure why we thought closing the chicken door was a good idea.

Stay tuned…..the “fine wines” have had a little adventure of their own….but that’s for tomorrow!!

 

 

 

Chicken Coooooo…… naw……. Chicken House!!

When you think of chickens what comes to mind??  Well after seeing these little girls (and it looks like 2 – 3 boys) grow and feather out from their soft, downy, fluffiness…I don’t see dinner!!  Those clean, pudgy fryers that I buy at the grocery store could never have been one of these cuties….I have to keep that separation…at least at this point.  Tony thinks differently, he thinks that when the time comes we will have a delicious meal sitting before us that once was in the chicken coooo…..uhmm …house.  Only time will tell, although I have no doubt that if it were the best option to feed the family he wouldn’t hesitate….but, there is a grocery store 3 miles away….and hunting has never been his thing.  Age and time has a tendency to change you…maybe it will me too……but I’ve named them, maybe I shouldn’t do that.

Shelter….that was the big question on our list a couple of weeks ago.  What are we going to use for a chicken shelter as they grow out of their brooder?  We started looking around for premade chicken coops.  There are some really cute ones out there, but I couldn’t see 10 fully grown chickens spending a rainy day or many successive rainy days, as we have here in Oregon, squished together in such a small area…. #1:  these little gals like to stretch their legs… #2:  I don’t want them having to be so squished together that they have poop everywhere they walk.  I realize that they are going to have poop everywhere they walk no matter the size of the chicken coop….but if the shelter is a little bigger, it will be more spread out and they won’t have to be walking through fresh “piles” of it.  That’s my inexperienced way of thinking.  It may be really inefficient in poultry management principles…but doesn’t it make sense…a little??  BTW, Tony agreed with me on this one.   🙂

Not being able to find just the right shelter option, Tony decided to build one. We thought about contracting with Adair Homes (our home builder), but decided to take the project on ourselves…hahahaha.   After looking at many different plans, Tony decided to combine  a few different ideas, and the chicken cooooo….naw….chicken house was built.  It really is a thing of beauty….

Tony Building the Chicken House (with a little help from Penni)

Tony Building the Chicken House (with a little help from Penni)

The Two Rooms and Nesting Box without Interior Wall

The Two Rooms and Nesting Box without Interior Wall

The Front People Door

The Front People Door

Clean-Out Trap Door

Clean-Out Trap Door

Looking Out the Chicken Door

Looking Out the Chicken Door

Roosting Ladder

Roosting Ladder

Looking Out from the Chicken's Area

Looking Out from the Chicken’s Area

Nesting Boxes

Nesting Boxes

The Work Area and Egg Gathering Side of Nesting Box

The Work Area and Egg Gathering Side of Nesting Box

Looking Out the Chicken Door

Looking Out the Chicken Door

The only thing left to add now are the chickens…………….

Mickey 4th of July

BTW…our family would like to wish your family a Happy 4th of July!!!  Our prayers go out to our wonderful country, that our footing would once again become solid in it’s foundation, and that God’s hand would not be lifted as we continue to move away from the principles that made our country great.  May God continue to bless our United States of America, and may His people never forget the sovereignty of His love.

Of Chickens and Dogs

A little behind in my posting….

In May we took the plunge and welcomed not one, but two broods of little chicks (4 and then two weeks later 6 more) into our home.  I say, “our home” because as is the case with any animal we welcome in, they end up being a permanent fixture within our home.  Picture 10 tiny chickens running to and fro, fluttering around as if their soft, downy feathers could sustain flight.  Imagine the family of people, dogs, cats, and chickens all living in harmony under one roof.  Imagine the chaos….can you see it???

Wait a minute….is this for real….who lives like this???  Uhhmmm….isn’t that how it’s done??  We’ve never raised chickens (okay, Tony’s dad had a chicken or two in the backyard when he was young.)  Don’t they get cold??  What do they like to lie-down on??  Do you just throw food around for them…what about grit….can they eat lettuce…what about corn??  How old do they have to be before they can go outside….will they run away…should we build a coop or buy one…when do they start laying eggs??  Wait…what???  These little ladies (and maybe gentlemen) poop….ALOT!!

Benedict, Claudio, Don John, and Don Pedro

Benedict, Claudio, Don John, and Don Pedro

Merlot, Sangria, Riesling, Chardonnay, Champagne, and Gretchen

Merlot, Sangria, Riesling, Chardonnay, Champagne, and Gretchen

So we (no…let’s be more specific) I had a lot of questions.  I saw little yellow Buff Orpington chicks, and tiny rust colored Rhode Island Red chicks looking up at me, and my heart melted.  All of a sudden they were dependent on us to feed, water, clean, protect, and provide shelter….how could your heart not melt? Remember, I’m a city girl gone to the country.  You eat things from the grocery store, NOT that you raise from “babyhood.”  To me, these little girls (and guys?) are pets with benefits, namely fresh eggs.  Tony hauntingly looks at me, blinking kindly and says, “We won’t touch the original 4, the rest lay eggs for awhile then into the pot.”  I laugh, and talk about how cute they are, brushing his cute, nonsensical comments aside as a  little blonde chick falls asleep in the palm of my hand.  So….into the house they came….well, that is….under the same roof.  Okay….into the garage within a make-shift brooder made from a  small white cabinet.

Brooder #1

As they grew, I transformed a, yet unfinished, dog bath that Tony was building….it has been PERFECT for that “in-between”  stage.

The chicks grew fast, and needed more space.

The chicks grew fast, and needed more space.

So, where do the dogs come in???  I think it is probably more appropriate to say, “DOG.”  One big, Penni dog who thinks she is Mommy to this little brood of chick-a-dees.  Now don’t get me wrong, there are 3 really curious doggies at the farm (can I legitimately say, “farm” now that we have chickens??), and they are just not sure what these fluffy peepers really are.  However, the big, Penni dog has set the premise that NO ONE messes with “HER” puppy-chicks…Karli and Tucker are listening.  After a couple of scuffles over territorial rights surrounding the perimeter of the brooders…the big, Penni dog keeps close track of what her brooder babies are doing.  The real question is….is she protective over them because they are her “babies” or because they are future meals….hhhhmmmmm.

What's in There?

Whew!...It's much easier keeping track of everyone now that they are all in one place.

It’s much easier keeping track of everyone now that they are all in one place.

Are You My Mother??

Are You My Mother??

Usually separated by a short wall, we bring them together a little bit each day.

Usually separated by a short wall, we bring them together a little bit each day.

Stay tuned…more adventures to come…..!!!

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