Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Chickens!




We are really really spoiled.  We have fresh eggs available everyday.












And they are blue.

Our chickens are of the Americana-type breed.  I've tried to figure out what they are really.  There is a lot of different names they seem to be titled, like Easter Egg chickens.  So after some hours of trying to figure out what they are, I just gave up and call them "Americana-type".  It leaves me a lot of wiggle room in case there is some chicken expert in the room.  This is our third flock and by far the most silly.  We get this breed because their main job is to eat the masses of grasshoppers that can devastate my garden.  They are supposed to be tough and eat lots of bugs. 

And our first 2 flocks were pretty good at that.  As well as doing a pretty good job of avoiding the foxes who cruise through looking for a chicken dinner on a regular basis.  
This bunch is absolute rubbish at the grasshopper catching and eating.
Garden in the background, way way in the background.  Chickens in the foreground eating something of non-specific non-grasshoppery variety.

Chickens apparently chasing, catching and eating bits of dirt.

Head buried in dirt.
Closer to the garden, but completely ignoring it.
Sigh.  When they did go into the garden, it was to dig up the little plants and eat them.  Noshing along with the grasshoppers.

Here is their house.  When it's really cold, we just open the little door for them.  It's actually a window that opens upward.  But mostly we just open the door in the morning and close it at night.  In the morning they are all lined up staring out the window.  Sometimes if we slept in a bit and are late to let them out, they throw themselves at the window.  Hilarious.

 Laying boxes are where they are supposed to lay eggs.  They do lay eggs in the left hand box.  Never in the right hand box.  Maybe it's haunted.  And they lay eggs on the bag of wood shavings.  And under the brush pile.  And in the back seat of the Jeep.  And under some scrap lumber.  These last few are called wild nests.  They are so irritating.  I go out to get the eggs and instead of a dozen eggs, there are 4.  There are supposed to be 12.  Somebody has started a wild nest.  I have even tried having sanctioned wild nests where I put a fake egg (you can see a pink quartz egg in the left box above.  There is one in the right box, too.  Obviously inferior though.  Or haunted.)  The fake egg is to remind them where to put their eggs.  It fails on a fairly frequent basis.  The worst is finding the wild nest that is clearly aged with something other than your eyes.  Like for instance, your boot.  Not cool.  Those eggs get thrown into the wilds of our land.  If the nest is not too old, the dogs get them.  They like that a lot.  It is really annoying as I mostly sell my eggs to kind people who love them.  Wild nest eggs of an unspecific age are not quality produce.  Frustrating!
 The roost where they spend the night.  Most of our past flocks been less brown and more mixed blacks, whites and browns.  They don't have names.  I think of them by their habits, sometimes.  The one with the black head hates to lay her eggs in the nest box.  She is the 4th from the right in the picture below.  I think of her as the troublemaker.  She starts a lot of wild nests.  I shake my fist at her a lot.
My husband had this idea that he would train them to eat grasshoppers by catching some, sort of stunning them a bit, and tossing them to the chickens to catch and eat.  He figured if they were sort of pre-squished/stunned it would boost their confidence and give them the idea of what we wanted them to do.  Now they are really good at following him around waiting for him to eject stunned grasshoppers.  Not quite what we had in mind.

Sometimes we get started telling chicken stories.  Sometimes we can't seem to stop.  Mostly folks seem to enjoy them.  Chickens are really entertaining.

What would this blog about our chickens be without some baby chick pictures?  We get the chickens from the feed store in a cardboard box.  They go into a water tank with a heat lamp, an automatic waterer and some chick feed.  We watch them a lot.  We call this "Peeper TV".  They are little balls of fluff for a couple of days, then those that live start to sprout feathers.  Then they start to fly a bit and explore.  Like the top of the waterer.
 "Hey, monkey!  What you doing?"

Be cool, be cool!
Teenage chicken face
They do keep us entertained for hours on end.  Visiting kids get to give them food scraps.  I love how we never throw any food into the garbage.  Well, except for chicken.  That would be gross.  Any scraps and such go to the chickens to turn into eggs.  They also make our little 2 acre plot a farm.  Farms have chickens.  And apparently grasshoppers.

3 comments:

Paula said...

Thanks for the chuckle this morning! I love your chicken stories!

Spike said...

You are most welcome! They are endlessly amusing!

Steve and Suzanne Buchele said...

We kept a lot of chickens before going to Ghana, they were Anna's and mostly interesting types. Lots of fresh eggs and meat.

In Ghana we were amazed how much smarter the chickens were. Never got ate by a dog, hit by a car, and they laid huge broods which didn't always survive, but sure followed Moma closely.

Enjoyed the pictures and story.