Sunday, May 25, 2008

First Day in the Chicken Run

Fat Boys Move-In Day

No, Peter and Lesley are not the "Fat Boys!" I have 26 three week old "broilers" and today we created a place in the coop for them to stretch their legs. Lesley and Peter are working on installing a new post and fence to keep the fatties separate from the hens. The hens are quite taken with these chubby dudes.

Round Up Time

Lesley and Peter helped with the setup of the portable electric poultry mesh. It is designed to generally keep the chickens in, but more importantly to keep most predators out. I'll let you know how it goes.




Freedom!

At first the chickens wanted no part of going outside. We literally had to capture each one and carry it outside. They huddled together for a while and then started acting like chickens in tall grass. As we were putting them back in the coop, several escaped through the mesh and had to be tracked down. I wish I had some pics of Ruth chasing Floozey into the woods with Bishop the Barn Cat chasing Ruth!

Peter, Chick Magnet

Lesley and Honey

Lesley and Peter gave Honey a haircut today as she literally could not see due to the length of her "hair."




She Crowed

Aha! As I walked into the coop this morning, this one crowed, revealing her true identity! How do I decide which roosters to keep? I don't think I can put Cuckoo Marans into the soup pot. Does anyone want a couple of Cuckoo Roosters?

Gotta Dig the 'Do'

Meet Dahlia.


38 comments:

Ginnie said...

I'm not sure there's anything that can be more entertaining than this today, Don! I love it! :)

chickengirl said...

I love your Polish!! They're too cute! I wish we had got more colors.

You'll never believe what we did the night before last.... We bought three Cochin chicks! Look for a post on it soon....!!

Sharon said...

Dahlia is riotous! You're lucky I'm so far away or I'd be right there to barter for those roosters. :)

Sandy said...

Love each and every photo and your commentary to go with it. You always make my day when I come see a post about these birds!!

...still giggling about Ruth chasing the bird, the cat chasing Ruth. You need photos of that. Can you re-enact it, pretty please....ha.

Ruth said...

You all may laugh, but if that bird had disappeared, either into the woods or into Bishop's mouth, we would all be crying, boohoo. SCARY!

I would rather have been watching so I could laugh too. I'm still a little raw.

"Gotta Dig the 'Do'" seems like the perfect profile pic for you, Farmer McDon.

Freefalling said...

I want hair like that!!

Amy - "Twelve Acres" said...

I've got enough "cuckoo" roosters, thank you very much! LOL Your chicks are a riot! Look at those silly hairdos. And Peter's such a ham with those two chicks on his lap. I got my son a T-shirt that says "chick magnet" and it's perfect!

I would be one who would be interested in hearing more about your electric poultry fencing. I wonder if the raptors will pay attention to it? Do you plan to cover the top of the run? So far I've left mine open, with no losses yet. The raptors in our area seem to be more keen on raising their young right now. Winter will be a whole 'nother story.

How do you decide which rooster to keep? I've been keeping those that harrass the girls the least. I don't want my laying hens stressed out with too much attention from the boys, so I'm roasting the aggressive roosters and keeping the nicer ones. I think next time around, I won't order any roosters at all. It just makes things simpler.

Stiggy said...

I LOVE honey - can I have her ...

...pleeeease!?

Love Dahlia too!

The barn looks really good in those photos...

...nice to have all your family taking part in it all.

:D

Gwen Buchanan said...

That is the first time i ever heard of giving a trim to a chicken, Don... but that is the good thing ..... there's always a first for everything... Funny!!!

Heather said...

Those Polish chickies are surely what made me attach myself to punk boys in my teenage years. :) I love their hairdos. Good to see Miss Lesley home from the big city to do some farmin'.

Don said...

ginnie: We had a very entertaining day, and it is fun to be able to share with my pals. I'm telling you, Ruth running after the hen with Bishop on her heels was truly a sight to see!

chickengirl: I love the Polish cresteds too. However, I am concerned about their vision as the feathers completely cover some of their eyes!

I think the Cochins are beautiful birds. What kind did you get?

Sharon: I would love to give you these maran roosters. They have such a nice disposition. They come right up to me and they always want to hang around to see what is going to happen next.


Sandy: Ruth was too traumatized by the experience to recreate it. She was frantic! (Still, it was a funny sight, she laughs at it now too!)

Don said...

Ruth: We are laughing WITH you! You're right tho, I wouldn't want to lose any chicken like that, especially Floozey!!

Don said...

freefalling: I thought you HAD hair like that! First thing in the morning, anyway?

amy: I am encouraged by your photos of your chickens with your cat. I need to find out if our cat will leave them alone!

I love the portableness of the fencing. It took us 5 minutes to set it up. I need to attach the wires to the fence and to the ground cable, and then close up the rear of the barn so nothing can get into the chicken run through the barn, (like the cat).

I don't think it will have an effect on hawks, so I'll have to figure that out.

Chick magnets boys are fun to have around!

Don said...

Stiggy: Honey is as her name implies, a real sweetie! If you come and visit, I will send her home with you as a souvenir.

It was/is nice to have the kids around. It has been a while since we were together here at the farm.

Gwen: Giving Honey a trim was quite an experience! Now, I think I'll have to do a few more. Since they are not going to be show birds, I think I would prefer them to see where they're going. Sometimes they walk right into things!

Heather: They are punkers, that's for sure!

I am having trouble keeping track of you and your blogs!!

LeenaM said...

Sorry Don or better these chicks, but I can not be without laughing , when I look at those special coiffures.
I think, they all are new born hippies or perhaps they are all the time frighten because of Bishop ??
i love them all.

Loring Wirbel said...

Comic-strip concept: chicken beautician, choosing the next hairstyles for your moptops.

Don said...

leena:I agree with you! I laugh or smile every time I see them. We'll be glad to give Melli's hair a similar cut the next time we are trimming!

Loring: Help Wanted: Beautician who can handle a finnicky crowd of French and Polish women.

Country Girl said...

Cool pictures, we will be building some more pens this week so the girls have a little more freedom!
~Kim

Don said...

Country Girl: Those pen projects can be time consuming. It seems liek we always think of ten things to add!

LeenaM said...

I can imagine that easily, because sometimes her hair is almost like those of your chicks :)
And we thank you for your offer !

Bob Johnson said...

Lol, chick magnet, great photos, I'm getting attached to honey, too cute. It's great to see this project being such a family affair.

Farm Chick Paula said...

Love that beehive hairdo on the last chick! What a riot!

laura said...

What a great day everyone had, chickens included.
I absolutely love Dahlia's do; reminds me of a spray of black ostrich feathers my great-grandmother had and that my mother would let me pin to my hat for special occasions (earning me the nickname "garbo" at the school busstop).
Seriously, the chicks and the kids are all beautiful and content: nice job!!

Don said...

Leena: I think we all have hair days like Dahlia. Some of us just look better.

Bob: We all love the country and having a farm(ette). There is something about the country that speaks to our inner roots, or something like that. Honey is a cutie and a sweetie.

Paula: I kind of feel badly for the crested chickens. THe feathers tend to hamper their vision to varying degrees.

Laura:You actually wore the feathers to school? You must have been quite the artsy-fartsy kid! I'm proud of you!

Carole said...

I love your chicken pictures! Thanks for sharing with all.

Amy - "Twelve Acres" said...

P.S. I've nominated you for a Blogs That Make My Day award. Find info here: http://twelveacres.blogspot.com/2008/05/blogs-that-make-my-day.html

Gwen Buchanan said...

Sorry I came back and burst out laughing again... those "feather"cuts are hilarious.. Too bad you didn't live closer I know I would not be able to resist one of those roosters.. quite the personalities!!!
crazy!!!

Don said...

Carole: Thank you! I love having a great photographer live on the premises, it sure makes blogging easier!

Don said...

Amy: I can't believe you! I am happy and humbled to accept your kindness! I will share this with Ruth, she'll be thrilled as well!
(btw, my name is Don, Ron is close tho! ;) )

Don said...

Gwen: I would gladly give you one, or two! They are sweet spirited at the moment, but you know how roosters can get!

The Unusually Unusual Farmchick said...

I love my lone polish hen- exact same one as Dahlia!Of course you would know her as Elvis...LOL. Mine is so sweet and friendly. She hitches rides on Chia's back when the others starting bothering her.LOL.
(Peter is so very cute! Love the pic!)

Don said...

Unusually Unusual: I have a dozen polish cresteds and I actually am starting to feel a little sorry for them. Their vision seems impaired enough to make them stay in the comfort of the coop while everyone else goes out to enjoy the grass and bugs.

Peter is a cutie, and he is so very nice too! He also is a kid magnet as they love being around him.

SwedeHart said...

So, have you made soup, yet? That must be an interesting experience, seems how you make movie stars out of them first. It would be like making soup with our favorite Hollywood celebs, which in some instances, might not be a bad idea.

Don said...

Swedehart: No Soup For You!
I haven't gotten to the point of thinking about the future of my hens. They will live and lay eggs. I have 26 fat boys who are destined for the freezer. They go from hatching day to freezer in about 8 weeks. They are heavy eaters and I have them on a diet of 12 hours on food and 12 hours off. Otherwise they will start getting so heavy they can't walk!

Shannon said...

Dahlia is adorable! Is she as big as her do suggests? Great pictures and commentary!

Don said...

Shannon: Hi there! Dahlia actually is a scrawny, but feathery and beautiful medium sized chicken. I don't know if she is naturally svelte, or if she has trouble seeing and eating food. I go out of my way to toss yummy morsels her way when I go out to the coop.

SwedeHart said...

I love that episode! You really have such beautiful specimens. Are there some you will just keep as pets? Do they attempt to bond with you? I have lived around chickens, but have never really noticed them getting attached to humans.

Don said...

Swedehart: They are the ornamental collection from McMurray Hatchery. I intend to keep them indefinitely. Most are hens and should begin laying around Sept-Oct. I don't know if bond is the right word, but they do hang around me and some will let me hold them. Most are a bit stand-offish and I'm ok with that. I don't really view them as pets, mostly I view them as interesting members of the farm. I have some meat birds that are heading for the freezer next week. They are totally different from the birds in the pictures.