Saturday, December 13, 2008

Keeping Busy in the Cold Barn

(I gave Ruth the week off from photos, and stole her camera. She edited them.)

As you can see from the thermometer in my coop, it is about 30° F. In spite of the cold weather, my hens have been laying more eggs than ever! On Wednesday, they laid 17 and the next day laid 19! I already have 14 today and it's only around noon. Up until this barrage, the girls have been averaging 10-12 eggs per day for the past couple of months. I think it must be a combination of the light I am leaving on from 6:30AM until 8:00PM and the maturing of the Polish Crested hens. I am getting a lot of white eggs now since white layers are the majority of the flock.

How did the thermometer get dirty? The same way as the light bulb, I guess.




Free Ranging in the barn basement


Since they can't/won't go outside due to the 8 inches of snow on the ground, I have been letting the chickens out of the coop and into the rest of the barn. The basement is my next project. It has a lot of dirt piled up in it. Why it's in there, I don't know, but it has got to go. For the time being, however, the chickens have been loving their dustbaths.


Look at the two white crested polish hens standing tail to tail. They both just finished wallowing in the dirt.


What do you think of her really bad haircut?


What are you looking at?

Go away, I'm taking a bath.

Nesting Boxes

There are over 20 nice nesting boxes on the walls of the coop, full of clean, dry, cozy straw. However, half of the hens prefer unconventional housing for their eggs. "Monkey see, monkey do" seems to be their mantra. If one of them lays an egg somewhere interesting, others follow suit.


Corner lot, nice views available.


While I was taking the photo, the black crested polish hen, (who follows me around all the time), came over to investigate and began setting on the eggs.


Well, nosey Floozey saw that and came over to see what all the excitement was about and proceeded to kick the black one out.




Now that she was alone with the eggs, she began to adjust them so she could do her mothering thing. She stayed there for about two minutes and then was off to see what I was going to do next. Floozey is the nosiest hen in the coop.


Next, I went to the the overturned feed bucket and there was Floozey, checking out the eggs. She actually stayed there for the rest of the time I was in the coop.


Floozey is a Buttercup hen. Doesn't she have the most interesting comb? It will get twice this size as she matures. She was hatched on April 4, 2008. (my birthday!)






Now here is a fancy place to lay some eggs. Notice that round one? it's a Dunlop.


Newly Named

I leave you this week with the Little Dudes. Gomer and Goober, squaring off.

51 comments:

Donica said...

Don-I just love reading the stories about you chickens. It must be fun to learn their personalities and watch them mature!

Stay WARM!!

VioletSky said...

I'm becoming quite attached to your chickens.

Ruth said...

Surprise about Goober and Gomer! Haven't these Bantams been named at least 3 times now? Glad to see all our watched episodes of Andy Griffith coming to fruition this way.

Excellent photos! I think you're working me out of a job. :p

Drowsey Monkey said...

Oh this was great, lol.

That is a dirty thermostat! Weird!

Floosey is adorable, looks like she enjoys keeping busy. And the last photo is priceless, ha! Great names.

Joanna said...

I was looking at the egg assortment on the right side, who is laying the dark, dark eggs?

Your color asortment is beautiful.

I'm frustrated with my girls, we didn't get any eggs today and I bet I have more hens than you - approx 50.

Susan said...

Don, I believe you're almost as talented as Ruth with that camera! Great pictures of the chickens. I almost got a couple of Buttercups and then decided against it for some reason which I've forgotten. Very pretty bird and I love her name. I have a RIR named Little Red who's my nosiest hen. She also tries to eat my jeans.

Love Goober and Gomer! Are they cousins too?

I thought surely that this would be my first 12-egg day. When I went out to let them out of the coop this morning, there were already 9 in the nest boxes. We almost made it to the magic number with a total of 11 at the end of the day. I only have 15 hens, so I guess that's a good amount.

Deborah Carr said...

What fun. Cavorting with this fancy feathered gang must just bring on a warm heart of giggles.

What if life were filled with such giggles?

Sharon said...

I love the white crested polish hen's dirty faces and lovely hairdos.

Your birthday will be forever etched in my mind.....mine's April 5th.

warren said...

The feed bucket looks like a great nesting box...

This reminded me of my kids at Christmas...they have tons of toys, but alwyas prefer the boxes and ribbon...sort of like your nesting boxes.

Kelly or Alex said...

I love the different colors of the eggs. We tried turning our chickens out into the barn but they poop everywhere. They have to stay in the coop. Today it was a high of 12 so they werent interested in going out at all. We keep a 250wt bulb on them on nights when we get to 0 or less. This is our learning year. So far, so good. No hens lost. I love Goober and Gomer. The names fit. LOL
Kelly

Claire said...

Great pictures of the chickens. I wish mine were laying as well as yours. I have about 50 of laying age and am getting 2 to 3 eggs a day right now. But, I'm not offering supplemental light. I guess I shall have to wait for spring for improved production.

frugalmom said...

Wow. Floozey is such a pretty hen. Her coloring is beautiful.

The Scavenger said...

The chickens sure look happy. The Green Barn is a good place to hang out for sure. i would be sleeping in the hay loft. hehe!! Great pictures.

Chris

freefalling said...

Wanna hear something sad?
I was reading your side banner about your egg production - and I came to the layer bit.
I was thinking - oh it must be some way of counting the layers of eggs in cartons(???!!!).
Sad.

shicat said...

Hi Don, I think the white crested hen, looks like David Bowie during his Major Tom period... don't you ? Your comments are too funny,giving each hen such interesting and adorable personalities

carl h. sr. said...

My favorite shot.
The tiny fragile eggs on straw,in the corner by the large timeless stones.
Awesome rocks you have there Don.
I have no such thing.
Have you made anything out of some of your stone?
I also like the hole-punch Christmas trees that,I think,you showed your third graders how to make this year.
Goober and Gomer,pretty cool idea for their names.
Mmm,man those eggs look delicious!

Sandy said...

Totally enjoyed the post! Floozy....what a nosey little girl.

burr, it is cold there in your area...
wow...

too cold for me.

Don said...

Donica: I love the cold weather! I think it's in my DNA

The chickens are cute little characters. I need to name one tortuga or something.

Don said...

violetsky: come on over for a visit and you can go gather their eggs!

Don said...

ruth: I have had several names proferred, but they just didn't appeal to me, so G & G they are!

Don said...

drowsey: floozey is a character! I THINK SHE WOULD BE AN AVID READER OF YOUR BLOG!

Don said...

joanna: i have two cuckoo maran hens, they are the dark brown layers. there are more breeds who lay dark brown, welsummers and all the marans

lighting and molting are the leading reasons for drops in egg production

Don said...

susan: i need to get some RIRs. I like them and the barred rocks. they are such good hens and great layers.

goober and gomer may actually be brothers! I got them from our local zoo.

you are getting great egg production. I may start shortening my chickens day starting in January

Don said...

deborah: i think the word for the week shall be giggles.

i hear it is really healthy for us to giggle.

Don said...

sharon: hey I'm older than you by one day. ;)

doity boids are happy boids

Don said...

warren: good comparison! today, none of them laid an egg in the bucket. maybe it's a one time wonder

Don said...

kelly: i also have a red heat lamp going near their roosts. in the morning i find some of them burrowed down into the straw and others perched on the roosts. to each her own!

i'm learning along with you!

Don said...

claire: i think i am going to reduce their light soon. since it is natural for them to go a little dormant, i don't want to push their little bodies too hard.

Don said...

frugalmom:she already has a big head, so I'll wait til she needs an ego boost to let her know what you said!

Don said...

scavenger: right now you'll need a really good sleeping bag to sleep in the barn!

and maybe a tarp, as it is raining and the roof has some leaks

Don said...

freefalling: we had a good giggle when i read your comment.

i changed the word to hen, in your honor

Don said...

shicat: that's funny, and i agree with you. except I don't think bowie takes dustbaths

Don said...

carl: i love the old stone walls too. i would like to build a small stone fence somewhere

some of the stones in the foundation are four feet long and a couple of feet thick! how did they move them around so accurately?

stonehenge mystery

Don said...

sandy: the cold is good for you! my third graders would say "i think that is an opinion"

Bob Johnson said...

Lol, great shots love the perms on the 2 white crested polish hens.

jen's farmily said...

Our chickens picked up their production again so we're back up to 12-15 eggs a day! We just have a heat lamp in their coop (to keep the waterer from freezing) but I think it keeps the coop a little warmer than it is outside.

It never ceases to amaze me how weird chickens are about where they lay!

Denise said...

That's funny how they will find different places to lay their eggs.

Farm Chick Paula said...

Yay for the Floozey pics!!
That is an interesting comb she has... I have a close up on my blog of one of my Silky roo's comb- you have to come over and see it, Don. It's the strangest thing I've ever seen!
By the way- love Gomer and Goober's names... those suit them perfectly!

Gwen Buchanan said...

Don.. these little chicks like to make you work for your eggs.. looking here and there and in and under everything.. aren't they great!!!

I remember how my chicks use to Love dustbathing.. once they got into it.. dirt would go flying in all directions...


go Goober go!!

Ginnie said...

I always have so much fun reading your posts, Don (even if late!). Your sense of humor is right up my alley. I LOVE it. And I love the fun you have with all your chilluns!

Ruth said...

bob: I think I need to go to beauty school, or maybe buy a couple of Tonettes. (I was a plain jane, I need a Tonette! Now I am beautiful. c. 1960's)

Ruth said...

jen: i have the same set-up as you described. My chickens are busy all day scratching around in the straw and keeping things turned and churned as they search for edibles.

I have had a few punctured eggs, but I don't have anyone chowing on them yet...

Ruth said...

denise: and I think it will get funnier as one of my cochins is acting broody and hogging the favorite egg-laying nest, forcing the hens who use that nest to either crawl in there with her (she's really crabby!), or find another spot.

Ruth said...

paula: that is one funky comb on your hen! it looks like a brain sticking out of her head!

Don said...

THE ABOVE FOUR COMMENTS WERE MADE BY DON AND LIKE THE KNUCKLEHEAD I AM, I DIDN'T NOTICE THAT RUTH WAS SIGNED IN.

I AM LEAVING THEM AS A TESTAMENT TO MY KEEN OBSERVATIONAL SKILLS

Don said...

GWEN: generally, they do like the nesting boxes, but there are a few mavericks who like to keep things in the coop interesting.

Don said...

ginnie: we are looking forward to your visit soon! you'd love it out there today. ten inches of snow has fallen since 4:00am and it is still snowing and blowing.

Loring Wirbel said...

Snowman! I just told Ruth I had a dream that you had built a smelter inside the barn to melt some kind of galvanized tin to coat on the roof. It wasn't for reinforcement, it was because the chickens liked to hear the sound of rain and snow on a tin roof. I've got to watch having those odd Christmas toddies late at night. Strange.

Don said...

loring: I like the sound of the odd christmas toddy

I have a pile of aluminum shingles in the barn and a kiln. hmmmm, i wonder what kind of vibes you are getting.

Country Girl said...

Nice pictures and I love all the pictures and the top of your blog. My hens do the same, lay where they want, not where I want. To answer your questions, yes I'd do pigs again and we have 2 left but they are MUCH nicer than the last 2.

Don said...

country girl: thanks for the nice words.

I'm glad to hear you would do pigs again, because I am probably going to give them a try.

farm fresh eggs with home grown breakfast pork sausage....oh yeah