Saturday, July 9, 2011

The Chicken Chronicles II: Officially Teenagers

When we started out on this little poultry adventure, I was sure it would be super exciting, drama filled, and labor intensive.  Not so much!  Since raising chickens has turned out to be really easy (just feed them and make sure to lock them up at night), I haven't had much to write about.

We did end up with one black rooster (we started out with for black australorps and four easter-egger/ameracaunas).  Initially, we weren't sure how we were going to determine which of the chicks were male, but it turned out to be really rather easy.  For a few weeks during their development, we were sure that we had at least three roosters.  But at about six weeks of age, this one just looked like a boy.  We put an ad on Craigslist, and a farmer came to collect him a few days later with a pickup truck full of goats, dogs, and full grown roosters...  He went to a good home.  The farmer was looking for a boy to keep her girls company.

So then we were down to seven chicks.  That wasn't good enough for my husband.  He had built this crazy chicken palace and seven is too weird a number anyway, so he went and procured three rhode island red ladies.  Ten is a much better number than seven.  You can see our chicken variety pack in the photo above. 

If you look closely, you'll see in the photo that one of the redheads is missing...  We had one hen who developed some sort of issue with her legs.  For about a week she couldn't/wouldn't bear weight on at least one of her legs.  We didn't know if she had some crazy disease or something, so we quarantined her for a few days and once she recovered, we reintroduced her back to the flock.  Aside from that, the only issue we've had is a bit of a protein deficiency due to too many treats (akin to feeding your kids nothing but candy and then wondering why they don't behave quite right...).  A few of the chickens started eating the feathers of the other birds- this was a bit disturbing since one would chase another pulling feathers out of it's back.  We fixed this by giving them lots of salmon trim (they love salmon) for a few days.  Now, everything is fine again.

Next time I write about chickens, hopefully it is because we have our first organic homegrown egg...  They are in their mid-teens now (in chicken years of course), and should start laying in the early fall.

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