March 13th, 2015
Even though there is still a lot of snow out there, the temperature has been rising during the day and the sun is shining. The backyard birds are singing. Even humans attitudes have improved. It has been a very tough winter here in the Northeast.
I can see a big improvement in the hens. They’re a lot more active and their appetites are back. Their busy scratching and pecking for whatever it is they find in the ground as it warms up. The days are getting longer and the additional sun light will induce egg production. I’m happy that it’s getting closer and closer to spring everyday!
February 1st, 2015
This morning I opened the henhouse and released the hens per usual. As I was chatting w/the girls and preforming my morning chores, I heard a commotion. Red was flapping around and the other two hens were agitated. When I looked over Red was on her back and then suddenly died. It was less than 20 seconds, I’d say. She did not suffer, there was no blood and her eyes were closed. It appeared to me to be a heart attack or natural causes. I was grateful to have been there to witness it, otherwise I wouldn’t have known what happened to her.
It is the middle of winter and there is at least 2 feet of snow on the ground. What to do with the carcass? I made the tough decision to wrap her gently and dispose of her at the dump.
RIP, Red, my favorite hen.
(she was approximately 6 years old, hatched in March of 2009)
July 24th, 2014
After approximately 21 days of Pretty girl misery, she snapped out of it (her broodiness). It was on my most busiest weekend of the year. Our annual two day event Family Cookout and Beach day. Cookout at our house with lots of people, children and food. I had taken PG out of the nest box in the morning and closed the henhouse door as our new norm. Lots of kids visited and feed the hens whatever they could put thru the screening. Later in the day when things were calmer and folks had left, I took care of my girls and opened the henhouse door. As usual, PG ran right in. I went about visiting with my guest and I was surprised when I looked over and there were three hens out not just two. Ummm….maybe, she is back.
I was totally convinced and knew that she was back to normal when the next morning I opened the henhouse door and all three girls happily jolted out of the henhouse. Pretty Girl has been her delightful self ever since.
July 10th, 2014
I have been an extremely fortunate first time hen keeper. I have not had many problems with my flock of four (now three) five year old hens. Little Bit died about 6 months ago, suddenly, I assume of natural causes and did not suffer at all. Little Bit and Pretty Girl were twin Buff Orpingtons and best of friends. So I wonder if this has affected Pretty Girl because her behavior completely changed, anyway……
For a few days PG would not come off the nest box nor come outside. She did not eat, drink or poo. So of course I was worried. I researched and got all kinds of advice. But then again I thought let nature takes it course and let her do what she has to do. After 2 days of that I took action and so now ever morning when I open and greet the girls my other two hens happily jump out of the house to meet the day. PG stays put. I put out the feed, refresh the waterers, clean out the shavings and then address her. I lift her out of the nest box and place her gently on the ground. She is NOT happy. I go about my chores and then close up the hen house so that she cannot get back in. She sits and stews, finally gets up and fluffs her body and is generally in a bad mood. She occasionally will screech like a hawk and does not want the other two hens to approach her. They are like, whatever….and go about their business without paying any mind to her.
So I guess she is ‘broody’ but we won’t have it. I have her stay outside most of the day and when I do open the henhouse….she goes right back into the nest box. So to me it’s just a new routine but has been working out fine for my little brood!
December 14th, 2013
I never get tired of the view from my kitchen window. I love looking out there and seeing ‘live action’. This well built coop was built for me by my husband and brother in-law. It is totally surrounded by 1/4″ galvanized hardware cloth, including the inside ground below the sand. When I researched having backyard chickens, I did a lot of fact finding. I wanted to be successful with my livestock and eliminate the problems and difficulties. Part of my research was going on a coop tour (fundraiser) in my town and surrounding towns, sponsored by the local Backyard Chicken Keepers Club. What I often saw was dilapitated housing and unkept conditions. In talking to the owners they admitted of troubles that I was going to avoid; rodents, predator attacks and illnesses. Using common sense and being pro active is my method of being successful and enjoying my backyard flock.
The henhouse I choose was also thoroughly researched and has worked out very well for my covey. Built by the Amish it is air tight, but also has good ventilation and is roomy enough for me to easily clean. Advertised as housing 6 to 8 hens is misleading. It would never house that many chickens comfortably. I kept my flock to four (now down to three). There are three nest boxes, a roost and plenty of room for feeder and waterer. And because it was new construction and not built from scrap wood laying around or an existing old structure there have been no signs of mites or lice. On a cold and windy day (as pictured above), I leave the large door open and the hens like to sit inside out of the elements, yet able to watch the outside world.
Another feature that I love about my set up is the coop cam. My brother-in-law installed this for my viewing pleasure while I’m in the house and/or out and about.
The hens are five years old now and I still enjoy the daily routine of their care. They are healthy and happy and a delight for me and my family. If you’re considering it, having a manageable backyard chicken flock is a hobby I would recommend.
November 27th, 2013
Thanksgiving is an American (and Canadian) day of giving thanks for the blessing of the autumn harvest. In the US, today’s Thanksgiving holiday tradition is traced back to 1621 were the first celebration took place in Plymouth, Massachusetts. Pilgrims and Puritans who began emigrating from England in the 1620s carried the tradition of ‘Days of Thanksgiving’ with them to New England. The Plymouth feast and thanksgiving tradition was prompted by a good harvest.
We host dinner at our house and relish the time spent with family and friends. We enjoy the preparing the food, cooking and setting a lovely table. It’s a day of traditionally watching The Macy’s Parade, listening to the airing of Alice’s Restaurant on our favorite folk radio station and of afternoon football games.
The hens are cozy in the henhouse today, (it’s extremely windy, so they stay inside).
I am thankful for so many things. I hope you all have a wonderful, safe, Happy Thanksgiving!
September 9th, 2013
This is my nephew Dean, he loves to visit the chickens. He is a very active almost 3 year old, but finds solace in sitting and talking with the girls. Before he was up and gone again we captured the moment.
September 3rd, 2013
Since Little Bit’s death the three remaining hens have had to adjust the dynamics of the flock. What I’ve noticed is they seem to be more vocal, chatting and clucking more than usual. Their nighttime roosting position took a few nights of pushing, shoving and jockeying for best position on the roost, by the window. It’s been just about a week and there now seems to be a new normal in the henhouse and coop.
It’s also taken me time to adjust to my flock of three. I’m glad that they are adjusting well and are healthy. I feared that it may have been an illness that could have wiped out the whole covey. Having and loving pets inevitably means dealing with death. Now that I have my first hen death behind me, I carry on with my hen keeping duties.
August 27th, 2013
Today…..so suddenly and so peacefully.
RIP you sweet, sweet thing.
August 27th, 2013
I’ve been one lucky first time hen keeper, and I’ve known it! My flock of four female Buff Orpingtons have been a cohesive group for going on nearly five years now. I have not had any troubles with injury, sickness, predators or behavioral problems. I knew sooner later my time would come. That day is today.
Little Bit, the runt of the four girls, is the sweetest and the meekest. She has always been the last one to exit the hen house in the morning, she is the last to eat and eats the least. She is at the bottom of the pecking order, but I have watched her stand up to the others when she needed too. She does not like to be held or cuddled. I respect her personality but always keep a watchful eye on her to be sure she is eating and drinking her fair share. She is in the early stages of molt, but yesterday, she barely came out of the hen house at all. I am concerned, but don’t want to intervene too much. She looks fine, other than being lethagic there are no telltale signs of illness. Her comb is pink, but not red. I’m no expert and am afraid that me trying home remedies may add more stress and discomfort to the sweet little girl. I feel the only thing to do is to continue to monitor her and let nature take its course.
DH says it possibly has to do with the molt and that she will be fine after all, but it seems a little more severe than that. I am so attached to these hens and am hoping for the best!