Tuesday, March 29, 2011


Not sure why it is called that, but I am told it is wonderful for chicken digestion...so I went in search of it at the farm yesterday.  I found a little in the herb garden, but generally not much.  Turns out I have more of it growing in my garden and vegetable beds at home.  Since I turned over my garden beds in anticipation of Spring planting I unfortunately got rid of a lot, so if the chicks keep at it I am probably going to be volunteering to weed in friends yards...don't be shy, step right up.

What I did see at my visit to the farm was a hawk...yikes...which I have seen and admired at the farm before.  I have watched them swoop down out of the sky into a field of vegetables and come up with a mouse (or rat) in their mouth and I have marveled at the wonders of nature.  Now I am worried about my babies.
So interesting about nature...how your perspective changes depending on where you are standing.

Other great chicken lessons I have learned so far

"Birds of a feather flock together"
They really do.  When they bed down to sleep they are often in little piles by breed.  The little tan Orpingtons in one clump and the black australorps in another.  Not all the time but they do tend to hang with their own.

They really are "chicken"- they scare so easily.  I try to walk into the room saying "hi girls, it's me..time for breakfast" so they will remain calm, but inevitably as soon as I touch the cover on the box they all stampede to the furthest corner.  It's a wonder no one gets trampled and killed.  When I added the third bedroom onto the box I did not light it for the first day, thinking they might like a dark place to sleep, but no one walked any further into it than the first two or three inches lit by the nearby lamp.  On day 2 when I gave it a separate lamp they immediately marched right in.

Today was a coop building day.  I had a small crew and a lot of leftovers from lunch.  But some good things got done.  We rebuilt the front door and it looks great and now matches the side cleanout doors.  We also added hardware cloth on the side soffit openings so when the soffits are dropped down for ventilation the coop is still secure from predators.  Ventilation is very important for the chickens.  They can handle cold better than heat...if it gets too hot in there in summer they could die.  So creating good air flow for hot summer daysand nights is important.  Also in winter when the coop is closed up for warmth there still needs to be reasonable air flow, but not directly on the birds.  To keep warm they fluff up their feathers to trap a little warm air around themselves so you don't want that to be constantly blowing away.  Yet they need the fresh air exchange because they are very susceptible to pulmonary disease and can't handle too much dampness in the air.  So with the soffits at the eaves and the windows in the gables, the major air flow should be above the level where the birds are roosting.  More good design work from Mr B.

Thank you all for your comments and support...and remember to save your egg cartons


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