Monday, February 06, 2012

A Tail Of Two Chickens

With the addition of 5 new hens our egg production is starting to ramp up.  I say 'starting to' because they are just now beginning to lay even though they are supposed to be a year old.  I know they laid for the guy we got them from but had stopped completely come winter, where ours kept on laying.

Here are 2, well actually 3, of the new hens waiting for a nesting box to open up.  If you look carefully behind them in a nesting box, there is a 3rd hen standing over one of our old hens in the same box!  I guess they got anxious or thought they couldn't hold it or something!  I don't know.  Just in case Jack built 3 more boxes on the wall opposite these.  They say 1 box for every 5 hens should be enough but we've noticed a pile up a couple of times so thought maybe a couple more boxes wouldn't hurt.

As I was saying though, you can see these new hens are a little scruffy looking.  Most of their tail feathers are missing and their other feathers are kinda gapped up and well, they just looked scrawny.  I picked one of them up one day and it was scrawny!  Poor little things, I don't think they got fed a whole lot where they were.

Now, this one that I've named Bobbi, for obvious reasons, looks okay.  Smooth, shiny feathers and fairly plump looking.  Just absolutely no sign of any tail feathers.  I don't know what has caused this.

 Our original bunch looks quite healthy I think and they should, considering how spoiled they are!  I have discovered a lot of rural people just don't feed their chicks much or supplement their scratch any.  Now, we don't want to spend a fortune of feed but we do want them to be healthy and happy.  Oh yeah, ol' Runt feels he has to put on the "proud rooster" pose any time I come around with the camera.

We give all our chickens free choice 3-way scratch and the hens get a layer mash if they want it.  Of course, they get to range the yard for bugs and greens.  We also cook a little rice or oatmeal for them on occasion and they get leftover fruits and veggies if we have them.  Jack also goes to the discount bread store for $.50 loaves and they get a handful of bread as a treat now and again.  About twice a week they get a vitamin supplement in their water and a little apple cider vinegar in there too.  Any hen that is molting gets a few bites of cat food to help through this process.  They say the protein helps them get their feathers back sooner.  I don't give them much though.  Just a few bites.  They may occasionally get yogurt or some cottage cheese too.

Since the meat birds don't get out we try to supplement their regular grains with as much greens as I can find.  We went to my mom's the other day and brought back two big sacks of turnip greens for them.  They loved them!  They had already gobbled most of them in this picture. 

They also get the vitamin water, vinegar and cooked rice or oats.

I have to leave tomorrow for work so I don't know when I'll get to post again.  Hopefully it won't be too long.  Those of you who ordered stuff; I fired last night, so barring any catastrophes I haven't seen yet, Jack will be mailing your orders off in the next day or two.  Thanks for being patient! 

And Peg, I received my little hat!!!  I love it!!  thanks so much!  It does get cold here, although you couldn't tell it from this winter, so I'll be wearing it often.


Ed said...

Growing up as a chicken on your farm sounds like a piece of heaven. I can see why they lay eggs all winter long.

Sissy said...

That rooster is gorgeous. and the hens and the eggs and the everything! Sorry you have to leave home again but money comes in handy, doesn't it? Some day I will order a bowl; yeah "some day". Wonder, is your company hiring? ;)

ErinFromIowa said...

I think we need to see a photo of you wearing the hat that Peg made. :)

Anonymous said...

I like chickens and like pics of them. They are lucky chickens for sure.
Glad you got the hat, perhaps it is possible to wear it under your hard hat, 'cause up at the top of buildings, it must be cool and breezy.
Good luck on the job. Things happen for a reason, we just sometimes cannot see the reason.

page said...

Why do you give them vinegar? Runt is quite handsome. Sounds like they have a nice chicken life with you. Good luck on the job, stay safe.
I'm with Erin, let's see the hat that Peg made!

edifice rex said...

Hey Ed! lol! well, we like for them to be happy!

Hey Sissy! thanks! yeah, I just keep telling myself that I can buy a new kiln for even more pots if i finish this job.

Hey Erin! I will certainly put up a photo of me and the hat! It will probably have to wait until the weekend though!

Hey Peg! Oh yeah, there's always a reason for everything so I try to keep that always in mind.
I don't believe I would dare wear my little hat to work. It would get destroyed. Plus, I'm mostly welding on this one and my head is not covered as much in my hood as it would be in a hard hat, so it would get burnt up. Nope, this is my dress hat! lol!

Hey Page! the vinegar helps keep up their immune system. Works for people too!

Rurality said...

Hey, you know that it doesn't matter how many nest boxes you have, chickens always want to lay in the same one. At the same time, LOL.

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

Aside from the meat birds eventual demise, the chickens at your place really have a nice life. You and Jack obviously treat them well which is good to see, sure others folks who raise poultry don't treat them as nice - good you you!
Hope you are feeling better and that all goes well with the return to work.

Jenn said...

Thinking of you today. Hope you are warmed up and working well!

Curmudgeon said...

They eat better'n I do. I think I'll come and live in your chicken coop.

Tossing Pebbles in the Stream said...

Your chicken are wonderful looking.
The eggs will start coming now in a new season. Keep them well fed with laying mash.

Your eggs look really good also. Don't you just love the range of colours.