Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Chickens and Eggs!

Eggs in the nest box early in the morning!
Over-flowing egg container in the fridge.

Bonnie:  a mystery pullet

Snickers checking out Sydney

Harriett: Golden Comet

Clyde: Bantam Mottled Cochin

Jezzabelle & Unnamed : Golden Comet girls

Hershey: Easter Egger

Snickers: Easter Egger

Gertrude: Golden Comet

Rogue: Black Australope

Dust Bath!

Twix and Carmello: Easter Eggers

Clarabelle's babies:  bantam Buff Cochins and Black Copper Marans.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Hubby brought me a present today!

Hubby came in this evening with a present for me!  He had been to Lowe's Hardware to take a weed-eater back that had broken and was still under warranty earlier in the week.  Turns out the weed-eater couldn't be fixed!  Since he had already bought a new weed-eater he decided to get a store credit which he used to buy a dumping garden cart! 

I have been wishing for one since we moved, and now I have one!  It made out of the black poly, and can be used either as a wagon or hooked up behind the mower.  This is going to make it much easier to haul feed, leaves, brush, ect around the property!  I am so thankful that I have a hubby that loves me, and spoils me!

Putting the tires on!
We ended up putting it together in the kitchen floor.  After about 30 minutes we had it together and Hubby took the kids for a ride around the kitchen and living room!  After that, we took it outside and loaded it with pumpkins that I have to take down to the chickens tomorrow!  This cart is definitely going to be well used around here!


The first load! 

Moving everyone around....

It is hard to believe that the Easter Eggers have already been here a month!  We decided to let them out to free-range with all the other chickens for a few days, but leaving the door open to the little coop so they could decide which coop to go into at night.  There were a few small scuffles, but the candy bar girls stayed on the outskirts of the flock, close to the coop so they could run and hide if they needed to. 

For the first 3 days they continued to go into the little coop at night to roost.  On the fourth day, I let them out and shut the little coop door so they couldn't get back in there.  At dark, they went into the big coop with everyone else! Carmello, tends to go inside very early and makes sure that she gets prime roosting spots!

 Now that they have been with the other chickens for a few days, they are settling in very well.  They are still a little skittish and stay on the outskirts, but they don't run for their lives anymore!  They also tend to stay near the coop rather than free-ranging all over the yard like the others do. Everyday they venture a little farther away, so hopefully soon they will enjoy the whole yard with the rest of the flock!

The day after I shut the Easter eggers out of the little coop, I moved the three Marans chicks into it and took the dog crate and the heat lamp out of the big coop.  This gives them more room, and also makes the big coop less cluttered! It opens up the nest boxes in the big coop so that the new layers can get to them and we won't have eggs laid everywhere.  I am thinking that with this young trio, I have 2 pullets and a cockerel.... I was really hoping for 3 pullets, so I am a little disappointed.  I will probably try to hatch some more of the Black Copper Marans next year after these girls start to lay!

Clearing brush and splitting wood.

When we bought our land, it was wooded with set white pines that had originally been planted for Christmas trees years ago, but were grown up and fairly thick!  We cleared about an acre for our house and yard.  Eventually we will cut all the pines out and will replant some hardwoods sporadically throughout the property and fence off for pasture. 

As with anytime you clear land that was wooded, we ended up with a pretty good sized brush pile.  We have slowly been trying to get the brush cleaned up so we will be able to get to the creek that runs through the middle of our property.  Hopefully, we can slowly work on it through the winter and have it cleaned up by spring!

There were several dead trees that needed to be cut down and some that were piled up on the pile of brush.  Hubby cut those down and has been cutting and splitting them up, so we could burn them in our fire pit! There is nothing like sitting by the fire watching the flames! 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Chicken Run!

This weekend we worked on getting the chicken run built before winter really sets in, and the other food sources become scarce for the predators!  I personally don't want every fox, raccoon, coyote and other predator in the area to see my chickens as an easy meal!

Hubby and I picked up some supplies from my grandmother's and we got to work!  We used some old rebar panels, t-posts, and some wooden posts to make a fairly large fenced in area between the coop and the new building.  Hubby has decided that he is going to get a larger building, so I am going to get the new building for a bigger coop eventually.  We decided that since it was going to be a coop in the future, it would be easier if we went ahead and included it in the run layout!

I am very satisfied with the way it turned out, although we will probably end up setting some more wooden posts and putting wooden boards on the rest of the sides instead of just the front.  Also, the small coop we are using for quarantine will probably be taken down and we will have to fix that corner.  I am excited with all the new changes that we have gotten accomplished!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013


On Sunday, October 27th 2013,  I found our first egg from the Golden Comets that we raised from chicks this summer!  I was so excited!  It wasn't in a nest box, but that is ok, we will eventually get them laying in them.

Our First Egg!
 Our first egg was a beautiful terra-cota color, and perfectly shaped.  It was bigger than what I was expecting too. 

Eggs #1 & #2

On Monday, I found another one and I think it is from a different girl!  The shape is a little different, and the color isn't even.  It actually looked like you could see inside the egg! 

Today, I found two soft-shelled eggs in the coop, which is pretty normal for new layers from what I have read.  I am going to start providing them with crushed egg shells for the added calcium they need to produce strong eggs! 

It has taken awhile, but at twenty-two and a half weeks, we finally have our first eggs!  Everyone else should start laying in the next few weeks, and I will have plenty of eggs to share!

Our first egg compared to the eggs from the Easter Eggers!

First day out!

Dust Baths!

Clarabelle and the babies had their first day out a few days ago.  They really enjoyed the sunshine and the dust baths!  She found them some really yummy bugs, and called them over to share.  They were really unsure of the other chickens, and Clarabelle made sure everyone kept their distance.  After a few floggings, no one else wanted to take the two pound broody!  They have been integrated into the flock, and I have taken the divider down in the coop. 

Rogue meeting the babies

Finding the feed dish!

The three new babies are still in a crate in the coop.  They will need to get a little bigger before they can be let out in the coop with the big chickens. 

When is it our turn?

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Chicken Trading

Blue-laced Red Wyandotte girls: Edith & Ethel
A couple of months ago I purchased two older Blue Laced Red Wyandotte hens.  After quarantining them for the recommended month, I introduced them to my flock during the day while they free-ranged.  They quickly started roosting in the larger coop and the integration was complete.  Or so I thought.  All of my chickens are a year old or younger, so these older girls decided that they needed to put everyone in their place.  This didn't go over well, and ended up with the older girls being out casts in the flock. The tension in the coop was very noticeable, and I decided that in order to bring peace back to the flock that the older girls needed to find a new home with an older flock.

 Luckily, the lady that I purchased my new Easter Egger girls, decided that the Wyandotte hens should fit nicely into her flock with her older birds! So this past Sunday, I made a trip up the mountain to do some trading!  It was a beautiful drive back to the county that I was raised in!  When I arrived at her house, we unloaded the Wyandottes, and she gave me a tour of her coops! She had beautiful chickens of several breeds including White Rocks, Ameracaunas, Easter Eggers, and a few others.  When we got to her Easter Egger coop she let me pick out which pullet I wanted in trade for the older girls!  I picked a beautiful brown, salmon and cream colored pullet whose name is now Snickers, to go along with the candy bar theme of the first three Easter Eggers.

We came home and got Snickers settled into the coop with her old flock-mates, and everyone settled in nicely without any tension!  I heard from the lady the next day and she integrated the Wyandotte girls into the coop with her White Rocks who were still in quarantine.  She said that they did wonderfully and she didn't foresee any problems out of them!  I am so glad that everyone settled in so nicely, and that peace has been restored!  It is definitely not fun when there is chaos in the coop!

Edith & Ethel in their new home!  Thanks for the photo E.Jones!

Snickers, Hershey, Carmello and Twix!  All settling in nicely!

The farming way of life.

Both my husband and I were raised on farms, and farming is in our blood.  It is something that is very near and dear to our hearts.  We always knew that when we were able to buy our own property that we wanted to farm and homestead as much as we possibly could.  Now that we have our property we are excited to get our little farm started!

My husband has always had a love for the outdoors and the farming way of life.  As a young boy, he helped both of his grandfathers raise cattle, set tobacco, and keep up the everyday work on their farms.  His dad also raised cattle and they had horses as well.  He often talks about spending the summer at his grandpa's helping out, and how he remembers getting up early to a home cooked breakfast before the sun came up and then going out to spend the day out on the farm.  Most of his fondest childhood memories are centered around the time he spent with the cattle or on a tractor!

My childhood farming was quite a bit different.  My grandfather on my mom's side raised sheep when I was little, and I can remember lambing season coming when it was extremely cold and there was a couple of feet of snow on the ground.  I remember my Paw Paw bringing in orphaned or abandoned lambs and putting them next to the wood stove to get warm, and then having to bottle feed them until they were old enough to be weaned!  I also remember shearing time, when a friend of my Paw Paw's would bring his boys over to shear the sheep.  I was probably 6 years old, when my Paw Paw decided that he wasn't able to raise sheep anymore, and sold off the flock.

My dad also farmed, but his was quite a bit different!  He had horses when I was really little, and then sold them all for awhile.  When I was about 10 years old, he bought some more as well as some goats. He remarried and his new wife was just as much of an animal lover as we were!  Through the years there was a menagerie of animals there, including goats, sheep, ducks, geese, rabbits, and of course the cats, dogs and horses, among others!  As a teenager my passion was the horses and I spent every spare moment with them!  I miss having the horses, and maybe some day, we can have them here on our own farm.

When my husband and I first started dating and got married, we lived on my grandfather's (dad's side)  property.  We helped him raise hogs, horses and cattle.  We spent many hours putting up hay, feeding animals, or cleaning stalls!  We also bought a couple of  bottle-baby calves of our own and raised them while we were there.

Some of the greatest moments of our lives were spent while working on a farm!  I just wanted to share some background as to why this adventure is so near and dear to our hearts!  I promise that some stories from the past will be shared at a later date, but I wanted to just touch the surface as to our pasts in farming! 
Thank you for reading and please share your own stories in the comments!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Sunsets and Sunrises!

Sunset from our back porch!
One of my favorite times of day is sunset!  To me, it signifies another day of accomplishment is over.  I enjoy listening to the animals quieting down for bed, and the night coming alive with the sounds of the nocturnal critters who are awaking!  I often go down to the coop to lock up the girls for the night, and take the quiet moment to reflect on my day.  It is a peaceful transition time that is an important part of my day!


Normally, I am not a morning person so I often miss the beauty of the sunrises!  However, with the older kids having to get up for school, I was up and awake the other day to catch this beautiful sunrise that I wanted to share!

October 17, 2013

New Flock members!

We have added six new members to our flock!

 I went and picked up three Easter Egger pullets that have just started to lay.  On the way home I was thinking about candy bars, so now these girls are named Hershey, Carmello, and Twix! 


These girls have all laid at least one egg since they have been here, and they are all a very pretty color of greenish blue!

The next day,  I decided to go get three more of the Black Copper Marans chicks since all three that I had previously gotten are boys.  So, we went up the mountain in the fog and picked out three more chicks!  We compared these to what we have, and hopefully we picked girls this time!

We were hoping that Clarabelle would take these guys in with her brood, but so far she isn't.  We have them separated in a crate, so they can see each other and get to know each other, but she can't get to them to hurt them.   

When these girls get old enough to start laying eggs, they should lay eggs that are a dark chocolate color!  I am so excited!