To Keep or Not to Keep

The chicks  are no longer chicks, but full-fledged roos and pullets and the roos are headed for the butcher block.

5

I ended up with 6 roos and 4 pullets and I sold one of these handsome Black Copper Marans roosters, so I have 5 left. When I finally separated them and put the roos into a coop by themselves, one of them got out. He’s a nice rooster…and I’m wondering if I should keep him…

roo 1

He’s been hanging out with the older hens and is already watching out for them…

roo2

roo 3

One hen is broody. Let me say these Marans get broody often, but she is not laying on any eggs. Just biding her time in the nesting box…

broody

Then I have 4 new Black Copper Marans pullets that will start laying any time now… This one looks like the most mature one…

pullet1

And this one appears to be the least mature…

pullet 2

And here are the butcher block buddies…I hate this part of it all…

buddies

So, to keep or not to keep…that is the question…

pullet 3

The Run…

My wonderful husband built a run of sorts for our growing flock of chickens. Did I say growing?  It seems that the number count gets less, but the chicks are growing bigger every day.  And do you see a Mr. Knightly Jr. here?

Junior

I’m afraid so…going to be hard to let him go…

Anyway back to the run…

run

It is totally covered to keep hawks out during the day. It runs  between the little chick coop on the right and the Tack Room coop on the left where the hens live. You can see the new  little door that opens out into the run on the left. So that’s it.

I put a branch in today to see if they would like something to sit on… Roo and pullet, can you tell how much they have grown?

branch

This still makes me sad. I know the chickens are much better off getting all that good food in the wild when they free range, but for now they have to be enclosed.

I noticed that I now have 99 followers. I’m doing another painting giveaway when it hits 100, so stay tuned…

Welsummer Sis ~ Giveaway

Here she is…a portrait of the Welsummer sister I promised to paint as a giveaway to celebrate one year of blogging here on Rosemary, Lavender and Thyme…

sis 2 copy

This is a 6″ x 6″ oil on gesso panel, and I’m going to include a barn wood frame. 🙂

To enter the giveaway…

1. Follow my blog, if you haven’t already… 🙂

2. Comment… you have to comment to enter. That’s it!

There will be a random drawing on Wednesday, August 14th, and I will notify the winner with a reply comment. Please tell your friends, fellow bloggers and all the chicken lovers you know…:)

A Bad Mistake or Not?

Everyone makes mistakes, right?  Of course, we do, but I can’t believe I did this one. I should know WAY better…so after trying to be very positive about my little farm life, I’m going to rant a little…just a little…

DiningMr. Knightly and his girls dining in my flower beds.

I have one handsome Black French Marans rooster who I have to watch behind my back all the time, so he doesn’t attack me. And then I have 4 lovely Marans hens all of whom I raised from chicks. There were actually 13 to begin with …4 died when they were small… 3 were roosters that we butchered…and one rooster Copper was killed trying to save the flock from a predator. So I have 5 left. Then I  have 3 older hens…2 Wellsummers and one Cuckoo Marans named Mara.

When Copper the rooster was killed by what we thought was a coyote, the other hens were understandably shocked and did not lay any eggs for a while. One of the young hens became broody…we cured her of that and she is laying again. So now when everything should be back to normal, it isn’t. I am getting one, maybe two eggs a day.

My son works for a guy who has hundreds of hens and they lay tons of eggs and he was coming home for a few days. I frustratingly and impatiently thought, “Why not just buy 6 of his hens and at least we would have some eggs.” Sounds reasonable, right? So I called my son and he very sweetly said he could do that.

Now I had to work out where to put them. I know they would have to be separated from the other hens for a bit, so I decided to transfer my new little Ameracauna chicks to a little dog house temporarily and put the new adult hens in the chick coop.

Here is their temporary shelter and I think they are pretty happy in there…

coop

Now comes the rant…my son pulls up with the cage in the back of his truck covered by a big blue tarp. I know a journey of an hour and a half was probably rough on the hens, but I was pretty shocked when I saw them. In my ignorance I just did not ever imagine hens being in this kind of condition. I found out that they basically live in the wild, roost in the trees, lay their eggs anywhere…they were dirty, thin, dull and a couple of them had quite a few feathers missing. We put them in the coop along with water and food, and left them for a bit to settle in.

My nightmares started…I felt like I had been punched in the stomach…I thought of lice and diseases that these birds could bring to my flock. Going back down to the chicken coops to close them up for the night, I sat and watched the new hens…

They looked wild like the turkeys that come through our property sometimes. Their necks were thin and stretched out, and then they started flying up to the top of the coop to roost, like they are used to, I assumed, when they fly up into the trees. They stunk. They were so dirty.  I cried…All I could think is that I had made a huge mistake…

I cried myself to sleep that night wondering what I was going to do and trying to reason with myself not to make mountains out of molehills. But even if I got rid of the birds, I would have to totally clean and disinfect the coop to transfer the chicks back in it, which I just did not to long ago, and I was not looking forward to that, at least not so soon…

I got up at 4 in the morning and started looking on the internet about introducing new birds to your flock and I was even more horrified with what I read. I could not get rid of the anxious gnawing in my stomach and I wished that this did not involve the other members of my family.

In the morning I prayed and gathered myself together and went down to the coop with a more positive attitude. I went in the coop to get the waterer to refill it, and the hens were freaking out and I freaked out and started crying again…Am I just nuts?

My son said I remind him of the wife on Green Acres…

Anim_HomepageImage from Mark Maggiore

I don’t think so…

I haven’t seen that series in a long time and I might just have to go take a look and get some laughs out of this whole fiasco…

Anyway, after our Bible time that morning I asked my very sensible level headed daughter to come down to the coop and see what she thought and to tell me if I was just crazy. Well, wouldn’t you know it, the hens were just as sweet and docile as they could be…I mean they still looked scruffy, but at least they weren’t flying off the walls of the coop. She encouraged me that it would be OK and just to wait and see how it went.

Later in the day my son handed me 3 eggs from those new hens and then my husband found 2 more that evening….

full tray

By the way…I did find 5 Marans eggs in a nest behind the barn …the 2 broody hens that are taking up the nests in the big coop must chase all the other hens away…

So was it a mistake? or not?

Mr. Knightly Who Turns into Mr. Knaughty

It happens all the time. A nice gentle man who seemingly appears quite loveable and honest gets into a power position and becomes the opposite. This is what happened to Mr. Knightly when the head rooster Copper died, and he took over the position of top roo.

IMG_6985

I went down to the coop carrying the well-known tray of treats. This time is was full of the cut tops of strawberries from our yummy pancake breakfast.  The chickens were all hanging out half way between the house and the coop, so they joined me to walk to the coop where I always put the tray down.

WHOP!!!

What was that? I looked behind me clueless, and just figured maybe a branch had fallen on me. I walked a little further …

WHOP!!! OUCH!!!  It was Mr. Knaughty Knightly! He just attacked me from behind and stuck one of his claws into my leg!

UNBELIEVABLE!

I knew I had to do something immediately to show who is boss. I threw the tray at him, scattering the strawberries all over the driveway. And he had the nerve to go pick one up and start munching on it! I picked up the tray again and threw it at him, and I think he got the message and ran away from me.

I was shaking. I was stunned…This nice gentlemanly rooster had turned into a tyrant! I’m giving him one more chance and in the meantime I’m carrying around a big long stick for protection.

I put hydrogen peroxide on the purplish-red jab mark and then topped it with some Thieves oil. I think it will be fine.

Now the other situation…

Miss Emma copy

Miss Emma Broody Hen is in the cage up on concrete blocks as many of you had suggested. But at night I let her out so she can go into the coop and be protected. After seeing what the coon did to that metal cage, I just can not leave her just in that cage for the night. I hope I’m not wrong about this…what do you think?

I’ve only been getting 2-3 eggs a day, instead of the usual 5-6. Can’t figure what is the matter with the rest of the hens.

And the owl situation…

That cute little baby owl is now out of the nest and hanging out in a tree closer to the coop…you know…just in eye view of the chickens…

owl

Let me give you a better dimension of this…

owl chickens

Along with the hawks that circle overhead in the daytime…you would think we were preparing a wildlife dinner table.

That’s all for now. I’m leaving town for a couple of days…Will there be chickens when I return?

Good Morning, Mr. Rooster :)

My grandson watches a little video when he visits me with a little catchy song called Good Morning, Mr. Rooster that goes like this…

Good morning

Good morning

Good morning to you

Good morning, Mr. Rooster

Cock a doodle doo

I’ll share the video at the end of this post…but all this to say that after he visits I have this tune running in my head in the morning, especially when I see my beautiful orange colored yoked eggs…

yoke

This is truly what raising our own chickens is all about having super nutrient rich healthy food.  I bought a new kind of feed from our co-op last month called Scratch and Peck

Scratch and Peck

All of their animal feed products are 100% Soy Free and Non-GMO!  You can visit their site at Scratch and Peck.

And over at Home Farm Ideas there is a Scratch and Peck Feed Giveaway…  🙂

Have a great day everyone!!!