Our YouTube Channel Is Launching!: Confessions From The Coop (TM)

Our YouTube Channel Is Launching!: Confessions From The Coop (TM)

Well, I finally managed to (mostly) finish the run to the chicken coop.

 

It’s been a bit of a project, largely because it’s so hot here. I can’t really stand being out in the heat for long, and it’s pretty much hot here all the time.

 

But now the adult ducks and the chickens are back in the coop – and the ducks rewarded me with some eggs this morning!

 

I don’t think they’re happy about being in an enclosed run, but it’s healthier for them. Don’t worry – I’ll still flood part of the run so they have a good place to dig with their bills and swim.

 

We also moved the most recent batch of chicks to the coop. It’s a bit early (I like to wait until they’re fully feathered) but it’s warm and it’s time for them to become part of the flock!

 

We’ve moved most of the chickens back to the main coop, now that most of the renovations on the run have been completed. They’re a bit confused, but most of them are settling in okay.

 

I know my Seabright roosters are happy to have more company. One was doing the rooster dance around my Brahma hen, who is at least 5 times larger than my Seabright.

 

I’m not sure how he thinks this’ll work for him, but I would love chicks out of him, since his feathers are so pretty. Alas, I don’t see it working out between him and my Brahma hen.

 

Up next is adding a final roof to the chicken run. Obviously, the coop itself has a roof, but the run doesn’t. So, when it rains, the chickens either have to go inside or get wet. Which isn’t so good when the temperatures drop!

 

I WILL be happy to see the end of fly season, though

 

Ducklings

The ducklings are starting to feather, and we have a couple black ducks AND some brownish grey ones that are lighter than the typical Khaki Campbell.

 

Still not really sure who’s a boy and who’s a girl….their voices should be changing pretty soon though.

 

 

The ducklings are growing their feathers so fast – they’re going to be very beautiful. We’ve been giving them lots of Fluffiest Feathers Ever! (the chickens have been getting it, too, since they’re molting) to help them grow healthy plumage.

 

It’s a lot of fun seeing the different feathers each duckling is growing!

 

We’re going to have to build them some toys and treat stations soon. All domestic poultry should have some sort of environmental interest, and since ducks don’t perch, my usual plan, which includes lots of sticks to fly onto, won’t work for the ducks.

 

Youtube

We’re gearing up to launch my YouTube channel!

 

(well….relaunch. If you go there right now, you’ll see playlists my kids put together of cartoons, LOL! I had no idea they did that until I showed my channel to a friend. It was hilarious to see it – but it’s not really relevant to backyard chickens, is it?)

 

We’ve spent part of the summer filming, and you’ll get to see the duckling pen, all the DIY projects we’ve been doing, get your chicken raising questions answered, and more.

 

Just in time for the colder weather, when it’s cold and all we want to do is curl up and watch some good TV, right?

 

You can see the trailer here:

Those Sneaky Chicks! Confessions From The Coop (TM)

Those Sneaky Chicks! Confessions From The Coop (TM)

Well, it finally happened.

 

We finally had a chillier than normal (read: in the 60s F), which tells me that soon, the dang mosquitoes will go back in hiding for another 6 months.

 

I started putting the finishing touches on the duckling coop (they’re WAY happier to be out of that tractor and near a big pool of water for splashing), and in the video, all you see is Larry and I swatting at mosquitoes, LOL!

 

The video of what we have so far is almost complete – hopefully, it gives you some inspiration. The building, that is – not the mosquito swatting.

 

We’ve completed most of the repairs on the main run and the duckling run – which means roofs are next!

 

The duckling run has a high fence, and the wire extends about 1 foot into the floor of the pen to deter predators, so I don’t need to worry about a full roof for them – just a secure shelter where they can sleep and stay safe.

 

Up next is the shelter – for now, they’ll come into the coop at night, but very soon (meaning, after I buy some 2x4s, lol) there will be a run in for them.

 

When they’re full grown, we can easily expand the run to accommodate them.

 

I’m dying to see what their final feathers will look like – the tail feathers are just starting to peek through. I think we might have a couple that feather out black.

 

Won’t that be fun?

Chickens

The chicken run definitely needs a roof. The fence is 8 feet high, but the hens can fly 8 feet. And get mauled by roosters, dogs, or whatever critter is passing by.

 

So, I’ll be getting some simple trusses, then adding chicken wire on the top. Part of it will be open to the sun and part will have a solid roof so they can get out of the rain and sun.

 

Sounds like a plan, doesn’t it?

 

I’m pretty sure we have predators still running around – I think my next product review will be those predator lights.

 

Speaking of predators, for 2 days, one of my chicks went missing.

 

They’re in the coop full time because they’re too big for any of the tractors and too small to free range while we redo the run (yes, for the 3rd time – Dahlia the goat got loose and rubbed against the wire, pretty much tearing it to shreds).

 

I looked and looked – and by looked, I mean I searched every nook and cranny of that coop. Then I realized the wire we have over one of the doors is loose.

 

I figured a skunk got him, but the next day I looked again, and he was STILL missing. So, I gave him up for lost.

 

Then yesterday evening, he reappeared in the coop – there’s no way he left then returned, because that loose wire was easy for a skunk to wiggle in and out of, but not so obvious for a chick to wiggle out and then BACK IN to the coop.

 

So, I have no idea where this chick was hiding, but clearly, he is far cleverer than I am!

 

backyard chicken

 

That’s it for this week! Hope you enjoyed these photos!

 

Confessions from the Coop: Who’s Laying??

Confessions from the Coop: Who’s Laying??

In this Confessions from the Coop series, I share a “behind the scenes” glimpse of life on the farm! Enjoy!

 

This week, it’s been all about construction on the farm. Well, construction and filming for my new web show series! (Stay tuned for more info about that!)

 

I’ve decided I’m building the ducklings a new fenced in area – they’re already too small for their tractor (the dang chicks stayed in there for a month! Sniff….they grow up so fast!) and it’s warm enough that they’ll be fine in a super-secure fenced in duck house.

 

So, they’ll get their own palace, complete with a pool, a deep waterer for cleaning, a treat bin for black soldier fly larvae and Fluffiest Feathers Ever (yep, it’s full of Vitamin B, so the ducklings have been getting it too – I think that’s why they’ve grown so quickly).

 

As of right now, I’m not going to put flooring on the run besides dirt, but I’m considering brick or other stone so it’s easy to clean and won’t STINK in the rain. You know how easily their poo can turn into a cesspool!

 

The mornings have been getting cooler – I sure hope they have their feathers by October!!

 

Who’s laying??

One of my bantams started laying….and I have no idea who. Based on ages, I’m pretty sure it’s Partridge – a tiny bantam rescue hen someone gave me. But I can’t be 100% certain because I’ve never seen her lay.

 

Previously, she was in a quarantine coop with roosters, and never laid anything. But now she’s in the coop with my Silkies and bantam Cochin hens, and eggs are appearing.

 

The Silkies and Cochins are they’re just a few months old. They’re right on the cusp of laying age, but at just 5 months, it’s a tad too soon for them.

 

The eggs are pure white and about 1/2 the size of a regular egg. I haven’t cracked one open yet to check whether they’re fertile, but if they are….people, I’m hatching bantam eggs. Because the only rooster she’s with is also a bantam. And the chicks will be ADORABLE.

 

backyard chicken eggs

 

I’ve put calendula in the nesting boxes and they’ve been getting Fluffiest Feathers Ever! and Best Eggs Ever! with their feed – which might be why Partridge started laying.

 

We’ve been giving the hens Fluffiest Feathers Ever! lately because the roosters got a bit aggressive earlier this year – and the hens are growing beautiful, glossy feathers back.

 

Some are taking longer than others, but that’s kind of the nature of growing feathers. Some hens just their sweet time!

 

My Blue Copper Marans especially has regrown her feathers quickly. In the span of just a few weeks – less than 4 I think – she’s completely covered where the roosters pulled out all her feathers.

 

She’ll be 4 years old I believe this fall (she was born in November – that much I do recall). The years do pass by, don’t they?

 

We’ve also given Fluffiest Feathers Ever! to the chicks once they reach 5 weeks to help them grow healthy feathers.

 

One of the recent hatches has a completely grey chick.

 

I know this is Hawk’s daughter (I’m sure its female) because the chick has brown tips on the end of her feathers and I KNOW she’s not from my Blue Copper Marans hen (the only other grey hen on the farm) because I didn’t incubate Blue’s eggs. She never lays any, LOL!

backyard chickens

I learned the other day that in Ancient Egypt, there were no chickens (who can imagine such a world?) but there were ducks and quail, and they kept them for eggs and meat.

 

That’s why there’s hieroglyphs of ducks and quail, but not chickens. I thought that was pretty interesting.

 

I hope you’ve enjoyed these photos – I’ll see you next week!

Confessions From The Coop ~ August 22, 2018

Confessions From The Coop ~ August 22, 2018

Duckling Update!

This weekend, the ducklings took their first official swim (that was outside of their water bowl, at least). They took to it like….well….a duck in water, LOL!

 

They had a ball, and also loved the shrimp I offered them. (That was a first for them, too!) It’s amazing that even though they’d never seen the tiny shrimp before, the ducklings still knew that they were food.

ducklings try swimming for the first time

Although I didn’t see the adult ducks (their parents) really interact with the ducklings, I know they were curious because I did see them sneak a few peeks at the little ones, and hovered about once I left.

 

I don’t think it registered that the ducklings are their children, but I do think they’re excited to soon have even more company!

 

Very soon, we’ll start work on a new area for them that’ll include a duck house, a pool, and lots of space.

 

During the day, the ducklings get to sunbathe – it’s very warm here still (it’ll be hot through October), so why not let them enjoy the weather?

 

And they’re growing so big – I swear, they’ve grown 10x the size they were just a week ago. Definitely not tiny little ducklings that’ll fit in a shell anymore!

 

Because ducklings have different dietary needs than chickens (they need more vitamin B), we’ve been feeding crumbles specifically for ducklings and adding brewer’s yeast (which we’ll carry in the store very soon) to make sure their bones grow strong.

 

You’ll hear stories online about how you can feed ducklings chick starter – don’t listen to it.

 

In my experience, all might be okay and…..it also might lead to ducks with poor bone development in their legs, which isn’t pretty and ruins their lives.

 

Just feed them the right stuff and sleep better at night.

 

The Lion Flock Grows Up!

Well, the clutch of chicks we call The Lion Flock are growing up – they’ve left their grower tractor and now are in the main coop with the Silkies and my bantam Cochins.

 

They’re so beautifully feathered, and now that they’re no longer in the tractor, I can get better photos to share with you.

 

One pullet (I’m pretty sure it’s female) has beautiful grey feathers and a young roo has a nice dappling of brown, white, and black feathers.

 

I can’t wait to see what they look like fully grown – they’ll be beautiful.

Confessions From The Coop ~ August 22, 2018

Confessions From The Coop (TM): Ducklings!

This month so far has been a notable one – we have ducklings!

 

Yep, we’ve been testing out a Brinsea incubator (read the review here) and we now have 10 beautiful ducklings of all shades!

 

A couple were “shrink wrapped” (the humidity fell below 50% so we were keeping an eye on them) but hatched successfully with help, and one egg I’d marked as “likely a dud, but let’s wait and see” hatched a beautiful fawn-colored duckling.

 

Now it’s time for these guys and gals (hopefully some are female!) to grow up!

 

This time of year in Southern Missouri is perfect for hatching young poultry – it’s VERY hot outside, so we don’t need a heat lamp. During the first week of life and then at night until they’re fully feathered, they stay in the cabin to make sure they’re warm enough.

 

And I’m pretty sure this flock of ducklings is related to jumping beans, because even though they’re in a brooder (we use kiddie pools, which work GREAT….normally), they kept escaping.

 

The first week of life, I tucked them into their brooder at night, but every morning, I found them wandering around the cabin!

 

We have crates around their brooder to prevent escape, but it seems I have some sort of Houdini ducklings.

 

It’s great to know they’re so healthy, but I wish they would stay put.

 

We’ve now transferred them to the large rabbit crate I use as a tractor for very young poultry, so at least they now can go outside AND stay safe!

 

Once fully feathered, we then have the task of building them a super secure coop!

 

These ducklings and baby chicks are trying their hardest to grow up, which means all sorts of new experiences…..like escaping their brooder non-stop. And running around the cabin….far away from their feeders and waterers.

 

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bl_1PV-F0sG/?taken-by=pamperedchickenmama

 

The ducklings have already taken to water – we haven’t given them their first swimming pool swim, but they’ve been playing in their waterer non-stop.

 

I can’t wait to introduce them to swimming – it’s still a bit hard to believe we now have 15 ducks (and we’ll have more – I want to do one more hatch before fall sets in).

 

At any rate, they’re happy and growing up and always ready for some fun!