Monday, July 29, 2013

Chickens... Birthday Chickens, That Is!

We went to a nearby farm, JC Poultry, to pick up our chickens! I chose this farm for several reasons:

  • The owner chooses breeds that can handle Pennsylvania's climate
  • She sells chickens that are family friendly and gentle.
  • Her chickens are fully feathered and old enough to go straight in the coop.
  • She has unusual, hardy, and good egg laying, breeds.
Her coops were clean and there wasn't a stinky chicken smell. She introduced us to the adult birds, so we could see what our birds would look like when grown. All of her chickens are friendly and know her well. We were able to hold and pet several of the birds, including a huge Chantecler rooster! I couldn't believe how gentle and friendly he was.

After washing our hands, we got to hold day old baby chicks! They were so very cute!

We listened to soft chirpy chatter all the way home.

Since this was his birthday gift, FRitW got to choose the birds. He chose a Chantecler, two Blue Bredas, and a Splash Breda.

The Chantecler (brownish bird) is named 'SharkBait' (hoo ha ha)
The Splash Breda (white) is 'Thunderstorm'. When grown, he/she will have a dramatic black and white coloration.

The Blue Bredas are 'Stormy' and 'BlueBell'
(BlueBell in honor of Dad's favorite ice cream - which is not available in PA - poor Dad!)
Aren't they an amazing color? 

They are settling in to their coop, snuggling together in the nesting box, and enjoying frequent visits from two boys!


Sunday, July 28, 2013

Extreme Makeover - Ostrich Style!

FRitW had Chickens on his birthday list. He has been wanting chickens for over a year - and Dad agreed to let him have some, so Dad's and my gift to FRitW this year is a small flock of chickens. But, first things first...

 ...we need a place to house those chickens. Since we are renting, we cannot build a new structure on the property, so we looked around at the available structures for ideas. The original owner of the property had a couple of Ostriches, so there are 2 large pens that were built to house them. Each pen is 30 feet wide, 100 feet long, and has an 8 ft x 8 ft house inside. Everything is Ostrich sized, from the 6 foot fences, to the 3000 square foot enclosure, to the much-too-high feed bins built into the houses, but we decided that scaling everything down was our best chicken coop option.

We spent a couple of hours on FRitW's birthday chopping down the overgrown weeds and I was quite pleased that we did not uncover even one snake! Woohoo! Ground hornets, yes - snakes, no. I'll take what I can get.

What a difference, huh??

 Next we added a temporary fence to limit the chicken pen to a more reasonable 30 ft x 30 ft space, and put hardware cloth all the way around the pen to help keep predators out and chickens in. A new door and a sand floor in the coop completed our work. Chickens - we are ready!!

There is a workshop on the property, but the electricity is not turned on to the outbuildings... the door was built on Dad's pickup tailgate and the driveway.

The door is up, the coop is secure. Tomorrow, I will introduce you to FRitW's chickens!