Friday, January 7, 2011

Chicken Update

It's been quite some time since i've posted about our hens. I would like to do a more elaborate posting on their health and life stages, but will keep it short today. I keep an 'egg log' to track how many eggs each hen lays per week, and it is looking pa-rit-tyyyyy bare these days. Nary an egg in over a week. Our Australorp was our last trooper, holding out even during her ridiculous molt with an egg about every other day. Our Wyandotte was first runner up, but even both of them have stopped laying. Our Buff has started squatting again, so I'm hopeful that they'll turn things around and start earning their keep. I could use some scrambled eggs for lunch about now!

make a gif
Make a gif

It's Winter in Austin, which doesn't feel much different than Spring of Fall and we don't really need to 'Winterize' our coops. Even in the coldest climates chickens can fare pretty well on their own as long as they have A. Plenty of water B. A draft free place to take shelter and C. Plenty of food with supplemental fat. I give our girls scratch on the chilly days to warm up their metabolisms and i covered their open-air coop with plastic last year since they were pullets without their true downy feathers grown in.  Open air coops are really the best housing for any climate because they allow plenty of circulated air to flow about, minimizing smell and disease, and keep things cool in the Summer. The girls all pile into the nest boxes on chilly nights (which i'm SO happy to clean out in the morning, gross) and their warm feathers do all the insulating they need. Roosters can suffer from frostbite on their combs and wattles in very cold climates because they do not tuck their heads while sleeping.

Belina gave us another scare earlier this year. We went out of town for my Grandmother's 90th birthday and left the chickens cooped up the whole time we were gone. Belina (the Buff Orpington) has been slowly demoted to 4th hen and when cooped up isn't allowed at the food and is pecked at and harassed constantly by evil Queen Soot (despite BB the Chantecler being #1 amiga). We returned from our trip to find a pale, very skinny, bedraggled Belina in place of the big, sassy, fat and happy hen we'd left. I'm happy to say that the last few months have been good to her, she's fitter than ever though her comb is still chalky and she still gets kicked around quite a bit.

Hens on the porch = lots of messy poop and potted citrus shown disrespect

Pocket and the chickens have been getting along quite well lately. She rarely chases any but BB who seems to enjoy teasing her, though she does eat a bit more chook poo than i'd like. I mean that CAN'T be good for her, no matter how delicious she seems to think it is. Just this morning all 4 girls were in individual holes taking dust baths. When i let Pocket out she strolled up to them, gave Soot a little sniff and strolled along again. I've even seen Pocket laying down with a dust bathing chicken right next to her. Just another chicken.

I haven't noticed many mites, lice, or other problems with the flock lately. I worry about the chalkiness of their combs, but not enough to do any research about it. I dust their nest boxes with diatomaceous earth whenever i change them to prevent nasty bugs, and i give them poultry vitamins in the water every once in a while for good measure. Otherwise, they pretty much manage themselves. We let them out, feed and water them, say hi occasionally and lock them back up at dusk. Chickens are sure easy going pets. I say that now, before i'm trying to move across state lines with them.... hmmm.........

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you so much for your feedback, especially if you've cooked one of my recipes or tried one of my tips: let me know how it turned out!