Tag Archive | free range

Goliaths Flock

Hello Again! Yes, it’s been a while, someone please tell me where all the time has gone!!!!  Well, I’m thinking, it went into raising baby chicks! Here they come!!!!

Free Range Time

Free Range Time

Once again, meet Goliath’s Flock!  They are now 17 weeks old!  I must say, this is the most docile group of chicks I’ve ever had!  Granted, I’ve only had to be mama hen to my first group of chicks, Buddy’s Flock and that was of course where I learned how to raise back yard chickens.  Even though I grew up on a chicken farm, my dad raised chickens for eggs and that was before cages came in, he ended his business, opting out of caged.

Well, like I said, my babies are now 17 weeks old, their ‘voices’ are changing, the girls are now sounding more like hens.  Still a little early for egg laying, but we’re getting anxious! Goliath is still a little young to be crowing, but can’t wait for that early crowing.

Way back on Sept. 9th I introduced you to the chicks: Meet Goliath & His Flock, they look a tad different now then those early fluffy butt baby pics, so I’m going to introduce you again and add some goings on and updates.

First update, we did loose 1 chick a couple weeks ago to a Sharp Shin Hawk.  We have a completely closed in run for the chicks, but there was a hole, which the hawk found and got into the run and killed poor Itsie one of our 2 Speckled Sussex, which left Bitsie an only child.  The hole was fixed, there isn’t even the slightest peek hole now.  It’s always a learning experience.

Like I said they are now 17 weeks old, I picked these chicks from My Pet Chicken, breeds we have never had before and ended up ordering 6 different breeds. I did want white jersey giants but none were available anywhere, so I got the black.  2 …. 3 reasons I wanted to add Jersey Giants to my flock, 1-they’re a big breed, so hoping this will help in deterring hawks, 2-I’m a Jersey Girl and Jersey Giants originated in New Jersey so wanted to be true to New Jersey, 3-Getting the Jersey Giant rooster I’m hoping that all chicks will be on the larger side, again to help them survive.  Hawks are our number 1 predator here, we did loose 1 a couple years ago to a fox and we did loose chicks to a skunk, that was tragic.

So now, meet Goliath’s Flock

The Jersey Giants, Goliath, Millie & Tillie

Goliath is growing like a weed, he will eat out of my hand.  Millie is not as friendly but will eat out of my hand at times, Tillie, I think is pretty low on the pecking order so she doesn’t eat out of my hand, she hangs back.  You can see that Millie has a beautiful tail, Tillie has not much of a tail, that’s how I tell them apart.

Bitsie – Speckled Sussx

Bitsie, is my only Speckled Sussex, her sister, Itsie was killed by a Sharp Shin Hawk.  Bitsie was named because she was the runt of the flock, took her a while to catch up. Thats why the names Itsie and Bitsie.  She is a doll baby, one of my favorites.  She will let you hold her and talk your ears off.

Hope & Grace – White Plymouth Rocks

Hope is allot friendlier than Grace.  I think that’s because she had pasty butt her first week of life.  I never had a chick with pasty butt(pasting up) before, but thank goodness My Pet Chicken, where I got them from, tells you to look for it and how to treat it.  Not hard to treat, but the chick will die if not treated.  So, I think from all the handling she got, she became so friendly.  These two were name by my grandson Tyler.  If I stoop down to long when I’m out with the flock, Hope will jump up on my shoulder.

Lavern & Shirley – Easter Eggers

Yes, named for the TV show.  My 91 year old dad, named these 2, Lavern is the lighter (blonde) one and Shirley is the darker (brunette) one.  These 2 are not so friendly and are generally last to come out to free range.

Sweetie Pie & Honey Bun – Partridge Plymouth Rocks

Sweetie Pie was named first, as a chick, she constantly sat with me and I kept saying such a sweetie pie, so I named her Sweetie Pie, looking for a ‘friendly’ name for her sister, who also sat with me, not as much in the beginning, but now she’s the friendlier one, seeing her coloring was lighter than Sweetie’s, more of a honey color, I named her Honey Bun.  Honey Bun, will also jump up on my shoulder, she is my favorite.

Thelma & Louise – Gold Laced Wyandotte’s

Yes, named for the movie.  Wasn’t my favorite movie, and when these 2 were babies, they weren’t my favorites either.  These were my renegades, hence the names.  Thelma is the lighter one and Louise is the darker one.  Thelma is currently in the running for top of the pecking order along with Millie.  I’m not sure, whose going to win this battle, but for the time being, my money is on Thelma.  Thelma is even letting the cats know that she is top girl in the chicken yard, not them.  She chases poor grey cat all over, and poor grey cat, just wants to be one of the girls!

Here’s the pecking order challenge that went on yesterday, between Thelma & poor Grey Cat, then Thelma & Millie, then Millie and Goliath, I have no idea what she was thinking, then Goliath breaking up Thelma & Millie.  What a day! LOL!

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I hope you enjoyed the pictures and the story.  Sorry its been a while, hope it won’t be so long till my next post.  Feel free to comment, I love hearing from you.

 

Geez! Already!

Dottie and chicksDottie n chicks 1st day outGoldie n chicks

Free ranging the chicks, a set on Flickr. You can click on the photos to see them larger.

Well, I just can’t believe it, but every hen is different and Dottie is no exception to the rule.  The chicks were 1 week old yesterday and she took them from the confines & protection of the chicken yard outside the fence to the side of the  chicken yard where we have a row of pine tress.  So, the chicks are learning to free range.  Now we have to be ever more vigilant.

Hawks are definitely around, we’ve heard them, we’ve seen them.  The crows have left.  What, you ask, do crows and hawks have to do with one another???  I read way back when we first had hawks and wanted to find out how to deter them, it said, that if there are crows around you won’t have hawks.  And for us, that’s true.  While we have nesting crows here in the spring and they hang around thru July early August, we truly don’t see any hawks.  Now that the crows are leaving, the days we don’t hear any crows, we hear and see hawks.   You can read about that here on the Common Crow.

Well, a couple weeks ago, I posted that Goldie took her 5 chicks out to free range at 11 days old, now Dottie’s 6 chicks are only a week old!  They never cease to amaze me.

Another thing going on, is Dottie has decided to leave the broody box with the chicks and take up sleeping in the same corner that Goldie and her chicks are sleeping in.  There’s plenty of room and as long as the moms are butt to butt theres no problems.  If they can see each other, especially Dottie, if she even sees one of Goldie’s chicks on her back she pecks the chick, then pecks Goldie, then Goldie pecks Dottie.   The 2 nights I’ve seen this happen, I’ve grabbed Dottie and put her back in her broody box and put the chicks in with her.  Last night after I did this (it was still early, my moms take their chicks to bed about 5:30, so theres plenty of daylight yet) Dottie took the chicks back out.  I rolled my eyes, thinking more trouble coming in the hen house, just a few minutes later, she was back in the hen house, so I followed.  To my surprise, she took the chicks back into the broody box! Yeah!

Goldie & ChicksShared CornerMama Hens & ChicksDottie with chicksGoldie with chicksSo cute

Mama hens not sharing, a set on Flickr.

It won’t be long before Goldie moves her chicks up to the nests where the hens lay.  We have an old metal 12 nest unit from the old chicken farmer days.  It’s on the wall and safe.  All our broody’s move their chicks up there and sleep with them in the nests until the mom leaves the chicks.  Then the chicks stay in the nests and perch on the perches on front of the nests until they are old enough to work their way into the roosts with the other hens.  You know how that pecking order goes.  It takes a while.  Goldie tries about once a week to see if the chicks can get up there.  It should be any day now, I think they’re ready.

So how ’bout you??  Do you let your mama hens free range with their chicks??  We have decided that when the moms leave their chicks we will this time, take control and confine the chicks to the safety chicken yard, until their bigger, way bigger.

Puppies, Chicks & a Momma Hen! Oh My!

Oh My!  What a day!

Meet Cooper our newest grand dog.  He’s about 3 months old and looks like a giraffe, but he’s a boxer pup.  So, we have all sorts of babies around here.  Cooper came back with our grand sons, while their folks were off and about.  Tyler loves playing with the kittens, thats our 7 year old grandson, Anthony our 12 year old grandson, not into cats so much, but was taking care of Cooper.

Well, we had Cooper off the leash and in the front yard, and he took off towards the chickens that were free ranging in the pines on the side of the back side of the hen house.  So, my hubby went running, next I heard yelling, so the rest of us went running.  Seems Cooper doesn’t find the kittens enough entertainment, and he saw the chicks! Yikes!

Well, he went after the chicks, the chicks went running in every direction, and momma hen came a yelling, squawking and kicking and pecking at Cooper!  He didn’t find that entertaining at all.  Hopefully he learned his lesson (somehow I doubt it).  We got Cooper back on the leash and away from the chickens, we went back to check on the chicks.  Momma Goldie was with 2 of them, my hubby found 1 and scooted it towards momma, who was not happy and clucking for her babies.  Okay, she had 3, now to find the other 2.

If you know anything about free range chicks, when danger is near they hunker down.  When they hunker down, they DON’T move.  Now you try and find a black chick under the pine trees hunkered down….ain’t gonna happen.  Took me a while I did find the other white one, picked her up and she proceed to scream her little head off.  Momma Goldie who was all the way down the other end of the pines with the 3 found chicks came running (I think she could have won a race as fast as she came, but she left the other 3).  Not only did she come running, she came ready to kill.  So, I’m trying to calm her and get the baby back to her.  When I put the chick down, it ran to hide again, and Goldie came at me one more time, in that instance, baby #4 was once again hunkered down.  I couldn’t find her, and Goldie went back to the 3.  So I searched, and searched and searched to no avail.  So I decided I’d go down to Goldie and the 3 chicks and try and herd them back to the area where the white chick was last seen.   That took a while since she was still frazzled from the whole ordeal, I know because I was just as frazzled.

Anyway, I got her and the 3 chicks to the area where #4 chick was last seen and her clucking got the chick to come to her.  Yeah! 4 chicks reunited!   Now, where is that 5th chick!  Uggggg.

In the meantime, when I was searching out chick #4 I came across a nest of 5 eggs, the girls must of been laying there on those hot days!   Egg production wasn’t down, they were just too hot and lazy to go back to the nests!

I knew that it had to be in the area where chick #4 was found, that was the general area where all the action happened, there’s a lot of brush on the other side of the pines, allot of places to hunker down, and I didn’t want to tread too far, I was fearful of stepping on the little one.  So, I kept Goldie and babies in the area.  I would walk away for a bit, then go back and check on her and the little ones.  I also said a few prayers.  I’m telling you, had to be well over an hour after she found chick #4, when I went back to check on her for the 10th time, chick #5 was there!  Whew!!!!  Thank you Jesus!  I love answered prayer!

So, if all that wasn’t enough, we go to see if everyone has come back from free ranging and momma Goldie and the 5 chicks are in the hen house getting ready to go to bed.  So, we got them some fresh water and food and just stood there to watch them.  Well, wouldn’t  you know it, I guess with all the stress she had today, she decided that it was time to take the chicks off the floor at night and into the nests where they lay their eggs (every mom has done this so far)  So, we watched, momma Goldie gets up in the nest and calls to the babies.  You can see from the fuzzy photo how they were trying so hard to get up to her.  Only one made it, so she gave up, after a bit and they settled back in their corner on the floor.  I bet tomorrow, they make it.

That’s enough stress for one day, I can’t take any more.

Have a blessed night, everyone.

April 10, 2013 – Buddy’s Flock

Well, the girls have been busy.  We have 16 laying hens, below are eggs we picked today.  We didn’t collect eggs yesterday, so these are from yesterday and part of today.  But look at that big one! 3″ long and almost the same in diameter!  Congratulations to the girl who laid that one!  Must of hurt…. I don’t know who lays what egg, except Lucy, my leghorn lays the white one and Sassy lays the blue one.  Our newest 4 layers, Lilly, Dottie, Fuzzy & Wuzzie all lay the green grey eggs and they are the smallest of all the eggs.

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Well, other than the excitement of such a large egg, the girls have been hidden most of the day, which means there’s a predator around.  The roosters have been on high alert.  Finally, my dad spotted the predator, a red tailed hawk.  We kept an eye on it and she caught something down the hedge row from us.  I managed to shoot a couple photos since it wasn’t in my yard terrorizing my … Buddy’s Flock.

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