Tuesday, June 29, 2010

13 Weeks

13 weeks old now and looking good.  I just had them tested by the NPIP, will have to wait on one of the tests but the other one is instant and clear.  Yay.  Lots of crowing going on now in the mornings.  Some are sounding professional and others are still trying to get it.  We had a couple of very hot weeks.  Very stressful for the birds but this week has cooled down by 15 - 20 degrees, F.  Gives me a break from the worry of keeping them cooled. 
Some pictures of my chickens at this age:
in the
in the
of the

Big beautiful Buckeye Cockerelle,  he is so friendly and mild mannered and growing so big.  I would like to keep him but he may be too tall and he has crooked toes.  I may keep him anyway.  Not sure.  He would make a great pet.

Monday, June 14, 2010

11 Weeks Old

So I didn't take pictures at 10 weeks old.  I had a lot going on between all the rain.  But I did take pictures today.

This is a pecking block I added to give them something else to do.  They were suspicious of it at first so I put some grain on it and sprinkled it around on the ground.  Gradually they pecked their way up to it and checked it out.  This picture shows a rooster and a hen.

Here they are relaxing in the morning shade on the outdoor perch.  The feed is in the gazebo and the water is where it stays shady all day.  They eat more outside now than they do inside so I have to fill it more often.  They have graduated to turkey grower which has 20% protein and no medication.  It is in a pellet form which they seem to like better.  It also works better in these type of feeders.  With the powder feed I would have to shake down the feed several times a day, I don't have to do this withthe pellets.

They took care of this watermelon rind and now they play with it.

Congregating on the gazebo roof.

Buckeye roo at 11 weeks old.
Buckeye pullet at 11 weeks.  Beautiful birds.  Very big.  They are also friendly and calm.
I am concerned about two of the Buckeye roos.  They are a little slower feathering, especially on their backs.  This was exposing the fluff of their saddle feathers drawing attention to themselves.  When I noticed others going up to them and removing the fluff, which is by the way an entire feather, I panicked.  I tend to do that when I see something strange going on in the flock.  I immediately wrote a letter to Ann who forwarded it to Jeff who wrote back to me concerning the goings on in my chicken yard.  When my husband got home I alerted him to the goings on as well.  I looked up chicken jackets on http://www.hensaver.com/ and ordered two.  I also went out and purchased a pecking block to help distract them.  I went over and over with Mark plans for a chicken tractor so we would have alternate housing should the need arise.  At first he really wasn't into the tractor idea but I managed to find a small video of one on Garden Girl TV's website and showed it to him.  I am absolutely useless when it comes to relaying to my husband what I want.  But he totally got it when he saw the video.  Huge thanks to all of you out there posting pictures and videos of your chickens and their happenings, including lodging.  Now I'm going to post pictures of the two Buckeyes in question.

It isn't that the others are being mean.  I'm not seeing it that way.  It is that they are always taking care of each other.  If one has a piece of shavings hanging on it another will kindly remove it.  Sometimes a bit of grass or something hanging out of it's mouth etc.  To the others this looks like somethings wrong and they kindly remove it.  I've been watching these two for several weeks since their is another Buckeye roo who's back doesn't look like this.  The back feathers neatly cover the tail feather fluff.
So this is what I've been concerned about.  Skin is beginning to be exposed.  Since the chicken is a dark brown a small droplet of blood isn't as obvious as it would be on a white chicken.  But to me this is an all alarm alert.
This is what the back of the other one looks like. I believe this is normal.  This is a beautiful bird but he doesn't like to be photographed.  A little afraid of the camera I think.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

9 Weeks Old

A lot going on this week.  We added another 160 feet of electronet to the chicken yard for a total of 320 feet of fence.  This way they have more shaded area and lots of new ground, weeds, extra bug territory etc.  When I looked out at them the area just didn't seem big enough for them now that they have grown so much and it was getting pretty worn down.  Now it goes way way back and it is wider at the front.

Recently in my last post I mentioned opening up the back of the coop to let more air flow through.  This is what it looks like now.  We used hardware cloth.  The tarp keeps the rain out.  We have had a lot of rain.  It hasn't smelled badly in there since we did that even on a really hot day, try 95 degrees F in May.

It's really hard for me to get good pictures of my birds.  I think it's great and so I click.  In the time it takes to click, a split second, they move.  So next time I try to be really quick and I forgot to focus.  I think they are beautiful birds though.  Obviously, otherwise why all the pictures.
This one is my favorite. He comes running up to me and follows me everywhere, checking out what I'm doing. He has even let me pet him.

This one is a big one.  A big cockerelle.
So yesterday we made more changes to the coop.  We shouldn't have.  They were in a panic at bedtime.  Totally stressed.  Mark was picking them each up and stroking them, cooing to them.  Actually, I couldn't believe it, he was so concerned.  They were fine this morning though.  Mark had made a new perch and it was pretty big.  Awesome perch.  But we had to move stuff around to make it fit.  We should have done one thing and waited a couple of days to do one thing more etc.  Monday we enlarged their outside area and moved things around so Tuesday moving stuff around in the coop was a bad idea.  Mark felt like he had bonded with them and after said to me, "So you're going to make me put them in the slaughter cones, aren't you?"  Whew!  I felt bad after he said that.  But I will never make him do that.  I just read where a couple got a bunch of chickens for meat purposes but they ended up keeping them or giving them away because they simply couldn't do what is needed to get them into the freezer.  Now I'm wondering if that will happen to us.!!!!!!!

This morning: June 3, 2010, I'm out there early and I needed to tighten the red string strung over there yard because the heavy rain soaked it and stretched it down to the ground in some places.  Some of the chickens followed me to the back.  They like to walk around with me.  Some of them stayed at the front end of the yard where the water and feed are.  I heard a funny noise coming from the coop area so I stopped what I was doing and looked around.  In a minute I heard it again only it was louder.  And again.  Then I laughed, how cute, one of the roos was trying to crow and each time he tried it sounded more like a big boy.  So cute.