Coop Cleaning…

Last week we finally got a nice enough day to clean out the chicken coop. This means we rake, shovel, and scrape out all the old hay, shavings, dirt, and whatever else is in there. In it’s place we disinfect ( in a way that doesn’t hurt the chickens) and while that is setting in we clean out and spray down the boxes and get anything we can out into the sun light and spray it off with the water hose.  Once everything is as clean as we can get it we put down fresh hay and new shavings in the boxes.

chicken-coop

Our girls always love scratching around in the new hay and seeing what they can find. Its like a kid on their birthday playing with the box. Its funny to hear their happy noises and see them explore. Even the dogs try to go in and check it out (if we would let them).We rearranged things some this season to give them more space inside incase they have to stay in with the winter weather.

chickens-coop-scrathc

Chase is always a good supervisor for chores that take a while. Baxter is happy to sit on the porch and sleep.

chase-truck

I’m glad we got this chore done and have the girls already for the winter. One chore down… many more to go 😉

Growing and Laying

Our baby chicks aren’t so babyish anymore… sad face 😦

Chicks2

Two of our Columbian Rock Crosses have started laying (but not the one pictured below)…

Chicks

And maybe even one of my New Hampshire….

Chick

Their eggs have been so little and cute 🙂 No yokes in them at first, but now they are getting a little bigger so we’ll see when I crack open a bigger one…

Egggs

It has been very interesting to see these chickens integrate into the old flock and find their place among the other ladies. Its also fun to hear the difference in their clucking and little noises from the other types of chickens we have. I sat outside the last couple of nights since its been cooler, and just watched and listened to them…. Loving our adventures in chicken land 🙂

Born Free…

So the baby girls had their first day out in wide open spaces yesterday. At first they stayed close to their chicken tractor…

babys

But eventually they took off testing their wings and exploring…

Babys 3

At one point something must have scared them as the crowed back towards the fence…

Baby 4

But eventually they just had fun exploring, under hubbys and my close observation.

Babys 2

This is our third time letting a group of chicks out to explore and we learned it is best done when you have two or more people to help keep an eye on your chicks and to keep an eye out for predators as girls this size are still easy bait. You also have to watch out for the older chickens in your flock. If they want to the big ladies will pick on the younger birds. We haven’t had too much of a problem with this since the big ladies are used to the young chicks in the chicken tractor.

Babys 5

We usually let them out in the afternoon or early evening after hubby has gotten home so we can watch them together. They still spend the majority of the day in the chicken tractor. As they get older and bigger they will get more time out in the great outdoors “free”.

Growing Chicks

Our baby chicks are not baby’s anymore 😦

Chicks

They are big enough now that they can be outside in the chicken tractor every day and learn to be chickens.

chicks three

The big chickens are exploring around the chicks enclosure more and more…

Chiks n Chikens

Its funny to watch them interact, or not interact, and sometimes just ignore each other.

chickn tractor

The baby’s are also learning to eat pellet food, not just crumbles, and from the big girls feeder.

Chick eats

The stages they go though… funny, interesting, and sometimes odd, but always fun!

Poor Chicken

One of our Buff Chickens has a hurt leg…

Buff chicken

We don’t know how it happened and only can assume it may have happened when she jumped off her perch one morning. She has been hobbling around some, she is eating, and drinking so I’m not sure what we should do…. or if we should leave her alone to heal ? We can’t see anything wrong and when we press on her leg and the joint above she doesn’t peck at us or show pain, but who knows. Any ideas?

Adventures for Baby Chicks

Our baby chicks are growing and as you know from my last post are able to regulate their body temperature enough where they can be out in the yard on nice warm days.

Chick pen

As you can see from the above photo when they go outside they are placed in our newly built chicken tractor so they are safe to explore and birds or other things can’t get to them.

chick pen white

At first they were very timid and huddled together when they went out. But now they jump, run around, explore, peck at the grass, and act almost like a big chicken would.

Chick pen 2

Its really funny to watch them fight over spaces even though they have a big chicken tractor to be in. Their favorite space is a laying box we put in there for them to get used to.

chicks

This white baby chick thinks she rules the roost sometimes…

chicks box

But she usually gets pushed out of the box after a while.

chicks box2

They are also learning to use a big girl water feeder…

Chick water

They got used to that pretty fast.

Chicks water

For the most part the big chickens ignore the baby’s in their pen. Maybe because I haven’t planted my garden yet so they get to go into that to scratch in during the day…

Big Chicks

Still they are pretty close together, yet enjoying their own unique spaces I guess.

Chick yard

The baby chicks just enjoy each day they get to be out and right now they are fast asleep back inside and in their heat lamp area. Night Night baby chicks 🙂

 

 

New Baby Chicks 2015

We broke down and got some more cuteness this year in the form of 10 new baby chicks…

Baby Chicks 4

We have been debating getting new birds, but since we lost a few more of our oldest chickens this year we decided it was time to get new ones… especially since our egg production is down. We got them when they were one day old and they are so tiny.

Baby chick 5

I forget every time how small they are. I know they have to fit in an egg… but serious small cuteness here…

Baby Chicks 2

Chase is beside himself wanting to play with this new flock of babies, but has been resisting and trying to sit patiently as hubby and I handle the baby’s and maintain their living area right now.

Chase chicks

Baxter could care less… he has been though this so many times and is such a laid back pup, that once he smelled them and looked at them he was over it and was back in his chair. I love to check on the babies every day when I get home and just watch them.

Baby Chicks 1

I change out things in their box every few days and on their first change they got a mirror added… They seem to love the mirror and often are caught looking in the mirror or sleeping in front of it… It’s hilarious 😉

Baby Chicks 3

We ended up getting 5 New Hampshire chicks and 5 Columbian Rock Cross chicks. It’s nice to have babies in the house again and hear their little chirps 🙂

Chicken Keeper…

Being a chicken keeper is not as easy as it sounds. Like any animal there are daily decisions about care, feed, shelter, etc. Today dilemma was about clipping the new chickens flight feathers as they keep escaping their area and the concern is that our neighbors dogs or other wild animals will get them. As I said the  other day, they are safer inside the area we fenced off for them where our dogs are then outside it. We have a large area fenced for them and our dogs to be.BuffSo today 4 more got out and so we clipped the one that couldn’t figure out how to get back in. Now clipping a chickens wing is something we have never done as we like for them to be able to get up on their perch, fly away from predators, etc… so this was a hard decision. Yet, it came down to the girls are safer in the fence then out of it. If the other’s keep jumping they will need to be clipped to at least this year.Buff x2I was told and have read the flight feathers grow back and if that is so hopefully the girls will have figured out they can’t jump/fly over the fence by the time they grow back and not try. Fingers crossed… one can hope so we can let them keep their flight feather’s next year. 🙂

Chip Chocolate Spice Cookies

So I made up a gluten-free and dairy- free cookie (at least from the recipes I have ever seen I have made up a recipe) and I am pretty proud of it as it has won over every person who has tried it. No one could tell it was dairy and gluten-free. Now don’t get scared of the spice in the cookies, it is just noticeable enough for you to say… “what is in that cookie?” So here it is my debut of my…OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Chocolate Chip Spice Cookie

You will need:OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

1/2 cup Shortening

3/4 cups light brown sugar

1/4 cup Truvia/Stevia sweetener (or any of your choice)

2 tbsp. almond milk

2 tbsp. vanilla

1 egg

1 3/4 cups gluten-free all-purpose flour

1 tsp. salt

3/4 tbsp. baking soda

3/4 tbsp. baking powder

3/4 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

3/4  bag dairy free chocolate chips

I used my food processor to mix all the ingredients with the bread blade and used a small bowel to mix the dry ingredients before adding them (see below). But mix with what you have 🙂 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

To make:

Preheat oven to 375* and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

In your food processor (or you can combine in a bowel and use a hand or other mixer) combine shortening, brown sugar, truvia, almond milk, and vanilla. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Blend until well mixed scraping sides if needed.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Add egg and cream into mixture.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Add in the pumpkin pie spice and combine scraping sides.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

In a small bowel combine flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Add this dry mixture slowly into the food processor ( I add it in three sections) until combined. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Scrap sides before adding the dry mixture each time.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Once dry mixture is combined add in the chocolate chipsOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

And combine. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Using a small ice cream scoop drop round scoops onto the baking sheets with a little space to spread out in between. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Bake for 8-10 minutes until they are slightly brown. Don’t overbake. Allow to cool on the pan for a few minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

I keep my cookies in one of two cookie jars. This rooster one (below) or my chicken one…OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

It reminds hubby of his grandmother always having cookies in her cookie jar when he was growing up 🙂 Look inside…OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAEnjoy with someone you love 🙂

The Great Outdoors

The weather was perfect today 92* and there was a light breeze. Hubby and I moved some trees for the neighbor with our tractor. Then hubby changed the oil in the car while the one month old chicks got to go outside for the first time 🙂chick flower

We put up a little fence with a wire top so the hawks couldn’t get our babies.chicks fence

At first they were a little hesitant and wouldn’t move. It was if they didn’t know what to do.chicks explor

Then slowly they started to explore, peck at the ground, find things to play with like pinecones, and they were off…chicks explore

They now LOVE the great outdoors 🙂

One of our big chickens that our neighbor has named Mrs. Marigold came to check out the new chicks…. She got closer….chkn

And closer….chickn

Until finally…chicks n chicken

She checked them out…chicks n chicken 3

They checked her out….chicks n chicken 2

Then she lost interest and walked away to find some food…chkn peck

That was it she just left the little chicks wondering who that big mama chicken was…chick confused

A couple of them got a special treat and under close supervision were allowed to explore the flower beds…chick white flower

And the grass…chick grass

They just seemed to love the day outside 🙂

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