"Self-sufficiency does not mean 'going back' to the acceptance of a lower standard of living. On the contrary, it is the striving for a higher standard of living, for food that is organically grown and good, for the good life in pleasant surroundings... and for the satisfaction that comes from doing difficult and intricate jobs well and successfully." John Seymour ~ Self Sufficiency 2003

Saturday, 30 January 2016

Chickens

Well, the chicks are all growing up.

They'll be 3 months old on Tuesday.

And it looks like, serendipitously, only one of the chicks is a rooster. 
Hopefully, growing up with me, this rooster
will be more friendly than his dad was...
Which means we will eventually have 5 egg-laying chickens :)


Tweedle Dee, like Tweedle Dum the ex-rooster, is quite a feisty bird.  She was an excellent mother whilst the chicks were young, but now that they are almost 3 months old, she's quite a hen pecker.

If one of the chicks dares to come close to a morsel she has her beady eye on...

"Squawk!"

Which results in my screeching:

"Tweedle Dee, leave the poor chicks alone - there's plenty for everyone".

I don't think she believes me...

Learning to live with chickens has been interesting.

My lot don't eat snails nor slugs - not even ones that are hand fed to them.  They're obviously too good for that!

We are very grateful for the 2 eggs we are getting each day from Tweedle Dee and Cluck.  When we start getting 5 a day, our various neighbours will score, and RSon will have to visit us more frequently so that he can take home the excess.  5 chickens potentially laying an egg a day = +/- 30 - 35 eggs a week...!!

Tweedle Dee decided to get broody exactly 2 months (to the day) after the chicks hatched.  Now, a chicken sitting on infertile eggs is not (egg)productive.  It took me 7 days to get her to return to normal (i.e. confined to one of the coops on her own with food and water but no sign of a nesting box) and a further 4 days after rejoining the rest of her family until she started laying again...

Milk that has gone sour is no longer wasted.  I have discovered that chickens l-o-v-e sour milk.  They dive into the bowl full so actively that it ends up dripping down their necks / feathers.  The young 'uns, being left on the side lines in true pecking order, resort to pecking the drops off Tweedle Dee and Clucks feathers, and only get to have their share once the two "ladies" are replete :)
All I did was go outside to take their pic - you can
see how they all rush up to me, hoping that I have
 a tasty morsel (or two) in my hands...
(admittedly, it was 15 minutes away from feed
scattering time...)
They walked away disappointedly when they
realised it was only the camera I was holding
Come food time, when I try to walk to the coop to scatter their feed it is hazardous.

They are 100% free range, so if they spot you walking anywhere near the coop with "something" in your hands when they feel like an easy tasty morsel, they all try and trip you up, so that you can spill it - and they can get their beaks filled quicker. 

I can almost hear them think "Don't be pedantic - feed us now, don't make us walk all the way to the coop.  Pleeeeease?"

No way.  Routine works for me, and it has to work for you ;)

Check your newly laid mulch on a daily basis.  There's nothing they love more than to scratch and displace as much mulch as possible away from it's intended location whilst they search for anything edible beneath it.
Harvesting the first of my heirloom tomatoes
 and the first of my eggplant
Also, don't try and harvest tomatoes and place them on the ground next to you, whilst you harvest some herbs growing on the outside the veggie patch.

This is the result of that mistake.
The chickens attacked the tomato like manna
 from heaven!
All it took was 3 minutes of having my head turned.

Never mind, I chopped off the bitten bit, and added the rest to some tomato sauce I was making.

Waste not, want not :)

8 comments:

  1. Well, with free range chickens patrolling you won't get snake bit. Mine attack snakes in chicken wave attacks. They kill the snake then the whole mob eats it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Harry - That is good news indeed. do you know how many chickens would it take to successfully repel / attack a snake - especially given that the snakes can reach the size of 1.8 - 2.0 mtrs in length?

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  2. Replies
    1. pqsa - Thanks. This year I have an absolute abundance of eggplants - so many that I can't find enough neighbours to give them to lol

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    2. I've heard that in parts of the US, they lock their doors during summer. Not against burglars, but in case someone sneaks in and deposits a load of squash on the kitchen counter.

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    3. Bwahahaha! Having grown zucchini (once) I can completely understand...

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  3. Chickens and gardens don't mix! LOL. They really interesting creatures. It always amazes me how the mothering hormones make a dramatic switch off. Fascinating, really.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Leigh - No, they don't, but simultaneously, yes they do, for their poo is wonderful for the garden :)

      Can you imagine what state the world would be in if humans also "switched off" their hormones...

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