Keeping Chickens

Most of my flock of chickens plus two guineas and a rooster. Some are always in the nesting box area.Keeping chickens is a joy, but a job as well. Most of my flock of chickens plus two guineas and a rooster. Some are always in the nesting box area.

We have been keeping chickens now for 23 weeks this week. They have been a lot of work but they are fun and we are finally getting farm fresh eggs.

Some of our pretty and tasty farm fresh eggs.Some of our pretty and tasty farm fresh eggs.

Keeping Chickens

Monday, October 5, 2020

This is our chicken coop before the new run. Behind it is the rabbit hutch. To the left, you see a hoop house with 20 raised garden beds for growing fruits and veggies.This is our chicken coop before the new run. Behind it is the rabbit hutch. To the left, you see a hoop house with 20 raised garden beds for growing fruits and veggies.

Good Monday morning! It is back to another work week. Fall is upon us and our work to do this week is piled high so everyone is doing overtime and working lunches this week, including me.

I went out to feed the chicks this morning. Keeping chickens is a lot of work. You have to go out early each morning to prep the outer coop and feed and water them. Now that some of the chicks are laying eggs, I give them oyster shells each morning so they don't lay eggs with shells that are too soft. You must give your chicks clean water each morning or algae will begin to grow in their waterer, which is disgusting. You need to give them enough food. We have 25 so it takes a lot of food. I also put some grit out each morning to help the chicks digest their food.

Now that they are about fully grown, a few times a week, I also give them dried mealworms, which chickens love. They go crazy when I toss some into the coop.

Our chickens will turn 23 weeks old this Wednesday, October 7. Some of our Barred Rock and Rhode Island Red chickens have been laying eggs for two weeks. Their eggs are different shades of brown but I don't think all of them are laying yet. It is still early. They have another three weeks to lay. We also have Americaunas that lay blue eggs and none of them have given us eggs yet, but again, they have another three weeks to start producing. The goal is to lay by 26 weeks of age.

We are keeping the nesting boxes as clean as possible. The chickens like to sleep in them and poop in them so we need to clean that out and keep them filled with clean wood shavings.

In the evenings, the male guinea and one of our Barred Rock hens, refuse to go into the nesting box area to sleep. They both park on the top roost in the run of the coop so we have to force them down by putting something under their bodies where the legs attach. This forces them to perch on the stick so we can carry them to the ground to get them in to the safety of the nesting box area.

This past week, a coyote and a racoon were both spotted here. In fact, the racoon killed six chicks in a pen next door that was not secure. It is so sad. Our chicken coop is pretty secure because I had the man who built it, do some of it over, using hardware fabric that extended up to the top of the roof and down into the ground about 12 inches. He also dug a trench and filled it with rocks all the way around the coop for added safety. We do not let them wander around because there are so many predators.

Sometime this week, we are adding on a large outdoor run so they can have more room to run and play and dig up bugs. Nacho with Top Notch Lawn Care built our coop and he will be doing the new run.

I am alone in the store today because Karen is helping out with orders since we are so far behind. If you have placed recent orders with us, they are coming to you very soon. We have a whole team of people working on them. I will continue working on price changes on our website.

I got a new chicken feeder today from Amazon. I took it out to the chicken coop to use for tomorrow. I found seven chicken eggs this afternoon.


Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Good foggy Tuesday morning! When I got up, the doors were open and I could see a haziness outside. As the sky got lighter, I saw white walls of fog, totally unexpected today. However, I remember last fall it got foggy out here several times. In the distance from the pool deck, I could hear my rooster crowing "Cock-a-doodle-doo!" It was a pretty cool moment in the life of keeping chickens!

I put my chicken boots on and headed on out to feed my chicks. Yesterday afternoon, the new big, blue chicken feeder came in so I filled it up for the first time. The chicks seemed to like it but not all of them could fit around it. One of the smaller feeders came apart and they lost the bolt somewhere in the dirt. I have not been able to locate it. The other smaller feeder is okay but the chickens knock it over in the dirt everyday so I decided to remove it.

A new waterer is supposed to arrive today. The two waterers we have now use a vacuum system to let water out and half the time, all of the water spills out so I am trying a different one. Apparently this new one is complicated but one of the Amazon reviewers put all of the directions he discovered into his review and once everything is done correctly, he says he loves it. We will see.

Now it is 9:30am and it is still somewhat foggy out there, although a lot of it has lifted.

This afternoon, David and I went to see his gastrointestinal surgeon. Back in 2018, he had diverticulitis and had to have four surgeries. It turns out he now has two hernias so sometime in the next six to twelve months, he needs corrective surgery. Fun, fun.

While we were gone, Nacho came to add a 12 by 12 foot run for keeping chickens happier than they are now. When we got back, he had it about halfway completed.

The new waterer is making keeping chickens a lot easier, once I got it together and figured out the diagrams. It doesn't all spill out. I got 11 eggs today, including one blue one, my first. This means that one of the Ameraucanas are laying finally. Interestingly, I found it out in the middle of the coop and almost stepped on it.


Wednesday, October 7, 2020

The birds in the foreground are in the new run, loving the space.The birds in the foreground are in the new run, loving the space.

Keeping chickens is getting easier and more rewarding since they are giving out eggs now. I wish they would all do it. Today, Nacho completed the chicken run. It made for a nice 23 week birthday present for the chickens. They love it!

The new chicken run has been built in front of the chicken coop.The new chicken run has been built in front of the chicken coop.
This angle shows just how much more space the chicks have when I let them out in the new run. Keeping chickens just got better.This angle shows just how much more space the chicks have when I let them out in the new run. Keeping chickens just got better.
I can put toys and treats out in the new run and keep a bunch of the chickens out here when I am cleaning the nesting box area.I can put toys and treats out in the new run and keep a bunch of the chickens out here when I am cleaning the nesting box area.

Of course, we were at David's cardiologist when Nacho worked on the run. When David was in the hospital having surgeries a few years ago, his heart would race in recovery so a cardiologist was brought in. David was put on pills for blood pressure and to calm his heart down. The doctor ordered several tests so we have to go back in a few weeks.


Thursday, October 8, 2020

Today, we had to go to San Antonio to see a podiatrist for David's ingrown toenails. This was his first visit. It went well. The podiatrist worked on his nails, cut them straight across and got them in shape. He said David won't need surgery so that is good news.

We got home only to find that Annabelle has a growth on her belly that was bloody and sticking out. We got her in to the vet and she said Annabelle needs surgery next Tuesday. She put her on Amoxicillin capsules for the weekend. Of course, Annabelle hates taking capsules and spits them out. I roll them in bread, tortillas, pill pockets, meat, cheese, and anything else I can think of. Once in a while, she will swallow it with the wrap I put around it. More often than not, the capsule gets spit on the floor so I have to wrap it again.


Friday, October 9, 2020

I have been feeding and watering the dogs and cat and then eating a quick bite of breakfast before going outside to take care of the chickens. Sometimes, I wake up too late and my yard is already full of our employees so they have to see me before I have made myself presentable. Keeping chickens is a dirty business in South Central Texas where it is usually hot and humid. The weather is warming back up and getting more humid everyday so I throw on some old clothes and go out to deal with the chickens before I get ready for work.

I think now that most of the Rhode Island Reds and the Barred Rock chickens are laying. Both lay brown eggs. A few of the Ameraucanas are laying now as we have had four blue eggs.


Saturday, October 10, 2020

Happy 10 year Gotcha Day and happy 11 year birthday to Kitty!!!Happy 10 year Gotcha Day and happy 11 year birthday to Kitty!!!

Ten years ago today, we bought our cat, Kitty, (I know, very imaginative) from a shelter at a pet store that was near our house. She was already one year old when we got her. Happy birthday, Kitty! Back then, I never would have dreamed we would be living in the country, keeping chickens.

I started the morning off by cooking everyone eggs and French toast. I cracked a blue one and it was a double yoke! Keeping chickens has its rewards. Then I went out to clean out the chicken coop. If you have never kept chickens, be prepared. They poop and poop and poop and then they do it some more, all night long. In the midst of all of that, they lay eggs in the poop. It is quite disgusting. I have to put in clean wood shavings every day.

Keeping chickens is expensive. I had two nice feeders for the chickens, but I ended up ordering a brand new one that is bigger and taller, standing on legs. The chickens were tossing the others around and took them apart. This one is heavier and taller. They love the new waterer I got earlier in the week. I also put oyster shells and grit out on the ground for the chickens so they can have firm egg shells and to digest their food properly. In addition to that, some days I will give the chickens mealworms or fruits and vegetables in the afternoons. They love treats.

Here is the new white and green waterer. It is much easier to work with than the others I had and it stays cleaner.Here is the new white and green waterer. It is much easier to work with than the others I had and it stays cleaner.
This is the very large new feeder that they have not knocked over yet.This is the very large new feeder that they have not knocked over yet.

Once I got that all situated, I went to town for some groceries. I cleaned up the house and did laundry for the rest of the day. We watched Svengoolie at 7pm. The movie was Tarantula, made in 1955. It was weird but fun.


Sunday, October 11, 2020

Today, we went to church after I fed all of the animals, including our chickens and guineas. I found eleven eggs, none of them blue today. The weather was hot and humid so I turned on the air conditioning for the chickens while they played in their run. They now spend most of the day in the run, unless they are eating, drinking, or laying eggs.

This afternoon, I made chocolate chip cookies using pecan flour instead of white flour. They taste very good but the cookies are thin and flat instead of how normal chocolate chip cookies turn out. David picked up some pecan flour, which I did not even know was a thing so I tried out the recipe on the bag.

Today is our David's Garden Seeds® manager's birthday! Happy birthday, Jay! We are glad you are a part of our team. I gave Jay some of my farm fresh eggs to take home for an early birthday gift. In addition to the nice lunch party we will give him later this month, along with a cake, a nice monetary gift and a card, he will also attend our pastor appreciation lunch at Chama Gaucha Brazilian Steak House next week when we take our pastor and his wife to show them our appreciation. We take good care of our people because we want to keep our people.

Keeping chickens is fun but very messy. All of them are now following me wherever I go when  I am around the coop, making noises at me. I guess they like me because I feed them. Then at night, right now around 7:30pm as it gets dark, I have to go out and make sure they are all in the nesting room so I can shut the gate for the night. This insures that they will be safe from predators.

The male guinea and one of the Barred Rock hens refuse to go in each night so I have to make them go in. They have been doing this for over a week now. Keeping chickens is not for the faint of heart. I have to take the stick of a rake and make them perch on it. Then I have to lift it from the top roost all the way down to the floor so they will go inside to safety. Sometimes, in mid air, they let go and fly close by your face because they are upset. They make noises while they fly. In the dark, it is scary.


Return from Keeping Chickens to Farm And Business Life


David of David's Garden Seeds® zipping along on his little tractor across the farm. He is having a blast!David of David's Garden Seeds® zipping along on his little tractor across the farm. He is having a blast!

We are David's Garden Seeds®. If you need great seeds, we've got about 1500 varieties to choose from.

Mrs. David's Garden Seeds in the greenhouse with Lucy the lap dog.Mrs. David's Garden Seeds in the greenhouse with Lucy the lap dog.