Category Archives: The Chicken Challenge

Lesson 396 – The power of one chick

We’ve had a lot of rain up here in New Hampshire (we’re just starting to see some glimpses of sun this afternoon). Rain makes for wet ground and chickens don’t necessarily like getting their feet damp. They’ll try to get up high away from it all, When it rains, you’ll always catch most of the birds roosting on whatever they can find, as long as it’s not on the ground.

That includes our littles.

Here is a picture of one of the babies roosting.

brilliant chick

What you don’t see but what is truly amazing is that this particular roost is about 3 feet off the ground. At some point this little bird had to make the decision to fly up to a skinny stick way, way, way over her head so that she could sit on it to keep dry from the puddles gathering below. The very first time she tried must have been incredibly frightening. But she did it anyway.

That’s some leap of faith. Continue reading

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Filed under All things chickens, Backyard Chickens, Chick Photos, chicken care, Chicks, Inspiration, Life Lessons, Personal, Project Chickens before the Eggs, Teaching kids, The Chicken Challenge, The Family, The kids

Lesson 390 – One little chick flew the coop today

Anyone who knows me knows that I tend to hold on to things (and yeah, I can hear the sarcastic “Oh really?” all the way from here.)

Many, many years ago, my son Griffin got interested in calligraphy. That year’s Christmas he got a calligraphy set and in the evening when I went to bed I found this note on my pillow.

I kept it. (did you really think there was even a remote chance I would not?)

This morning, after days of packing, writing lists, re-checking the lists, verifying the lists (are you sure you packed it?) my son left to begin his freshman year at RIT. Other than for school trips and a short stay with an Aunt, he has never been away from home. Continue reading

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Filed under All things chickens, Chicks, Inspiration, Life Lessons, New Hampshire, Project Chickens before the Eggs, The Chicken Challenge, The Family, The kids

Lesson 389 – Surviving Hurricane Irene with the flock

I know that a lot of you were worried about us during the hurricane Irene that came up the east coast this past weekend. To be perfectly honest, I was also worried. When you have 6 kids (and 40 chickens and 3 dogs and 1 rabbit) you learn to take storm warnings very seriously.

Before the storm came we stocked up on food for the animals, water, and this most amazing brand of Kettle corn. And then we hunkered down for the winds, bring it on Mother Nature.

Our entire flock retreated to safer places, the chickens to the roost, the rabbit to the shed, and the kids and the dog to the PlayStation room.

First the heavy rains came. The holes dug by our chickens for dust baths quickly filled up.

Then the rain started to collect and was threatening to go over our house’s foundation (that’s a cinder block that’s fully submerged there near the side of the house – and yeah, we have cinder blocks by the side of our house.) Continue reading

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Filed under All things chickens, All things local, Backyard Chickens, chicken care, Chicks, In the News, Life Lessons, New Hampshire, Project Chickens before the Eggs, The Chicken Challenge, The Family

Lesson 386 – a bird of a different feather

It probably comes as no surprise that I find chickens to be beautiful. Like snowflakes, each one is just slightly different enough from the others to make it an individual within the flock. (even our twins Simon and Garfunkel are distinguishable from each other – Simon has an extra little toe and Garfunkel’s top hat lies a little flatter than Simon’s.)

Just take a look at the gorgeous patterns on the backs of some of our juveniles. Now remember that all of these guys have the same father (Rocky Road) but you can definitely tell that they have different moms.

First we have this white slightly speckled one.

Here is another white feathered chick, check out the design on this one. The white chicks are the largest of our juveniles and one guess is that their mom is probably one of the ISAs (a type of chicken that is bred for hardy egg production.) Continue reading

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Lesson 385 – Our rabbit is a chicken

Our rabbit is a chicken.

No really. Vivian’s cage is kept in the dog pen area (the better to keep her safe from neighborhood predators) and so she has a first hand view of the chickens when we “take them out to pasture” (which is fancy talk for letting them roam in what is now considered the wastelands (literally) of the pen.) When the girls do not have Vivian out playing in the rabbit yard play-pen (which also doubles as a baby chick playpen these days), the rabbit is attentively watching the chicken activity from the safety of her perched cage.

Hey watching chickens beats whats on the Disney channel any day.

Trevor was out with the chickens yesterday and asked what would happen if we let the rabbit loose with the birds? Continue reading

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Lesson 384 – oh my, how you’ve grown

In the “my, how the little ones have grown department” I’m going to show you before and after photos of one of our “newborn” chicks.

This one is clearly the largest of the batch and although I’m not 100% sure, I have suspicions that she is really a rooster just waiting to break out in song. Not only is she large in size but she has humungous, dark yellow feet and while one of my sisters also has very large feet, in a chicken, this is usually not a good sign with regard to hen-domness.

Here is she at just a few weeks old when we let them play in the pen for a bit. By the way, we do have grass in our yard but the chickens have stripped the pen clean of any type of vegetative growth. It’s amazing to think that before we had chickens, we used to have to mow inside the dog pen. Continue reading

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Lesson 382 – this is a tough one to write

This is a tough one to write.

We are one less member of our flock today and the lost member is, you guessed it, our littlest one – Alkaia. She’s the one who lived, the one we pulled out of her shell. The tiny warrior who fought back.

From a purely practical point of view, this really comes as no surprise. She’s always been fragile and even at almost 2 months old was still wobbly on her feet, behaving in ways her siblings did not. She was skitterish, flighty, and often ran to the safety of others at the suggestion of a shadow. Continue reading

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