Tag Archives: Black Copper Marans

Lesson 1309 – Coming home

I know, as a mama hen you are not supposed to have favorites, (Zelda) but when you have a flock, you come to realize that some birds tend to be a little more equal than others.

It’s not necessarily related to the breed (although I love me some New Hampshire Reds) as much at it’s the roll of the dice. We’ve had some really friendly birds (Simon, Garfunkel, and Morganne) and we’ve had birds that both came with stories and then continued those stories in our backyard.

With all the devastation to our flock this spring and summer, I’m very happy to say that our 3 Marans have made it through the attacks. Rudd (who had been attacked and who then miraculously recovered), Lilly, and Charlie are still alive and well.

And while Rudd and Lilly came to our flock as adults, (someone who took my chicken workshop got them for her flock but quickly found they didn’t fit in and so offered them both to me – because she knew that I LOVED the breed) Charlie came to our house as a day old deformed chick who was going to be put down. Continue reading

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Filed under All things chickens, Backyard Chickens, chicken care, Eggs

Lesson 1272 – Staying low for a bit

I was going to write something witty about chickens today, but first thing this morning, I went in for a long-overdue root canal on one of my back molars.

Yeah, things are a little sore right now (can you say kicked by a mule?) Continue reading

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Filed under All things chickens, chicken care, Chicks, Living Tiny in a Big House

Lesson 1266 – Down on the farm

A few weeks ago I wrote about how Charlie, our Black Coper Marans chicken liked to come into the house and head straight to the dog’s bowls of food and water.

When she was a chick, Charlie lived in our house for 6 months (I know, I know) and as our dog Pippin was her closest flock member, she quickly discovered that eating what he was eating was far better than eating what we wanted her to eat (chicken feed from the supply store.) For months our dog and chicken ate out of the same bowls.

Eating kibbles

Eating kibbles

Whatever, hakuna matata, we rolled with it. Continue reading

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Lesson 1255 – Such magic

My kids play a video game called Portal. From what I understand you compete in a world where various round openings (portals) suddenly occur and when you step through them you are transported to a different place in the game.

portal

Mind blowing.

I was recently reminded of this game due to Charlie, our Black Copper Marans’ behavior.

Lately Charlie has been doing this little trick (also called training me) where she stands on the front porch and screeches in order to get my attention.

When I go to front door and open it in order to see if she is okay (as I would do for any of my chicks who screech), Charlie boldly saunters into the house and immediately heads over to Pippin’s dog dish for a snack. When she lived in the house with us (for 6 months), Charlie much preferred dog food to chicken food and I can only assume that once you’ve had dog food, you can never go back. She sure remembers that the dog bowl means yummies.

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When Charlie’s had her fill, I open the back door and she gracefully exits into the backyard to join the rest of the flock.

From the front yard to the back yard simply by way of opened doors (and with a tasty snack along the way to boot!)

Such magic by which these featherless flock members seem to live.

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Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com

Also, join me on Facebook to find out more about the flock (children and chickens) and see some pretty funny chicken jokes, photos of tiny houses, and even a recipe or two.

Like what you read here? Consider subscribing to this blog so that you’ll never miss a post. And feel free to share with those who may need a little chicken love.

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Filed under All things chickens, chicken care, Chicks, Living Tiny in a Big House

Lesson 785 – No more chicken swaps in New Hampshire (for now)

look at me

I just started a backyard flock management course and during the first week I learned chicken anatomy and what to look for during a necropsy (autopsy.) I also learned how to do a physical exam on a live chicken and what to look for if doing a home visit for a flock that has an ill member(s).

And while this is all fascinating stuff (truly, I’m loving this course) it’s not going to be too helpful to many of the backyard chicken enthusiasts in New Hampshire.

Due to the discovery of sick chickens being sold at local chicken swaps, we are finding mycoplasma gallisepticum, or MG, a respiratory illness, and mycoplasma synoviae, or MS, which affects joints in birds in backyard flocks around the state.

If you purchased a bird from a flock that was contaminated (and some birds are asymptomatic) there is a very good chance that you might have brought the disease into your flock.  When you buy a chicken from a chicken seller at a swap, your name is recorded and the state then has access to that information. Continue reading

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Filed under All things chickens, Backyard Chickens, Charlie, Life Lessons, Personal, The Family, Uncategorized

Lesson 768 – Lessons learned

broken heart

This is the beauty, strength, and power of a community. In the hundreds and hundreds of replies I got about our Violet’s experience (and I’ve read every single one several times) I received some tremendous gifts.

 

There was a comment from another chicken owner who had had a similar experience with cinder blocks.

 

Shoot, yeah, we never get to quit learning and improving in this life. Even after 50+ years of chickens, I just found out about the cinder block thing. I flood irrigate so my coop is on blocks, and recently some of my girls decided that laying eggs underneath it was better than the nests. I had boarded it up, but they knocked one down and for several days we kept wondering where all the eggs were. By the time we figured it out and re-secured the boards solidly, they were so fixated on that being the place to lay that the next day I found one stuck in a cinder block hole! So stuck, in fact, that it took me a while to get her out…but that ain’t gonna ever happen again.

 

Another person shared some examples of other unknown dangers in the coop that I would have never thought were a problem. Now I know.

 

Other suggestions for coop safety:  Someone told me once that a piece of plywood leaning against a barn wall fell on one of her pullets and killed her.  Also: cracks in the roost —- toenails can get ripped.  It’s happened to my bird.”  

 

One fellow chicken owner left this fabulous suggestion to use when integrating chicks into the flock. I will be using this trick the next time we have chicks:

Squirt bottle. It’s my training tool of choice for chickens (when it’s not freezing out of course). I have trouble accepting pecking order sometimes and other times they simply take it too far as you have learned. Armed with a good squirt bottle I can inflict a “peck” from several feet away, and it only takes a few squirts to show them who is really the boss of the yard. It works like magic. They are pretty fast learners. The instant you see a behavior you don’t want, squirt. It shouldn’t take more then a dozen squirts for even the most determined behaviors. Take care, loss is never easy, especially when you feel responsible.

And I got a whole lot of compassion from people who understood my pain and my sharing of our story. Because of Violet, cinder blocks are either being removed or are being filled up in coops all over. Chicks lives may be saved.

Violet had a short life but just look at what she was able to do.


Thank you for making me aware of the issue. I have blocks in the house for the waterers. When the new chicks hatch they will be removed. Our grown hens are much too large to squeeze their fat bodies into a block hole and they have settled into their order… but with new arrivals things can get interesting.

I am so saddened by your loss. I am just now back into keeping chickens, with my first batch of four chicks, and a deep concern about how to provide a safe environment for them, secure from predators. I will now focus on inside safety as well, and keep your lesson (and Violet’s) in my mind as I plan their coop and run. Thank you for the courage to speak the truth and help others be aware of unknown dangers. Hugs!

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Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com

Also, join me on Facebook to find out more about the flock (children and chickens) and see some pretty funny chicken jokes, photos of tiny houses, and even a recipe or two. 

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Filed under All things chickens, Backyard Chickens, Charlie, Life Lessons, Personal, The Family, Uncategorized

Lesson 767 – One bird at a time

First of all, I want to say “thank you” to everyone who reached out to me on this blog and Facebook yesterday. The chicken community really does understand what these feathered critters mean to us and I have to tell you that every comforting word did its job. I still, and will always, carry the guilt for this one, but it was wonderful to be given so many hugs from fellow chicken owners.

One person, who hatched some chicks yesterday even named a chick “Violet” in honor of our little bird. How beautiful is that? Violet’s spirit lives on.

I did get one letter from a woman who has decided to not follow me anymore because of what happened to Violet. She raised some interesting points in her email (which is now a Facebook post.)

She chastised me and said that you should NEVER introduce less than 3 chicks into a flock and while this is ideal, it’s not going to happen with some backyard chicken owners. Concord NH, for example, allows you to have 5 hens in your flock. If one died over the winter, you can either wait until more die to replace them or try to replace that single bird. Most people go with replacing what was lost. Flocks simply come in all sizes.

I got Violet as a single chick, just like I had gotten Charlie as a single chick. Neither bird had been planned but I wasn’t going to say no to them. In Charlie’s case, she lived because I was willing to do her foot surgery. In Violet’s case, she died, not because she was a single bird, but because I didn’t recognize a danger in the coop. Continue reading

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