Tag Archives: chicken flock

Lesson 547 – Notes from a chicken workshop

My new official chicken workshop bag.

Last night I gave my Chicken 102 workshop. Here are some notes on the experience:

  • Even though I came prepared with a cone, even though I talked about how to humanely kill a chicken using a cone, every time I mentioned the act, I stumbled over the word. Stumbled, as in fell flat on my face, couldn’t even say the right word. Kill, dispose of, cone? Finally a man in the audience came to my rescue and like a parent gently leading a child to the coffin, told me that the word was “harvest.”

    Harvest. It’s a good word. The end of a successful season, the fruition of your labors. Something that is appreciated.

    It’s a good word.

  • That young family was there (with the lava lamp girl) and this time, after I had answered the question “what is the smallest flock you should have and what is the largest” (smallest is 3 birds, largest depends on your space and resources) she asked me, if chickens are flock animals, and if I had a chicken living in my house, then wasn’t that chicken lonely?

   Good question.

    I told her that this was a clear case of do as I say and not as I do. Charlie has flock members (she’s sitting next to me right now as I write this) but they are just birds of a different feather. Charlie is a unique situation and as much as we love her in the house, I’ve got to go on the record as saying that I don’t recommend that people start raising chickens in the house.

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Filed under chicken care, Personal, Resources

Lesson 546 – Basic first aid for chickens

Tonight I’ll be giving my Chickens 102 workshop in Concord. It follows Chickens 101 where we talk about how to get chicks, take care of them, and then transition them to the outdoors.

Tonight’s talk will be about how to maintain a flock. We’ll be talking about:

  • Winter care
  • Warm weather care
  • Henhouse care
  • Flock behavior
  • Poop
  • Food
  • Eggs
  • Infections
  • Body problems
  • Bio-security
  • Harvesting using a cone

I was talking to a reporter last week about chickens (I’ll link to the article once it is published) and she asked me what I would do if a chicken got sick.

The short answer is that I would do what I could (the operative word here is, of course, I.) I have no illusions that chickens are anything but farm animals (even our all-time favorite hens like Simon, Morganne, and, especially, Charlie.) Continue reading

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Lesson 544 – Spring in our steps

Spring has arrived here in New Hampshire.

Our Bleeding Hearts have blossomed.

The Dandelions are playing tag with the lawn, you’re it.

Violets have gathered to giggle in shy groups.

And the Bluets are madly cheering the warmth and light. Continue reading

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Filed under Backyard Chickens, chicken care, Eggs, Points to ponder, Roosters

Lesson 542 – The bully becomes the bullied in the henhouse

We have a Serama-mix frizzle. Her name is … wait for it… Ms. Frizzle, named after the teacher from the Magic School Bus TV show.  We have had Ms. Frizzle for two years. She is one of three we bought one summer. They were all sisters and came as a package because one of them was lame and the breeder wanted to keep them together.

Frizzles are not a breed, they are a desirous genetic aberration that any breed can show. In these birds the feathers bend up instead of down making them look very much like Daffy Duck after he has swallowed a cartoon bomb.

When we first got Ms. Frizzle, she was a rather unpleasant bird, prompting us to refer to the black three who roosted together overlooking the henhouse as the “three witches” – you know, boil, boil, toil, and trouble?

Ms. Frizzle was small (she’s a bantam) but she was a bully. She’d mercilessly attack the other hens in the coop all the time. We all tolerated her, but to be perfectly honest, Ms. Frizzle was no one’s favorite bird. Continue reading

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Filed under Backyard Chickens, chicken care, Points to ponder, Roosters

Lesson 541 – No patter of tiny feet for us this year

This is going to be the first spring in 3 years that we aren’t going to have chicks in the house. No tiny peeping from the mudroom and none of that stinky organic odor as they grow, eat, and poop in their crates until they are old enough to go outside. I think we’re going to find that we will miss all that.

I realized this when I saw that Charlie’s baby waterer and feeder (plastic bottles attached to a red base) had been put in a box to be stored away with our other chick equipment kept in waiting until needed. Charlie is a big girl now, she eats from a converted casserole dish (deep sides so that she doesn’t splatter her food all over the place) and shares her water-drinking with the dog in the community bowl.

Yup, there will be no little peepers for us this year. As it is, we have a total of 35 chickens and although 7 of them are bantams of which some are the size of fat pigeons, and one lives in the house, it still makes for a full henhouse. As much as I would like to get more chickens, unless we enlarge the henhouse (and we’d rather send our kids to college, thank you very much) we are going to have to put new chicks on hold.

Of course we are still looking forward to a single new Black Copper Maran juvenile (already named Verruca) sometime this summer to be a playmate for Charlie but other than her, our flock is in lockdown. Continue reading

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Filed under chicken care, Chicks, Personal, Roosters