I thought I’d share a little update on my baby chickens.
Today the Belles are 14 weeks old and huge! Well, at least they look huge to this chicken mama. No eggs yet and I don’t expect any for another couple of months. You will remember that I have Buff Orpingtons and purchased them through my local feed store when they were 2 days old. Looking back at photos, I can’t believe how quickly chickens grow. No roosters yet; I may have all hens. yay!
My morning routine consists of sitting in the run with the girls. I usually bring them a treat and after they eat, they sit in my lap for a few. We chat 🙂 and then I run a quick rake to clean the coop.
Here’s a few things I’ve learned:
1. Chickens grow fast!
2. Chickens have hot feet.
3. To avoid dirty chicken foot prints, always wear an apron when visiting. I have quite a few vintage aprons from my grandmother, one even has chickens on it, and I keep them near the back door.
4. Chickens are friendly and cuddly. I get chicken hugs and they like me to scratch the top of their heads. Georgia doesn’t like to sit in my lap, but she does like to jump up on my shoulder to sit. This can be a problem – see lesson no. 5.
5. When chickens are sitting on your shoulder, avoid eye contact. I say this because hubby had Georgia on his shoulder and he turned his head to look at her and got his eye ball pecked. Yes, a chicken will peck your eye out. He didn’t have any damage, but his eye ball turned bloody for a week. I try to keep them off my shoulders, but Georgia can be persistent.
6. Deep litter method did not work for me. I like a tidy hen house. Instead, I switched to construction sand in the hen house and in the run. I use a small rake in the run and then pick up with a large kitty litter scoop. I then scoop out the poop from the hen house. I do this every day and it takes all of two minutes. The poop goes directly into the compost.
7. If it’s warm outside, my girls like to stand in water to cool their feet. If it’s really hot outside, I have a gallon jug of water in the freezer. I place the frozen jug inside the hen house to cool the air.
8. So far, my chickens don’t like mashed potatoes, nor marigolds. They do like rice, grape leaves, stevia, lettuce, cucumber, corn, watermelon, strawberries, and sunflowers seeds.
9. Hens are fairly quiet. The only time I hear them is when they fight for their spot on the roost at sunset. Otherwise, a few squabbles here and there. They cluck a little when they greet me, but even that is fairly quiet.
10. I have a labrador, Shelby, and so far no issues. I mean, they’re not best friends or anything, but Shelby ignores the chickens and the chickens keep an eye on the whereabouts of the dog.
11. The compost is awesome! Everything goes into the compost bin. I turn the bin every other day and it still smells like rich dirt. I was concerned there would be an odor from the added chicken waste; I am pleasantly surprised.
12. No chicken smell. Maybe it’s because I tidy up every day, but so far little-to-no odor from the girls.
13. About 1/2 hour before sunset I let them out of the run to the side yard to scratch around. This is perfect because when the sun starts to set they head to the hen house on their own; I don’t have to chase any chickens into their run. Pretty smart, eh?