Posts tagged ‘family’

Weekly Photo Challenge: Summer

 This photo was taken the summer of 2008.

This photo is Summer.  Sunshine, swimsuit, sprinkler and a smile

What in the World are my Chickens Doing?

Our always curious Easter Egger.

Ok all you chicken owners out there, help me out.  What the heck are my chickens doing?  They will plop down onto their side, stick out their little drumstick and raise up one wing.  Are they just sunbathing?  My uncle says he’s never seen his chickens do this?  I spent a while outside hoping to catch a few with the camera.  What do you think?

Beanie also wanted me to take some shots with her in the chicken yard.  That girl loves to hang out with the chickies, but doesn’t want to pet them (only b/c she doesn’t want to have to go inside and wash with soap and water afterwards).  Her brother on the other hand would pet them for hours and hours if I let him.

You have to love how she works the camera. She just skipped around the coop saying, ooh, take one here…and here…and here…very adorable.

Beanie and Pretty Polly, my favorite little chicken. Several of them will tolerate being held, but I think she may actually enjoy it.

What are these crazy chickens doing? Barred Rock, Silkie, Silkie, Rhode Island Red…in some sort of crazy raise-the-wing line.

One of our blue silkies out enjoying the weeds.

Beanie snapped a pic of me over by the coop.

Venturing into the great wide somewhere

It only took a few minutes for the little girls to begin exploring their new home.

I think the is the most adorable photo of Teeny Weenie!

Monty watches the SLW and RIR hungrily.

Shiloh walks the perimeter of the chicken yard looking for a chink in the armor. Thankfully my hubby put up a mighty fine fence!We put them all up into the coop for the night, with their heat lamp and food and water.  The locks are all on and the only thing left to do is put in some roosts and paint the door (my daughter and father-in-law painted it for me, but I had them paint the wrong side so the chickens are enjoying a beautiful blue door while we, out here, are not)

 May 15, 2012  Side Yard Flock   Leave a comment
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So we named her dinner.

Another week has passed and our little chickies are 3 weeks old.  My husband is so ready to reclaim his garage and get the birds outside, but we’re only halfway there.  He’s been beside himself without the use of his home gym.  We’ve made big strides in the coop department, well in the fencing department anyway.  All we have left to do are build and install the gates, and line the bottom section with chicken wire.  We should have time to get this done over the weekend, as my hubby is off Friday-Monday.

3 week old chicks chowing down

 

 

Most of the Chickens are doing well.  Teeny Weennie is still…well…teeny weenie, just look at her next to the Rhode Island Red and across from our SLW.  I don’t think she’s getting picked on, I often see the other chickens picking pieces of sawdust out of her feathers, but they don’t seem to be pecking HER and she doesn’t seem to mind so no need to intervene just yet, but the size difference is so pronounced, that I am keeping a close eye on things.

Dinner

 

 

The only other development in the chick department is the attitude problem of our Silver Laced Wyandotte.  She is rude.  She flys at the other chickens, and she bit me yesterday.  Not just the poke poke with the beak that some of them do, but she hauled off and open beak bit my thumb.  Let’s just say we picked the perfect name for her: Dinner.  Beanie hopes that Dinner turns out to be a boy, but she also said Dinner should eat a lot so will be nice and fat for when we eat her.  My daughter cracks me up.  I don’t know if I would have been as laissez-faire about eating a chicken out of my garage when I was 4yrs old.

Beanie took a picture of Polly and me.

 

Polly is still my favorite girl, she climbs up onto my hand when I visit them, and is so sweet.

Our little Easter Egger is covered in crazy fluff, but is still the softest chick we have. She enjoyed the sunshine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I took our little Ameraucana outside for a little bit of sunshine, but couldn’t let her down.  I know she hasn’t gotten enough feathers yet to stay warm in our sunny 50 deg weather.  (And our cat was winding around my ankles when I took this picture.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In other news Beanie has been doing well with her homeschooling.  She just finished the systems of the body (it helps that Dad is a Nurse Practitioner) and we’re starting a series on poetry and music.  She has written a few haikus and typed them up on the computer, then we print them out and water-color paint over top of the poem. So far it has been a blast, I’m going to start with other types of poems next week, and we will compile them all into a poetry notebook.  Here is one of them.

Rainbows

they make me smile

orange yellow purple red

shining in the sky

She has also been working on a photo scavenger hunt. Here are a few of the photos that she took.

Something Green

Something shorter than she is.

something alive.

Something that is a circle.

Something red.

 May 10, 2012  Side Yard Flock   7 Comments

Chickens and Crickets and Worms OH MY!

So our baby chicks are two weeks old now, and I am just so shocked every morning when there is something new.  Human babies come out pretty much done, at least mine did, but chickens…one morning they all had ears.  I mean one day fuzzy head, the next day ears.  It has been so crazy.  And the size difference is getting more obvious.  Our Silver Laced Wyandotte is the largest, and most inquisitive, of the flock.

SLW trying to figure out what the thing is that keeps flashing brightly at them.

They were not amused by the camera and all huddled together on one side of the stock tub.  Little Teeny Weenie there on the left side is almost half the size of some of the larger girls.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Teeny Weenie still lives up (or down) to her name, and one of our Rhode Island Reds (I’ve just now decided I should call her Polly) thinks she is a parrot and steps onto my finger then climbs up my arm to nestle at my neck or attempt to sit on my shoulder.  As adorable as it is this behavior does make me nervous as there is almost always a cat watching me hold these birds, and hoping, I’m sure, for one to jump away and into their mouths.

Polly sitting on my finger, showing off her new ear. Hopefully this one doesn’t end up being a rooster, she’s the sweetest one.

 

 

 

 

I thought it might be cute to put some dandelion greens into their tub today to get them used to eating greens, and then as an after thought I grabbed a couple of worms from under our logs. We’d put a cricket in the tub a few days earlier, but regreted it as some of the bigger chicks then thought the fluff on our silkies feet were bugs, so I thought maybe a worm would be okay.  The kids found out a few weeks ago that the stumps we use out back at our fire pit are a breeding ground for worms.  I could turn one over every other day and find at least twenty. I prob should have grabbed twenty but then the chaos would have just lasted that much longer. When I first put the greens and worms in all the chickens backed up to stare, but as soon as one of our Barred Rocks figured it out it was all over.

What did you just put in here?

It’s mine, I found it first!

Chickens running madly while chirping with worms dangling out of their mouths while the others chased them, trying to steal the prize.  At one point there were 5 pieces of worm and 5 chickens doing the chasing and one Teeny Weenie trying desperately not to get trampled in the melee.  I picked her up and she huddled down, happy to be out of the line of fire.  After the worms were gone the big chicks still went around scratching the ground like mad…I wish they were a little bigger so I could let them outside, but I know this time is going to fly by, just like the last year has flown by.

Baby opens his first ever birthday gift. A puppy and a book from his Great Grandparents in MN.

Baby enjoys his birthday cupcake after Bubba and Beanie blow out the candle for him.

Our baby just turned one yesterday.  I know that if the last year felt like no time at all, these chicks are only going to be chicks for a few more blinks.  I’ll enjoy the time I have while they still want to snuggle…chickens and kids.

 May 5, 2012  Side Yard Flock   Leave a comment

The Coop and The Flood

So we’ve been doing a ton of work on the coop this week.  We painted it and finally got locks that work (though some of them still need to be installed.)  My husband helped me mount the door and then he, Beanie, and I sanded it down so it would open and close smoothly.  The baby chicks are all doing well, we still hold each one every day and most of them are very calm once you get them in hand.  I gave them a few pieces of cantaloupe yesterday and they stood about six inches away in a little line staring at it.  Then one would jump over the food and rush back in line to wait for the fruit to launch a counter attack.  This lasted a few minutes and I got bored.  My daughter looked in about half an hour later and said “Hey they really like those melons!” Once they figured out how delicious they were it was pretty adorable.

My fantastic husband is 6'2" so that gives you an idea how tall this coop really is! Good luck you evil raccoons!

The floor is finished on the inside and will never look as good as it does right now!

 

Beanie helps sand the door frame.

So now that the coop is pretty much assembled and painted we’ve pushed our focus to the fence.  We’ve decided to make two separate yards for the chickens and rotate on a 4-6 month basis so we can give the ground a rest.  The kids were out helping with that too…my hubby has the patience of a saint with these little helpers.  🙂

Bubba and Beanie help Daddy tighten the fencing onto the poles.

 

 

Sinking the poles for the coop's fence.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beanie wanted a few pretty extra touches added on to the coop (she wasn’t a fan of it being brown) so I free-handed some tulips onto the nest box door.  She approved.

 

 

That’s our coop update.  One last little bit of excitement was our flood yesterday.  Now I just wanted to impart a teeny little piece of knowledge.  I am sure you’ve all heard that it only takes a second for a kid to drown in a bathtub, but what you may not know is that it takes less than a minute for a 2 1/2 yr old to dump half a bathtub’s worth of water onto the ground.  I also learned that it is extremely difficult to get water out of heating ducts, but not difficult for the water to drip from the heating ducts onto the drywall and into our downstairs light fixtures.  It was a…fun…evening.  I did get some great advice from my aunt when I called her and my uncle in a panic: “Maybe don’t let the toddler have a bucket as a bath toy.”  Touche.

ahhhh isn't that a pretty little coop. (Or as Bubba calls it, the Chicken House.)

...in case you didn't know what those oval things were, the ones sitting under the chickens...

 April 30, 2012  Side Yard Flock   7 Comments

I love my son…I do…part 2

I just thought I would update everyone out there on the finale of our day-o-urine.  Bubba was picking up the last of his legos while I changed baby’s diaper and put him to bed.  Well…as I’m backing out of the baby’s room and closing the door for the night, my son comes down the hall with the big bow-legged steps that scream I don’t want these piss-stained pants to touch my legs.  Sure enough I ask him if he went pee pee and he says yes.  So I ask him where he pee’d and he says “In mine pants.”  Obviously.  Obviously you pee’d in your pants, “Yes, but where in the house did you pee pee?”  “In the garage.”  Wonderful.  The garage.  “But it’s okay mama, I cleaned it up.”  Not really knowing what that meant I cleaned Bubba up then went downstairs to investigate.

This is what I found:

...how he got into and out of the garage. Not uncommon...also not allowed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

He did cover his mess with pine shavings...but then I thought...he pee'd right next to the chicks...I hope he didn't throw anything into the tub.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

...the chickies didn't seem to mind the giant pile of shavings covered in chicken feed Bubba had given them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At least he only fed the cats one scoop of food (into their actual bowls!) and stayed out of the litter box…

 

 

 

 

 April 27, 2012  Side Yard Flock   Leave a comment

Chicks – One week and all is well.

Everybody had that one person they looked up to when they were young.  You know…they were probably ten or so years older and 5,000% cooler than you.  They could do the things you couldn’t (or weren’t allowed to) do, like going to a movie without having to ask permission, drive, jump off a bridge into a freezing river that your Mother said was waaaaay too dangerous, or beat Super Mario Brothers with only one life.  For me this embodiment of cool was my Uncle.  I wanted to be able to find his awesome hiding places when we played Sharks and Minnows, and beat him at spoons.  As a young teenager I was in love with more than one of his friends (who naturally never gave me the time of day).  What does that have to do with chickens?  Well…I would like to say that raising chickens was all our idea…and although my husband had been talking about it for years I think there is a part of me that is pretty pleased I can now officially be a part of my Uncle’s club…at least one of his clubs.  I’ve still never jumped off that bridge, and I can’t even count the lives it would take me to rescue Princess Toadstool, but now I can say, we both have chickens!

Here is our Silver Laced Wyandotte, 1 week.

We’ve had our little chickies for a week now and it is amazing to me how much the little guys are growing and changing every day.

What were once tiny stubs on the sides of their puff-ball-bellies are now sprouting feathers, a few even have teeeeeeeeny little rump feathers poking out of their fuzz, like our RIRs and the SLW.

The silkies are the craziest looking, hands down, with their ultra long necks, furry feet, extra toes and beginning fluff.

Here is our largest of the three silkies.

Little "teeny weenie", as my husband affectionately refers to her, is our partridge silkie. Although she is small her fluff feathers seem to be coming in a little faster than the blue silkie. I'm wondering if this one is just destined to be the runt.

You can see Goldilocks and Aurora beak to beak there in the back with our long-neck silkie to their right. The chick closest to the feeder is a Plymouth Barred rock with the SLW nearest and to the right.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our daughter has already named two of the chickens.  We have Goldilocks, a RIR with a yellow head, and Aurora, our Welsummer, “because she has the eyeliner, and we KNOW she’s a girl and we won’t have to eat her.”  Goldilocks has a backup name…The Big Bad Wolf, just in case she turns out to be a he, our 4 1/2 yr old daughter said it would be okay to eat him if he has a bad-guy name.

 

She’s also decided that any others who crow are going to be named Chick Hicks “because then Bubba won’t care if we kill it because he doesn’t like Chick Hicks”.  Somehow I don’t think our son is going to have trouble eating the chicken, he’s already decided he’s going to eat the Barred Rocks (the only breed he, as a 2 1/2 yr old, can identify) and I have tried to convince him that we want them to all be girls so we can just get their eggs.  But he has informed me that the black ones are boys and the red ones are girls.  It’s hard to argue with that kind of logic.

Goldilocks, our friendly little Rhode Island Red. I hope she keeps her cute little blond head! (and check out teeny weenie's fluff back there behind her!)

Our little Easter Egger didn't want to pose for the photo but you can see already how her wing feathers are coming in...and a few little fuzz feathers there at her soon to be tail.

We painted the coop the other day and it is looking pretty great.  We have to attach some chicken wire to the cracks and put in the door, ramp, and locks.  We’re still trolling craigslist for cheep posts we can use for fencing a yard for our girls, but considering they have 5 more weeks before they can go outside full-time we’re holding out for a good deal.  It literally pains me to spend money.

 

 

 

 

Here's a photo from last week, when we brought home the little guys. The kids are still very excited about their new pets. I still haven't figured out how to keep our son from crawling into the garage via the cat door just to see them.

 

 

 

 

My uncle has his own, ever-growing, backyard flock and has been a wealth of information for us as we embark on this new journey.  Aside from picking his brain, he literally got us started.  The base for our coop was the old play structure from his yard.  It also didn’t hurt that he loaned us all his power tools so we could build it.  Even though he has a flock of laying hens, we were the first ones to get Barred Rock Chicks (granted he just picked up a couple yesterday…maybe he wants to be more like me?  Well, a girl can dream, can’t she?)

Considering he has been on the bandwagon a little bit longer I guess we can make him President of the chicken club.

 April 25, 2012  Side Yard Flock   4 Comments

Welcome baby chicks!

So I’m not going to lie, I have no idea what I’m doing.  No, I guess that isn’t entirely true.  I don’t know how this whole blogging thing is going to work out.  I am probably like the majority of bloggers out there.  I have 3 kids, 3,000 chores (that are not getting done at the moment b/c on top of everything else going on in my life I have decided, on a whim, to start a blog).  I’m also homeschooling my daughter, and embarking on the journey of raising chickens as well as children.  Considering the child raising is going so well, maybe I have a shot at a successful flock…then again I have already dealt with pee and poop on the carpet, and a biting, kicking toddler and it isn’t even 10am…so maybe it isn’t going as smoothly as I would have hoped.

But lets talk chickens.  Because, let’s be honest, baby chicks are freaking adorable!

day one of our side yard flock

We screened for docile birds who will be good layers, and plan on eating any of them that start to crow.  (By “we” I mean my husband, who knows I have zero desire to assist in the killing but will be more than happy to cook them once they’re cleaned.)

We have 3 Rhode Island Reds, 2 Plymouth Barred Rock, 1 Silver Laced Wyandotte, 3 Silkies (2 partridge and one blue) of which we are keeping one hen and returning the other 2 to my uncle.  I am also headed to the feed store to pick up a Welsummer, and an Ameraucana (Easter Egger) for my husband.

Of course now that we have our chicks we should finish their house…

nest boxes? check.

Window? Check.
Walls? Check.

kids help.

Chicken doors? Check.

We used an old play structure from my uncle as the skeleton for our coop.  Bella and Wesley and been very excited about the process, and yesterday they both helped me sweep out the coop so we could add a laminate floor (before it started to rain).  We got half of it done before baby’s nap was over, so I call that a good day!

And this is where we’re at so far. Yes, I used the old cabinet doors from the downstairs bath.  I am a genius.

Well.  I suppose I should send this inaugural post out into the sea of internet…though i’m sure my readers will be limited to close friends, parents, in-laws and other family that’s okay with me.

Welcome to our side yard flock.

 April 20, 2012  Side Yard Flock   8 Comments