7 Reasons to Love White Crested Polishes.

With their crazy 80’s rock band hair do, it’s hard not to love this fancy breed. Dressed in black and white, they look like they’re going to a fancy “Chicken Gala”. These classy girls leave all other chickens in the dust when it comes to clucky high class couture. The distinct white feathered crest on their head contrasting with their sleek jet black bodies sets them apart in a flock. Beauty may only be skin deep, but these girls are gorgeous inside and out. Read on to find out why we at The Kuntry Klucker Farm are head over hills in love with these black and white beauties.

 

      1. Every polish chicken is crowned with white crest.

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White Crested Polish chickens and all Polish breeds always stand out due to the large fluffy bouffant of feathers that adorn their head like some kind of glamorous crown, the most iconic feature of this fancy breed. It’s this feature that makes them a very popular choice for those who want something a little “different” in the flock. They will make visitors ask, “what is that?” due to the fact that they do not look like a standard chicken. As aesthetic as their crest may appear, be warned that these guys and gals need a little bit of “hair care”. Do to their crown of feathers their vision is limited and may need to be trimmed or put in pigtails to allow them to see better. Because they are unable to groom their crests they are susceptible to mites and lice. To prevent this problem an owner needs to take proactive steps to keep these guys and gals looking their best. Because they do not tolerate being wet or dirty, an owner needs to provide a leak free dry coop and run. If a keeper can provide these services, this breed will bring great joy and diversity to the flock.

2. Non-broody hens who have more time to lay eggs and pose for pictures. 

Broodiness is not a trait that is possessed by the Polish chicken, broodiness is the desire to incubate eggs and hatch chicks. Some breeds are prone to broodiness such as the Silkie and Orphington, the polish is one of the few breeds that are not. Because of this, they will continue to lay eggs for their keeper. Be warned though they are not prolific layers like other breeds, they lay about 120 small white eggs a year.

But don’t let this turn you off from the White Crested Polish chicken, they make up for the low egg output in other ways. For example, they make excellent and unique subjects for all kinds of photo ops. They are very docile and even tempered so working with them is a breeze.  Which brings me to my next point.

 

3. Loyal and loving backyard companions. 

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If you are looking for a loyal backyard friend, look no further than the White Crested Polish. Due to diminished vision, a consequence of their glorious crests, they will happily sit in the protection of their owners lap. Polishes become very attached to their owners often following them around the yard much like a dog. They crave human interaction and are happiest in the company of their owners. They are nervous and flighty by nature needing a dedicated and compassionate keeper who doesn’t mind giving them a little extra attention. If kept in a flock due to vision limitatios, they tend to be at the bottom of the “pecking order”. For this reason, it’s best if they have digs of their own separate from larger or more aggressive breeds.

4. Delightful and unique personalities. 

The personality of the White Crested Polish is just as unique as their appearance. These guys and gals love to jabber and talk to their owner. If you want a chicken that you can have a conversation with, the White Crested Polish is the breed for you. They get very excited when their owner comes to the backyard, run, or coop. They want to follow you around and tell you all about their day. They eagerly bock, squeak, or trill all the details of their adventures. For this reason they are one of the noisier breeds, they are not quiet much like the Silkies. If this is okay for your situation then I highly recommend these little gossip gals.

 

5. Stunning phasic! 

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These guys and gals have a beautifully proportioned silhouette. Aside from the crest feathers that get in the way and diminish their vision, Polishes really have a shapely and attractive figure. They have full breasts, shapely wings, and deep bodies. As they strut towards you they have a playful bounce to their gate which further accents their crown of feathers. These guys and gals will truly be eye candy in your backyard flock.

5. Make excellent birds for poultry shows.

Polish chickens always stand out due to the large fluffy bouffant of feathers that adorn their head like a glamorous crown. It’s no surprise that the stylish look of these distinctive chooks make them a popular choice in poultry shows all round the world. When it comes to male crests in the competitive world of show chickens the bigger the better whereas a more round and even shaped crest is favored among hens. The roosters are very distigueshed, but due to their larger crests the feathers seem to take on more of a 80’s rock hair band look. When trimmed and kept nice a well groomed polish rooster can steal the show.

 

6. Great breed to have around children. 

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If you want to involve kids with keeping backyard chickens, the Polish is a great breed to choose. Due to their appearance kids are often times captivated with the White Crested Polish. They are a gentile breed that is docile and not prone to aggression. Even the roosters are fairly good natured as compared to other breeds. Due to their vision limitations from their crests, they are fairly easy for kids to catch and bond with. They are a bit flighty which might startle young kids at first but once they get used to their behaviors they will really enjoy their feathered friends in the backyard. Currently I have 9 Polishes of different colors all of them are great with my boys.

7. Mysterious History. Where did they come from? 

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It is not really clear where these stunning birds came from. You may be thinking that they came from Poland. But this is not the case. Their name is derived from the Dutch word “pol” which means head, however that is still being debated amongst poultry experts. It has also been hypothesized that they originated in the Netherlands, whereas other enthusiasts think that they were brought to Europe during the time of the Medieval Mongols. Other fun loving chicken lovers such as myself ponder if their origins are not of this world at all. Possibly like H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu, they came from Orion or another world out there, just kidding 🙂 . In all seriousness though, no one really knows where these crown jewels really came from. Still today there remains a lot of mystery surrounding their origins. Maybe we will never know, but for rare breed chicken lovers that does not really matter. If anything, it just makes these cuddly backyard buddies even more lovable.

Are these classy chickens right for your backyard flock?

If you choose to keep these unique chickens several requirements must be meet.

~ A secure coop and outdoor pen are a must. Since they are unable to see well they can be vulnerable to arial predator attacks. If you are unable to supervise them keep your birds secure in their pen till you can spend time with them.

~ Due to their crest feathers they require extra vigilance that they do not get wet. During the winter if their crest feathers get wet it can freeze causing discomfort and in some cases illness to the bird.

~ If you decide to keep these girls, a separate coop for them is a must. Due to their diminished vision they often times reside at the bottom of the pecking order and can at times be picked on.

~ Making sure the they have a clean and dry place to themselves will assure their success as a part of your backyard flock. While your at it, have a little fun with their home. A classy chicken with a personality such as the Polish need a coop with some character. Many places like Tractor Supply and Hayneedle have adorable coops the would compliment your fancy couture wearing girls nicely.

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As always thanks for reading!

If you have any questions regarding the Polish breed feel free by leaving a comment. I will get back to you as soon as I can.

10 Joys of Keeping Backyard Chickens.

I’m almost about 10 years deep into my backyard chicken hobby and have loved it every step to the way. From ordering chicks, getting the coops set up, watching them grow, and collecting eggs, keeping backyard chickens has been one of the highlights of my life. They are animals that require little but give back much in return. In this post I will highlight the 10 joys I have experienced as a backyard chicken keeper.

1. They are always happy to see me

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No matter how bad my day has been at work or other wise my girls are always happy to see me. In the mornings when I enter the backyard opening the coops for the day they are thrilled at my presence. They cluck with joy as I prepare their food, water, and clean their coops. They are genuially happy to see me. After a long day at work or just a bad day in general,  I can always go to the backyard and find happiness on their faces. They flock, running sometimes flying in from the far ends of the yard thrilled to see me. Their joy in response to my presences lifts my spirits and in return brings joy to my day.

2. Companions in the backyard.

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Dogs come to mind for most people when thinking about backyard companions. But chickens, can be just as much of a companion as can a family dog. For example, Tilling Day is a flock affair! Tilling up the garden for the upcoming garden season is a big deal . They follow in the path of the tiller gobbling up all the worms that were unearthed, all the while further assisting me in turning the soil over. It’s not just gardening that attract the flocks attention, the girls are alway eager to be involved in what ever I am doing. Anything from painting coops to mowing the yard attracts all kinds of “hen-help”. Chickens are very curious creatures, they want in on everything that I am doing. Sometimes they get rewarded with a big juicy worm while gardening and other times its dust bathing in the potting soil bag or eating fresh grass clippings Either way, no matter what I am doing, I often have a flock of curious girls wanting in on whatever is going on.

3. Collecting Farm Fresh Eggs daily.

There is nothing quite like collecting farm fresh eggs from the backyard. After eating organic pasture raised farm fresh eggs its hard to go back to store bought. The feeling of finding an egg or more in the nesting box never gets old. Chickens really are the pet that makes you breakfast. There is pure and simple joy that connects one to the days of old while collecting eggs from the coops.

4. Observing the complex social structure of the flock.

Chickens are very highly socially organized creatures contrary to what many people think. A flock of chickens are organized into a hierarchy, each member knowing his or her place. The term “pecking order” is derived from this complex social system of chickens and for good reason. At the top of the pecking order is typically the alpha rooster, under him will be the other roosters in the flock. The roosters determine who is the alpha by competing for the position. Following the roosters will be the alpha hen, this is the hen that has earned her right to be at the top of the order directly under the rooster. The alpha hen is usually a little bit bossy in regards to the other hens in the flock. As for the rest of the members, position is established by literally “pecking” another hen on the back indicating that the pecker is above the peckie. This behavior flows from the alpha hen all the way to the bottom of the order. Each chicken pecking someone else on the back indicating their position in the order.

Once the pecking order is established all activities of the flock revolve around the order. Simple things such as the order in which the flock exits the coop in the morning and the order in which they return. Watching this animal behavior in my own flock is very interesting. More importantly the pecking order is always changing. If a member of the flock is sick and needs to be separated for treatment, in the absence of the member the flock order will adjust. The same is true for when a member dies. In the case of a death of a member the order will usually take on an extreme adjustment. For example, when our rooster Roy died the flock was suddenly without its top member, a rooster. The remaining hens in the flock had to decide who would take his place at the top of the pecking order, claiming the position of the alpha hen. For several days the flock worked through this decision and finally come an agreement on who would be the head honcho. As a backyard keeper, this behavior is very interesting to observe. Furthermore, it brings home the literal interpretation and understanding of the term “pecking order”.

5. Watching a mother hen raise her young.

Let’s be honest, baby chicks are adorable. Whether they be wild birds or domestic, chicks are just about as adorable as a baby animal can get. What’s even better is having the opportunity to watch them grow. This is one of the simple joys of owning backyard chickens. I have several times throughout the years allowed a broody hen to incubate a small clutch of eggs. Each and every time it is an adventure and a pleasure to watch the process from egg to chick. This spring I allowed a broody Silkie to sit on a clutch of 7 eggs.

After anticipatingly waiting the predetermined 21-23 days for the eggs to incubate, they one by one started to hatch. Over the course of 3 days every single egg hatched into a beautiful healthy chick. The joy of watching this cycle of life is indeed an honor. Over the next several months the mother hen will teach her little ones how to be chickens. Such things as what to eat and not eat, how to dust bathe, where to find water, and where to roost at night.

If you are lucky enough be in the position to observe this cycle of life in person , it is indeed an educational and humbling experience. There is so much that we can learn from a mother hen and chickens in general. Chickens are amazing teachers, all that is needed is a willing soul to watch and listen. Below is a video of Miss Donna and her brood of 7.

6. The joy of watching a Rooster care for his flock.

Roosters are often unfairly stigmatized as being fearsome, blood thirsty, mean and nasty aggressive birds. While they do have a job to do and take it very seriously, they really are amazing and gentinle creatures. Personally, I love roosters I currently have 7 and value every one of them. Roosters, although not necessary in order to keep backyard chickens are an added bonus.

You see, when raised right, roosters are an asset to a flock of chickens. They preform many husbandry duties taking care of all the hens in the flock. If a flock has more than one rooster (such as mine does), they will divide the flock into groups each rooster taking care of a section of the hens.

They are much more than just merely protectors for the hens, they serve the flock in ways beyond this. For example, a rooster will hunt for his girls. He will actively look for food, things such as a big bug, juicy worm, or vegetation for them to eat. Once he finds something of value he will call his girls over to eat it. He will only eat what is left, he is self sacrificing looking out for the welfare of his hens. It’s as if by evolutionary design he knows the girls need the extra nutrition for the procreation of the flock (laying eggs). As the girls eat what he has found he will keep watch, sounding the alarm if there is a threat and if needed sacrificing himself for the safety of the hens. I have witnessed this first hand with my Buff Orphington Rooster, Roy. One afternoon while out in the backyard he sounded the alarm, I heard his cry from the house, rushed out the the backyard in time to see a hawk fly away. All the girls were safe under a large tree, Roy on the other hand was injured. Lucky, he recovered from the hawk inflicted injuries and lived for several more years. I learned on this day the true value of a rooster. You can read his story here.

A rooster will serve the flock in other way as well. He will lead the girls to the coop when time to roost, help raise young, break up any squabbles among the hens, and of course mate with the hens to propagate the flock. All these things and more make roosters a very valuable asset to the flock. As a backyard chicken keeper, I have peace of mind knowing that when not around the guys are on duty. It gives me great joy to hear my roosters crow in the morning and watch them interact with the flock.

7. Beauty a flock of chickens bring to my property.

There is just something soothing about a flock of chickens happily hunting and pecking on a lush green lawn. Their feathers contrasting with the surrounding greenery like little yard ornaments. Chickens when free ranging are a very welcoming sight, watching them as they search for delicacies to dine on. I allow my flock to free range in the backyard only confining them to their pens during periods of inclement weather. I love go to the backyard and see my flock busy at work, ridding my yard and gardens of all available bugs and pets. My evenings are usually spent sitting and watching them as they go about their business, taking in the ascetic pleasure they bring to my property. They really are beautiful, the different breeds together in the yard adds a diverse contrast to the evening setting. So for me, one of the joys of owning backyard chickens is simply sitting and appreciating the beauty they add to my homestead.

8. Observing the diversity of their personalities. 

Many people think that chickens are void of any personality or individual characteristics. This is so far from the truth. Chickens are a very social creature and with that comes  distinct personalities. They all have preferences of nesting boxes for which to lay they eggs. Some are more outgoing while other more reserved choosing to reside on the sidelines. Some want to be held while other prefer to be appreciated from afar.

Chickens are very complex creatures with individual personalities to match. I have a few girls that love the camera and will pose at any chance they get. Two of my flock hams are above Aphrodite (White Crested Polish: left) and Miss Sweet Pea (Buff Orhpington: right). These two girls are the standouts among all the flock members. They love attention and will do just about anything to get it.

Chickens are much like dogs in the fact that they love to interact with their care takers. Some members may be more upfront with human interaction while others more distant, but all my girls at one level or another want to feel appreciated. It was not until I had chickens that I realized how much of individuals they really are. It are these characteristics that make them easy to identify and name. People often ask me if all my girls have names, I say “yes”. All 50+ chickens that I have are all named and often are assigned names based on their personality traits. It’s not as hard as you would think to name 50 or so birds and not get them confused. They make it pretty easy to keep all their identities straight. Which bring me to my next point.

9. Constant comedy in the backyard.

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Chickens are without a doubt constant comedy! They are one of the funniest animals that I have had the pleasure to keep. Whether it be something funny that an individual does or something that whole flock does, chickens are the comedians of the barnyard. One of funniest interactions that a flock can engage in is something I call “the chicken keep away game”. When a hen finds something such as a juicy bug or big worm she will announce to the whole flock with glee that she has found a prize. With the object in her beak she will run around the yard while the others chase her wanting to get a piece of her find. Depending on how large the trophy bug or worm is, this could go on for quite some time. Changing beaks several times till finally someone eats the morsel or looses it. It’s just about as close as a flock of chickens can get to touch football.

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Another funny chicken oddity is the Polish chicken. Pictured above are two White Crested Polishes, Aphrodite and Apollo. Out of all the breeds that I have, this breed holds the crown for comedy. Due to their crests their vision is limited, not able to see what is above them. For this reason just about everything spooks them, simple things in their environment can get a rise out of them. They have a tendency to be flighty and high strung for this reason. Additionally, they are a very curious breed always getting them selves in trouble, then not being able to see well enough to get themselves out of it. They will often time call for other flock members to rescue them from their predicament. Typically one of the roosters will come to their rescue if I am not there to physically lend a hand. I have around 13 polishes in my flock of various colors all of them possess this particular niche for comedy. They are one of my favorite breeds to keep. They require a bit of special care but are well worth the trouble just to have them around.

10. A connection to the past: A lesson in simplicity

There is just something about keeping backyard chickens that brings us back to our roots. Times of old, days gone by when just about everyone had a flock of chickens to supply eggs for the family. A time when gardening was not just a hobby but a way of survival. A time when your land was how you ate and your animals were how you survived. Getting out of bed putting on my boots and heading out to the backyard opening the coops after the night bring a bit of that nostalgia. Cleaning the coops and collecting the days eggs has a feeling of purpose and self sufficiency that many are seeking today. In a world where we can buy literally everything we need at the store, being able to supply your own food has a purity that money cannot buy. Knowing that I am eating a produce that is not only organic but supplied by animals that are well cared for and happy brings happiness to my soul.

In our busy and hectic world today, it’s nice to come home and just watch my girls as they forage in the backyard. To be able to escape the chaos of life and just simply be. Chickens are simple creatures, they don’t ask for much but give back much in return. They are content just to be able to hunt and peck their way through life. They don’t worry about much but instead are just happy to be given this day. It’s a lesson in simplicity that I think we all need. For this lesson and more I am ever grateful for my chickens. My chickens give back to me in many way,  but one of the best thing they give is a lesson in keeping it simple, a lesson in simplicity.

With this I bid you ado. I hope that you have found value in this post. If you are just staring out with chickens, I would love to hear from you. It is my goal and mission to help others with their adventure of keeping backyard chickens.

For those that are seasoned chicken keepers, I would love to hear the joys you experience in keeping backyard chickens.

Thanks for reading!

~ The Kuntry Klucker Crew ~

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Coops and Blooms

Spring has sprung at the Kuntry Klucker Farm, chicks are peeping and flowers blooming. I am going to dedicate this post to the plants and flowers of the chicken yard. It is no secret that I tend to go overboard when it comes to decorating the backyard for my girls, this will be a virtual tour, a flower walk if you will. So, I guess we will start from the coop closest to the yard entrance and work out way out.

When entering the backyard the first coop we come to is Henwarts. Henwarts is the newest addition to the “Coop-hood” and shares a large outdoor pen with The Kuntry Klucker. So thus some of Henwarts decor is shared with The Kuntry Klucker. In front of The Kuntry Klucker I have a row of cinder blocks. These blocks have two purposes, keeps the girls and the dirt in the outdoor pen area and doubles as planters for flowers. Every year in this cinder block row I plant petunias. I love these little super bloomers for many reasons. A few of  the most important are the fact that they display lot of color, tolerate the hot afternoon sun well, and most importantly hold up well around chickens. I do have a row of chicken wire in front of the cinder blocks to offer some protection against the girls pecking but this by no means keeps all of the girls out of the flower row. I have a few ladies that despite the obvious boundary will still hop over the fence and help them selves to an afternoon snack of petunia blooms. The petunia’s being the prolific bloomers that they are do not look any worse for the wear recovering very quickly.

The next coop we visit on our backyard tour is my largest coop The Kuntry Klucker. For this coop I thought that hanging flower baskets were perfect. Found at the dollar store these cute little baskets are just the perfect size for a few flowers. Instead of using cocoa liners that seem to loose their shape after the first two waterings I opt to use thick weed barrier to hold the potting soil. What cute chicken home wouldn’t complete without a window basket. Attached to the wood of the pen I have planted a variety of flowers in these baskets. Petunas once again taking center stage. I feel that they add a bit of fun to the girls homes.

As we proceed on our coop tour we come to The Coop De Ville. No one lives in this coop, but rather this coop is used for storage and a few nesting boxes. Even though no one lives here I still just cannot pass up an opportunity to decorate a coop. Like The Kuntry Klucker I have mounted hanging baskets to this coop as well. Once again Petunia’s take center stage.

Next we come to the spice garden. In this garden I have lot of things planted. The tall bush with the small red blooms is a red honeysuckle bush. Taller than me (I’m 5’8″), this bush is one of the largest in the garden. These highly fragrant little blooms blanket the whole backyard with a sweet fragrance and attract many butterflies and hummingbirds to the backyard, adding to the beauty of the girls surroundings. I have many of my kitchen spices planted here among the two coops that call this plot home. Roy’s Roost and Betsy’s Bliss are situated here among all the plants a spices. This year I planted a red butterfly bush, in a few months it will be beautifully loaded down with blooms giving the butterflies another place to rest and spread their wings. The chickens are fenced out of this garden area so all the creatures that visit these plants are protected from the girls. This allows many caterpillars to spin coccons among the thick foliage of many of the plants here.

In the center of this garden I have planted an Arona Berry bush (kin to the Acia Berry), this bush which too is taller than me has the most beautiful white blooms. I use many of the berries that this bush produces in my smoothies. The chickens also love these berries, another reason that I have to fence them out of this garden area. After the berries appear I make sure that the girls get a good share of the spoil which they go absolutely nuts for. Amongst other plants in this garden I have a Goji Berry Tree, Sage, Rosemary, Oregano, Thyme, and Mint.

Next we come to the TARDIS! This is one of the funnest coops in the “coop-hood”. This coop belongs to my son who is a massive Dr. Who fan, he even named all his Silkie girls after the characters in the Dr. Who series. Being that this is my son’ coop he did not want me to decorate it too heavily with flowers. After all the real TARDIS does not have flowers attached to the sides of it. Naturally, I had to agree with his point and allow him to put his personality into decorating his coop. I did however get away with planting a rare Red Hydrangea next to his coop. I thought that this plant would add a nice pop of red and contrast well with the blue of the TARDIS.

Finally we come to the Bantam Boutique! This coop too belongs to my son. Each of my boys have their own coop with their own special breed of girls. This coop is home to White Crested Polishes, my youngest son’s favorite breed. Again I have to lay off the over the top flower decorating but I got away with a few things. At the end of the Bantam Boutique I have a pot with several colorful annuals in it. The Polishes enjoy jumping on top of the pen to take a few samples from the flowers. On the far side of the Bantam Boutique I have planted two yellow butterfly bushes. Not only are these bushes beautiful, they offer lots of afternoon shade for the Polishes that call this coop home.

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With this we come to the end of our little backyard tour. Every year I pretty much plant the same annuals varying the colors from year to year. As far as the perennials, bushes, and spices I only replace them as needed. The girls seem enjoy their little piece of heaven living the good life here at The Kuntry Klucker Farm. As for me, getting to play in potting soil and frequent my local plant nursery is as close to blissful as it can get.

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I hope y’all enjoyed this post and the tour of my backyard, coops and blooms.

Till next time keep crowing, the girls and I will see you soon.

Before departing, below is a short video of The Kuntry Klucker Farm Chicken Yard.

~ The Kuntry Klucker Crew ~

The Kuntry Klucker Farm is in FULL Bloom

Its been a busy spring here at the Kuntry Klucker Farm. The coops have all been painted, seasonal annuals planted, and chicks flourishing in their new digs. Spring is always a busy time here but this year has been especially busy. I did something that I have never done before, painted all the coops in the expanse of one week. If your asking if I am crazy the answer is, yes! It was a hard task, but with the weather not being very corporative I had to strike with the iron was hot. That meant painting all the coop in a week between strong cold fronts, ahh, the joys of spring. I usually like to pace it out a bit more, but usually I have weather patterns that are bit more subtle. But you have to work with what you can, so all the coops got a new coat of paint in the span of a week. The girls seem to enjoy their newly updated homes.

The TARDIS in particular got quite the facelift. This coop which is home to my “little kuntry klucker’s” Silkie’s is a huge Dr. Who fan. He named his coop the TARDIS from the beginning even painted it a TARDIS blue to match. This year during our coop painting projects the TARDIS finally got it official lettering. Might I add that he did all this work himself, he is quite the budding artist. Those that follow Dr. Who will relate quite easily to his art work. Those that are not Dr. Who fans that is more than ok, I am a recent convert myself, so I understand. With out further ado, I unveil the chicken TARDIS here on the Kuntry Klucker Farm.

Two other coops additionally got their official lettering. Henwarts and the Coop De Ville. But first, Henwarts. Earlier this spring I added a 7th coop to the “coop-hood” here at the Kuntry Klucker Farm. This coop was named “Henwarts”. Named after the Hogwarts School of Magic only with a bent towards chickens. Henwarts has officially been added to my growing collection of chicken coops. Painted after the colors of Raven Claw, one of the four houses at Hogwart. I thought that this theme would fit well for a flock of Buff Laced, White Crested, and Tolbunt Polishes. The residents of this coop will officially move in in a few weeks. They are still being kept with the other chicks till they are old enough to move into their own coop.

Finally, the Coop De Ville. I have had this coop from the beginning. During the infancy as we were drawing up the plans for the Kuntry Klucker Farm it consisted of two large coops like the Kuntry Klucker. However, I found a need for a storage area for garden tools and so forth. So instead of attaching a pen this coop stayed as it was for a long time, an unfinished storage area. Well, this year I finally decided that it needed a name and a theme. So I decided on the name “Coop De Ville” and the color theme of John Deere. Its a bit of a mix match but I feel that it suites that chicken yard very well. So, showing her colors for the first time here on The Kuntry Klucker, the Coop De Ville. It’s still a storage area for garden tools, but I allow the girls to go up into the coop and lay eggs there by setting out a few nesting boxes. The girls really seem to enjoy the quietness of this laying area.

Now that the spring planting season on the horizon tilling the garden is my next task, in the mean time the girls have been helping me plant annuals. The girls know what fun awaits them when flats of flowers and bags to potting soil come into the backyard. I get lots of “hen-help” with planting the flowers in the various potting arrangement in the chicken yard area. They enjoy tasing all the different colors of the flowers and of course dust bathing in the potting soil bag. A hen’s life here is a good one.

And finally the chicks! These were the little peeps that were in my indoor brooder just a few short weeks ago. Chicks grow so fast is almost insane. Anyway, they moved from the brooder to the TARDIS which was their outdoor brooder for a short time. Then as they outgrew the TARDIS they move to Henwarts for a short while, as they needed more space they finally ended up at their final coop location The Kuntry Klucker. The Polishes will take up residence in Henwarts when they are a little older. They have taken to the move and adjusted well. They love the extra room for flying and of course all the meet and greets they get from the other girls as they walk by the Kuntry Klucker to see what all the peeping is about. The older girls are getting to know the new kids on the farm as the new kids are getting to know them. In just a few short months they will be out in the yard enjoying the plentful bounty in the backyard.

Well, I think that pretty much does it for the news here at the Kuntry Klucker Farm. All feathered residents are doing well awaiting the next exciting event, tilling and planting the garden. I will start tilling up the garden in the next few days providing the weather cooperates.

Till next time, keep on growing, we’ll be back soon.

~ The Kuntry Klucker Farm Crew ~

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Welcome to Henwarts!

Hello everyone, I know its been a while since I posted a blog. Some of you have reached out to me to make sure all is well. I want to say how much I appreciate your concern and thank you for caring. We are all fine, the girls are good and we are looking forward to spring and nicer weather. This past winter has been a tough one, between snow, frigid temperatures and lately the torrential unrelenting rains it has been a tough season.

I am sure that many of you have read or heard in the headlines about all the rains that the southern part of the United States has received, well this is us. It has rained here the entire month of February, even into March we are still dealing with wash out weather. Our home and the girls coops have luckily been spared. The only damage we sustained from the heavy rains was to one of our cars which had to make a visit to the shop. Not because we drove through high water but for other moisture related reasons due to the constant heavy rain. Anyway, it has been a trying time for us here at the Kuntry Klucker Farm. They girls are doing fine, all are still alive and well, looking forward to dryer weather and warmer conditions.

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The girls and I have a full on case of spring fever, with the grass greening up and the spring bulbs pushing through the ground we cannot help but look forward to better days. With that being said, if there is one thing that spring means here at the Kuntry Klucker Farm its chicks!! That’s right, the girls are going to be welcoming new neighbors to their yard.

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But before we get to the chicks, let talk about the new coop that is being erected on our farm. The “Big Girls” are used to the yearly constriction that takes place on the Kuntry Klucker Farm, they know what it means. But the Bantams that we added a few years ago and last year are new to the routine. They don’t know what it means yet but they soon will. Needless to say I had lot of help getting the new coop set up.

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As all coop construction begins, I make a timely visit to my local Tractor Supply Store. This years addition is an Innovation Pet Deluxe Farm House Coop. I have several kit coops on my property, my favorite brands is Innovation Pet. They do such a great job in coop design and place a lot of care into the durability of their products. This is my third Innovation Pet coop purchased from Tractor Supply.

During the months of March and April Tractor Supply has their “Chick Days” sale. This is when chicks appear in their stores along with coops and in the case of this purchase mark downs. I purchased this coop for $160, it was half off, so I was needless to say thrilled to get this quality coop at such a steal.

Anyway, as all coop projects begin, the unboxing. Typically as we unbox the coop we place the coop portions on one side of the yard and the pen portions on the other side of the yard. Next comes inspections. The girls and I look at each piece to make sure that they all look good and no improvements are needed before assembly.

Here the “Big Girls” are making sure that the new addition passes a rigorous pecking inspection process. They Bantam Crew does their own inspection, but since they are newer to the scene they are not too sure what to look for. They are a bit more cautious but are curious nonetheless.  Two of my White Chested Polishes, Aphrodite and Athena are taking a look at the new coop under construction.

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As the sections come together, we get more inspectors throughout the process. Several hours later, the project is complete and our new addition is placed in the “coop-hood” here on the Kuntry Klucker Farm.

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This coop will be the fancy new digs for 8 Black Australorp Chickens. The Australorps are a new breed that I am introducing this year to the Kuntry Klucker Farm. I have wanted this particular breed for several years and am just now finally getting around to adding them to the existing flock consisting of Buff Orphingtons, White Crested Polishes, Silkies, and Cochins. These girls are the stars of egg laying. The record holder for the most eggs laid in a single year belongs to an Australorp. These are large birds that have beautiful black plumage, black legs, and stunning red combs. I am thoroughly excited to add these black beauties to my backyard flock.

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The name of this coop will be “Henwarts” after one of my favorite book series, Harry Potter. Since I am a Ravenclaw as depicted by the qualities the houses exhibited, the coop will be painted blue and silver the colors associated with the Ravenclaw house. This is also fitting for a group of chickens to be in a coop painted the colors of the Ravenclaw house at Hogwarts. The Black Australorps will look absolutely stunning in this coop once everything is complete.

As for the chicks themselves. They arrive next week, I will of course be back with a post from the brooder after they arrive. So once again the chicken adventure continues and grows as we add a few more girls to the Backyard Divas here at the Kuntry Klucker Farm.

I hope that you enjoy this post. Once again I am so sorry for the lack of posts, but as we move into spring there will be a lot of share with you. I will be back soon with pics of the chicks once they are situated in the brooder. Their little lives will be captured here for you to see and enjoy.

Till next time, keep on crowing! See you soon!

~ The Kuntry Klucker Crew ~

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Ready for Ol’ Man Winter

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Fall greetings every one! It’s amazing how fast the summer just flew by. I am not sure if everyone else has the same opinion, but for me if felt like one of the fastest summers on record. I know that the girls enjoyed the summer, they dutifully patrolled my gardens for bugs and made sure that they helped themselves to some of the spoil on the veggie plants they were maintaining for me. Although I enjoy summer and all of the pleasure it brings, I find myself ready for the seasons to change.

As summer turns into fall and my gardens produce the last fruits, it’s time to prepare for the season ahead. As a chicken owner this means several things, giving all the coops a good end of year cleaning and preparing them for winter.

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For me this means putting up the wind barrier that will protect the girls form the cold winter winds along with the winter precipitation. During the summer and warmer months I allow the coops to be as air friendly as possible. Allowing air to flow through the mesh fencing on the coops helps keep the girls cool during the months of late spring and early summer. But as the bite of fall and winter approaches I need to assist my girls in surviving the winter outdoors.

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After a thorough coop cleaning I begin to put up wind barrier plastic on all my coops. The plastic I use is found at Tractor Supply along with other stores such as Lowes or Home Depot. It is a construction grade plastic designed to be used as protection when building home and other building during inclement weather periods. It runs at about $15 per box, normally for all my coops I need to purchase two boxes. The process of putting up the plastic is relatively simplistic. I simply screw the thick plastic sheeting into the wood on all the coops. It is very durable so it goes up without much trouble.

I typically put the plastic sheeting up around Halloween after we get our first frost. The girls surprisingly don’t seem to mind the process of preparing thier coops for winter. They are great assistances is trial testing the plastic to make sure that is passes chicken industry standards. They have learned over the years that the plastic is an alley in their survival of the winter months.

Encasing the coops in heavy construction plastic does several things.

  1. In serves as a wind buffer. As the cold winds of winter blow the plastic sheeting protects the girls from the wind thereby making their coops and pens much more comfortable. Simply blocking the cold winter winds greatly assist the girls in keeping warm during the colder months.
  2. It keeps the pens dry by keeping the rain, snow, sleet, and ice out of the pens. This keeps the sand in the pens dry so that the girls will have a dry comfortable space to call home during the colder months.
  3. Is keeps the girls living quarters warmer naturally. As the afternoon sun radiates on the plastic it traps the warmth of radiation in the coop and pens. On fringed sunny days the pens will be a good 10 degrees warmer than the air outside. It acts as an isulater allowing the girls to stay warmer during the winter months

Before winter sets in I supply all the pens with a fresh bedding of sand. This allows the girls to dust bath in the sand. During the winter ,the ground outside stays wet and non condusive to dust bathing a very important natural activity for chickens. The plastic assists in keep the sand dry providing the girls with a dry and warm place to wait out old man winter.

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Additionally, I supply all the coops with Christmas light to give them a little extra light in the colder months. This also provides us with light to take care of our chores when the sun sets earlier and earlier. On cold winter night the Christmas lights give a soft glow of warmth and comporting coming from the coops.

I hope you have enjoyed this post on The Kuntry Klucker. As winter sets in I will do more posts on how to keep a flock of backyard chickens happy and healthy during the harsh winter months.

Till next time keep on crowing, the girls and I will see you again soon.

~ the Kuntry Klucker Crew ~

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Can Backyard Chickens make you sick?

Hi everyone!! I hope your summer has been well and that you packed all the fun into it as humanly possible. I know I have been absent for a while, its been a busy summer. Its funny how the summer months can turn an average functioning family into a frenzy. Well that is what summer has been like for us, been busy with activities and of course keeping up what the girls, growing and harvesting season. With the majority of the gardens work behind me I wanted to take the time to touch on a subject that I have been asked by several of my followers. Can owning backyard chickens make you sick?

Earlier this month the CDC released an article/report that backyard chickens are responsible for salmonella outbreaks across the country. Sickening people even sending some to the hospital, but so far no deaths have occured, well that’s good. As fear riddening as this sounds I want to take the time and put my two cents in and tell my side of the story as a backyard chicken keeper.

The long and short of it is Yes, backyard chickens can make you sick, but so can your cat, dog, and pet parrot. You see any animal that lays eggs carries the salmonella bacteria, this include, pet turtles, snakes, bearded dragons, and of course backyard chickens. It is a bacteria that all egg laying animals/reptiles carry in their body. This is why it is advisable that one wash your hands good with soap and water after handling. It a pretty simple common sense step to take to avoid illness after contact with pets that can carry the salmonella bacteria. Not that this gets your cat and dog off free and easy without incident. Cats and dogs especially if they are allowed to run free outside can also make you sick. They too can come into contact with pathogens that can be transmitted to you. So really your small flock of backyard chickens are no more dangerous to your health then fluffy or fido.

So why does the CDC single out backyard chickens? Well, I think that the answer is two fold. One, keeping backyard chickens has a direct impact on the factory farm producers of eggs and for some, meat for the table. When consumers take it upon themselves to have a say in where their food comes from the big factory farm producers take a big hit.

It does not help their matters that the backyard chicken movement has exploded by leaps and bounds. Keeping backyard chickens is no more common than a family having a dog roaming the backyard. Even cities have passed laws to allow residents to keep a small number of hens in the small plots behind their homes. Its a movement that is growing every year which is one reason why people like me who blog about backyard chickens are seeing an huge increase in readers. Potential keepers are seeking out information on how to care and sustain a small backyard flock, this is where people like me come into play.

Secondly, I think part of the problem is that people are cuddling their chickens like they would a cat or dog and innevertatnly getting sick in the process. The CDC is right when they state that you should not kiss your pet chickens or allow young kids to hold chicks. This is because young children have an increase risk of putting their hands in their mouths after interacting with chicks. But this same rule can be applied to any pet, not just backyard chickens.

So, what is my stance you may be asking? Well to put it simply, wash your hands! I have been a keeper of backyard chickens for almost 10 years now, I have never become sick due to handling or having contact with my flock. The only chicken I have contracted illness from and took ill was from chicken that I ordered at a restaurant.

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My girls have never made me sick in anyway or caused any ill effect in the entire time I have been keeping chickens. Protecting yourself and your family from illness takes nothing more than a common sense approach. Whenever I come inside from interacting the girls the first thing I do is wash my hands well with soap and water. I don’t need to submerge my self in alcohol or bleach, a simple thorough hand washing is all that is needed. Additionally, I only wear my “coop” cloths into the backyard when interacting with my girls. Not only is this just a good common sense move, it keeps me from getting my nice cloths dirty. Chickens can be messy so I would not want to wear nice cloths to the backyard anyway. So wearing cloths that I don’t mind getting dirty that I wear no where else and take off and put directly in the washer after coming inside is nothing more than common sense.

So as you can see just taking simple steps after spending time with the girls is all that is needed. One need not be afraid to own or handle backyard chickens because all that is needed to protect yourself a simple act of washing your hands well after contact.

Now, as far as kissing backyard chickens this is probably advice well worth taken. I love my girls, but I never kiss them for several reasons. Chickens are very interested in human eyeballs, they look like treats to them, I cannot tell you how many times I have seen pics of people on facebook after getting pecked in the eye by their chicken. It hurts and in some cases and cause irreversible damage. So to keep my eyes safe I keep my face well out of the way of the curiosity of a chicken. It just makes perfect sense.

Secondly, kissing your chicken can be hazardous for your health. I know that a lot of people do, but the line stops there for me. I will tell my girls how much a love them and how pretty they are but my lips are never laid on them. They live outside bathe in dirt and can carry some pathogens on their feathers that I would rather not have in my mouth. So, my love line stops there, I do not kiss my birds. So, yes, backyard chickens can make you sick but the routes to avoid this are very simple and only require soap, water, and facial/eyeball distance.

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So, enjoy your backyard birds just make sure to wash your hands and keep your eyes and lips away from their curious beaks. If you practice good hygienic common sence you will have a very happy relationship with your girls enjoying all the benefits of having backyard chickens.

Till next time, keep on crowing.

~ The Kuntry Klucker Crew ~

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Farewell Miss Katie

Hi everyone, I am sorry I have not posted in a while, it been a crazy summer. We have had a lot go on like I am sure you all do. Summer has a way of making your life maddening. Everything from the kids being home from school to summer camp and so forth can make for a busy summer. However, this blog post will possess more of a somber tone. We have lost one of our favorite hens a few weeks ago, Miss Katie. This post will be dedicated to her and her memory of her life on the Kuntry Klucker Farm.

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Farm life has a lot of joys, everything from watching new chicks grow into beautiful chickens to watching  a newly planted plant comes into it own. The connection that farm life bring you to nature and the earth is so fulfilling. However, along with all the joys and blessings that farm life bring, it also has a side that is sadder. The loss of a beloved pet is always hard whether it be a cat, dog, or in our case a beloved hen.

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Miss Katie was our momma hen, she loved to hatch eggs and raise chickens. It was her calling in life to be our resident momma hen. She did a wonderful job as well. She raised several clutches of Buff Orphingtons for me along with Miss Aphrodite, the chick that had a hard start in life several years ago. If Miss Katie had not raised Aphrodite for me she would have not made it. She needed a chicken mamma so Miss Katie took her under her wing and raised her into a beautiful and friendly polish hen. Aphrodite acts a lot like Miss Katie. Since Katie raised her she has adopted some of her personality traits. In Miss Aphrodite, Miss Katie although gone lives on here at the Kuntry Klucker Fam.

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Miss Katie was apart of my original shipment of chicks that started our adventures here on the Kuntry Klucker Farm. She was one of the original 17 chicks the I ordered. From early on she stood out as one of our friendliest hens. Not only was she apart of a flock but she considered herself to be a “human chicken”. She acted more like a dog than a chicken. When we went outside to spend time with the chickens she would be the first one to greet us and want to be picked up and held. She was also our backyard lap chicken. She loved to sit on our laps and talk to us telling us about her day of hunting and pecking with her flock mates in the gardens. She always had something to say. When she was not busy raising chicks she was little miss jabber beak. She loved to talk and connect with her human flock, that being my hubby, sons and I.

She loved human attention. All my girls are very friendly but Miss Katie went above and beyond the friendly line and wanted to be with her human flock members. She loved getting rides in the wagon and following us around the backyard as we did our chores and worked in the gardens. Whenever we were outside Miss Katie was there to follow us around and offer the help and support. She was one in a million. She was the gem of my flock and the friendliest hen I have ever known. I had no idea that a hen could be more like a dog till I had Miss Katie come to our farm. I am so glad that she was in the little peeping box that I picked up at the post office 8 going on 9 years ago. She has indeed changed our lives for the better.

Several weeks ago she came down sick, acting as though she did not feel well. I brought her inside and placed her in my hospital pen that I have in the house for any of my girls that need specific round the clock attention. I determined after much examination and research that Miss Katie’s heart was failing and the she was just getting old and that her remaining time with us was short. She lived out her remaining time with us inside in the living room surrounded by her “human flock” that she loved so much. She watched TV with us and listened to us as we talked in the family room. She was just apart of our family in a way she always wanted to be. As she slowly started to fail her heart gave out she laid down her head and went to her final sleep with the human flock around her. She lived a full life full of love and pampering care. At 9 years old, she had a very long and happy life. Even for a well cared for chicken 9 years is a long life.

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We buried her the next day in my little cemetery where I bury all my girls. It’s always sad when I lose one of my girls but Miss Katie was hard to say good by to. The life at the Kuntry Klucker Farm goes on but there is a big void left in the backyard since Katie went to rainbow bridge. I love all my girls but she was a special gal that left a hole in my heart and our flock. I am sure that I will never have a hen quite like Miss Katie. I am just so glad that I have Miss Aphrodite to carry on her legacy and personality.

Every time I step outside to take care of the girls I stop by her grave and say hi. I can still hear her in my minds eye talking to me about her day catching bugs and tending the gardens. Tales of ripe tomatoes, plump berries, juicy bugs and other goings on in the backyard still catch my ear. She loved to talk to us and help us tend the gardens. Life is not the same in the backyard, she will be missed and there will forever be a void left by Miss Katie. She was one in a million, and gem that I was lucky enough to have privilege to care for and pamper.

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So to you Miss Katie, I say thank you. Thank you for coming to our little farm and blessing our life with your presence. We miss you so much but we will be okay, I have peace knowing that you died surrounded by your human flock that loved you so much. As you sit on your perch at Rainbow Bridge check in on us every once in a while.

Till then, Fly high sweet girl, Fly High.

We love you sweetheart. ♥️

They’re Here!!

It’s that time again!!! Chick days are alive and well here at the Kuntry Klucker Farm. The girls are about to get some new neighbors. These little ones are going to call the Bantom Boutique and the Tardis home.

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Last November I ordered 9 chicks for this springs clutch. I ordered 9 Silkies an 4 Frizzle Cochins, a total of 9. Unfortunately one of the little Silkies did not make it. Among the surviving members are 2 Buff Silkies, 2 Black Silkies, and 4 Black Fizzle Cochins which will be added to The Kuntry Klucker Farm.

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For my brooder I use a puppy play pen and for the heat source I use a EcoGlow heater. The puppy play pen work very well as a brooder because it has raised sides which keep the shaving mess to a minimum and a closed top which keep the chicks from flying the coop. As they age they reach the flying phase which can frustrate many chick owners as they try to keep the chicks in the brooder. This product, although made for dogs doubles as a great brooder, all issues are covered in one simple setup.

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As dictated by tradition, day three of their life here at the Kuntry Klucker Farm is picture day! Chicks only have their soft downy appearance for about three days, after that they start to feather out and enter what I like to call the ugly duckling phase. So as always, I grab my camera and snap pics on the third day. I will share some of these with you below.

The 4 Frizzle Cochins will be joining the Bantom Boutique Crew when they are big enough to move out doors. The BB Crew will be known as the “freaky feather bunch”. When the Frizzle cochins feather out they will have a bit of a frizzle feather appearance, hence the name “Frizzle”. They will fit right in with the Polishes who have a bit of a frizzle appearance with their white crown feathers.

The Buff and Black Silkies will of course be joining the TARDIS crew which consists of 3 White Silkies and 1 Black Silkie. Currently I have one of the white Silkies sitting on a clutch consisting of 3 ceramic eggs. She went broody about 3 week ago, I plan to allow her to raise the 4 Silkie’s chicks for me and introduce them to the existing TARDIS Crew when she feels the time is right. I will of course chronicle this adventure for you as Miss Donna raises a clutch of 4 Silkie chicks. I had a successful adoption by Miss Katie our resident Buff Orphington Momma Hen last year. She did a great job in bringing up Aphridite for me. I hope to have the same success with Miss Donna. I will have a post about the adoption and my method coming soon.

But for now, we welcome the newest additions to the Kuntry Klucker Farm where chickens live like Kings, living the sweet life.

Here are few of the pics from our morning photo shoot. Baby pics!!

Stay tuned for a post on chick adoption by an existing broody. Till then, keep on clucking, the girls and I will see you soon.

~ The Kuntry Klucker Crew ~

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It’s Tilling Day!!

Welcome back everyone!! Today is the day that the girls look forward to the most, tilling day. For those who don’t understand what all the excitement is about, allow me to explain. Tilling means two things, one the start of the next growing season and two, worms!! I am more excited about planting crops while the girls are more excited about the worms and bugs.

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I have lots of help here on the Kuntry Klucker Farm. My hubby willingly tills the garden for me while the girls enthuiastically follow him gobbling up any worms and bugs that the tiller disturbs. Its a big deal here at the farm. Below I will chronical the events of the evening.

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The tiller is awoken from its long winters slumber in the garden shed and brought to the backyard. Now most animals when they see something as scary looking as a tiller coming into the living quarters they respond in sheer panic, the girls not so much. The girls (with 8 years now under their wings) know exactly the bounty that shortly awaits them when the tiller makes it annual apperance. They flock to the tiller following the user to the garden where they line up for the imminent buffet.

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As the tiller turns the soil, worms and other delectables come to the surface which the girls delightfully gobble up. Now the rules of this chicken game is to be the chicken right behind the tiller. The hen that is closest to the tiller gets the worms first. Its a literal game of “the early bird gets the worm”. As you can probably suspect, there are squabbles for the first place position behind the tiller, but that’s all part of the fun.

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As the garden is further tilled the worms are more abundant so being the first hen in line does not matter as much. As the tiller makes its way around the garden, so do the girls. Instead of a line of hungry chickens, we then have circles of worm inspectors following the tiller. The human perspective of the excitement that the girls expereince is absolutely hilarious. We get as much joy out of watching them getting the worms as they do in getting the worms. Owning chickens is so much fun, this is just one of the delightful aspects that chickens bring to the backyard homestead.

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When the tiller has done its job and is returned to its place in the garden shed, the girls still work for a while longer. They will continue to further till the soil for me for the next several l weeks. Once the last frost has passed it will be time to plant the crops and the growing season begins. The girls will continue to work in the garden all summer long patrolling the plants for bugs and turning the soil as they search for delicious worms to feast on.

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The Bantam Botique and TARDIS crew on the other hand are new to all of this excitement. This is their first experience with the tiller, this time last year they were still eggs not yet hatched. Enigma and the crew are not sure what to make of the tiller. But if life can teach a chicken anything its to love the worm god, AKA the tiller.

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That is all the excitement for now, the girls will be busy the next several weeks helping us prepare for planting season. Thanks for stopping by, the girls and I will be back soon with a post on the new arrivals. New chicks will arrive May 11!! We here at the Kuntry Klucker Farm are anxiously awaiting their arrival.

See you soon, till then keep on crowing.

~ The Kuntry Klucker Crew ~

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