Chicken Math!!!!

Hello fellow peeps! Sorry its been a while since I posted on here, but I have been down with a bug, a bug fellow chicken keepers are well aware of. The dreaded bug of chicken MATH!!! That is right, I have been stuck with the chicken math bug. Now for you readers not familiar with the chicken math plague, allow me to describe the depths of this hypnotic illness.

You see as chicken keepers we do not count our chickens like most normal people would count jelly beans, change or marbles. You see no real method of counting works when it comes to chickens. If you see 1 + 1 you will automatically say well that equals two. Not so for us chicken owners as we count our chickens. We say, “2 chickens plus 4 chickens that would be about 5 chickens or so”. You see we don’t really want to admit how many chickens that we have because then we would realize that we have too many. So we use the system of Chicken Math. It’s an approximate number of chickens that we might have minus a few.

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Its a rather contagious bug, especially around Thanksgiving. While most people are out buying a turkey and the trimmings for a Thanksgiving dinner or staking out their prey in the form of stores for black friday deals. We chicken owners are trying to beat the rush for ordering chicks for the next spring. If you thought that black friday lines were an intense crowd, you have not seen chicken owners sitting by the computers anxiousally waiting for the stroke of mid night to order chicks. If you are into rare breeds this intensidty is even worse. There are only a few being hatched so you have to make sure that your order goes though, first and fast!

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Anyway, back to the chicken math. Here is how it works in my case. Let’s see, I have 9 or so big girls in the Kuntry Klucker and I guess, 8 or so in the Bantom Botique. Using the concept of Chicken Math that would be about 10 chickens, I have more than enough room for more.

So according to chicken math I don’t have enough and onto ordering I go. So instead of rushing to the stores like most red blooded American’s, I am at home down with the chicken math bug. What am I doing in particular? I am going through all the available breeds, trying to decide which breeds I want to bring to the Kuntry Klucker Farm next spring.

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After much thought, debating with myself, and running the numbers of chicken math again and again,  I have decided to order 9 new chicks for next year.

We are so excited!! Here is rap sheet for next year’s chicks.

2 Bantom Black Silkies (1 male and 1 female)

3 Bantom Buff Silkies (1 Male and 2 Females)

4 Bantom Cochin Frizzle ( all females)

I wanted to get another White Crested Polish but I was too late and they were all gone. Even so, I ended up with quite a list for next year. I have chosen the hatch date of May 7, so that means by May 8th or 9th I will be a chick ma ma again.

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I cannot wait for my peeping package to arrive at my local post office and start the adventure all over again. Ordering chicks is so much fun and the method of Chicken Math makes it possible.

What am I going to do with all these chicks you may be asking? Well, I plan to add another chicken coop and place it in the spice garden with Roy’s Roost and Betsy’s Bliss. I have room for one more coop there. I plan to house all the Silkies in this coop. In the Bantom Botique I plan to integrate the 4 Bantom Cochin Frizzles with Enigma and the While Crested Polish Girls.

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I want to eventually get all the Silkies into a coop of their own. They will then roam the spice garden and tend that garden for me. Since Silkies have feathers on the feet they are not as destructive as the non-feathered footed breeds. That means that will at most turn the mulch and keep the bugs away in my spice garden. They will be the perfect addition to that garden.

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The Black Cochin Frizzles will make a great addition to the Bantom Botique. If you remember, Enigma was a little hatchery mix up last year. He was supposed to be a White Crested Polish Male. Since he is the only cochin on my farm here I wanted to get some girls that are his breed. So I will take the Silkies out of the Bantom Botique move them into the coop that I will place in my spice garden and then replace them with the Cochin Frizzles in the Bantom Botique.

In the end, once I get things all said and done the Kuntry Klucker farm here will be complete. If I get a bad case of the Chicken Math bug next spring I may order a few more. But for now, I think that my Chicken Math bug has run its course.

Thanks for dropping by and checking up on our goings on here at the Kuntry Klucker Farm. The girls are doing great, weathering the winter weather well. We have had some snow which they are not thrilled about, but like always they make the best of if it.

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Till next time, the girls and I wish you a Merry Cluckmas and a Happy New Year!!!

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~ The Kuntry Klucker Crew ~

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Kuntry Klucker Crew Meets Bantam Boutique Crew

Hi everyone! Welcome back to the Kuntry Klucker farm. Tonight the Kuntry Klucker Crew and the Bantam Boutique Crew were formerly introduced to each other. Up till know I have kept the Bantam Boutique and the Kuntry Klucker crew seperated from each other. The girls are getting used to the Bantam Boutique Crew in their living space so I thought the time was right for a formal backyard introduction. In the post I will take you through the introductions as the two flocks meet each other.

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As typical for most social engagements, hors d’oeuvres or appetizers always make things run a bit smoother, the girls are no different. So to help make the situation as relaxing as possible, I spread some scratch or chicken candy out for both flocks. I let the Bantam Boutique crew out of their pen and allowed them to forage for the scratch in their outdoor enclosure as the Kuntry Klucker girls also foraged for their portions of chicken crack on the other side of their fence.

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The meeting went very smoothly, the big girls completely ignored the Bantam Boutique Crew. Althoug this sounds rude, its actually a good thing in the chicken world, this is what you want to happen. What it means is that the Kuntry Klucker girls have become comfortable with the Bantam Botique Crew being in their living space. At some point I would like to let both flocks out in the backyard and have peace and harmony among all the flock members.

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But before I do so, I need to make completely sure that the Kuntry Klucker girls no longer  see the Bantam Boutique Crew as intruders in their environment. The girls know that the Bantam Boutique Crew is there but up till know they have been in their pen to protect them from the big girls picking on them. When the Bantam Boutique Crew was first placed in their outdoor home the girls were very curious and spent many hours and days circling the pent trying to get to them. As time has gone on they are now comfortable with the Bantam Boutique Crew because they no long pay them any attention. As far as they Kuntry Klucker Crew is concerned, the Bantam Boutique Crew are just apart of the landscape.

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Once I saw this in the Kuntry Klucker Crew’s behavior I knew that the time was right for a formal backyard meet and greed session. I will allow the two flocks to be near each other like this for the next few weeks. At some point I am hoping to allow both flocks to free range in the backyard, but I cannot do this till I know that the big girls no long see the Bantam Boutique Crew as intruders.

It takes time, but slowly with constant protected interaction we will get to the point where both the Bantam Boutique and Kuntry Klucker Crew will happily coexist. Till then due to the size difference between the two flocks I have to proceed slowly till the time is right to allow the Bantam Boutique Crew into the yard with the big girls.

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All in all, I am very pleased how well this meet and greet session went. I was expecting the big girls to try to breach the barrier to get to the Bantam Boutique Crew on the other side. No only did this no happen, the Kuntry Klucker girls could care less about the presence of the Bantam Boutique Crew. I am confident that in a few short months I will have my backyard teaming with the two flocks happily coexisting. A peaceful flock is what every backyard chicken keeper wants.

Next time I will be back with a very interesting post. As many of you know a solar eclipse is expected to transit the United States on August 21st. I am thrilled to say that our property is directly in the shadow of totality. I plan to observe the girls behavior as the solar eclipse passes over the Kuntry Klucker Farm. I am sure that they will be very confused as it starts to get dark in the middle of the afternoon. I plan to catch their behavior in pictures and on time lapse video as they go to roost under the shadow of the solar eclipse. Check back soon after the solar eclipse and I will have a post dedicated to the girls reaction to the sky darkening at mid day. I am sure that they will be a hoot.

Till next time, take care, look to the skies and enjoy the passing butterflies.

~ The Kuntry Klucker Crew ~

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A Lesson in Simplicity from my Girls

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Having backyard chickens teaches the owner many things. Most people think that chickens are characteristically unintelligent but this is far from the truth. Just because they cannot understand technology or make complex machines does not mean that they are not wise beyond their years. As the closest living relative to the ferocious T-Rex, these guys have been around a long time and have much to teach us.

Recently those who follow me on Facebook may have noticed that I have disappeared from the social media landscape. This is true, I have recently decided to leave the social media world behind. After getting caught up in a flame war I decided that this is not me and this is not what I want to be. I took a step back and thought to myself, what am I doing getting caught up in all the drama that comes with social media. People said things to me that were hurtful and I said my own things that were hurtful. I decided that this is not the person that I want to be and cut the cord with social media. I also want to offer an apology to those who followed me on Facebook. If I posed anything or said anything that you found offensive I offer my deepest apology.

Since I am no longer on Facebook I have created an email address for those who would like to contact me outside of the comment section on my blog. That address is kuntryklucker@gmail.com. I will add that to the contact section of my page as well.

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This blog is entitled “A Lesson in Simplicity from my Girls”, so what I am doing rambling on about social media. Well, after I got my wake up call via a flame war that I got drawn into, I took a step back,  left my office and went to visit the girls. As I thought about how awful people can be to one another,  I watched them as they hunted and pecked in the backyard. I watched them as a group stroll in the backyard without a care in the world (I know that they have cares and have emotions) but I watched as they were content to simply be.

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The needs of a chicken are very few. They need food, shelter, and water like all organisms on Earth. A stretch of green grass to find bugs and a little dirt to dust bathe in this is all they need for contentment. Now I know that I spoil my girls above and beyond that, they have a penthouse of a coop and more plants than they could graze on. But outside of that, if all they had was food, water, dirt and space to hunt for bugs they would be completely content.

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This is where I realized something, my girls are showing me how to be content with life , not worry or get caught up in the drama around me. They have drama around them, everything from dogs, to the occasional hawk sighting, to the excitement of a big juicy bug being found. But outside of that they are completely at peace to just be.

I decided, after watching them for an hour or more that I understand what simplicity is. Its being content with where you are and simply pecking in the grass as the drama passes you by. After realizing this, I decided to cut my ties with the social media world. I will of course keep plucking away at my blog here, but as far as the drama that social media can create, I choose to simply be and leave it behind.

I know that many of you will miss my quirky posts and pics. But what really matters to me are my girls, and my love for sharing the backyard chicken hobby with others. Keeping chickens is more than just feeding them and collecting eggs, its taking in the lessons that they teach. Although they cannot speak our language they do speak the universal language of life. They speak in simple terms but that may be just what we as humans need. A life of simplicity is not a wasted one, it is one lived with focus on what is most important and the rest left behind.

Again, I am sorry if my disappearance of leaving Facebook concerned you or if I may have posted or said something that offended you. I offer my deepest apology. But, this lesson in both life and simplicity is one that I needed. I thank those who made me aware of my mistakes and my girls for showing me how to move forward with a simplicity that is only found in the lesson from a chicken.

Keep calm, look for delectables, and simply be

I have some exciting posts coming soon. The Bantom Boutique Crew is getting big and looking fantastic. I will have a blog post of them coming very soon. Also, as many of you are aware the United States is going to experience an eclipse on August 21st. I am in the direct path of totality for this celestial event. I will have a post on the experience of this eclipse as seen from my girls. It will occur during the high afternoon hours, I am sure that they girls will be quite confused as the sky starts to darken in the middle of the day. I plan to catch this as much more in video and picture. I will share them here with you for those who are not in the path of totality. I hope that it will be a post that is most enjoyable and entertaining from the girls perspective.

Thanks for taking the time to drop by and catch up with the girls and I.

Till next time, keep your eyes to the sky and enjoy the passing butterflies

~ The Kuntry Klucker Crew ~

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A Boy and his Rooster.

Some kids have dogs, cats, goldfish or guinea pigs as pets. My son however has a pet rooster. It did not start out this way but it has ended up this way. This is the story of a boy and his rooster.

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You see Roy, our resident backyard rooster has had a few set backs with his health in the past few years. This often requires me to separate him from the girls in order to tend to his needs and treat him individually. He came to our farm the way the other girls did when I ordered our chicks and that arrived in the mail as a small peeping box.

He however was different, he has always been rather fearless and bull headed. He hates my husband due to the fact that it is often he who pushes the lawn mower, which he hates. For the longest time I was the only one who could go out the the backyard and pick him up with out being threatened with a confrontation. Now the roles have totally reversed.

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This all started a few summers ago when Roy was attacked by a hawk. I never saw the hawk or the confrontation, I only saw the after effects. Roy apparently won the fight because he was alive when I found him although injured. The hawk attacked his head causing some pretty nasty wounds which I treated. He made a full physical recovery but not a neurological one. You see when the hawk attacked him it went after his head, his skull was not broken but I wonder if Roy hit his head or twisted his neck when the Hawk tried to lift him than dropped him (judging by his injuries and the crime scene).

Later that summer I went out to the backyard to check on the girls and found him passed out on the ground. After later assessment it was determined that he possibly had a stroke or some other health malfunction which caused him collapse. Ever since these two events he has had health issues and often has episodes where he cannot walk well and needs some special care.

I separate him from the girls because chickens have natural cannibalism habits which from an evolutionary perspective is beneficial in flock survival. You see a weak member exposes the whole flock to predators, so to counter the effect of this issue the flock will literally kill and eat the sick or injured member. This is all well and good except for one problem, the girls are domesticated and protected from most predators and are pets not food. Our rooster is no different. He is a our pet and a member of our backyard family, we just don’t eat family members no matter how sick.

So his life as a bachelor began. After some time of him living in a large dog kennel I finally purchased a small chicken coop for him to live in. It has been affectionally named “Roy’s Roost”. He has taken very well to his new digs and has improved quite a bit with all the loving care he has been receiving.

Now enter my son. Upon ordering this coop I had no intentions of selling out chicken care to my kids. However, once we got this coop put together my son took to it like a fly to sugar. He loved it!! It is small, easy to clean and maintain, and just his size. The resident rooster needing a bit of loving care has accepting my son as his nurse nightingale. The two have bonded and formed a close relationship. I take care of the Kuntry Klucker girls while my son takes care of Roy’s Roost.

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Roy looks forward to his boy coming out and taking care of him every day. He is wide awake, looking out the coop windows eagerly waiting for him. He clucks and coos to him and my son lovingly talks back. I never thought that my son would form a strong bond with our flock rooster, but behold it has happened. It is the sweetest thing to see the two of them out in the yard together.

Roy is doing much better, he has his good days and his bad days. Some days his legs give him trouble and some days he is out in the backyard with my kids playing. I don’t know how much time he has left with us, but I do know that till the very end he will be loved, spoiled, and adored by the boy who Roy has adopted as his caretaker.

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Some kids have dogs, cats, or goldfish as pets. My son has a rooster. This was the story of a boy and his rooster.

Thanks for reading, the girls and I will be back with more adventures and stores soon.

~The Kuntry Klucker Crew~

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Roy the Rooster

I thought I would dedicate a post to my resident rooster, Roy. When I tell people that I have chickens I am usually asked two questions. one, how many chickens do I have, and two, do I have a rooster? For many people all they know about roosters are the horror stories passed down by previous generation of a fearsome barnyard bird.

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I will say, that when I am not in the backyard Roy rules the yard but in a good way. You see he keeps watch over the girls as they graze and go about their day of hunting and pecking. He keeps a sharp eye for predators that could harm the girls, if he senses a danger he will then sound the alarm sending the girls running for cover. He will then take his position as the sacrifice for the girls in the yard.

Luckily, the only danger that Roy and I have to worry about is something arial in nature. My backyard is fenced in by a 6 foot wood privacy fence, so most four legged threats are denied access to their ranging grounds. Only an arial attack would be a threat to my flock. However, I do have a story about this that is very interesting that I will share with you later.

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So now, back to Roy. Where did and I get him and how does your basic backyard rooster behave? I ordered my flock as chicks from a reputable breeder. I ordered 16 hens and 1 rooster. They arrived in a box as little yellow balls of peeping fluff. The only way I could tell Roy from the rest of the girls was a blue mark on his head (sharpie marker) administered by the breeder so I could identify our barnyard boy. Below is Roy’s baby picture, he was about a week old here, and already he had a look of command.

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From the beginning Roy was a little bit different than the others. I could not say that if he did not have his mark that I could single him out as the rooster till he matured more. But I will say, that even in the brooder he was the boss. He was not mean to the girls or anything, he just had a demeaner about him that demanded respect.

Well as the chicks grew he began to show his rooster features, a large comb, waddle, and finally a crow. The first time I heard him crow was so funny. I remember it well. I was filling the feeders in the morning, talking to the girls when all at once I heard this noise come from Roy. It was not a cock-a-doodle-doo like you normally picture a rooster belting. But more of a cock-a-chock-caugh-squeek. It was the funniest thing I ever heard. I remember looking up and saying Roy, “what was that”? Well after a few days he got his crow worked out and now he sounds like your typical rooster.

Roy is the first rooster that I ever personally had. I have seen roosters and been around them growing up, but never actually owned one till now. Honestly, I was nervous, I knew that they could be aggressive and even down right nasty. But I also knew that other people had them and treated them like cuddle bugs. I had no idea how one could even pick up a rooster let alone be friends with it. Well on the heals of that I did some research and found the secret to raising roosters. It is not about making friends with it, but actually training him to see you as the alpha rooster, positioning yourself at the top of the pecking order.

You see chickens are highly social animals and understand social order and their particular place with the pecking order. All the girls know each other, and they all know who is above who and who is below who. Roy ultimately being the alpha or at the top of the pecking order. Well, that is till I come into the backyard, than I am alpha rooster.

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You see from a very early age I had to train Roy that I was the alpha rooster, I basically had to treat Roy like an alpha rooster would treat a beta (second in command) rooster. I did not hurt him or anything, it was simple, subtle things that roosters understand. Such as, if he tried to come too close to me when I was out feeding the girls I would take a few large stomping steps towards him letting him know that he was getting too close to the alpha rooster. This told him that I was in command and that he needed to keep a respectful distance. I would pick him up and carry him around for a little bit as I talked to the girls. This showed him that I could physically dominate him without causing him any harm.  I would then release him after a while and allow him to reassemble with the girls. As we grew, I would then feed him treats and so forth which he we then distribute to the girls. This way he not only saw me as the alpha rooster, but also as the provider for their needs.

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I have never had a problem with him attacking me. He did try to challenge me once, but that is about it. I will have to say with a lot research, work, and understanding of chicken behavior, I have the best behaved rooster I could ever wish for. Honestly, I will have to say he is my helper in the backyard. He takes care of the girls for me when I cannot be in the backyard with them.

Ok, now I will share with you a story of Roy in action. A several years ago, I was inside doing housework and heard Roy crowing relentlessly. It is normal for him to crow on and off during the day but to just crow and crow and crow was rather unusual. If he crows like that something is not right or possibly even dangerously wrong. So, in a hurry I put my boots on and ran to the backyard to see what had Roy so upset. The first thing I noticed upon going outside was several large birds circling over my backyard. My heart sank because I expected to see one or more of the girls torn to pieces in the backyard. But to my shocking surprise, Roy was planning to take the hawks on single handily.

You see, he had given the warning and the girls ran and were huddled under the large shade tree next to their coop. Roy was in the middle of the backyard acting like a distraction to detour the hawks attention to him and not the girls. The crowing that I heard inside was him crowing at the hawks reading himself for the attack. When I got to the backyard and realizes the reality of the situation I grabbed the closest thing I could find and waved it in the air. I must have looked really dumb to anyone passing by, but I was backup for my rooster. I grabbed a hoe that was leaning against the coop and waved it in the air scaring the hawks off. They left screeching I assume disappointed that their dinner was protected. Roy, after the hawks flew off looked at me with a sigh of relief. That day I gained to much respect for him, his nature, and his ability to protect my girls. I knew then and there that he was indeed the best rooster I could ever hope for.

Had I not heard his battle cry, I hate to think what would happen to him. I know that he had no chance against 3 hungry hawks, I am sure he knew that too. But regardless he took his position and readied for a battle the he would loose at the cost of protecting the girls. I have never seen such love and devotion in an animal before. He really is my prize jewel of the backyard. Now whenever I hear his battle cry I do not hesitate and come to his aid. So far we have evaded, several hawks and a few turkey buzzards. I will have to say that we make a pretty good team.

For this reason, whenever I am away from the house, I make sure they are secure in the pen. When I get home, if the weather is good I will let them out into the yard. But I always keep an ear open for Roy’s crow. He will let me know and call me if something is wrong or if he needs backup.

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So here is to what having a rooster is really like. If you raise them well, take the time to understand them and their nature, and assert yourself as both their provider and supervisor they will respect you and be your biggest allie in the flock. Roosters are not the horror stories of yesteryear. Yes they are roosters and they do have a job to do which they take rather seriously. However, when raised will with love and care they are one of the most amazing creatures and worthy of all the respect they deserve.

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So here is to my Roy Boy, you are indeed the man.

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Thank for reading and following along our adventures. Tell next time, keep on crowing.

The Kuntry Klucker Crew

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