5 Reasons To Love Buff Orpingtons.

Buff Orpingtons are a Heritage Breed that was kept by the generations of yesteryear and has been a staple of the homestead and backyard chicken enthusiasts alike. There are many aspects about the Buff Orpington that make them an excellent barckyard companion, I will list my top 5.

1. Great Egg Layers:

Buff Orpingtons and all Orpingtons are prolific layers of large to X-large light brown eggs. A single hen can lay up to 3-5 eggs a week, making her yearly output 156-260 eggs a year. They are hearty and will often lay through the winter only ceasing during molt. I have 3 of these lovely “golden girls” remaining of my original flock of 17. 10 years on they still lay eggs. Their rate has dropped as they have aged into their twilight years but amazingly these lovely ladies still lay eggs.

2. Buff Orpingtons are great mothers:

When you think of a mother hen raising a clutch of baby chickens the thought will often conjure the image of a Buff Orpington, this is because Buff Orpingtons are renowned for making great mothers. The Buff Orpington as a breed are very broody, hens will often go broody in the spring and want to raise chicks. I have one particular Buff Momma Hen, Miss Katie who has raised several clutches for me. She even adopted a little White Crested Polish chick that was failing to thrive, raising her as her own she did what I could not do. If you are one who likes to procreate your flock from your parent stock, Buff Orpingtons are a great asset to have on your farm. They will encubate, hatch and raise the baby chicks for you. Teaching them all that there is to know about being a chicken, you as the keeper get a hands off approach to raising baby chicks on your farm.

3. Friendly, calm and docile disposition:

When starting with backyard chickens it is typically of upmost importance for new keepers to have a docile breed. This is one of the reasons that Buff Orpingtons are a great choice for beginners . They are hearty, resilant and very docile. Even the roosters possess and good demeanor. Buff Orpingtons are known as “the golden retrevors” of the chicken world and for good reason. They are very calm and loyal.

When I first starting keeping chickens, Buff Orpingtons were the breed that I started with. 10 years on, I still have 3 of these lovely “golden girls”. Buff Orpingtons are a great breed for new backyard chicken enthuesists for several reasons. They are a very patient, calm and friendly breed. Orpingtons enjoy interacting with their keepers and are not flighty. They bear confinement well but are very resourceful when allowed to free range. Due to their large size they are unable to fly making it very easy to keep them confined to a backyard or fenced in chicken run. They are hearty and do well in warm climates as well and cool climates. They have very few inherent illness or other breed specific issues that presuppose them to health issues. All in all, they make a great breed to begin your backyard chicken adventure. Since they are very popular they are readily available at most farm and feed stores.

They often build strong bonds with their keepers and make great backyard companions. They are very friendly, approachable and social. They will often follow their keeper around the yard clucking and squawking the events of their day. They often make lap chickens due to their desire for attention from their keepers. If you want a pet that makes you breakfast, the Buff Orpington is the breed for you.

4. Great to have around children:

Due to their calm, docile and friendly temperament, Buff Orpingtons are a great breed to have around children. If kids are going to take apart in the chicken chores or upkeep of the flock, these golden girls make a great breed to have. Due to their large size they are easy for kids to pick up and hold. They are not flighty, thus they make the perfect pet chicken that children can easily bond with. As layers of large to X-large eggs, they are easy for children to collect and hold. My boys will often pick up our Buff hens and place them on their laps for some bonding time. Buff Orpingtons love to be held which further makes these big balls of fluff and feathers a great breed to have around kids.

5. Great garden helpers:

If you love to garden whether it be veggie or flower, a flock of Buff Orpingtons will be your best friends. With their innate ability to forage for worms, bugs, and other delectables they will rid your gardens of pests and other unwanted nuisances. As they till at the soil in search for worms they aerate the soil, bringing many benefits to the plants.

As your garden matures, the flock will patrol the gardens picking bugs off the plants to dine on. In this, the flock is your own personal extermination crew. This allows you to grow organic produce eliminating the need for chemicals to rid bugs from your plants. They enjoy eating all the bugs and worms from your garden, you enjoy eating organic produce tended by your Buff Orpington crew.

In addition to the tilling, aerating, and extermination supplied by your backyard garden helpers, you will reap the added benefit of compost. Due to the high concentration of nitrogen that is contained in chicken poo, your girls will provide you with excellent fertilizer.

Chicken manure is far superior to cow or horse manuer due to the presence of the gizzard in the body of the chicken. The gizzard grinds everything the chicken consumed down to a singularity, produceing a pure source of fuel for your garden. Cows and horses on the other hand do not process everthing they eat, passing weed seeds into their manuer. Many novice gardeners are often surprised at the abundance of weeds in their gardens after spreading cow or horse manuer. Due to the absence of a gizzard in the digestive system of a cow or horse, these very fertile weed seeds are then introduced to your garden.

Additionally, most of the manure sold at garden stores are sourced from the factory farms. The chemicals that are fed to the animals are passed into their manuer which is then introduce to your garden. By using the compost provided by your own backyard flock you can be assured that what is spread on your garden is organic and benifical for both you and your plants.

The Buff Orpington is an all purpose breed that is great for many functions on the homestead or backyard farm. They are a great breed for beginners as well as seasoned keepers alike. I will always have a small flock of Buff Orpingtons on my farm because I love their enduring personalities and beautiful color. They lay well, are great with kids and make a great companion in gardening and providing compost for my plants. If well cared for, these golden girls can make it to 10 years of age and beyond. Of the original 17 chicks that I started with I still have 3 of these believed ladies. I don’t know how much time they have left, but I do know that they will spend their twilight years basking in the sun’s rays, chasing butterflies and digging for worms.

I hope that this post was helpful for anyone looking to start a flock of backyard chickens.

If you have any questions, please leave a comment and I will get back to you as soon as I can.

As always, thanks for reading! Till next time, keep on crowing.

~ The Kuntry Klucker Crew ~

A Kuntry Klucker Halloween.

The trees are transitioning to brilliant colors of red, orange, and yellow. The days and nights are streadly getting cooler, days are visibility shorter, the animals scurry to prepare for the coming winter season as the first snowfall of the year covers the ground. All this symbolizes the coming of winter ushered in by the astronomical mid point between the Autumnal Equinox and the Winter Solstice more commonly known as Halloween.

Halloween is one of my favorite times of the year, the stores become haunted with costumes and creatures of all sorts, caramel apples become a staple, and pumpkins color the store fronts a brilliant orange. A symbol of the last crop of the season, bringing a finality to the years harvest.

Children carve faces in their pumpkin and place them on the front porch, a tradition tracing back to the Druids to ward off evil spirits. Harvest displays appear on door steps along with a humble scarecrow overseeing the bounty of the seasons surplus. However, halloween traditions are not just limited to the humans during this time of magic and fantasy. Here on the Kuntry Klucker Farm, the girls also participate in the seasons festivities.

Every year after Halloween I frequent the local stores buying up all the pumpkins that did not make the designated cut to be Jack-O-Lanterns. The remaining pumpkins left are reduced in price making perfect carving projects for my girls. In addition to late fall fun and entertainment they provide, pumpkin are very nutritious for chickens. They supply an abundance of essential nutrients needed for my girls during this late season after all the bugs and plants have long gone dorment. Additionally, since they are large they will serve as boredom busters and focuses of activity for my girls for a good part of November going into December. Due to the fact that temperatures are below freezing at night, the pumpkins stay fresh for quite some time before giving way to the natural process of decomposition.

Over the years my girls have become excellent pumpkin carvers, enjoying the seasons final harvest of pumpkins and other fall delectables. They happily peck at the pumpkin anxious to get to the seeds contained in the center of the tasty orb. As they peck their way to the center they carve a design in the exterior of the pumpkin, essentially carving their Halloween pumpkin. All the finished projects are different each displaying unique features and designs all created by chickens. A true piece of chicken art.

Many people would not associate chickens with artists or even expect carvers, but my girls are here to prove that chickens are natures little artists. The girls enjoy their own version of the holidays as they share in the tradition of the season.

I hope that you enjoyed this post, it was a bit different than my traditional format but was fun to share with you just the same. As the fall season surrenders to winter I will be back with winter care and tips that I implement to keep my flock happy and healthy till the return of the Sun’s warmth.

As always, thanks for reading. The girls and I will see you soon.

Till then, 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. ♥️

Moving Day!

The Bantom Boutique crew are finally in their news digs. I moved them to their outdoor home about a week ago. I usually wait till they are 6 weeks old before making the big transition but given the very warm weather we are having I thought they would do better outdoors. They still need their little heater during the night, but during the day they are busy exploring their new home.

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Making the big transition from brooder to coop takes a bit of care and good timing. One reason that I usually get a May hatch date for all my new chicks is the ability to move them outdoor sooner than a cooler hatch date would allow. Once the are mostly feathered out I start planning their big moving day. I have found that the best time to move chick outdoors is a night. During this time they are kind of drowsy which makes the transition less stressful on the brood. After carefully arranging the coop to resemble the brooder as closely as I can, I carefully place them one by one in their new home. I allow them to spend at least 48 hours in the coop before I allow them access to the pen. This gives them time to become familiar with their new coop and help them to associate the coop with safety and sleeping. I place their heater, food, and water in the coop along with fresh savings. I also introduce them to roosts. Their coop has plenty of room so they spend the first few days learning about the big outdoors and playing on their roosts.

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After about 48 hours I allow them access to their pen. The curiosity with their new surroundings is just so adorable to watch. It is much like a child who experiences Disney World for the first time. Just so many things to do and not enough time. They quickly take to all the open space and have a blast. The first thing that many of the chicks did was dust bathe. This is a natural activity that all chickens do which they find very enjoyable. They don’t need to be taught they just know. Because I have the bottom of their pen filled with sand, they have plenty of dust bathing media. They spent most of  their first day running around and dust bathing. I can say that they absolutely love their new digs.

Although they are officially moved in to their home I still have some work to do. For the first few weeks, at dusk I will have to pick them up one by one and place them in their coop for the night. They will at some point put themselves to bed, but for now they need a little extra instruction. Till they can master the ladder up to the coop I will have to give them a little bit of help. One evening I will go out to put them to bed and find that they are all in the coop and ready to be lock in for the night. It is not very hard to put them to bed I just have to plan a little extra time in my evening to see that they all get into the coop safely.

Andromeda is still with Miss Katie, she will raise the little one for the next few weeks or so till she starts to push the little one away to make its own way in the world. At this time I will reintroduce the little chick to the Bantom Boutique flock. I will do a later post on my procedure to successfully integrate the little chick back into the flock. But for now, everyone is happy and enjoying life in the big outdoors here at the Kuntry Klucker Farm.

As always thank you for spending a little time with the girls and I, we are so glad that you stopped by. Till next time, keep on clucking.

~ The Kuntry Klucker and Bantom Boutique Crew ~

Meet the “Bantom Boutique” Crew.

They are here!! Finally after months of preparing for the arrival of my dino babies they have arrived. Last November I placed my order of chicks from “My Pet Chicken”. They are a great outfit, very helpful, and very easy to work with. After reviewing their stock I selected 4 Silkie Bantom chicks and 4 White Crested Polish Bantom chicks. Ordering chicks is not quite like placing an order on Amazon. Your order does not arrive in 5-7 business days as most are accustomed to when ordering from websites. When you place an order of chicks it will be months before they arrive at your local post office. This means that you need to think about what breeds you want to order and plan for their arrival months from their order date. So, while waiting for the very slow 6 months to pass in anticipation of their arrival. I thought about the brooder set up that I needed and of course made sure that I had their backyard digs prepared. First let me tell you about their arrival.

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On May 8th my chicks were hatched at “My Pet Chicken’s” hatchery in Ohio. I planned for this hatch date when I order my dino babies, I wanted a summer hatch and arrival date. I received a notification of their hatching and a tracking number indicating they were on the way. The next day I anxiously awaited a phone call from my post office reporting that they made the over night trip to my local post office. Contrary to what some people believe, chicks are not literally delivered to your door. When they arrive at the post office you are notified of their arrival and pick them up at your post office. After much anticipation I received the phone call that would start my adventure with the Bantom Boutique crew. I waited in line at the post office and picked up my peeping package of chicks. I got a few intriguing looks from the other people in line behind me, but then again that is all part of the experience.

 

After I got them home, I opened up the box and verified that all 8 of my carefully ordered and packaged dino babies arrive safe and healthy. After their long trip they were indeed ready to stretch their wings, eat and drink. When a chick hatches they have about 3 days of yoke supply in their system which will provide them nutrition to survive their trip. Nature inguinselly designed this to allow a mother hen to tend to the chicks that have hatched while she waits for the other eggs to hatch. Not all eggs that a mother hen sits on will hatch at the same moment. If done right, the eggs may hatch in about a day or two of each other. This allows the first chick that hatched to survive without eating anything till its clutch mates make their entry into the world. For this reason, chicks are able to survive a 1 to 2 day trip in the mail without needing any food or water. However, once they get to their destination, they are ready to eat and drink. The first thing that I did when I got them home after verifying their trip was a success was to get their first meal at their new home prepared.

I poured their chick stater feed and their water into the brooder feeders. Before I placed the chicks in the brooder I put a layer of paper towel on top of the shavings. You see, the chicks are brand new at life, they do not know what to eat but they will instiinctively peck at anything.  A mother hen would teach her young chicks what to eat. Since I am acting as the mother hen I have to in a way also teach the chicks what to eat. To discourage them from thinking that the shaving are food and eating it, I scatter chick feed on top of the paper towel which they peck at and eat. This will teach the chicks that this is food and that it is located in the feeders. Later when I remove the paper towels they will eat their chick feed from the feeders and not consume the shavings. However, once I remove the paper towels and expose the shavings they have a blast scratching it in.

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After I have scattered their feed on top of the paper towels, I then have to teach them what waters is and where they can find it. So, once again I have to be the mother hen and show them what water is. To do this I take them one by one out of the box. Before I set them in the brooder I dip their beaks in the water. After their long trip they are thirsty and will be ready to drink. Once I set them down on the brooder floor and am confident that the chick understand where they can find the water I move on to the next chick and repeat the process. After all the chicks are in the brooder eating and drinking I then have to show them where their heat source is.

Traditionally heat lamps with high wattage bulbs were used in brooders. After many years of house fires and coop fires new technology was developed. For their brooder set up I bought a Ecoglow panel heater. Instead of blasting the chicks with a 500 watt red heat lamp bulb the Ecoglow heater mimics the mother hens heat. No only are heat lamps dangerous they keep the chicks lit up like a Christmas Tree 24/7. This is not good for chicks because often times the brooder gets too hot and messes with their carcidan rhythms. The Ecoglow panel heater keeps them warm while allowing them to wake and sleep naturally. However, since these little guys did not hatch under and mother hen I have to teach them where to go when they need a bit of a warm up. Once again I take them one by one and place them under the Ecoglow hearer teaching them where the heat is located. They get this rather quick and will run to and fro from the heat source as they find necessary.

Okay, now for the brooder. For my brooder I am using a puppy play pen. Most dog owners are familiar with the product. For the non dog owners among us this is the new way to keep your pooch out of trouble when you are traveling, at work, or overnighting in a hotel or at a friends/families house. They are cute, very portable, and enclosed. They are made of tough material all the while letting fresh air in while providing your pooch with plenty of space to move around. As a brooder this is perfect. It provides plenty of room for the growing dino babies, prevents them from flying out of the brooder when they get older, and due to the mesh sides keep the bedding material in the brooder as they scratch in the bedding. All in all this is the perfect product for a brooder. Since I do not use heat lamps the panel heater sits securely on the floor without the risk of a fire.

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Chicks grow fast, once I get them they are already a day old or more. After about 3 days they start to feather out loosing their downy fuzz most commonly associated with their appearance. So, as by tradition here at the Kuntry Klucker Farm I have to get baby pictures of all my chickens. Today was picture day! Here are a few pics from our photo session today.

I hope you enjoyed meeting the new members of the Kuntry Klucker Farm. The girls do not know of their existence yet. However, they will soon meet the Bantom Boutique crew. I have a broody hen, Miss Katie, who has been sitting on fake eggs. My intention is to see if she will adopt these little guys and raise them for me more naturally than what I can provide.

If the adoption is a success I will no longer need the brooder. If she does decides that she does not want to adopt these chicks I will be place them back in the brooder and will raise them by hand. I have done extensive research on this topic and have read many success stories. All in all it comes down to the broody hen. So we will see how this goes. This will be my first experience with attempts of adoption by a broody, I will report the results. Hopefully my next post will be about a successful adoption process.

As always, thanks for stopping by and keep on crowing.

~ The Kuntry Klucker & Bantom Boutique Crew ~

Farewell Roy, Rest in Peace Buddy

Along the the joys of keeping backyard chickens there are always still the sorrows. It has been said that farm life is a balance between life and death, this is certainly true. Unfortunately, it is not easy, even though I know that the life of a chicken is not indefinitely long, when the times comes to say good-by its always hard.

Yesterday the girls and I lost our beloved rooster Roy. Now when most people think of roosters they think of a fearsome feathered backyard terror on two legs running them down. Roy was not like that at all. He was a gently creature, he was kind to humans, gentle with the girls, and the husband of his flock. He took pride in his girls even when they did not want him in their space at times, as a women I can understand this. Even then, he would always provide treats for the girls and make sure they got the best of the goods.

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After suffering a hawk attack several summers ago Roy was never really quite the same. With my loving care he made a full physical recovery but not a neurological one. The hawk attacked his head leaving him quite wounded. After days of care he was returned to his girls. However, ever since then he would tend to tire easier needing several naps during the day. Even then he would make sure that he took care of his ladies. I am sure that he was one tired guy at the end of the day.

All roosters are not bad, all roosters are not mean or aggressive. They have a job to do and they do it to the best of their ability. This is why I wanted a rooster. Roy however was special, he was the boss of the backyard but he was also gentle to the ones he loved including me, the girls, and his boy, my son Elijah. Loosing him is such a big loss, he has left a silent hole in our backyard.

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Every morning he would crow greeting the day while summoning his anticipation for breakfast for him and the girls. If I was late in letting them out in the morning he would make it no secret. If there was something amiss in the backyard, he would sound the alarm altering me to a problem calling for backup. He was a great rooster, I knew that with him on duty the in the backyard things were good. Now the girls and I are going to have to find a new normal till we decide if we want to get another rooster. Roy can never be replaced, even if I get another rooster it is no guarantee that this one will be a gentle as Roy. He really was one in a million, a diamond in the rough.

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Several days ago Roy got sick. I tried everything in my power to help him but in the end nature won. It was his time to retire and make his journey to Rainbow Bridge. I am usually able to nurse my girls back to health, but every once in a while nature beats me. His case was an unfortunate case of the power of nature over me no matter how hard I tried. It is a sobering reminder that nature is a force that we can never control now matter the extent of our efforts.

So to you Roy, thank you for everything. Thank you for your years of service, protecting the ladies, providing for them in way that I never could, and for being the prize of our flock. You are indeed worth your weight in gold. Rest if Peace Buddy, every once in a while if you get a chance check in on us from your perch at Rainbow Bridge.

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Fairwell Buddy, and thanks for all you taught me and for being my alley in caring for the girls. You are loved and will be missed more than you ever know. Fly High buddy, Fly High.

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~The Kuntry Klucker Crew~

 

Betsy’s Bliss

Hello all, I hope that this post finds everyone well and enjoying the summer. I have been pretty busy here at the Kuntry Klucker this summer. My gardens are in and in full swing. I am already eating fresh produce from my backyard and using fresh spices in my cooking. I love garden season and all the bounty that comes with it.

The girls have been busy too. They are out every evening patrolling my gardens and taking in all that the season has to offer too. It has been really hot here lately, so they spend most of their day cooling themselves in front of the fan in their coop. They don’t dare think about leaving their comfy coop till later in the cooler part of the day.

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Speaking of gardens, I have a new addition to my spice garden. Another coop, this time for Miss Betsy. You see Miss Betsy has decided that she wants to be a bully to all the other hens in my flock. I don’t mind an alpha hen (head hen) establishing her position, but when the pecking order becomes abusive I have to take action. This is yet another fun adventure of keeping chickens.

I tried several methods to curb her aggressive behavior but nothing worked. I tried to separate her in a small dog kennel to give her and the rest of the girls a break. When I reintroduced her to the flock she basically picked up where she left off. Then I tried to remove her from the flock completely so that she could neither see nor hear the other girls. After a few weeks I reintroduced her and still she bullied the other girls. It got to the point that the flock was on edge living in fear of her aggressive behavior. So I had to come up with a solution to this predicament.

Isolation is supposed to curb her aggression, by denying her both freedom and status I was hoping she would find herself at the bottom of the pecking order giving both her and the others girls a break. But she apparently is an independent thinker who wants it her way. I can understand that.

So after failed attempts of suppressing her aggressive behavior I finally got her another coop. Roy has a neighbor, I placed her little hutch in the spice garden next to Roy’s Roost. So far she likes it and took to it really well. I let her out in the evenings to roam the yard but during the day she takes it easy in her new digs.

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My boys call this the “coop-hood”, a neighborhood of chicken coops. I thought that was really cute. So the “coop-hood” it is. I have plans to add one more coop to our now developing coop-hood. I will then most definitely have a full functioning coop-hood 🙂

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I finally have a peaceful flock again. She has her own place now and can no longer terrorize the other girls. The Kuntry Klucker ladies seem to really appreciate the peace that now reigns in their coop.

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I have named her little place “Betsy’s Bliss”. Things are now blissful here again at the Kuntry Klucker farm. We are enjoying the summer season and all the comes with it. Betsy likes her new digs and the Kuntry Klucker girls are enjoying peace in the ranks once again.

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I thought I would share this little challenge with my readers. Chickens can at times throw you curve balls, but it is a chance to learn about their behavior and do what you can to understand them and their needs. As for this situation allowing Betsy to move out into her own place was the perfect solution for our little problem. Betsy is a special lady to me, my mother named her and she has always been my best layer. I could never think about giving her away. So I just roll with the punches and do what I can to make my girls as comfortable and as happy as possible. After all, happy chickens lay better eggs 🙂

Till next time, keep on crowing and thanks for stopping by to read about our adventures.

~The Kuntry Klucker Crew~

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“Coop-Scaping”

Well, I was finally able to do some much needed landscaping or “coop-scaping”  as I call it around the chicken coops this week. It is something that I have wanted to do for a few years but just did not have the means to get it done. This year I made it a priority to liven up the girls digs and Roy’s Roost as well. For this post I will show what I did for Roy and Miss Katie.

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I have Roy’s Roost in my spice/herb garden in my backyard. Roy, when free ranging would always spend most of his time lounging and patrolling this particular garden (I have 7 gardens in the backyard so he actually has his pick). I am not sure if it has the best bugs, shade, or tasty greens. But for whatever reason it is his favorite. On the heels of that, when deciding where to put his coop there was no other location but his favorite garden. It must be nice to live in the garden, literally. I had to transplant some of the plants to make room for his coop and pen but that was not too hard.

Anyway, after making room for his coop and pen I needed a landscaping plan. I took a while to think about it before I bought all the decorations necessary to make it as attractive as possible. Finally, after the plan was complete and purchased, the fun part began.

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First off, what home in not complete without a front porch. So I purchased some paving tiles and placed them at his pen door. It serves as both a standing area when I service his coop and a mudd deterrent when we get the heavy rains in the fall in winter. In addition, I have a pot of marigolds and petunias as his door step because who does not like flowers at their door.

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This (above) is the before shot of his pad before I added the coop-scaping decor and flowers. Up till this point all I had completed was the white picket fence around his coop. It does not really serve any purpose but just to have a white picket fence around his home. I have always wanted one, but since that is not always practical I had to make sure that he had one to decorate his pad.

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And…here is the after picture. I have added hanging flower baskets, potted plants, and wind chimes. Amongst the already planted herbs is a Gogi berry bush, Gooseberry bush, and an Arona Berry bush. All of which I planted this spring with the exception of the tall Arona Berry Bush currently loaded with many white blooms. Roy loves this tree and picks berries from it every year. I get what grows toward the top and let him have what grows at his level.

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Here are some closer images of the coop-scaping around his pad. The pots contain marigolds and petunias. I chose these flowers for around his home for a few reasons. One, flies and other insects do not like the marigolds, hence they are natural bug repellant. Second, they are edible for the chickens. Since my girls like to sample the land I make sure that I plant things that are safe for them to eat. Finally, they hold up well around the girls. Some plants do not take being snacked on very well, they wilt and die before the season is up. The Marigolds and Petunias are very resistant and last well into the first killing frost of the late fall season. When I plant in my backyard I have to plant with care for the girls sake and for ours as well. I need things that hold up well to a flock of chickens and their curious nature.

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Finally, the view from my favorite chair in the backyard. I love to have my coffee in the morning relaxing listing to Roy crow and taking in the morning air. This was my scene this morning when I was enjoying my “Wake up with Roy time”. I usually have the pen door open and Roy and Katie out in the yard. But we have a hawk that is currently scoping out our yard and I wanted to keep them close to the home for their protection. Roy was attacked by a hawk several summers ago, so I take their interest in my chickens seriously. Roy and Katie don’t seem to mind it, they seem to sense the danger as well. I make sure that when I have to keep them in their pen for their safely that I stock it with lots of treats and tasty morsels.

I also have the Kuntry Klucker coop-scaped and ready for the spring and summer season. More on that next time.

Till then thanks for stopping by and keep crowing!

~The Kuntry Klucker Crew~

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The Spring Swing…

Hi All, Sorry it has been a while since I have updated you on our goings on around here, it has been a busy spring. Like most of you, we are over winter and ready to plant flowers and get the warm weather seasons started. So far our spring has been pretty cool so getting things in the ground has not been possible. So, instead of planting the veggie gardens in the ground this year I have then started in seed trays in the house awaiting the last frost to pass for planting.

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The girls too have been rather busy. We designed their chicken yard or play ground this spring. This is the outdoor enclosure next to their coop that I allow them to run in when the weather is good. Unfortunately our spring has been rather rainy so it has been a slow work in progress. The girls and I finally completed it last week. I have been wanting to spruce up their outdoor run area and incorporate more things to engage them. This year I added a few new things that they are absolutely loving. A Sand box, that is right, I got the girls a sand box which they love to scratch in and dust bath in. I also purchased them a swing. I know what you are thinking, a swing, but yes. Apparently chickens love to swing. I have a few that use it, the rest are still afraid of it. I guess they are making double sure that it will not kill them.  The swing is taking some getting used to but the sand box is a big hit!

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When I let them out in the morning I first let them in their covered pen. I place their food and water in the section to keep the wild birds out of their food. It also ensures that their food will not get wet should we get a stray shower passing over. I then open up the side door that allows them access to their outdoor playground. Lately though, instead of being more exited about breakfast they are more excited about getting to go outside and play in their playground. They practically fly out of the coop in the morning heading for their sandbox then later go back into the covered pen area to get breakfast. It reminds me a lot of a elementary class of children flooding the playground as recess is announced. My girls love to play, it just makes me smile and laugh as I watch them enjoy their new playground digs.

Once the weather warms up I plan on continuing the cinder block row in front of the playground then filling the holes with flowers. I am hoping that the weather warms up enough for me to get to the gardening phase of my plan. The girls will not care too much about the flowers, but I think they need a few flowers to decorate their digs.

Now for some sad news. Along with the fun of raising chickens, there is also the reality that they do not live forever. Miss Lola passed away last week. She got sick and before I could even get to the vet the next day she passed in the night. Based on her condition and no appearance of any illness I think her heart just got tired, stopped and she passed. There was noting the vet could have done for her anyway. She is missed by both me and her flock friends. Chickens do have a mourning process, they all attended the funeral and cooed lowly and moaned as they said good buy to their fellow flock mate. The pecking order then had to be rearranged which aids in the mourning process for the girls. So far I think all is good, the girls all know where they stand in the pecking order line. I buried her in my wildflower garden in the backyard. A few that have gone before her are also buried there. They are missed but live again as my wildflower garden blooms this summer reincarnating their spirits in the form of beautiful flowers that feed the butterflies and hummingbirds that visit the flowers. It is a beautiful circle of life that takes place in my backyard.

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Roy is doing fine, he has a coop mate now. Miss Katie, one of my larger hens hurt her leg and now has a limp. She cannot climb the latter that leads to the coop so I have put her in “Roy’s Roost” with Roy. Roy too has leg issues that occurred when he was attacked by a hawk a few summers past. Katie now having suffered an injury is now rooming with Roy.

Roy is so sweet to her. While out in the yard he watches over her and does not stray far from her. He knows that she has been injured and does what he can to take care of her. He will locate a grub or what not and call her over to eat it. Katie is loving her man, the two make a great pair. She does not pick on him like the other girls do, so their arrangement is just perfect.

I had to isolate Roy from the girls because they were picking on him badly after he was hurt in the hawk attack. He is such a good rooster that I ordered another coop for him to protect him for the other girls who were brutally picking on him. Roy and Miss Katie are great together and offer each other quality companionship. I assume these two will remain coop mates for the rest of their life. The vet says that Miss Katie will be fine but will limp the rest of her life. Roy also having a limp makes them the perfect pair.

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Well that is all for now, I hope that my next post will encapsulate the completed decor of my spring plan of the girls digs. I hope to get the flowers planted in front of their playground in the next few weeks if the weather allows. I am sure that the girls will offer much help as we play in the dirt together. All girls need some flower gardens, my girls are no different.

Till next time keep on crowing!

~The Kuntry Klucker Crew~

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“But Mom,…it’s COLD Outside”.

Well, winter has finally hit. We here at the Kuntry Klucker are experiencing the coldest air so far this year. Snow flurries are in the air and the girls are not impressed. I am sure everyone has heard the phrase “all cooped up” at one point or another, well the ladies are demonstrating the meaning of that phrase. They are all cooped up today because they refuse to come out of their coop. I let them out this morning, they got their morning eats and sips. Then it was back up into the coop where it is warm and the bitter winter winds are at bay. I am glad that they find their coop comfortable on these cold winter days. I have done all that I can to make it comfortable for them and a haven on the coldest of days.

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Not much action is happening in the pen or the chicken yard/playground today. I allowed them access to their playground (outdoor enclosed run) earlier today, but there were no takers. I don’t blame them. After a while I closed up that door to their coop because they preferred to stay where it was warm and dry. It is amazing how funny chickens can be. You know its cold when the chickens refuse to come out of the coop. I make sure I check on them often to fill their feeders and keep their water fresh and unfrozen. They eat a lot more on these cold days, so the feeders empty faster than on a day when they are out hunting and pecking in the yard. When free ranging they find some of their own food anyway, but today when they have confined themselves to their coop they are taking down the feed.

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Many people ask me if I heat my coop. This is a subject that I think most chicken owners take one side or the other on. For me I choose no. My reasons are this. Whenever you introduce heat to the coop your introduce the risk of fire and injury to your birds. No matter how well you mount a heat lamp there is always the risk of one of the girls flapping or a group of them flapping in the coop and knocking it off. With all the wood shaving in the coop that is a recipe for a definite coop fire. Additionally, when heat is introduced to the coop it puts the birds at greater risk for illness. Chickens do much better when they are allowed to regulate their own body temperature by fluffing their feathers and trapping body heat against their body. If the coop is heated they are at greater risk of getting chilled as they go into he unheated run to get food and water creating the possibility for illness and death. I make sure I provide a shelter that is dry, draft free, and warm due to the deep layers of shaving and of course the girls themselves. Most of the time on cold winter night they will huddle together for warmth and keep each other warm and healthy naturally.

Many other chicken keepers feel differently about heating the coop. If done safely it can be accomplished, I however choose to reduce the risk of fire, injury, and death by allowing the girls to use their natural abilities to beat the cold. For 5 years they have done a great job. I do all I can to help them but allow them to take the wheel and do the rest.

One cold winter mornings I will treat them to a warm plate of oatmeal and raisins which they thoroughly appreciate and enjoy. They look forward to their warm breakfasts, but then again who would’t.

In a few days we are forecasted to get a bit of a warm up and better days for letting the girls out into the yard and their playground. But for today it is an all cooped up day.

Thanks for reading and following our adventures. Till next time, keep on crowing.

~The Kuntry Klucker Crew

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