Standing in the Shadow of the Moon

Hi Everyone, welcome back to the Kuntry Klucker Farm. Today the girls experienced an astronomical event that has captured the attention of the nation. At 2:30 pm this afternoon the sky darkened in the sky over our little farm here. I set up time lapse cameras on both coops and captured their reaction to evening setting in on their afternoon. I am not able to post those videos here due to platform issues right now, if you want to see them you can catch them on my Facebook page, the link is in the “contacts” section of my page.

So without further ado, allow me to tell you how the girls took to the sky darkening during their afternoon. As they were enjoying their day of hunting and pecking in the gardens something spectacular was about to unfold over their heads. As the sky slowly started to darken they did take notice to the early approach of evening. I could tell that they were starting to wind things up for the day. As they continued to graze in the backyard their heads looked around trying to see if everyone else was getting ready for bed. As they continued to peck at the ground more and more of the girls looked up to see what everyone else was doing. They seemed to look to each other as if there is some kind of que they were waiting for. The pure confusion as they stood it the shadow of the moon was nothing less than entertaining. Sadly, the totality did not last long enough for them to actually roost but they did make their way to the pen and got their last sip of water and bite of feed before they would go up the latter for bed. I wished that totally would have lasted a bit longer but it was funny watching them be rather confused as to why bedtime was coming so early.

Below are two photos taken from my time lapse videos that I took recording their response to the eclipse. As you can see it got quite dark for a few moments, but not long enough for them to make their way up the latter to the coop. Instead they just froze in place as all of a sudden darkness fell on them as they were doing their rounds in the garden searching for delicious bugs to dine on.

Their response to the eclipse was that of dumfounded confusion as evening came on so suddenly that they did not have much time to really react. I was hoping that they would go to roost just to have the sun come out again to finish their day. Although I did not get the pics of the girls that I would have liked to had I did get some good pics of the Eclipse. Below is a chronological order of the Moon over taking the Sun.

Thanks for stopping by and spending a little time with the girls and I. Till next time, take care and keep on crowing.

~ The Kuntry Klucker Crew ~

 

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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Little Hatchery Mixup

Hello again Kuntry Klucker fans. I promised in my last post that I would be sharing an update about the Bantom Boutique Gang. Well, here they are pretty much full grown and doing great! The Bantom Boutique Crew are well, bantam chickens which is another word for “miniature” chickens in the chicken world. But don’t let their small stature fool you, there is a lot of chicken attitude stuffed in those small packages. Starting with my little “hatchery mixup”.

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When I ordered my chicks from the hatchery I ordered two breeds, Silkies and White Crested Polishes. Well I had a little hitchhiker that was neither a Silkie nor a Polish. He was what I named my little mystery chick. I had planned on naming all my Polish girls after Greek Goddesses and my Polish Rooster Apollo. Well, things did not go as planned and have changed just a bit. Allow me to let you in on the identity of my little mystery chick.

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Everyone, meet Enigma! Enigma like the rest of the Bantam Botique Crew is a bantam, so they have size in common and that is just about it. Enigma has grown up to be a beautiful Motted Cochin, with a sweetest personality.

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Enigma is a rooster and has started to crow in the mornings when I greet them to let them out of the coop to start their new day. So, my plan to name all my polish girls after Greek Goddesses has changed slightly. I do have three polishes, two girls named Athena and Aphrodite, and a Polish rooster named Apollo. Since I had a little surprise in my batch of chicks I though the best name for the little one was Enigma. It would work for both a hen or rooster and is the perfect name since his identity was a bit of a, well an Enigma.

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Enigma as I have already mentioned has the sweetest personality. He is the alpha rooster, (that means rooster in command) of the Bantam Boutique Crew. He takes care of the ladies talks to them and tries to find them treats to eat. He is the first out of the coop in the morning and the last in the evening. Good roosters at times can be hard to find, I am blessed and thrilled to have him apart of my flock here at the Kuntry Klucker Farm. He is a delight to interact with and his plumage is very striking. Although he stands out among the Silkies and Polishes he is a beautiful addition due to his motted feather pattern.

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In the evenings when I let the Bantam Boutique Crew out for some scratch and play time, Enigma does his best to keep watch for the girls as they hunt and peck for bugs. Although originally a unexpected hitchhiker in my order of chicks, I am thrill to have him. I am glad that Enigma found his way into my order, he was destined to be the king of the Bantam Boutique Crew.

That is all I have for now, thanks for taking the time to catch up with the girls and I. Till next time, take care and keep crowing.

~ The Bantam Boutique 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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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 ~

Sometimes you just need a Momma.

Hi everyone, toward the end of my last post I mentioned that I had a broody hen Miss Katie. When I last left you she was sitting on a few ceramic eggs that I placed under her. In doing so I was hoping that she would adopt my chicks when they arrived. This was the first time that I had ever attempted adoption by a broody hen. I had done research on the topic but never actually attempted it myself. Well I am pleased to say that the adoption was a complete success, Miss Katie is thrilled to be a momma again. In this post I will detail my procedure which lead to this successful outcome.

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Miss Katie is the mamma hen of my flock of Buff Orphingtons. As far as she is concerned it is her calling in life to be a momma to as many chicks as possible. She loves to sit on eggs and loves even more to teach her little ones how to be a chicken. It all started about three weeks before my chicks were to arrive at my local post office. Miss Katie as years before went broody wanting nothing more than just to sit on her eggs. Given this opportunity I went ahead and let her sit on some ceramic eggs in the Bantom Boutique. If I could keep her in the broody mindset she just might adopt the chicks that were to arrive in a few weeks. So on a gamble I went ahead and let her sit. She was determined that she was going to sit so I just provided her a private space away from the other girls and gave her some eggs to tend for a few weeks.

Normally when a mother hen sits on eggs she will make this her life purpose till they hatch. Knowing that Miss Katie was sitting on fake eggs I wondered if she would accept a chick that did not hatch from one of the eggs under her. This is where some careful planning and luck came in to play.

When the chicks first arrived I placed one under her, she accepted the baby chick with no problems as if it was her own that she hatched. The following is my method which lead to this successful adoption.

  1. First when Miss Katie went broody I let her sit. Since I do not have a rooster any natural eggs that she was sitting on would eventually go bad which would cause her to abandon the nest. To avoid this I placed under her 4 ceramic eggs. They look, feel, and radiate heat just like a real chicken egg does. To her there was no difference.

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2. Next I placed her in a private space separate from the girls. Since the Bantom Boutique was ready for the new arrivals I went ahead and put some shaving and the eggs in this coop. She then made her nest the way she wanted. After that the rest was up to her.

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3. I made sure that she was sitting for at least 2 weeks before the chicks would arrive. A natural incubation time for a sitting hen is about 20-23 days. From the time that Miss Katie went broody to the time that the chick would arrive was 21 days. Given the time frame this would align perfectly to a natural hatch as seen by Miss Katie’s perspective. This would make sure that she was sitting and in the broody mind set for at least 2 weeks. This time also gave me a good indication that she was ready to sit for the term of the incubation period.

4. When the chicks finally arrived I placed them in my brooder inside. After their long trip I wanted to make sure that they were all healthy and had something to eat and drink for a few hours before I introduced them to Miss Katie.

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5. Since I was not sure if she would accept a chick that she did not hatch I chose just one chick to give to Miss Katie. When the chicks arrived I noticed that there was one chick that was a bit smaller than the others and was really struggling to eat and drink. This is the one that I chose to give to Miss Katie. I knew that if Miss Katie would accept this chick that it would do much better under and natural mother hen than in the brooder with the others.

6. Late at night, well after 10 pm when it was really dark and Miss Katie was asleep I made my approach. I took the chick, wrapped it securely in my hands and opened the coop. Miss Katie heard the chick and started clucking as she had in the past with the other chicks that he had raised. When I heard this I knew it was safe to try to place the chick under her. I placed the chick next to her, she immediately tucked it under her wing and was thrilled to be a momma again. Once I was sure that she had accepted the chick I took an egg from under her. In the morning all she knew is that there was one less egg and I chick under her. It was a complete success!! I was so excited that Miss Katie accepted the chick and she was ecstatic to be a momma again. Since this little chick was having a bit of problems with life giving it to Miss Katie was the best thing I could do for it. Within 24 hours she had it eating and drinking just like the rest of the chicks were doing in the house. She was able to help the little chick in a way that I could not. Sometimes you just need a momma.

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7. Now that this was a complete success I was sure that Miss Katie was all in on being a momma, so the next night I took the rest of the eggs. After about three days or so the momma hen will abandon the eggs that did not hatch. In order to encourage her to put all her efforts into raising this little chick I had to take the rest of the eggs. So once again after it was nice and dark I snuck out to the coop and took the rest of the eggs. As far as she was concerned they were just gone and now she could concentrate on raising her little one.

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Miss Katie has helped this little one out so much. If it was not for her I am pretty sure that it would have died. It was a lot smaller than the rest of the chicks in the brooder and was not eating or drinking well like the rest of them. Since it was struggling with life the others just seemed to run it over in their scampering around the brooder. For this reason I chose to give this chick and only this chick to Miss Katie. If I had given her the entire clutch of chicks she would have noticed that this one was struggling and as nature usually does she would have killed it. But since she had just this one chick and nothing else to compare it too she gave it her full attention and brought it around in a way that I could not. She is definitely my ally in the chick brooding department. This was a win, win, win situation. The chick survived, I am able to say that all the chicks that I ordered survived, and Miss Katie was able to live out her life mission, to be a momma. She has definitely lived up to her reputation as the momma hen of the flock.

I am so glad that this adoption was a success. The experience that I gained from the situation is very valuable. Yet again, this is one more thing that my girls taught me. Chickens are amazing creatures, I am privileged to care for a small flock of these magnificent wonders of nature.

Thank you for take a little time and dropping by, we are so glad that you did. Till next time take care and keep on crowing.

~ The Kuntry Klucker & 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 ~

Introducing the “Bantom Botique”

Spring has sprung, for backyard chicken keepers this means only one thing, Chicks!! That is right, the girls and I will have new additions to the backyard, allow me to introduce to you the Bantom Boutique.  The Bantom Boutique will house two new breeds, White Crested Polish Bantoms and White Silkie Bantoms. The girls and I have been very busy putting together the new coop and getting it painted and decorated in time for the new additions to arrive.  It has been a project that I have been working on for the past three months, I am so glad that it is finally finished. All we have to do now it wait for the peeping box to arrive in May. But for now, allow me to get you caught up on our little project here at the Kuntry Klucker Farm.

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I purchased the Bantom Boutique at my local Tractor Supply store. Since I am getting some fancy breeds I though that I should get a coop that matches the style of the tenants. The coop came in a huge box, actually so huge that I could not get it into the backyard. Instead I opened it up on the drive way and carried it piece by piece to the backyard for assembly. This is where the girls come in.

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Since they consider the backyard their territory anything that enters the backyard is put through a strict scrutiny (pecking) process. The Bantom Boutique was no acceptation. As the pieces started to collect in the backyard the girls got right to work pecking giving it their approval. For the assembly of the Bantom Boutique I did have some human help, my sons were a great help in the construction process.

We had a great time putting together the Bantom Boutique. The girls were very involved in the process as well. As we started to assemble all the random pieces propped against the fence the girls made sure that they got their say in the approval of the structure. Miss Sweet Pea in particular was of much help.

As the vague shape of a chicken coop started to emerge out of the random pieces the girls knew just what to do. Go in and check out the new neighbors digs! They inspected it inside and out giving it their stamp (peck) of approval.

Now that we finally had the Bantom Boutique completed, it was time to decorate! I painted the Bantom Boutique the classic red and white that all my coops dote. Out of the box it was a slate grey and white. Although pretty I prefer all my coops to have a uniformity, that being barn red and white. So once I got it situated the next step was the painting. For this I would not allow the girls to help me. I had to keep them in their pen while I was painting the Bantom Boutique. Paint is not good for chickens to consume or breath. They were upset with me but I had to put their safety first.

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Once it was dry, it was time for decorating and the coop-scaping. For this phase I had plenty of help or should I say “hen-derences”. Finally freed from their pen and eager to help, the girls got straight to work. I went to my local nursery and brought home several plants, bags of mulch, and a large bag of potting soil. Their first task was to taste all of the plants that I brought home. You see all of the plants in my backyard are edible by the girls. I do this so that I do not have to worry about the girls consuming something that could  hurt them. Whenever I bring in something new to plant in the backyard they are eager to taste it.

So, as I set my plants out and got my potting soil ready I had plenty of “hen-derences” helping me. On one side I had a few of the girls tasting the new neighbors plants, on the other side I had Miss Sweet Pea in the garden soil bag having a ball. You see chickens use dirt to dust bathe in, this keeps their feathers groomed and even wards off lice and mites.

Well, apparently potting soil makes for great dust bathing! As I was trying to get the girls on my one side from eating all my plants I had on the other side Miss Sweet Pea kicking all the potting soil out of the bag as she was dust bathing in it. It was really kind of funny. I regret that I was never able to snap any pictures of all the “help”, but it was really cute. I have planted flowers in the backyard before and never had this much help from the girls, so this is why I call them my “hen-derences”. We had a ball planting the flower and getting the Bantom Boutique ready for the chicks in May.

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I still have plans for one more coop in my backyard that will house Blue Orphingtons, but that is a project for another year. For now, the Bantom Boutique is our new addition. I will have plenty of pics in May when the chicks arrive that I will share with you all.

But before I go, I have some other exciting news. Miss Katie, our resident broody hen has gone broody again this year. This is so timely because I am hoping that she will adopt and brood this new batch of chicks for me. If not that is okay, I will simply set up my brooder and raise them till they are ready for the big outdoors. However, if she takes to the new chicks I will let her raise them in the backyard for me. I have placed her in the Bantom Boutique where the new chicks will live once they are able to be outside. She has made herself comfortable and is happily sitting on some ceramic eggs that I placed under her.

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This is the first time I have attempted to see if a broody hen will adopt chicks that she did not hatch. I have many friends that have had success with adoption. It all depends on the hen. Miss Katie is our tried and true momma. She has raised three other clutches for me and I look for her to adopt the chicks and raise them for me as well. Additionally, she is a very friendly broody. Many broody hens can be mean and aggressive. Miss Katie on the other hand is not. She has raised other clutches of chick that turned out to be very friendly. She will not only teach the chicks how to be chickens but also teach them to trust and be friendly towards me. I will make sure to post about my experience with this either good or bad.

That is all for now, thanks for stopping by and spending some time with the girls and I. Till next time keep on crowing!

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~ The Kuntry Klucker Crew ~

 

Is it hard to raise Backyard Chickens?

Raising chickens is a fun and affordable hobby. Its called backyard chickens for a reason, this implies that one wants to raise a mini flock of chickens rather than a large operation. Now, don’t get me wrong, chicken math is a force of nature not to be taken lightly. But for the average backyard chicken enthusiast, keeping your flock at a manageable number is relatively easy. Its just takes the persistent enforcement of chicken birth control (aka. collecting eggs) and obtaining only a few number of chicks from reliable hatcheries. You can also ask one of your backyard chicken friends to hatch  you off a small starter flock. Other than that, keeping a small flock of backyard chickens is not inherently difficult.

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Chickens are very simple creatures, they do not demand a lot from their owners. Since chickens are very social animals they have plenty of company among their flock members. The needs of a chicken are simple. They need clean, fresh water daily. It does not need to be filtered or bottled but it does need to be fresh and clean daily. Simply filling up a clean water container every morning when letting the flock out of the coop is all this entails. They also need fresh and dry feed daily. It is always best to keep your feed in galvanized trash cans if you plan on keeping it outside. Not only will this keep your feed uncontaminated (from rats, coons and other wildlife) it will ensure that the feed will remain dry and thus not spoil. Chicken feed comes in large 25 to 50 pound bags, you will have enough feed to last a while depending on the size of your flock.  As you can see in the image below, I keep two galvanized trash cans outside of the pen, this is were I store the feed for the girls. Be warned, your chickens will very quickly  learn to associate the sound of the lids being removed from the cans as a makeshift dinner bell. My girls get very excited when they hear the all too familiar”clank” of the trash cans lids. I am suddenly surrounded by a group of girls eagerly anticipating its contents.

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Next, you will need a habitat. This is where a lot of chicken owners can be creative and inventive. You can do whatever you want to make your backyard chickens home personable to you, just make sure that is has a few very important qualities.

  1. Your chickens home needs to be large enough to accommodate the size of your birds as well as your flock.  A lot of coop descriptions will say that “this coop will fit 2-4 standard size birds”. What does that mean? Well chickens come in two sizes, standard or large fowl and bantam or miniature chickens. If you have 6 standard size birds you need to make sure that you choose a coop that can fit 6-8 standard size birds. Choosing a coop that fits less than that will cause stress in the flock. If the birds do not have ample room and feel over crowded many problems can result. Over mating of the hens by the rooster, cannabolism caused by pecking of flock mates, and of course illness due to the birds being under stress. So when choosing a coop, first know the size of your birds and based on the dimensions of the coop how many can fit comfortably.
  2. Your chickens home needs to be secure. This means not only does it need latches on the door to keep predators out, the coop also needs to have a pen if you choose to keep your girls in a pen vs free ranging. Most if not all coops bought in the stores usually come with an attached pen in its design. Make sure that the pen is enclosed with wire mesh that is galvanized with holes small enough to keep even the peskiest mouse out of your girls home.
  3. Your coop must be easy to clean. Most coops are designed with a drawer that can be pulled out from under the roosts to clean the dropping off from the previous night. Many chicken owner put pine shaving on this drawer to absorb moisture from the dropping and simply with gloves or a small hand shovel remove the dropping like you would clean a litter box. Either method is fine, just make sure the you clean the dropping out daily to keep flies and illness at bay.
  4. your coop must be draft free. When looking for or constructing a coop make sure that the coop has both ample ventilation while at the same time being draft free. It sounds like a double edged sword, I know. What this basically means is leave room at the top for air to escape while also protecting the birds from fridgid winter wind, rains, and other elements. Your coop does not need to be warm or heated. In fact, heat lamps are the number one cause of coop fires. Not only will a heat lamp fire kill your birds, coop fires can also damage other structures on your property including your home. Never use Heat lamps in coops, they are just too dangerous. Instead focus on keeping your chicken coop clean and dry. Chickens do not need heat, they come with down jackets factory installed and are well able to regulate their own body temperature given the right conditions, that being a coop that is clean, dry, and draft free. As long as your birds remain dry and protected from the wind and rain they will do just fine when it comes to surviving winter.
  5. The design of the coop. The design of chicken coops are endless. I have seen everything from little cottages to barn style chicken coops. Quite honestly, I think that picking out the perfect chicken coop is almost as fun as picking out what breed or breeds you want to raise. You don’t have to buy your coop prefab you can get plans off the internet and make your own from raw materials. Either way its up to you. We have done both. We made our first coop and pen from scratch. It was fun and we really enjoyed the process. The additional coops I bought as prefab kits that I put together.Both have advantages and disadvantages. The advantage of making your own coop is that you can make it as big as you want, the disadvantage is that it takes a while to construct and can be expensive. The advantage of prefab kit coops is that they come already made all you have to do is screw them together and you have a coop in about 45 minutes. The disadvantage is that you are limited by the designs that are available. Personally I like the prefab coops better. They are made with quality materials and are easy to maintain and clean. I cannot keep large numbers of birds in them so I usually have to get several but I don’t mind having to take care of more than one coop. Coop chores are so simple, more than one coop really does not make that much more work.

Here are a few pics of my coops. I currently have three and have plans to purchase one more. The first one is The Kuntry Klucker, this is the coop that hubby and I made from scratch. It took about 4 months and roughly $1000 from start to finish. This will house up to 20 standard size birds. The most I have ever had in this coop is 17. Even then they still had plenty of room.

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Next is Roy’s Roost, it is a prefab coop. It will house two standard size birds or 3 bantom size birds. I bough it for Roy as his hospital coop when he was sick. Since his passing its purpose still remains as my hospital coop. When I have a girl that needs separated from the flock due to injury or illness I place her in this coop. I can better monitor her eating and drinking habits as well as administer medication if needed. The patient will remain here till she can be returned to the flock.

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This last coop is Betsy’s Bliss. I bought this coop to serve as a broody coop. This is where I will house a broody momma as she sits on her nest. This allows the mamma hen some privacy while still allowing her to eat, drink, and dust bathe normally. When the chicks hatch both mamma and chicks are protected from predators and curious flock mates. It will house one standard size bird and a few chicks or two bantam size chickens.

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I have placed these two smaller kit coops in my spice garden. When not in use they serve a decorative accents in my garden. I purchased these two coops about two years ago. They have survived the elements and mother nature very well. In the fall I put a coat of wood protectant on them to protect them from the harsh elements of winter. If we have heavy snow or ice in the forecast I will put 6×8 tarps over the top of them just to give them a bit of extra protection. Other than their size, I really do not experience any different in their function  or durability. I am very pleased with these kit coops and will plan on purchasing more as my needs arise.

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Other than the basic needs of food, water, and housing chickens are very simple to raise. The only other thing I can suggest is to have a chicken first aid kit on hand. I have built up my first aid kit slowly over the years. Basically you will need items to treat a chicken that may have injuries or illness. When taken care of properly chickens do not encounter much illness. The most complicated condition I have ever had to deal with was when several of my girls coming down with Bumble foot. I have a blog post on Bumble foot for those who wish to learn how to affectively and simply treat this condition.

Your first aid kit should include basic items such as: epsom salts, rubbing alcohol, peroxide, cotton balls, triple antibiotic cream, salve, and vet wrap. Vet wrap is very handy because unlike a band-aid it will stick to itself making it ideal for animal use. I cannot tell you how many feet of vet wrap I have used throughout my years as a backyard chicken keeper.

My girls have never needed any antibiotic treatment. I am usually able to treat minor ailment with natural methods such as apple cider vinegar in the water, electrolytes, and chicken rx herbal drops. Should my girls ever develop an infection that needs antibiotic I would consult a vet to assist me. In my experience, given proper care my girls have never developed any conditions that I could not treat at home.

As for the cost of keeping backyard chickens, once you have their habitat purchased or constructed they are very affordable to maintain. My 10 girls will go through a 50 pound of feed in about a month. I find compared to a medium size dog chickens are much cheaper to keep. Additionally, for all your work and dedication they will give you something in return, a beautiful farm fresh egg. In my book a pet that makes me breakfast is worth its weight in gold.

Thanks for stopping by and spending time with the girls and I. As always if you have any questions please feel free to post in the comments. I will do my best to get back to you as soon as I can.

Thanks for visiting, the girls and I will see you soon.

~ The Kuntry Klucker Crew~

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10 Things that I learned from My Hens

  1. Always greet the day with anticipation. Many great delicacies await.

2. Simplicity and a thankful heart are some of life’s greatest virtues.

hiding behind the water3. Bring up your young well. They are the next generation and the key to your legacy.

4. When getting into mischief always make sure you have a buddy. Partners in crime always have more fun.

5. Make sure that you leave a little something for those who care about you. Giving is always better than recieving.

6. Try to appreciate the season of winter. Although bleak, it prepares the ground for spring flowers and other delectables.

7. Tend your gardens well. A well groomed garden makes the heart sing.

8. Choose your flock wisely, they will be your groupies for life.

 

9. Make time for friends. Friends make the heart happy.

10. Above all, be like butterflies, they hold the key to true freedom.

 

Hens can teach you so much about the simple pleasures of life. They are simple creatures that require little. They are happiest when they are allowed to do what nature intended them to do. My girls are happy ladies and nothing delights me more than watching them do what bring delight to their hearts.

I hope you enjoyed this lesson on the simple pleasures of hens. They can teach us many things if we just take the time to watch and learn.

As always thanks for stopping by. Till next time, keep on crowing, see you soon!

~The Kuntry Klucker Crew~

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