Friday, October 29, 2010

Still Broody

This morning I evicted my broody hen, but by evening she was back on the nest trying to hatch her latest creation and the fake egg. So I have devised a clever plan....

I moved the tractor into the chicken run. Tomorrow I will put her in the tractor by herself.

Next step, observe her behavior. If she gets off the tractor nest, then let her out and observe her some more.

If she stays on the tractor nest or camps out in the coop nest, then she spends another day in the tractor -- with the rooster.

Update: The tractor was a big sensation. All the girls had to check it out and climb on top. The broody hen wanted desperately to get out. She eventually calmed down and ate her food, much to the consternation of the others who could not steal it. After a while she went to lay on the tractor nest.

Update 2: Let her out this evening and she had a quick scratch through the treats and then zip! right to the nest. I found her trying to hatch the ceramic egg a few minutes ago.

Tomorrow I will try out the rooster cure.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Windy, Broody

My birds are a little disturbed. We had a lot of wind today (and beans were not a factor). The sides of the coop were rattling in the breeze and the pop door was hard to open because of plastic sheet in the way.

They eventually made their way out of the coop, except for Buffy. Buffy is my Buff Orpington and she decided to get broody today. She sat on the nest all day and fluffed up and growled whenever I got close. I think that she dropped an egg in the afternoon, though I did not retrieve it until the evening.

I may need to lock her up in a cage with the rooster. That will change her behavior!

Update: She was on the nest again, fending off all others. I picked her up and dropped her in the run. She decided to recover her dignity by dining on pellets. She has been giving me dirty looks all day.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Sick chickens

My chickens developed Fowl Pox when they were about 4 months old. They had nasty looking sores on their wattles.

I was sick with worry, but everything I read seemed to indicate it was not a big deal. "Endemic in Texas" or "full recovery" or "active virus for weeks after recovery" or "no useful vaccine after infection". Problem or not?

Once I got my head around the idea that vaccines would not help me, I decided on supportive care. The idea behind supportive care is that you keep the bird healthy enough to let their immune system fight off the illness.

I bought some liquid vitamins to put in the water. The chickens were not impressed. Besides, it was supposed to be dumped out every day . Rather than risk having the water go bad if it was not changed every 1440 minutes, I decided on supportive food.

I bought a bag of Manna Pro "Gamebird/Showbird feed". This stuff had lots of protein and vitamins and did not go bad overnight. Plus, the chickens liked to eat it.

This helped a bit, but I felt the need to turn it up to 11. Enter oatmeal.

Feeding the flock uncooked oatmeal with plain yogurt and honey really turned things around. The birds loved the oats and slurped it down in mere minutes. (I also liked to watch them try to wipe the yogurt off their beaks).

Yay oatmeal! This stuff was such a hit that the birds started treating me like a rock star. It got to be such a hassle to get in through the gate that I took to putting the oats out before opening the coop. The flock would calm down once they got their oat fix.

Two months later there is no evidence of Fowl Pox.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Things my chickens like to eat

  • Grasshoppers!
  • Oatmeal with plain yogurt
  • Black Oil Sunflower Seed (BOSS)
  • Safflower seed
  • Bananas
  • Zucchini
  • Grapes
  • Persimmons
  • Apples
  • Pasta
  • Beans and rice
  • Scrambled eggs
  • Hard boiled eggs (blended, with shell)
  • Pureed steak trimmings
  • Acorn squash
  • Hot dogs
  • Purple Romaine Lettuce (warning: causes blue poo)
  • Pizza
  • Acorns
  • M-G 20 Layer Crumbles
  • Dumor 16% Layer Pellets

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Getting started with Chickens? Helpful links to start: