Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Meet New Chickens and Photos of Garden

Goodness me!  I didn't realize it's been this long since my last blog entry.  First one since June. XD  I guess I was busy with work all summer long...

Something bad happened in late August.  4 of my chickens went missing without a trace.  I was left with Dorito, the Golden Comet hen only.  Maybe they were taken by wild animals... or somebody stole them... after all, they were pretty tame and used to people because I spent a lot of time with them, feeding, talking to, and handling. T_T  I miss my girls.

Well, it bummed us out to see poor Dorito all alone and sulking/moping in the corner of a backyard for a few days after the others went missing.  I wanted to get her new sisters -- although I knew it wasn't quite the same as "sisters from chickhood".  Still, it's better than a relatively social animal being left alone for the first time in her life.  I started looking at classified ads online and checked the local Craigslist.  After a dozen calls and e-mails, I got a call back from a lady who had a half a dozen 1-year-old laying hens for sale.  Well, the girls were just a week short of their first birthday, so I thought, "This is perfect!".  After talking to her, I also found out that she had some Ameraucana and Easter Eggers who lay green and blue eggs.  (Most of the classified ads only had Buff Orpingtons or roosters.)  We made arrangement shortly afterwards to go visit the farm and pick out the chickens for purchase. :D

She was selling her birds for only $8 each, which is a bargain, really.  The chicks I bought were more than half that, plus the Priority Mail shipping with special packaging costs a lot, although the joy of raising chicks was well worth the cost, I feel.

The only trepidation I had was how the 1-year-old chickens from a large flock (I mean, she had 6 or so for sale, but the rest of the flock was a large family of maybe 50 in her very large coop/run set up.) would warm up to Dorito, and to me and my family, if at all.  I had a faith that these birds are smart enough to associate food with the feeder, so if I spent enough time talking and feeding them various treats (by this, I mean, healthy treats like rolled oats, garden greens, yogurt, etc.), they'd eventually get used to me and be as friendly as the first flock.

Well, it took about 3 weeks before they finally warmed up to me enough to eat greens from my hand and another week to come running to me when I go out the backdoor and when I come through the gate after errands.  I love it!  It's so sweet to see them come running to me.  They may be just wanting food, but they look as sweet as a dog that is so happy to see you. ^_^

Dorito, on the right, is so bossy.  She does look more like a small rooster with her well-developed comb and wattles, and even bumps on the back of her legs where roosters would have spurs.  She used to mount on one of the sisters even. ^^;  One on the left is our new girl, Fiona.

Fiona came to us in early stage of molting.  She also had a big bald spot on her back where she was being mounted by an overzealous rooster frequently. ^^;  The back feathers have grown back, but she is missing all of her pretty black tail feathers.  She is also growing her muffs back.  Once all the feathers are back, she'll be beautiful!  She lays green eggs.

This is Lulu, the blue wheaten Ameraucana.  She is the smallest, but she has established herself as the sidekick of Dorito and number 2 of the flock.  She lays lovely pale blue eggs, but they're always a little bit wonky in shape. XD

Super lush and over-grown!  And protected by chicken wire fencing. XD  The six Square Foot Garden boxes had to be protected from the girls who treat them like the all-you-can-eat buffet.  Every now and then, I see one of the hens looking lost and stuck inside the fenced garden area.  They can fly if they wanted to.  But they don't feel very secure when they're all alone.  It seems that the lone bird does not seem to cause much damage to the crop.  When they find something as a group though, they can eat an entire mature broccoli plant in one feeding frenzy.

The overflowing herb box.  I have chamomile, flat-leaf parsley, basil, dill, thyme, orange mint, and more in this box.  Endless supply for cooking and for making the chicken cook smelling nice and sweet. :D

I got the bird bath for mother's day.  I have been putting some cut plants in there to give bees some place to perch.  All the marigolds are volunteer plants from last season.  I love the way they keep blooming!

From slightly different angle, showing the spring veggies box up front.  The Swiss chard is so productive I have an endless supply for my cooking and the chicken's treat.  They get so much fresh veggies in their diet their eggs have beautiful bright orange yolks.  I should dry some herbs, greens, and tomatoes for winter treats. ^_^

The last photo today is that of my volunteer morning glory vines.  They are so prolific.  We finally had a year with decent amount of rain throughout that leaves are extremely lush and dense.  These vines completely cover a section of the fence.  I love morning glory vines.

No comments:

Post a Comment