Wednesday, 26 January 2011


"Mommy, you not happy."
"I'm not?"
"Pee in my paaaannnntsss..

365 - Week Three

Jan 15 - More progress

Jan 16 - Ignore the mess.  But I do think the dog was the smartest one in the house that day
Jan 17 - I like it

Jan 18 - They aren't TOO OCD
Jan 19 - Setting up the new master bedroom

Jan 21 - Snowy Day

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Baby wagon?

So Buddy & I just set up the bassinett for the baby, seeing as today was the day in my pregnancy with Bud that I went into labour.

After getting it set up, he sees the wheels, & says "Mommy, LOOK!! Baby WAGON!"

Oh dear.

Friday, 14 January 2011

365 - Week Two

Jan 14 - Found this at my cube when I got to work this morning!
Jan 13 - Ready to finish priming the last two walls & ceiling
Jan 12 - Furniture Moved
Jan 11 - Two walls painted, Blue for the alcove, brown for the rest

Jan 10 - Trying the new yogurt maker

Jan 9 - Progress, Alcove Painted
Jan 8 - Watching Horton

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Our eggs

Some of our first on the left, store bought on the right
Chanty (Brown), Americauna (green)
Found this on my camera the other day, I think Prospector took these!

Chanty, Americauna, and the ISA,  RIA,  BSL

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Conversation with a 2.5 year old...

"Hey Buddy Boy, what're you doing?"

"No Daddy!!  NOT the Buddy Boy!!!"

"You aren't?  Who are you then?"

"I'm the BIG BOY!"

duly noted.

Monday, 10 January 2011

At bedtime....

"ok, are you ready for a story?"

"Thomas story book!"

"Ok, I'll get your Thomas book."

"No Mommy! I read it!"

"Here, you read it then"

"You go downstairs Mommy!"

If only I could get him to be so independent when it comes to putting on his underwear.

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Self Sufficient young man...

"Mommy, I hurt my baby finger.... mwah..... Mommy, I kiss my baby finger better!!"

An update on eggs...

Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Part Four
Part Five

When we walked through the door the other night, Chuck says "Guess what!!  We got SEVEN eggs today!!"

Oh My.

If that keeps up, we will have 49 a week.  We normally eat 18.

We have 11 hens, so when they all start laying, that will be 11 eggs daily, 77 weekly... right now, we are getting too many to eat them all, but not quite enough to hang our shingle out & start selling.


HOWEVER, we have a neighbour who comes & plows the driveway (200 feet) after every snowfall.  Normally, we pay him here & there, but there's really no formal arrangement... sometimes, $20, sometimes, a bottle of rum...... His wife is very excited about the chickens, and told us to let her know as soon as we started getting enough eggs.

So we took a dozen down to them the other night.  Will trade eggs for snowplowing.  Sounds like a deal to me.

Last night, Chuck said that one had broken in her pocket on the way from the coops to the house.  Maybe not the best way to carry them?  And Buddy dropped one on the floor, taking it from Chuck at the door to the fridge the other day.  But now, he knows why we keep telling him to be careful with them!

Also, I have found eggs on the bathroom counter, ("Does anyone know why there are eggs on the bathroom counter?"  "They were in my pocket!" "How long have they been here?"  "Only a few minutes!!"), and I think Chuck said she accidentally took one to school the other day.  We have a basket...we just don't have it out yet, 'cause, at first it was only an egg or two.  Now... there are more.  I think we should find the basket & start sending it out to the coops for collecting!!

The plus side of having one of the hens living in the basement.... you know exactly when she lays her daily egg.  The down side?  You know exactly when she lays her egg.  The other night Chuck had a friend sleep over, and the hen laid her egg at 6:30 in the morning.  Her friend woke her up...."Chuck!!  Is this normal!!"

The basement hen was laying in the evening, then she took a day off, and started in the morning.. now she lays a little later each day, and will probably continue to do so until they are in the evening again, she'll take a day off, and start over.

Saturday, 8 January 2011

365 - Week One

Jan 2 - Playing 'Thomases'

Jan 3 - Chuck made cupcakes for dessert

Jan 4 - Chick-de-Ville on the left, Taj-Ma-Chicken on the right
Jan 5 - A little late taking our Chistmas shots this year.  I think this one should TOTALLY grace our cards next year!

Jan 6 - I'm just LOOKING at him mom

Jan 7 - New eyewear

Friday, 7 January 2011

An update on chickens

Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Part Four

So, our current flock stands at:

Chick-De-Ville (Coop one, or the first one we built)
4 Silver Pencil Wyandott Hens
2 Silver Pencil Wyandott Roosters

Taj-Ma-Chicken (Coop Two, the second one built)
3 Chanty Hens
1 Chanty Rooster
1 ISA Brown Hen (de-beaked & de-clawed)
1 Rhode Island Red Hen (de-beaked & de-clawed)
1 Black Sexlink Hen (de-beaked & de-clawed)

Basement (Just picture the looks you get when you say you have chickens in the house)
1 Chanty Rooster
1 Americauna Hen

15 total (well, 14.5, depending on whether the basement roo pulls through or not).

The Chanty's & SPW's each lay a light brown egg, while the ISA Brown, Rhode Island Red, and Black Sexlink lay dark brown eggs.  When it comes time to breed, we can easily tell the Chanty eggs from the others, and incubate them only.  So the three de-beaked de-clawed hens are eating only, not breeding.

By having the SPW's in one coop, and the Chanty's with only the Chanty rooster in the other, we can be sure that we won't have cross bred chicks.  This sounds silly, but the breeds we have are somehat rare, and therefor, the chicks sell for much more than mutt chicks would.

When the Americauna Hen comes out of the basement, she can go with either coop, since she dosen't have a rooster anymore.  Sicne both the SPW's & Chanty's lay a light brown egg, we may try for some mutt chicks from her, for ourselves, and see what colour egg they lay.  The cross may be light enough that the colour still comes through.

Thursday, 6 January 2011

An update on Incubating

Part One
Part Two
Part Three

We decided not to worry about incubating the Americauna's eggs after a few days, for a few reasons.

We had originally purchased four Americauna chicks.  Of the four, one died in the first week, one had a cross bill, and died in the first month, and the other two grew to maturity.

The decision to incubate was more an emotional one than anything.  We were sick at the thought of how we lost that rooster.  And, the Americauna's really stuck together... the fact that we had left the female to be alone bothered us too.

After  a few days, a 50% survival rate did not seem particularly good to us. We also are not sure that we have true Americauna's, or 'mutt' Americauna's, which are commonly referred to as "Easter Eggers."  The eggs that they lay are greenish, but more 'olive' than green.  True Americauna's will lay blue, green, or pink eggs.

Also, it's really the wrong time of year for raising chicks.  There is a reason why, in nature, the chicks are born in the spring.

So we have not invested in an incubator yet, but are looking.  The type of incubator that Prospector would like to buy is a Brinsea.  Brinsea incubator's are approved south of the border, but not up here.  Which means that we need to watch craigslist / kijiji etc. for one.  Also, Prospector likes to build stuff.  So far, he's pulled apart a toaster, an old computer fan, and is looking longingly at my new yogurt maker, to see if he can turn the parts into an incubator.  Also, the old fish tank in the basement, including the heater for it, and Chuck's old easy bake oven.  None of the electronics in the house are safe right now.

We had ordered an incubator, for $80, but then discovered that that model was discontinued.  The sales rep phoned to advise of this, and said the next similar one was the "Picture Window Hova-bator Incubator."  Try saying that three times fast.  Try writting that down after only hearing it once.  Or, you can feel like a jerk & ask the poor sales rep to repeat herself five times, trying to figure out what the heck she's talking about!

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Coming back together....

Written by Prospector on Jan 2, 2011

Part One
Part Two

So things are finally clicking in the way they were supposed to in the first place.

Right now we are harvesting about 6 eggs daily, with only some of the girls on-line. Production should pick up as the days get longer. Right now we are getting:

1-2 eggs per day from the 4 Wyandot hens
1 egg/day from the 3 Chanty hens
1 egg/day from the 1 ISA Brown
1 egg/day from the 1 Rhode Island Red
2/3 egg/day from the 1 Black Sex link
1 egg/day from the 1 Americauna

Over the Christmas break this has been just right for eating, but we enjoy bacon and eggs and french toast, and have time to cook when we aren;t working. Once we go back to work it will be a little different I am sure. We were buying 18 eggs/week before the girls started laying.

We have been looking for a reasonably priced incubator for a while now, but it seems more and more unlikely that we will find one as time goes on. I am considering converting a household Yogurt maker into a 'bator, but have to figure out some technicalities o it before I immerse myself in the project.

If we can hatch out some chicks, things will really be going well.

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Time Management...

Dear pre-teen:
5 am is not a good time to do your laundry. Please plan better in advance next time.
Love, Mama

A Study in Post-Traumatic Stress in Poultry.

Written by Prospector on Dec 22, 2010

Part One

We are now over a week past the chicken funerals, and things have gotten interesting again.

1. The Americauna - The Americauna is grieving the loss of her boyfriend. We put her in with the Chanty Roo that survived the dog attack and she isn't pecking or hurting him, which is good, and she is bonding to him, which is probably bad, but at least she has a BFF again.

2. The Chanty Roo - OK this guy is a survivor and a champ, but I don't know how long to hold out for him. Poor guy is putting out new feathers through his skin and is bumpy all over. He can't walk well and he has a wing that is sitting funny. He is bright and attentive and is eating and drinking though. If his wing and leg heal, I believe he could be incorporated with teh flock again, but if they don't he won't last a day in mixed company. I don't know whether to dispatch him to a happier place or hold out for a recovery.

3. The 3 Chanty hens who weren't hurt - so the three hens who sat up on their roost and didn't get in the path of Bernie have now adopted the Wyandot Roosters as their boyfriends and have started laying again. Dammit. I mean good about the eggs, dammit about the mixed genetics.

4. The Wandot hens - no eggs since they arrived, but they sure eat a lot.

5. New arrivals - An older guy in town was moving and needed to get rid of a trio of hens. So we now have 3 hens that totally don't fit into our program but lay like clockwork daily. Nice big dark shelled eggs too. So we now have a Black Sex link, an ISA Brown, and a Rhode Island Red. Right now these are our most productive hens.

6. New arrival on Order - While cruising Craigslist the other day I came across someone with a Chanty Roo to be rehomed - Yippee! for $10 I can replace the Roo suffering in the basement, or if he survives, I can have two separate breeding roos. Just one problem - the Chanty hens are all in love with the Wyandots now, and the Americauna hen is dating the sickly Chanty Roo. The new Roo will end up being put in with the New trio of girls and in the end I will have 3 or 4 separate lines of Mutt chickens and no true breeding lines to show and sell. The New Roo arrives on Boxing day.

Monday, 3 January 2011

Putting the fox in the henhouse....

on December 13, we lost a hen & a rooster, and have an injured rooster in the basement, due to our own stupidity.  I couldn't write about it before (still can't, really), but if I'm going to document our chicken adventures, I'd better document the good with the bad.  Here is what happened, as told by Prospector:
(not for the faint of heart)

The trouble with raising an animal that is at the bottom of the food chain, and another animal that is at the top of the food chain is that when one sees the other all they think is "Dinner"

We just lost one of our breeding roosters and one of our layers to the dog. A second Roo is on life support in the basement. The horrible wind and blowing snow this week hasn't helped much.

While we are out during the day, we have been using the chicken run as a kennel for the dog, leaving all the chickens sealed inside their coop. Each morning before leaving for school, Chuck closes the birds in and sets the dog out, then when she gets home, Chuck lets the dog out, gathers eggs, and opens the coop. This allows the girls to wander in their run until I get home from work, by which time they have usually all gone inside to rest under the heat lamp.

On Monday, the door between the coop and run was left open when the dog was set out. Between the time Chuck got on the bus and the time she got home, one bird was killed and eaten, and the roo defending her was defeathered (fighting to defend the girls I suppose) and froze out in the snow. The second roo was also defeathered and I suppose left to freeze outside, but by the time I got home he was shivering on the floor of the coop, his feet frozen in clods of snow, unable to move from the knees down. He has no feathers on his rump or neck, and open sores all over his body where the dog ripped away feathers.

The rooster that died was the mate for the Americauna hen. We are hoping that the eggs she is laying are fertile for the next few days and that we can hatch some out to get a new generation.

The other rooster is on life support in the basement. I brought him in and slowly thawed his legs by the fire using a combination of my own body heat, cool water, and the glow of the fire until he could bend his legs again. I have never seen him so docile before. After thawing him out, I moved him to the dog crate in the basement with a heat lamp over him, and a blanket around the cage.

He has sugar water and some soft food. He smells awful.

At first all he would do was drink - no eating. Yesterday he started to eat, and was "talking". We brought in the Americauna hen, and put a divider up between them in the dog crate. The two of them are keeping each other company, and we are able to harvest her eggs without worry of them freezing out in the coop. Having company seems to have raised the rooster's spirits. This morning (Dec 17) he crowed for the first time since being thawed out.

His feathers are returning to white after having been bloodstained in the attack. At first we couldn't tell which was the Americauna and which was the Chanty. I am hoping his lost tail feathers and the feathers on his neck grow back quickly. We are told the Americauna's eggs will be viable for hatching for the next 10 days or so. Since we don't have an incubator, I need to build one. I think construction will start tonight.

This is disheartening. I am full of woulda-shoulda's right now. As a result, we have combined all of our flock (3 breeds) into one coop and put the dog in the other one. This may lead to cross-bred birds over the next few weeks. We will have to re-separate the breeds as spring comes on and we go into active hatching mode.

To think I was so sure about predator-proofing the coops and then put the dog in to do the damage turns my stomache. What a waste of a good rooster. What a waste of a good hen. Its one thing to kill for food, its another to let something freeze to death in the snow. I hope we get at least a few chicks out of it. Let the incubator building begin...

Sunday, 2 January 2011