Thursday, August 27, 2009


I think Farrah is molting. Her butt is showing, not many feathers left on there... I can tell where she slept on the roost last night because there are a million brown feathers underneath. She looks real haggard. The other chickens appear to be doing fine, no lost feathers from them yet.

The rats... They're still here. Traps have been set, and now we just wait I suppose.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Rats and Eggs and Escaping, Oh My!!

Busy month for both me and the chickens.

We have been having some troubles with the chicky-pies. We had some escapes from the neighbour's side of the run. It was quickly discovered and boarded up, but it's slightly nerve-wracking to go to the compost to by met by 4 of 5 chickens. Some of the chickens have had problems going up to roost at night too. Farrah hid out in the Chunnel (chicken tunnel, the green tube) instead of roosting. Some of the other ladies did this later on. It's kinda weird.

The chickens have uh...some new uh...'friends'...
We think there are some furry little not-so-cuddly things scampering around eating the eggs. We haven't had many eggs as of late, and have checked the 'egg vent' of the ladies to make sure they're still laying. After some expert advice, we set some conniving traps and presumably caught one? I dunno. I don't know if I want to know. Blech. Regardless, I just picked up 4 eggs from the coop, so that's pretty darn good. Maybe they just changed their laying habits. I'm not a chicken, I don't know these things. We haven't had any soft shells lately which is good. Yay chickens!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Escape!! (times TWO!)

Well it took them this long to escape, but they did all get out in various stages...

The first escape was pretty interested. I went outside to get some mint for my raspberry-mint iced tea, and saw four chickens eating bugs around the compost bin. I called for backup (Avi) and we put them all back in, thinking they squeezed underneath the netting gate, as they were some suspicious Farrah-coloured feathers there. We reinforced the gate and went back inside.

I remembered my tea, and ran out to get mint. I found myself looking at three more chickens outside, eating bugs from around the lovage (looks like celery, tastes like...something). So we put those three back in, and did some sleuthing. This is what we found:

A hole!! I did some research, and found that at least Farrah's head will fit out if enticed, and while it may be a bit tight for a chicken-butt, if they really wanted to, they could get out through there. So, the wood was placed between the pallet and the netting, and a rat-trap will be placed there tonight to see if it was gnawed through by a rat or something else. It didn't look as if the chickens would have chewed that, as it's more gnawed than pecked. Plus I think it is improbable. Plus, they live a happy life in the fence. Why would they even want to escape?

Although now that they know about the G-A-R-D-E-N (Shhhh they might be listening!) maybe they will explore more often. We'll find out.

Two eggs, One broken shell.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Hot Chicks in the City

It's been a scorcher lately! Well, for Victoria anyways, which is like a cool spring day if you're from Kelowna, Merritt or Osoyoos (10 points if you can pronounce the last one if you're not from BC). I thought I should photo-document the recent additions to the coop after talking about them last post.

Alright, so here we have the front view of the coop. You'll note the lovely red paint job with the window painted in on the door. To the left of the coop there is a metal roof, providing some shade and/or protection from the rain when the rains inevitably start. If you look closely, you'll see a 4L milk carton hanging just inside the hinges to the door. That is the egg-shell/oyster-shell/calcium supplement dispenser. We cook the eggshells, crumble them, and put them in with the calcium supplement pellets (CaCO3 or limestone for my fellow geology enthusiasts) and the oyster shells, so that the eggshells are strong enough. Bill & Alejandro found a very weak-shelled egg the other day, so we think they need more calcium. Behind the calcium dispenser is a new food pellet dispenser, also made from milk cartons by Alejandro. It's a gravity feeder, so we just have to fill it up every couple of days or so, and they have fresh feed whenever! Also it limits how much they get at once, so Oprah doesn't go flinging it all over the place like the pig she has been lately. Bill also put up a lovely picture of some kittens in the coop, so the ladies aren't too lonely. The fake-window also has a flowerbox on the outside now. It's pretty adorable. The flowers in it are plastic, but that means they'll look lovely all the time. The roof has been waterproofed with a metal sheet, and is nearly 100% in place! In the lower right hand corner, you can see a blue tunnel/pipe that is part of the trail to the free-range area featured in the next photo. They have no problem going to and fro through the tunnel & the trail along the fence, and the cat-door through the fence. Chickens are quite adaptable little creatures.
Okay, so here we have the fence & trail, with Farrah & Oprah going through. The bigger ladies (Oprah & Elaine) have a bit of a squishy time getting through the door, but they make it through.
This is the run-area where the ladies get to graze to their hearts content. They have a shelter (which is a humped piece of metal roofing) in the yard where they can escape the heat, a little laying box, and also some water (the essentials). The neighbours throw in clippings from the garden and some other composty things so that the chickens get a nice well-balanced diet. The alterior motive (well one of them..) is to get this area garden-friendly by next spring, so that there is more planting space. The chickens have been doing an excellent job of digging in the dirt and scratching the weeds out.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Long Time No Cluck

Alright. So, there have been plenty of opportunities to update but I haven't had time (or I wrote out this epic long post and it was lost when I accidentally pressed 'back' on the browser, drats!).

Anyways, here are the exciting news, in no specific order:

1) A cat door has been installed in the fence between our yard and the neighbours who are hosting the main run area. A couple hens went through with some coaxing, but the black hens would have none of it. Hence, we wired the door open until they are more confident in their door-opening abilities.

2)The coop: It is so incredibly awesome. Especially as of late. I will post photos soon, but to describe...
  • the flower box has been installed on the door of the coop
  • the hens have been digging nearly 6 inches down into the soil, prompting us to perhaps make a stone path for human access to the coop without mucking through muck
  • final painting of the fence
  • the run, the path to the run, the hut in the run, the kitty-door....all awesome, mostly all Bill
3) Maggots: Alejandro has made an urban maggot farm for the chickens. He made a video on youtube which can be found here: Urban Maggot Farm

4) MJ decided to become an escape artist today. She tried to make a run for it via our neighbours yard on the other street. She hopped the fence. The fence has since been reinforced with higher chicken fencing. We hope she hasn't told the others about the delicious grass on the other side.

5) Jackie made a dummy egg full of chili sauce to help prevent Mystery Chicken from eating other eggs. We're not sure where it went. Perhaps someone thought it was an egg-for-eating, as it wasn't labelled until afterwards, but if you know of the whereabouts, please feel free to let us know, anonymously or not. We are just curious, that is all.

6)Yard clippings, grass-type-clippings, large branches for chicken snacks are encouraged to be placed within the run area in Michel's yard, rather than by the coop. It'll encourage the ladies to be over in there more, scrounging for bugs in the dirt and helping along the future garden bed.

7)Chickens are awesome. Ours are no exception.

I think that is all the exciting news from the last 10 (eerp!) days. Photos of the finale of the coop to come soon! Perhaps some more action shots too. I'll look into a video tour of the yard too maybe. We'll see what happens during my days off this week. :)

Friday, July 10, 2009

This is a mystery for Scooby Doo!

We have a mystery.
One of the girls has pecked and destroyed an egg. This doesn't appear to look like an accident. I hear the egg was not just cracked a wee bit, or accidentally squished, but fully destroyed. This will be an interesting mystery to solve. I'm not really sure how to solve this. I'm sure all of us will do some kind of research. I'm off to google it.

On a lighter note...

The coop has been greatly improved in both security AND aesthetics this past week. Yay Bill & Jackie! (and others. I don't know who else helped out). The top of the coop has been barricaded in with a door-type situation, the mechanism on the main door has been improved, the chicken run has been completed to the point that the hens can go run around in the neighbours yard during the day...It's been a busy week, considering that J&B were away for a couple days too. The photos are from about 9 PM, featuring Alejandro & Emily Anne.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Rain Rain Go Away

The ladies had their first rainy day at their new home today. They decided to hide under the coop for most of the day. Apparently chickens do not like rain so much. Who would have though, eh? Oh well. We had a couple eggs at least today. It appears that one of the chickens is laying second rate eggs though. At first it was suspected that someone was an egg breaker, but my roommates and I were discussing that maybe the shells are just weak. Nicole accidentally broke a shell when washing off the egg last week, and Bill was mentioning that more eggs were breaking. I wonder if we need to just give them more oyster shells & calcium supplements to ensure proper eggshell production. Only time will tell. Avi wants more chicken photos, so I will do my best to get some more photos on the go tomorrow.