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Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Chickens

We got our nine chicks in April, eight Rhode Island Red hens and one Black Sex Link Rooster. The hens where four weeks old and the rooster was two. They all had a fair bit of feathers but it was still getting near freezing so I opted to install a red heat lamp that my neighbor gave me into the coop.




I really underestimated the number of predators that would come around when chickens are present. On the second day, I was checking out the garden and I heard a horrible screeching from behind. I looked towards the noise and saw my little black rooster in the claws of a hawk flying across the yard and into the wood line. Over the next couple of weeks we lost two more, both of which I am pretty sure were from aerial bombardment, a.k.a hawks.

The chickens were all getting to a large enough size that the Hawks were leaving them alone and I was becoming complacent. I asked my son to "put the chickens up" after running outside he told me they put themselves up. What I didn't know was that he didn't realize that the door needed to be locked. We lost three more that night. The case is still unsolved, but our number one suspect is family of raccoons that have been around a few times.


The trashcan and the chicken coop are locked up each night and we haven't had any more problems with predators. It turns out that three chickens was the sweet spot. We get three eggs per day, most days, and not nearly the amount of poop on our patio. That was becoming a real issue for Stacie.


The girls now free range to their hearts content, eating bugs and what not all day long. They are starting to get a reputation as a street gang, bullying folks when they come over.