Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Christmas Day

Figured I'd better post these up before we ring in the new year.

We have taken in two stray chickens a Barred Rock (whom we call Barbara, get it, it sounds like Barred Rock!) and a Rhode Island Red (we just call her Red). Several of their field mates were picked up by hawks or other animals, so we've been letting these two stay in our coop with the Silkies & Showgirls. The upside is, large brown eggs!

Out of our flock, only Oprah is laying. Mrs. Nugget should start laying any day now and the Showgirls are about 2-3 months from laying.

So Red lays an egg about every day, Barbara about every other day and Oprah about one every 2 days. About 3-4 times so far we have had a day where all three lay on the same exact day and we find 3 eggs in the nest box. Christmas was one of those days.

The little white egg is Oprah's.
We were all watching the movie "Elf" and I went out and pulled Helmet out of the coop. Put a blue towel on Andy (hubby) and he held him for awhile. Helmet just nestled down and chilled in the house.

If two years ago you were to tell me that one day I would be laying on the couch with a chicken in my lap, I would have laughed my head off!
A close up shot of Helmet. Our Christmas cards this year featured a pic of them. I think I overheard my friends talking about how ugly the Showgirls are, lol.
I must admit, at first I didn't like them, but they grew on me. And then when they hatched out of the eggs, their teeny little bodies with this little bit of nakedness, ooooh, so adorable.
We are pretty sure Helmet is a rooster. And he is probably the sweetest little chicken in the coop. If I come in to the coop and go for my bench he runs over there and jumps up, waiting to jump on my lap.
If he's not scouring the ground for snacks he'll usually get up and nestle down in my lap. I never thought chickens would be like that.

I hope you had a Merry Christmas and I wish you a Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The chicks are learning!

For the last month or so I had been taking them outside during the day and getting them used to living in the coop. But they always went inside at night.

Well a week ago it finally was warm enough to leave them out all night. Typically, at dark chickens will go get into their house. But when it turned dark, my babies would be at the door of the chicken run (a wire mesh thing, kind of like a HUGE cage) crying bloody murder, pleading me to take them inside. Every night I would have to round them up, all at once and put them in the chicken house. If I didn't put them all in their at the same time, they would run out while I was chasing the other ones.

Last night it was dark when I got home and the coop looked still. Then I saw shadows. I started calling for them and the babies came running for the run door, chirping at me. So I gathered them all back up and put them in the house and closed the house door.

Today I was late getting home and much to my suprise they were all in the house on their own! I crawled in and checked on them and gathered eggs. They just chirped at me. I know they would rather go in the house, but I'm glad they are finally getting the hang of it!

Monday, December 22, 2008

The calendar

About a week ago I took the chickies in for a photo shoot. Everyone kept saying I needed to make a calendar so I figured I should get a couple more shots.

This one didn't make it in, but I love it anyways. My labrador mix, Onyx, is a very good sport and has been in the newspaper before, but she usually acts like she's being beaten or something. It is very hard to get her to perk up her ears like she's a happy-go-lucky labrador. And she really does NOT like it when I put another animal on her. She doesn't try to eat them or anything, it just upsets her.
This one is an older pic of my little completely naked neck Showgirl (boy, lol) Helmet taken in Oct when he was much smaller. I put him on a rim of a wine glass. The coloring is a vintage coloring to the pic. This one is in the calendar. I love this shot of him.
This is Mrs. Chicken Nugget. One of the reasons we went to the studio was because she had gotten a bath the night before and a blow dry. Didn't want to waste a good clean chicken! Oprah's fro always looks raggedy, but Nugget keeps hers nice and clean. And yes, she does have eyes!
Out of my 3 Showgirl chicks, I'm starting to think this one is my ONLY girl. Her name is Star, like Silver Star, since she has a bit of grey/silver to her. This photo has a special tint to it which makes her look even lighter. She has awesome foot feathering and her fro (technically called a Top Knot) is coming in quite huge. She is really poofy.
This is the cover of the calendar. The shot was from my first batch of Silkie babies.
The calendar is a mixture of photos of my Showgirls and Silkies, from childhood to adults. You can preview the calendar and order it from here: http://www.cafepress.com/toystoryjunkie.339724618

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Chicken shirts, posters and more!

In case you are interested in some of the shirts and things I've designe with chickens on them--including photos of some of OUR chickens, go to: http://www.cafepress.com/toystoryjunkie/6204210







Oprah get's a bath

I had to bath one of our Silkies tonight and I didn't have a camera on me. BUT, I did remember that my cell phone had some photos of our black hen Oprah getting a bath about 2 weeks ago.

She looked miserable!

And yes, they stay in the sink and accept the abuse that is a bath. They even sit there for a blow dry!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

The coop

Sold both of the Buff Orpingtons roosters this week. The hens are greatful!

Been letting the Showgirls out in the coop (the green fencing on the left and the grey box and the white/blue box are their pen area), they have been loving it. Except for today that is. Let them out and they started playing and eating their yogurt and I went inside. Came back out a few minutes later with some grapes and they were cuddled together trying to get warm so back into the house they went.

They babies are outgrowing the brooder in our bathroom. Our inlaws mutt baby, whom we call "Crazy" keeps jumping out. Going to have to fix a proper top to the brooder tommorow.

Bought them about 500 crickets and 1,000 mealworms this week. The chickens went nuts for them. Dropped a bunch of mealworms in the brooder figured it would give them something to scratch around for.

But, back to why I originally posted--the coop. Snapped that pic Thursday when I got off work. I need to paint the front of the house. Thinking of painting windows on it. Not sure yet. Needs something!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Buff Orpingtons

We only raise Silkies and Showgirls. They are a smaller chicken, weighing tops 2lbs when full grown.

We went to a chicken swap meet in Gainesville the Sat. before Thanksgiving and someone had some HUGE Buff Orpington chickens for free. My mother has been wanting some chickens, but she wants a large breed, so we asked the lady if they were roos or hens. She said she got them from a lady who needed to get rid of them but they hadn't crowed since she had them.

So we took them home.

It didn't take 24 hours for us to realize they were roosters. LOL, people who have regular chickens are probably like "No duh, those are BIG BOYS." But Silkies and showgirls are harder to sex and we aren't used to it.

Within a day they started doing the rooster dance whenever the stray hens (neighbor's hens who have been abandoned and we have begun feeding) came to the coop door. And one went after Oprah (my female Silkie who has bad eye sight). Let's just say I feel bad for a 1-2lb Silkie being bred with a 7-10lb Orpington! Poor girl!

So we are finding the roos new homes and using the money to get my mom some hens.


This is a shot from the outside of the coop. The B&W hen is a Barred Rock mix (one of the strays). You can see Oprah kind of hiding by the door, and then that huge Buff Orp. We ended up letting the two stray hens, just to give some relief to poor Oprah.
This is inside the coop. My brother's dog is outside the coop (they were visiting from NC). You can see how small Oprah is in comparison to the Orp.