Sunday, July 20, 2014

A Bird's Eye View

For the Birds
We got our first eggs this weekend!
We had figured we wouldn't start seeing eggs until August, at the earliest, as chickens start laying around 20-24 weeks old on average. Our four older chickens are 18/19 weeks old. We have been looking in the coop for eggs anyway, just in case. Imagine our delight when I checked the coop yesterday morning, only to find a tiny brown egg smack dab in the middle. We were all so eggcited excited! {I'm trying to hold back on the puns, I really am.}

Thought it was Big Betty, but then this morning before church I went to check again and saw Miss Mabel in the corner of the nesting box, facing the corner like she wanted privacy. Lo and behold, when we checked again after church, there was an egg buried in the wood shavings where she had been sitting. So we think it must be Mabel laying--although I'm not sure she'd lay for the first time, two days in a row--so who knows? Maybe we have two laying chickies?
For the Birds
That's Big Betty on the left, Mabel on the right. Their combs recently turned bright red, which is generally considered an indication that they've reached "chicken puberty" and will start laying within a few weeks. We've placed golf balls in the nesting boxes so that the chickens know that is where to put the round white/brown things. It appears to be working.
For the BirdsFor the Birds
On the left in the carton is yesterday's egg, the right in the carton is today's, slightly bigger egg. The photo on the right is yesterday's egg, after being washed.
For the Birds
So, hopefully soon here we'll be gathering a few eggs every morning! We've been waiting and anticipating this for months now. All this work raising chicks and building a coop, finally we're seeing some reward!
For the Birds
Although that's not true, we've already been rewarded by the flock. They've been a joy to have around and watch. The kids have learned a lot. Our scraps from meals are avoiding the dump and feeding the chickens. It's amazing how backyard chickens can save hundreds of pounds of food from the garbage. Read here about how backyard chickens can help with the environment and even save tax dollars by eating your leftovers.
For the Birds
I was cleaning up the backyard this week while the kids played inside, when I noticed Percy and Leif swimming strangely in the pool. Suffice it to say, I got a lesson on the birds and the bees as far as birds are concerned. Having a male and a female duck, we obviously realized that ducklings might be part of our future. We'll see. We'd hoped for edible duck eggs. I'm not sure I can stomach a fertilized duck egg. Hatching ducklings might allow us to reduce our ducks to two laying females, however. We'll see what comes. For now, I loved to watch these goofballs swim in their kiddie pool pond. {Except when they're mating. Gross, get a coop, guys.} From what I've learned, ducks don't use nesting boxes. So even if Leif lays eggs, we'll have to hunt them down somewhere in the yard.
For the Birds
Percy's curly tail feathers are one way in which we identified him as a male. I love how his feather's are so black they snap blue.
For the Birds
The Sisters are still small, and they keep to themselves. They have yet to eat from our hands or befriend us. They like to fly to the top of their coop, or sit on the girls' tricycle handlebars. {Maybe that's why Violet started singing her own version of the Flobot's song, "♫ Chickens ride my bike with no handlebars, no handlebars, no handlebars ♫..." Though that song eventually progressed into, "♫ Chickens ride my bike to the piano bar, the piano bar, the piano bar ♫..."
For the Birds
Our dog, Cocoa--on whom I keep meaning to write a blog post about to explain where the heck she came from all a sudden--seems to have some cattle dog in her. She is such a good dog, and doesn't hurt the flock, but she has tried to herd them a couple of times.
For the Birds


Now, ahem, as if we did not have enough birds around here already...

...so almost a month ago now I purchased two hanging flower planters at Walmart. They were $5.88 each, which I thought was a great deal, so I got one for our back deck and one for our front porch. Two days later, I noticed some of the flowers were pushed down in the front planter. Upon inspection, I saw that some little bird had decided to make her nest in our planter! I couldn't believe how quickly and skillfully she built a perfect cup nest. Over the next couple of days, four speckled blue eggs appeared, and I spotted Mama coming and going.
DSC_0623
Noticing that she panicked and left every time we went through our front door, we started using our side entrance and stopped watering the flowers. I was able to identify her as a house finch. Soon enough, four tiny birds hatched. They looked like little grandpas with their fuzzy eyebrows. I snapped this photo when I was sure Mama was out foraging for food.
DSC_0626
Mama and Daddy Bird both came and went, Daddy appeared once the babies hatched and he had a beautiful red head. I've loved watching them feed their babies, and come and go. Yesterday, we saw them teaching the four little ones how to fly. The nest is empty now.
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So, you see, some birds will come and go. But chickens and ducks are forever.

{Not really.}

Anyway, we're all BIRD around here lately, it seems. What's next? A parrot?

{Heck no!}

A few days ago I was sitting in my bedroom reading when I heard a family passing by our house outside. A mom and her two little ones were on a walk, but she stopped in front of our house. Apparently, the chickens and ducks had wandered over to the side gate where they go every few days, or when the dog herds them over there. I heard her from inside my house, "Look, Poindexter!" she said to her son, whose real name I can't remember. "They have chickens! And...DUCKS?! They have ducks!"

They spent a good several minutes outside our house saying hi to the flock. It made me really happy. The next day, we were all getting out of the car when the same family--this time both our husbands were present--was passing by. They stopped and asked us a few questions about the chickens. It's catching on, you know.

Cheers,
Heather

1 comment:

  1. Our kids were so excited when our chickens started laying. They would race outside every day to see how many there were. That lasted about a month. Then it was me shouting "GO GET THE EGGS!!". Needless to say, the novelty wore off and the gathering of eggs became my job.

    So, a dog?! Well obviously I am dying to know where that little cutie came from. He definitely deserves his own post!

    Erica

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