Wednesday, May 18, 2011

More Chicken Related Stuff...

The girls have now been living in my laundry room for 9 weeks!  Can anyone else believe they have survived?!?  All the horror stories of dying chicks had me convinced I would inadvertently kill at least one of them by now!  Go me and a good dose of luck that everyone has survived so far!  Due to family visiting and poor weather, I really haven't gotten much done in the last several weeks.

Today though, today is another story!   Today, while basking in the warmth of a nice Spring day (in the high 60's), I got the pop door on the chicken coop and part of the fence up!  Okay, so I failed to get a vital piece up before we painted...but I can remedy that!  The door is (mostly) level, the latch is level (talk about a long process), and the hook has not one, but two eyes to go into!  The door is secured the same way the people door is secured, bolt action on top edge, hook & eye at the bottom.  The people door holds the other eye, this way, I can latch the door open for the day and know that the girls are safe from a gust of wind flinging the door around, also I can attach a small carabiner to a chain and secure the people door when I need it open for cleaning and such!  Win, win!  Of course, I failed to remember to take a photo with both doors shut...

I started with the new roll of 2"x4" wire fencing this morning/afternoon, but I really didn't get very far before I realized that I truly need help to maneuver that big roll around!  So, with the first two "panels" nailed (I'm using 3/4" Galvanized Poultry Net Staples, a fancy way of saying "2 ended nail") up, I moved on to another "issue" that needs dealt with.  There is an open gap where risers meet runners (or some such technical term), basically the vertical supports at the end of the deck have an open space to under the deck between the horizontal supports of the deck (the part we walk on).  I needed to figure out a way to cover them so "things" couldn't get in and the girls can't get out!  My solution?  1/2" hardware cloth, of course!  The space is 23" wide (how handy when the hardware cloth is 24" wide), so I just cut a section of the hardware cloth and started nailing!  I actually cut two sections, a single 15' piece was a bit too big for me to handle by myself, so I cut one 8' section and when it was up, I went back and cut a 7' section (I added a few inches for overlap too).  I got all of the larger section up and secured with many, many staples and the smaller one is secured along one long side and the short side that is the end of the deck.  I still have to secure the back side, where the extra inch is folded down and secured as well, and the shorter pieces where the deck supports cross it (every 24" or so).  It looks and feels like it'll hold up!  The large, open section to the left is where the door(s) are going.  My plan is to put two doors there (one opening in and the other out) so that I can fit a large piece of equipment in (you know, like the sandbox...) as well as insuring I have access during the winter (I don't want to have to shovel just to get in there every morning)!  Or I at least want to be able to let them out to get food & water while I shovel paths through the back yard!  That space is 52" wide by 61" tall (I have to duck or crack my head...I've done it both ways often while building this), so I can make two doors each 26" wide!  I need 20" of width clearance for the Gorilla Cart (wagon style thing I want), but I need 30" or so for the standard wheel barrow I want.  My other option for a door is 27" wide, I would not be able to get a standard (deep bucket) wheel barrow in to clean out the coop!
Clyde!  I believe she is "bottom chicken".

Henri flew out when I opened the brooder and landed on the dryer, lol.
The girls have gotten so big!  I miss the little fluff balls that could all cuddle up in one hand while the other was free to do things like snap photos!   None the less, they still fit in my hand...but their butts hang over, their wings fall over my fingertips, and they cam only do it one at a time!  Not to say that they don't still try to all cuddle up in my hand at once, oh no...they continually try to see if they can in deed still do it!  My other half informed me last night that they are now cuddling together in their skillet/sandbox to sleep at night (he went down after "lights out" to put laundry in the dryer & "caught" them, lol).  I am shooting for them being in the coop by this weekend, but we shall hand is killing me this evening from hammering in half of a 1 pound box of those staple/nails today, not to mention how my shoulder feels!
Gerty will not hold still for pics anymore!

I still have my concerns that at least one of my girls is really a boy...Gerty is so much redder in the comb and wattles than the other two!  But, from all the other "Is my BR a roo or a pullet?" posts over on BYC...I think I'm going to have to wait this one out!  One poster will say it's a roo based on the "red factor" while another will say pullet because the chick in question is so much more black than white (roos color in with wider white stripes while pullets have wider black stripes).  The debate continues with leg color (Gerty was a typical "pullet" colored chick when she was tiny) and so forth.  I have even asked the much groaned about (I know the nice people over at BYC have got to get tired of answering that question) roo/pullet question!  I get mixed reviews...the answers that always make me giggle though are the "that's a blah blah blah breed!" answers...
Gerty just getting her stripes (see, mostly black)!
Gerty the day I brought them home!

 I do realize my chicks are from a feed store (thusly also from a hatchery where color standards are sub-par at best), I did a lot of research on breeds before I ordered my chicks and am fairly certain the hatchery and feed store did not give me some rare breed of chicken, even by mistake, when they only order the most common breeds.  I would bet the hatchery would be calling and wanting more money if that happened!  You can see Gerty's comb color better in the video (since the photo is of her backside), she is very red in the face!  On the "not a roo side" though, at 9 weeks, no one is crowing!  I will try to get better photos tomorrow if I have time...but for now, I am going to consider them all pullets until somebody doesn't lay an egg, lol!
The girls are now eating nearly two full pint jars a day of food, either that or they are spilling it and attracting ants...and eating the ants!  Either way, the food is disappearing and I have an ant issue, lol.  With all that eating, there's a lot of pooing going in too!  I got nailed last night and didn't realize it until I was going to bed...not a pleasant surprise since I was in a dress with string type ties holding it up!  I got a good shower that included lots of soap and this morning my office chair got a bath too!  I don't know how I didn't notice that, but yuck!  I will remember to be more careful in the future, Henri absolutely loves shoulder rides and will not stay off my shoulder!  I actually don't mind...except for the pooing...I really think she saves a load just for me!  I have kept her off my shoulder until I see her poo and as soon as she's up there, BLAM! Every time...
Gerty & Henri...a few minutes before I got pooed on...

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