Thursday, July 31, 2014

Bantam Coop Complete

The second part of my last post. If you haven't seen it, go back to my last post. You'll get the full effect. Start to finish. 

My homemade chicken hood ornament. 

All decorated and moved into place. 

Ready to move in. Hopefully, they'll make the move without my assistance. 
And this is what I got from some left-over scrap wood and a couple of old desks.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Bantam Coop - Making Progress

I actually planned for my Banties to move in with the big girls and live in the large coop. After an attempt using Chatty as a guinea pig and watching the beating that ensued, I've changed my mind. They will have their own coop and enclosure.

I gathered up all my scraps, leftovers and other wood items and began a plan.

Putting the idea onto paper gives me a better idea at what I'm thinking about. All subject to change during the build. The measurements were based on the used wood I had. 

The initial structure. I reworked it a little to get the proportions and the angles right. 

Starting to cover and looking and thinking and rethinking. This looks like an old General Store building and I like it. But, I will not stray from my favorite barn structure. 

The front side (my side) I decided a drawer for cleaning wasn't required. Plus, it took away from the total height. 

All covered with red base coat. Seems a little bright so, I attempted a board look. 

The back side (chicken entrance) not happy with the paint and board look.
Now then. I darkened everything up. I'm liking it. Double doors for main coop area access and the nesting box on the right. If they decide to use the left, too, I'll put hinges over there and have another access door. 
Still more to do but, the major build is over.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Refreshing the Coop

Mother Nature takes a toll on everything and this old coop has seen better days. It was time for a touch up. Free range days are over (lesson learned) and this 'make-shift' enclosure I installed for the Goose's safety, has got to go.



What an eye sore! 
Fresh paint and a new enclosed run. It's the same design I have used in the past. I moved the door to the end, instead of by the coop to keep nosy chickens back. It didn't work. However, it is closer to Gordon (the feed storage locker)
The whoa-man finishing up the trim. Goose checking the foundation. She is not happy being penned again but, there are just too many predator threats.
Goose approved. 


Friday, July 25, 2014

The Goose is Certifiable


I've had this bird since she was 3 days old and she's always been wild, wild, wild. She is a buff laced Poland and was 1 out of a group of 6 I purchased in 2012. Can you guess which one she is?


She's 17 days old here. She wasn't noisy at this stage of life but, was definitely a performer. An over-achiever, to say the least. Little did I know, her antics would get wilder as she grew.


Somewhere around 4 months old. Her buff color was a lighter shade than the others and was named, Eclaire the cream buff...WAIT! She appears to be all cool, calm and collected here. And quiet, too. Still has that stare into la la land, though.


But, it never lasts long. Goose on the loose! Run, run, run and run some more! Nobody can catch me. Maybe I should've called her Flash! As time moved forward and, as fate (and her speed, I'm sure) would have it, she ended up being the sole survivor of many predator attacks to the flock. One by one my girls were being taken.


Somehow, she managed to escaped death over and over. But, somewhere during the onslaught she incorporated a distinctive HONK in her repertoire of sounds. Eclaire was no more, as I began calling her The Goose! I could believe, on hatch day, she might have imprinted on a goose and learned the HONK - only saving it for an older age to aggravate me. Along with the HONKING, she clucks and bawks constantly. Very, very seldom is she EVER quiet. You think roosters are loud? Maybe so, but this old girl will out talk most.


Now-a-days you can find her running the fence line talking to the wind. Bawk, bawk, cluck, HONK, HONNNKKK! It's loud and really obnoxious. But, BAWK, what's HONK a brother CLUCK to do? Oh yeah, I've told her to shut up on many occasions. Only to get beak lashed while she paces back and forth. "Nope, not going to make me shut up. Chase me under the coop? I'll HONK under there and when your back's turned as you leave, I'll come out and scream louder and LOUDER."

This last set of pictures is her reading the riot act to the Bantams (in a pen of their own because she and the other big girls are just too powerful and vicious) Notice her stance in all the pics - all aggressive. She's lunging at the bantams, desperately trying to whip some tail feathers.




Come here little baby chicken and I'll PECK you. HONK!

She's a non-stop crazy machine, I'm telling you. If there was ever a candidate for 'certifiable', it's her. Look it up in the dictionary; her picture is there.

HONK!



Thursday, July 24, 2014

Blueberries and Chickens


Blueberries were never a favorite of the big girls.


Oh sure, they ate them when they felt like it. But, could care less one way or the other. Oh, those round things that only LOOK like grapes - pshaw.


UNTIL, the Banties received their rations. Oh Lord, you'd have thought the world was coming to an end.


How dare you give our blueberries to the little ones. We LOVE blueberries! Give them to us, NOW! Else, we'll go on 'LAY' off status.


Even, mild-mannered, Esther pitched a lay-down screaming fit.


The whoa-man threw a handful to them and they scarfed them down like they hadn't eaten in a month.

Crazy chickens.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Introductions

I started this blog to co-exist with my Facebook page, Chickens Out Yonder. For those that do not follow my page, I think some introductions are in order. Chickens Out Yonder is exactly what you'd think. Chickens! Out Yonder! In the backyard. There are 2 pens. One for the large fowl and another for the Bantams. I attempted integrating Chatty with the Big girls. How'd that work out? Not too good.

Starting from the top...

LARGE FOWL

Esther the Easter egger. She lays a large light green egg and is the top chicken but, rules calmly - only inflicting pecks as required. 

Alice-ca-traz. A rock/white cross, lays a large brown egg. Second in command and a huge bully to Goose. She's mellowed over time and is less bothersome. Learning to be loud from Goose.

Officially, Eclaire the cream buff. Buff-laced Poland. Lays a medium-large white egg. This bird is so LOUD. How LOUD is she? I get calls from surrounding States about her. (Ha) She honks, sounding more like a Goose than a chicken SO, she is nicknamed the Goose. Pretty much the star of the show Out Yonder. Even though she ranks dead last in the pecking order.
 BANTAMS

I had a hankerin' for some banties and picked up 2 a couple weeks ago.

Best we can figure, this girl is a Bantam Japanese Black-tail. She talked a bit when first arriving and I named her Chit Chat (Chatty) Lays a small off white egg. I tried introducing her to the big girls, I thought they'd kill her. Brutal! 
Chatty had a friend that didn't make it. A coon took her home for dinner one night. I have since secured the break in and reinforced the coop.

Fancy la Feete. A Belgium D'uccles. Too young to lay. Taken by a coon - 
Chatty was alone once Fancy was gone and chickens being social, needed a friend, or two.

Picked up yesterday. Blue Bantam Cochin. 5 mos old. Name before the Committee.

Came with the blue. (above) Black Bantam Cochin. Also 5 mos old. The Committee has agreed on, Black Magic (Maggie) for this little one. Perhaps, when everyone gets acclimated, I'll throw a basketball to her and see what she's got.
And, there you have the main characters Out Yonder. Stay tuned. More stories about what's happening Out Yonder to follow.

Friday, July 18, 2014

The Friday Forager



I'm set up next to the office window and always looking out yonder. Keeping an eye on the birds, the garden and the property. You never know what might be seen. A water buffalo. An elephant or mayhaps an anaconda. Well, maybe out somebody's window, not mine. Hopefully! To be more realistic we have squirrels, rats, cats, dogs, possums and that murdering raccoon wandering around. Oh and, let's not forget Merlin (the hawk) and his family soaring above.

A little while ago, close to 7:30 PM, I took a look out yonder to see if the girls were in the coop. It's getting about that time. I had previously seen a rat scamper from the run while I watered the sunflowers. I found a hole under the porch concrete and made a note to set Victor up there tonight. Victor? One of those wooden, finger breaking rat traps. He is a seasoned veteran and well known out yonder for his trapping experience.

My eye caught some movement around the front of the coop, next to the run. About the same place as the rat hole. I know I did a double take because what I saw the second time was that dang coon. Alice was out in the run. Chatty was in her run. Don't remember seeing Goose or Esther - they may have already hit the snoozer. Before I could get the window opened for a good clear picture, it spotted me and beat feet to the neighbor's shed where it lives. (you can see the roof over the privacy fence/ left side in the picture above)

You can see the rat hole under the concrete slabs. It goes all the way through. The coon was here and Alice was very close to where she is in this pic.
The urban wildlife is not afraid to show up in the daylight hours. Especially, the coons. I know it had to see my girls in the run but, it was only interested in foraging around the front of the coop. I scared it off by wanting a picture so, not sure what it may have done. What it did do was slip inside the shed by way of the eaves and we could see it's nose and 2 beady eyes peeking while we prepared Nicholas Cage.

I have 2 Victors out for the rats and Nicholas (the live trap) is set and baited for the coon. Perhaps, it will be hungry enough.  Every few minutes, the whoa-man walks in from the living room and shines the flashlight out the window.

The Attack!

Chatty's surprise came out of nowhere.


Even though, the Goose had the stealth of  a Bradley M-1 tank, she made her move with blazing speed - her quickness matching a hungry barracuda's attack.


Alas, she had misjudged the position of the chicken wire fence. Like a wrestler thrown into the ropes, she was hurled backwards into the feathery wings of...


Good grief!


Thursday, July 17, 2014

FiFi LaRue



FiFi LaRue was a silver-laced Poland (SLP) hen. She was right up there with the Goose on wildness and would scream bloody murder if I reached down and snatched her up. The poor Polish breed have the crest on their head and it makes it near impossible for them to see overhead. The breed is known for their wild behavior due to the 'I can't see' syndrome. IF you can get close to the wild ones, you can swoop them up.

With a flock size of 8, come snack time, FiFi thought she was slick and learned from a young age to grab and go. She'd find a hiding place for her prize, return to the bowl and complete the cycle time after time until all the snacks were devoured. Afterwards, she'd sneak to her hiding place and have her fill without all the drama of a feeding frenzy. Pretty funny to watch and she got away with it for quite the while. Until, someone spotted her and caught on to her little game of thievery.

Even so, she still managed to gather and hide a stash in the future.