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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Life Expectancy

Aaron asked me the other day what the average life expectancy is of laying hens. I didn't know and I couldn't find it in my handy dandy book. I did find that they have an average "laying expectancy" of 2.5 years. This "laying expectancy" is the same for commercial hens. Just to clarify, the hens will keep producing eggs after 2 or 3 years, just at a slower rate. Sadly, this characteristic shortens the life expectancy for a commercial laying hen by up to a factor of 5. According to WikiAnswers (result of my savvy Google search) free range hens can live up to 15 years. Although I am going to do my best to protect them from predators, Ginger (the neighbor's dog) might think differently. Maybe she won't notice.
The Elusive Ginger

Friday, August 27, 2010

A Bajillion

A bajillion - that is a rough estimate of how many mosquito bites I got yesterday while
I unassembled and reassembled some metal and plywood storage shelves I found in Shed #2.  I think it will be a nice spot for the nesting boxes (which I also got yesterday).

D'white is back to work today. Excuse me while I go see a man about some chickens.

Thursday, August 26, 2010


Aaron and I installed posts to put up the chicken wire fence last night. Well, actually, I stood and pointed to a spot I thought looked good. Aaron did the dirty work. Thanks, Aaron.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Double Feature - Egg Cartons and Turkeys

I got home Friday to find 4 egg cartons that had traveled all the way from the foothills of North Carolina to the mountains of Tennessee. I can't wait to use them. My sister saved the cartons and made personalized labels for them. That is when I decided I must get at least one grown hen. Those chicks at TS won't be ready to lay eggs for a while... Not to mention that when I went to TS today, all of the chicks were gone.    Photos soon. They are the best looking cartons I've ever seen!

Sunday morning I looked out from the kitchen and saw something long and brown slowly moving over a flower box near the garden. It didn't move like a cat, but that is usually what is up there. I kept looking and saw a rafter of Turkeys! (Isn't Google great? I just learned that - a rafter of turkeys.) 

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Supplies and a Vision

I finally got around to doing some shopping for my adventure in agriculture. I started at Tractor Supply. I think I will be going there a lot. Yesterday I picked up a feeder, poultry wire, posts, and a book. The internet has supplied most of my "knowledge" up to this point. Something about having a book makes me feel better prepared. So prepared, in fact, that I almost brought some birds home last night. All of the peep, peep, peep peeps of the little chicks was almost too much. I wouldn't say that chickens are remarkably good looking creatures, but they sure are cute when they are little. Two things stopped me.

1. The minimum qty of chicks to buy at a time is six.
2. The coop is not ready. Nowhere near ready.

If it would just stop raining I could slap on a coat of barn red.  If it would stop raining I could get some wood work done in the shop (a.k.a the driveway).  If I was not expected to go to work I could have a new roof on there already...

Sometime between seeing those fuzzy, wobbly chicks and purchasing the fence materials I decided that the coop will do fine the way it is for a little while. I doubt it will bother chickens that their home does not have a barn red exterior with white trim. It probably won't bother them that the windows aren't proper rectangles. They probably won't mind that they aren't living in the renovated 4-star resort I have pictured for them/me.

Once I get an area fenced in adequately I will let Dwight know I am ready. (Although, after talking to him today, it turns out he has grown quite attached to his flock of young chickens. He may not want to part with even 3 of them. Honestly, I don't know that I would be heart broken. It would be an excuse to go rescue some chicks.)

Friday, August 13, 2010

Stuff to get, Things to do

I am sure these lists are not complete.

  • Feeder
  • Fountain
  • Chicken Wire
  • Fence posts/Stakes
  • Straw
  • Nesting boxes
  • Roosts
  • Paint
  • Roof panels
  • Various hardware supplies
  • Egg cartons

  • Put up "Critter proof" fence
  • Paint Coop
  • Replace windows and door
  • Construct roosts
  • Construct nesting boxes
  • Replace roof
  • Introduce the ladies to their new digs.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Small Confession

Aaron and I have lived on this property for almost 4 years now. Until recently (maybe 6 months ago) I was afraid to even go near the coop. There was something creepy about it. When I mow, I take the riding mower back there to knock down the brambles, and until this year, always averted my eyes. I didn't want to make eye contact with whatever it was that might be hiding in the dark of the coop.  (How many tenses did I use in the sentance about brambles? I will have to think about how to rewrite that one...) I am over my fear. I actually stood in it the other day to take measurements. Of course, it was still daylight, let's not get crazy.

I finally took some pictures. What do you think? A little scary?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

It's what is on the Inside that Counts

The list just got longer.
I have been so excited about renovating the coop to make it aesthetically pleasing, that I completely overlooked the comfort of my hens. Right now the coop is bare inside. Nowhere to roost back and relax. Nowhere to lay eggs. I will have to do a little interior design work to make the "furniture" (roosts and nesting boxes) accomodating.
Honestly, I am a little concerned about how these hens (that I haven't even met yet) are going to feel about me.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Let Me Clarify

I don't actually have any hens yet. I do, however, have a coop. It needs some work, and I intend to do it - soon. My hens are on reserve at a co-worker's house. His name is Dwight. At work his name is pronounced D'white. I think Dwight opts for the 1 syllable version when he says his own name.

Anyway, back to the coop. I'll take some photos.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Numero Uno

(Another thing about me: I like to incorporate the small bits of Spanish language I have retained from high school into everyday conversation.)

Starting with the Chicken... so, that is the title I came up with. It is only part of what I was thinking. The full thought that wouldn't fit into the text box is: I don't know which came first, the chicken or the egg, but I am Starting with the Chicken. Now that I see it all typed out, I am glad it wouldn't all fit. Too long for a title.

Since I have been toying with the idea of writing and sharing what I write, blogging seemed like a good way to start. I have also been toying with the idea of raising hens for fresh eggs. So, there you have it,  a blog about my adventures in turning our 1 acre within the city limits, into a small farm.