Everyone, meet Cuckoo. She is (we think) a Black Langshan. She was given to us after a school project at my daughter’s elementary school along with another chick named Nemo. Nemo had a gimpy foot and, unfortunately, Nemo didn’t make it; he had too many troubles. Cuckoo (pronounced ko̵̅o̅′ko̵̅o̅′ as in ‘Cuckoo clock’) was named such because we initially thought that both she and Nemo were Cuckoo Marans.
The first of the Buff Orpingtons was named recently. This is 'Baby'. She is the runt of the flock. She crys a lot and she trys to convince the others to sit on her. I was really hesitant to name her becuase I thought that she might not make it. Last week, she wouldn't eat for a while and I was afraid that they had a parasite. It was clasic 'sick chick' syndrome.
The Color Rangers have entered tween/teen age. ...or as I like to call it, "The Velociraptor Stage". If you ignore the whole 'wing' thing, they do look like depictions of various types dinoaurs. My daughter says that chickens go from ugly (freshly hatched), to cute (fluffy chicks), to ugly (Velociraptor), to cute (adult chicken).
This past Monday, the Color Ranger chicks moved to the chicken coop. I finally finished up the walls and bleached the mold so it’s ready enough for chickens. I added a threshold to hold back the liter and added a couple of wheel barrow loads of leaves. I made a quick, impromptu roost for the birds out of an old piece of lumber. Monday was one of the coldest nights in the past couple of weeks but the chicks HAD to go.
On Monday, I was cleaning out the chicks’ feeder and refilling it with some yummy chick feed. As I went to put the feeder back in the smaller of the two boxes of chicks, I saw a single chick setting on the top of the box wall. It was just sitting there; apparently it was pondering what I was doing. Well, I thought I’d better get you guys in your coop or next thing I know I’ll wake up to chickens on the dresser mirror. Last Thursday, I split them into two boxes because they were so big that crowding was becoming an issue. Now, they are learning to fly …if not fly then “wing-assisted-jumping”.
This is the last major gap to fill up on the chicken coop. I have bought at foam piece that is designed to fit under the metal roof that will fill the gaps created by the corragation of the metal. On this type of roofing, the gaps are much larger than normal "Barn Roof" tin. So large, in fact, that rats and snakes can get in them.
With special help from my Dad and my Brother-in-law, the chicken coop has a roof. ...well it has half of a roof.
The other half will come this weekend. Those of you with a keen eye for detail will notice the windows in the foreground. They will go tow to a side once the walls are clad. In the background are some cardboard boxes waiting to go into the garden.
Okay, I need to bring everyone up to speed on our Chicken Project.
The goal of the chicken project is to have 4 or 5 laying hens continually and 10 - 25 broilers on an as needed basis. We will start out buying chicks and raising them; both for laying and broilers but I want to transition to breeding our own which will mean getting a rooster but he will come onto the scene later on. These first two issues mean that we will need a large chicken coop. This "large" is large for a personal type chicken coop, not "industrial large". The coop should also need division so that we can divide them between layers and broilers or hens and rooster should either situation be needed.
Since we want to start out with laying hens and transition to breeding our own broilers, we will need a breed of chicken that is good for both eggs and meat. We also need a friendly bird. These chickens will be part or a larger unit (our family) so they will need to have the temperament to get along with other animals. The chickens should also be a fairly common breed. we will need to occasionally inject some new blood into our flock and I don't want to have to search to find a rare bread of chicken only to find a very limited gene pool.