Raising Backyard Chickens – Mean Girls Club

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puggle puppy baby chicks{Lucy the Puggle Dog checking in on her chicks}

I’m sure you’ve noticed I haven’t been posting too much about our latest round of baby chicks.

That’s because we thought one of them was going to die.

2 weeks ago we brought home 3 blue cochin baby chicks. Blueberry, Blue Bell, and Omelet.  A few days after we brought the chicks home, our dear sweet Matilda died as a result of being egg bound for four days.

blue cochin chick chicken 2 weeks

As the baby chicks grew and started to feather out a bit, we noticed one of them {Blueberry} was about half the size of the other two chicks.

She was a runt.

And they picked on her.

On more than one occasion either the Handsome Husband, The Girl or I found poor little Blueberry on her side, struggling to stand up. Then on Tuesday, as I was leaving to go run errands, I noticed not only was she on her side, she was near lifeless and her beak was open as if she was gasping for her last breath. There was nothing I could do for her.

So I picked her up, and placed her in a small box and propped her up about 18 inches from the heating lamp. I thought, well, at least this way she can die warm, and in peace without the other chicks finishing her off by pecking her to death.

I thought she was a goner for sure, and was trying to decide if I should bury her before The Girl got home to spare her after what had happened to Matilda.

And then I left to go run errands.

runt small baby chick

Long story short, I came back about an hour later and Blueberry was up and walking around her box cheeping like a mad woman and trying to figure out how to get out.

I’m not sure if she was playing possum or what, but she is one tough little bird.

Since I’ve never really had to deal with baby chicks picking on one another to this extreme before, I was hoping some of YOU might have some advise. I know chickens are very social creatures, and I would hate to separate them and cause anxiety among them.

What do you think I should do?

~Mavis

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Ask Mavis – How to Maintain a Chicken Coop

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black australorp chicken{Mavis and Black Fatty}

Kathy in Chicago writes:

Mavis – you obviously love your chickens… but I don’t think I’ve ever have seen you blog out the mess they make & what you need to do in terms of cleaning their pen… I would love to have chickens, but no one ever seems to talk about… scooping…. Is there a delicate way you can discuss how you need to maintain their cleanliness for their health? Perhaps show what really needs to be done? 

taking care of a chicken coop

About once a month The Girl Who Thinks She’s a Bird or I go out and give the chicken coop and chicken run a good cleaning. One of the ways I am able to garden without using chemicals is by using chicken fertilizer to enrich my vegetable crops. It’s not pretty, but I think it’s worth it.

pine shavings chickens

Pine shavings. I love them. Here in the Pacific Northwest it can get pretty muddy in the winter and spring months. Since our chicken run is uncovered, about once a month we spread 2 bags of pine shavings in the chicken yard.

Not only do the pine shavings help keep the chicken yard from becoming one giant mud pit, but they entertain the chickens for a few days as well as they work the pine shavings into the soil.

pine shavings chicken bedding

I also use pine shavings in the chickens nesting boxes. When the shavings get dirty, I just toss them out and add clean shavings.

fresh eggs

That is how I am able to keep our eggs so clean.

1 gallon water for chickens

We place the chickens watering cans on a little bridge in the center of the chicken yard. These typically get filled every 5 days or so, and each time we fill the watering cans we clean them as well.

chicken feed

Chicken feed. Because we have so many chickens now, we fill up their orange chicken food bin about every 3 days. The chickens also feast on free produce scraps from the local grocery store and every few days I like to give them a little cracked corn for an afternoon treat. We keep their feed in mini trash cans {that have super tight lids} outside near the coop.

mavis butterfield raising chickens

It can be a messy job {especially in the winter} but it’s worth it. We have a happy, clean flock and they lay some pretty awesome eggs if I do say so myself.

Let me know if you have anymore questions and I will try and answer them in the comment section below.

Peace Out Girl Scouts,

~Mavis

If you are thinking about getting a flock of your own, check out the book Homemade Living: Keeping Chickens with Ashley English: All You Need to Know to Care for a Happy, Healthy Flock. Amazon currently has the book in stock and ready to ship.

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Raising Backyard Chickens – Egg Bound Hen

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chicken legs

UPDATE : Matilda died late last night. :( The Girl said… At least she got to die at home all nice and warm. She was a great pet chicken, and I couldn’t agree more. At least she got to die at home with us near her side.

************************

This morning I called the vet  and made an appointment to have our dear sweet Matilda euthanize. The Girl and I talked about it and decided it was the best thing for her. Matilda legs have basically been paralyzed for 4 days now, she won’t open her eyes, hold her head up or really even make any noises. We wanted to put her out of her misery. I thought she might have Marek’s Disease.

On days 2, 3, and 4 we used a syringe to give her food and water. As much as I would have liked to have taken her to a vet, the HH pointed out that Matilda was a chicken, and spending hundreds of dollars on one chicken that was likely going to die anyways, was not something he wanted to do.

It’s a chicken. I know it’s your pet chicken, but it’s a chicken. 

So here I am, a suburban housewife, with this dying chicken. As much as I want to think I could tough it out on a real farm, I don’t think I could ever cull a chicken. Nor would I want the HH to do it either.

He offered, but I said no. I would rather pay to have a vet put her to sleep for $50 then have my daughter know her dad {basically} killed her pet chicken.

So this afternoon, I grabbed a box from the garage. I placed a towel on the ground and started to clean Matilda up {she had a little dried oatmeal around her beak and in her feathers and I didn’t want to show up at the vet with her that way}.  I wiped her sweet little face down, and then poured warm water over her vent to remove anything that may have been there.

And then it happened.

soft shelled eggs egg bound chicken

2 soft shelled eggs dropped from her weak little body.

Poor Matilda was egg bound this whole time.

I checked her over the first night I brought her into the garage and there were no signs that she was egg bound. 2 eggs had been stuck inside her. The poor, poor thing.

As soon as those eggs dropped to the ground, she wiggled her legs and I started crying.

Matilda!

sick chicken

I immediately cancelled the appointment for the vet.

The way I see it is this. There is nothing a vet can do for her {I asked}.

Yes, she will probably die.

But as long as I can keep her clean, warm, hydrated and fed, who am I to give up hope.

~Mavis

 

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Mavis Needs Your Help – Any Chicken Doctors Out There?

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warming a chicken up

This morning I went to let the chickens out of the coop and noticed poor Matilda did not make it back in to the coop before curfew. The chickens were locked up just after dark, and none of the chickens were out wandering the chicken run so I’m not sure where Matilda was.

As I was turning to open the door to the coop I almost tripped over a near lifeless chicken on the ground. I’m not sure if she flew out of the coop at some point during the day, then came back really late to find the door locked up tight for the night or what, but the poor thing spent the night outside where the temperatures  hovered around 35 degrees.

We hurried her in to the garage and placed her in the stock tank with the baby chicks where she is resting under a warming light right now. She won’t open her eyes by she is alive. The local vet does not treat chickens.

This have never happened to us before, and I’m not sure what else to do.

Does anyone know?

~Mavis

 

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Raising Backyard Chickens – Baby Blue Cochin Chicks

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blue cochin chick

Yesterday I stopped by The Garden Sphere in Tacoma to pick up 3 new baby blue cochin chicks. I special ordered these a few months ago and I think they are going to make a neat addition to our feathered flock. Do you see the feathers on those tiny chicken legs?

Once I got the chicks settled, Lucy and I sat on a crate in the garage peering into their make shift coop. She is in love, and thinks the chicks are hers. Each time we have gone out to the garage since bringing the chicks home Lucy dashes over and sits next to their bin, waiting to say hello. Ahhhh it’s so cute I can hardly stand it.

blue cochin chicken{photo credit}

This is what the hens are suppose to look like once they are fully grown. Aren’t they gorgeous? Talk about a show bird. I bet I could win some blue ribbons with these babies. The Girl hasn’t named the chicks yet but I’ll let you know as soon as she does.

baby chicks

I would have take a few more pictures to show you but the lighting is bad in the garage,and the chicks seemed pretty tired from their journey. I didn’t want to stress them by handling them to much.

But I promise more pictures in a few days.

Will YOU be bringing home new chicks this spring? If so, what breed are you thinking about?

~Mavis

how to care for baby chicks
If you are thinking about getting a flock of your own, check out my How to Care for Baby Chicks guide. It’s full of all sorts of goodness.

 

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

The Hen Cam – Watch Chickens and Goats Live from Massachusetts

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the hen cam

Every month more than 40,000 people check in to see what ‘s happening on The Hen Cam at Terri Golson’s farm.  If you are thinking about getting a flock of birds you may want to bookmark her site.  There is also a barn cam and a goat cam.  I have found the best time to view is early in the morning before the hens are let out.

Awesome stuff!

~Mavis

Looking for more chicken stories? Go HERE.

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Reclaimed Food Show and Tell

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discarded produce

It was a fantastic week in the reclaimed foods department at my local market. Fantastic!

free produce

We were able to salvage:

  • 2 personal watermelons
  • 2 cantaloupes
  • 3 heads of lettuce
  • 1 banana
  • 8 apples
  • 3 pears 
  • 6 pounds of potatoes

Wahoooo! Talk about a nice variety of free food.

backyard chickens

The chickens were pretty happy with their chicken scraps as well. Fresh melon, soft pears, lettuce, and grapes too.

easter egger white chicken

And wait, is that a wee bit of kale I see next to Hilda’s foot? Life is good.

fresh chicken eggs

Oh, and guess what? Yesterday, we collected 9 eggs. NINE! In one day. It appears our backyard egg farm is up and running again. I’d say scrambled eggs and at least 1 “breakfast dinner” a week are back on the menu.

Sweet diggety!

Peace Out Girl Scouts, have an eggcellent day.

~Mavis

Would you like to see what else we have brought home over the past 11 months?

Head on over HERE to read all the past stories and to see all the pictures.

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Raising Backyard Chickens – Ameraucana Chickens Lay Green Eggs

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green egg

Yesterday Mrs. Hillbilly, her kids and her Mom stopped by to check out the garden. Her Mother is in town this week and is a great resource for gardening that’s for sure.

After we were done talking about okra, landscape fabric and roadside stands, we glanced into the chicken coop and noticed a chicken had laid a green egg. The first colored egg from our flock of chicks we brought home last fall.

easter egger chicken

But who laid the egg? Was it Peanut?

Ameraucana chicken white

Hilda?

She was awfully chatty yesterday when I was inquiring around the coop as to who laid the beautiful green egg.

Ameraucana chicken 20 weeks

Or was it Matilda, our glam girl?

All I know is, Ameraucana chickens tend to lay blue or green eggs. But in rare cases will lay a PINK egg. We currently have 3 Ameraucana hens, and only one of them has started to lay. So there is hope.

We’ve had several Ameraucana chickens over the years, but they’ve all laid green eggs. So I’m hoping this year we will have one that lays blue eggs as well.  I know the pink eggs are a total long shot, but Mrs. HB’s mom mentioned her husband had a hen that laid pink eggs when he was growing up. So I know there is hope.

fresh egg broken{Mrs. HB stole my eggs and then dropped one}

What color of eggs do YOUR chickens lay? Have you ever had a pink one?

~Mavis

how to care for baby chicks

Thinking about getting some chicks but don’t know where to begin? Go HERE to learn How to Care for Baby Chicks.

 

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Biggest Chicken Egg in the World?

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A Big thank you to Polly S for sharing this video with me. What fun!

~Mavis

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Raising Backyard Chickens – Mavis and Picasso

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mavis butterfield

I sat down with Picasso this morning and we had a long talk about her boyfriend Pablo.  It’s been about 10 days since we had to give him away and she misses him dearly and has been rather lonely around the coop without him.

The Girl and I are not sure what we should do. Do we box her up and take her to visit Pablo who is just a 15 minute ride away? Or just let it be, hoping she will forget about him over time?  How long can a chicken’s heartache last anyway?

We miss Pablo too, but we don’t want to visit Pablo and get his hopes up and have him think we have come to take him home.

Have you ever had a problem before with your pets being inseparable? Will Picasso’s broken heart be mended?

~Mavis

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

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