Tag Archives: chickens

Winter’s Grace; Pugs -n- Peckers

We’ve been having a lot of snow this winter. It’s fairly unusual for Boise to get this much. Most years we may have a few inches around the middle of December, then it warms up enough to melt, and we might be lucky enough to get some more snow in February. So far this winter, we have had about a foot in total. It’s kind of nice that about three inches sticks around for so long that it provides a nice, crunchy base for the new snowfall.

Right now, we have an inch of slush out there threatening to freeze and make for very exciting road conditions in the morning. I’m glad I don’t need to go anywhere tomorrow.

The chickens are doing great – better than I expected. We’re still getting at least two eggs a day from the coop, even though everything we’ve read about chickens said they’d decrease production in cold weather. Now if I could just give them away faster.

Oh, I read the funniest thing today in a book at the library…

“Chickens are the new pug”.

It’s in a new book about urban homesteading. What’s really funny is that we have pugs, too. I know that in the last few years the whole country has gone nuts for pugs, but we’re not the bandwagon jumpers. I had pugs while growing up, they’re nothing new. I’m accustomed to their personalities, so I knew what to expect when I was able to get my own. There were a few things I’d forgotten about them, though – like the fact that they do shed. A lot. I’d say “moult” is a more accurate description. And it happens on the first day of Spring, too. You’ll come home from work or whatever, and there will be an entire dog-worth of fur in a lump on the living room carpet.

But we love our puggy dogs.

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She’s a little off her feed.

Yeah, I started really feeling nasty last night while watching tv. Head feels like it weighs a ton – it’s my sinuses. I know I’m not alone, and I completely empathize with everyone else who is dealing with being sick during the holidays.

Hubbins let me sleep in until noon today. I was actually awake for awhile from about 7-8:30, but didn’t let him in on that fact.

I wish I would have been up, though. You see, we got a few inches of snow overnight.

He told me that, when he went to open the run and let the girls out, Jan and Marsha managed to follow him back up to the porch just fine. He came inside to prep their oatmeal. When he brought it out for the girls, Cindy realized that she was going to miss out if she didn’t figure out how to get up to the porch. And then hilarity ensued…

Cindy flew, landed in the snow, hopped up and flew again, landing in the snow, took off again… all the way to the porch. And then when she hit the porch, her feet were so covered with snow that she slid ten feet into the plate of oatmeal. :)

I loves chickens. They’s funny.

I just wish we had gotten that on video somehow.

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A fun time was had by all.

I did the coolest thing today. I participated in a focus group/mock trial. And it was probably the most fun I’ve ever had while working. Can’t talk about it for three weeks, until after the real trial, but wow… the process is fascinating and we all learned things. And the guy conducting the survey – he told us he’d been in several large cities doing surveys like this one – said that we impressed him with how well we understood the information presented. (I bet he says that to ALL the… cities…)

Since I had been gone from very early this morning until evening, the girls had spent the entire day in their run and coop and were SO happy to be let out when I finally got home. They had gone through every morsel of feed pellets that was in their feeder. I can’t imagine how bored they must have been all day. Of course, it was almost sunset by the time I let them out, so they didn’t get much roaming time – and then they all three fell asleep next to the back door, on the porch step. I went through the garage to get them. Carried all three at once back to the run, listening to their sleepy cooing all the way. Ahh, I love having chicken daughters.

Oh – I forgot to go to the Christmas party at the place I used to work. That’s fine, I was just too busy today to remember. It’s still going on, but I’m in my pjs already and I don’t feel like getting dressed again. They’ll forgive me, I hope.

THOUGHT OF THE DAY: Fortunately, I’ve grown enough as a person to know that putting myself in the other person’s shoes is a very good way to be fair and impartial.

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Oh, the chickens!

They’re weathering the icy cold just fine.

Hubbins did a little more insulating on the run so the heat would stay in better, and now it’s maintaining a 29-32 degree temp 24 hours. I’m going to make them some more oatmeal this morning to warm their tummies before they go out to play. I feel kind of silly for worrying about them so much. Yesterday, I read something about a woman who had one of her hens run off during a blizzard. She found the bird in a snowbank the next day, feet up, frozen – brought her inside, thawed her out, and the chicken is just fine now.

Strange, wonderful birds.

“The only animal you can eat after it dies AND before it’s born”

I read that on a tee-shirt somewhere.

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Oatmeal

I was going to start with the same title as yesterday, with a few more ‘C’s, but I figured that would be a little ridiculous. Everyone across the country is dealing with this bitter cold that’s come down from our Northern Neighbors. I can’t even imagine how bad it is for our family up there.

Canadians weather the cold much more stoically than we do here in the States. We tend to just be a bunch of complainers. I don’t think Americans are happy unless they have something to complain about.

Anyway, on to the subject of my post – oatmeal.

It’s actually about the chickens, so those who don’t want to read more about them can leave now.

So, the girls are clucking loudly this morning as soon as we woke up, leading us to wonder if there’s a dire emergency out in the coop. Hubbins had to go to work, so it was my duty to go check out the racket in the backyard. There wasn’t anything wrong – Jan just would NOT get off the nest to allow Marsha or Cindy a turn. Never mind that there are three other spots they could use. So Marsha and Cindy called us to come and get Jan to move.

It’s not enough that I have kids who tattle on each other – now I have chickens that do it.

(Damn, it’s cold. Are you cold?)

As I trudged through the snow back to the house, I remembered something I had read on backyardchickens.com  about things to feed chickens as treats (other than superworms). They sort of like the plain yogurt. They love broccoli. And lettuce. You should see how they destroy watermelon. But this morning, I think I found their new favorite.

Oatmeal. Prepared oatmeal.

I mixed it up with some TVP (that’s dried soy crumbles like they add to beef for fast food) and popped it in the microwave for a couple of minutes, then served it to them in two dishes. Holy cow, that’s all it took to shut them up. Nice, warm, delicious, protein-packed oatmeal.

That’ll do as their treat until Spring, when I’ll start buying them their superworms again.

Well, I need to start working on my homework. It’s finals week. I’ll tell you about school one of these days when I have more time…

THOUGHT OF THE DAY: Fortunately, we have a home that keeps us sheltered from the weather. I think today I will take some of our old coats down to the homeless shelter.

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It’s c-c-c-c-c-cold!

I woke up really early this morning. Peeked out into the backyard where the chicken run is glowing a warm, glowy, warmy glow. Nothing is burning, so that’s a plus.

Last evening, I skated drove over to Lowes to buy a heat lamp. The only ones in stock were 250 watt bulbs – I’m pretty sure that would have cooked the girls. I looked around, asked the guy in the lighting department, and ended up with a substitute 75 watt halogen bulb. I am nervous about halogen. But, we needed something to keep the chickens warm during this cold snap that promises us two weeks of icy misery. So, I got home and hubbins put it in the run. There was eventually a pretty big difference between the temp in there and the temp outside the run, so it was doing what we needed it to do.

So, I wake up this morning and look out there, and the lamp is now on the floor of the run. The shadows on the door tell me that he chickens are huddled around the lamp. And so far there isn’t a fire.

Yes, I would eat my chickens if they were to expire by fire. I’m sure they’d understand.

There is no way in H – E – double toothpicks that I am going out there. It’s 20 freaking degrees, with a breeze. The lamp will stay there. I’m sure the girls will be fine.  Even if the temp in the run is showing as 24 degrees, I’m pretty sure that where the girls are sitting is much warmer. Just gotta listen for chicken screams, I guess.

THOUGHT OF THE DAY: Fortunately, the tires on our Jeep are still good enough to make it until Spring.

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First snow, first post

Today is my hubbin’s birthday. He’s 30 now, and doesn’t look a day older than 25. Ahh, youth.

We woke up to find it had snowed a little overnight. Not much. But it continues, and now the kids are out front playing and making snowballs to throw against the window. The dogs were pretty quick to want inside after their morning constitutional. And then we have the chickens, who are used to having the door to their run opened every morning at eight sharp so that they can run around the yard, picking at the ground and harassing the dogs. Well, this morning it’s a little different. Marsha keeps poking her head out to glare askance at us, like it’s our fault the yard disappeared. Jan is convinced that the white stuff will not support her weight. Cindy just keeps yelling at us to come and rescue her.

They would all three love to be up on the porch right now. I should go get them, or at least shut them back in their run. But it’s cold, blowing snow, and I haven’t finished my coffee.

That’s a lie, I did finish. I just don’t want to face the cold yet.

So, the rest of the day should be pretty fun for my hubbin. He just handed me a wad of twenties so that I can take him out for his birthday, or whatever I want to do with it otherwise. I think he may be hinting at “go buy me a grownup game” for the new Xbox 360 that I bought him yesterday. It came with two “kid games”; he needs some of that hardcore driving and/or alien killing action. Right now, he’s cleaning the dust out of the old Xbox (HALO edition) so that we can put it on Craigslist. That should make us an easy forty bucks.

The kids are back inside. Soaked. I told daughter that she should take a nice, warm shower to warm up again. She may. Son is watching hubbin vacuum out the dust from the game system. Every time the vacuum makes a funny sound, son squeals and laughs, makes us smile.

Now hubbin has gone out to check on the “girls”. That’s how we refer to the hens. It’s been an hour, and they still haven’t come out.

Hmm. Guess I’d better start the day. I’ll talk to you later, I promise.

THOUGHT OF THE DAY: Fortunately, I am in a position to help people who can’t afford Christmas this year – even if I have to restrict myself to just two gifts for each of my own children. This holiday is about giving, not about receiving.

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