Monday, September 21, 2015

2015 Chicks

The White Polish. One of the cutest chicks I've ever had.

2015 Chicks

The Hamburg and the Golden-Laced Wyandotte.

2015 Chicks

 This year, I went in on an order for chicks with some fellow chicken owners on my Twin Cities Chickens group. We all wanted rare breeds - just not the minimum order of 25 of them. So, I ordered five. I had always wondered if Polish hens - or Poof Heads - as my husband calls them, have their poof from the start or not. They do! They're adorable and teeny. I got a White Polish, a Silver Polish, a Golden-Laced Wyandotte, a Hamburg and a Columbian Wyandotte. More on them to come.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Rest in Peace, Hedwig

One of the first questions people ask when they find out I have a flock of chickens is, "How long does a chicken live?"

I've never had a good answer for them, until this week. Hedwig died at the age of 8.

I could see she was slowing down. I let her do as much freeranging as possible and tried to give her assess to as much sun as possible and bowls full of scratch grains. But I'd see her standing under a lawn chair staring out into space while the younger chicks hogged down her grains. Or I'd see her standing near a fence, taking in a breeze. 

She couldn't make it to her usual roosting spot, so at night, I'd help her up. And that's where I found her. I imagine she went peacefully. At least, that's what I hope to believe. 

Hedwig was my flock leader for 7 years, and the reason I kept my flock. She ruled it with a quiet authority, maintaining order in a nonviolet way. I was tremendously sad to find her. Not terribly surprised, because I knew. But, so very sad. I'm going to miss my girl.

It will be interesting to watch the flock sort it out this week. I believe Betty White has thrown her hat in the ring. She's roosting in Hedwig's old spot. But she isn't as calmly decisive as Hedwig, and I am not sure what the impact on the rest will be. 

Anyways. In my experience, chickens can live as long as 8 is the answer to how long they live. I wish they could live longer.

Rest in peace, my girl.

Sunday, November 30, 2014


Having a 17-year-old kid doesn't mean you can escape the Disney names for pets. Elsa was a cute chick and now a noisy but beautiful Buff Orpington. You know what percolating sound chickens do, followed by a loud "bwak!"? That's her.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Winter-proofing the coop and run

We have learned a lot about keeping chickens over the winter. As I've mentioned a time or two (or three), the winters here are tough. Luckily, so are my hens.

We do wrap their run in plastic so they can get out most days.

We do put fall leaves in the run on soggy days.

We do have a heat lamp in their coop.

We have a heated water container in their coop.

Oh, and a they have a pull-out couch.

Full bar, too.

Just kidding. But everyone needs help getting through the winter.

Jim wrapping the run in plastic. The scarecrow was not my idea.
It was in the back seat of my car after I leant it to my Dad for a day. Dads.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

2014 Chicks

This year's chicks are all grown up. I got them in March and it was a great day. After thinking for a few years that we would be sunsetting the Chicken Project, I just decided the opposite. I love getting the chicks, raising them, introducing them to the flock, naming them. So it's full on now. We're heading into winter and it will get harder but it is all worth it. So, for this post, just an abundance of photos that shows why it's all worth it! And I high-fiving frog I drew at Macaroni Grill!