Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Teenage Years

For an update on the chickens, we've began the teenage years. Puberty has passed. I guess. Except for their vocal cords. Yes. Chickens basically "mature" in their "bwakings" the way a human's voice changes. They are getting all of their feathers and are happy to be testing out their wings. But they are still "peeping." I can't wait til I hear the first official "BWAK!" But for now its just mostly "peep peep!"

Not too long ago, my mom (God bless her!) drove a little over an hour to meet me half way between my house and hers with a rabbit cage. I explained to her that the chickens were just getting too big for their tiny once-a-lizard's cage-aquarium tank. So she let me borrow my sister's rabbit cage that has been sitting in her shed for a few years. We hadn't planned on seeing each other in the next few months, but she was gracious enough to drive a ways in order to give the chickens a better home. They thanked her, even though she wasn't able to see it. So instead of a glass tank, the chickens moved into a home 4 times the size of their original brooder. They also moved into the garage. And eventually I quit leaving a heat lamp on for them, especially during the night. As they get more and more feathers, they will need less and less heat from me. And I figure the more I can prepare them for this winter, the better. Our winter's here aren't terribly harsh, but we might have a good snow or a few really cold nights. This way as Fall nears closer, they'll be ready to be outside full-time.
As often as I can, I'm taking them out of the rabbit cage in the garage and letting them into the garden. I try to stay outside with them as much as I can because they are still young and we have a million hawks here that would love to have a free, easy lunch. The chickens mostly stay underneath the okra, which is enormous at this time of the year. It provides them with shade, protection, and they provide the okra with some fertilizer! It works out well. As they've grown bigger I've been able to watch them become more comfortable with the outdoors, and they begin to stray further & further from the okra. The bigger they become, the less I have to worry about them getting swooped down on by a hawk. I am still doing an occasional "Okay Ladies! Head-count time!!!" I'm sure if my neighbors could hear me, they'd think I was nuts!
The coop is still being worked on. We almost have it finished. I don't know if I've mentioned this but the main thing about our coop is that we're building it for "almost" free. The wood is free, the tools are free, we've just mostly spent about $30 on chicken wire and wood screws. However, our lack of proper building materials has lead us to a "ghetto" coop. I'm thinking that once we decid to name our ladies, we should name them ghetto names to coincide with their ghetto coop. That way they may feel more "at home" in their lovely coop, and it may even make them "street-smart" in the woods, hence making them tougher against predators and the ever-scary bobcat. Unfortunately, I don't this this will work. Oh well. I thought Shaniqua and Shanaynay were good names for pullets. We'll see!


  1. Those aren't quite the names I had picked out--Tillie, Henney, Penney, etc. but Shaniqua and Shanaynay have a nice ring to them--and Roo??? Reminds me of Winnie the Poo--is there a Tigger among them?? Can't wait to see these babies!!

  2. Haha I hope you're being sarcastic about the Shanaynay thing!!! That will NOT be their names!!!

    Roo is what I've named him just because its easy to say. As he grows older, we might name him something else, like A**Hole (b/c they're usually mean little things!!!) We'll see! :)

  3. I like the ghetto names! And I like Roo. I call my old roomie from Metcalf Roo and she calls me Roo, too. Roooooooooo!

  4. Ummm I'm going to have to ask why you call each other Roo!?! And yeah, its a pretty "typical" name I guess for a rooster, but while he's a baby, its an affectionate name. When he gets older he may be known as ASSHOLE! Do any of your friends call you that? Haha j/k!