Adopting 8 Little Ladies on Father’s Day

We were so blessed on Father’s Day. Two weeks ago, I lost three of my beloved hens due to a predator attack. Since then, we’ve made adjustments to secure the rest of our flock. However, it’s made me feel quite sad seeing the coop so empty, and especially sad for my little Gretchen, who lost her best friend. She wanders alone now in the pasture and doesn’t have a buddy to roost with at night. Chickens tend to make friends and stick with them. But…on Father’s Day that changed.

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A friend from church is going through a transition and needed to find a new home for her 8 chickens. It was a mutual blessing for all of us. She knew her chickens were going to a good home, and our henhouse would once again be full of love and eggs. So on Father’s Day, we collected our new little ladies, which wasn’t easy since those rascals were fast and kept running under the deck!

Once they were settled into their new coop and pasture, they seemed happy to explore. My daughter was giddy to show them around and give them all lots of hugs.

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At night, I checked to see that the girls had all made their way into the coop and then my heart swelled. Gretchen wasn’t perching alone. She had a new friend, a little Ameraucana hen was tucked close beside her. I am sure they slept warm and happy. In this little thing, I see God’s love. He cares even about my hens. And if He cares about a small chicken, believe me when I say…He cares even more for you.

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The New Cordero Family Flock

Over the last year and a half, our flock has changed due to old age, sickness, and the addition of new chicks. So today, I’d like to introduce you to our current flock of chickens.

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VELVET

Velvet – She is a sixth-month-old Black Australorp hen. Her name is derived from the look and texture of her feathers. She is a total beauty. Currently, she has an itch to become a mother, and hoards eggs below her in the nest box hoping that they will hatch. Trouble is that we butchered the rooster three months ago so none of the eggs are fertilized and won’t ever become baby chicks. I’ve tried to reason with her and have pushed her out of the nest box several times, but the truth isn’t sinking through her thick feathers. Nevertheless, I admire her determination even if it’s a complete misguided nonproductive unfruitful attempt at success.

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COCO CHANEL

Coco Chanel- She is another gorgeous Black Australorp hen who is best buddies with Velvet. Her feathers show nicely like a little black dress. She enjoys strolling around the pasture looking for bugs.

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HELGA

Helga – She is one fiery dame. She’s got enough attitude for the entire house of hens. And she’s a finger pecker. It’s painful. I’ve given up on showing her attention.

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ROSALINA

Rosalina “Rosa” – Rosa is a Rhode Island Red and best friends with Helga. She is a skittish girl but lays eggs like a champ!

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BLONDIE

Blondie – Named after the female rock singer and for her blonde feathered butt. She’s a year and a half old Buff Orpington who lays light brown eggs.

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GRETCHEN

Gretchen – She is my favorite girl. She is sweet as a sugar cookie and likes to be petted and held! When we go into the pen, she’s the first to greet us. I love you, Gret!

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JOSEPHINA

Josephina “Josie” – Josie is a special girl, and she’s a walking miracle. About five months ago, she developed a limp. Chickens don’t usually recover from a limp. The hen’s health will decline, and the other hens will gang up on it. We monitored Josie daily, and I prayed for her. Slowly, the limp healed and now she’s perfect. God does care about the small things! And He loves his creation.

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GINGER

Ginger – She is the number two in the henhouse line-up. She has just as much strut as Ginger on Gilligan’s Island.

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ARETHA

Aretha – She is Queen of the Chicken Castle. She leads the flock of girls, and they all know it. Her breed says it all: She’s a Black Star. And that’s the truth, she’s the star of the show.

 

#EggLayingHens #Chickens #FamilyFarm

Taking Care of the Garden and Gimpy

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My two kids and I had a diverse night. It started with thinning rows in the garden and ended with giving a hen a sitz bath.

We planted a variety of veggies and fruits in our 16 x 60 garden. We have modeled our garden after Paul Gautschi’s “Back to Eden Organic Gardening.” You can check it out via http://www.backtoedenfilm.com/how-to-grow-an-organic-garden.html.

Below is a picture detailing the layers we did to prepare our garden. First, we laid newspaper to kill the grass and prevent weeds. Second, we spread a 2 inch layer of compost onto of the newspaper, followed by 3 inches of wood chips and a sprinkling of manure. My neighbor who owns a huge cow farm across the road was so kind as to bring a scoop of manure over with his John Deere. Bless his heart! Nothing like free manure for the garden.

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It has been a real learning process doing our garden this year and its far from perfect. We chose the absolute worst spot on our land to put it. We didn’t know that until the first bad rainstorm and half the garden was washed out in places. The water likes to run through the middle of the garden. So we dug trenches around the outskirts and through the center of the lower half. Its looks completely redneck, but its working. We planted sweet corn, cucumber, carrots, spinach, lettuce, green onions, sweet onions, bell peppers, summer squash, dark zucchini, tomatoes, potatoes, golden zucchini, cantaloupe, and watermelon. I got real fancy and marked the rows with rocks that I labeled with a black sharpie.

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In the meantime, we are doing maintenance. Tonight, Bella helped thin out the row of cucumbers. She continued to ask, “What can I pull next?” Gabriel didn’t bother to ask, he was proactive and started to pull on his own. Cute little bugger.

Afterwards, we had to deal with Josefina, my gimpy hen.

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Two days ago, I went outside to check on the girls. All the hens and ducks came running up to say hello. (They’re hoping for treats.) Poor little Josie was limping up the back forty, trying to reach me. She had to stop several times to catch her breath. I hoped it wasn’t anything major and gave it a little time. But gimpy isn’t getting better. After a google search, I found that a chicken limp can mean three things: a stroke, a lodged egg, or a pulled muscle. Either way, there’s not much that can be done, except a warm bath, massage to loosen a bound egg, and baby aspirin for a tender muscle. We started with phase one. THE BATH. I poured warm water and salt into a 5 gallon bucket and put Josie in. I think she liked it. I massaged her belly and checked her all over.

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Tomorrow if there’s no improvement, I’ll give the aspirin. I hope she’ll be okay. I like my Josefina. She’s a sweet little girl. My kids think so too!

Farm Fancy and Ranging Free

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I am such a sucker for poultry.

Just being outside with my family and birds is bliss. And entirely entertaining.

My husband and daughter are digging a small pond for our natural spring to pour into. The ducks, Quackers and Donald, are gonna go nuts when that thing fills up! Four days ago, we integrated the ducks into the pen with the full-grown hens. They sized each other up, made some squawks and quacks, and decided it would work.

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Yesterday evening, my husband found the little hens roosting on his power tools in the garage. He wasn’t feeling that, nor the little presents on the garage floor. So today, we decided it was time those girls joined the meat hens outside in the chicken tractor.

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Before putting them with the meat hens, we let the chicks roam the yard with the big hens and ducks. The big hens didn’t give them an ounce of interest, but the ducks were thrilled! We’ve raised them together since they were babies, and it was a reunion. The ducks were quacking and rubbing their heads all over the chicks. Tonight, when I had to split them up, the ducks protested loud and clear.

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These are the meat hens. We have 23 of them and butcher day is vast approaching. I can’t wait. They are so stupid and stinky, but boy will they be delicious.

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We love country life. Never a dull moment.

 

Chick Days…And Some Ducks

Yesterday, I found out that Chick Days had started at Tractor Supply! My response, “O Happy Day! Let’s get some babies!” And boy, did we come home with some babies. Too bad, 20 of them are strictly MEAT chicks. Poor little fellers. But let’s face the truth, where do you think your chicken in the store comes from?

While we were at it, we decided to try out a couple ducks too. We’ve got a nice creek behind our home and plenty of woods and grass to forage.

I love raising chicks! And I can’t wait to get more animals. Maybe our dairy cow will come next and a friendly goat to keep her company.

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Chicks under the heat lamps.
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Meat Chicks and Two New Hampshire Red Layers.
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Egg Laying Hens and Two Ducks
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Bella and the duck she calls Bella.

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Cordero Family Flock: Take Two

It’s been several months since my last post called: Cordero Family Flock. Since that post, our chicken coop has seen many transitions.

Please allow to me introduce to you: THE NEW FLOCK

Drum Roll Please…

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ARETHA – Black Star Hen

Aretha- She is my Alpha Hen. Previously, Tiffany ruled the roost, but that is no longer the case. Aretha has risen to the top and has whipped the other girls into shape. Even my rooster knows that she is boss.

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TIFFANY – Ameraucana Hen

Tiffany- She is my oldest gal. In January of 2012, we adopted her and her sister Lily from our friends. These two girls started it all. Tiff holds a special place in my heart.

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GRETCHEN- Buff Orpington

Gretchen- She is my smallest hen and sweet as honey. When I visit the girls, she is the first to the gate and loves to be held. I have to admit, Gret is my favorite.

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BLONDIE- Buff Orpington

Blondie- This bold and beautiful gal is quite the handful. If she gets out of the run, forget about it. Catching her is like chicken olympics.

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JOSEPHINA- Rhode Island Red

Josephina- Bella named Josie after the American girl doll in her magazine. Josie is quite the little señorita, and my rooster Morph is always hot on her trail.

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GINGER- Rhode Island Red

Ginger- This gal is very shy. I have to move very slow in order to get close to her. But boy, she loves the treats! This is my way of coaxing her to come to mama.

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MORPH- Buff Orpington Rooster

Morph- I never wanted a rooster, but gee whiz, Morph has stolen my heart. He is such a big cloddy thing that I can’t help but love him. The fella makes me laugh and he’s so friendly, (a little too friendly with the ladies though. They get tired of his advances.)

The ones we loved and miss:
We said goodbye to some sweet hens. Charlene, Lola, Lily, and most recently, Stella. They were good girls and laid a lot of eggs. They are missed.

Rhode the Rooster– You were a naughty boy. You liked to peck at us and pick on the girls. But boy, you made one fine dinner on the grill!

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RHODE- Rhode Island Rooster, a.k.a, Grilled Chicken

Morph

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I’d like to introduce to you to my Hooster named Morph. Morph started out like all the other chickens, but as time went along, we couldn’t tell if it was a hen or a rooster. So we called the he-she, Morphodite, a.k.a. Morph.

As Morph grew, he looked like a rooster, but he didn’t crow and he didn’t try to mount the girls. Trouble was, he wasn’t laying eggs either. It was a real pickle.

My dad was certain Morph would be a late bloomer hen, but I was convinced Morph was simply one sorry rooster.

Recently, we came to a verdict.

Morph is indeed a sorry rooster.

His instincts have kicked in, and he has decided he’s interested in the hens. But he is so retched slow, he can’t ever seem to properly mount them. He’s tried several maneuvers:

  1. Circling. He walks around the girls until one seems “unaware” of his hulking presence. Then he attempts a pounce. However, by the time he throws himself toward the girl, she has already run clear away. IMG_0352
  2. The “Subtle” Side-Step. This is Morph’s favorite maneuver. He pretends to be pecking the ground for food, inches right up beside the hen, and lifts his claw. But by the time he actually extends his leg over her back, she has scooted out from under him and has scampered away, leaving Morph confused and alone. IMG_0376
  3. The Clamp. He grabs ahold of the girl’s neck feathers and tries to pull himself on top of her back. Nevertheless, the hen wiggles her body and shrugs him off with little effort.IMG_0345

I have to hand it to the poor boy though, he doesn’t stop trying. Today, Morph resorted to chasing my oldest and slowest gal, two-year old, Tiffany. But even Tiff had him off in under ten seconds. Poor Morph. He failed again.

Even when I throw out treats, he’s extremely slow and stupid. The scratch grains hit the ground and the hens are on it like flies on manure. But good ol’ Morph will be looking around like, “Did you throw it yet?” I shake my head and say, “Morph, look down at your feet.”

I can’t help but laugh.

Tonight, Morph enters the coop a sad and lonely soul. No loving for him.

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The hens however, enter the coop happy and content. They’ve evaded him for yet another day.

When Two of My She’s Turned Into He’s

At about nine weeks, I began to have some doubts about two of my new baby girls.

One of the Buff Orpingtons and one of the Rhode Island Reds were looking different than the other females. The cones on their heads were getting taller and redder, and they were developing red goattees below their chins. Yet, I had hope that maybe I was reading the signs wrong. Maybe they’d be manly ladies.

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Then the crow came.

Of course, it wasn’t much of a crow. It was like a rooster hitting puberty. His voice cracked during his attempt to be loud and obnoxious.

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It was official, two of my supposed she’s were now he’s. Trouble is, I don’t want any he’s. All I want are hens.

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Thus, I have a dilemma. I’m not a fan of roosters fertilizing my precious girls, and Mr. Rhode Island Rooster is already developing a hefty attitude. He might think he’s gonna rule the roost, but I have news for him: try and peck me again and you’ll be simmering in a stew.

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Happy Hens

The weather is finally improving in Michigan, and my hens are loving it as much as me!

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We are officially moved in with my parents and the big girls’ coop is set up in the back yard. We’ve been letting them do some free ranging now that we’re in the country. The bold and beautiful Tiffany still leads the flock and the Black Stars follow.

Meanwhile, the new babies are growing out of baby phase and have spread their wings in the fenced garden. They love exploring the new space and taking a dust bath in the soil.

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My three Buff Orpingtons and three Rhode Island Reds.
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“Well hello there, little girl.”

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Blondie taking a dust bath. (My mother named her. I love it.)

When in Doubt…Buy Baby Chicks

The weakness got the best of me.

It was our usual stop at Tractor Supply Company to buy feed for the hens. Of course, by the time we left…there was a lot more inside my cart.

Currently, we are in a major transition. We’ve just sold our home in the city and will be moving in with my parents, while house hunting for a hobby farm. Not only that, but I’m seven months prego (and look more like eight). Our little boy will be arriving in June and looks like we might be having baby two at the folks’ house. Bless their hearts.

So in the meantime of packing and making arrangements, I’m thinking about chickens. Naturally.

It’s Chick Days season at TSC, and I’ve already made some stops to look at the babies. I’ve got a hankering to hold them and bring some home, but I’ve been trying to be good. We’re moving, you know.

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But the weakness got the best of me on Tuesday afternoon.

Looking into the little black eyes of the chicks, I grew weepy inside. I had to have some. So I bought a tub, feed, bedding, water feeder and six chicks.

When my husband arrived home from work, and I had a surprise waiting for him in the sun porch.

Surprise! I bought chicks!

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“No Henry, those aren’t chew toys.”

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