Survival Saga of A First Time Chicken Mom, Part Two

Goodbye, Wretched Winter! The first “warm” day in New England luckily fell on my husband’s day off.  I was sooo ready to get the Christensen chicks transferred from the garage to outside!

IMG_7714-001Once we decided where to place the coop, we needed to corral the chickens and hold them while we took the coop apart and moved it outside.  We decided my dog’s travel crate would work. One by one, I caught chickens and put them into the dog crate. They looked silly all lined up, wondering what in the world was going on.

The chickens wonder "what's up...?"

“What’s going on? HELLO?”

We got the coop out and set up. One by one, again, I transferred chickens, saving my at-this-point-angry rooster for last.  It took no time for them to feel right at home. The coop has a “run” under the hen house section. We placed the whole thing inside a fenced-in area with a gate, so they can have even more room to roam, safe from hawks and other predators. There’s chicken wire over top, and a tarp covering part of the fenced area so the coop itself is protected and dry. They look so happy, especially when the sun comes out and shines on their beautiful, multicolored feathers. Before dusk, I lock up the hen house, putting them “to bed”. I really do love my chickens.

Time for treats!

Time for treats!

I was like a worried mother sending her babies off into the world.  I don’t think I slept the first night. I heard every coyote howl and owl hoot. I worried I’d get up the next morning to carnage from a crafty raccoon or sneaky fox. I relaxed more after the first few days. The weather was perfect…warm, sunny days and a gentle breeze. The third day, the weather changed. A former knitting student dropped by. She happens to be a “real” farmer, owning a large farm in town with lots of chickens. She pointed to the corners of the fence, informing me the small openings where the fencing sides met were just big enough for a weasel to squeeze into. I phoned my husband, fretting that Big-Bad-Something would make a chicken dinner of my girls! He said, “Don’t worry, when I’m off again in a couple of days, we’ll go to the hardware store for more wire.” That evening, we got a huge rainstorm, a real Connecticut spring deluge. In true Farmgirl fashion, I looked through the garage for anything I could re-purpose to plug up those spaces. Armed with boards, bungee cords, and pipe, in the dark, in a pouring-down thunderstorm complete with lightning, I did my best to make “Fowl Knox” more secure.

So far, so good. Every morning, they greet me when I open the hen house door, so ready for breakfast they almost roll over each other down the ramp. And the eggs! OH-MY-GOODNESS-THE-EGGS!  So delicious…so fresh. They make the creamiest mashed egg sandwiches ever! Everyday there’s three more beautiful eggs. One morning, my daughter, wanting to help, asked if she could feed the chickens while I packed her lunchbox. Moments later, I heard her flying back up the stairs. I just knew something ate my chickens! She burst in the door, her arm extended as far as could be, with an egg dangling precariously from her thumb and forefinger.  “Take it!  Oh please, take it!!”  She looked a little green. Taking the egg, I realized it was still warm…a little too-much reality for my tween. (She’s gonna have to get over that “ick” factor if she wants to be a vet, don’t ya think)?

It's nice to get your eggs in a row, or is that ducks?

It’s nice to get your eggs in a row… or is that ducks?

 

My first dozen eggs!

My first dozen eggs!

Chickens have personalities.  Anyone denying this, hasn’t spent much time observing them. Nugget’s like a dog.  She runs to the door of the run when she sees me, wanting to be held like we’ve done with her since she was a two-day-old chick. She’ll sit in my arms, letting me stroke her soft, slick feathers, and rest her little head against my shoulder, sometimes even closing her eyes. Peep’s my “dare-devil”, the first to explore something new, like an overzealous preschooler who has to beat everyone else to the front of the line. Fluffy’s just that: fluffy and sweet, a laid-back kinda girl. Nugget lays an egg and doesn’t seem to notice, as if she’s nonchalant about the whole process. Peep’s another story. You know she’s laying her eggs, carrying on, making all sorts of noise. “Cluck, cluck, cluck…chuck, chuck… BAH-BAWK!”. She immediately runs outside…she’s just got to tell the others! Spot’s my boy, beautiful and proud.  I think they are happy chickens.

IMG_7678

 They sure do make me happy.

Until Next Time…Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

Leave a comment 16 Comments

  1. Deb Bosworth says:

    Welcome to the chicken mama club Nicole… Or is that Mother Hen? Looks like your girls are settling in very nicely… They sure do have personalities of their own. And, they sure bring much joy to us backyard farmers don’t they? They are fun to spoil and so worth it for all those delicious eggs they ” gift” us! Happy Spring from your Beach Sister!

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Farmsister! Thanks for the welcome! I do feel like a Mother Hen! Happy Spring, to you, too. (Although we woke up to snow and ice this morning…did you? My girls were safe and warm in their hen house, though. I will definitely be looking into a heated chicken water dish next fall! Happy Spring and Happy Easter, Farmgirl hugs, Nicole

  2. Adrienne says:

    Sounds and looks like a wonderful transition into “Fowl Knox.” Everyone seems to be happy and secure. Congratulations!

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Adrienne! Thanks so much! We’ve had to make a few updates…like putting a few boards across the fence top to support the tarp when it rains. My husband is tall and was able to get all the water off before the tarp burst. Now, with support, it is easier for me to manage. The other day when it was warm, I made them a “chicken playground”: a cd hung from a string to cast light on the ground for them to chase, an old rotten log full of bugs and holes for me to hide treats in for them to find, and an empty water bottle with holes in it, filled with chicken scratch. Watching them bat the bottle around was like watching a soccer match! I can’t wait to make my deviled eggs for Easter this year, made with our own eggs! Farmgirl hugs, Nicole

  3. Laurie Dimino says:

    Hi Nicole,
    SO glad to read and see that all is going well with your chickens (and Roo)! They look great! You will find that they are addicting and before long you will want more and more!
    One of my hens is a Silkie Bantam (they tend to go broody often, which was fine with me since she only lays tiny little eggs- we didn’t get her for egg production, but more for her good looks and sweet personality).
    Well, she went broody about a month ago, so I decided to get some fertile eggs (since I don’t have a rooster),from a local farm, to see if she would sit on them and if they might possibly hatch out. I gave her 6 eggs to sit on, 2 Brahma,2 Speckled Sussex, 1 Aracauna and 1 Cockoo Maran.
    Well, lo and behold, on Monday morning I awoke to 2 new baby chicks. Then yesterday one more. We are still waiting to see what happens with the other three eggs which are under her. It is simply amazing to see things happen in their natural environment! My daughter is loving it, as am I.
    Of course, we take the risk that our chicks may not be hens, but roosters instead, so we will just have to wait and see what happens. But we are totally loving the whole experience.
    I have her isolated from my other 7 hens, and she will have a separate coop/run area for her and her chicks.
    I am so happy for you, that you are finally getting to enjoy being a chicken owning farmgirl! (and its hysterical that Audrey was “uncomfortable” about holding a “warm” egg!)
    Enjoy your girls (and guy)!
    Big Hugs to you!
    Laurie

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Laurie! Oh, do keep me posted on your new babies! It was truly a memorable, special bonding time for me and Audrey, watching our babies. We will never forget our first little flock. I am just loving taking care of them so much. Big hugs right back to ya, Nicole

  4. Hi Nicole! Could we see a full photo of your coop setup? I always love to know how others are arranging theirs. Unfortunately, even with a nice coop, ours looks like the Clampetts moved in. I wanted to give the girls room to roam, so their coop is inside a chicken wire and metal post enclosure, about 10×10. It’s ugly and I’d plant flowers around it to help dress it up, but those little devils manage to eat all the blooms, even through the fencing.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Alexis! Will do…I am also in the middle of “dressing up” the coop. Of course, yesterday winter had to revisit a day and we woke up to snow and ice. It’s pretty much gone now, but everything is a bit muddy. Note to self…purchase an automatic chicken water heater before next fall! Thanks for visiting me…I will post a full photo for you. Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  5. Stacey B says:

    I’m completely new to the farmgirl community and I love reading your chick-mom blog. I hope to join in on the fun someday.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Stacey! Welcome! So glad to “meet” a new farmgirl. Make sure you join in on the fun at the Farmgirl Connection chatroom, too! Thanks for reading and commenting…hope you will visit me again. Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  6. Beverly Battaglia says:

    Nicole, that is the cutest, and funniest picture of the chickens lined up in the dog crate! Also the picture of Spot the Rooster really shows how beautiful he is. Very interesting to read about your experience with raising them. Love, Mother

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Thanks Mom! So glad you enjoyed the blog. Can’t wait for you to “meet” the flock! Love you! -Nicole

  7. denise says:

    Love reading about you chickens! so neat!

  8. denise says:

    well, I meant “your”, reading about your chickens! :)

  9. Lenora says:

    Lucky you. I want some Buff Orpingtons but hubby says NO!

Leave a Reply to Nicole Christensen Cancel Your Response

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>