Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Drought

Today a valuable and scary lesson learned:  Chickens need water.
Of course I already knew this, this wildly important tid bit essential to all life forms. I did not, however, expect my  chickens to give me a clue to their survival.

The chicken's food and water supply is checked daily...until this morning. Last night the supply was fine. Water. Check. Food. Check. This morning an unusually early appointment had me out the door and on the road. A rushed coop/run check from my kitchen window and I was gone.  Admittedly and ashamedly I only did a head count.

Tonight the ladies were their usual "happy to free range" selves as I set them free from their run, though I found something odd. Two of my ladies had seriously discolored Combs.  An unusual sight but something to Google later.

Time for the supply check.  Food, check.  Water...the water container is empty. Bone dry empty!  As I walk with the container over to the faucet I have a convoy of feathered friends in tow.  Barely do I get the faucet going and the water container filled and all the ladies are having a good LONG drink. 

Not long after their bellying up to the water cooler the Comb coloring has returned to normal. There is a sign I never want to see again. There will always be time made fore the ladies.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

On a roll! The ladies have started cranking out those eggs

As of yesterday we had reached the 11th egg mark.  We came so close to hitting our first dozen in just one week!

It is official, all three Buff Orpingtons are laying.

The photo above is Marie, our first layer and below are the first of Marie's eggs.

Monday, September 10, 2012

The Egg!

After 23 weeks of patience, care and lots of laughs and antics, our Buff Orpington, Marie, has produced her first and our first EGG!  We could not be any more proud.

Over the weekend Miss Marie was exuding some strange behaviors.  We have come to expect the unexpected as "New Ranchers" while raising chickens but Marie's actions were disconcerting.

All weekend she was noisier than usual.  Angrier than usual.  All weekend was her "Winter of Discontent". Poor chicken.  Something was happening to Miss Marie and she didn't seem to understand, nor did we. Several times we found her wandering aimlessly in the tool shed, pecking and squawking.  She was looking for something she couldn't seem to put her beak on.

This morning, like most mornings I was behind schedule.  While I wanted to take a moment to say Good Morning to the Ladies, my short visit to the coop would only upset the girls.  They would want to free range and I wouldn't be able to give them the time.  They were all in the run, nestled in and content and something seemed strange.  Marie wasn't pacing or clucking.  She, too, was content.

Hours later when I arrived home from work, the ladies were set free to range about the yard.  As they peck about for bugs in the yard I peek in the nesting boxes where I had, weeks earlier, stashed two plastic "Easter Eggs" as encouragement and reference.  There they were.  One brown plastic egg.  One white plastic egg. AND...One brown egg.  ONE BROWN EGG!!!!