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January Coop Newsletter 2020

Well, we certainly started off our new decade adventurously with a ski trip with the kids and grand daughter! The pet sitter kept vigil on our young ladies in the craft room, Mr. Snappy, our iggy, and the ladies in the coop while we were gone and all went according to plan! She only had to refill the coop feeder once! I’d made sure the feed and water were at their maximum before we left. With a quick check inside the coop for varmits, our pet sitter made sure all was well. She told us the new girls were hungry every visit! We were glad to hear the animals were fine and of our good weather back home. When home, I gave the coop and the little girls’ crate a good cleaning the next day!

Introductions!  When back home, it was time to show the older ladies the new youngsters who’d be joining them soon. I envisioned some attempted pecks, chest bumps through the bars of the enclosure, etc, but no. The older ladies barely entered their space, keeping a good six feet away, eyeing them suspiciously. That’s good, no drama! As nice sunny days came, I put out the new girls to watch the flock just ignore them. I may try to just put them in the pen and see how that goes.The new ladies are due to possibly begin laying in February, so I’m on a mission to get them into the flock asap!

The move to shredded paper has helped keep the mess down considerably in the craft room and it’s a good thing as our pet iguana, Snappy, whose room it is, has wanted out to examine his new room mates. I can quickly give the room a sweep to remove anything on the floor that Snappy might want to investigate. This keeps him from accidentally ingesting something bad for him. Snappy and the new girls seem fine with each other. I promised Snappy that the chickens were just temporary and that he’d have his room back soon. The girls weren’t sure what to make of the new substrate, and attempted to eat a couple strips, deciding it wasn’t food at all! No, girls, just something less messy to catch your poo and easier to remove when we clean your house! You’re welcome!

EGGS!!!  Near the end of the month, little Sophie surprised me with an egg! Yay, Sophie! An egg or two began appearing in the empty nest boxes! I got the coop cleaned immediately—it needed it—and filled the nest boxes with fluffy shavings to entice the ladies inside to sit and contemplate laying an egg! It worked and we got enough eggs (minus one I only found pieces of) to post a January Egg Chart! Both Sophie and Blondie were big contributors! Thanks again, ladies, for brightening my January!

     Still, we’re just buying feed, keeping the coop clean, fresh water available, and giving fresh greens and a warm breakfast on chilly mornings. They don’t mind the occasional rainy day and go about their chickeny business as if it were sunny. What little troopers! This month’s expenses were just for feed, which is around $17 for a 50-pound bag and around $9 for 25 pounds of Unmedicated Chick Starter. (If you purchase chicks or pullets who have had vaccinations, simply feed the unmedicated. Doing otherwise can cause illness and death to your littles.) Everyone is healthy with beautiful new winter feathers that glisten in the sun and shed water like a duck during rain! Very pleased with the Purina Flock Raiser.

Warm Nutritious Food   In the winter, with very little vegetation growing for the chickens to munch upon, we make sure they get their veggies by making a warm breakfast and dinner treat of peas, carrots, shredded squash, and other delights that the ladies might enjoy. When its too chilly or nasty outside, they get Room Service so they can enjoy something warm before braving the elements or go to sleep. I wait just long enough in the morning and evening to know they’ve hit the feeder to get proper nutrition first! That’s most important. What I bring them next is just a treat. You’re Welcome, ladies!

Hawks!   I had just put the new girls into the wire protected pen as my older ladies slipped into the backyard with glee. It was 66 degrees in patchy sun, but a chilly breeze. Immediately, Reggie began barking and looking up. I heard the crows’ ruckus too. I saw two hawks just houses east of us! The hawks could quickly tell there was a human close to the chickens! Then Reggie whipped around and barked again, showing me another hawk, circling above us from next door!! Triple Yikes! The ladies saw too and ran under my chaise! The new girls began yelling and I went back to reassure them they were safe in the heavy wire enclosure with lattice top. The hawk next door settled on the electric tower, gazing down lustily! I picked up a branch and yelled at Mr. Hawk like an angry cave woman! (Now there’s a hypothesis; did cave dwellers domesticate, or protect animals they kept or corralled for food?) The hawk glared down, I stayed very visible, waving off multiple swoops toward the yard. The kids had come over and we all visited outside watching the little grand talking to the chickens, trying to make friends. The next door hawk glared. By evenings last glow, we all watched the crows circle back and drive all the hawks away before flying off to their home. The grand and I swiftly guided the nervous hens to the chicken yard and into the coop, finally safe! Whew! What an unforgettable day! After that day, I only saw one hawk, several houses down and the ladies spent the rest of the month in peace.

A foggy foggy morning.   With our nice warm days followed by great dips in temperature, gives us fog most times. It is lovely, but gives Reggie the nerves. It is a bit spooky! It usually wafts up and disappears by noon and it doesn’t seem to bother the hens at all. I checked the skies closely those mornings before letting the ladies out for the day. Hawks are sneaky, but all was safe. Certainly a day for hot tea and a good book!

We’re ready for what the new year brings and confident the new ladies will eventually settle into the flock as soon as possible, hanging onto Resolutions in hopes we’ll succeed eventually. We hope everyone had a fun New Year and are trying to add a little adventure into the new decade! What could happen!?!

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