Monday, March 24, 2014

Get Out of Jail Free Card

Yesterday morning, Dan wasn't feeling well (he's better now) and forgot a somewhat critical step in the morning feeding routine here on the Shawhan farm. After opening up the coop door that leads into the kennel area, and thus "letting the chickens out for the day", he forgot to shut the people door on the kennel.

When Carl and I were leaving for church I noticed several chickens already out enjoying their freedom. I thought it was odd since Dan was out there not that long ago. (Dan usually takes the morning shift in the barn, while I go out in the afternoons, either while Carl is napping or if it's nice, he goes out with me.) Normally if we have an escapee, it's later in the afternoon. I decided to walk down to the barn and sure enough the door was wide open, screaming "RUN CHICKENS RUN!!" I then noticed the whole flock down by the horse gate.

"It's not worth shutting it now," I thought, going back to the car. "In fact, I better leave it open so they can get back inside once it starts to get dark!"

As the day progressed, I have to admit I enjoyed seeing fluffy booties out in the yard and I was flooded with memories of Flock 1.

I was also haunted with visions of mulch spraying violently into the yard and strategically placed flowers being decapitated and tossed around like a rag doll. My back hurt thinking about it.

LUCKILY everything around is still barren and no harm was done. Same with the fact that none of the chickens tried to cross the road...

Everyone was still back inside the coop at nightfall and even managed to sneak inside at some point and lay eggs! Guess I can't be too mad at them!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Flock 4 Is Here!

Saturday we welcomed Flock 4 to the Shawhan Farm! Thus begins our FOURTH year of raising chickens. And how fast the time flies!

In the morning we set out to Master Feed (the feed store in Hillsboro) where we always go for chicks. I was super excited to see they had a slew of Golden Comets (the yellow chickies in the picture above). We really wanted more Comets last year, but Master Feed didn't have any in on that day. Dan and I are too impatient to actually order birds, something you can do to get the breed of your choice, and just pick out chicks that are already there.

Along with the 7 Golden Comets we brought home, we got 2 Dark Brahmas (they have the cool feathers of their feet) and 3 more Araucanas (the birds who lay blue eggs) a total of 12 newbies. That puts our chicken total to 47!!

Needless to say we will HAVE to thin out the flock by June or July, when Flock 4 is old enough to join the big girls and boys. We also need to try and test the rest of the flock to see who is laying and who isn't...but that is another post in and of itself.

I like only having 12 chicks in the brooder. I don't think we've had a group this small in it before. The chicks aren't that big as of right now, and so far they don't mess it up too bad before you go out and lay a fresh layer of newspaper down. And please disregard that messy spot in the back. It's hard to reach back that far with the lid on and they all run to back when you put the paper down.

Carl was excited to be a part of things this year! He was all smiles going inside, and YES I took pictures of his first chick picking...

There were tuff choices to make. So many cute peepers to choose from...

But we were all happy with the final choice!

Stay tuned for more chick updates!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Goodbye Winter!!

I think it's funny how this time last week every school, university and business was closed due to snow and ice, and today it's so warm one barely needs to wear a jacket. But then again, it is Ohio we are talking about!

I have always loved Summer, but as I've gotten older I have come to really appreciate Spring as well.
Spring is great for many reasons. We turn the clock up one hour, and though that hour of sleep is always missed (once you have a baby all sleep is precious), it is so worth having the extra daylight. It also signals the end of winter. Yes, we could still have some nasty cold weather, but as each day passes, the threat of Old Man Winter gets weaker and weaker. Now we can venture outside in jeans and a jacket and not the ten extra pounds of winter coats and bibs. Getting around is much easier!

Spring also means Chick Days! Go to any feed store and you'll see boxes of chirping cuteness. This Saturday Dan, Carl and I are planning on bringing home Flock 4!!! I can't wait! Not sure what breed of chickens Flock 4 will be, it all depends on what the store has the day we go...since we don't bother with ordering any. Wes still need to get the brooder in shape for the new arrivals, and I've started saving my newspapers for bedding.

Last Wednesday was Ash Wednesday, and so the beginning of Lent. I really enjoy Lent...I like to reflect on things and really think about ways to improve myself. I gave pop again this year; I'm also trying to focus on writing everyday, even if only in my journal. I figure Lent can be a time to Do things as well as give things up.

Carl and I got outside this afternoon and enjoyed the warmer weather. He sat and delegated me picking up all the sticks and fallen limbs out in the yard. We also visited all the animals and looked over the plants that will be blooming in the near future. We also saw a opossum...which we will have to watch out for since I'm pretty sure they are predators to chickens.

Hmmm maybe he knows we will have chicks soon...

Hope you all get to be outside in during this warm spell! Not long now till it's here to stay!