Sunday, March 24, 2013

Run Addition

Frame for addition to run.  
 This is something we have been working on here and there for the last month. Not that it was such a task that it took a month to complete but we worked on it as time and weather permitted. It is now mostly finished. There are a few little things that need to be done with this still but is together enough to be considered complete. This has increased the size of the run to 8&1/2 feet by 12 feet. Lots of extra space.

Top of run. This is done in 3 seperate panels for ease of moving in order to clean out run without having to stoop.
This is a door that we cut out of the old outer wall of the exsisting  run. By opening this  it increases the space  and can also be closed to creat two seperate runs. 
Run addition complete.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Cleanliness is Best

When keeping chickens, keeping a clean coop and run is best. By keeping a clean coop you keep the amonia fumes at bay. (The amonia comes from the collection of the clucks poo on the flour of the coop.) Since this is an enclosed area the amonia fumes have no where to go except to hang out. Breathing these fumes is not healthy for you or your birds. Keeping the poo picked up in both the coop and run keeps the pest numbers lower also. Lots of poo equals lots of flies. Not to mention the more poo the bigger the smell. We all know that poo stinks!! Now there may be some confusion here. One would think that picking up poo and keeping a clean coop means cleaning everything out of the coop (meaning your bedding -either wood shavings or straw) once a week or at the least, once every two weeks. If that is the way you would like to do things you could. But you don't have to. We use the deep litter method. When cleaning I leave the wood shavings (our choice for bedding) but pick out the poo. Once a month or so I will take out most of the shavings along with poo and replace it. About every two months I take all of the shavings out and replace with new. I also give a good  clean out to the run as well, raking out all of the poo that has collected. We have a decent sized run so the poo build up isn't too bad. But this is relative. The more birds in a space the quicker the poo builds up and the other way goes too, the smaller the space the quicker the build up of poo.                                                                                                             With new peeps coming to live us on Friday it will be ever so important to practice strict cleanliness. We will need to wash our hands and change our clothes after visiting with the peeps and before going any where near our sweet clucks in the coop. The peeps will be living in our basement for the first month so shoes will not be an issue. But if you were to be keeping your peeps in an outdoor area you wouldn't want to wear the same pair of shoes from one coop to another. After a quarenteen period of 2 weeks to ensure that the new peeps have no sickness' that can be passed on to our clucks, things will be a little easier. But we must keep in mind that new peeps are still growing their immune system so something that may not effect our exsisting flock may  effect the new peeps. So washing hands is still very important and using our noggins in respect to germ trasfer. Healthy clucks are happy clucks - happy clucks lay lots of eggs.                                                                                                                       

Prepping For Peeps

Boxes taped together for brooder.
It is time to prepare for baby chicks here. Our first set will be coming to live with us on Friday. With an addition every Friday until the 5th of April. If all goes as planned. We all know how best layed plans can run a muck. But this is what we will be going with for now and will make adjustments as needed. We already have on hand a small feeder and waterer.  We also have a warming lamp, for this we are using the the silver dish light shroud that is used for shop lights and a 75 watt light bulb. We have tested it in our brooder to make sure that we can get to the needed 95 degrees for the peeps first week. For the brooder we are using two cardboard boxes taped together with an extra piece of cardboard taped to the floor of the brooder to cover the empty space created by taping the two boxes together. This is where our little peeps will call home for the next month or so. We added large pine shavings to the bottom of the brooder for bedding and to soak up their little messes.                                                                                                                                    We also have on hand Chick Grit and I will pick up some chick starter feed from the feed store when I collect the chicks on Friday. I will get a nice big bag that will last us for awhile. A good rule of thumb for keeping chicks warm and comfortable is to adjust the warming lamp so that the chicks are comfortable. How do you know when they are comfortable? If they are huddled under the lamp in a tight ball then they are cold -lower the lamp a little. If they are hugging the edges of the brooder then they are too warm - raise the lamp up a little. If they are moving around and acting like peeps then they are comfortable. Key brooder temperatures to keep in mind: Week 1-  95 degrees, week 2- 90 degrees, week 3-  85 degrees, week 4- 80 degrees and so on and so forth dropping 5 degrees each week until the chicks reach about 6 weeks or your brooder temps match the lowest night time temperature outside. One could start keeping the peeps in their coop if the temperature can be managed. Keeping in mind to always be careful of the warming lamp and possible fires it could cause if not secured properly or by being to close to something flamable. We will be keeping our peeps in our basement for a month or so because we have an exsisting flock. We don't want our clucks beating up or killing the peeps. We don't want the peeps bringing home some sickness and giving it our sweet clucks.                                                                                                   

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Choosing Chickens

The Buff Orpington clucks Lucky and Cuddles with one of the Light Brahma clucks.
Thea one of our Welsummer clucks.
RB the Australorp (Light Brahma cluck in background)
Over the past few months we (I) have been reading up on chicken breeds. There are so many fine breeds out there. I would love to have a few of each bird. That is not possible though. Not enough space. This being the case, we have been up against choosing which breeds we will add to our flock. We have in residence, Buff Orpington, Australorp, Light Brahma and Welsummer. All of whom are very sweet, mellow and fun to be around. They will follow us around the yard and greet us each morning we go out to feed and collect eggs. The Light Brahma and the Welsummer clucks are my favorites. My husband likes the Welsummer clucks because of the giant dark brown eggs that they lay. I like those too. My son is partial to the Buff Orpingtons but has, ever since last year, wanted to bring home a few Cochin. He fell in love with them when we were looking at pictures of different chicken breeds last year. I promised him some then and that is what he has been looking forward to all along. So with my Husband looking forward to more dark brown eggs and a promise of Cochin from last year to my son, we have two breeds chosen to add to our flock. The other breed that I would like to bring home is the Blue Laced Red Wyandotte. I think these birds are stunning to look at and seem to be (from my readings about them) docile and sweet. A good match for the flock of clucks we already have.                                                                                                                

Sunday, March 10, 2013


Don Juan Climbing Rose
     After almost 13 years we have roses again!! Both my Husband and I are very pleased to have these beauties back in our lives. Ours are just brand new plants. This is the first time that I have ever planted roses. All of our homes have always had them growing. This time we got to choose our roses. There are so many and I love them all. These pictures -which were not taken by me- these are from the Gardens board on 3Beeze Pinterest page, are all of the roses we planted today.

Iceburg Climbing Rose
Love the climbing roses and how they envelope what ever they are growing on. I would love some more of these and may have to get one more of each color.

Mister Lincoln Rose
This one is my heart throb. I am such a sucker for any red rose but this one and it's deep red color make me want to wrap myself up in it's soft pedals. I can not wait to see this one grow up.

Paradise Rose
This one we chose because of it's variation in color. I am eager to lay eyes on this one in person. It is stunning in the picture but I bet even more so with my own eyes. 

Tiffany Rose
This is also another favorite. The delicate pink with the palest hint of yellow inside. I love these soft delicate pale colors. Can not wait to have a giant vase full of these sitting on the kitchen table. There are others that I would like to have in our garden as well and will keep my eyes open for any one of them that might catch my eye. I love roses-even the pruning of them and getting poked by the thorns. (Well maybe not "love" the getting poked part but my love and appreciation of the roses overrides the bothersome pokes.)

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Spring Forward!

     Spring forward! This is what I have been waiting for since we fell back in November. The longer days with sunshine until well into the evening. I relish these days. I do not care too much for the short, dark days of winter. Or winter at all really. Spring is on her way and soon Summer will be here. These are the days I like best. But with Spring comes the excitement of adding new clucks to the flock, planting flowers and landscaping. Vegetable gardens begin to happen now too. We are choosing not to plant a vegetable garden this year and focusing our efforts on landscape and home improvement. I will not be able to handle keeping myself from planting something edible. Thinking container garden of sweet peppers and some hot peppers and an herb garden. Picked up roses today! I haven't had roses in a long time. I am so excited to have them again. We will work on getting them in the ground tomorrow. A first for us. We have  never planted roses before. Our past homes have always had exsisting roses. I am eager to get planting lots of flowers and some trees and do landscaping. The Husband and I have been throwing lots of ideas out for what we would like to see happen. Always fun to have ideas and watch them evolve from one thing to another. Can't wait to get started.

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