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Old 05-20-2012, 08:15 PM   #261
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We know you would NEVER spoil your chickens, CWS! Ricotta is a natural part of chicken diets.
Of course it is. I used to go to the feed store all the time just to buy ricotta for the yard fowls.

Along with the ducks, we had two turkeys. They were both hens. They are DUMB, DUMB birds. Anytime I was away from the house and it would start to rain, I would have to rush home and get them into shelter. They would hold their heads up toward the sky with their mouths open and let the rain in. The problem was it would go down the wrong way and they could drown while just standing there. Then one day when they were pretty much grown, one of them chased my daughter all over the yard. She finally got her in the butt. Took a hunk of flesh out of her. Her moments on this earth were numbered. She went into the freezer before nightfall. Later on I found her nest with a clutch in it. We didn't have a Tom, so I don't know how she thought she was going to hatch them.
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Old 05-21-2012, 09:44 AM   #262
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After reading all this I will definetly think differently about chickens. I am in the south but have to admit I don't know a lot about raising of chickens and such. I didn't know they could be so vicious.

My son had one as a pet once. It was a baby chick he brought home from school. Well, the cat started noticing it and it became harder and harder to keep the chick safe, lol. I thought maybe the cat would get use to it and leave it alone. Didn't happen. We didn't want to put it outside.

We gave it to a friend of my husbands who has a chicken coop. He promised he'd take care of it.Well, a couple of weeks later he said it flew the coop. I didn't think chickens could fly. Now after reading this, i think that maybe it was beat down by the other chickens. I hope that didn't happen!
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Old 05-21-2012, 10:00 AM   #263
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After reading all this I will definetly think differently about chickens. I am in the south but have to admit I don't know a lot about raising of chickens and such. I didn't know they could be so vicious.

My son had one as a pet once. It was a baby chick he brought home from school. Well, the cat started noticing it and it became harder and harder to keep the chick safe, lol. I thought maybe the cat would get use to it and leave it alone. Didn't happen. We didn't want to put it outside.

We gave it to a friend of my husbands who has a chicken coop. He promised he'd take care of it.Well, a couple of weeks later he said it flew the coop. I didn't think chickens could fly. Now after reading this, i think that maybe it was beat down by the other chickens. I hope that didn't happen!
My hens aren't aggressive--the rooster is doing his "job" but is somewhat misguided in his perception that I'm "stealing" his hens when they follow me or come running to me. I also had no experience with roosters (or hens) so did not think he would attack me. I now wear jeans and long sleeves when I go out, as well as my barn boots. And, I carry a stick. So far, so good, and we will get those spurs removed soon, when we have time (and energy) to undertake the task. Cats don't generally bother adult hens. A cat may stalk a chicken, but dogs are a bigger problem. And, chickens can fly, but once they reach adult weight, it is more difficult (especially if they are a heavy breed).
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Old 05-21-2012, 10:49 AM   #264
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Thanks for the laugh CWS, not at your injuries they are nasty, but at the image of a jealous rooster giving u what for. We want to get our first chooks this weekend at the chicken sales in a nearby town. Neither DH or I have owned chooks but I did know they can hurt you. I houses sat for a friend with two chooks and one of them was angry and if it got inside it was a bugger to get out cause it would spread wings and attack. I found the garden hose useful. But I gotta say he would be in my crockpot smelling delicious by now if he was mine :-)). I didnt know they would till the garden patch like that so am keen as to get some soon. When u first get them how long do u keep them locked up before you can free range them?
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Old 05-21-2012, 11:53 AM   #265
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Thanks for the laugh CWS, not at your injuries they are nasty, but at the image of a jealous rooster giving u what for. We want to get our first chooks this weekend at the chicken sales in a nearby town. Neither DH or I have owned chooks but I did know they can hurt you. I houses sat for a friend with two chooks and one of them was angry and if it got inside it was a bugger to get out cause it would spread wings and attack. I found the garden hose useful. But I gotta say he would be in my crockpot smelling delicious by now if he was mine :-)). I didnt know they would till the garden patch like that so am keen as to get some soon. When u first get them how long do u keep them locked up before you can free range them?
It depends on how old they are and how stressed they are by the move. The ones that I got that were "laying ready", I kept in a fenced (with a top) area for the first 3 weeks, and in the coop at night. The 2 months old ones I kept locked up until they were about 4 months, and then introduced them to the big world via the fenced pen. To get them to till where I want them to till, that is where I scatter their feed. They'll do just about anything for food. I save the "high value" treats (they really like air-popped pop corn) for when I want to lock them down before they think it is time to go in the coop. They are very entertaining to have around. Enjoy!
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Old 05-27-2012, 11:45 AM   #266
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Operation Red Hen took place around 2:00 p.m. yesterday. Moving 16 hens and 1 rooster requires a truck, a Vari-700 dog crate, a Vari-200 dog crate and preferably not a hen that has decided to turn broody within the past 48 hours and is sitting on a clutch of eggs. At first, we put the 11 reds in a Vari-500. But, two of those don't fit in the back of the Volvo with the nest box. We thought--this will be two trips. The girls were a bit miffed at having been enticed with bread into the crate and then no action right away. Rocky was beside himself as he realized his hens were disappearing. Corralled him (literally) in the Vari-700 with one of the Buffs (the other is in the nest box--put a grill on that--what would I do without parts from various grates and fencing staples). Meanwhile, two of the Plymouth Rocks are in the Vari-200. Silly Milly does not wish to move and is ignoring her Big-Chicken imposed eviction notice.

Fast forward to having all chickens in crates. Oh-oh, the crates don't fit in the Volvo--to get the Vari-700 in would require removing the back seat. Eyeball the DH's "mini" pickup truck...Vari-700, nest box, Vari-200 will fit. Load the truck, back up to the Volvo, and one by one transfer the girls from the Vari-700 to the Vari-500. Did I mention it is a hot, sunny day? Humans are exhausted, chickens very quiet. Plan is for me to drive the 1.5 hours to the house in the City, install the hens and Rocky and the 20 x 30 fenced area inside of the fenced yard, open the doors to the dog kennel building and install them in there as the new coop. Close them in, and head on back to the farm to be ready to load the big stuff today. We figured I'd be back on the road by 6:30-7:00 p.m., at the farm on time for a late supper around 8:30 p.m.

It all sounded simple enough and was going quite well until the chickens realized (a) they could fly over the top of the kennel runs and run amuck in the rest of the building and (b) the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. And, two decided the grass was definitely greener in my neighbour's pasture and would not come home to roost, since this was not the home they knew.

Operation Red Hen started at 2:00 p.m. It is now dark and 9:30 p.m., I have 7 locked up in the kennel building, 3 in the storage barn, three on the picnic table on the deck--I could've moved them but was worried if I spooked them, they would fly over the fence into predator land, one in a tree, and 2 AWOL. I knew one was perched on a rock, but I could not find the other one and I could not get in the field--a 6 ft. fence designed so that dogs can't climb it also make it difficult for a human to climb in the dark. Needless to say, I did not return to the farm as planned, did have a late supper, and could not entice DH to drive my Volvo home and help search.

Around 10:00 p.m., exhausted, hot, and heartsick, I set the alarm for daybreak and went to bed in tears. No sooner had I finally fallen asleep, the phone jolted me out of bed at 11:00--DH wondering if I had all the chickens. After that, I spent a mostly sleepless night and was up when the birds starting singing. I was so happy to see a wet, somewhat confused little red hen walking around the pickup truck (which I'd parked in the fenced yard). By 8:30 a.m., the other AWOL RIR had returned--Rocky had been alerting the hens to food off and on since 5:30 a.m. as I stalked the pasture in search of my missing hen.

My neighbours know I have chickens and a rooster, now. I'm sure they appreciated that at 5:30 a.m. on a Sunday morning. I've been napping off and on since I didn't get much sleep. They love all the new stuff to explore--the picnic table, the deck, under the deck, under the cedar trees, the two buildings...I'm just glad they are all where they are supposed to be. Thus concludes Operation Red Hen. It all ended well. The girls (and Rocky) have landed. And, the Big Chicken is recovering from the ordeal. Next weekend is when we'll move the big stuff.

PS--I have some pics--will add later. At one point, taking pictures no longer was a priority. Who knew having chickens could be so much fun! (And, in about 21 days, we may have some baby chicks!)
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Old 05-27-2012, 11:52 AM   #267
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What an adventure. Now get some rest. You and the girls deserve it.

Have you ever considered clipping their wings so they can't take off on you? I know to some folks, that sounds like a cruel thing to do. But we did it with our Mallards. Their instinct was to want to fly North come spring time. but with their wings clipped, they stayed close to home where they were well fed and cared for.
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Old 05-27-2012, 12:05 PM   #268
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Glad it all went well, I do love your chicken stories
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Old 05-27-2012, 12:06 PM   #269
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What an adventure. Now get some rest. You and the girls deserve it.

Have you ever considered clipping their wings so they can't take off on you? I know to some folks, that sounds like a cruel thing to do. But we did it with our Mallards. Their instinct was to want to fly North come spring time. but with their wings clipped, they stayed close to home where they were well fed and cared for.
It's not painful to the chicken and it's not permanent. It's just feathers that get cut shorter.
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Old 05-27-2012, 12:15 PM   #270
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It's not painful to the chicken and it's not permanent. It's just feathers that get cut shorter.
We considered it, but they don't fly well to begin with and being about to fly a little could mean they could get away from a predator. And, I didn't realize the RIRs could fly at all--many have lost wing feathers (either because of Rocky or molting--not sure--the feathers are growing back). They can, however, still go about 6 ft vertically, as I discovered.
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