Whew! Beep-beep! Roadrunner stalking my chickies!!!

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by gcvmom, Nov 7, 2008.

  1. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    The chickies are out in their McMansion this afternoon, enjoying the warm weather. I just glanced out the back window and saw a large bird on the ground on the far side of their enclosure. It's a roadrunner! :surprise: The chickies had all scurried under the laundry basket I have in there for them.

    Then the large bird slinks around the perimeter of the enclosure, looking very intently for a way in. :anxious: After a few minutes of circling, it took off up my side hill, in search of easier prey -- no doubt. Like lizards. Or snakes. GO GET THE SNAKES!
  2. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Glad the roadrunner can't get into the mcmansion.
  3. mstang67chic

    mstang67chic Going Green

    I was updating my mom on the chicks and she has some advice.

    When you build the nesting/lounging box (half enclosed, half lean too) be sure to make it so you can shut it up at night in case something manages to get in the McMansion. She said they also put part of an old broom handle in it for them to roost on. When they lost their first one it was because something managed to get into the enclosure and they had forgotten to shut the door on their nest.

    And if you give them anything like worms or even anything that looks like worms....be careful hand feeding them. Hers loved stuff like that and would sometimes confuse her fingers with the worms. She said about once a month she would get them some nightcrawlers.

    Mom also wants to know how your eggs turn out if you boil them when the chicks start laying. She could never get them peeled when she would boil hers.

    If you have any questions for her, let me know. I was telling her about the McMansion and she kept interrupting....well, does she know this.....they'll need to do this.....she seems to be very invested in the well being of the chicks! LOL
  4. mrscatinthehat

    mrscatinthehat Seussical

    Glad that stinky road runner didn't get those precious chicks. Sheesh we need some sort of guard for your yard.

  5. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I'm a bit late coming to this, I've been off site a bit this week.

    Mstang, you said, "Mom also wants to know how your eggs turn out if you boil them when the chicks start laying. She could never get them peeled when she would boil hers."

    Tell your mother that the problem is she was boiling eggs that are too fresh. To peel them easily they need to be at least a week old. Otherwise the shell clings to the albumen layer and rips huge chunks out of it. The best way to eat really fresh eggs is to fry them or poach them; the white clings to itself really well, the protein structure is really well connected when the egg is fresh. As the egg ages, the egg white gets looser and more liquid. If you break a really fresh egg (preferably at least an hour after being laid) then you should see only a little runny white, the rest of it is mounded high with the yolk sitting high on top almost dead centre. As the egg gets older, when cracked open the yolk isn't so high, more of it is liquid at the edge and the yolk is slipped to one side a it more. After a week or more, the white is runny everywhere and the yolk just ends up wherever. The membrane around the yolk also gets weaker with age so separating an old egg risks breaking the yolks more easily.

    We keep a pencil next to the egg crate inside, so when we bring eggs in we write the date on them. That way we choose the eggs to use according to their age and what we want to do. if we want to fry or poach an egg, we use the freshest. If we want to boil eggs for peeling (or even for eating out of the shell - the flavour is OK unless it's REALLY too old) then we use the oldest eggs. Also, don't boil or poach eggs in an aluminium saucepan, the sulfur compounds will leave a dark ring around the saucepan unless you add vinegar to the water. A splash of vinegar is a good idea anyway, it helps keep the egg from spreading everywhere if the shell cracks.

    gcvmom, some advice about a perch - find a non-toxic branch from whatever tree you have and use tat if you can. We just cut a windfall eucalypt branch to the right length and wedged it in. The rough bark, the varying thickness all means that the birds get choice as to how tightly they have to grip and where to stand. It's healthier for them to have something variable. You also can find if you put in multiple perches at different heights, that the chooks that perch higher are the dominant ones. Sometimes it's good to have different heights and sometimes it's not, it all depends on the personalities you have in the shed.

    We have deep litter as a base, open to the earth so the earthworms can get in. It's a mound about 3' thick (that's three FEET) of mostly grass clippings and whatever vegetable scraps we know they like. I harvested a cauliflower and after cutting the vegetable itself I uprooted the rest of the plant and just tossed it to the chookhouse. When I looked in next day, they'd eaten everything except the mid-rib of the largest leaves, and the main stalk. I think it's all gone by now. We only have about 6 and they're all geriatric, including one who can no longer walk. She still seems happy enough to hobble as long as we put her near the water bowls and I throw her the occasional snail for a treat.

    We let our chooks out during the day and shut them in after they put themselves to bed at night. I also dig out the deep litter occasionally (you DO have to try to keep the rain out of it, or it smells) and use it in the garden. It's like odourless Dynamic Lifter. If it gets wet, boggy or smelly I put garden lime in it and fork it through. The compost heap they live on keeps them warm in winter and also gives them some scratching to do, for dropped bits and earthworms.
    I also dry out the egg shells and feed them back to the chooks. when they're dried out (usually in residual heat in the oven) I crush them up fine. It also helps to even out the pH of the deep litter/compost floor.

    Your clothes basket sounds like a brilliant idea for a chick creep.

    Do you have a dust bath for them? It's like a mini sandbox, not for pooping in but for fluffing the dust under their feathers for a treat. Watching your chooks dust-bathe or sunbathe is lovely. Unless they're doing it in the garden bed where you've just planted your annuals!


  6. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Thanks, Susie :)

    Beth, that would be called a FENCE :D (We're only fenced on one side).

    'Stang, your mom is a hoot! The cage I posted in the yard is just their daytime playpen of sorts. We've already got the old coop (aka playhouse) waiting for them for nighttime use once I get a heat lamp with a safety cage on it to hang in there. The coop has a solid floor and four wooden walls with a 5-foot door opening that will need a better door on it (we've got a cyclone fence gate on it now, but the chicks will go right through it). The roost that Herbert used to use is a bit too high and thick for them to use yet, so I WILL take your mom's advice about the broom handle. The two black chicks have already taken to hopping up on anything that remotely resembles a roost :)

    We still have some of Herbert's eggs in the fridge, so I think I'll try boiling some and I'll let you know how they do. I know the yolks are MUCH brighter and more orange than any storebought eggs I've ever had. And the taste is much richer as well.

    I can't wait to get these chicks off the medicated mash they were started on. It makes their droppings REALLY smelly. Herbert's never smelled badly at all -- probably because of all the fresh greens and organic stuff she ate in the yard. We've already introduced them to red worms from my worm bin, cooked rice and spaghetti noodles :D Needless to say, they LOVE ALL of it! Tried to offer them a baby snail from the garden today, and although they were curious, they didn't quite catch on that it was something to eat.
  7. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Marg -- we must have been posting simultaneously!

    We have a twisted, multi-forked eucalyptus branch in the old coop, but it's definitely too big for them right now. Possibly some branches from one of our fruit trees would do also.

    The chicks have already tried to take a dust bath in the bare patches of the yard. And they absolutely LOVE stretching out in the warm sunshine, usually laying on one side with a leg sticking out one way and a wing extended the other way. Sometimes they'll even stretch their neck out and lay like a lifeless lump with their eyes closed, soaking up the sun :D

    We have personalities blooming all over. One of the reds is VERY feisty and, I suspect, the perpetrator of some nasty pecking on the wing of the larger black chick. Drew blood and pulled off some feathers yesterday. I poured some hydrogen peroxide over it and it's nicely scabbed over today. The victim chick is much more docile than the others and complains the least when it's picked up. The smallest black is like a runt and very flighty and nervous. The feisty red is also the biggest, and I am worried it may be a rooster. Either that, or it is a few days older than the others and this accounts for it's larger size (feet are huge) and more developed feathers and comb. I guess time will tell if it's just a bossy hen or not. The second red is not as aggressive, but is a bit more squawky like the runt-like black.

    I'm going to go for that lamp this weekend -- I'm really eager to move them OUTSIDE!
  8. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    "...larger size (feet are huge) and more developed feathers and comb..."

    I used to find that the ones whose combs developed largest and first turned out to be the roosters. What will you do? Are you allowed to keep a rooster? You can't have more than one, they fight each other and it can be VERY unpleasant. We used to have to chop the excess roosters, not pleasant but preferable to impromptu cockfights. And that way we only lost the roosters we intended to, not the others as well.

    Mind you, you get over your squeamishness when they crow constantly from 1 am!

  9. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Marg, we're NOT allowed to have them where we live. And I think we're actually pushing our luck with FOUR "hens" even. I think three is the max. The kids all know that if any of these are roosters, they have to go. The shopkeeper who sold them to me will supposedly let me trade any roosters in the bunch, since she asserted that 90% of her chicks are hens. Not sure what she does with the ones she takes back... but I could guess!
  10. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911




    Thoughts of dipping sauce and lettuce come to mind........

    Could our chickens live in a castle?

    ANd what is it called when they do something so cute?


    .........thought of this one ALL ON MY OWN..........

    A PEEP SHOW...........:tongue:

    So maybe they could live in the CAT house?

    I don't think I'll be doing Mickey D's for A LONG time......blech.
  11. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    LOL Star

    I swear often I learn more on this board than in school. Who'd have guessed chickens care could get so involved. lol Glad they're doing well, though. :D