Chicken Squawks
Chicken Proof Fence
Written by Calliope Pappadakis   
Saturday, 21 April 2012 07:03

Chicken FenceSo we got the chicken fence up! It was so easy and the chickies don't even notice anything new. They now have free range of the whole backyard, leaving the front for hostas and flowers to grow, UPS guys to delivery, and porches to be poop-free.  The Earthy Cowboy and I spent several hours pruning overgrown shrubs, vines, and trees, repairing a couple of broken fence posts, and about 30 minutes installing our new chicken fence.

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Broody Hen
Written by Calliope Pappadakis   
Thursday, 19 April 2012 17:54

Broody GirlWell, I'm not really sure if she's broody, but she has nestled herself in the far left nesting box and won't get out. She tries to bite me when I reach down for her and she fluffs up her feathers and makes a low growl. If she were broody, she'd be sitting on eggs, right? Not a single egg in her box. I think she's sneaking food and water when I'm not looking because she's still kicking.

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Mr. Speckles
Written by Calliope Pappadakis   
Monday, 14 November 2011 14:43

Check out my 20-week old cockerel Mr. Speckles jump for his favorite treat: bread.

http://youtu.be/YV_uvsb17OA

I love my chickens!

 
Flight of the Marans
Written by Calliope Pappadakis   
Friday, 04 November 2011 11:03
Click here to watch my darling fluffy butts run through the Catalpa leaves for a cherry tomato treat!
 
Chicks and Snow
Written by Calliope Pappadakis   
Sunday, 30 October 2011 08:46

Check out our 17 week old chicks and the first snow here in the chicken gallery!

 

17 week old pullet in the snow

 
Cock-a-doodle-cough-cough
Written by Calliope Pappadakis   
Tuesday, 16 August 2011 00:00

7 week old cockerelNothing quite like hearing a rooster crow at the break of dawn… I went out early yesterday morning to check on my chicks, and one proud 7 week old cockerel looked me straight in the eye and let out a surprisingly loud and sore-throat sounding “cock-a-doodle-doo!” He tried again, but only made it halfway through the 2nd time. They say that a cockerel begins his crowing like a young lion begins his roar – somewhere between meow and ROAR (or in this case, “cheep, cheep” and “one loud crow”), and it often sounds like he has a scratchy throat or a squeaky wheel. I stumbled back a little at the unexpected din so early in the morning, but then I found myself congratulating him. Ha!

 

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Hot Chicks
Written by Calliope Pappadakis   
Sunday, 07 August 2011 16:25

Pretty Girl and GrassThe chicks spent their 2nd night outside in the coop last night amidst the torrential downpour that came our way. We needed rain and the coop held up just fine other than some minor leaks in the nesting boxes. The chicks were waiting, eager for worms and fresh grass early this morning when I went out. They are crazy for grass - almost more than the worms!

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Culling Cockerels and Pullets
Written by Calliope Pappadakis   
Thursday, 04 August 2011 14:15

5 week old cockerelOur chicks are 5 weeks old! The cockerels (young roosters) began play fighting last week. This week, it seems slightly more serious than week 4. The good news is that for now after they get rough, they take a nap side by side, tucked in like best friends. I know that won't be the case much longer, and we'll have to make decisions about the ones that cannot stay and cull  the best cockerel to keep as our manly man of the bunch. Around 3 weeks, I began to notice differences between the birds. There were 5-6 that looked bigger, had much larger combs and wattles, and seemed like boys to me. 2 weeks later, it seems my instincts were right on - I think we have 6 cockerels. I've picked one out that I think bears all of the characteristics of a true French Black Copper Marans bird: feathered shanks and feet (some hatch with clean shanks), copper feathers around the neck, and fairly docile (though we do want a protective guy, too). This one in particular is the one that likes to be held the least. Though I wish he would just sit still, this might be a good thing. We think that we eventually want to breed these birds, and to true French standards, so culling the best of the bunch can only make our future Marans more quality birds. They are all beautiful, but we can only keep one male and will keep all the pullets. I read today about a farm who keeps 2 Marans roosters per 8 hens, so I'm going to do a bit more reading just to be sure. Typically I thought it was no less than 8 hens per rooster, but if we can keep 2, that's one less we have to get rid of. A friend of ours would like a rooster to introduce to her 9 hens, which I think is wonderful, but the remaining 4 we may have to process. I'm still holding, petting, and hand-feeding them every day, even though that might make it harder to say goodbye.

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Cute! Still cute!
Written by Calliope Pappadakis   
Thursday, 14 July 2011 00:00

2 weeks oldMy darling fluffybutts turned 2 weeks old yesterday and today, and they are really growing fast! 1 week ago they were devouring a quart of food per day, and now we're up to 4 quarts per day! We've changed the water from a quart waterer to a gallon because they are as tall as the quart and guzzling it quickly. Chickens don't really guzzle; their drinking habits are actually quite graceful, but they do drink a lot! Speaking of a lot, they are also now pooping a lot. I have to change the litter (pine shavings) at least once every other day and something tells me that before their indoor stay is through, I'll be changing it out every day. They are growing so fast! I'm a lucky girl to be able to participate in the lives of these amazing little creatures.

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Week Old Chicks
Written by Calliope Pappadakis   
Wednesday, 06 July 2011 17:14

Our oldest chicks are 1 week old today and they are growing fast! Beautiful birds, too. A friend said she thinks they look like griffins: noble and handsome. I love their markings - the white around the eyes and soft, downy bums.

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Hangin' With My Peeps
Written by Calliope Pappadakis   
Friday, 01 July 2011 11:45

Chicks 111 of our 20 chicks have hatched! We have 7 of them moved into the brooding box where they will live until they are old enough to go outside (4-6 weeks). There are still 4 in the incubator who are not completely dried and they are keeping the remaining 9 eggs company while we wait patiently for them to hatch. Don't they look like penguins? They are responding to my voice now, pecking at everything in sight, and today they experienced food and water for the first time. They loved eating! Then they all passed out in a heap under the heat lamp. Food coma! Within a few minutes they were up again running around and playing.

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Cheep, cheep, cheep!
Written by Calliope Pappadakis   
Wednesday, 29 June 2011 06:41

After deliveries yesterday, we arrived home to the sound of cheeping chicks! What a sweet sound! I immediately cheeped back. We noticed a small crack in one of the eggs - pipping has commenced! By bed time, 3 eggs had cracks and we could hear the chicks cheeping and chipping the whole evening. What a thing to experience. When I awoke this morning, 4 eggs had cracks and the first chick egg tooth appeared and I could see the little bugger feverishly working his way through the eggs.

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Incubating Eggs: Day 18
Written by Calliope Pappadakis   
Sunday, 26 June 2011 00:00

Eggs Day 18Our French Black Copper Marans are on Day 18 of Incubation, which is a pretty special day. At the end of Day 18, the eggs come off their automatic egg turner and are placed on the mesh below so that they can stabilize and prepare to begin pipping and making their way into this world. I am beside myself with excitement. In just a few days, we'll have at least 20 chicks peeping away, bringing new life to our micro-farm. In a few months, our egg-layers will begin providing us fresh, organic, dark-chocolate colored eggs. This specialty breed is a dual purpose bird, known for its egg size, color, and quality meat. Marans are docile, adaptable, and originally from a rainy and wet climate in France, so we think they'll do terrifically here in the valley. First, we must get through the most fragile part of the process: incubation + birth.

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All Things Great and Small
Written by Calliope Pappadakis   
Monday, 13 June 2011 09:39

Incubator Day 5Our Marans eggs are on Day 5 of incubation. We spent some time yesterday trying to hone in the temperature to 99.5 degrees F. We were using 4 different thermometers and they were each giving us different readings. The good news is, there was some consistency in where we placed the thermometers in and around the incubator. Right now we think we are somewhere between 98.8 and 100.2. Hopefully our growing chicks are finding it juuuust right. On Day 7 and 14 we will have the chance to "candle" the eggs, i.e., hold a special "flashlight" up to the eggs to determine if there is any growth inside. It's harder to see with these dark eggs, but we should be able to make out an embryo in most of the eggs. I can't wait!

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French Black Copper Marans
Written by Calliope Pappadakis   
Wednesday, 08 June 2011 07:43

Our long-awaited French Black Copper Marans Eggs have arrived!!!

Marans mail label

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