Our Homestead’s Photo Diary – June 21-28

Monday is our day to go into town. Because I am committed to conserving the amount of gasoline we use during the month we coordinate all of our errands and shopping into one long day.

Herbs hanging on old rake USE

Bundles of mint and tansy help with fly control around the coop.

On Monday we start out with our beloved restorative yoga class. We meet friends for lunch, run errands and buy our groceries. Often I visit our local library to check out books or read current magazines. Once a month or so we stop at the health food store and pick up a load of bark chips from a friend’s blueberry field as well. So creating a blog post on a typical Monday is tricky for me.

Looking down three eating best

Our Rhode Island Red pullets gather around for their breakfast of fermented feed.

Instead I have taken to an idea I saw on another blog and sharing a weeks-worth of photographs on that day. That is manageable for me and since I typically take photographs throughout the week that do not end up in a themed blog post anyway, it works to make Monday our Photo Diary day.

Gretas hostas and bird bath

The shade garden behind our three season porch this week.

Last week was another busy week for us. Gene worked almost all week on building the second chicken coop and I painted the sections; primed and top coated side pieces and doors. Since this is his second coop project he now has coop building down to an art and will assemble all the parts after I have them painted.

Gene fitting box USE

Gene is fitting the nest box on the new chicken coop.

My week also consisted of weeding and hauling pea gravel and bark chips, taking care of chickens, dead-heading flowers, cleaning and cooking and hanging my wash on the clothesline to dry. We also took an afternoon drive one day to the Amish feed store to purchase a 50 lb. bag of rolled oats for the chickens. I pre-tested my chickens with a small bag of human oats and they loved them.

Goldy side view on star use

Broody Goldy took a break from the nest box to eat, drink and poop.

In addition to my chores, I took my daily garden “vegetable garden walk” and was pleasantly surprised to find only an odd bug or two in among the vegetables. I am certain that having the chickens grazing in the vegetable gadren off-season has really helped control our bug population.

Pole barn after weeded USE

 I weeded the side of the pole barn this week. Next comes a layer of bark chip mulch.

Gldie in front of covered runUSE

Freckles and plastic water close

 Freckles, the Phoenix Bantam resting in the run.

frame painted Gene on backside USE

 The coop frame before the side panels or double doors have been attached.

HORZ painting the coop sides USE

 The side panels to the new coop are freshly painted and drying.

Asiactic Lilys USE

My Asiatic lilies are quite lush and lovely this year.

Staked the tomaotes USE

I staked the tomatoes in the grow bags this week.

This is our life on the homestead!

Small House homesteader, Donna

New Outdoor Chickenwire Playpen

Checking out the garden USE

It’s a big new world for a chicken that has only known an indoor brooder.

My chickie babies and I took a little sun bath in the lovely 70+ degree sunshine today. We all sat in the newly built chicken wire and stake enclosure Gene made for us within our vegetable garden. This was their first outdoor adventure so we kept it short, we were outside maybe 15-20 minutes max.

Marching RIR USE

Hey you guys, come on out its pretty out here.

Gene built a this temporary “playpen” for us today for this very purpose. I carried the chicks out in a cardboard box and turned it on its side so they had a place to be with plenty of shade and no breeze and where they felt safe and secure.

Chicken wire playpen

The new, temporary and movable chicken wire playpen.

They tentatively moved in and out of the box, testing the feeling of grass on their feet and the taste of fresh grass then they scurried back inside. They are just beginning to get use to the feel of the sunshine and the out-of-doors. They had their organic growers feed sprinkled on the floor of their box and fresh water in a chicken waterer nearby.

Food shelter water and mom what more could a chick need

Food, sunshine, water and mom nearby….what more could you ask for?

They acted like they had a great time. As soon as they started to act the least bit tired I took them back into their brooder and fed them their fermented grower feed, and dandelion greens tea w/ garlic which they love. They were back up on their little mountain of grass and dirt in a few minutes playing king of the mountain!

This was a positive experience I think!

Small House Chicken Keeper, Donna



Three Month Update on Rescued Chickens – Pets and Partners

Our rescued Cochin/Phoenix baby chickens are about three months old now and nearly fully feathered. From their coloration, and the tiny bumps appearing on the Three Amigos foreheads, I suspect we have two hens and three roosters – sigh. Not at all what I had hoped for! I fear I am going to have to look for homes for the roosters. To this end I have not named them. They are the biggest and definitely the most assertive and they take the lions share of the food too. That has to be the personality of a rooster!

Two Amigoes funny faces USE

Two of the Three Amigos. The one on the right I am calling Freckles.

Although momma Clover does not have feathers on her legs or around her feet, her two Cochin babies are both getting feathers on their legs. These look so funny to me as these feathers sticks out in every directions like wild hair in the morning.

Funny snowball on stump USE

Snowball up on the stump. She is such a funny little chicken!

None are thrilled about being held but all will finally take their favorite dried mealworms snacks from my hands. They have progressed to the point where they can all fly up and into the coop when I want them too. They are all roosting on the roost bar for resting and preening so they are well on their way now.

I am curious to see when Momma Clover “wean’s” them if at all.

Clover in corner best of her

Clover and her babies. What a super chicken momma!

The one remaining challenge is their eating preferences. Momma Clover only eats cracked corn, grass, free range worms (and/or mealworms) – just what she ate at her previous home…period…. I’m working hard to convert the babies to accepting new foods to. I am slowly adding more variety to their diets; variety like sprouts, herbs, fruit or at least giving them the option to eat it. I found out just this week the babies do love blueberries!

The newest thing I am trying to introduce right now is mung bean sprouts because sprouting is easy to do in my kitchen without the special grow lights, trays and so on. Some of the babies will willingly eat a bits of sprouts so I will keep trying that every morning.

Mung beans package USE

Organic Mung Beans are my newest sprouts – sprout mania!

I am now feeding the sprouts with the grains in the hanging feeder and the chickens go for the grains by preference every time. I’ve recently started feeding the sprouts first thing in the morning when they are the hungriest. When I return later in the day, however, they have usually cleaned up most of the sprouts so that seems the best way to get greens down them. Sprouts are so healthy!

JoJo feeding

Meal worm have helped me to train them to eat from my hand. This has been a big step for these rescued, almost wild chickens!

Yesterday I taught them to jump up onto the tree stumps. I tricked Clover by placing the dried meal worms onto the stump top and once she jumped up on the stump of course so did all the babies.  I thought having the stumps as playthings might help entertain them during the long winter as well as give me a place to feed them with less waste than feeding on the wet or muddy ground.

Stump with mealworms USE

A stump cut from a dying tree became a part of our chicken playground. This one has mealworms on top. 

While I have enjoyed these chickens as pets these past two months I really look at them as partners on our homestead.

Chickens as Partners Help our Homestead us in the Following Ways:

  • Make more fertilizer in our garden and in our compost bins to improve our garden’s vegetable production.
  • Control crop damaging insects in our vegetable garden and raspberry patch while  improving their diets as well as our gardens production.
  • Scratch to dig up garden weeds and resulting in less weeding tasks for us.
  • Turning organic waste into a resource while building soil fertility with their poop.

They are hard to resist and so darn entertaining too!

Small House Chicken Keeper and Homesteader, Donna