Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Chicken Update

Our adventure with the chickens continues to make our lives interesting. We've had some recent problems with pests. We've lost 2 laying hens last month and so I bought a trap and a pellet gun to try to "take care of" the culprit. Sure enough, the first night I caught a raccoon. I thought our troubles were done... The next night, we were out and didn't get home until 10pm. I walked back to set up the trap and found one broiler dead and noticed another one missing. I set up the trap and was going about cleaning up the dead chicken when out of the tree next to me falls a gnawed chicken leg. Seeing as how the one in my hand still had both legs, I quickly figured out that the raccoon had taken the other one up the tree with it and was still up there. I could just see his eyes shining when I shone the flashlight up in the branches. Rebecca kindly stood guard at the tree while I got the pellet gun and, shortly thereafter, the second raccoon was removed from the equation. Surprisingly, the next morning, there was yet another coon in the trap!

All was quiet for a couple of days until one morning we found this fella in there. Opossums are just as deadly to chickens as raccoons, so we were glad to get rid of him, too. It's been another 2 weeks and we haven't had another visitor in the trap. Hopefully, we won't ever.

The Delaware broilers are growing quickly now. These pictures were taken at about 7 1/2 weeks. We'll harvest them at 12 weeks (the week before Thanksgiving), so I need to start getting together the stuff I need to do it. It's obvious now that we have 2 hens and 2 roosters, so we're thinking to pardon one hen, maybe 2 since we lost 2 layers. The roosters, however, get no mercy. Sorry fellas.

Our Reds are very tame now. They chase me around as I walk in the yard and will squat down to be scratched or picked up when I get close. They'll do it for the kids, too, which is exciting for them.

 Getting a scratch.

It's funny to see them fluff their feathers after getting some attention. 

As the season changes and things get cooler and darker, we expect our girls to slow down or stop laying altogether. We could put artificial lights in the coop, but we feel like they need a rest, just like we do, so we'll just have to buy our eggs elsewhere over the winter. 

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