Monday, April 22, 2013

Pullets, the Sixth Week

Golden Comet pullet at six weeks old.
Rhode Island Red pullets.
What a difference a week makes, especially with growing chickens.  I don't think we're imagining daily increases in size.  Our birds look nearly as they will look for the rest of their lives.  Just this week, their vocal calls are changing over from squeaks (I wouldn't call them "peeps" any longer) to more full-throaty clucks and squawks.  It brought a smile to our faces hearing the first contented "Gluck. Cluck-cluck-cluck."  They come to the gate to greet us every morning.  At six weeks old, there are still anywhere from eight to twelve weeks before they begin laying eggs, between July and September.

We harvested first spinach and are watching peas, carrots, and onions grow.  These cool mornings make us glad we waited to transplant out our warm-weather crops.  Strawberries are setting by the hundreds (and maybe thousands); all around, it looks like we will have an excellent fruit crop this year.
Our chickens enjoy free-ranging for bugs and small stones in the grassy lawn at Palmetto Acres Hobby Farm.

"All I want to be in life is a little red hen."

"I am most definitely a vegetarian."

Curious one poses again.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Pullets, the Fifth Week

Five-week old Rhode Island Red pullet; it's easier now to see why they're called "red."
Golden Comet pullet.
Our five-week-old pullets moved to their outside coop and spent the first night roosting in the warmer upstairs.  Female chicks can be called pullets from hatching, but most people begin to call them pullets once they're feathered.

There's not many gardening experiences more disgusting than digging up a fat white grub, but watching chickens fight over and eat it is endlessly entertaining.  Gardening and chickens really go together.

Spring came all at once last week; we're finally seeing progress in our spinach crop, which was scheduled for harvest this week, but will probably need another week.  Stone fruit (nectarines, peaches, and cherries) have set an outstanding crop despite cold weather well into April.  We plowed under our green manure crop of red clover in preparation for corn planting next month.
Moving to to the coop; overall our birds are very friendly.

We're still very glad we went with these chicken nipple waterers, so easy to keep clean.

Welcome spring.

Looking much more chicken-like now, tail feathers in the air.

These girls love greeting us in the morning, quietly compared to a rooster.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Chicks, the Fourth Week

Rhode Island Red and Golden Comet chicks at 4 weeks old.
This is our curious one.
The differences in these photos from week to week are fun to see, though now that the chicks are nearly feathered, the main difference will be weight gain.  They still look thin and scrawny, maybe that's why they're such good flyers.  Each Golden Comet chick is developing a honey-brown ring of feathers around its neck.  With temperatures in the 70's F over the weekend, we didn't feel badly about moving them to their outdoor coop, though we take them back to the brooder at night.

Fruit trees are looking great; we have a great cherry set and are still waiting to see about peaches.  Strawberries and blueberries are just beginning to bloom, while apples and raspberries are finally breaking dormancy.  The garden is in good shape, just a few weeks behind with this cool spring.

Enjoying a warm afternoon outdoors.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Chicks, the Third Week

I should take bids on a good caption for this photo.  
Really getting into that dust bath.
Just shy of three weeks, we enjoyed some warmer weather and let the chicks outside in their coop and enclosed run for an entire afternoon.  The first item of business on their agenda was to take a whopping dust bath; once we saw what they were up to, we added some wood ash to the mix (a little bit more "dusty" than the mulch they were trying to use).  After they unearthed a worm, it was hilarious watching them play a game of keep away.  They are terrifyingly good at flying.  As you can see from the photos, they're looking more like chickens now, with only a little down left on their heads.
Exploring the run.
Dust bathing all those new feathers.
Rhode Island Red chick three weeks old.

About Me

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Dedicated to the responsible production and preservation of healthy home-grown food to the glory of God. Isaiah 55:10 The rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater. Organic, or not? We try to raise vegetables organically, using compost and manure. The addition of chickens to our hobby farm means plenty of organic nitrogen to compost! This site gives credible reference to planting information contained in the Farmer's Almanac (