Our First Grand Chick

This past Sunday, Sally and I became grandparents – in a manner of speaking.  Our favorite hen, Chicken Little, hatched the first of what we were hoping would be a whole litter of baby chickens.  We started out with five fertilized eggs that we picked up from our friends at Yonder Way Farms in Fayeteville, Texas.   However, one precious little chick is all we got.


Our precious little chick on the day she was hatched.

And that is just fine with us.  We really don’t need a lot of chickens at our house.  Our coop is not set up for more than six to eight birds.  In fact, this is why we waited so long to let one of our hens sit.  We didn’t want a crowded coop.

Sally and I decided to let Chicken Little sit for a couple of reasons.  First, she is the hen at the bottom of the pecking order.  It is hard for us to watch the constant pecking and pushing around that she is forced to endure.  We read on a blog that a batch of chicks had a way of bringing out the mother in all of the hens.  So, we are hoping that this little chick will make the other girls treat Chicken Little a whole lot better.  At the very least we are hoping it will prevent, or at least delay, the bad treatment that Chicken Little is forced to endure.


Our baby is four days old and already getting pin feathers on her wings!

While Sally and I think Chicken Little is the sweetest, bestest hen of the bunch, she does have one little problem – she gets broody – A LOT.  In the past few months she has become broody four different times.  Each time this happened we were forced to quarantine her in a metal cage for a few days.  During that time she didn’t eat or drink much.  Plus it was just hard for us to watch.  So, since she is such a good girl –and she REALLY wanted to sit – we decided to let her.


Chicken Little is such a good mother! Here, she and baby explore their world.

While we had hoped for a few more chicks, we are absolutely thrilled with our one little baby.  She truly is precious and Chicken Little is proving to be a great little mother.  Plus, the other hens really do seem to be impressed (and they are treating her a little better).  They keep coming up and looking at the baby.  When they get too close Chicken Little blows up her feathers and clucks and they politely walk off.  I truly hope that that this new baby raises her mom’s standing in the flock!

BTW, this post has been shared on The HomeAcre Hop and the Homestead Barn Hop #173.  Be sure to check them out.  They are full of great posts from homesteaders across the web.

Bad End to a Good Year – RIP Goldie

 It is with heavy heart that I announce the passing of the first of our chickens.  Goldie was the middle sized Buff Orpington.  In the past seven months she has filled our lives with much joy and the lightest of brown eggs.  She has only been gone a few hours and she is already missed terribly.


Goldie and Wendy Lou getting ready for bed

I don’t know what happened.  I came home from work yesterday and she ran to the car to meet me.  She, and all of the other girls, were in fine spirits.  I rubbed them and let them pick at my buttons and my ring.  Everything seemed fine.  Just another day.

Imagine my surprise when I went to the coop this afternoon and found her dead, cold and stiff just inside the door of the coop.  She had no signs of trauma.  I felt her tummy closely and she did not appear to be egg bound.  It appears that she just decided to die last night.


This is our sweet Goldie just hours after she hatched.

If any of you have experienced anything like this I would love to hear from you.  My internet searches reveal that this is unfortunately not a rare occurrence.  However, my common sense tells me that nothing “just dies”.  There has to be a reason. 

Tonight the remaining five girls got a more thorough rub down/examination.  I do not want to lose another one.  For those of you that have raised chickens from hatchlings to full grown hens you know how attached you become to them.  While I realize I was not as attached to her as say a dog, I was attached nonetheless.  Her passing has left me feeling a little blue on the last day of the year.

I'll never forget your first night in the big coop.  You were so scared and your rooster was there to calm your fears.

I’ll never forget your first night in the big coop. You were so scared and your rooster was there to calm your fears.

We wrapped her in a pillow case and entered her body in a lovely spot that has a view of the lake, the coop and her friends.  I am sure hers will be the first grave in what will eventually become our pet cemetery. 

Rest in Peace Goldie.  You were a great little hen.

Chicken Update

5-12-2013 11-28-29 AM I am amazed at how much progress both our chickens and the coop have over the past two weeks.  Before Sally and I got our babies we read “Chick Days – Raising Chickens From Hatchlings to Laying Hens” by Jenna Woginrich.  This book was amazingly well written.  In it she stresses how quickly the little birds grow.  However, until you see it in person, you really can’t appreciate how quickly they mature.  In the past two weeks the birds have gone from fuzzy little babies to aggressive, active fledglings that are beginning to try to fly and already establishing a pecking order.  They have also learned to come when I call them (as long as I allow them to eat dehydrated meal worms out of my hand).

Chris is helping the girls adjust to the great outdoors.

Chris is helping the girls adjust to the great outdoors.

By the end of week one they had the beginnings of wing and tail feathers.  Now their wings and tails are very developed and all of that down is beginning to fall out.  Yesterday, since the girls are getting so big, we took them outside for the first time.  It is truly amazing to me that they do not need to be taught anything.  While they were a little nervous at first, they quickly began to happily scratch and eat all manner of weeds and grasses.  All in all I think it was a great start for them.

Chris's dog Ed wants to play with the girls too

Chris’s dog Ed wants to play with the girls too

Since they are growing so quickly, the coop has needed to progress just as quickly.  Luckily, it has.  I have been very lucky to have the help of our son Chris for the past couple of weekends.  Last weekend, we set the posts and started the framing.  This weekend, I paid a friend to come and add the roof and do the plumbing and electrical.  Here are some shots of our progress:

Last weekend's progress

Last weekend’s progress

Eventhough it rained on Friday, my buddy Ruben was still able to get the roof frame on the coop


Here you can see the the triangular topped door that is going to be very cute with the diamond shaped window that will go in it

Here you can see the the triangular topped door that is going to be very cute with the diamond shaped window that will go in it

5-12-2013 11-57-18 AM