Blog31Days, Chicken Lives Matter Series

I Wonder What The Neighbors Think

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We make a difference in the lives of people just as we do in the lives of our pets.

It’s 4:47 in the morning. There is an automatic light that stays on throughout the night beside my barn. It sits above the door and shines sort of near the coops. The huge amount of trees cause shadows on the ground so when I go outside in the early mornings to take the dogs to piddle, I try to stand in the dark behind a tree. It is early and I’m never fully awake when I take out the dogs. They are completely stoked, barks and all. The shadows help me stay in my sleepy mode long enough to get back in bed and snooze another 30 minutes or so. I try to quiet the dogs and get them back in quickly if at all possible. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn’t.

While we live in a secluded area, house lights from a distant neighborhood can be seen. As I stand in the dark waiting for the dogs, I wonder what the neighbors think. Do they hear the dogs? Do the roosters’ crows wake them? Do they care? Do they know that dogs matter and crowing roosters do too? They matter to me and I don’t even know them but I hope my pets aren’t disturbing them.

Moments before I get to the door’s threshold the dogs begin to bark letting everything out there know they’re on a mission. Their mission takes about 15 minutes. By the time they make their coop rounds and return to me, I feel as if the whole neighborhood has been put on alert. Again, I wonder what the neighbors on the other side of the woods think.

The first run the dogs take is by the coops. They chime in with the roosters’ crows, and I have 3 large cockerals. What a melody so early in the day. I don’t know how far the loud crow goes but when the coop draft doors are down in the summer, I’ll bet at least a quarter of a mile or more. With that in mind, the neighbors are hearing what I am. It’s frequent sound and awfully loud.

This morning I counted all three roosters crowing; 7 cock-a-doodle-doos in one minutes time. I wonder what the neighbors think. What I think is that these animals make a difference in my life. I am beholden to them for a variety of things and one is to awake from my sleep and care for their needs. I do this every single day with pleasure. (Am I crazy? Is that what the neighbors think?)

If dogs barking and roosters crowing make a difference in the lives of people, imagine how much impact each of us can make on the lives of others if we have purpose and mission in our day-to-day run.

Here are 5 ways to make an impact on the lives of those in your circle of influence:

1. Personal Contact
We live in a busy world. Each of us have things that we can do, want to do and must do. People matter so there are ways to use our personal contact to impact others. A face-to-face visit is a must if you want the very best relationship with someone. Who have you visited lately?

2. Passive Presence- The beauty of the day in which we live is the availability of social media, computer access, and all that comes with that. Use every possible avenue in the area of these tools to make a difference in the lives of others. Today, take time to call, write or contact someone you love. Send a text photo, text, video or write an email. It’s not as good as being in person but it’s still valuable and important. Who will be the next person that you seek to influence? Who gets your next email or text full of compassion and caring?
3. Active Mentor – Being active in the lives of others is important. You can be active in a variety of ways. You can take food, drop off something, mail an item or bring something needed to a friend or family member. Sending cards or actively doing something for someone is such a pleasure. Put hands and feet on this project. They won’t be disappointed and neither will you. Who is your next package going to be delivered from your hands?
4. Alert Action– Sometimes you might be the only one in a person’s life to see a struggle he or she may be going through. Use your opportunity to do something to help this person get through this situation or time. What can you say or do to be that encourager, listener, confidant?
5. Prayerful Partner- The scripture says that we should be in a state of constant prayer. How can you use your relationship with the Father above to help those around you? Pray for those in your life. What words to the Holy Father above can you request and for whom?

After you do things to help other including spending personal time with them, sharing posts, emails and photos, recognizing their life-issues as well as praying for them, you’re going to make a huge difference. You won’t need to wonder what your friends and neighbors are doing. They will let you know and God will reward you good and faithful servant.

Nan

Chicken Lives Matter even at 4:47am

Blog31Days, Chicken Lives Matter Series

Blog 31 Days- A Series on Chicken Lives Matter

Greetings and welcome to Blog 31 Days: A Series on Chicken Lives Matter.    We’re about to launch our “Blog 31 Day Series” and the first one will be on “Chicken Lives Matter” so here we are lovin’ chickens.  ‘You with me?  I sure hope so.

Go to the bottom to see Day 1~

Day 2-  I Wonder What the Neighbors Are Thinking.

Day 3- Chickens Can Be The Best of Friends

Day 4-  Independence Day for Chickens

Day 5- Presidential Power- Pecking Order

Day 6- Coop Days-Cool Ways- Everybody’s Happy

Day 7- Chicken Breeds

Day 8- The Sky is Not Falling, Tell The Chickens About The Great American Eclipse

Day 9

Day 10

Day 11

Day 12

Day 13

Day 14

Day 15-   The Eyes Have It

Day 16 –  National Ice Cream Day and Chickens

31 Days About “Why Chicken Lives Matter”.   Why Would Anyone Want To Keep Chickens? Would this be a time that you need to assess your level of love for chickens? Are you a chicken keeper? Should you be a chicken keeper?

Thank you for visiting Chicken Lives Matter. A new writing project begins today. I hope you’ll stay with me as we go on a journey about our chickens. If you’re not a chicken lover, you may actually love this trip as we simply talk about yard birds with names and personalities. I know! “Chickens?” I get that all of the time. “Chickens?” If I’m late to a party, my response as to why is always, “I’m sorry I’m late but the chickens were out!”. When I need to go somewhere for the night the conversation is something like: Me: Will you keep my cat? My friend: “Yes”. Me: “Will you keep my dog?” My friend: “Yes” Me: “Will you keep my chickens?” My friend: “Chickens? So, I get it when a person wonders about chickens.

This 31 day project is a take off of Myquillyn, “The Nester’s” writing project 31 Days to a Better Dressed Nest from 2009.  You can find her link here.

This series for 31 days will talk about “Why Chickens Matter” and ways in which you can create a haven for your own backyard chickens. Hopefully you will discover if you are truly a chicken keeper. If you have chickens you will be better versed in keeping them. If you’re not, you will determine if you want to get your own flock so stay with me for the next 31 days as we discuss Why Chicken Lives Matter.

Day 1~ Chicken Lives Matter

Why in the world would anyone want to keep chickens? Chickens don’t particularly like to be cuddled. Chickens find interest mostly in eating and on a whole, they are nervous birds. Unlike ducks, they don’t like water. Chickens like flies, and bugs and enjoy bathing in sand. Who would want to be a chicken-keeper?

My great grandfather of South Carolina, Medicus was a chicken keeper, as was my grandfather, Alec P. Vaughan, Sr who kept a chicken yard full of birds. My father, Alec P. Vaughan, Jr. as well, provided for chickens although I really think that it was my mother, Geneva who did the naming, feeding and actual keeping. We’ve been a chicken keeping family off and on for as long as I can remember. Growing up, our chickens free ranged on our 10 acres and as recent as last week at least 8 chicks roamed that same land with a mother hen leading the way. The rooster coud be heard in the distance when spending time at my father’s property.

At least 2 decades ago, we had at 6 chickens on our land. Today, we have a couple of dozen and are all the merrier for it. It’s hard to explain the chicken math thing. Chicken math has been described on the Little Cluckers Facebook page as “ the inexplicable phenomenon known only to chicken keepers whereby a desire for “a few laying hens” quickly turns into a delirious whirlwind of coop-building, covetous chicken buying, and egg hatching, all of which leads to a world of “a few dozen hens, a couple of roos, a turkey (OK, 2 turkeys), the eggs in the incubator, the chicks in the brooder, and oh yes, that’s right, the spring hatchery order”.

Chicken math is a “thing” whereby a chicken keeper has a phenomenal desire to have more chickens regardless of the number at hand. This desire supersedes most any rational thought and the chicken owner wants no part of rational thinking. Chicken math can be dangerous but we learn from it that “Chicken Lives Matter. To go to “Day 2” click here…

Nan

#chickenlivesmatter

Please join our chickenlivesmatter group on Facebook.

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Chickens and Water- No Like!

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Meet Lillie. She’s just gone through a Florida storm.  When I went to find out where she was during the rain storm, she was found beneath the coop in the dry.  As the storm continued and finally subsided, she found her way out into the grassy area to look for insects and the like.

 

 

Ducks and chickens both have feathers but they are different in their love for water.  Duck keepers set out small pools, provide ponds or containers to satisfy the duck’s love for water.  The chicken keeper creates coverings, hideaways, and dry spaces for the chicken.

While chickens will spend time in the rain, it is generally after they have already gotten wet and have determined it is the only way to forage and possibly get some food by pecking and looking around.  As  a general rule, chickens do not like water.  Chickens prefer dry and even warm temperatures and shun damp and wet spaces.

In terms of water, chickens often are found walking in their watering tub but on a whole it is to move other chickens out of the way to get a better spot for quenching their thirst or showing dominance by getting in first and foremost.   Chickens, for the most part avoid wet spots and moist spaces and if you watch carefully you will see a chicken side-step a puddle to avoid it rather than paddle on through.

As recent as today, we had a Florida thunder storm.  The lightening bolted and the thunder roared.  I walked out on the balcony of the bedroom to see what the chickens were doing and only one was found standing in that downpour.  Lena was apparently trapped by the fenced area and couldn’t figure out how to get under the dry coop with the others.

In our case, we have open runs with places where the girls and 3 roosters can go during rainy days. Our runs include metal coverings and umbrella to protect food from getting wet. If our chickens do not get under those dry areas, or go inside the coop, they will get wet.

Today, as the storm subsided, I noticed several of the chickens venture out until all of them were pecking and enjoying rummaging the ground as the light mist upon their backs continued.  I don’t think they enjoyed getting caught in the downpour or even eating during the misting time but probably decided it was what it was and off they went into the yard to find food.  They could each be seen shaking off water off of their backs.  Chicks are obviously not fans of water unless it’s for drinking and they tend to drink most any kind . If you’re a chicken keeper, you know what I’m talking about.

5 things to do for your chickens during rainy days:

1.  Provide a dry place for them to go during the rain. Possible ideas for rain cover is metal, umbrellas, beneath coops, under nesting boxes.

2.  Prepare for the rain by placing umbrellas, tin or wooden pieces over corners of the run if your runs are uncovered.(We are in Florida.  There are times we are able to plan for the rain and other times the winds are too strong.  On occasion we have to literally pick our chickens up and put them inside the coop so do what you must to protect your flock.

3.  Keep coops open during rainy days. Sometimes they will actually go inside the coop during a rain storm.

4.  If you do not have a dry place for food during a rain storm, pick up food before the wet period. This will save you money as chickens will not eat soggy food.(Rats will tho! argh!)

5.  After stormy days clean out your coops.  The rain causes such a mess and wets the bedding in coops.  Chickens need a warm dry place for roosting at night.

Nan

#chickenlivesmatter

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Grey Boy Steals a Chick

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I’m not exactly sure why a cat might grab a chick by the neck and run off with it. It was undetermined if my cat, Gray Boy would eat the baby chick or play with it because it would move and flitter. I never found out.

Last week, Kristie and I were working in and around the coops doing various things when we decided to let Crooked Tail Tess out with her 2 babies. We talked about how great it would be for her to teach them how to scratch, hunt and peck and even possibly sand bathe. It would no doubt be fun for both the baby chicks, mama and we knew how fun it would be for us to watch the whole event occur.

Not 30 minutes into the scratching, Gray Boy, my 7 lb cat attacked. Yes! Attacked. He stealthily ran toward a baby chick, put it into his mouth and bolted towards the house. Kristie, my daughter, yelled unintelligible words about the cat having the baby and off we ran chasing that feline in hopes to save the baby chick.

As it turned out, Gray Boy dropped the baby onto a rug by the back door in the garage. I picked the stunned little baby up and it seemed fine.

Crooked Tail Tess did not know what happened but within moments, we returned her baby to her. Crooked-Tail has a tail that is bent. Her baby ended up with a bent neck. Should we call her CN, “Crooked-Neck”? And, I’m still not sure if Gray Boy was out to play or eat. What’s your opinion. Tell us your thoughts on our Chicken Lives Matter group page on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter and Instagram.

Nan

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Day Old Chicks in the Barnyard

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This has been a fun-filled spring in our barnyard. Crooked -Tail Tess, named so for obvious reasons, has had baby chicks and having chicks on the farm is truly a God-send. It’s a miracle to see a hen sit and sit and sit for 3 weeks and then one day come out to find a baby chick in with the mother.

Shaq, the proud father has been strutting around, as roosters do but Tess has been so busy holding out a full-feathered body while protecting her new babies. It took some 21 days for Tess to nest with her eggs. She began in the “mansion” coop but was moved to a smaller coop and run for better opportunity to not only protect her eggs and babies but give her peace of mind. She had been crowded out by some of the other hens in the coop wanting to lay eggs in her nesting area. When she refused to move, they literally laid their eggs almost on top of her. At that point, I knew it was time to move her to an area of her own where she would rest in peace and keep warmth on those eggs long enough to have them hatch.

While she sat on at least 11 eggs, I had placed her in a run without a rooster for a time. When she went broody, I slipped 2 fertilized eggs beneath her from a run that had a Jersey Giant. Crooked-Tail is a Jersey Giant so it all worked out well when she had 2 chicks hatch and they will look just like her!

Baby chicks on the farm are always a delight. Since the mother was keeping them warm at night, I did not have to worry about lighting for warmth or a specific area. Instead, I just moved her to a coop of her own and until such time as the babies are fully-feathered I’ll leave them.

This past week I allowed her to free range with the babies. I was right there nearby to take care of any concerns that may occur and she was not having any of the other hens come into her space so with both of us protectors there, the babies began their new lives learning how to scratch and peck up the good stuff.

What experiences do you have with baby chicks? What are the most chicks you’ve ever had? What breeds do you have? Let us know about your experiences on Twitter and Instagram. Join our Chickenlivesmatter group on Facebook.

Nan

Roosters

A Shout-Out and Happy Father’s Day To All Roosters

 

 

We have 3 roosters on our chicken farm: Buster, Dusty and Shaq. All three of them behave in a similar fashion: 1. They are highly interested in their girls. 2. Each has a personality of his own. 3. All three stand tall and stately with great power in the flapping of their wings. 4. The dance for each one is imminent daily as they approach their brood. 5. All appear to find protecting their hens important. 6. The rooster crows throughout the day. On most days beginning somewhere around 5:00 a.m.

The rooster is a unique animal. He is the man of the hour for every flock. The rooster is “in charge”. The rooster is the BMOF( Big Man On the Farm). While the hens determine
who will be in the top of the hierarchy of the flock, the rooster is at the top of the chain and uses his body and sounds to help all know this.

The rooster is different than the hen in not only appearance but in behavior. Roosters and hens are distinctly different. There is a definite difference in many traits regarding the hen and rooster.

There are several ways to determine at a young age if a chicken is a hen or a rooster. Before their first birthday, young hens are called pullets and young roosters are called cockerels. Determining whether a chicken is a male or female at an early stage can be determined by wing feathers and by the vent. As chickens grow older, they begin to feather-out and at this point the determination to whether a chicken is a rooster or a hen becomes easier. For example, roosters grow long tail feathers. They also have long and pointed saddle feathers located in front of the tale. Hens hardly have saddle feathers but if prominent at all, are rounded. The tell-tale sign of a rooster is the crow and it sounds like this “cock-a-doodle-do”. Generally a rooster begins to try out his voice for crowing around the 16th month.

When crowing,the rooster makes a variety of sounds that hens do not make. They make sounds when they are in the presence of hens, when they are fed their breakfast, when they hear other roosters, when a hawk flies over, and at least 20 other sounds.

Roosters often get a bad rap but not all roosters are mean. There are many who are great pets, gentle and easy for company. My experience with roosters however, is that a great many are often floggers and in addition, willing and able to spur and peck. In our chicken yard, we always keep small rakes leaning against trees in order to be able to protect ourselves from our running or charging roosters. None of the 3 of mine do this all of the time but I never know when I may have stepped too close to their personal space to cause any one of the 3 to run at me therefore we keep protector poles available. Our protector sticks are never to hurt the rooster but always to protect us from being attacked.

While it is the hen who sits on eggs and cares for the babies, I must say that all 3 of my rooster have taken in runts, shunned babies and disabled teenagers over the years. Just this week, a teenager hen was shunned from her run and at dusk ran into the rooster coop. Shaq took her in allowing her to stay in his run and coop. When she is fully feathered and older, I’ll place her in with the older hens but until then, Shaq has taken her in and they are a father and daughter team. He is a full-fledged Jersey Giant and she has his same breed characteristics.

So, today is Father’s Day and I want to simply give a shout-out to all roosters and dads of the barnyard! Happy Father’s Day. #chickenlivesmatter

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Chickens Can Be The Best of Friends

Janette is the most friendly chicken we have. She’s playful, busy and most always and I mean, most always in the way. When we’re out there getting food in the bin, she’s there.While water is being sprayed into the water containers, she’s watching. When we get the wagon to help us with cleaning coops, she’s there and late in the afternoon when all of the chickens are already on the roost, Janette can be found getting one last morsel from the food tin.I think she’s actually wanting to hang out with us even into the late hour!

There is an open space between two runs and it is Janette that traverses between the two. None of the other hens, and there are fourteen, go from one run to the other except Janette. She just rules the roost as they say. Yesterday, Kristie, my youngest, built an actual walk-up to help her go from one run to another. This morning she was the only one using the plank. I had to laugh.

Being friendly is something the Bible has much to say about. It is clear from the scriptures that to have a friend you must be a friend. Friendship is like family because God’s Word says a friend sticks closer than a brother.

And then there is Janette! She is our favorite chicken. Why? She loves us. She’s involved. She’s friendly. She shows it and we in turn reciprocate .

We should learn a lesson from this chicken.
Scriptures about being a friend. Are you a good friend?

Proverbs 18:24- A man that hath friends must show himself friendly; and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.

John 15:13 “Greater love huh no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friend”.

Proverbs 27:17-Iron sharpeners iron; so a man sharpeners the countenance of his friend.

Proverbs 29:17-Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do”.

Your Friend,
Nan

About

Welcome to Chicken Lives Matter™

So, chicken lives matter™.  We’re looking forward to sharing some exciting things about chickens, gardening and other things “all country”.  Stay tuned.

 

Above is a pic of “Julliette”. She’s our Silver Wyandotte.  We love her.  She does not necessarily love us tho.  ‘Funny thing is that she’s a bully!  Yup.  She bullies the others in the run and they “run” away from her but, we still love her.

More about chickens because “Chicken Lives Matter™”!

About

Chicken Lives Matter Everyone!

 

Welcome to “Chicken Lives Matter™”.  First of all, they do.  When I was about 7 years old I found this out when visiting Hampton, SC.  My grandfather Vaughan was a chicken keeper and had about a dozen hens in the run. For some reason, I wanted to be friends with them, just like a little kid runs after a baby kitten.  It did not go well for me that day ’cause the hen I was after was a setting hen and broody.  She ran me right out of that chicken gate. Chicken Lives Matter.™

In the story of Jesus just before the crucifixion, the cock crowed 3 times just as in Jesus’s prophecies.  Chicken Lives Matter™.

And, recently, Crooked Tail Tess found herself sitting on 11 eggs. She is now caring for 6  baby chicks.  Pleasure. Please check back often to see what’s going on here at “Chicken Lives Matter” cause they really do and you do too!  See ya’ soon.