chickens

Oh, What To Do With The Chickens During a Storm

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With the devastation and passing of Hurricane Harvey and the up-and-coming storm Irma, many are concerned about their chickens. When you have a couple of chickens, you can easily put them in the bath tub or box during a storm. If you have a handful, you could secure them safely in a crate. When you have two hand-fulls, a cage in the garage might be best but when you have dozens of yard birds, you must do something to keep them safe and all the while make them as comfortable as possible. More than likely that will occur in in the chicken yard.

On my little farm, I have 5 runs side-by-side with varied coop configurations. In addition, there are 2 very small coops for my growers. These two coops are perfect for the youngins’ but at about 3 months old, they must be moved to a larger area and somehow into one of the 5 runs and coops. Sometimes I find myself having to rearrange the girls due to size and space. As a result there is hardship on the weaker personality chickens because hen pecking is a truth. During a hurricane though, I have to let hen pecking take its course because rearranging who’s in what coup is a necessity. I definitely have to regroup and the girls don’t like it.

For some days, I’ve been planning on what to do as hurricane Irma comes closer and closer. On the internet this week, I saw a photograph of chickens wrapped in newspapers as if they were swaddled like a baby. The owners were apparently Key West evacuees and transporting their flock to safety. In truth, I was shocked when I laid eyes on the image but the more I thought about that person’s plight, it may have been an ingenious idea to keep the chickens safe and sound. Each of us have to think about our own situation so as to do the best for our flock under the conditions in which we are faced. In that person’s case, evacuating from the largest recorded hurricane on record meant taking the flock as best as possible and safely. I’ve never seen a chicken swaddled but it seemed to work well. Who am I to criticize this chicken keeper when it’s obvious that safety was the number one concern for those chickens.

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Chickens being evacuated from Key West, Florida. I do not know who to credit. There was no name available.2017- Hurricane Irma

Preparing for a storm has many facets and every chicken keeper must do what is in the best interest of his or her flock. Considering storm concerns: chickens don’t swim and can drown easily. Chickens are light and cannot endure heavy winds. Chickens are small and could easily be hurt from flying debris. Chickens have their own agenda and do not come when being called like a dog or a cat (unless you’re feeding them LOL).

Chickens Don’t Swim
Chickens are not like ducks. They can sort of float- a while. Over time though, they get basically water-logged and will drown. The are not water birds. I have a pond near the coops. The chickens scratch and eat from the basin but never and I mean never go for a swim. Ever. The most water my chickens expose themselves to is sometimes stepping in their water bucket but that’s pretty much the extent of their water foray. A storm surge could be the death of one or a whole flock of chickens so I want to do all possible to protect my animals from storm water.

Chickens are Light and Cannot Endure Heavy Winds
According to reference.com, the average broiler weighs 5.80 pounds. It would never do for a chicken to be loose in a chicken run with 80 plus mph winds. Should chickens get in the wind surge of a hurricane it could easily toss the feathered friend to and fro. Chickens must be in a safe and covered area during a storm.

Chickens are Small and Cannot Endure Flying Objects
During a storm debris is flying all over. Leaves, branches, home objects and more are being tossed all around. Chickens do not have the sense or agility to fend for themselves in such conditions. They must be inside a safe area and be taken care of during such an event.

Chickens Are Not Like Cats or Dogs

Chickens are chickens. They hunt, peck and run towards you when you have food. While they may come to you when you call, they are not like a cat or dog where they jump in your arms and wait to be carried into the house. Chickens are foragers and that is their life.

Everyone has their own ideas on what to do during a storm. Here is what I did during Hurricane Matthew and will do again when Irma comes our way.

Before the storm, I go ahead and try to put more chickens in each run so as to minimize use of coops during the storm. I use the strongest coops possible for their safety. Days before the storm, the coops are cleaned and prepared for the chickens. Fresh food and water is placed inside of the coop on storm day. This is highly unusual for our plan as they are fed in the runs on a general basis.

To settle my chickens during the storm, I divide my 40 something chickens into 2 or 3 groups and put them into the strongest coops in the barnyard. I put a rooster in each coop and my old man rooster, Buster is placed in a coop of his own. He is too old to deal with the stress of other birds plus the storm. All of the babies or teenagers are placed together in a strong run and coop as well. I try to keep together the hens who already live together but I switch up their coops so that everyone is in a different environment. I know hen-pecking is going to happen but it seems better when everyone is in new surroundings.

Depending on the time of the expected storm, I may let the chickens out or may need to keep them closed in their coops. Since chickens go inside on their own in the evening, I may need to depend on that for getting them into specific runs and coops. At that time, I find myself moving different chickens from one coop to another and I trying my best to do this during the darker part of the day so as not to upset them. We all know pecking order is a real thing but at least if they begin the pecking order it would occur the day of the storm when things are wild outside for all of them. In addition, most of them are in a new environment or coop which discombobulates them.

Safety is the number one thing so as soon as they are in their coops and mostly settled, I put one screw in the door so the strong winds cannot cause the door to fly open. During Hurricane Matthew we were told there could be winds as high as 90 mph. To protect my brood, the coop must hold fast. By the time all of the chickens are in their runs and ready for the storm, all of the umbrellas, feeding pans, hanging feeders, watering utensils, whirly gigs and more have long been removed providing a safe area free from flying debris.

During Hurricane Matthew, the chickens were in their coops for one full day and half of the next day. As rain and lightening bolted outside, I fed and watered them inside their coops. This worked well for my 40-something bunch. After the storm was over and I went out to assess the damage finding the worst situation was a huge tree over Shaq, my Jersey Giant’s coop. Not one animal was harmed and by the time I could let them into the runs, I even opened the gates into the yard and let them free range. Big day for everyone and fun was had by all! (Even the chicken keeper!)

Do what you must for your own. In Psalms it says that “every beast belongs to God” and he’s put us among them to be their keeper.

Nan

 

 

Blog31Days, Chicken Lives Matter Series, chickens

Happy Independence Day for Chickens

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Do you know that chickens love their independence? They do! We have our chickens in 6 runs. We try our best to keep them by breed. The first run has Jersey Giants, the 2nd has Rhode Island Reds, the 3rd hosts Buff Orpington, the next, Ameraucana , the 5th houses one huge brute of a rooster aptly named Buster and the 6th run is home to our teenage group; a mixture of breeds soon to be divided into the stable runs mentioned. We feed twice a day but we check on them often to be sure they have ample grazing food and fresh water.

When we come out to our runs, the chickens gather at the doors almost pushing them open. They want their independence. They do not want to be closed in the runs all of the time depending on us to feed them and so often during the week, we open the gates and give them their freedom. They are free to roam our acres and enjoy the fat of the land.  They can go, do and be…

Now there are restrictions. We monitor their whereabouts all day when they are out. We constantly walk the road, look down the paths, look specifically for certain ones that may appear to be AWOL(absent with out leave). While they are allowed to have their freedom, we do expect each yard bird to be on her best behavior. If they are in the road, we shu them back to the yard. If they jump in the feed bin, we run them away. If they eat the garden and plants, we scold them, so there are definite restrictions. We do this for their safety. We don’t want them to get into trouble or to bother the neighbors.

Today we celebrate our Independence as a Nation. This is a very special day for our country. The significance of this day is that the Declaration of Independence was adopted by the Continental Congress in 1776. This would remove our country from the rule of Great Britain. We as a Nation would be free. During this time it was said that “these United Colonies are, and of right, ought to be free and independent states”.

We celebrate the birth of our Nation, The United States of America. The people of these colonies wanted to be free. They wanted to go where they wanted to go, do what they wanted to do and make choices themselves and not be beholden to Britain. As the ceremony was begun in the reading of the Declaration of Independence and the Liberty Bell rang out, the coat of arms of the king of England was removed. Cannons blasted and “a new nation sprang to life”. (Pat Boone, Newsmax.com)

We all want our freedom and chickens do too. Just as our Nation found it’s freedom chickens need independence as well.  (Did you know where I was going with this story? LOL)

Here are 5 ways to provide independence for your chickens:

1. Open the chicken doors and allow your chickens to free-range in your yard.(foot loose and fancy free) .

2. If you cannot completely allow free-ranging, set up an area to change it up for your flock allowing them to graze in a different place than their normal run. (Use a baby gate, small fence, plastic fencing or netting to help you).

3. Select a few days a week to allow free-ranging. Maybe you cannot do this every day but you possibly can a few days a week.

4. Sometimes we allow free-ranging at the late time of the day because we know it gives them a limited time to be free in the yard which keeps them closer to the coops.

5. Place them in a separate fenced area for free-ranging. ( We have a backyard fence and sometimes we put them in that area and close the door allowing them to free range inside that fenced area. What area could you use?

Whatever you do and however you can provide Independence day for your chickens, try to do it for their physical health and mental health.

Nan

#chickenlivesmatter (Join our Facebook group!)

Blog31Days, Chicken Lives Matter Series

Presidential Order-Pecking Order

Being in charge is huge! There are those elected to be in charge, gifted to be in charge, talented enough to be in charge and then there are those who peck to be in charge. On the chicken front, it would definitely be “to peck to be in charge”. Pecking order is a real event in the chicken yard.

On July 2, Ann-Marie AlcÁntara a tech editor, wrote an article “18 People Who Are in Line For the Presidency”.   Using the the Trump administration, she created a list of names in order of power. Here is her list of the powerful:

1 Vice President Mike Pence
2 Speaker of the House Paul Ryan
3 Senate President Pro Tempore Orrin Hatch
4 Secretary of State Rex Tillerson
5 Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin
6 Secretary of Defense James Mattis
7 Attorney General Jeff Sessions
8 Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke
9 Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue
10 Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross
11 Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta
12 Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price
13 Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson
14 Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao
15 Secretary of Energy Rick Perry
16 Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos
17 Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin
18 Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly

So, for us folks in the chicken business, this is how it would come down in the world in which we live in terms of power.

In the chicken yard in regards to hens, dominance begins with a peck and the worst situation is for the lowest hen rated being pecked by all. It is suggested by chicken keepers that the most dominant hen pecks everyone. The 2nd dominant then pecks everyone except for the very powerful and so on. By the time it gets to the last hen, she is pecked by all. It is truly called “pecking order”.

Pecking order entails a lot.  Not only does the top hen eat and drink first, but she get the best insects and bugs if they are plentiful.  She  also chooses the best roosting spot and selects the time and where she wants to lay her eggs.  She’s top hen in the chicken run!

Below is the order of power in the Chicken Lives Matter run:

1. Juliette
2. Haus-Lady
3. Lena
4. Goldie
5. Janette
6. Sylvia
7. Dotty-T
8. Carol
9. Lillie
10. Sadie
11. Rhodie
12. Ronella
13. Olivia
14. Lavender
15. Octavia
16. Laverne
17. Labran
18. Crooked tail Tess

No matter what organization you’re in, there is a power structure. One thing we know for sure though… God is the ultimate power and He wants each of us to know these things concerning this.

I can do all things through him who strengthens me.(Philippians 4:13)

For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.2 Timothy 1:7

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.2 Corinthians 12:9

Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us,Ephesians 3:20

He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:29-31

That your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. 1 Corinthians 2:5

Trust God everyone because He is our ultimate power. Since being in charge is huge…we can trust God to be in full control.

Nan

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

chickens

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

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.