It is not that big, just at 1,600 square feet, but it has options to make it a larger home. One thing is for sure, we want to have plenty of space for our grown daughters and their own families with our grand-children to enjoy during their extended visits. We will do all we can to make our home welcoming for our brood.
However, I am sad tonight because my last laying hen is gone, The mysterious predator has now killed all of my full-grown laying hens. I am one sad Farm gal. It looks like the past year of free-ranging freedom is over.
Sgt. Dave has finishing buying all the supplies needed for a new chicken coop and he will start work on it, as soon as the rain stops. The weather has been horrible. The one sunny day we get is when he is at work. Things have not been going very smooth.
The twenty chicks are finally all feathered, but still very young. However, within a week's time, they will need to be moved to larger accommodation. My husband will take care of that chore. In a few days, they will be transferred to a cordoned area of the barn for another three weeks of growing bigger and stronger.
And our puppy, Gracie, has a nose on her that can smell anything! She finds bits of my chickens that were killed and she comes running out of the forest with a chunk --- running toward me with it, as if she's retrieved something valuable and CAN'T WAIT to bring it to me! The latest was a wing section that had belonged to Beaker. Not fun. As she dropped it at my feet, my heart sunk to that same level. Gracie could see that I was not happy...she wants to please and it seemed to upset her that I was not happy with her present. I tried to say, "Good girl," but it wasn't easy with the lump in my throat.
Gracie is turning out to be a really good dog. I know she will also miss her little play buddy. Gracie and Survivor literally stuck together all day. I am sickened to know the attack upon this chicken occurred after we put the dogs up. If I had let them out, then the chicken would have had her guards.
Anyway, as the chicks have been in a limited space that is reinforced for their protection, I stopped by the feed store to buy two different chick feeding systems. One just needs you to pull out a mason jar from home and you are set; the chicks love their feed!
As the chickens grow older, we have found the easiest way to feed them is through the standard feed bucket but to put the water in one of those large dog auto-watering bowls. It holds a great deal of water and the chickens learned very quickly how to drink from this bowl which is super easy to refill and clean.
I try to focus on the chicks and knowing that this next flock will be living different from our first flock. Not as much freedom on a daily basis, but I hope to keep that predator away or catch the predator in action so that I can HANDLE it, permanently.
The parting of my last full grown laying hen that I had started calling "Survivor" was very sad for me. Yes, it's a chicken, but I've had these chickens for over three years...they were a part of our daily life. They gave us eggs that we found to be delicious. Having chickens provides entertainment. It's great for the kids in the family to come over and see real chickens, to see their habits and to learn how they have an internal clock for waking up at dawn and coming back to roost in the coop at dusk, on their own.
|Liyla chowing down with my first flock of chickens that|
have now been killed by a predator roaming our acreage.
Soon after I found my chicken to be gone, as predator meat...I sent Stefie a text message about it because Stefie KNOWS my chickens are important. She helped raise those chickens. She named them, in the hopes we would never consider them for the dinner table. So, I was not expecting her next text messages as she and Brice began sending me the photos below. Yes, this is the kind of comfort I get from my kiddos...
And Stefie says, "I love you mom!"