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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

My hens are teenagers

This summer, our little itty bitty baby chicks that arrived in April began laying eggs. It usually takes about 6 months before chickadees develop into egg-layers, and like an impatient mother, I kept looking in the coop twice a day to check if my babies were growing right.

Well, grow they did! And fast, too – these kids spend most of the daylight hours scrounging for food on the property. Those bugs must be nutritious! We also feed them Black Soldier Fly Larvae (I know, it sounds gross, right?)

This little gal, who used to look like:

Grew up to be a gorgeous soft orange-yellow hen. She’s a gentle giant and her feathers are so soft and fluffy. She’s like a giant pillow. We had originally named her “Nugget” but it seems a little cruel now, since she’s my favorite.  Nugget will just hang out in your arms and be content as long as you’re feeding her bugs.

This one is one of the most timid of the flock. Here’s her baby pic:

She surprised us all turning into a 5-toed, speckled, feather-footed hen with fluffy earmuffs that sometimes blocks her view and she runs into stuff sometimes.

Ack! I can’t see! Someone trim my puffy muffs!

Look at her feather covered feet. So funky!

Spotty, who looked like she has a mask on….

…grew up to be a Sicilian Buttercup with a large, wobbly buttercup shaped comb that flaps around when she waddles. Poor thing is the smallest and gets picked on by the others. I want to put little spurs on her legs so she can at least defend herself!

We’ve been keeping them in the coop the past few weeks as I just planted my winter garden and the hens LOVE LOVE LOVE to eat the baby seedlings, especially lettuce.

They are not too fond of Buster, our 5-month old puppy, though. Anytime Buster or Coco are near the coop, the hens will freak out and go hide upstairs.

Every egg is precious, we collect them in the late afternoon.

A few days ago, one of the hens laid a strange egg. A normal egg is on the left, and the one on the right was really rough and scratchy. The inside of the egg looked just fine. Tasted just fine too :-)

Any hen owners know what caused this? We only saw one egg like this, and ever since all eggs have been normal.









28 Responses to “My hens are teenagers”

  1. Faleen — 10/24/12 @ 10:13 am

    I guess like humans, they all start out cute and then they grow up. I do, however, like the sort of speckled one the best.

  2. I love this post! Nugget is beautiful! How much space do you need for them? and the coop? And how does one get their own hens? Any advice would be greatly appreciated! :)

    • SteamyKitchen — 10/24/12 @ 10:31 am

      They are so easy to take care of. They need about 4 sq.ft per chicken in the coop. I got my chicks from mypetchicken.com and also a local farm/feed store.

    • SteamyKitchen — 10/24/12 @ 10:33 am

      Oh and a great resource is Grit Magazine and website. They also have some very helpful books too. http://www.grit.com/

  3. April — 10/24/12 @ 10:30 am

    I too am checking the coop twice a day! Yesterday I saw all fifteen girls in the front yard under the big pine and on the front garden, fifteen minutes later I only say five in the back under the bird feeders, I went out to round them all up and nothing,,, I started to panic and started yelling out loud, HERE Chicky Chicky, HERE Chicky Chicky.. They know treats are on the way. I walked on the other side of the pine down to the dirt road, looked to the left and saw ten of them running to my voice, wings flapping, they were freaking out. I was like come on girls, clapping etc. I walked them all back to the coop where they stayed cuddled for a few hours. Now, to find out which one of them is the trouble maker LOL.

  4. Linda — 10/24/12 @ 11:03 am

    The bumps are small lumps of calcified material on the egg shell.

  5. Linda — 10/24/12 @ 11:05 am

    I miss my chickens! Hopefully, I’ll eventually live where I can have some again.

  6. Ti — 10/24/12 @ 11:09 am

    I Googled the egg thing out of curiosity and it can be many things:

    Too much calcium in the diet
    Not enough water

    The hens are beautiful!

  7. Nugget is a cute name. Growing up in Asia, I see chickens all around – it’s more like kids playing on the street. But, we’re too scared to be near them since they can be pretty aggresive. How do you keep them warm in cold/ rainy weather?

  8. Purlsandknit — 10/24/12 @ 12:54 pm

    Those specks happen especially when hens first start laying or when the seasons change. Just make sure they have plenty of access to water and good nutrition as well as small pebbles. There was nothing wrong with that egg at all, her body is just figuring out how to lay. For the first couple months (or longer) you will see all sizes and shapes of eggs, this is just because you have young hens.

    They are quite lovely.

  9. Vijitha — 10/24/12 @ 7:58 pm

    My grandmother had 2 hens and turkey in her backyard. She also 2 cows and goats. Well, we come from Southern part of India and these were the staple domestic animal in every home. I wish I could go back to her home. I live in San Francisco and everything is so tiny and small here. Ahem, I wish to live in a house that has a huge yard :-)

  10. Amy — 10/24/12 @ 11:33 pm

    Your posts and pictures are always so interesting and sometimes so funny! Your hens are all so beautiful and healthy looking! Here on Kauai, we have so many wild chickens! Free range…too bad I can’t make a deal with them…the use of my land for some eggs!

  11. The are gorgeous Jaden! I really envy you your chickens…in the middle of the city the most I can aspire to is a potted herb plant!

  12. Kim in MD — 10/25/12 @ 10:02 am

    I love this post! I wish I could raise chickens in my neighborhood, but no livestock is allowed. I love the different colored eggs, especially the pink and blue eggs!

  13. My neighbors had chickens when I was growing up. They weren’t nice animals, haha. But your little chicks look sooo cute!

  14. nancypantsgirl — 10/25/12 @ 3:16 pm

    I love your chickens!!! So pretty. I got mine on mypetchicken.com too and they are great! Ours are just now about 6 weeks old. We haven’t moved them out to the kingdom…. err… I mean coop yet. Haha! My Dad and brother have been building a massive enclosure for them. We only have six. They are going to be some very happy hens. I can’t wait to move them out of the garage and then I can’t wait for spring when they will start laying!! As for the rough shell, I’ve read that it’s a result of double ovulation. You may notice an egg with no shell at all around the same time.

    What are all your other breeds? I got a Speckled Sussex (Susie), Welsummer (Willa), Columbian Wyandotte (Dottie), Cuckoo Marans (Crazy Mary), Ameraucana (Bonnie) and a Rhode Island Red (Providence). I’m looking forward to the blue eggs from Bonnie and the Chocolate eggs from Crazy Mary. :)

  15. I love the idea of backyard chickens, especially the idea of having a few silkie chickens to snuggle up to. Even though I know they aren’t snuggly. Even though everyone knows that chickens are demons in the most clever of disguises. I have scratch marks (probably etched in some devil’s language) on my arm to prove this theory.

    But I don’t care that they poop on each other and are probably Satan’s children. I want them.

  16. Maryann — 10/26/12 @ 10:31 am

    Awww! Thanks for sharing these beautiful pics. Love the group of eggs, it looks like an Easter basket. Your kids are so fortunate to have the opportunity to raise chickens. Enjoy the eggs.

  17. gigi — 10/29/12 @ 12:50 pm

    wow! amazing how they grow so quick. beautiful pics. thanks for sharing! xx. gigi. food and beauty blogger @ http://www.gigikkitchen.blogspot.com

  18. Chris — 11/3/12 @ 11:53 am

    The fluffy one looks like he raided Liberace’s closet in the 1970’s.

  19. The Healthy Apple — 11/5/12 @ 5:10 pm

    Beautiful photos, Jaden! They are adorable; I love the little ones; so cute.
    Hope you are having a great fall!

  20. HeavyMetalJess — 12/11/12 @ 11:48 am

    Your chicks really turned into beautiful ladies. I LOVE that you have such a wide assortment of egg colors!

  21. John Abernathy — 12/17/12 @ 10:26 am

    I get bumpy eggs occasionally too. I think it can come form a period of stress. No water, not grazing outside, laying season coming to an end. We got chicks this summer and one of the girls has grown to be a boy.

  22. Susan Yoder — 2/9/13 @ 10:38 pm

    Your chicks turned into great looking hens. They do seem to grown up so fast. I started to raise chickens after I visited my neighbor who has some. He also has a chicken blog called http://kernschickenfarm.com/ which I found useful in the beginning of by chicken raising journey. As for the eggs being bumpy I get that too sometimes. Its nothing really to worry about tho. It is most likely do to stress, not enough water, or to much calcium in their food intake.

  23. Liane — 4/7/13 @ 4:52 am

    I love your chicken post! I used to have a little red hen named Chicken Little. She laid one nice big brown egg around the same time every day. She was really sweet and came when I called her. Sadly, she died after 4 years of caring for her. I think she caught a cold and never recovered. I heard that birds can get respiratory illnesses easily. I enjoyed your story. Thanks for sharing!

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