Sunday, October 12, 2008

22°F this morning in the coop

From Left to Right: White & Blakc Ameraucana, Maran Hen, Maran Rooster, back end of a Silver Laced Wyandotte, White Ameraucana (aka The Princess Chicken).

Of course, that was too cold for me to go mucking about in the wane morning light. All of these pictures were taken in the coop in the evening while it was a balmy 34°F.
Closer view of the Maran Hen (left) and Maran Rooster (right). It's difficult to tell in this photo, but the hens are all quite a bit darker in coloring, with little rose combs. The rooster is a lot larger than the hens, and his comb is traditional rooster looking, not rose at all. And, of course, he crows. A lot. And not just at sunrise, but whenever he darn well feels. He crows at me when I enter the coop and startle him, and he crows at my german shepard. I think he just likes to hear himself crow. The other two roosters don't crow nearly as much.
A trio of Silver Laced Wyandotte hens. They have almost no combs. I chose the Marans both for the dark brown eggs that they lay, and also, because, like the Wyandottes, they have small combs. I'm hoping this will help avert frost bite.
Closer view of a Silver Laced Wyandotte hen. Note her red earlobes. She will lay traditional brown eggs (not nearly as dark as the Marans).
Left to Right: Ameraucana rooster, Maran hen, Brown/Orange Ameraucana - all puffed out and mad because I woke her up - two Silver Laced Wyandottes.
Brown/Orange Ameraucana and a Silver Laced Wyandotte - I stuck my finger under the Wyandotte - nice and toasty under the feathers and in her down. Feet all warm, too. They are perched on 2" x 4" boards with the wide side parallel to the floor so they can cover all of their feet when roosting. Supposed to help prevent frostbite on the toesies.
And, of course, no photo shoot could be complete without a photo of The Princess Chicken. Since the roosters have started crowing and growing spurs, she (we still think she is a she) has stopped crowing. She is acting more feminine, too - not nearly as agressive as she used to be. Still, we don't have eggs from her, yet, so she still might be a he. White Ameraucana. Ameraucanas lay blue or green eggs, with the color being specific to the hen (i.e. she will lay all blue or all green eggs, and not a mixture).
Maran hen on top of an 8 ft ladder. She's the top hen and she always wants to roost as high up as possible. I left the ladder in the coop after adjusting the heat lamp (the ladder is far from the lamp) - and now she has taken over. I guess I will have to presure wash and bleach before returning it to my husband!

By the way, the heat lamp doesn't really heat the coop, but it does keep the waterer mostly deiced - meaning that I won't usually have to go chip ice for them in the wee hours before work.


Dianne said...

Thoroughly enjoyed this post! I'm trying to talk my husband into some chickens...with 58 acres there's plenty of room so here's hoping! Dianne

KMU said...

Most people, I think, don't go crazy and start out with nearly 30 chickens! Many start with a more sane number, like 6 hens and no roosters. Might be easier to "sell" your husband on 6... but make sure your hen house can accomodate at least twice what you are looking for... chickens are addictive!

Ours don't get to "free range" as we have large dogs, but I think they are still having a happy chicky life. I do, however, recommend that the coop be a fair ways away from the house if you are going to have lots of chickens and a rooster or two. They can get loud!

Keeping my fingers crossed for you and hoping for chicken blessings in your future!