Building a Better Pen…and Five Things I Learned as a “Rookie” Hen Owner

OK guys!

We’re at the end of February and it’s still too early to start planting anything¬† so I want to catch you up on my new journey of keeping chickens.

So…I’ve got some catching up on what I’ve been up to that I need to share. You’d be right in not just calling me a “kitty mom”, but a “chicken mom” too.
My newest side “venture”
If the prospects of spending $4 for a dozen eggs has got you steamed, you’re not alone. But like the saying goes, you don’t get mad. You just figure out a better way.
To catch you up, if you will recall from earlier we had seven Hulsey Pumpkin hens that we planned to gift to my boyrfriend’s father for his 70th birthday. I’ve been to his place and he’s got lots of chickens and roosters, in all different breeds, and this would be the feather in the cap.
We ended up, according to the dad’s wishes, gifting him all but 2 of them, so we kept the remaining Pumpkins. We ended up making a trip to Elijay (that’s in North Georgia, for all of you unfamiliar with the area) to acquire some more, and my better half got a sweetheart of a deal on some Cinnamons (at least, I think that’s what they’re called.)

Our laying hen flock so far…

I’m not sure if the trip was worthwhile or not. I got a bad cold soon afterward, and we ended up losing about 6 of the total of 16 we acquired. We ended up building a new pen just like the first one. John regretted the trip, slightly, as we’ve had lots of nasty weather, lots of rain (it always seems to rain all the time inteh winter…ugh.) He went to two places looking for some poultry -exclusive medicine. We finally got some on Amazon, and I had been treating them dialy with the mixture dispensed in their waterer.
Sometime in week 2 we found an egg – in this bad weather it’s the first, and probably won’t be much until spring.
We’re nearing the end of February so still too early to start re-planting our garden so more time devoted to the hens.

Five Things I learned As a “Rookie” Laying Hen Owner

1. Cracked corn in the poultry diet can stave off premature laying
JOhn has been instructing me to give the hens cracked corn to stem off premature egg laying.Sometime around the second week in the month, we found our “debut” egg…it may have been a fluke but here it is!

Our first, official egg

since it causes them stress to be laying eggs too early in the season, it is best to offer a diet that will stem it off for the time being, also since John thinks the hens may have had pnemonia, even more important. Refer back to the bad weather I mentioned, Georgia has mild winters overall, but it is very changeable, rain for days, then a break of sun and warmth, it’s hard to adjust.Just ask me. I imagine it’s doubly so for farm animals.


2. Chickens don’t get constipated.
I realize I’m still used to thinking like us, when I gave them some stale bread a few days, I had nothing to worry about in this department.
3. They roost in the evening.
Starting about 6 in the evening, I found them all perched on the makeshift perch I’d fashioned throught hte pen. WHich is why I had been feeding them from between 11 am to about 4 in the afternoon.
4.Chickens eat bugs
well, according to John, they’ll eat almost anything. Even feces. But anything that can help control insect pests, is grat in my book, as someone getting into gardening.
5.I didn’t have to refrigerate the debut egg right away
The eggs you buy from the grocery store are most likely pasteurized, which is why they are perishable. When John showed me the egg and I asked if I should refrigerate it he said I didn’t have to due to this process. Also, we need to get into eggshells too while we’re at it.
Eggshells are a great source of calcium, you may have heard of finely ground up eggshells being good for your soil if you’re a gardener. Instead of boiling the eggshells, you can put them in an oven set around 200 degrees F for about an hour to sterilize them, and afterward break them up with a mortar/pestle to make them fine. particles.

chicken pens side view

Here they are 2 Pumpkins and 8 Cinnamons. The doghouse is the same doghouse that was once in my catio, we used it as a mini-shelter when it rains and gets chilly. Our dog we (“we” being my late husband and I) used to have, did not go in it all that much to be honest.

Well, that’s it for now….I hope to keep you posted again soon on this! John has pre-ordered a batch of baby chicks which we will need to retrieve form some place, I don’t know when, but be y preordering it will put our name down fro certian.
We;ll have to build something secure for them, I don’t know if they can go in the quail pen?
I just hope my rambunctious cat doesn’t try to mess with them. Chicks are cute but they’d be a sitting duck for a playful feline., who is also a predator, no less. Bye for now!

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