Gandalf the Great Pyrenees had a new toy. The story goes (according to him anyway) that Buttercup the chicken got out of the pen and he was simply attempting to corral her back in. Three quarters of her was stuck in his mouth as I screamed at him.
Forget hawks, eagles, raccoons, skunks, bears, coyotes, or any other predator you may have heard about. Dogs are the most common predator chickens face.
My friend, Addie- aka Superwoman…if war breaks out, we are heading to her house- brought us three chickens to make up for Buttercup. Buttercup, was of course, our best layer. These three have some work to do. They were in a large coop hanging out in the front yard when we got home. A lovely surprise! We quietly put them in the coop in the night so that the chickens would all be fooled and think that they were always there come morning and there would be no blood baths. It always works. Except when it doesn’t.
We used the portable coop she loaned us that the chickens had been delivered in to lock up the chickens. “Should I put the three new girls in the pen?”
“No,” she replied, “you lock up the bullies!”
She further explained (if y’all knew how many homesteading lessons I have had from this gal over the years you would think she should have written a book!) that if you put the new girls in the pen it only tells the old girls that they are indeed below them. If you lock up the mean girls then they come to understand that they are not the bosses. It worked like a charm.
Then the egg eating started. Oh, those three rascals. One of them was eating eggs like she was sitting in an IHOP. Addie suggested we raise their protein intake in their food because they were all molting and they needed more nutrients to get through it. We also laid golf balls around the coop so the culprit would peck those once and would stop pecking eggs. That worked but no one is laying eggs right now!
I have been a subscriber since I was twelve years old to a magazine about country living. I am afraid its gotten a little high falutin and ridiculous. Very pretty pictures but really geared for rich people who have no idea what farming is about. Photographs of chicken coops with pea gravel and curtains with lush, landscaped yards and chickens crossing the kitchen without any poo in sight. I love it, but it is a little deceiving.
We have a noxious tree that I love called Tree of Heaven here, or Chinese Sumac. It’s poisonous so the chickens don’t eat it. It has popped up all over the chicken yard creating a jungle atmosphere and shade. When they first moved in they had two foot high grasses to jump through. They will eat any plant that is edible, y’all. Do not landscape your chicken yard!
We looked around this place and saw the chickens, the infant orchard, the vegetables growing tall, and the pumpkins jumping out of their beds, and we have realized that we live on a perfect urban farm. A lot of people cannot afford to live out in the country and I have decided to reopen my Homesteading School. I will be teaching canning, preserving, baking, cooking, gardening, and much more as our little-farm-that-could gets more organized and utilized.
Check out my Facebook page for events here! I will also be putting a link on this blog. Happy Homesteading!