Monday, June 13, 2011


It's been a kind of crazy week here--well, at least the end of last week was. On Thursday we had a really bad storm whip through our area. It knocked our power out immediately (this was around 3 pm that day), and we didn't end up getting power back till sometime after 6:30 pm the following night. Needless to say, living without power for a day makes me appreciate a little more just how much our ancestors lived without on a daily basis! We were able to make it into a kind of fun adventure for the kids, though. That night we let all three of them sleep on our new-to-us sleeper couch. It was a pretty hot night and without being able to run fans, it was cooler out in the living room than in their room. We lit oil lamps and ate popcorn before bed. The kids had a blast and actually slept a lot better than I expected. Jim and I, however, didn't sleep so well and were awakened in the wee hours by something thumping around on our deck. It was a raccoon, and although Jim went after it, unfortunately it got away. At least for now!

Friday night we left the kids with my parents for a few hours and went out for a date night. In our haste we forgot to shut up the chickens before we left. When we came home around 10 pm, there were only 3 chickens in the coop and a lot of rooster feathers. We were pretty upset with ourselves for our forgetfulness. Up till then we hadn't lost any to predators, but now we had lost two (we thought). Around 5 am the next morning, however, we were awakened by a great sound--our rooster crowing! We were so happy that at least he had survived. So we only lost one hen after all, and the other hens are back to laying normally, although they were pretty skittish the next morning. And we've been a lot more careful about shutting them up as soon as they go into the coop at night. We're blaming the coon, but we have no way of proving that was what got Lucy. Jim is determined to do away with that coon as soon as possible, though! Nasty little critter. It's gotten into our garden at least twice, too.

We're going to hopefully buy a few new laying hens tonight. We were hoping to find some more free ones (we were so fortunate with that the first time!) but haven't seen any listed lately. We'd been thinking it would be nice to have a few more hens anyway so we can sell more eggs. Right now we have one family who buys from us, and sometimes our hens are a little slow in meeting demand for our family and theirs. We might even be able to sell a few more if we get some good layers.

Speaking of chickens, I wanted to throw out a question for you other chicken owners who are more experienced than we are. Two of our red hens, Marilla and Buttercup, have these big bare patches on their backs and wings. Lucy was getting to look like this too, but not as bad. (They look kind of bedraggled in this picture because it was right after our big storm--when they were hiding under the car. :))
{last picture of all three hens together before we lost Lucy--the one in the back}
For a long time we thought it was just from the rooster being too rough with them, but the chicken saddles did nothing to help (and they all eventually wriggled out of them). So then we thought they must be molting (and maybe they are)--but egg production hasn't slowed down much at all. Marilla has looked like this for months, since the winter, and doesn't seem to be looking any better. But other than the bare spots, both of them seem completely healthy. We wondered if it could be a problem with mites, but if that was the case, why don't Josie Pye (our Speckled Sussex) and the rooster have them? Both of them look totally normal. Any thoughts? Maybe they are just really slow molters?

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