Welcome to Legal Tender Farm

Welcome to Legal Tender Farm

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

How the Mighty Have Fallen

We have the rooster, Tubby, who has been with us since the beginning.  When we had our first flock of Rhode Island Reds we kept two roosters , Tubby and Hubby.  Tubby was the King of the Coop and regularly attacked Hubby until Hubby was killed by the neighbor's dog.

For a while now, we've had a Black Astralorp rooster named Blackie (original, huh?).  He is very fine looking, but Tubby has kept him in his place for the past two or three years.  The balance of power has now shifted.  Tubby is old and lame.  He's was still very fine looking until Blackie figured out that he is BMOC now.  He started attacking Tubby in the mornings and evenings while they were in the coop.  He pulls out his tail feathers and jumps on his back, tearing up Tubby's comb.  Poor guy, his head is all torn up, comb deflated, and there is blood in each corner where he has huddled trying to protect his head from Blackie.

Tubby is no longer allowed to be anywhere near the hens, so I've tried to minimize his humiliation and misery.  When I feed the chickens in the evening, I go ahead and lock them up in the yard, shutting Tubby out.  He's on his own to find a safe place to spend the night, but I figured it was better than being attacked every night.  I think he's sleeping in the mower shed, which is where I put his own little stash of scratch for him to eat.  Since I've been locking him out of the coop, his head comb is healing and the feathers on his head are growing back.  He's even getting a few of his tail plumes back.

I guess he's lonely because he has taken to hanging out with Harry during the day.  Here he is sunbathing and napping with Harry.  He even hangs out with me while I garden.

Harry doesn't mind the occasional peck.

See how he has his foot lifted up.  He does this all the time...picks his foot up and shakes it.

He does it with both feet and one of his legs is very bent.  I recently did some googling and I'm thinking he might have scaly mites.  I'm going to try treating him for it and see if it helps.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Chicken Coop Remodel Update

I wanted to do an update on the chicken coop remodel after living with it for a while.  It has been great!  It's so much easier to keep clean.

Since my last post about the chicken coop, we made a couple of changes.  Husband installed a roost on hinges.  I can lift this up to clean if I need to.  We also added a dropping board underneath the roost.  We just used some old closet doors because that's what we had and they were the right size.  Ideally, a dropping board wouldn't have seams for gunk to get stuck in, but this was a trial.  I may make a proper one covered with linoleum at a later date since this one has worked out so well.  I scrape it down every day with a wide tool that is made for spreading tile adhesive.  Then I use a kitty litter scoop to pick up whatever droppings are left in the sand overnight.

Since making this change with the sand on the floor and the dropping board, the chicken coop never stinks.

A new issue was that several chickens decided to roost in the nesting boxes.  This is not good.  When they sleep in the nesting boxes, they poop in them all night.  Then during the day when they go in to lay their eggs, they lay them in the poop.  Ugh.  Eggs with poop stuck to them is gross!

I've been mulling it over for some time and searching through Pinterest for solutions.  One chicken owner actually made curtains for her nesting boxes to discourage the chickens from sleeping in them. I seriously considered that, because, how cute is that...curtains on the nesting boxes and one on the window to match?  ooh...ahhh!

But, how long would that last?  They'd have to be washed and replaced.  Nah.  Not for me.  So, I had this idea...just drape a sheet over the whole unit.  Pull it up in the morning, then let it down at night.  In the above picture, I've got it up for the day.

Then, I do this for the night.  The hens have no access either to the boxes or the roosts outside the boxes.  Last night was the first night for covering them.  Everything seemed to go well.  The nests are still squeaky clean.  I think this is a good solution as long as we can remember to raise and lower the sheet each day.  Maybe after a while the hens will break the habit and we won't have to cover it anymore.