Tag Archives: coop

Molting Chickens

Our chickens have decided that it is time for them to molt. The result-ugly chickens for a while! At first I was worried that something was getting into the chicken house or that the chickens were sick. The symptoms included egg production drastically decreasing, and there seem to be more feathers in the coop than on the chickens.

Here’s what I have learned.  Molting is the natural process that chickens undergo once a year. Basically, the current feathers are replaced with new feathers. After molting the feathers are usually fuller and fluffier. Molting can be triggered by the change in daylight hours and/or the weather, so most chickens molt in the fall. This molting can last for 1- 6 months depending on how healthy the birds were before molting. Molting takes a lot of energy as the new feathers form and grow. This energy focus takes away from egg laying. Most breeds totally cease laying during molting.

I also learned that we can help our ladies by increasing the protein in their feed. Some experts even suggest making a smoothie of plain yogurt, chick starter, and fresh fruit. Really? Okay, I’ll get the blender…

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Posted by on September 26, 2012 in Farm Fresh Eggs, Grammy's Pumpkin Patch


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He’s No Chicken

So I was going through some pictures.  I found a few of my nephew that I thought were too good not to share.  This little guy just turned two.  When he visits Papa and Grammy at the farm, his favorite chore is gathering the eggs. He runs to get the egg bucket as soon as it gets close to evening, grabs Papa, and heads out!

            So here’s the little guy taking the chickens’ entrance into the coop.  That’s what happens when we aren’t quick enough opening the door for him!  Here he is peeking out from the chicken door.  Don’t worry, Val, I am sure that he is totally clean (nothing a little antibacterial won’t take car of).

Grammy’s Pumpkin Patch 2012 – McPherson, KS
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Posted by on August 17, 2012 in Farm Fresh Eggs


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New Additions!


So I am back from roguing corn in Iowa, and I am back to growing pumpkins. Both jobs are a bit difficult in a very dry summer. Because it has been so dry and brown here, it is fun to see new life at the farm! We have several new additions to introduce to you.  First, Grammy and Papa have brought some new “ladies” to the farm–guinea hens.  There are 10 new guineas that are getting familiar to the coop and us. The darker ones are the same variety that we have had in the past.  They are Helmeted Guineas, and they will look like the older guineas in the last picture in a few months. The four lighter ones are called Lavender Guineas (I think).  I will have to do some more research to find out.  My kids are trying to befriend the new “ladies” with oatmeal and millet.  So far they are still pretty flighty and timid.  Am I crazy to think that they are kind of cute?  By the way if you see the birds that don’t look like either type of guinea, those are the quail that Papa hatched (again, don’t ask).

Speaking of cute, we also found a new litter of kittens in the shed yesterday. I didn’t take a picture because they are so young, and last time that mommy cat moved her litter after we found them.  We couldn’t find them after that, so we are hoping that bringing her a cozy bed and some milk will help her keep them around.  They are so cute! My kids can’t wait to be able to play with them.

And last, but not least, are the new laying hens. We have replaced our chickens that were lost in the “Great Chicken Massacre” of 2012. Grammy and Papa chose some different varieties (all Heritage Birds). I can’t remember them all, but I’ll check. Right now they are molting (not super pretty), so they won’t lay for a couple of weeks, and then we will be back in the egg business!

Grammy’s Pumpkin Patch 2012
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Posted by on July 17, 2012 in Grammy's Pumpkin Patch


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One Lone Coon

So one lone coon has been trapped near the chicken coop. Papa is pretty sure that it took more than one coon to do that much damage. The 3 surviving hens have been quite hesitant to leave their nests these past couple of days. How sad!

Grammy’s Pumpkin Patch 2012
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Posted by on July 9, 2012 in Grammy's Pumpkin Patch


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Sad News From the Coop

I am actually in Iowa right now.  My husband and I have temporarily traded pumpkin farming in McPherson, KS for corn roguing in Traer, IA.  It is kind of a working vacation.  I have not decided which is better:  pumpkin flood irrigating and weeding or corn roguing, both in 100+ degree weather.  So, since we are here, mom and dad (Grammy and Papa) are keeping us up to date on the pumpkins and farm life in Kansas.

Last night they called with sad news.  Something got into the chicken coop, killing 10 chickens!  Papa had been leaving the windows open with screen coverings, so the chickens wouldn’t roast prematurely in this weather.  Apparently, some critter, (maybe a raccoon??) clawed through the window frame and screen to reek havoc in the coop.  Grammy opened the coop door to a very sad sight in the morning 😦  Farming is not always easy. The crazy thing is that whatever killed the chickens didn’t bother the young guinea hens or the 3 quails in the other half of the coop.  We are thankful for that.

The guinea hens had slowly been disappearing throughout the spring because they preferred to roost outside in the trees during nice weather instead of in the safety of the coop. Every couple of nights one would “disappear”, so Papa and Grammy had recently brought 10 new ones to the farm. Glad they are safe.  The quail–don’t ask–let’s just say Papa rescued a nest and hasn’t yet released them into the big bad world.

Needless to say, Papa is setting a live trap out for the next couple nights.  I’ll let you know if the culprit is caught.

Grammy’s Pumpkin Patch 2012
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Posted by on July 7, 2012 in Grammy's Pumpkin Patch


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