9 Weeks and 13 Weeks Update

It has been a week since the girls move into their new home.. I think they absolutely loved it..

Lets get some of they progress photos in here..

These is my Bond Brown Ranga and Forhorn, the photos are takes between last week and yesterday.. there are 9 weeks today so a good age indication for 8 weeks chicks..

Oh.. how do I tell them apart.. check out the green band (cable tie) on Foghorn’s left ankle.. Ranga do not have any..

Ranga: Are you looking at me... are you LOOKING at me

Beautiful Foghorn.. free ranging.. she is also the smallest out of the 6..

Bond Brown: Foghorn and Ranga

Bond Brown.. Foghorn and Ranga... chillin in the sun..

Ranga free ranging

Foghorn free ranging

I know previously I have said.. my ‘Bond Brown’ is a commercial cross of Rhode Island Red and Leghorn, I revisit the petshop yesterday to get some flea dust for the girls and re-read the breed info for the girls..

I stand corrected.. Bond Brown is actually a commercial cross of Rhode Island Red and Rhode Island White.. there is no Leghorn in them, sorry Foghorn.. you are still stuck with that name..

The are breed to maximize egg production in the back yard situation.. could lay up to 300 eggs per year (hmmmm eggs… might as well we really like eggs, and I think the family will get some eggs as well). But they only produce for the first 2 years and slow down afterward.. may stop altogether pretty soon after that..

The Bond Black are the cross between Australorp and Rhode Island Red.. They have this amazing green sheen on their plumage which is just beautiful.. I can just sit there all day and watch their color change according to the light.   Due to the cross, when they get older they will probably have rust color feather on their chest so AllBlack will no longer be all black in color.

Some photo of the Bond Black. AllBlack have green cable tie on her left ankle..

AllBlack very elegant, the biggest out of the 'bond' girls.. almost as big as PinkLady

ClownFace.. being a clown..

ClownFace chillin away in summer heat

The Sussex are my only purebred.. They meant to be very good meat bird so they are huge and supposedly eat a lot. I don’t notice that much of a different, it may due to  them able to free-range..  They should lay about 180 to 210 of eggs per hen per year..  not as much, but apparently they should lay longer into their life.. some hen are know to lay up to 6 years of age (maybe only 50 – 80 per year)

Photo of my Sussex PinkLady and Cookie (Cookie with the green cable tie)… the photos were taken sometime between last week and today.. maybe a good age indicator for 12 weeks old Sussex.. can’t be sure on that as I was never sure of their age to start off with. Got them at boxing day and suppose to be between 8 to 10 weeks old.. and that was about 5 weeks ago..

Dust Bathing... some would said.. why is the chicken try to bury herself lol..

PinkLady enjoy the young fruit from the orange tree..

Cookie is the biggest of the lot.. I was almost convince that she is a boy.. but at this age, if she is a cockerel, her comb and wattle will be much bigger... so pullet for now...

Some group photos of the girls..

The girls settling in for the night in their new home (first night)

Group photo of all my girls free ranging - One big happy family..

That’s is for now.. ta ta..

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The girls have new home…

It has been a busy weekend.. we are exhausted.. as state on my last post, we have use the boys old swing set and convert it into a A-Frame chook house / run..

My girls are now between 8 weeks and 12 weeks old.. they are getting big and six of them will not fit into their existing coop (even though it is suppose to be for six chooks)…

I have a surgery recently which have blown my budget out of the way (it cost about 4 time than I expect to pay 😦 )so buying a new coop or even an additional coop is out of the question.

We have a old swing set which is being dump behind the car port.. looking at it the other day giving me the idea of converting it into a A-Frame coop.  I got the idea from browsing those the housing section on Back Yard Poultry Forum… A lot of chicken coop are in a form of A-frame hatch and there was some very beautiful ‘enlarged’ version of it..

My only concern is.. the swing set is steel.. how do I go about putting my idea together, where shall I find material to made it as economical as possible..  (both me and K are not the DIY type.. we differentiate screw driver between plus and minus sign)..

I talk to my BIL who is very handy and he confirm that it is not that hard to ‘attached’ thing onto a steel frame so I decided to give it a go..

I have this grand plan.. I want an ‘off the floor’ coop inside the A frame as the girls ‘bedroom’ with plenty of space underneath for them to run around.. etc etc..

Walking home from the bus the week before, got me talking to my neighbor across the road, who is also a retired builder..

He always have building material laying around his car port so I ask him whether he has any spare iron sheeting that I can buy from him (hopefully cheaply) I explain my plan of converting the swing set into a chicken coop/run..

He basically offer me any spare supplies he has ‘as many as I need’ for free.. he said, either I take it or it is going to the dump.. he also happen to have 4 colorbond sheet in the carport as we speak and he said I can have them when ever I am ready..

The iron sheeting is exactly what I needed and told him I will pick it up on the weekend when we are ready to start work.

The next day seeing him delivery the sheets and position it safely onto my carport.. as the sheets are 3 m x .8m it is quite large to carry over the street (he drove the sheets over)…

The pressure is on to really get this project going so on Sunday.. we visited Bunning Warehouse to get an idea of costing to find out how much this project will cost me.. and guess who we run into in the ‘trade’ area.. yup.. the friendly neighbor..

I explain to him my plan of the ‘off the floor housing’ and looking for some board that will fit the purpose… After a brief discussion, he told me not to get any as he have some very old board (20 years old) which is still very solid.. it will fit my purpose..

I made plan to meet with him later that afternoon so we can go over my plan (I have about 3 sheets of drawing) and find out what I need and how to go about with it..

After meeting with him.. my ‘plan’ change completely.. I don’t need an ‘off the ground house’ for the chicken, it will made the work too completed for novice like me and K.. he also made a few recommendation and advice what is the best material to buy to add to the frame.. He even offer to buy it for us (as he go to Bunnings everyday) as it is too long for us to take home (6m in length)..

As he will be away for a couple of days to build something on his holiday site, I told him I will give him the measurement by Wednesday so he will know how many ‘frame steel’ to get for us..

K have a RDO on Tuesday, I got a call from him at work, the neighbor have just drop by with 4 of the 6m length steel.. a pack of bolt and a roll of chicken wire.. He also show K how to bolt the sheets onto the frame and how to cut the sheeting to length and lend us the cutter for the job.. We got almost everything to get started and the pressure is on..

Anyway.. This is what happen

During the week K start by removing all the swing bits from the swing, move the frame into the yard for work.. we also try to cut the ‘steel frame’ to size (the yellow bits) just to see how easy or hard to cut them to size

Swing Set will all bits and pieces removed

On Saturday… work begin

The bare frame under the patio

We move the frame under the patio so we can work out of the sun

Bolting the frame at the base of the swing

The joint

Cutting the sheet into size..

Using the offcut of the sheeting to cover one end of the frame.. it is like a jigsaw puzzle..

One side cover.. we used 4 pieces of off-cut.. which made this very heavy

Move to the lawn before it get too heavy

We move the frame to the lawn before it get too heavy.. don’t think we will be able to move it once it is all cover in iron sheeting.. We lay the sheeting against the frame to get an idea of the finish product…

Front view of the A-Frame

We lay 2 sheet overlap on top of the frame (the yellow steel) and bolt it onto the A-Frame at one go.. once all the sheeting in place, it is time to fit the avery mesh.. I did not use the chicken wire given to me as I already order some avery mesh on line before I know I am getting some chicken wire.. wish I have used the chicken wire though.. at hind sight.. the chicken wire will be more easy to handle..

One part of avery mesh gone up.. chicken check out their new home

By the time we one the first section of the mesh installed it is pass 6:30 in the evening and we also do not have the right tool to join 2 lots of mesh at that point of time so that is end of day one..

On Sunday – Finishing the project

Don’t really know how it happen, but I got sunburn from Saturday, Sunday is another hot day so we did not start work until well into the afternoon.. I spend the morning in Bunning checking out supplies..

The mesh was joint by lots of netting ring

putting the steel in place trying to get a door frame together

Netting ring

Door frame bolted in place

Door fitted onto the frame with 2 hinges

Gap filler foam to cover sharp edges

Roof ridge delivered and fitted by professional builder

Come home from work today to see the roof ridge being installed by my neighbor.. now the coop is water proof..

Food and Drink hanging from the roof..

The girls happy in their new home

Finish product with happy chooks..

I must admit, I think it will be another ‘all talk and no action’ project if the neighbor have not been actively involve in this project.. apart from fitting the roof ridge as finishing touch he did not involve in any of actual building.. but he contribute heavily on the material.. not to mention the moral support.. knowing that he is just across the road and will be more than happy to help if we stuff up give us the confident to put the thought into action..

I am sure the chickens is very happy in their new home.. and I will try to post an update of their progress as soon as I can (been a bit slack lately)

Until than.. see ya 🙂

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It has been a while

Wow.. did not realise how time fly… It has been more than 2 weeks since last update.. The girls will be 8 and 12 weeks tomorrow..

-Lots have happen since the last post.. 2 of my girls got sick, they suffer from Coccidiosis on new years day as well.. what a way to start a year..

-JouDan is no longer with us… I use him as a demo to show some online ‘friend’ how to made Chinese herbal chicken soup..

-I have also got some duck eggs from another online ‘friend’, I salted a dozen of them and use another 8 to try my hand on making century eggs (will find out how it turn out in 100 days)

-The girls are also getting too big for their coop so it has been decided to build them a new ‘house’ using the boys old swing set.. just finished today..

Sick Chooks..

On new year day..  first thing in the morning.. I went out to let the girls out to the coop into their little run area.. I will also sit in the run with them just to observe.. they are fascinating, I can watch them for hours… One of the thing I notice in that morning is one bright orange pooh being created by PinkLady.. right out of her bum hole.. I am not going to post any gross photos here but if you really want to know, you can check out my thread regarding this issue on the BYP Forum http://forum.backyardpoultry.com/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=7985609.

Good Bye JouDan

On the 10th of Jan.. K finally decided to do the deed and cull JouDan.. so for the last time.. thank you JouDan.. we love you and will missed you…

Just before ‘the day’, I open the gate to the girls run.. One reason is to let the girls have more access to the yard… they are getting too cramp in that little space.. it is quiet funny to see JouDan try to squize himself back to the run and into the coop.. that coop will definitely be too small for  the girls when they get older.. Second reason is to let JouDan closer to the girl.. to made him happy just before he have to ‘go’..

JouDan checking out the girls

Duck Eggs

Not going into details here as it is quiet long winded.. so if you are interested.. full details in my thread on BYP forum http://forum.backyardpoultry.com/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=7985599

New Chook Run

Again.. Check out my thread on BYP Forum.. http://forum.backyardpoultry.com/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=7986016

AND finally

I know I have been very slack.. I am exhausted from building 2 days straight.. I like to post on the BYP Forum because you get instant help and advise from the very helpful member there.. and it build up gradually.  I think I will try to put in some photo update on tomorrow.. gee the girls are getting big..

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Photo Update 5 Weeks and 9 Week

As promised.. 5 weeks photo update of the girls.. also, PinkLady and Cookie’s age cannot be confirm, I was told they are around 8 to 10 weeks.. so I am going for 9 weeks 🙂

Cookie and PinkLady.. 9 weeks (guess work)

Two Fat Ladies.. that’s what these 2 girls remind me of, I think they are not really ‘fat’ just lots of fluffy feather.. but the amount they eat.. won’t be surprise if they become real ‘fat ladies’

The gingers and the blacks at 5 weeks… admittedly, it is not so easy to get photos of these girls.. they are just getting so active and I just can’t get a still photos of them. The only time they are still is when they are eating or drinking, but than you can’t really capture their ‘face’ when that happen.. just have to put up with blurry and odd photos for the time being..

Another thing, they also like to come running to me every time I walk into the run.. which made photo abit hard to take as well when they are all over your feets and behind your legs ‘sigh’.. I will get there somehow and hopefully get better photos in the future.

Foghorn at 5 weeks.. she is getting that red showing through her shoulder.. like a free spirited gypsy with a ginger poncho..

Run Foghorn.. run

Silly girl squeezing thought the mesh trying to get fresh grass from the other side of the fence.. ‘the grass is greener on the other side’.. very fitting..

Foghorn getting fresh green..

Ranga at 5 weeks.. really getting the ‘red’ coming through her head feather.. very interested in how she turn out..

Ranga drinking from the new nipple waterer..

I got them the new nipple waterer a couple of days ago, just managed to get it fitted and give it to the girls today.. smart girl learn to drink from it straight away.

AllBlack enjoy fresh water from the new nipple waterer

AllBlack, she is the first girl working out the new drinker system.. as soon as she start drinking from the new waterer, the rest of the girls come rushing..

The last couple of days have been hard for these lots.. the ‘Two fat ladies’ have not been very nice to them.. they will do random attach (peaking at the neck feather) and would not let them eat or drink. Luckily these 4 girls are very agile and can run away very quickly when the attach come.

It is something they will need to go through while establishing the new pecking order within the flock, I just hope it is not going to go on for long and also made sure there is more than one source or food and drink…

ClownFace is making sure the ‘Two fat ladies’ do not attach Ranga while she enjoy her fresh green from the ‘other side’ so cute..

ClownFace standing guard while Ranga enjoy a treat from the other side

Now, let not forget JouDan.. yes, he is still with us, but not for long.. I think tomorrow will be ‘the day’ for him..

He has been a bit mean to me lately.. constantly chasing after me and attacking my feet.. don’t know what’s the go because he only doing that to me.. I was a bit concern at first, that he might hurt or scare Andrew with his attack, but after a few days of observation, I think I am his only target.. oh well :-(, sad for me but good for the boys..

He is also abit lonely since Coffee gone.. I did not let him in the run with the girls simply because he is just too big for them, I don’t want any casualty within the flock so he get the whole yard while the girls get the chicken run.. He has no idea how lucky he is..

But I don’t think he appreciate the freedom and really want to be ‘lock in’ with the girls, especially the ‘two fat ladies’…

JouDan trying to get as close to the Sussex as he can..

The ‘two fat ladies’ favorite shade spot is under the ramp.. as you can see, JouDan will sit himself just the other side of the coop just to be as close to them as possible.. it is so cute, I think he is in love…

Just wait for me... let me find a loop hole around this thing...

No kidding, that is what he does most of the time.. circling the run over and over again, I think he is trying to find a way in..

Maybe I will let him spend a few minutes with the girls (under my supervision of course) just before ‘the time’ tomorrow..

Anyway.. so long from me for now… back soon..

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The Sussex have been named

Hi Guys…

welcome the GREAT BALL OF FXXX… fluff 🙂

Great Ball of Fluff???

Ethan and Kevin decided to name the Sussex..

Let me introduce…. Cookie and Pink Lady

Cookie.. with the 1 Black tail feather..

Ethan named Cookie, he has the habit of stealing name from someone else’s pet.. Cookie being the name of my sister’s Foxy Terrier..  Sorry T..

Cookie is also the mean one.. I notice she peak on all the bird, including PinkLady… I think she is trying to get to the top of the peaking order..

PinkLady.. named by Kevin

Kevin want to name the Sussex PinkLady, compare them to AllBlack and Foghorn, you will notice that the Sussex is very pink in term of their comb, wattle and legs.. since Ethan want to name one of the Cookie, Kevin get to name this PinkLady..

PinkLady is nicer compare to Cookie, she will share with food with Foghorn and the others..

Even though PL get peck by Cookie, they still behave like conjoin twin.. it is very hard to get photo of one without the other.. they are so beautiful and fun to watch especially when they forage together..

I will post the 5 weeks update on Foghorn and the rest very soon… I promise..

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Welcome 2 new comers and goodbye Coffee…

Goodbye Coffee.. RIP

Goodbye Coffee, it has been almost 14 weeks and we will missed you dearly. Because of you, Ethan learn the full life cycle of a meat chicken.. from egg to table.. thank you for this valuable lesson.

Today, we drove all the way to Morayfield (59Km).. it is very rare for us to drive that distance but I think the trip is well worth it.. We are visiting Cathy (Back Yard Poultry member).. she is a teacher with a passion for chicken.. at her home, she have  lots of chicken (she lost count of the number) more still being hatch up in the incubator..  She also have lots of geese and duck.. a most interesting looking drake (male duck) that follow people around…

Upon arrival, she show the boys the egg incubator.. and what a timing.. there was a couple of bantam polish just peeped (hatched out) and the down is still wet from the shell.. there is one with the belly button still attached to the yolk.. I think the boys may have seen a couple of hatchling before, after all, their daycare centre run holiday hatchling program and that’s where our first lot of chicken come from.. but for me.. it is a completely new experience.. I just can’t get over the size of those just hatch bantam polish.. Sooooo tiny… this newly hatched chicken will stay at the incubator for another 24 hours to dry out before moving to the brooder…

She has proper setup for her chicken at every single stage, it is so well set up.. it look like a professional breeder.. The boys get the tour of all the different stage of chicken life cycle.. it is such a eye opener for them and for me..

For us to get to the Sussex pen, we need to pass through the water hole where the water fowls was kept.. all those free ranging geese and ducks.. there’s also this incredible drake who just follow us around.. scare  Andrew (M3) abit because he is HUGE,  so she put him in a cage while we were there.. We were also shown a wooden box where a broody duck was sitting on her eggs.. nothing beat natural hatch chicks and duckling..

When we get to the chicken pens.. the set up is incredible.. 4 bays of runs with different breed in each at different stages..  I was basically given free access to those pen and pick up anything thing that meet my fancy.. as long as it is not cockerel.. as I don’t want another cockerel again, and these chicken come with pullet guarantee, if any of the chosen chicken turn out to be cockerel, she will swap it for me..

I was trying to pick something closer in size to my current flock for ease of integration.. we found a couple of smallest bird, she give me the once over on how to pick a healthy bird and what to look out for to avoid cockerel.. I saw a few chicken running around, with comb and wattle similar size to JouDan, she has basically confirm that JouDan to be a cockerel as pullets that age will not have comb and wattle that size.. JouDan will have to go, just a matter of time.

With the chicken picked up and a good wipe down.. it is time to head home.. but before than, we were given a dozen of eggs laid this morning to take home..

Freshly laid eggs from Sussex (pinkish) Welsummer (dark brown) Polish (White) and Wyandotte (light brown). The mini eggs are from the Bantam Polish.. so cute.

I think this chookie people are the most friendly and generous lot of people…

It has been an amazing experience for me and the boys (including Keivn).. not something we will forget anytime soon..

Time to introduce the new comers, if you can help with name… it would be great…

My new Light Sussex... Yet to be name

They are abit worse for wear from the drive home.. but generally they seems to settle very quickly.. they walk around my exiting flocks.. and look almost double the size of Forhorn and the rest, at this stage, I can sort of differentiate them by their tail feather.

Sussex with different tail feather..

The Sussex in the front have this sort of fluffy tail that open in the middle.. the tail feather all curl in, so very cute, the Sussex following her actually have a very distinctive black feather sticking out of her tail.. I think it will change when they grow up.. don’t really know how to tell them apart than…

Good thing is, they all seems to be getting along well.. both flocks eating and drinking together without hassle.. I have seen the Sussex peaking on the ClownFace and Ranga, but these babies are very agile and run away very quickly.. I think they will be fine, just need to establish the peaking order..

Dining in together..

I am so happy with what I have, I think I will only keep pure breed when the time come to replace.. love the productivity of Plymouth rock.. and the look of Wyandotte.. I know what I will get next time.. So long for now.. I will post again soon with 5th weeks update of the Foghorn gang..

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Chickies update… 4 weeks old

I know… it have been a while since the last update, the Black have finally been named.

I have received so many good name suggestion, it is so hard to choose, in the end K decided to name both Black himself because he is having trouble pronouncing Foghorn and Ranga 😉

So… introducing ALLBLACK 黑仔… (so creative… NOT)

AllBlack... black all over, obviously.. ha ha..

Next come CLOWNFACE   小丑

ClownFace... for the white patch on both side of her face.. look like a clown's permanent paint on smile

ClownFace like to follow AllBlack around, it is quiet hard to take a photo of him alone..

Just a couple of photo update on Foghorn and Ranga as well…

Ranga (left) and Foghorn (right)

Ranga is turning quiet a red head, as per name sake.. but Foghorn have better coloring all over.. can’t wait to see how they turn out..

ClownFace on the left with Foghorn at the right.. nice puffy chest 🙂

Ranga, she is fluffing out her chest.. notice the color are not as 'solid' as Foghorn

Looking at these pictures, it is hard to believe, it has only been 3 weeks and they were just a fluff ball.. baby chickies all grown up :sop: ..

Since last week, I have took the girls out of the ‘waste land’ with JouDan and Coffee… I think the crate is getting too small for them and JouDan and Coffee will not leave them alone when they are out of the crate.

I have set them up in the front yard with their own mini run..

Make shift run with tarp for protection from sun and rain

The crate are left open in the morning for them to ‘free range’ if you can call it that…

The crate will be close up at night with the tarp over it for protection from predators and element…

tuck in safely for the night...

They have been in this setup since last Saturday.. and seems very happy with what they have (anything is better that before).

By coming weekend, once K deal with JouDan and Coffee, I will give the coop a good clean and tidy up the ‘waste land’ ready for these chickies to move in before New Year…

By the way.. there might be a couple of new addition (pure breed) after the new year.. will keep you guys posted… very egg-cited 🙂

Ta ta for now…

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