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Posts Tagged hens

Happy Mother’s Day to Chicken Lovers

12 May 2012

Happy Mothers Day to those of you who have mothered and will always mother, and who understand the maternal instincts that are so apparent in hens. It is really so touching.

I took this picture off the internet last year. I’d love to give credit to whoever took it and a hearty thanks for the chuckle it gives me each time I look at it. Many thanks.


It doesn't matter what you mother, just mother. The world will be a better place.

Hens Need Their Nails Clipped

12 April 2012

Sweetpeas nails have grown too long.

Our hens needed a manicure. We have to clip the nails of our two labradoodles nearly every month. But with our hens, once a year does it. Living in the wild, chickens wear down their nails scratching in coarse dirt and even rocky soil. But our pampered hens scratch around in a run where most rocks have been removed and the soil is raked once a month to keep it clean.

The hens all needed to have their nails clipped this spring. We’ve only done this twice in their three years and it always makes me a bit nervous. Just like the dogs, if you cut a nail too short it bleeds. I took the nail clippers and some styptic powder (a blood stopper for dogs, cats, and birds) out to the coop and picked up Sweetpea who seemed to have the longest nails. Her nails were so long her toes were turning to the side.

I’m not very brave about clipping the nails of animals. I’m afraid of hurting them. Taking one toe at a time, while Don held the hens on his lap, we cut about 1/4″ off the ends of the nails on each hen. I did make one of Sweetpea’s bleed but it stopped with a little powder pressed on the blunt end of the nail and she forgave me. Sweetpea and the others were out scratching around in a few minutes.

Clip only the dark part of the nail.

These hens are relatively easy to handle. They squawk a little when we pick them up but usually settle right down when we put them on our laps. We’ve had to handle them quite a bit in their lives; giving them medicine, cutting off poop that has become hardened around their vents. We had to give Daisy a dose of mineral oil into her vent to remove a broken egg then let her soak in a warm tub. See picture here. We turn them upside down occasionally to check for problems “down south”. Chickens are no different than any other bird. Stuff goes in and stuff comes out. Feathers fall out and feathers grow in. Hormones go crazy and make them cranky and broody. Clipping their nails is just a little thing we can do occasionally to keep them healthy and is relatively easy. Chickens who are kept in cages don’t live long enough to have this pesky problem!.







Why Chicks Love Chickens

14 August 2011

Women Love Their Hens

Why is it that women love, and are dedicated to, their hens? I think I know the answer. The hens show the familiar attributes of our earliest female friends. Remember those high school girls you hung out with? They were all unique and they acted out of heart and spirit, and yes, hormones. They were glandular and unpredictable. They were wonderful!

Each of the hens in my flock has a unique personality, much like my schoolgirl friends. Take Daisy, for instance. I had a big, blond, friend, just like Daisy. She wasn’t the brightest crayon in the box but she had a big heart and enough love for the entire student body. She found it unbelievable when people were unkind. When our hen Daisy gets pecked, she squawks in disbelief then looks at the perpetrator with an expression on her face like, “What did you do that for?”

Then there’s Poppy. Poppy is the “no nonsense” matriarch of my flock. She is strong and intelligent. Not in the least gullible. She settles squabbles with a sharp peck on the cheek and the matter is finished. I had a friend like that. Wonder what happened to that “wise beyond her years” girl.

Tulip is large in beauty and “not so large” in personality. She is popular and respected through no doing of her own. Tulip sits sideways on the roost at night, taking up extra space because, she believes that, “I deserve more space, because I am me.” She is a statuesque and would be elected homecoming queen (if there was such a thing for chickens).

Sweetpea is unsure of herself. Daisy likes her, but then again, Daisy likes everyone. Sweetpea (a barred rock) is a standard kind of chicken, a hard worker (at laying eggs) and hopes that the other hens will not mistreat her and that people will like her. She is a cheerleader for others. When another hen lays an egg, she cackles loud and long, as if she herself had done the deed. Remember that girl in high school? I hope she married well and has lots of kids that love her, or, had a great career and has lots of nieces and nephews that love her.

Petunia, who now lives elsewhere, is untrusting and untrustworthy. She’s the insecure girl who has to work hard to be in the “in crowd”. She is nervous, has a sharp tongue (beak), and agitates others. As teenagers we tried to ignore this “mean girl”. As flock managers we have the option of removing “mean girls” from our environment, as we have done with Petunia.

Our deceased Rosie was the gal that was picked on and somewhat annoying because she wouldn’t stand up for herself. When I think back on my high school days, I can remember a “Rosie” or two. Why were these kids excluded? How sad and frustrating it must have been for them to want to be a part of things and just not know how to break in.

I watch the hens and understand that animals have similar desires as humans. We want to be a part of a flock, group, or a club. We want to be respected and not abused.  We want to play around with others of our kind. We want treats and sometimes to be petted. We want to snuggle up at night and be safe and secure. It’s not so difficult to see why chicken lovers find their hens entertaining and loveable. They are so like us.

Hencam – Getting a Better Webcam View

21 June 2010

Panasonic camera for Backyard Hencam

There are two Panasonic cameras on the hens. We’ve been working on moving the outdoor camera the last few days, trying to find the best view. The outside camera has been at one end of the run since we began this project. We mounted it about 4 feet off the ground and put a “hood” over it to protect it from the elements. What we’ve learned in the last four months, is that the hens prefer to hang out at the shady end of the run, which happens to be right under the camera! When you’ve come to Backyard Hencam to visit the chickens and the screen is empty, you’ve probably wondered, “Where are the chickens?” Well, they are, in fact, “chillin” under the camera and out of site!

New Location of Hencam

During the next week, we are going to mount the camera in different locations in the run so that you’ll be able to see the hens where they hang out during mid day. We know you want to see action, not just a blank screen.

There seems to be no place that will show you the entire coop. I told Don we could buy another camera and put one at each end. This didn’t go over too well. We had a hard time getting both cameras working on the website in the beginning so neither of us really can bear to think of adding a third.

We have moved the camera to the opposite side of the run to see how this works for viewing. We’re still experimenting. Let me know what you think!





People and Chickens-First Time Visitors

14 April 2010

Brooke Petting Daily

It’s really heart-warming to see folks visiting our chickens for the first time. Some have never seen a hen close-up. Some have never touched or held a chicken. People are amazed that the hens are “pretty”, that they have such distinct personalities, that some are shy and some are friendly, and that some are quiet and some rather loud and demanding.

Visitors from Assisted Living Enjoy the Chicks

Daisy, Sweetpea, and Rosie are not afraid of a stranger visit and will come right up to people of any age, checking pockets for treats. Tulip holds back until she is sure this unfamiliar person is not going to scoop her up, then joins in. The Wyandottes, Poppy and Petunia, stand back a few feet. If a hand goes out toward them they make a quick retreat. I must admit though, these two hens will squat for a good back scratch once in a while since we have no rooster to do it.

Move slowly around chickens.

Chickens are prey animals and always on the lookout for a predator that may snatch them up with jaws or claws. Survival instincts are sharp in chickens. They are alert to sounds coming from the nearby woods that I hardly notice. A vulture, hawk, crow, or noisy bluejay flying overhead has them running for cover. The term “he’s chicken” comes from the fact that hens have no defense except to run and hide. “Move slowly around the hens,” I tell first-time visiting children. As long as we move slowly among them, they enjoy our company.

Visit With Hens-Children and Chickens

28 February 2010

Our youngest granddaughter visited with the hens for the first time this weekend. At 20 months, she’d had no previous experience with chickens and showed no fear. She fed them, walked among them, examined the feeder and waterer, collected the eggs from the egg boxes (only breaking one), and in general, seemed to accept the hens as just another curiosity in a world of curiosities.

Hens and children are curious creatures.

Most of our little granddaughters have met the hens at some time in their lives. None have feared them, but some are more comfortable with them than others. The hens have their own unique reactions to these miniature humans. As we know, children move more quickly than adults. The hens are on their toes when children are near, ready to leap out of reach of the toddlers at any unexpected movement.

The hens circle around the tiny humans, sure that a bit of corn or lettuce will eventually be offered. Some of the hens are shyer with newcomers, than others. Daisy and Rosie will allow themselves to be offered to the youngsters for petting. We can easily pick up these two and let them be petted. They appear to relax as they are stroked, waiting patiently for the ordeal to be over.

We often describe Sweetpea as “Auntie Sweetpea”. She worries aloud about these strangers who’ve invaded her space. Tulip is standoffish, and the two Wyandottes are sly creatures, giving the little humans wide birth.

We built the nest boxes so that we can collect the eggs from outside of the henhouse by lifting the hinged lid and reaching down into the nests. Although this little child is too young to grasp the concept that hens lay eggs, she still expressed delight in finding a hidden egg waiting for her. Who doesn’t?

If you would like to visit with the hens see our home page.

Chickens Have Friends

7 February 2010

Sweetpea and Daisy at 3 months.

We’ve had our six hens since they were three days old. Like our own children, their personalities have pretty much stayed the same since they were born, or rather, hatched. Daisy, the Buff Orpington, remains sweet and tame. She is the first to jump onto our laps when we sit with the hens in the evenings. Sweetpea, a Barred Rock, is the snuggler. Sweetpea is going through her first moult and is a little “touchy”. Her cluck, has become a bit of a whine which I hope is a result of her moulting and only temporary. I’m looking forward to her feathers returning and  her snuggly personality revealing itself again.

Daisy and Sweetpea have always been close. They lay together in the sunshine. They dust bathe in the same hole. They are both gentle birds, rarely pecking the other girls and never one another. While Sweetpeas moults,  her personality has become somewhat introverted. Daisy is as confused as I am over the recent change in our dear Sweetpea.

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