Monday, April 25, 2011

The Moose, a.k.a. The Bug Catcher

The Moose became a bug catcher this weeekend. Since the Hooligans are stranded inside their spacious new coop for the next few days, so they understand where home is, they are limited as to the type and number of bugs available. The Moose decided to help them out by catching grasshoppers for them.
I'm not sure who enjoyed this more, the Moose who had a constant smile on his face, or the Hooligans who actually got to eat the darn things! They clamored to get to the Moose first for the bugs he brought. Then they ran around the coop making a game of it. The Moose called it a rugby match, and after watching them, I would agree.

Now don't get to thinking we've spent the last three days at the Compound and sat around feeding bugs to the Hooligan's. On the contrary, we did a lot of work again; built the ramp for the Hooligan's, set up their outdoor water system (auto fill), added a shelf in the coop to hold misc tools, added a light and power outlet (run by our solar panels and battery backup), a sink for cleanup, a water/rain holding tank, and outdoor roosts all in the chicken coop. Weeded the entire garden, hilled the potatoes, harvested the lettuce, tomatoes and strawberries, took care of the worms, and processed our first batch of worm compost for the garden. Whew! We're tired!

The Hooligan's will be released on Tuesday or Wednesday of this week. The Moose and I are taking bets on which chick will come out first.
Have a great week!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Good Friday, on Good Friday..

Since work was basically a waste of time today, being the holiday and most people were either taking the day off, or were off, and the Hooligan's were getting more miserable every day due to lack of space, we took them to the Compound a day early. The Moose and I shot out of bed this morning at 5:15, and started loading up the car with chicken feed, water, and 11 chickens. We were at the compound by 7:15.

We spent the next hour or so, getting the final touches done to their coop. The nesting boxes we ordered came in earlier in the week, so in it went. We hung their food and water containers, laid down the pine shavings, attached a hook to their door, and a few other odds and ends. Then it was the big moment... Kinda like dropping your kid off to kindergarten for the first time.

We had them in a dog carrier, opened the door into the coop, and a couple of brave ones stepped out, ran in and then came running back into the carrier. It was the silliest thing. But after the Moose coaxed them in, they were so excited to have all the extra space. They started to scratch around, and play fight. We couldn't help ourselves; we grabbed a couple of chairs, and sat down to watch some "chick TV".

The Moose found an old wood log, full of bugs, and decided to put it in with the chicks. Chickens are just too nosy, to stay in one place for too long and before long, they had every nook and cranny investigated and were happily eating bugs.

I could write/talk for hours about these darn chickens! We're both very happy, that the Hooligan's all seem to be extremely happy in their new home. Now we can hardly wait until later next week, when we can let them have full access to the run area.

Have you ever noticed it's almost impossible to get a good photo of chickens? Thank goodness for digitial cameras; just when you think you have a good shot, someone moves!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Just a Tad (pole) longer...

We went to water the garden today, since it's been so darn dry lately, and our pond has hundreds of tadpoles.
If you are wondering about the bubbles, it's because the water table is only about 3 feet down, and the bottom of the pond is right at that limit. It actually creates these air bubbles. No matter how much water is in the pond, the weight of the water does nothing to keep them down. We've tried putting pipes under the liner, walking the air to the sides, and they just keep coming back, and not always in the same location. I actually heard it burp today... any suggestions?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Emptying the Nest

The Hooligan's, 4 weeks old tomorrow, will be relocated this Saturday to their coop at the Compound. They have totally outgrown their current home, and need the space to move around. They've pretty much feathered out and the weather here is warm enough without a heat lamp, even at night. I'll actually miss having them on my patio. I'll miss greating them throughout the day, listening to them peep, watching them play fight and seeing them get excited for "snack time". I also look forward to their reactions to their new home the Moose and I have put together. It'll be exciting to watch them scratch around for bugs in the very near future. Of course, I'll keep you all posted.

Monday, April 18, 2011


My cousin Matt and his wife Marissa from Wisconsin came into Florida for a visit this weekend. He spent Friday golfing at the compound. Actually teeing off, with some golf balls that we found in a load of fill, that came from a golf course. Other than pigging out on crab legs later that evening, in celebration of my Dad's birthday, I think it made his day. We wanted to spend the afternoon at the beach, but since it's Florida, it had to be rainy and cold. It was really great seeing them both.
The Moose and I spent all day (I mean ALL day, 'til 8pm) Saturday working at the Compound on the chicken coop and run. Our chicks, if you can call them that any longer, will be ready soon for their new abode. Along the way we picked up 156 feet of cloth. The type of stuff they use around tennis courts for privacy. We cut it into sections to lay along the top of the roof/run. It gets really hot here in the summer, so we wanted extra shade, and it's just another preditor barrier. We've talked with some people lately, and they have nothing nice to say about racoons, so we doubled our efforts. We used zippies to hold the cloth down, and are my fingers sore. Every 12 inches, on each side of the cloth needed to be tied down. I figure we used about 200 zip ties; ouch!
The Moose built them their roost; he used hinges so we can prop it up, and clean under the area easier, he also hung the door. I painted the roost to match. We watered the garden, and picked our first batch of cherry tomatoes, yum!
Sunday was spent hanging around the house, cleaning the Hooligans temporary home, and letting them play in the backyard again. They really like it outside. Our 16 year old Senegal parrot, Sunny, decided to join me at the sink, while I was washing strawberries and tomatoes. He decided to steal a berry. For such as small bird, he can make a huge mess.

Have a great week.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Ugly Ducklings, I mean Chickens

Well the Hooligan's have made it to week three. They've hit the ugly stage, some look like they're having a bad hair day over their entire bodies. Here are some photos, of their first day in the grass. The Moose put up a playpen for them. They weren't sure of the surroundings at first, but soon were happy scratching for and eating bugs. One even found a worm. They had a blast!
The blur in the photo is a chick on the move for a bug. They are really quick! Bugs don't stand a chance.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Almost There!

Well, it was another very long and very hot day Saturday. We had good intentions to finish the coop; chicken wire and cloth around the bottom of the run, paint, hang the sliding door, put on the roof, and run shade cloth along a section of the roof, etc. We also wanted to weed, water the garden, clean out the camper, and tiki hut and mow the 2-1/2 acres. It's kinda like looking at a buffet line, your eyes are bigger than your stomach! The heat slowed down our steps considerably and we didn't get all the things done we wanted, so we headed back out to the torture chamber on Sunday. So now, we only have to hang the shade cloth and sliding door, build them their roost and nesting boxes. That'll be next weekends project.
The place looks really good when it's all cleaned up.

The Hooligan's are growing much faster than I had anticipated. They're in the "ugly" stage at the moment. We've had them for almost 3 weeks. As soon as they are all feathered out, the stinky little buggers will be heading to their new coop at the Compound.
They spent their first night out on our patio. It's finally warm enough to keep them out there, and the Moose and I are very glad we've gone to such great lengths at the Compound for their protection; roof, chicken wire and cloth along the bottom. We live in a suburban neighborhood, and the Moose woke up to hear an owl in the tree next to our patio, and ran into a racoon on his way for the morning walk with Izzy. We're considering leaving Izzy on the patio the next couple of nights to deter them from hanging around.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Dog Day Afternoons

The Moose and I got a good start on the chicken coop addition. When we began this chicken adventure, we were just going to get a handful, and the original coop would have been fine, but now that we have 11 Hooligans to house, we needed to come up with a game plan. We stopped by the hardware store to buy some supplies, and on a cart near the cutting area was a stack of precut plastic outdoor fencing. They made us a deal, $60 for all 4 pieces, already cut to the height we wanted. Won't rust, warp or rot. Here are some photos of the process.

We still need to put on the roof, paint, add a roost, nesting boxes and finish the water catch system. We have some additional chicken wire to install at the bottom of the fence, and we're going to add an outdoor cloth, along the same area as the chicken wire, to help keep the snakes out. Once that's done, their home will be finished and ready for the Hooligan's.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Sweetie Pie

Well, we lost Sweetie Pie today. She died in my hands this morning, after a long battle trying to get her to eat and drink. She finally gave up the fight. It's a sad day..

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Where Do The Days Go?

Where do the days go? We started on Saturday morning, leaving our house and heading to the Compound around 7am. I spent the morning and better part of the afternoon tending the garden; weeding, planting potatoes, carrots, beats, sunflowers and a flower bed. It seemed to take forever as the ground was still saturated from the rains this past week (we got somewhere between 2 and 3 inches)and digging the trenches was a heavy, muddy mess. The Moose spent his time picking up brush, which had fallen everywhere, pulling up pickers since Round Up wouldn't touch them, and burning our brush piles.

We spent the remainder of the day, 6pm, offloading some materials for the chicken coop addition, and starting on the floor. Once the coop is finished it'll be more than large enough for the 12 chicks we're raising at this point on our patio. We think we'll lose one of them, as she's suffered with an impacted crop, stopped growing and doesn't eat very much. We've babied her with yogurt, olive oil, sugar water and massaging her crop. No improvements yet in her behavior, but we're still hopeful. We don't want to lose any of them, and Sweetie Pie is very cute.

Have a good week!