Follow our adventures

Follow our adventures as we raise a tiny flock of chickens in suburban Bexley, Ohio.
Our chicken bloggers include Tami Taylor, a Welsummer, and Tyra, a Jersey Giant.
RIP, Betty, Joan, Sally & Peggy.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Backyard Chickens and Hurricane Sandy

Here's a nice story about the efforts of people to find a new apartment in the wake of Hurricane Sandy that will accomodate their backyard chickens.

We think they should just move to Bexley, but, I guess, that's not really in the cards!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Sally is molting

No, I mean really, Sally is *molting*. At least I hope that's all that this is. We can see her skin both on her back and at her backside. It's line the skin of a chicken you'd see at the supermarket: all goose bumpy and pink. Joan molted last year, but it wasn't anything like this. I hope she gets her new feathers in before it gets too cold or else we're going to have to knit her a sweater.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Karen and Peggy

Philosopher friend Karen came to visit for the weekend, and made it a point to come out to see the chickens. She got to meet all the ladies, but Peggy had the honor of posing for a photograph with her.

The chickens enjoyed some time outside of their run during Karen's visit--they scratched around for some worms (it's been rainy) and gnawed at some grass and clover, and, generally, behaved like chickens.

Sally has been molting these last couple weeks. She's been losing feathers on her head and on the back of her neck. She doesn't look great at the moment, but when the new feathers come in, she should be back to her beautiful self.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Weekend run

Andrew has been working up plans for a portable PVC extension run for the coop so that we can leave town for a night without worrying about letting the chickens in or out. Stay tuned!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Chicken's Dance Card Has Been Full!

Our hens have had quite a few visitors in the past week.  Mia visited on a research mission for a book she's writing.  We talked about why we wanted to get chickens in the first place, and how it's changed the way we see ourselves, our food and our community.  Andrew & I agreed that taking care of chickens has brought us closer to where our food comes from.  This is obviously literal (they're making eggs right outside the kitchen window), but also metaphorical in that we're more likely to think about what goes into making food.  As a vegan (except our ladies' eggs), our chickens make me even more concerned about how industrial agriculture robs people and animals of the joy that comes from living near each other.  I can't imagine Sally or Joan or Peggy living in a tiny cage with wilted combs and no life except eating antibiotic-laden feed and over-laying.  But I also worry about the people who have to work in those terrible conditions, becoming enured to the suffering they're surrounded by on a daily basis. 

So there's that.  But there's also the fact that caring for outdoor animals brings us more in touch with the seasons, more in touch with what we choose to put on or leave off our lawn (chemicals, etc), more in touch with how the chicken's diet changes the way their eggs look and taste.  Having chickens has also brought us closer to how people used to do things.  My grandpa grew up on Beck street in the 1910s and 1920s.  Back then everybody had chickens.  It was an obvious way to supplement meager immigrant diets.  Everybody knew that keeping a few hens was no big deal.  Now-a-days, people think it must involve some insurmountable challenge because they no longer have models of neighbors who are making it work.  Having chickens has shown us that we can have chickens.

Has anybody else done something food-related that changed the way you see yourself in your world?  For example, I was inspired by a friend's thriving volunteer tomato patch last week.  They didn't even plant them - the tomatoes just reseeded from last year!  That is, after all, how plants work, but I'd kind of forgotten that.

Anyway, Mia's project sounds cool.  We'll post more when we know more!
She took one of the few (the only?) pictures we have of both Andrew & I together with the chickens.  Here we are with Peggy.  She's the only one brave enough to sit still for a photo.

Last night Tammy, Ken & Eva visited.  Eva's an awesome 10 year old thinking about getting some chickens of her own.  She was inspired, as were we, by the amazing diversity of chickens at the fair.  The bantams were my favorite.  Eva liked the Polish hen show-girls. Too bad we don't have an active 4-H program in Columbus - though Eva may end up finding whichever chapter is closest.  I didn't know until a few days ago that 4-H is run through the OSU Extension offices.  So much cool stuff comes out of the Extension offices.  It's a shame that their budgets are shrinking away so quickly!  I can't wait to have some kids that I can lure into 4-H.  In fact, I not only want 4-H in Columbus, I want it for adults.  Then I can finally learn how to care for those goats I've been wanting (just kidding (mostly)).

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Power washing the house leaves paint chips in the run

Today was day #1 of the house painting project.  To be clear, by "project" I mean "paying someone to pain the house." They guy came to power wash and I moved the hens to a temporary pen out by the garage.  They seem happy and unconcerned.

I, on the other hand, am now a little p.o.'d about all the paint chips in the chicken run.  I don't know for sure if there's lead in our paint, but seems safe to assume there is.  I asked the power-washer to tarp the chicken run and he did, but not that well.  It's pretty well covered in 3-molecule pieces of paint.

So now what?  I haven't moved the hens back to the run yet.  Andrew's on his way home from work.  Maybe we'll just swap out all the mulch from the run and start from scratch (no pun intended).  Ugh.  What a pain in the butt.  But I've just spent 20 minutes scaring myself by googling "chickens + eggs + lead paint."  It's probably worth it if we don't want our future offspring to have lead poisoning, to say nothing of the poor chickens.

I also read here about getting eggs tested for lead levels.  That could be an interesting science experiment.  I may start bothering the extension office for information on getting eggs tested in Columbus.  If I find anything, I'll post.  If anyone else knows, please share.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Chickens survived the heat-wave

It's finally under 100 in the chicken coop & the chickens are back to their normal business.  They rode out the heat wave under the hydrangea in the side yard with occasional hose showers. 

This morning, because it's not so stinkin' hot today, we decided not to let them out in the side yard (they poop on the breezeway and it makes letting out Moses (the dog) logistically difficult, so the side-yard is not normally chicken-territory).  They protested loudly for a few hours, but they seem to have forgotten by now.

We picked our chickens because they're pretty cold hardy breeds & I'm not sure what that means about their heat tolerance, but I'm glad to see them relaxed, not-panting, and seemingly happy.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Neighbor chickens met their chicken maker

I'm so sad to report that several neighboring Bexley Chickens died today in the heat. We were really worried about our girls yesterday, too. It seems now like we weren't overreacting to their panting & labored breathing.
Poor neighbor chickens. They really do hate the heat. :(
For now our three girls seem to be staying cool enough by hiding under the hydrangeas - fingers crossed that the heat breaks soon because the next step is boxing them up for an afternoon in the basement (inside a box) and that doesn't sound pleasant for anyone.

Chickens go free range!

Our ladies have been suffering through the recent heatwave (multiple days in the 90s) and we thought that giving them some more room to roam, and an opportunity to find some shade might help them cool down a bit. So this morning, in a bit of patriotic fervor, Andrew freed the hens to forage in the grassy strip just outside their run. The ladies didn't waste a minute and were happy to have some grass to eat and some more land to explore. The new territory promises the opportunity to enjoy a slight breeze and get out of the sun. It means a little more hassle to keep the dog away from them, and some chicken poop to hose down, but if it helps Peggy, Joan, and Sally stay cool, it's well worth it.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Heat Wave Day 2: Trying to Cool Off

We read that one way to help the chickens beat the heat is to give them a shallow pool of water to stand in. We set it out yesterday, and no one took the dip. Today was a different matter, and here Peggy and Sally (though not at the same time, of course) enjoy the pool.  You can also see the umbrella we have set up to give them some additional shade.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Ever seen a chicken pant?

It's hot out today. 100 degrees according to the tv, 110 according to the thermometer in the chicken run. The ladies are digging holes to keep themselves cool & panting. This video shows Joanie demonstrating the chicken pant - notice the open beak and heaving bosom? We've given them a birdbath, picnic table umbrella, frozen water bottles, & an occasional hose misting. I hope they'll be just fine.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Adopt Henry, a young cuckoo maran rooster

A friend of Bexley Chickens has a bunch of hand raised pullets - but one turned out to be a rooster. If you're looking for a sweet tempered, pet roo (for your yard, not for the stewpot), Henry might be your guy. Lynn thinks Henry would make a good breeding rooster - he's friendly & beautiful.
If you think you can give Henry a good home, leave a comment with you contact info - I'll pass along Lynn's phone number.

The picture above is a cuckoo maran that looks like Henry.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Nothin' doin'

I think the strongest testimony for the no-big-deal nature of a couple of backyard chickens is that there's been nothing to post about for weeks. The chickens are out there just doing their thing. When it got really hot a few weeks ago, we put up the patio umbrella for them to have a little more shade. They've been enjoying scraps from the early summer produce haul (I highly recommend situating the coop near the house for more convenient scrap sharing). But, basically, they're just living the chicken high-life and sharing their eggs.
I'll try to think of something splashy to share soon.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Fancy plastic egg container

I splurged on a fancy plastic egg holder for the fridge.  This one is by Fridge Binz.  Pretty cool.  And bleachable -- which is important because we put the eggs straight from the coop into the fridge without rinsing off the bloom (which also means we don't rinse off the poo).  
This was a complete luxury because certainly free cardboard ones work just a well.  But it's so pretty and clean...

Sunday, May 6, 2012

The Mysterious Production of Eggs

Somebody laid a weird one!  This egg had only a soft, squishy "shell".  We gave the girls some more oyster shells for calcium in case this is a symptom of that.  More likely, it's just a weird, one-off.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Awesome new urban farming shop in Clintonville

We just stopped by City Folks up in Beechwold and it was really great. It's a cute little locally owned shop with rain barrel supplies, gardening, bee keeping, cheese making & chicken feeding supplies too. Check em out!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Diatomaceous earth camo

Joan is pretty well camouflaged after dusting the run with diatomaceous earth. It's our new anti-fly strategy. Apparently food-grade diatomaceous earth (basically the dust of ground up diatoms -- who knew this even existed!?) will kill grubs & larva of flies by both cutting them & desiccating them. Not so lovely - but it seems better than those poison traps we used last year. I'd love to dust the compost but I have a hunch it'd kill the worms, too. Does anybody know?

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Chicken-ready house for rent

Have you always dreamed of owning your own chickens?  Now your most fervent dream can come true.  We're renting our house in South Bexley which boasts a secure chicken run and chicken-friendly zoning.  We'll even throw in a rabbit hutch that we used as an auxiliary coop.
Oh, and the house isn't too shabby either:


The chickens are loving the spring weather. All this dampness makes me think we may have to get the fly traps up early this year - for our own sake and that of good neighbor relations.

Which one of these is not like the others?

Somebody laid a gigantic egg!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Poop, Here! Get'yer chicken poo here.

In preparation for moving, we did some digging out yesterday.  If any Columbusite Composters are looking for some "gardening gold" for their compost heaps, let me know!  It's all bagged up and ready to go.  I'd say it's about half-way composted at this point (poop + pine shavings + leaves).  The bags are liftable...maybe 30 lbs?
Feb 7th is moving day for the humans.  We'll see about those chickens.  They might have to wait for the weekend.

(I bagged the chicken poop in the Layena bags -- which makes it seem like a simple factory line: Layena = eggs + poop (dorky stats joke: would the hens be a mediator or a moderator?)

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Fenceposts at the new house

In another attempt to debunk the "get hens for cheap eggs" myth, I'll share our new gate project at the new house. In a few weeks we'll be moving shop to another house in Bexley. Of course the ladies will be coming too, but there have been some necessary preparations to make a space that'll work for them. We're creating another fenced off chicken run area on the side of the house. Yesterday the contractor was out here in the cold digging fence post holes. By Monday evening we'll be chicken-ready. All for the bargain price of $800. How many Ohio Family Farm, organic, cruelty free, etc, eggs could we buy for that?
Clearly we're not in this for the savings!!

Hello Delaware!

Delaware, Ohio, our sort-of neighbor, is considering the chicken issue.  It seems there are many Delaware residents who are interested in owning a few pet hens, and a few Delaware residents who are concerned about the unknowns.  I'm so pleased that, for the most part, Delaware seems to be fully exploring the issue with patience and amicability.  Way to go Delaware!  If I can be a resource, or if City Council wants to take a field trip to our house, please let me know!

When others come to our website, I always feel compelled to (1) invite them over to check out the chix in person, and (2) explain/apologize for how our back yard must look in photos.  Please understand that the pictures of the chicken run are shots of a small area on the side of our house.  The area is probably 5x24 ft (I'm terrible at estimating).  We've packed too much into that area, but it's all behind privacy fencing.  If we had this run out in our yard, in view of the patio, we wouldn't have loaded in nearly so much.  For example, we would've thought twice about that second (unnecessary) chicken coop.  In fact, we're moving in 2 weeks to another house in Bexley, and I'm already thinking twice about that second chicken coop.  How on Earth are we going to move all this chicken stuff?  I suggested making a Conestoga wagon out of a kids' red wagon and dragging them to the new house, but I've been vetoed :)

Look at that strong yolk!

This breakfast makes the morning de-icing of the chix's water worth it.