Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Chickens, Cats & Raccoons

I'm six days into my chicken farming and it's been quite a wild ride! ~

See Gert's comb standing up!

The sad news is that Do didn't make it.  I put her in a nest the first night and found her with her head tucked under her wing in the morning.  She was gone.  I comfort myself with the thought that she got to be Do for one day, instead of #174.

Although Farm Girl has never had a problem with cats around her chickens, it was obvious from the start that my 24 lb. killing machine saw chicken on the dinner menu. ~

Okay, I'll only let him out when I can be out there to watch him.

On day two, the neighbour tells me he chased a raccoon out of the pen in the early morning.  I know Farm Girl had problems with a raccoon killing her chickens and I'm not having that with Gert and Maude!

I add a couple of solar lights to discourage night prowlers. ~

Does that keep that raccoon away?  Nope!  I was getting up through the night at the slightest sound to make sure my girls are okay.  I'm sleep deprived and I'm mad!

I'm attached to these girls already.  I've taught them how to use the ramp by pushing their little bums up the ramp and down the ramp, up the ramp and down the ramp.  I've picked them up and put them in the nests at night, until they learned to go in there themselves.  I put them on the perches and picked them up when they fell right back off.  I'm not losing them to some marauding raccoon!

So on day four I put up this! ~

Now, I have a giant dog run for a lawn ornament!  Maybe I can disguise it with some trailing vine.

Does this keep that raccoon out?  Nope.  At four a.m. I'm out there, in my jammies, chasing that devil away.  The girls are sleeping like babies because they have a twenty-four hour bodyguard.  I can't keep this up and have to devise a roof for the kennel and get it installed ASAP!

Here's the tally on costs for three eggs. ~

  Coop                                          $250.00
  Chicken wire fence                          16.00
  Solar lights                                        6.00
  Feed & oyster shell                         20.00
  Used dog run                                150.00

$442.00 divided by 3 = $147.33 per egg.  Move over Faberge, 'cause I'm catching up to you in value!

Thank heavens free run eggs are much healthier than factory farmed eggs.  They have 1/3 less cholesterol and 1/4 less saturated fat.  They have 2/3 more Vit. A, 2 X more omega 3 fatty acids, 3 X more Vit. E, 7 X more beta carotene, 70% more B12, 50% more folic acid, and 4 - 6 X more Vit. D.  Make sure your eggs say free range and not free run.  The chickens have to be outside, foraging, for the eggs to have the extra nutrients.

See what my girls gifted me with today! ~

Have a day of pleasant surprises!