Monday, August 6, 2012

Backyard Flock Update + A Giveaway!

It happened a little over a week ago: we got our first egg from our chickens!

It wasn't my brightest moment. I first saw it when I was taking some ice out to the chickens (when it gets really hot and the ladies start to pant a little, I dump a bunch of ice into the chicken tractor. They walk all over it, peck at it, lay on it, and, consequently, cool off.). I lifted the door to put the ice in and I saw an egg, right there on the grass. My first (brilliant) reaction: "Why is there an egg in here?"  A second later it all clicked in my head. I picked the miniature egg up and marveled at it for a while.  Once I was done, I went into the house and announced it to the family -- Max was extra excited. We oohed and awed over it together and then cooked what little there was in the small egg. The three of us crowded around the plate and each took a taste of bits of scrambled egg. It was awesome in every sense of the word.

Since then, our Black Sex-link, Foxy, has laid us an egg every day.  She hasn't quite figured out that she should do it in the nesting box, but she'll come around -- especially since our Rhode Island Red, Princess Leia, just started laying almost a week ago (she lays it in the nesting box every time so far). One of my favorite things is when I send Max out to check for eggs and when he retrieves them he almost always says thank you to one of the hens.

In other backyard chicken news, we've added another member to our flock. Since our Easter Egger turned out to be a rooster (and not the true Ameraucana I thought it was), we were down to only two chickens. Anxious to get another pullet before the fall, I looked at some online classifieds and found an advertisement for a heritage breed Ameracauna. I was interested since I wanted to get the colored eggs (the ones my rooster was supposed lay for me), so I drove out to the seller's home to check it out. The bird looked healthy (though, if I'm being honest, a little scraggly) so I decided to take her. We put her in her own little pen since it's recommended to keep new birds separated from the rest of flock for a few weeks. (Ideally, I would have gotten another chick and raised it, but it's hard to buy just one chick. The minimum for many places, online and locally, is three.) We've had her for almost two weeks and everything seems fine so far.

Since our rooster was the chicken I named, I got to name his replacement. Our new pullet is all black and resembles a raven, so the dorky English major in me couldn't resist naming her Lenore. She's about four months old, not that  much younger than the other two, but she looks quite a bit smaller. When she starts laying, she'll lay blue eggs. I'm hoping we'll start getting some eggs from her sometime in September.

Now, for the giveaway...

As I mentioned earlier in this post, one of our hens isn't laying in the nesting box. It isn't a huge deal, but they are a little trickier to retrieve and they get a little dirty when she lays them on the grass. After doing some reading, I decided to get a couple wooden eggs and put them in the nesting box (I ordered them before the other hen started laying, so maybe they're unnecessary now). Supposedly, the hen is supposed to see the wooden eggs in the nesting box and figure out that she needs to lay there.

Anyway, I got my shipment a few days ago, except that it came in a medium-sized box and was pretty heavy. It didn't make much sense. I opened it up and found three 2-lb. bags of chicken treats instead of the wooden eggs. I called up the company I ordered from to find out what was going on. They were really helpful and found out that there had been a mix-up at one of the shipping facilities. The nice customer service lady told me I could keep the bags of treats and that the wooden eggs would be on their way shortly.

I was pretty happy about this, as you can imagine. Who doesn't love free stuff (especially when each bag runs at about $12 a pop)? Not only were they free, but the treats are full of healthy stuff I knew the ladies in the backyard would like. Each bag of treats contains an all-natural, organic mix of pumpkin seeds, buckwheat groats, quinoa, cracked corn, flax seeds, sunflower seeds, alfalfa leaf, coconut, and marigold petals.

So, do you want one of the three bags I received? I figured I'd pass on part this happy (for me) accident to one of you lovely readers. To enter the giveaway, just leave a comment telling me what your chickens' favorite treat is. You have to live in the United States to enter (sorry, international friends. I just can't afford the shipping!). For an extra entry, become a follower of my blog; another entry for mentioning this giveaway on your blog, Pinterest, Facebook, or Twitter (if you do any of these extra steps, be sure to leave a comment for each).

The giveaway ends Thursday, August 9, at midnight MST. I'll announce the winner on Friday.

Good luck and I hope you win!

Note: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have disclosed.

{This post is linked up to Little House Friday and Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways.}


Renee G said...

Our chickens like to peck at the corn cobs after we think we've eaten all the corn.

imagrandma2five said...

My chickens love melon, watermelons or cantalopes.

Joy said...

Right now, the chickens will do anything for watermelon. On hot days, we put out frozen watermelon and they go nuts!

MamaHen said...

Our chickens love old muscadine skins. They try to take them from each other.

And that's a great idea about the ice!
clarksrfun at gmail dot com

Stacey said...

First of all our chickens just adore being free range and eating all the greens and bugs that they can get to! But we recently found out that when we are raising chicks, and they don't have access to the outdoors, they absolutely adore chick weed (which grows in our pond). It is an awesome way for them to get their greens, and they get so excited when we walk in the barn!

Kim said...

My three girlies would love some if they were not spoiled enough :)

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