Monday, February 28, 2011

Peepers Jeepers, little chicken sunglasses and a Chicken Basics Class

Our chickens have been pecking each other to the point where bare skin shows, and in some cases they have started breaking the skin. I blame those evil lavender guineas for teaching them this annoying behavior. But, the guineas are gone and the bad behavior continues, so we researched online and found something called peepers.
These little plastic things fit into the nostrils of the chicken (and other gamebirds) and block the line of vision directly in front of them, so they can't see to other birds. They can still eat and drink (I wondered) and even peck at gravel in the yard.

We put the Peepers on all of our older layers. They look like little chicken sunglasses. It was highly entertaining at first as the chickens stumbled around and missed the perches, but they all got used to it after a short time and all is well in the coop again.

Chicken sunglasses

While Richard and I were catching hens and installing Peepers, their came a crowing from the brooder, and not once, but three times...the softest little cock-a-doodle-do ever. This time I caught a glimpse of the little rooster, and sure enough it's the little Barred Cochin--the one with the pit bull attitude, all puffed up and crowing with his neck stuck out in the air. My little Napolean.

Little Napolean

Moving chickens around today...Reds in the fort move up to the goat barn, where Richard built in four nest boxes. Charlie the Roo gets to go back down with the laying hens...he's got Peepers on too, and the Buff living with him in the goat barn is a dead chicken walking...she's not only pecking the others nonstop, but eating her own eggs. So the babies in the brooder get moved to the chicken fort and the brooder gets cleaned and waits for the new chicks to arrive. Yey!

And, speaking of new chicks, we are offering an Introduction to Chickens class here at the farm on March 6, 2011 from noon to 3pm where we will explain the chicken basics from ordering chicks to caring for day olds. Housing and feed, brooder temps and cleaning pasty butts will all be covered. A tour of the chicken coops is included and maybe some refreshments too. Only $10 per person. Register at Green Desert Eco Farm soon. Space is limited. Learn how to have your very own backyard flock and get fresh eggs every day from your own hens.

We are raising revenue to buy a farm out in farm country (Penrose) or to invest in this one here. We are encouraging classes on sustainability, and this is one of them. We hope to start a group here in Fremont county that is concerned and working towards creating a sustainable community...transition town...maybe call it Fremont Resiliency Group or something. We need to start working together on the problems that are coming in the near future...economic crashes, water shortages, food shortages, crazy weather, etc. Let's put our heads together and come up with a local plan.

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