Hello, we’ve been here three weeks now

I am re-blogging this post because of the enthusiasm of this family and they deserve a bit of support.

Unfortunately, its also a warning to newbies in the ‘backyard chicken’ world, that sometimes, things don’t go as you expected – I had quite a conversation with them in the comments section, and it would be nice if others could also offer stories from their own experience – smile!

There a Chick

ChickensWeekThree Comparison pic of the chicks since we’ve had them.

Yesterday marked the chick’s 3rd Week-aversary in our care.

We celebrated the occasion by busting our butts all weekend long (in between baseball games and  everything else we had going on) to get the not-quite finishing touches on their new coop.  DH, Little Dude and I spent Saturday afternoon cleaning up around the outside of the barn where their run is going to be.  I guess we’ve decided to put up a small run for about a month or so, until the get acclimated to the outdoors area and then remove the fencing to let them truly be free range.

The clean up is not quite done.  It included pulling weeds, removing rock, trash, scrap metal, old boards and broken window glass.  There’s a lot to do, but seeing as the chicks are still only 3 weeks oldish and most still…

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let’s create a gallery of your work – please contribute ……

The A-Z challenge is over, and I will no longer be referring posts between my two blogs – this one “the spare” and my crafts blog – julzcrafts.com.

I will keep posting information about poultry rearing, and pictures of my chicks on this site, as well as anything I feel like – as its my “place to play” – smile.

a scarf I made!

a scarf I made!

If you are interested in crafts, of all kinds, please check julzcrafts for new posts.

Today, I put an invitation to all my customers, readers and followers to contribute a picture of their work for a Gallery of Your Work.

I AM using this post to direct you there, for information on how to contribute.

Look forward to seeing you there!


Y is for Yolks & Jokes

YI’m fed of being informative and serious – lets get silly!  I noticed that a few people on the Challenge have resorted to pages of jokes when they have given up for that day – is that a fair appraisal – I don’t know – but this is what I am doing!

Would have written a learned post on egg yolks, but I can do that another day – so lets have some jokes instead……Except that I don’t know any, apart from ………


Why did the chicken cross the road?  

(to get to the other side)

but I have found some Individual perspectives on the matter ……

iuWoody Allen:

I mean, it was, it was … a legal chicken … It wasn’t like it was a blood relative or anything. (And don’t believe anything that Mia says about me.) 

To actualize its potential.

The Dead Sea Scrolls:
And God came down from the heavens, and He said unto the chicken, “Thou shalt cross the road.” And the Chicken crossed the road, and there was much rejoicing.

iuJack Benny: 
I’m thinking. … I’m thinking 

If you ask this question, you deny your own chicken nature.

James Cagney: 
It crossed twice. The dirty double-crosser.

Albert Camus: 
It doesn’t matter; the chicken’s actions have no meaning except to him. 

iuJohn Cleese:
This Chicken is no more. It has ceased to function. Bereft of life, it rests in peace. It’s a stiff. If it wasn’t nailed to the road it’d be pushing up daisies. It’s snuffed it. It’s metabolic processes are now history. It’s bleeding demised. It’s rung down the curtain, shuffled off the mortal coil and joined the bleeding Choir Invisible. This is an Ex-Chicken. Ergo, it did not cross the road. 

Chickens, over great periods of time, have been naturally selected in such a way that they are now genetically predisposed to cross roads 

James Dean: 
To prove he wasn’t chicken. 

Albert-Einstein-9285408-1-402Albert Einstein: 
Whether the chicken crossed the road or the road crossed the chicken depends upon your frame of reference. 

Ralph Waldo Emerson: 
It didn’t cross the road; it transcended it. 

That depends on which plane of reality the chicken was on at the time. 

The fact that you thought that the chicken crossed the road reveals your underlying sexual insecurity. 

iuBill Gates: 
To purchase Chicken 2.01a, which will both cross roads and calculate the energy it used. There are bugs, yes, but if you uninstall Traffic 2.0 and Farmer 1.2 it will run. If it freezes at WhiteLine 2.0, we have a patch … 

Dirk Gently (Holistic Detective): 
I’m not exactly sure why, but right now I’ve got a horse in my bathroom. 

In my day, we didn’t ask why the chicken crossed the road. Someone told us that the chicken had crossed the road, and that was good enough for us. 

Sherlock Holmes: 
Do not concern yourself with the chicken that did cross the road; the answer lies with the chicken that did not cross the road. 

Saddam Hussein: 
It is the Mother of all Chickens.  

CGJungCarl Jung: 
The confluence of events in the cultural gestalt necessitated that individual chickens cross roads. This brought such occurrences into being. 

Immanuel Kant: 
The chicken, being an autonomous being, chose to cross the road of his own free will. 

iuMartin Luther King, Jr.: 
I envision a world where all chickens will be free to cross roads without having their motives called into question. 

Timothy Leary: 
Because that’s the only kind of trip the Establishment would let it take. 

John Locke: 
Because he was exercising his natural right to liberty. 

The point is that the chicken crossed the road. Who cares why? The ends of crossing the road justify whatever motive there was. 

Karl Marx: 
It crossed twice. First time, it was a tragedy; second time, a farce. 

iuGroucho Marx: 
Chicken? What’s all this talk about chicken? Why, I had an uncle who thought he was a chicken. My aunt almost divorced him, but we needed the eggs. 

Jackie Mason:
Whaddaya want, it should just stand there?

Jack Nicholson:
‘Cause it ***** wanted to. That’s the ****** reason.

220px-Richard_M._Nixon,_ca._1935_-_1982_-_NARA_-_530679Richard M. Nixon: The chicken did not cross the road. I repeat, the chicken did not cross the road.

George Orwell:
Because the government had fooled him into thinking that he was crossing the road of his own free will, when he was really only serving their interests.

For the greater good.

Colonel Sanders:
I missed one?

Jean-Paul Sartre:
In order to act in good faith and be true to itself, the chicken found it necessary to cross the road.

iuArnold Schwartznegger:
It vill be back.

Jerry Seinfeld:
Why does anyone cross a road? I mean, why doesn’t anyone ever think to ask, “What the heck was this chicken doing walking around all over the place anyway?”

Dr. Seuss:
Did the chicken cross the road?
Did he cross it with a toad?
Yes the chicken crossed the road,
but why he crossed, I’ve not been told!

180px-Stalin_ImageJoseph Stalin:
I don’t care. Catch it. I need its eggs to make my omelet.

Oliver Stone:
The question is not “Why did the chicken cross the road?” but is rather “Who was crossing the road at the same time whom we overlooked in our haste to observe the chicken crossing?”

Thomas de Torquemada:
Give me ten minutes with the chicken and I’ll find out.

west - maeMae West:
I invited it to come up and see me sometime..

Source: http://www.weirdity.com/jokes/chicken.shtml


And if you are still reading – I couldn’t resist this one!

After watching sales falling ………  iu

After watching sales falling off for three straight months at Kentucky Fried Chicken, the Colonel calls up the Pope and asks for a favor.
The Pope says, ”What can I do?”
The Colonel says, ”I need you to change the daily prayer from, ‘Give us this day our daily bread’ to ‘Give us this day our daily chicken’. If you do it, I’ll donate 10 Million Dollars to the Vatican.”
The Pope replies, ”I am sorry. That is the Lord’s prayer and I can not change the words.”
So the Colonel hangs up. After another month of dismal sales, the Colonel panics, and calls again.
”Listen your Excellency. I really need your help. I’ll give you $50 million dollars if you change the words of the daily prayer from ‘Give us this day our daily bread’ to ‘Give us this day our daily chicken.”’
And the Pope responds, ”It is very tempting, Colonel Sanders. The church could do a lot of good with that much money. It would help us support many charities. But, again, I must decline. It is the Lord’s prayer, and I can’t change the words.”
So the Colonel gives up again. After two more months of terrible sales the Colonel gets desperate. ”This is my final offer, your Excellency. If you change the words of the daily prayer from, ‘Give us this day our daily bread’ to ‘Give us this day our daily chicken’ I will donate $100 million to the Vatican.”
The Pope replies, ”Let me get back to you.”
So the next day, the Pope calls together all of his bishops and he says, ”I have some good news and I have some bad news. The good news is that KFC is going to donate $100 million to the Vatican.”

The bishops rejoice at the news. Then one asks about the bad news.
The Pope replies, ”The bad news is that we lost the Wonder Bread account.”

source: http://www.jokebuddha.com/Chicken#ixzz3YLBuP2OK

X is for – Xtra, Xtra – read all about it!

XThis is the newz according to Julz!

Readers of this blog may have noticed I have a campaigning streak – I’m not sure what you think about it, but its in my genes!

My other blog – julzcrafts.com – as well as being about crafts and all kinds of information that might be useful to knitters, quilters, spinners & weavers etc, is where I find that sometimes, I can’t help but get on my soap box about matters that matter!

I have used this last week of the A-Z challenge to do a review of these campaigns, and to remind people of the issues – if you’d like to see what I am talking about – please go and have a look!

The last two posts in this series will be posted on this blog, and I promise you, are totally frivolous – its been a hard slog to post something each day for a month and its time I had some jokes and stuff on these pages – smile!

V is for Vampire – Naked Neck Chickens ……

VA friend of mine has a thing for naked neck chickens, and when I needed a companion for Missy, my Barbu d’uccle – see my previous post – in a hurry, I went to see her to buy something, anything, immediately!

There weren’t many she was prepared to sell – as she proudly showed me around the pen, and pointed out her naked necks.

Yuck I said – they look like Vampires.

In the end she sold me a black silkie cross for a fiver – she’s now called fiver – because, she had been an unsuccessful attempt to breed a naked neck with a silkie – and she doesn’t have a naked neck – does she`?

fiver was bought for £5

fiver was bought for £5

I hate to think what might happen if I let her sit on her own eggs – what kind of monster chicks might emerge!

NakedNeck_m_600This is what naked neck chickens look like, they actually originate from Transylvania, so they really could be VAMPIRES!

Apparently there is a rather sinister reason they still exist, the breed was refined by German breeders, because they have about half as many feathers as normal chickens and thus are easier to pluck, when preparing for the table!

naked neck chick

naked neck chick

Oddly enough, the naked necks do not seem to affect their ability to flourish – “They are very good foragers and are immune to most diseases. The breed is also reasonably cold hardy despite its lack of feathers. Naked Neck roosters carry a single comb, and the neck and head often become very bright red from increased sun exposure.” (Wikipedia)

S is for Silkies

SI’m following on from yesterday’s post which was entitled Rare Breeds, but I never got round to them – smile.  In fact due to the increasing popularity of “backyard chickens” these aren’t really rare breeds any more, but pure breeds. There are very many different pure breeds to choose from.  I thought I’d start with Silkies.

my pair of white SILKIE bantams - cockerel is in front of shot

my pair of white SILKIE bantams – cockerel is in front of shot

They are as far from factory farmed chickens as you can get!  They wouldn’t survive in those sheds, they’re not good to eat, they have very little meat on them, and they aren’t prolific layers.

But apart from being really attractive, they are docile, can be handled easily – altho the full size cockerels can be fierce in protecting the hens – but best of all, silkies go broody, and will sit on any fertile eggs you have, and mother the chicks perfectly!

silkie cross cockerel

silkie cross cockerel

Silkie crosses, the hens, will usually go broody too. This was a silkie X cockerel I once had, to show you the variations you can get.  I can’t remember what he was crossed with but he was a handsome fellow!

blue silkie chick - from feathersite.com, another good reference for breeds

blue silkie chick – from feathersite.com, another good reference for breeds

Pure Silkies are usually white, black or a ‘golden’ brown colour.  A particularly prized colour is ‘blue’ which is a pretty blueish grey, and they go for very high prices!

Silkie feathers are different from other breeds, they are ‘fluffy’ not flat and streamlined,  and unusually the feathers also extend down to their 5 toes! Other features are bright blue ear lobes and black skin.

Origin: China, found there by Marco Polo in 1298. (ref here!)

If you are keeping chickens, you are usually keeping them for the eggs, and hens are quite happy without ever seeing a cockerel.  Many, but not all of the breeds of hens, will go broody from time to time, and stop laying to sit on a clutch of eggs that are not fertile.

You have two choices in this circumstance – you can buy in some fertile eggs as fast as possible – and put them under her – removing her own eggs, and she will normally but quite happy to continue sitting on them for the 21 days they take to hatch.

If you don’t want to do that, the only thing to do is to keep removing the eggs and taking her out of the box she lays in.  You may even have to move the box, or block it, so she doesn’t return immediately your back is turned!  She may go off lay for a while anyway, until the hormones triggered by broodiness have disappeared from her system.

If you do breed from your chickens, please remember that you should not allow related chickens – ie those hatched from eggs of one pair – to breed with each other.  You may have to swap cockerels, or sell them and buy an unrelated one.

On the other hand, recent genetic research seems to show that chickens actually have more genes than humans, and thus more variations are possible.  You might like to look at this lesson in the genetics of chickens.

Chickens were originally wild birds that lived in forests, before they were domesticated.  They still like scratching around under trees, which give shade in summer, and are omnivorous ie: they will eat almost anything, including insects and raw meat off carcasses!  Of course grass and grain are the usual feeds we give them, together with leftover food scraps.  Exceptions are covered in my recent blog.  If you want to give them a real treat, try grapes and watch them fight to get at them!

R is for Rare Breeds of Chickens

RRare Breeds, of chickens, or any other animal, are those variations that are no longer popular with the agricultural industry, which by definition are not as ‘productive’ as the specially bred varieties that populate most ‘factory farms’.  I don’t even know what breeds of chicken are used for ‘our chicken dinners’ or the caged egg birds.  I suppose I could look them up?

illustration from an old book "Poultry of the World"

illustration from an old book “Poultry of the World”

Well I just spend quite a lot of time trying to find out, and the best I can come up with is this!

A commercial chicken house in Florida, with open sides raising broiler pullets for meat

A commercial chicken house in Florida, with open sides raising broiler pullets for meat

Since their domestication, a large number of breeds of chickens have been established, but with the exception of the white Leghorn, most commercial birds are of hybrid origin.[10] In about 1800, chickens began to be kept on a larger scale, and modern high-output poultry farms were present in the United Kingdom from around 1920 and became established in the United States soon after the Second World War. By the mid-20th century, the poultry meat-producing industry was of greater importance than the egg-laying industry.

Battery hens in Brazil

Battery hens in Brazil

Poultry breeding has produced breeds and strains to fulfil different needs; light-framed, egg-laying birds that can produce 300 eggs a year; fast-growing, fleshy birds destined for consumption at a young age, and utility birds which produce both an acceptable number of eggs and a well-fleshed carcase. 

Both of the illustrations show well kept facilities, and yet, how can you compare the welfare of those chickens with these?

chicken in grass pasture

an idyllic photo I found on the web!

Well I intended to give you some information on Rare Breeds today, but I seem to have got distracted!  I will continue on this subject tomorrow – in the meantime, if you want to see a list of Rare Breeds, with photos, you can’t go far wrong if you look at this page on the website of the Poultry Club of Great Britain.