Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A Hog Rung Chicken Pen

by Patsy Melton
I reinforced my dog kennel by attaching chicken wire to keep predators away from my little sisters (and brother)....the only thing is, I did it with plastic cable ties.   It's been a long, hot, dry summer and I'm thinking I need to replace the plastic cable ties with something more sturdy.  A friend suggested aluminum electrical wire--thin, strong, lightweight, and (gasp!) expensive as all get-out.  I explained my plight to the youngster in the local Tractor Supply and he suggested I use hog rings.  Hog rings??  What?  Then he explained how they would be squeezed together around both the kennel wire and chicken wire to hold them together.  Made a little more sense to me.
And they were CHEAP!  Even after buying the special wrench/handle that squeezed them it was still a deal.
And they should last thru the hottest summer and coldest winter.  We'll see.  The little sisters thanked me prodigiously with eggs. http://communitychickens.com/images/blogs/patsy.jpg

Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Little Sisters of the Convent

The Little Sisters of the Convent

The little sisters needed help.  They didn't know they needed help.  As the 'abbess(?)' of this 'convent' I was determined to keep them safe from all harm.  Once I got the chicken wire all around the dog kennel, I felt that they were going to be all right.  My friend from church gave me another silkie hen to replace the one I lost.
We went along with our routine.  The sisters were laying eggs and I had enough to give eggs away to family and friends. 
About this time one of the hens started crowing(gasp!).  Aha, a rooster has infitrated the convent.  Bless his heart, he was so young, he didn't know how to crow when he came here.  That is until he heard the call of another rooster who lives on a neighboring property.  When he first started crowing, it sounded like he was strangling and needed a Ricola.  He sounded sort of like the duck on the AFLAC commercial.  He soon had his vocal chords toned and trim, because it is the most shrill, nerve-shattering cockle-doodle-do that ever has been!  I knew this particular bird was growing bigger than the others.  I should have known this bird was mail because he began to develop this red, wrinkled, tumor-like thing on the front of his head.  I kept hearing the line from Kindergarten Cop in my head, "It's notta tumah!"
Silkies, I find, are very nurturing, very mothering hens.  They want to set on eggs and hatch them.  One day I was pleased to find that one of the hens continued to sit in the nesting box.  I figured she was trying to 'go broody'.  I left her alone.  She was so focused on hatching the eggs.  Nothing distracted her, not the crowing rooster, not the other hens pecking and scratching, eating bugs and cackling and talking to each other.  I started counting the days--21--till the eggs should hatch.  Every day I'd check on her.  It was like she was frozen in time, in suspended animation, awaiting the arrival of the mothership, er babyship!

During this period I got no eggs.  It seems that all eggs laid went under the little hen.  A nice lady on another blog that I follow told me I should have marked the eggs because the silkie would try to hatch all the eggs.  Another learning experience, folks.  And one egg hatched.  A baby chick who with his mother went into the penthouse appartment because he was small enough to go through the chicken wire.